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February 2018 Writers Challenge

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  • 28 Feb 2018 9:15 AM
    Reply # 5881524 on 5715356
    Sherri Hollister (Administrator)

    I enjoy reading the different stories one picture can evoke. The way each of us interprets it is surprising and unique. For me, writing for the challenge helps me hone in to the bare bones of the story, what is important, what moves the story along. It is a tool I use when writing my novels as well. The challenge also makes me think outside the box. What would be a unique story for this picture, a different twist. As I read each of your stories, that is what I see, stories that are boiled down to their essessense with so much more than the words that are written. Stories that make you think and wonder. I learn from each of you. 

  • 29 Mar 2018 8:40 AM
    Reply # 6006027 on 5716004
    Anonymous
    Gil Alligood wrote:

    THE WATER BOTTLE


    He was strong in his Christian faith. The day had been especially daunting, but he had survived and stopped at Muncey’s tavern to ponder on events of the day. I just had to do it, he mumbled to himself. What would they do without it? His wife was having her third chemo treatment for cancer that day. His daughter was beginning her second year at the state university. Mortgage payments, credit card payments. The world was closing in on him.

    He had seated himself at a table in a corner. It was only 4:30 PM. The usual crowd was just beginning to amble in. He had never stopped at the tavern before. His moral principles just would not approve. He did not understand why, nor did he even realize he had entered the tavern, but when the waiter came to his table he ordered a Martini.

    The pressures of family demands and inadequate finances had burdened him until he realized that recovery was beyond hope.

             He was the junior vice president at Quest Bank. It was the primary bank in his small community. That afternoon a secretary from the local General Motors car dealer in town brought a deposit for the company receipts of the previous day. Most transactions had been made through on-line bank transfers, but a local engineering company had purchased six new vehicles for use by company employees and paid for them with a cashier’s check. Yes, a check in the amount of $174,321.54. The secretary asked that the check be credited to the car dealer account.

             He had never met the secretary. Bob usually brought the daily deposit and simply did the transaction at a teller window. Yet, she asked for him by name. The bank greeter escorted her to his office where he welcomed her and invited her to be seated. She then told him that she wanted him to accept the deposit that she had.

             Because of the pressures from family and finances, he was cordial but not interested in conversation. She began talking and discussed a number of topics, including the success of the car dealer she worked for. She handed him the cashier’s check and said, “take care of this for us.” Then she said, “thank you,” and simply stood up and exited his office.

             He sat for a while as he seemed to receive numerous thoughts and visions as though he were in a dream. After about fifteen minutes of that confused thought, he looked at his computer screen and observed that he had deposited the cashier’s check in his personal account. At first he was confused and shocked. How could that have happened, he pondered? But then he realized that he now had enough money in his account to pay all of his past due accounts with some extra for future expenditures.

             The thrill of realizing that his financial woes had just vanished was followed by the realization that he had violated his most basic morality in life. That feeling was deeper and more devastating than the trauma of facing bankruptcy. Bankruptcy would cause his dismissal from employment at the bank. With that moral shock reverberating in his mind, he got up, retrieved his coat, and departed the bank without speaking to anyone. As he was departing, the bank greeter observed that he was not acting normal.

             As he walked along the sidewalk he had no thought as to where he was heading. Now I have made things worse, he thought. I am crushed and facing the penalty of breaking the law.

             A waiter approached his table. It was not the male waiter who took his order for a Martini. She carried a bottle of water. She also carried a Martini cocktail glass that she placed in front of him. She began talking to him. She slowly poured water from the bottle into the glass. As the water flowed from the bottle he seemed to sense a presence that he did not understand. It was confusing yet consoling. He watched the water bubble into the glass until it seemed to become a vapor. Now the voice of the waitress faded and he heard a consoling voice from the vapor. “I AM a spirit,” the voice sounded. “Worship me in spirit and the truth.” After a brief pause, more words from the spirit, “Know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” Then, “Trust in me.”

             That was a beautiful woman, he thought. A beauty that I did not think could exist. Who, or what was it? Then he realized that she was not there. He did not even see her leave, if she had in fact even been there.

             The original male waiter approached the table and said to him, “The water is free. Oh, yes, water is life-giving and can be redeeming.”

    * * * *

    He left Muncey’s tavern and walked to his house that was only three blocks away. His daughter met him on the walkway, “Daddy, I got it! I got the scholarship. It is for full tuition and dormitory room.” She threw herself on him and hugged him tightly.

    Immediately his wife met him on the walkway and approached with a shy but knowing smile. “Cancer free! The doctor said there is no sign of it!”

    “Are you sure,” he replied?

    “Oh yes, he had results from various tests, and an MRI. He said there is no doubt.”

    * * * *

    Even in his confusion, that night he slept well. Except for a voice that spoke to him. “Your faith has made you well.”

    The next morning he opened his computer expecting to find tragic records. But his personal account did not show any deposit from the previous day. The $174,321.54 check had been credited to the car dealer’s account.

    The spirit and the water. Oh, yes, they are indeed refreshing! He felt like a new person.



  • 01 May 2018 2:28 PM
    Reply # 6128244 on 5715356
    Lars Larsen

    A Glass of Water

    All eyes were on her as she stumbled across the room, weaving between the tables, and set the dripping glass of water in front of the man sitting alone.

    “Hi sailor, mind if I have a seat?”

    What a looker, the man thought, but who the hell is she? Then he remembered her—they met a long time ago, and she still had the magic—and his eyes twinkled. He said, “Help yourself.”

    Smiling, she sat down and said, “So you’re still dry?”

    “Yep, thirty years and counting since my last drink.”

    “That’s awesome—it takes a strong man to last that long.”

    He took a deep breath and sat up straight. Compliments from attractive women are rare these days, and it reminded him of better times. Searching for words, he said, “So what brings you here?”

    She stared at him with wide-open eyes. “Just looking for a good man, and I think I found him.”

    They had met many years ago and pretty soon she was talking about people and places they’d known, of times that seemed incomprehensible to him now. He liked the sound of her voice set against the soft music and voices from the tables around them. Bursts of laughter ricocheted around the room, and he was happy.

    This is a good way to spend an evening, he thought, and she became more attractive to him. She sensed his feelings—she was experienced at this—and enjoyed flirting and seeing his responses. It was the timeless dance of eye contact, body language, and warm conversation leading to closeness, and they were going slow and enjoying the process.

    Most of the tables were empty by the time the lights flickered, indicating the place was being shut down, but not theirs—it seemed they could talk forever, him becoming livelier and she leading him on. They stood up to leave and she gave him a gentle pat on his butt.

    She took his hand. “Your place or mine?”

    He smiled and said, “The usual.”

    Bonny McCaskey, RN, evening Nurse Supervisor, watched them walk to the door. It has been the same every night since they came to Golden Life Living Center twelve years ago, she thought, except now age is taking its toll. But just don’t tell them that.

    She smiled. Mrs. Flanagan refuses to bring her walker into the social room despite worsening arthritis and the risk of falling; it’s a pride thing. And Mr. Flanagan, the poor guy, has dementia and often doesn’t recognize her without it when he’s tired at the end of the day. But by using playful cues, Mrs. Flanagan can jog his memory and bring them back together.

    It’s beautiful to watch, McCaskey thought—they’ve been married for 60 years and are still very much in love. I should be so lucky, and her eyes teared. If only…

  • 02 May 2018 7:48 AM
    Reply # 6129268 on 5715356
    Sherri Hollister (Administrator)

    Lars, what a lovely, heart-felt story. Thank you for sharing it. 


  • 02 May 2018 10:21 AM
    Reply # 6129491 on 5715356
    Michael Worthington

    Lars,

    Great pacing and build-up to the conclusion. Enjoyed reading the story.

    Michael


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