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Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Tie (02/28/13)

TITLE: Pie in the Sky... Not Maggie!
By Danielle King
03/07/13
~3rd Place


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The day Maggie died was the day I stopped travelling on the bus. Each morning at 09.30 prompt, on service 134 into town, I saw her; red hair pushed haphazardly under a cap with thick clumps poking out. And Ginger, snooping and sniffing the hedgerow, his long shaggy hair almost the colour of her own. I refrained from banging on the window as our paths crossed on the edge of the park.

Maggie… dear Maggie. How would she feel if she knew I’d been stalking her all these years? Would it have changed things? I wonder; but I’ll never know.

She was no oil painting, mind. Short and dumpy, over the years she’d piled on the pounds. Even her dress sense was odd. She’d worn the same winter coat since 1970; a big woollen rug of a thing with polar bears decorating the bottom half. Ginger didn’t mind how she looked. He’d jump up and splatter mud on her face whenever he felt a rush of love.

That’s how I felt back then; a rush of love for the ‘pie lady.’ I was just a hot headed kid; lost my job, stomped out of home and sought solace with some old winos on the embankment. Along came the do-gooders with cauldrons of soup and buckets of sympathy; and Maggie. Twice a week she parked up her battered mini and inelegantly clambered into the back. From a bottomless pit located somewhere amidst the cramped leg space, she proceeded to retrieve a hoard of drool-making, steaming hot pies; a belly growling delight of freshly baked meat and potato, that tickled the nostrils of every down and out in town.

She wasn’t like the others. Maggie was a one man band… plus dog. She sat in the muck and ate pie with us. She joked and laughed, but never asked questions; never judged. I became obsessed. I needed to know who she was. Why she cared, and cared so hands on; so selflessly. I saw those mischievous dark eyes darting around. Were they resting on me more than others? Was she feeling the connection too?

Aw man, hark at me; an overgrown kid. Filthy; homeless; penniless. Who am I kidding?

What’s the dog’s name?” I ventured.

“Ginger,” she said. “They’re all called Ginger.”

“You’ve more than one?”

“No!” She tossed back her head and chortled. “Just one at a time.” So the pie lady replaces a dog with a look-alike--to call him Ginger?

“Hum, I see the logic.”

“No you don’t,” she says teasingly, “’Cos there isn’t none. I don’t do logic.”

“Really?” I wrestled an urge to blab something stupid and embarrass myself. I was being sucked into her magic at alarming speed. “Are you… um, are you with someone?” She looked around furtively, before leaning up close.

“One dog, you and several waifs and strays.” Now it was my turn to laugh. The ice was broken so I jumped right in.

“Okay, so you’ve no ties?”

“Oh, I have ties! No man; but ties.” The plot thickens. I felt I shouldn’t pursue this line of inquisition. I may have been a reprobate drop out, but I had principles; and an intuitive temperament. “I’m tied to you,” she said eventually. “And him; and him; and her.” She nodded toward the motley crew licking gravy from fingers.

“You’re religious.” I said flatly. “What a shame.” She fixed her eyes on me.

“I don’t do religion either.” Then what? I was struggling. I didn’t push but her stare freaked me out. “My father lived here, on this embankment. They had a row. Mum said he’d be back when he cooled down.” I didn’t ask the question. “The maggots found him first, under the bridge.”I tried not to squirm. “What a waste; trading life and health for pride and bitterness.” This was intense. I looked away but she hadn’t done yet. “And you ask about my ties? I’m tied to the Lord Jesus and his teachings. This is where he sends me. He’s with me now, speaking to me; speaking through me.”

I felt awkward, discomforted. I didn’t know what to say; I said nothing. And in a heart-beat she was bubbly as ever. Feisty and spirited; in love with life, but far more in love with God. That woman made a terrific impact on my life. And she never knew the outcome.

Maggie… dear Maggie. Until we meet again; together forever... united in God’s love.

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Member Comments
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Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/07/13
The first line pulled me on and the excellent writing kept me to the last word. You packed so much emotion into this piece. I like your unique take on the topic. This has so much--suspension, a great message, and thought-provoking lines. All necessary for a great story and this piece contained all that plus some.
Alicia Renkema03/09/13
The dialogue that you created between Maggie, the pie lady, and the MC was absolutely precious. Ahh, those steaming, hot pie, sounded so good to me. I just loved the picture of this wonderful woman who loved Jesus so much that her life was dedicated to taking care of the "down and outers." She had a great heart because she let Jesus's love permeate everything about her. She had so much spirit and love that it didn't matter how she looked and the MC just found herself fascinated with her and wanting to be around her. I fell in love with Maggie in this piece and am challenging myself right now, Do folks see Jesus in me when I talk to them? This story had everything, great dialogue, fun loving - intriguing characters; humor, great food, and the best thing of all. The best thing of all was that she considered all of those folks she fed and shared her life with her family ties!
Cheryl Harrison 03/09/13
"She was no oil painting, mind. Short and dumpy, over the years she’d piled on the pounds. Even her dress sense was odd. She’d worn the same winter coat since 1970; a big woollen rug of a thing with polar bears decorating the bottom half. Ginger didn’t mind how she looked. He’d jump up and splatter mud on her face whenever he felt a rush of love."

Your descriptions are exquisite. I can't believe you just threw this together! It's a beautiful piece of writing. I want more!
lynn gipson 03/09/13
Oh wow I hung on to every word of this. Fantastic story! This has to be a winner. Loved every line of it. Thank you so much.
Phee Paradise 03/09/13
I loved everything about this story. Wow.
Allen Povenmire 03/09/13
What a marvelous piece. Your descriptions were so good I was tasting the meat pies and easily visualizing Maggie as I read. Excellent!
Myrna Noyes03/12/13
What a cool story!! :) I loved the descriptions, the dialogue, the message of being tied to Jesus and to each other! And you made me hungry for lunch reading about the steaming pies and the people licking gravy off their fingers! Great job!
Bea Edwards 03/12/13
What a precious story of love!
I just adored the entire thing. The way you 'tied' in the topic was perfect. Well done.
Virgil Youngblood 03/12/13
Great characters, outstanding dialog and scenery, a devotional message to remember -- 'nuff said.
Judith Gayle Smith03/13/13
A veritable home run hitting all the senses and emotions - loving Maggie, I be . . .
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/14/13
Congratulations! HAPPY DANCE!!
Alicia Renkema03/14/13
Sweet, I knew this just had to place. What an absolute gem! Thanks for sharing Maggie and those delectable pies with us, wish I could celebrate with one. The most important thing we can all do though is to take a lesson from her and love those in need around us with the love of the Lord. Well done my friend, Congratulations!
Christina Banks 03/14/13
Your first line pulled me in and I just had to know more. Very well deserved EC. Congratulations!
CD Swanson 03/14/13
Congratulations!

God bless~
lynn gipson 03/14/13
Congratulations on a story and a character I wanted to know more and more about. Well deserved win!
Linda Goergen03/14/13
Sorry Danielle, to be so long getting here to read this amazing story! My time is so consumed lately with caring for elderly parents, I don’t have the time to read and comment as I used to. Often do not even have time to present a story of my own. I know I have been missing some really good stuff!

Congratulations on your well deserved win! When I had finished reading this story, I felt like I had just watched a movie, so vivid was your detail! The only part that puzzled me was, I could see why the MC would be so interested in Maggie, but why stalk her privately for so many years…why not be out and out friends with Maggie? But I am sure more wasn’t told of the relationship because of the word limit!

The world has too few of real Christians like your MC, Maggie…who doesn’t argue about what God’s word says, just lives it! This was so masterfully written, so powerful, Maggie will not easily go from my mind! Just a terrific job on this!
Charla Diehl 03/20/13
Superb writing that filled my head with images of Maggie and the surroundings. Great message of unconditional love tied this nicely to the topic. Congrats on your win with this one.