Jasper Fellows wasn’t a particularly religious man. If there was a God at all, he thought, He was a keeper of a great ledger full of gains and losses and his fingers were stained with red ink and black. With no more thought than a steam machine, He’d run a line through a name, and another, and another, with no care or empathy at all, just simply calculating.
As for Jasper, he conducted his life in much the same way as his imagined God. If he differed in any way, it was that while gains didn’t bring him any great joy, losses made him miserable. If he couldn’t count it, stack it, sell it or buy it, he figured it probably wasn’t worth a second thought. He went to all the right schools, knew all the right people and did exceedingly well for himself. Jasper meant to win the race. He was about accumulation well into his forties when his life took an unexpected turn, because life does that sometimes.
One day after leaving his office, Jasper tripped on a crack in a sidewalk, falling to the ground and hitting his head. 999 times out of a thousand, a man would get up, brush himself off and be on his way, but Jasper suffered a concussion and was taken to a hospital. It was there he met a pretty nurse named Angela Stone. And Jasper, maybe because he was out of sorts, promptly and inexplicably fell in love. One minute, he was a cold, conniving man and the next, he was one degree warmer. Under her patient influence, Jasper eventually became less stodgy, less of a compiler of lucre and less concerned with the bottom line.
Time passed, because it always does and Jasper and Angela wed, had children, grew pleasantly plump. Jasper smiled easily now and it no longer looked quite so foreign upon his face. And one day, God struck a line through Angela’s name. He thought not a whit about the slash, but gave a satisfactory sigh as he closed the ledger. Jasper though, he kept Angela firmly in the credit column.
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