The Thursday Billionaires

“We’re in the money,” cried Ricky pushing past a woman at the pub door and waving a wad of papers. Galloping to the corner where the gang was meeting, he shouted gleefully, “Time to celebrate. We’re shoe-ins.”

“Okay, whoa Nellie,” said Tom, always cautious. “What’s your sure winner this week.”

“It’s an award, worth five thousand dollars. A thousand for each of us.”

“And this is just for being good looking,” Fred, the wit, said, cheered by laughs all around.

“No, this is serious. The Bean Up Company is offering an award for a team of local entrepreneurs with the most successful venture of the year.”

“And you think that’s us? What about Ted and his Food Trucks.”

“Food trucks! Old hat. He only has five and slaved for two years to get that many.”

“Or Betty and her cookies,” piped in Fred. “She sends them across the country in special boxes.”

“Cookies? We’re past cookies. We aren’t sloggers; we’re ideas people. And ideas people will win the day.”

Armed with another pint of the finest, the five friends carefully read over the award criteria, noting the cut off date.

“Four months, that would mean eight working Thursday meetings,” said Tom hesitantly. “Challenging, but maybe doable.”

“They say they’re looking for ‘a group that worked together on an innovative sustainable project’,” read Stu.

“Does that mean ‘green’?” asked Fred.

“No, though we’re as green as the next guy. It just means not a flash in the pan,” said Andy.

“Which we aren’t. We’ve been meeting and planning for years.”

“But $5,000 isn’t much money,” piped up Tom. “Before you got here, Ricky, we voted to rebrand ourselves the Billionaire club and now we are talking about $5,000.”

“True it’s a come-down,” said Andy who, a week earlier, had first suggested the change in name. 

“Millionaires Club restricts us,” he’d said, wiping the mustard off of his chin.

“We should be aiming for more than a million dollars. A million won’t get us far.”

“He’s right, a million divided by five wouldn’t be much,” said Tom, fumbling in his pocket for his calculator.

“Stop there,” Stu had cried, “This is the second Thursday of the month. This is fun night not make a million night.”

So it was. As all five were sticklers for rules, except at the workplace, they turned to talk about whether the new bar on 10th Avenue had more beer on tap than their regular local and if so was that good news.

But earlier this Thursday—a working meeting Thursday—the topic of the name was first on the agenda.

The five guys who Fred said were just like the three McLean boys and the Wild Alex Hare but as Tom often had pointed out: there weren’t four of them, there were five and they weren’t robbers and killers. “But like the McLean boys we’re after money,” said Fred.

 And so on the 2nd Thursday of the month, for over five years, they got together to discuss finances. Well more to discuss how they could “obtain some finances” as Andy put it. They had named themselves the Millionaires Club.

They crackled with ideas after a few pints and early on even checked out get rich quick schemes. “We could have had a get rich slow plan and now be rich we have been at it so long,” grumbled Fred, who was beginning to lose faith.

“Get rich slowly, if possible, means working extra hours at the plant and hoping our meager savings don’t get eaten by inflation,” said Tom.

“Or nabbed by the wife for some useless thing like a new dishwasher.”

Over the years the group had had innumerable get rich ideas. They started when Ricky said he’d read that if you just put an ad in the paper and said, “Send money” (not even saying what it was for) or maybe “Money Urgently required,” people sent money. They had argued whether that was possible for a number of Thursdays, as Ricky couldn’t remember where he’s gotten the information. “It was genuine, I know,” he insisted. “I read it on the Internet.”

But when the group realized they’d have to pay for the ad and no one wanted to pony up, the notion was put aside. Years later the idea had flashed by to do the ad on-line but it didn’t fly because Andy said: “They’ll have us in jail as quick as Jack Rabbit.”

After being hounded to buy raffle tickets for the local boys’ baseball team, they considered doing a raffle of their own but then it was discovered they would have to become a charitable organization. They’d asked the local minister if he would lend the church’s charitable number for a one-off but instead of agreeing to help, he came to the pub, drank a beer, which had been paid for by them, and then lectured them about being dishonest.

 Concerned about how inflation had lessened the power of a million dollars, they debated the idea of changing their name to the Billionaires Club.

“I vote we should go for a billion. It has more 0s and more money for us all,” said Andy.

With a cheer all around, the guys had agreed. “Well this is one Thursday we really accomplished something,” said Fred. “Sometimes I get discouraged we’re not living up to our potential.”

“How can you say that, we do things right. Remember last year we had those T-shirts made with the Millionaires Club on them.”

“Hey but now we will have to change the M to a B. “

“Maybe we can get some sort of white out for that?” said Tom.

“We’re off track,” complained Ricky. “I move we get the application form for the Award, decide what innovative project we can pull off in four months…and go for it.”

A unanimous vote was followed by more cheers.

 “Right on,” said Fred, whose faith was restored. “The Billionaires, with a small sidestep to collect the $5,000 prize, are on the move.”

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