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Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Rest (01/17/13)

TITLE: WARNING: do not read if queasy, squeamish, mentally unstable, over 8 feet, or purple
By Dusti (Bramlage) Zarse
~1st Place


Let me just say, I’m not in the habit of lying on the bathroom floor.

This is certainly a first for me.

But, oh, it feels good.


Never thought I’d say that.

Look at this milestone in my life.

Somewhere in the back of my brain tiny neurons are urging my muscles to get up—something about germs, urine, bacteria—I’m hearing the word “gross” an awful lot.

The idea churns my roiling stomach, but the rest of my body tells those neurons to shut up.

And my body is louder. I can actually HEAR my intestines. Gurgle, gurgle, gloop.

Okaaaaay, I need to end THAT thought process before I lose my dinner. Again.


Darkness surrounds me.

I would cry, but it would probably hurt too much.

Beads of sweat soak my body, chilled by the coolness of the tiles on the floor. It’s very soothing. I could die here. That would be okay. Sweet Jesus, take me home.

Except my husband might miss me. That could be a downside. Maybe. I suppose being violently ill hasn’t made me ENTIRELY mercenary. I can spare a thought for his emotional state, can’t I?

Alright, should the Big Guy decide to put me out of my misery—merciful, gracious, abundant Father, hear my broken plea—I can pray for Him to offer my poor mourning husband that whole ‘peace that passes understanding’ thing, right? That’s Christian. I’m almost proud of my consideratio—ohhhhhhhhh.

Oh, no. Oh, no. Breathe. Just breathe. There you go. In. Out. In. Out. In. Ohhh!

I’m gonna die. I’m gonna die on dirty bathroom tiles and that’s how everyone is going to remember me.

“Isn’t she the one who died clinging to the toilet a few years ago?”

“Yes. Tragic isn’t it? All those germs, can you imagine?”

Oh, dear God in Heaven, don’t let me die like this. I have so much to live for—so much, I tell You! DON’T LET ME DIE LIKE THIS!

Spinning, spinning, spinning. Just keeps spinning, spinning, spinning.

Maybe if I close my eyes….

I had so much to do today, too. Stupid flu. I feel like banging my head against the tile floor, but that would require entirely too much energy. I’m feeling a shortage—a kinetic energy drought.

But what on earth am I going to do? ‘A reporter’s work is never finished’ and all that.

Clark Kent made it look so glamorous.

What a crock.

I never saw Lois Lane stumble into an auxiliary gym at 7 in the morning for an all-conference wrestling meet. THAT wasn’t in the trilogy. Or sit for hours on end outside of a burning sawdust fire, watching soot-layered men and women doing the EXACT same thing they’d been doing for the last FIVE HOURS—oh, look, they’re spraying more water.

But heaven forbid you go to your best friend’s baby shower instead of covering the pork dinner at the Chamber of Commer—oh, oh bright light. I see a bright li—wait that’s just a car passing.

The brief glare shines through the small window in the shower wall, and I wince. Coulda fooled anybody. No need to obsess about embarrassing—WAIT a minute. Just WAIT a minute here. WAIT.

Mental hands push at the air in a ‘stop’ motion because, seriously, the real ones are too zapped to do it.

Stop. Rewind. Think. (Insert tape deck noises as the film backtracks.) Blah, blah, blah—so tired—blah, blah, blah—something about a reporter and her work—blah, blah—hold it—pause—rewind. There it is.


Wasn’t I just complaining about work. To God. A LOT? No rest for the weary.

Oh, sweet Jesus. Oh, sweet, merciful Jesus. You’re giving me time off aren’t You?

Okay, yeah, I may have to hug a few toilets as payment, but an excuse to take time off work? To recoup? Sleep? REST? Oh, sweet Jesus.

Cold sweat pimples my forehead as another car turns down our lane and it hits me.

A voice—not the car.

“Slow down.”


“Slow. Down.”

Come again?

“Slow down, or I will force you to slow down.”

Ah. Got it.

So dense.

But wait. What You’re saying is, maybe this ‘lying on the bathroom floor’ stuff isn’t so bad after all??

Accept Jesus as Your Savior Right Now and be Certain of Eternal Life.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 01/24/13
Oh my. I LOVED the humor, and the lesson, and the voice. I could NOT resist opening this one the minute I read the title, and I couldn't stop reading until I got to the end. This one had to be SOOO much fun to write! Thank you.
Noel Mitaxa 01/24/13
Even though I have often been described as "queasy, squeamish, mentally unstable, over 8 feet, or purple," I risked opening this entry. I'm glad I did. Thanks for the fun ride throughout. Now if I can just slip away and hide from those descriotive critics...
Loren T. Lowery01/24/13
This is so funny. At first I thought maybe the MC was having labor pains, but then (if I'm getting this right - I've been known to miss the point more than once) it was simply God's way of making her slow down and listen. Thanks for the laugh and the disclaimer (even though I seldom pay them any mind anyway; and in this case, I'm glad I didn't). : )
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/24/13
The title drew me in. I'm not queasy, there's a debate about my mental stability, squeamish me? Nah and I'm only like 5-6 but...oh no Purple? Seriously you're going to ban me because I'm purple? Wait, it's the sky in my world that's purple! Hmmm I see no warnings about the purple sky. I read on. This is a hoot! I could totally relate to the MC though it was kidney stones, not the flu, that had me sprawled out on the bathroom floor. I loved this piece. Though your story is hysterical the message is quite profound. This is one of my favorites and it's not just because I love purple.
Francy Judge 01/24/13
I loved your voice for the story. Perfect. A few days ago I was right there, well more like curled up in bed with a bucket. I remember trying to decide if labor pains were worse too. I did rest the next day.
Judith Gayle Smith01/24/13
Wow! I read this to my hubby who is recovering from a fractured hip - a real bragger of an injury. He stood up and turned around to flush the toddy. Lost his balance and fell into the walk-in shower, bouncing off the shower ridge with his right hip. Glad you survived the flu! Absolutely delightful and very inspiring! You made me feel you . . .
Bonnie Bowden 01/24/13
Even though I resemble many words in your title, I read it any way. I laughed so hard because I just got over the flu and could so relate.
C D Swanson 01/25/13
Hahahahahahaha...loved the title and thi sentire hysterical piece. Great job.

God Bless~
Carolyn Ancell01/26/13
Having LIVED through what you describe, I can laugh heartily and sympathetically in recognition. And your writing holds nothing back (flu reality as well). Great work.
Leola Ogle 01/31/13
Totally love this. Awesome job! Congrats!God bless!
Leah Nichols 01/31/13
Though your writing is superb, what stood out to me about this piece is how much I can relate. I've been there with the stomach flu, and I tend to need stuff like that to force me to slow down. But yeah, great writing and fantastic title. A well-deserved win.
Lillian Rhoades 01/31/13
Novel, creative, funny, and did I forget to mention a great lesson.

Danielle King 01/31/13
Oh yes, this is soooo good. Loved the title too. A great big congratulations to you!
Bea Edwards 01/31/13
This was a fantastic journey into the realm of tongue in cheek. Just loved the entire thing. Congratulations on your well deserved winning entry and thanks a million for the big ear to ear grin with a timely unexpected message. Whoo hoo!
Noel Mitaxa 01/31/13
Congratulations on your win. Well done.
C D Swanson 01/31/13
Congrats! God Bless~
Bonnie Bowden 02/02/13
Congratulations on your 1st place EC award Dustin!
Claudia Thomason02/02/13
Congrats on your EC award! Great story.
Catherine Craig 02/10/13
There are just no words! Too funny, well-written, honest. Congrats!