January 1, 2009

Lower Stories: Doug on Christmas Day

Stephanie is a grade school teacher and her husband Matt is a graphic designer.

Stephanie’s father Doug died on Christmas Day. Doug had owned and lost several Subway sandwich shops and other franchise opportunities. The restaurants always failed but Doug would take an entry-level job somewhere and save money until he could invest in his next venture. He always had a plan.

Doug suffered from chronic swelling in his legs and ankles but refused to get medical attention. There were blood clots. Doctors tried to remove the clots but Doug’s 47-year-old heart stopped during the surgery. Doug worked as a sandwich-maker until the day before he expired.

Stephanie and Matt visited Doug’s bachelor apartment the day after Christmas. They wanted to sort through Doug’s papers and get his estate in order. Doug was a horizontal filer, and a stacker of things. Stephanie collected some personal items before her brother arrived from Toledo. Matt found the family crest his own father made for him three years ago. It had been missing for months.

Matt started calling the numbers stored on Doug’s cell phone. The first ten people said they had never heard of Doug. Matt phoned the woman Doug always referred to as “my girlfriend.” She said she was sorry to know about Doug’s passing, but no, they were only acquainted casually. Another woman farther down the call list broke down and cried, saying she and Doug were to be married next year. Stephanie and Matt had never heard her name before.

They opened up Doug’s laptop computer and found a file containing dozens of Facebook and MySpace images of his son-in-law Matt’s ex-wife Jeanie.


  1. Sheila Ryan on January 1st, 2009 at 9:44 am

    Doug was a horizontal filer, and a stacker of things.

    Michael, I sure like your Lower Stories.

  2. Michael Grant Smith on January 1st, 2009 at 9:47 am

    Thank you, Sheila.

    First post of 2009.

    Woo hoo!

  3. Deron Bauman on January 1st, 2009 at 11:49 am

    great stuff.

  4. Cindy Scroggins on January 1st, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Please continue with these, Michael. This one breaks my heart.