Chrissy had finally reached rock bottom. There was no place lower than where she was today. She'd lost her job some time ago, and her unemployment had run out. She'd lost her car because she couldn't make the payments. Same thing with her apartment.
She couldn't move back home. With her mother's current lifestyle of alcohol and a new boyfriend every week, she was better off on the street anyway.
When there was room, she dossed at the shelter while looking for a job. But with the economy in the toilet, nobody was hiring. They'd even turned her down at McDonald's. Apparently she had too much experience for them. They preferred students who would work for pennies.
She still had her phone, the one thing that kept her sane. How much longer she could afford to keep it was another matter, she thought, as she scrolled through the employment ads for any place that might hire her. She had no degree, a rather checkered employment history, and no real references. Face it. She wouldn't hire her either.
Then an ad caught her eye. It wasn't an employment ad, but it drew her in. More along the lines of self-help, she read it two or three times before choosing to follow the link. It sounded ridiculous, but something made her read on through the page.
The website advocated asking open ended questions, such as “How does it get even better than this?” of “What else is possible?” The trick was to never answer the question. Just leave it out there and see what came back to you.
It recommended looking for ways to use these phrases, as often as possible. Suppose you found a penny on the sidewalk. How does it get even better? Job interview doesn’t work out? What else is possible?
What the hell? She might as well give it a shot. Looking down at what she wore, and then at the small bag of belongings she had with her, she asked the question. What else is possible? With a sigh, she picked up her bag and began the walk back to the shelter. With any luck she could have something to eat and maybe get a shower and bed for the night.
Keeping her eyes open for anything to give her hope, she spotted a quarter next to the curb which had fallen out of someone’s pocket. Deciding to give it another try, she picked it up and asked, "How dies it get even better than this? With the quarter in her pocket, she continued on up the block, picking up a coin here, a coin there, and then finally a ten dollar bill.
Maybe there was something to this.
Finally at the shelter, she went in and was able to score a bed for the night and take a quick shower. All of her clothes had been worn more than once, and only hand washed in a sink whenever she had the chance. But with a little money in her pocket, maybe she could afford to run by the laundromat and wash them properly. That should certainly help her chances for employment.
Pondering the idea, she looked around at the shelter, remembering having her own place. The thought was depressing. But what else is possible? Nothing came to mind. Of course, it would probably take a little time for this magic formula to work, even if it helped. For tonight, she had a bed, a roof over her head, and a full stomach, plus about twelve dollars to her name for a change.
How does it get even better than this, she asked as she drifted off to sleep.
Morning came early, but she managed a cup of coffee and a cupcake before she went back out in search of work. Just down the street was a rundown laundry, so she pulled out the change she’d found the day before, bought a box of detergent, and got her laundry started.
With nothing else to do, she sat down and tried to read a magazine she’d found on the folding table, but it wasn’t particularly interesting. Bored with sitting around, her eyes scanned the room and picked up the glint of a coin. Nobody else was in the laundry yet this morning, so she hurried over and picked up the quarter. Casting her eyes around again, she found another one. What about inside the machines?
By the time she’d covered the whole area, she’d found enough change to pay for her wash and dry. How does it get even better than this? Maybe there was something to the crazy thing she’d read.
Laundry finished, she went to the unemployment office to see if anything had been posted she could apply for. But when she got there, the line was out the door, as she often found it.
What else is possible? There had to be another way to find a job.
“Hey!” she heard. Turning toward the voice, she saw a middle-aged woman motioning to her. “Looking for work?”
“Yes, ma’am, I am.”
“I own a bed and breakfast just outside of town and my housekeeper had to leave. Interested?”
“Sure! What does it pay?” Chrissy asked.
“It doesn’t pay much, only $200 a week to start, but your room and board are included. You would live at the B & B. When could you begin?”
“Today, if that’s okay with you. I don’t have a car, though,”
“Do you have anything to bring with you?”
“No. Everything I own is in this bag,” Chrissy admitted.
“Well, hop in. Might as well get going. I have several rooms to get cleaned before the next guests arrive. I'm Mrs. Harris.”
Wow! How does it get even better than this? That was the question, wasn’t it? Trying not to let her mind form any answers, she slid into the car and was soon headed out of town toward her new job.
The place was beautiful. An large, older country mansion, it boasted ten rooms for guests, plus rooms for the owners and the staff. Chrissy’s room would be on the third floor, which was fine with her. There were a couple windows up there which looked out onto back gardens.
How does it get even better than this? This was almost too good to be true.
The work wasn’t difficult, just basic housekeeping. When they weren’t booked solid, things were pretty light, and she had free time to do whatever she liked, so she’d begun an online course in accounting. At least she could balance her check book, when she finally had an account again.
About a month after she'd started with the Harris's, she came across a little black book. About 6 x 9 inches and maybe 2 inches thick, ir resembled a diary, complete with latch. The people who’d stayed here must have lost it. It wasn't locked, so she opened the cover, and discovered it wasn’t a book at all. It was like one of those home security things she'd seen on TV. Instead of pages, the small compartment contained what looked like several pieces of heirloom jewelry.
Running downstairs, she found Mrs. Harris and showed her what she’d found.They agreed their guests would definitely want those back, so Mrs. Harris called the contact number she had for them.
“Yes, they are very glad you found those,” Mrs. Harris told her when she hung up the phone. “Someone will be here to pick them up tomorrow morning. Thank you for being honest.”
Happy to have been of service to someone, Chrissy went back to cleaning, wondering if there might be a reward. It would go to the owners, no doubt, but they might throw a little in her direction.
How does it get even better than this?
The next morning, while Chrissy was making her rounds, a tall man dressed as a chauffeur arrived, with a letter instructing Mrs. Harris to release the book with the jewelry to him. Once she'd retrieved it from the safe, the man reached into his jacket for a large envelope.
“And this is the finders fee which would have been offered once they found the items missing. It is to go to whomever found the items, to be used in whatever manner they see fit."
A startled Mrs. Harris called Chrissy down to the front desk and watched while the man explained she had received a reward.
“Oh! I don’t need a reward. I was just happy to help out.”
“No, the money is yours. They insist. And now, good day to you ladies.”
Tipping his hat, he turned, got into the car, and took off with the jewelry, as Chrissy stood in the entry, almost afraid to see what was inside.
“Well, open it,” Mrs. Harris insisted. “No other way to find out what’ s there.”
With shaking fingers, Chrissy opened the envelop and gasped. Pulling out the note lying next to a stack of cash, she read, “Thank you for your quick response in returning our property. We hadn’t even missed it yet, as we’d not arrived home. For your honesty, please accept this reward of $20,000 for the return of our jewelry. It has been in the family for generations and means a lot to us.”
“But I can’t accept all this,” Chrissy exclaimed. “What am I going to do with all this?”
“I would suggest you put it in the bank as a nest egg, and then decide what you want to do with your life. If you want to stay here for a while, you are more than welcome. You do good work, the guests like you, and so do I. It’s hard to find good, honest people these days.”
How does it get even better than this? Chrissy wasn’t sure, but she wasn’t about to answer that question. Whatever it was, it would be spectacular.
“Thank you, Mrs. Harris. I’ll take you up on that offer. Can you help me get to the bank and open an account?
“I think that can be arranged,” the woman said with a wide grin before she enveloped Chrissy in a big hug. “Looks like your life is about to turn around.”
One thing had puzzled Chrissy since the first time they’d met.
“Why did you stop that day and ask if I needed work?”
“I don’t know really,” Mrs. Harris answered with a slight frown. “It just seemed like the thing to do.”
What else is possible?
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