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Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/10/08)

TITLE: The Quarter
By Laury Hubrich
~10th Place


“Jessie, whatcha got there?”


“Sumpin’s in your hand.”

“Mama said it’s a quarter.”

“One quarter? Lookie what I got!”

With mischievously gleaming eyes, my big brother Luke held out two closed fists. My eyes widened in disbelief as he opened them with a flourish. There they were: two, not one but TWO bright shiny copper pennies. The sun came in just then and hit those pennies just right, making them glow, which caused my heart to beat in a strange double-time fashion. I felt an odd sort of longing fill me from the outside in. I had to have those pennies.

“Lukie, you want my quarter?”

“Nah, Pops gave me these and told me to NEVER give them away.”


“Yep, that’s what he said – never.”

“Okay,” I mumbled with tears filling my eyes. I started to walk away in defeat, head low to the ground, despising my one, lonely quarter held in my hot, sticky hand.

“Don’t cry Jessie.” Luke put his arm around me and brushed away my tears with his sleeve. “Ya know what? I’ll trade you my two shiny pennies for your one old sticky quarter.”

“Really? What ‘bout Pops? Won’t he be mad?”

“Nah, I guess not. As long as you take care of ‘em. He wouldn’t want me to make you cry or nuffin’.”

The deal was sealed. I handed over my quarter and he, in turn, surrendered his pennies to me. Luke ran off giggling. That alone should have made me get a sick feeling in my gut but no, the sick feeling came when Mama gave me a sucker and I had no hands to hold it.

Later that night, as I was getting ready to take off my play dress, I remembered my pennies and the wonderful trade I had made. When Mama gave me the sucker I put my two shiny pennies in my pocket. My heart once again skipped and scampered in my chest as I remembered how my big brother Luke had traded me just because I shed a few tears. I was thinking that was a good trick to remember.

I eagerly scooped my hand into my pocket to retrieve my treasure. Once again big tears formed in my eyes and soon flowed down my cheeks. After the tears started flowing the wailing began, which brought Mama and Pops and Luke running into my room.

Pops scooped me up off my feet and held me close. “Jess, honey, what’s wrong?” Pops always called me Jess, honey.

Luke watched in amazement as a big snot bubble formed from my runny nose. Mama watched this in horror. Pops did what Pops does best – he popped it of course, trying to make me laugh.

Mama took her handkerchief and dried my eyes and wiped the popped snot bubble from my nose and face. “Jessie, girl,” (Mama always called me Jessie, girl,) “why are you crying, honey?”

I sniffed up extra snot in my nose and swallowed which gave me a sick feeling as it slithered down my throat and into my stomach. There, safe in the arms of Pops, I shared my woes. “I losted my pennies!” That’s as much as I got out before the tears began to flow once again.

Mama wiped my eyes and nose and asked me the question to end all questions. “Jessie, girl, you didn’t have any pennies, remember; I gave you a quarter.”

“But,” I started in between the sniffs and cries, “Lukie traded me my quarter for his two pretty pennies.”

Pops and Mama gave Luke “The Look” to end all looks. Luke hunkered down, eyes on the floor, guilt plastered on his face.

“Jess, honey, where were the pennies?”

“In,” sniff, “my,” snot bubble, “pocket.” Pops stuck his hand into my pocket and found a big hole where the pennies should have rested.

Mama and Pops once again looked at Luke and Luke, if possible, was even lower to the ground, looking even more guilty. He put his hand into his pocket and pulled out my two shiny pennies.

“I found them. I was gonna give ‘em back. Really I was”

That day, not only did I find out that tears solves a multitude of problems when it comes to boys, I also found out that one quarter is worth more than two pennies.

You know what Luke found out? Teasing his little sister causes a sore behind and makes you lose the two cents you started with.

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Member Comments
Member Date
LauraLee Shaw01/17/08
Aw, this is too cute and clever. I loved the popping of snot bubbles!
Joanne Sher 01/17/08
Your descriptions are perfectly preschooly disgustingly wonderful. Love the lesson too - an absolute delight to read. You really put is right in the middle of everything.
Sara Harricharan 01/18/08
Oooh, this was a cute read! At first, I thought Jesse was a boy...and then she turned out to be a girl...and the pennies were finally found and her brother...ooohhh! Good story!^_^ A good read, with enjoyable characters.
Pam Carlson-Hetland01/20/08
What a great story. You got the scene and description of the characters so very real that I could almost see that "snot bubble". You have provided a good chuckle as well as an aptly fitting article to the topic. Aren't we all just like little children wanting something that only appears to be more when we have the real thing in our hand. Excellent story telling!
Jan Ackerson 01/21/08
Put me in the "snot bubble" fan camp. Hilarious.
Debbie Wistrom01/22/08
So vivid and engaging. Thanks for the lesson. Too bad she learned about tears and men, thoughm but it happens...
Holly Westefeld01/22/08
This was a cute story, and nice application of the topic.
I am guessing that this is written as an adult memory of childhood, otherwise Jessie's narration and introspection would seem above her years.
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/22/08
You did a great job with this. I loved the Jess's voice. It was so realistic when she was telling what her parents call her. This is outstanding in plot, character, and humor.
Lyn Churchyard01/22/08
Well written and delightfully gross! I could visualize the whole scene (including some scraped knees thrown in lol).
Karen Wilber01/22/08
Oh, this is great. You've created memorable characters (who can forget snot bubbles?) and told a simple story very cleverly. The "lessons" at the end are just the icing on the cake.
Valora Otis01/22/08
Jan, make room in that "Snot Bubble Camp" for little 'ole me! Oh how hilarious! Girlfriend you are so good at bringing childhood memories back for all of us. Girls learn that trick at a very young age. Shamefully cute if you ask me. I do think the narrator distracted me a bit, but it all fits. Loved it!
Catrina Bradley 01/22/08
Too cute! Great childish dialog, and good, but gross descriptions. I've seen that snot bubble. :) The snot slithering and swallowing made me sick to my stomach just like Jesse. Love the ending.
Dee Yoder 01/23/08
Hee hee! I can sooo relate to the little girl's lesson! Only I had an older sister who taught me about the value of money. ( ;

Love the descriptions and the characters!
Kristen Hester01/23/08
Great, descriptive writing. I really enjoyed this and the lessons Jessie learned. Learning how to work the tears will last her a life time. he he.
Loren T. Lowery01/23/08
Honestly, women and their tears, how is a man to stand against it? More than just one good message running throughout this well written piece.
Sally Hanan01/23/08
This was revlotingly disgusting, in a perfectly written sort of way :) Reminds me of that Silverstein poem about the boy trading his dollar.
Tim Pickl01/23/08
I 'gotta hand it to ya' -- this story is perfect to the 'subject at hand'! I like the dialogue--poor Jessie girl--
Beckie Stewart01/23/08
I loved this story. I saw what was coming, but still enjoyed the read from beginning to end. Being the big sister that tricked the little brother, this was delightful reminder.
Patty Wysong01/23/08
I love, love this!! The voice is just right, and charming, and snot bubbles were a fabulous idea! What a way to make this a memorable piece!! Great job! :) Hugs!
Marita Vandertogt01/23/08
Pop popping the snot bubbles - okay, a little gross... but oh so cute. Great story and excellent take on the topic. You could turn this into a children's story and publish it. I thoroughly enjoyed the read!
Amy Michelle Wiley 01/23/08
Haha, the last two pragraphs made me laugh out loud. Great story and perfect voice for Jessie's age.
Beth LaBuff 01/23/08
I can just see everything you described. What a cute and fun story with a great lesson for the older brother too. :)
Lynda Lee Schab 01/24/08
Ok, so I had to come and read it. Amy was right...this was right up my alley. LOL. Loved the whole story - very cute and entertaining. But I ESPECIALLY loved those snot bubbles... hee hee
Sara Harricharan 01/24/08
Way ta write! ***Congratulations!***
LauraLee Shaw01/24/08
Congratulations on this gem of a piece!!! So glad it will be read over and over again...
Sheri Gordon01/24/08
Congratulations on your EC. This is a very cute piece.
Holly Jensen02/16/08
Way cute. You gotta try to get this one published if it didn't make it. I didn't see whether or not it did. Yeah, a lot of dids, I know. Anyway, this was cool. Again, well done.
Joshua Janoski02/26/08
This reminds me of tricks I used to play on my little sister growing up. Somehow you managed to make snot bubbles appealing to the reader. I learn a lot about life and about writing by reading your stories Laury. :)