Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Another Day

As Stringer walked towards the stairs leading to the police station, he stopped to smoke what must have been his hundredth cigarette of the day. He leaned back onto a bench that was conveniently placed a few hundred yards from the stairs. He heart was racing, his mind filled with second guesses. Stringer mind had been bombarded with conflicting thoughts, ever since he found the bag. As he blew out a cloud of smoke, he noticed a man behind him. Has he been following me? He thought, but then again: He had been paranoid since his visit to the dumpster earlier on. Stringer had every reason to be paranoid, there were many people who wouldn't hesitate to mug him if they knew he was walking around with a fifty thousand dollars in his jacket. Stringer stayed focused on the man as he entered the donut shop adjacent to the police station. Relieved, he pulls out another cigarette and lights it with the butt in his hand.

"You really shouldn't chain smoke" said a soft female voice.

He glanced over at the woman standing next to him. She was tall, slim with long black hair, the moonlight bounced of her hair and gave it a slight glow. The lady forced a smile while taking a seat next to him. She reached into her leather purse and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. Her purse reminded him of one of Jaye's purses.

Stringer had met Jaye back in high school. She was tall, curvy with big brown eyes that captivated him, even after six years. He remembered being too nervous to approach her in class and never spoke to her even though she sat right in from of him. When they finally met at a friends party, he was shocked to find out how much she had liked him all along. Stinger told her about his passion for cars, and how he planned to one day open up his own repair shop. Stringer told her how he worked on cars with his father during his free time dropping engines, rebuilding alternators and changing head gaskets.

Jaye was impressed with his sense of purpose and the two began dating shortly after. She always believed Stringer would one day realize his dream even though he ended up working at a local warehouse after high school and didn't go to college like some of the other guys she dated back in high school.

Stringer never imagined his decision not to attend college would come back to hunt him like it did. It had been five years and he only had a few thousand dollars saved up. His dreams were slowly slipping away and his biggest fear was that Jaye would one day figure it out and find someone else.
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This morning had been like the beginning of any other week for Stringer. He arrived fifteen minutes before his shift like he always did. Mr. Scums his boss, had gone out of his way to make his day miserable. He had moved the pallets the weekend shift failed to sort, and had placed them on Stringers dock, that pretty much meant they were now his problem, as that was the norm around here for Stringer to get stuck with the responsibility of others. Today's stack seemed higher than they had ever been.

"I hate this job" he said to himself as he walked past the stack of pallets that towered his tall frame, toward the break room. Stringer fixed himself a cup of coffee and headed back towards the main floor. He walked toward the loading dock entrance and pulled out a cigarette. For some reason, his daily routine always seemed to make his day go by that much easier.

"Don't you see dem fucking pallets over there!" yelled Scums as he stormed towards Stringer. His gray mustache always seemed to twitch whenever he was angry.

"It's not even nine yet!" Stringer replied smartly. He usually had a smart-ass comment every time and that infuriated Scums that much more.

"When you're on this property, you're on my time" Scums quickly replied.

"Matter of fact get the fuck out of here until your ready to clock in" he continued and his stubby finger pointed towards the parking lot across the street where lower level employees parked. Stringer flicked out his cigarette and started walking towards the parking lot, he wondered why he even bothered to come to work early as he always seemed to get punished for it. Scums was particularly mad at him today as Stringer filed a complaint against Scums the week before, claiming harassment. Stringer had fallen for the charm of the pretty lady in human resources who promised him he would remain anonymous, what a sucker he had been. Turns out she had ratted him to Scums, who had vowed to make him miserable till he quit the job. To make matters worse, the management staff did not even take the complaint seriously, they simply laughed and put it away in one of their cheap metal cabinets.

As he reached inside his jacket for another cigarette, he heard the tires of a car screeching. A black 1998 Peugeot Evolution thirty feet ahead of him came to a complete stop. Most people would not have recognized the car but he remembered working on a similar Evolution barely a few years ago. A passenger in the car rolled a window down and threw out a black plastic bag into a trashcan. The car speed off as quickly as it had stopped. The whole event lasting only a few seconds.

What was that? he thought, as he continued walking towards his car, he was right in the center of the street when he suddenly heard the blast of police sirens coming from the same direction as the car he had observed earlier, He quickly got out the way and watched the police car speed off. He immediately knew the two cars were connected, as this was a deserted street that was only used by employees of the warehouse. Instead of heading towards his car, Stringer decided to head towards the trashcan and take a look at what the first car had thrown out. As he approached the trashcan, he was greeted by the stench off rotten fish, strong enough for him to smell it with a cigarette in his mouth. As Stringer reached into the trashcan, he paused for a moment to make sure no one was watching. He needed to be sure no one was watching him, he was sure he had just witnesses criminal activity and didn't want to be blamed for whatever the Evolution had dropped. Stringer's instincts told him to mind his own business but he could not contain his curiosity.

"Stop being such a pussy" he muttered under his breath while his eyes scanned the street one last time.

The street was deserted as usual and Stringer leaned over the trashcan to grab the black bag. As he untied the knot, he peered into the bag and his heart jumped at the sight of the contents of the bag. The bag was filled with bundles of money, the money looked old and dirty and next to it were transparent plastic bottles filled with red capsules.

He immediately jumped back and walked briskly to his car, He got in through the passenger side as the driver side door had been stuck for a few weeks and he still had five days to go before he could afford the parts he needed. He immediately began to reflect on what just happened and realized he must have been staring at a decent amount of money. The thought of how much trouble he could get into really scared the life out of him. If the owners of the bag found out he had their money, they would definitely have him killed. He lights up a cigarette and takes a long slow drag. He exhales and begins to cough.

"I need to quit smoking" he said to himself, his thoughts fading away, drifting over to thoughts of just how long he had been a smoker.

Stringer's father had been a very strong influence in his life. He had taught him the art of car repairs and had instilled in him a solid work ethic. He had also introduced Stringer to religion at a very young age-even though Stringer only pretended to be religious to please his parents. His mother was a very religious homemaker who rarely ever disagreed with his father.

"Make sure you do what's right!" his parents used to bark Stringer and as much as he hated to admit it, he found himself living his life not according to his rules, but by the rules his parents would have followed.

Stringers relationship with his parents changed when he decided not to go to college. His parents had planned for him to be an engineer since birth and were disappointed he didn't want to give it a try. Stringer felt he didn't need it as he had figured everything in his mind. He would work and save most of his paychecks since his parents were well off and he never had to pay any bills. Stringer figured in three years he would have around twenty thousand, enough to open his own shop.

"I'll be working for myself while you guys are still taking tests." Stringer used to tease his friends. Smiling ear to ear, feeling like quite the entrepreneur.

It came as a big surprise when his parents told him he could no longer live with them as he didn't go to college and forced him to move into his own apartment. His days of saving most of his earnings were gone and he now found himself living paycheck to paycheck. Even then Stringer always said he would quit smoking after a year, how wrong he had been about so many things.

As his mind drifted back to reality, Stringer realized what an opportunity he had stumbled across. He had a chance to get back on track and realize his dream. The street was still deserted and it became obvious he was the only one that saw the drop. He composed himself and decided to go back to the trashcan. He looked around to make sure he wasn't being watched before opening the bag for a second time, he reached into and started removing the plastic bottles, he knew they were some sort of drug, but wasn't sure what exactly they were. With all the bottles removed, he ties the bag and places it under his armpit. He was certain a bunch of police officers would jump out of nowhere and wrestle him to the ground, as he began walking towards his car with his heart beating out of control.

Stringer barely got to his car and was about to open the passenger door when he heard a strong voice yell at him "You, over there!". He must have pissed on himself He peered over the car, and to his relief it was co-worker Alex walking towards him. Alex usually took the bus to work and walked about a block to get to work. He was an obnoxious young man who was the opposite of Stringer. Stringer quickly places the bag under the seat and locks the door. He walks across the front of the car and shakes Alex's hand.

"Sup" mumbles Stringer

"What was that?" Alex replied.

"My shoes" Stringer lied

"I didn't expect to see you here at this time" Alex went on.

Shit! Stringer had been out here now for at least a half hour. Scums would definitely make him pay for this. As he darted towards the warehouse, he was relieved to find that Scums was no where to be found. He quickly clocked in and Alex followed. They shortly began sorting the growing tower of pallets.

As Stringer began working, he mind started to drift away as it usually did at work. He thought about the bag he had stuffed under his seat and wondered how much money was in the bag, His father would have turned it in if he were in the same situation, but Stringer new better. The money could help him open up his garage and he wouldn't be stuck with Scums anymore. Stringer thought of the guys that dropped the money off, he wondered what type of people they were. What type of crimes did they commit to get that money? Didn't that make him an accomplice if he took the money? Would blood money bring him bad luck?.

As his thoughts drifted away, Alex snatched him back to reality, when he tapped him on the shoulder and suggested a cigarette break. Let me have a cigarette was what he really meant, as he was the type who smoked daily but never seemed to have any cigarettes. Stringer on the other hand, always had cigarettes as he smoked a pack a day and didn't like to be without cigarettes. He was the favorite person to bum one from as all the other co-workers knew he wouldn't say no. As they approached the entrance, he handed Alex a cigarette and grabbed one for himself. He took a puff and handed over his lighter. They both stood there for a moment, enjoying their cigarettes, till Stringer broke the silence with a question.

"What would you do if you came across some money that wasn't yours?" Stringer asked.

"Spend it" Alex replied, he had a disgusted look on his face, as if irritated by the question.

"Why?" Alex added.

"I know a guy who found a thousand bucks and turned it in" Stringer started to explain.

"What an idiot" Alex exclaimed, he certainly wasn't the type of person who could empathize with such behavior. Alex was a rebel who never even bothered to follow rules, and always seemed to get rewarded for his bad behavior. He had only started working at the warehouse six months ago and was already getting paid the same as Stringer. He was lazy, always late and had no discipline. Alex always went the easiest route and had no issues admitting it. He hated Scums as well, but for some odd reason Scums seemed to like him, probably because Alex wasn't a threat to Scums who considered Stringer a goody-goody trying to take his job.

"Maybe he just had a problem with spending money that might have blood on it..." Stringer began to say.

"You pussy" Alex interrupted.

Stringer was about to reply but he hesitated. He knew Alex was right. He always had this internal conflict with himself, always wanting to do the right thing, even though he knew it wasn't always the best thing.

"What the fuck are you doing Stringer? Don't think I didn't notice what time you clocked in." yelled Mr. Scums familiar voice.

He completely ignored Alex.

"I'm gonna write you up for that." he continued as he snatched the cigarette from Stringers lips and threw it to the ground.

He constantly nagged Stringer about smoking, even though he was a smoker himself.

"Fuck you!" Stringer screamed right in Scums astonished face.

Scums paused for a moment then regained his confidence. Stringer was shocked himself, he had never spoken to Scums like that before.

"Get the fuck out of here, you're fired" he said, he tried sounding tough but was obviously shaken.
"Fuck you" Stringer repeated as he jumped down the loading dock and walked towards the main gate.
Alex stayed frozen as he could not believe what had just happened. He had heard Stringer make a few smart ass comments at Scums, but had never seen him get in his face like this. He stood there wondering what got into Stringer who had been acting unusual all day.

Stringer was mad at himself for not having anything better to say to Scums. Stringer had never been fired from a job before and wasn't sad like he thought he would have been if he ever got fired. Instead he felt relieved like what just happened must have been for a reason. He considered it a sign. He didn't need that job anymore. It was Scums stupid ass that put him at the right place at the right time anyway. As he jumped into his car, Stringer grinned at his reflection in the rear view mirror as he closed the door and slid into the drivers side. Maybe I'll fix that tomorrow he thought to himself as he started the engine and headed towards his apartment, thinking of a way to summarize his day to Jaye.
As Stringer pulled towards his parking spot, he noticed flashing red and blue lights. As he approached his usual parking spot, he noticed a squad car parked in his spot and immediately made a u-turn. Stringer had never been involved with law enforcement, as he was scared stiff as a child, when his class had a field trip to the county jail. He remembered how scary the inmates looked and had then vowed never to get involved in crime. He was particularly scared this time, because squad cars were very rare in his apartment complex. Stringer knew it wasn't a coincidence and tried to figure out how they traced him to his apartment.

"Fucking Alex", he said to himself and wondered what Alex might have seen earlier
"That's why I don't tell him anything, fucking snake!" he blurted as he continued a conversation with himself.

Stringer sneered at a kid in a parallel car, who was obviously having a good time staring at a grown man talking to himself. He must have seen me pick up the bag, he thought and continued driving down the road with no destination in mind. He finally pulled up at a park a few miles from the apartment complex he lived at. He stopped at a deserted spot and pulled the bag from underneath the seat. Roughly fifty thousand was the count.

Sitting in his car, he couldn't help but wonder why he hadn't done the right thing earlier on. If he had listened to his conscience, he wouldn't be in the predicament he was now in. Then it occurred to him, that he could still have a chance if he turned in the money. I can just tell them I left the pills behind because pills made me nervous, he thought to himself. Just his luck, a few hours ago he thought he had finally found a way out of his dead end job, he was now potentially heading to jail for tampering with evidence and who knows what else. The images of the inmates he met as a kid flashed through his mind and his body shivered. He flicked away his cigarette and started his car.

Sitting here next to the police station with fifty thousand dollars in his jacket. He couldn't help but wonder what he could have done with the money. It would have probably been enough for him to start up his own garage like he wanted. He dreamt about owning his own shop since childhood.

Stringer never saw himself as a sorter at the local grocery warehouse. His plan had been to work there for a few years while he saved up enough money to get his repair shop off the ground. Unfortunately, he had barely been able to pay his bills, let alone open up a business. He didn't even have a job to go back to the next day. He wondered what Jaye would think about the whole thing. Stringer was pretty sure she would be for keeping the money. Jaye had been getting tired of his antics; Whenever they argued, she would bring up how well some of her former boyfriends were doing. She always took those opportunities to remind him of the fact he wasn't the business man he had proclaimed himself to be in high school..

Glancing at the lady seated next to Stringer on the bench, he couldn't help but think about Jaye. The lady took a drag of a long slim cigarette and blew out loudly.

"I do it too sometimes, especially when I have a lot on my mind." she said softly.

"No offence, but you don't look like your life is that stressful." he replied smirking

"Why's that." the lady asked

"Because you just don't seem that stressed." Stringer replied, avoiding eye contact.
She slides closer to him on the bench and smiled at him.

"What do for a living." she asked

"I work at a Warehouse around the corner." Stringer lied.

He was shocked to find himself still clinging to a job he always hated.

"Yeah I'll chain smoke like that if I had a shitty job too." she blurted out, trying but failing to hold her laughter back.

He was about to ask her if she was a stripper or a prostitute when she cut him off.

"I'm only kidding, my job is shitty too." she started.

"I work for a law firm, trust me it sucks." she continued .

As the two struck up a conversation. Stringer began to forget about the money and his potential issues with the law. He finished his cigarette and pulled out a third. The lady stared at first and then smiled and pulls out another cigarette of her own.

"If you found five hundred dollars on the ground, what would you do?" Stringer asked
"Keep it" she said quickly, almost sounding like Alex.

" What if you get caught? Don't you care." Stringer replied.

"It wouldn't be a crime unless you took it from someone or their property." she said sounding like the lawyer she claimed to be.

Stringer was about to pick her brain, when he realized she might become suspicious if kept asking her questions. He finished his cigarette and said goodbye. She reached forward and gave him her business card.

"Call me if you ever need a lawyer." she said with her teeth beaming.

"What if I can't afford you." Stringer replied

"Maybe you can't." She replied mischievously.

They said their goodbyes and the lady headed towards the parking lot opposite the police station.

"At least I have a lawyer now," he thought to himself while heading towards the police station as he made his way inside the police station. His eyes met the eyes of the elderly officer manning the front desk. As he leant forward to speak through the speaker mounted on the glass wall separating him from the officer, his cell phone went off. He pulled out his cell phone and noticed it was a text message from Jaye. She had sent him a message letting him know the neighbors had gotten into an altercation and the cops had been called. A huge smile shot across Stringers face and his dreams was once again in his reach. He would have a chance to buy the tools he needed, rent a space and get his shop running. A chance to prove to his parents that he did it his way. That even though they thought he wouldn't stand a chance on his own. Yes he would prove them all wrong. As Stringer thought of all the possibilities, a loud angry voice barked at him

"Well are you gonna tell me what you want?" the voice said. He looked up at the elderly officer and smiled like he never before.

He replied " I was wondering, where do I go to register a business?"

3 Ways to Secure Startup Capital for a Small Business

Funding is one of the most important steps in starting up a small business. You can save up start-up capital, you can get a loan from a bank. or you can start the business with a partner or partners who can pick up some of the costs.

Saving
Saving up capital for a business is one of the best ways to fund a new business, though it is easier for those who already make enough money to be able to save a significant amount. It might not be as practical for those who do not make enough money for business creation. The good thing about starting up a small business using your own funds is that you don't have to worry about paying interest to a lender. This by itself increases the profit margin of the business. As a general rule, you want to have enough money to cover the operation of your business for the length of time it will take for your business to generate income.

Loans
Getting a loan from a bank is another option for funding a small business. To get a business loan from a bank, you need to have a detailed business plan that shows the lending institution that your business idea is viable. Having good credit also helps, as those with poor credit histories are less likely to get a loan. However, a loan can be a good option as it will gives you access to funds that you might not otherwise have. The downside of getting a business loan is the fact that you have to pay interest on the loan which will reduce the profit margin of your business until you pay the loan.

Partners
Fund-raising with partners can also provide capital for business creation. You can combine your own funds with your partners, reducing the amount of capital you have to secure on your own. The downside is that partners have rights to your business, which can sometimes make thing complicated. Partners can turn out to be untrustworthy and that can hamper the success of your business. You also have to share profits with your partners, which will reduce the income that you will be able to make from the business.Any of the above options can help you secure the capital needed for your small business and it is up to you to decide which option works best for you.

The power of words

I enjoyed playing many different sports in high school, but was never really awesome at any of them. Being a nerdy kid, I accepted the fact that perhaps sports weren't made for me. When my high school added wrestling to the sports curriculum, the thought of having yet another sport to try, really inspired me and I decided to tryout for the team.

The first day of tryouts was the scariest day of my life. I walked into a gym filled with very muscular looking kids who looked old enough to have children of their own! A big middle-aged man stared at me as if we had the same thought; what on earth is this kid doing here! He introduced himself as Coach Sanders and told us all to get our gear and begin practice.

The first practice was even worse than I had imagined. I got manhandled by the bigger kids and by the time it was over my entire body was aching. I was very humble and asked a lot of questions. After practice, Coach Sanders came over told me how much he liked my attitude and told me I had enough potential to become a really solid wrestler. Those few words really motivated me as that was the first time anyone ever told me I had potential at anything. When I got home I did some research on Coach Sanders and realized he was a very accomplished trainer with Olympic wrestlers under his tutelage. That realization made his words even more inspiring and I went to bed thinking about the next days practice.

Following practices were like the first. I lost all of my matches and even thought of quitting. I remembered Coach Sander's words and they always brought me back to the gym. After a few more weeks I finally started winning matches and kids that could easily defeat me started having a hard time against me. At that point I realized I would be a good wrestler and went on to win multiple tournaments in my area, motivated by a few words from a stranger.

The Most Important Task to Remember When Starting a Small Business

Starting a small business is one of the most stressful tasks a person can take on. It involves taking risks most people are afraid of and multitasking as you usually will have to perform many different task that established companies can assign to several different employees. Combining the risk and the stress of performing multiple tasks all at once, it is no surprise that many people would rather continue working for an employer rather than taking a risk and starting a small business.

When I decided to open up a used car dealership, I was bombarded with various bits of business advice from those I had around me. Of all the information I received, the most beneficial business advice was from one of my friends who strongly stressed that a solid business plan, was the most important part of starting a business. Little did I know just how important that little bit of business advice would be for my dealership.

There are many surprises for those that go into any type of business and even more surprises for those who fail to properly outline their business and plan ahead accordingly. Luckily for me, the friend who stressed the importance of a business plan was someone I greatly respected, mainly because of his own success running the same type of business. I heeded his advice and sat down to detail every single step I needed to take. I calculated the amount of capital I would need to start my business, a realistic rate of business growth and the prices of the appropriate business licenses and other forms.

By the time I was done, it was obvious I was not yet ready as the numbers indicated it would take a few months before my small business would be able to pay my bills. I decided to work at my job for another nine months, giving me extra time to save enough money to safely start my small business.

When I finally started, I was shocked to find out just how accurate my business plan had been. Many of the bumps I encountered had already been predicted and I was able to commit completely to the business growth of my car dealership. The first few months were rough but with the hindsight my business plan gave me and my willingness to absorb business advice from those around me, I was able to fulfill my dream of eventually working for myself.