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Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Agreement/Disagreement (01/19/12)

TITLE: Different Visions
By Ebony Murdoch
~10th Place


Eileen sipped her coffee in a disturbing display of calm. Bryant's tantrums had to be handled with kid gloves.

"Your attitude's killing the equilibrium in here," she said, setting the cup on the end table. "I already told you, we can't afford to sink any more money into risky ventures."

"It's different this time, Eileen. I've got a real feeling about this one. I just need a few thousand dollars to get started …"

Eileen crossed her slender legs at the ankles, brandishing exceptionally high heels. "You say it's only a few thousand dollars as if we had a cool million lying around. How about putting these little rinky-dink ideas on hold until a real job comes through. I mean, really—you don't know the first thing about lawn mowing."

"I never made fun of your dreams," said Bryant. "I've always supported you … we can make back twice the initial investment in a few months."

Eileen didn't flinch. "That's all you do. Dream. That's all you've ever done. What do we have to show for it? Debt. We need that money, Bryant. We could lose our life savings."

"All right, fine. We can't afford it. But there has to be some other way to get this business off the ground. I thought you'd be proud of me, maybe even help out."

Drinking in a long stream of coffee, Eileen looked away and said tersely, "Thought wrong." Why can't you just stay in your lane?


Eileen arrived at work early to review her advertising accounts and hone her pitch. Now that she had her marketing degree, she was next in line for a promotion to the board. Sheldon, the vice president in charge of hiring, had requested a meeting with her at 9:00 a.m. sharp.

"Eileen," said a voice on the intercom. "He's ready to see you now."

She grabbed her portfolio and strolled coolly into the corner office.

"As you know," Sheldon began, leaning forward in his black leather chair, "what we look for in this agency is freshness, raw talent, and an eye for new business."

"I believe I can provide that," Eileen interrupted. "If you look at my most successful accounts, you'll see —"

"I know all about your qualifications, Eileen. But this is a competitive field, and there are plenty of other employees just as prepared. That's why I'm giving top-tier candidates, including yourself, an opportunity to stand out."

"I'm sorry?" Eileen was unprepared. She shifted in her chair and rubbed one super-high black pump against the other.

"You'll have one week to develop a winning ad campaign for a startup or small business in the surrounding community. It's a win-win. It gives the client a chance at big-league exposure, and it shows the board who has the vision and leadership to take the helm."

Eileen's heart sank. Good thing Bryant wasn't here. He'd probably start whining about one of his gimmicks …

"I'll get right on it," she said.

One week later.

Eileen headed into Conference Room B, makeup impeccable, every jet black hair slicked into place. She sat through her colleagues' presentations, awaiting her turn. There was only one gentleman to follow, but he seemed inconsequential.

"In my search," she began, "I had the pleasure of meeting Matt. Ever since childhood, he envisioned operating his own barber shop. It would be high end, yet actively engaged in community service initiatives …"

She distributed Matt's business plan, ran the thirty-second ad and sat down, flashing a narrow smile. A cinch.

Craig, the last competitor, droned on about finding some sort of tree care consultancy.

Like that's going anywhere, Eileen thought.


"I didn't get it? But why? My presentation was hot, Sheldon, and you know it."

"It was."

"Right! So what was the problem?"

"You didn't tell me your husband had a green consultancy in the works."

"A what? What are you talking about?"

"That's Bryant's business plan, Eileen. You didn't believe in his plan. You didn't think he was worth the investment. We do. You made the wrong call this time. It happens."

"But … I know how to develop ad campaigns, and—"

"That's enough," said Sheldon, turning to his PC. "Our clients need to know that we envision the best they have to offer. If you weren't willing to work with Bryant on something so full of potential, not to mention mutually beneficial, you're not prepared to close the kind of deals we're looking for in the future."

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Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 01/26/12
Good job with the topic. Good story clearly showing the "disagreement/agreement" throughout.

Nicely done. God Bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/27/12
OOOhh I like this the twist at the end was great. I bet you are wishing you could use this for this week's employment topic? :)

But it fits the disagreement one really well. The message is fantastic and how true-- if we aren't willing to support our family...

The only thing I wondered is how did the boss find out about Bryant's plan-- was that Craig's "boring proposal"? I think the word limit might have hampered you some, but I still enjoyed the story and think you did a great job on it.
Judy Sauer 01/27/12
What a dose of humble pie to her ego. I could connect with the characters and felt the cold tension between them. I certainly didn't expect the plot twist and wholeheartedly thought she would use her husband's idea for her presentation. You did a fine job demonstrating how driven people often miss opportunities right before them - if only they'd get out of their egos. Nice work.
Jan Chapman01/30/12
I really disliked the wretched Eileen. That tells me you did a very good job. ;)
Jenna Dawn02/02/12

You placed 1st in your division AND snagged an EC!!!! Woo hoo!!! :)
C D Swanson 02/02/12
My sincere congratulations on your 1st place ribbon!
God Bless~
Anne Warden02/02/12
Ebony, you did it! I'm so proud of you.

Your story is very good! You took us to the edge of our seats, then accomplished a moral lesson, all the while making us readers very disappointed in Eileen's attitude. I came away thinking, "If only Eileen had . . ."

Helen Curtis02/02/12
Well done, Ebony! Fantastic writing and very deserving of an EC place. Very well done!
Ebony Murdoch02/07/12
Thanks so much for the encouragement, everyone!