Prompt donated by Susan Sloane,
Managing Editor of WCVB TV’s Chronicle

In all my years of picking through trash on Beacon Hill, I’d never seen anything like it. A glimmering light blinded my eyes as I pushed the plastic bags apart. I moved aside to get a closer view of the object; I felt a hard and smooth surface. Peering inside, I spied a black laptop computer on which, with bright red letters, was written “TOP SECRET —B. OBAMA.” I quickly surveyed the area to make sure no one was looking and stealthily slipped the laptop into my handbag.

I didn’t know who this “B. Obama” was, such a strange name, but somehow, I knew I needed this treasure—it would be my ticket off the streets. I ran as quickly as I could hoping no one would realize the prize I had stumbled upon. Stopping to catch my breath, I started to have second thoughts. It began to emit a beeping noise, at first barely audible but now progressively louder. And then…it stopped.

What was the scared person to do? Take a deep breath, and open the laptop.

It was just as I expected. The screen was blank and smoke slowly began to rise from the bottom of the laptop. I had been too late! Someone had detonated a small bomb inside of it, destroying any data it might have contained.

I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that the promise that was America was about to evaporate.

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