Two Kinds of People

After Daddy went to work for the ‘lectric company we started having dinner a little bit later during the week. Momma always insisted we eat together, so we did not start until he got home. Sometimes that meant reheating everything but she never complained. At least not while I was around.

One night I heard them after I went to bed. Momma did not sound happy.

“I don’t understand why you are the one that always ends up staying late. Aren’t there other men that can do the work?”

“Sure there are,” Daddy answered. “But it is usually overtime and we could use the money.”

“I know that, it just seems to be happening a lot lately. I miss you being around during the day; coming in for lunch.”

“Well, I miss that too, but we both know that farming was not paying the bills anymore. It should pay off in the long run. The bosses notice. When it comes time for raises and promotions I am hoping to be at the top of the list.”

Momma did not sound convinced. “That is how it should work, but you are too humble to toot your own horn. You know what they say: there are two types of people in this world, those that do the work and those that take the credit. And the first group is less populated.* Just make sure you are getting the credit for the work.”

She was fond of that phrase; ‘two kinds of people.’ She used it a lot to teach lessons. I remember asking her one Sunday afternoon why we were giving our food away. I was confused because she was always telling me to clean my plate and not be wasteful and we did not have food to just throw away.

She stopped what she was doing and looked at me for a minute before answering. “Well, Bobby, there are two kinds of people in this world; those who put themselves first and those who put others first.** We always want to be part of the second group. The Miller’s are going through a tough patch and we can spare some of what we have. We will not go hungry”

Momma always made sure you knew which group she thought you should be in. So far, she has always been right.

*Indira Ghandi (in some variation)
**Bill Purdin

Written for Kellie Elmore’s Free Write Friday.



Filed under Creative writing, Flash Fiction, Free Write, Short Story

8 responses to “Two Kinds of People

  1. Awesome, Mark! I love the story and the moral, and your storytelling voice in this is perfect for the subject. Nice one!

  2. miq

    I like how the details you sprinkled in really developed the characters and scene. It felt very complete, whole, even though (or maybe because) it was short.

  3. I love this! Real life lessons inside a piece of writing are always the best form. “Those who do the work and those who take the credit” – I have seen my share of this and it makes me angry how most people choose the latter over the former.

  4. Shawna

    As soon as I saw ‘lectric, I knew I had to read the whole thing in a very southern, twangy accent. It really jazzed up the piece for me to do so. 🙂 This is great, Mark. I always enjoy your work.

  5. This is such a great metaphor for todays working world. In the UK, the stabdard hours are 9-5- but there is an unsaid pressure to do more, and for free! This piece spoke to me, held a mirror up to the society we live in today. Really liked the writing style, so natural- made the whole interaction come to life because of this

  6. I am never disappointed when I visit your blog. You always immerse me in your stories. From the first line about the “‘lectric” company and reminding me of my granny and then this… “But it is usually overtime and we could use the money.” which is so my husband,,, you manage to make them feel so real. Your characters live and dance off the page! I love that! Don;t ever change your style mark,… LOVE LOVE LOVE it!!!

  7. Tight, light, visual. Good.


Some of what I write is true, some is fiction; most is merely possibility.

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