“Not everyone can be bought,” she said. Life would be so much easier if they could. The protesters’ chanting was beginning to get to her. She had run for office because she loved her tiny town and she wanted to do what was best for the people.

Unfortunately, the people could never agree on what the best really was.

She had waved the approval letter like a victory banner at the last meeting, expecting to be hailed as a heroine. Something the town had needed for so long, something her own parents and grandparents had always wished for, was finally coming true, all thanks to her. And it wasn’t going to cost them one thin dime. The approval letter from the state said that the entire project would be paid for, having been deemed a long-overdue improvement to the town.

“Well, I’m going to try anyway.” Her uncle carefully folded the fifty dollar bills, ten of them, withdrawn from his own bank account that morning. As the owner of the general store, the dream had been his long before she was born.

She bit her nails as she watched the scene play out. It didn’t get violent, but it certainly was ugly. The leader of the protesters smacked the money out of her uncle’s hands, and their shouting became even louder. Beaten, he leaned over to pick up the bills one by one. His ankle turned in one of the muddy ruts in the side of the road; he winced, but caught himself.

“I guess sidewalks will have to wait one more generation.”

He let the money fall onto the table and walked out.

This short was written for the Write On Edge prompt: Beginning line: “Not everyone can be bought,” she said.
Ending line: He let the money fall onto the table and walked out.

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