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Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Sharp (03/07/13)

TITLE: I'll Give You Five Bucks
By Linda Berg
~7th Place


“I’ll give you five bucks to go up the hill behind campus…in the buff!”

We were a huddle of Bible college guys gathered inside our dorm one sharp, bitter cold night in one of our Northern states. We’d been goofing around, talking about how poor we all were. Discussion turned to, “what we would do for a buck.” Deep belly laughs were heard as different guys gave their answers. Finally, one of my buddies turned to me and offered the challenge about a run up the hill. With sharp determination, being the “get-er-done” kind of guy that I am, I accepted the offer.

The rules were sharply laid down: run to the top of the hill behind our campus dorm and back without shoes and in the buff.

“Not so bad,” I thought to myself. “ It was dark outside with nobody around. I was a farm boy with plenty of experience taking late night skinny-dipping excursions in the pond. Sure, it was 15 degrees below zero, but the cold had never bothered me. I had this one covered.”

I opened the door looking right and left to make sure, “all was clear.” I put one foot out the door and then the other. Sharply turning my head from side to side to keep an eye out for potential onlookers, I ran across the concrete porch, asphalt sidewalk and skedaddled up the hill with the sharp incline.

I was elated when I got to the top without any spectators. Turning around to start my descent; I heard a commotion coming from the bottom of the hill. Standing right outside my dorm door, where only moments previously I had departed, stood the guys chatting without a care in the world with a bunch of girls they had gathered from campus. The girls were oblivious to my dilemma.

“I’ve been had,” were the muttered words that escaped my mouth.

Looking around for some protection from female eyes, I saw a small tree nearby. I made haste to get there. With thoughts running wild I realized the tree didn’t provide cover for my six foot, one inch frame. Looking around for another option, I become aware of lights shining from the parking lot of a nearby church building. The smooth, icy coating on the snow all around me coupled with the lights reflecting off the snow, gave a sharper than desired picture of my predicament.

I watched the scene below with all my physical senses sharpened by the temperature and the embarrassing situation.

Time was passing, while I waited for the social gathering below to end. My feet began to burn with the intensity of the cold night air and the remnants of the snow I had run through. Stiffness short of hypothermia permeated my entire body.

Finally the girls left and returned to their dorm. The guys continued to hang out on the porch.

I saw a window of opportunity to make a mad dash down the hill.

I turned my head right and left to make sure it was all clear of girls as I began my downward movement. My eyes settled in and focused on the back door of the dorm.

Down I ran. Faster and faster I ran.

The dull condition of my physical senses and my urgency in trying to reach my safe place made me very stiff. Right before the asphalt sidewalk… I fell; I slid across the bare walkway and into the base of the porch.

With quick movement, I jumped up and made my retreat into the dorm. As I surveyed the damage, I saw my injuries were many; loss of skin all the way from the tops of my toes, to my shins, across my knees, groin and belly.

“Not too sharp,” I thought, as my wounded pride gave way to the reality of the event.

Thirty-five years later.

I looked up as the short-term mission team from the U.S. arrived via plane to serve in Mexico with us. A young girl of about 18 years stepped forward as they gathered in the luggage area. “I know you,” she said.

“You do?” I questioned.

“Yes, you are the guy my dad challenged to run up the hill behind the college in the middle of winter in the buff.”

“The man of integrity walks securely, but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.” Proverbs 10:9(NIV).

There’s beauty in being, “found out.” It provides us opportunity for change of direction in our lives.

Proverbs 10:9 (NIV)
Based on a true story

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Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 03/14/13
Wow - this was some story! Amazing! Thanks for sharing this touching and beautiful story.

God Bless~
Vince Martella03/15/13
The title drew me in and the rest of the story kept me riveted. Good storytelling. My only red ink is try to avoid passive phrases such as "were heard" (belly laughs were heard) Also this sentence could probably be reworded; it seems a little awkward as is. "Standing right outside my dorm door, where only moments previously I had departed, stood the guys chatting without a care in the world with a bunch of girls they had gathered from campus." Otherwise, this story was thouroughly entertaining - I enjoyed it immensely! Great job.
lynn gipson 03/18/13
A funny, oh those college days kind of story. I was freezing right a long with you. You need a little coaching on the punctuation marks. I suggest a critique group or buddy.

But the story itself is well written otherwise and well reiterated. You have a gift for story telling. Loved this!
Alicia Renkema03/19/13
This was a fun story... I am not sure I would qualify you as not having integrity for doing what you did, maybe stupidity, but not integrity. I also wondered how that daughter would have known just by looking at you unless she knew your name and remembered it. But your story doesn't say that you told her your name or that you guys had been formally introduced so that was a little puzzling at the end. Yet, I thought this was an entertaining piece and I felt for you in your predicament. To be so cold and then get all of those injuries to boot. Hope you healed fast. Thanks for sharing.
Christina Banks 03/19/13
The things that happen in college. You did a great job developing the predicament that your character was in. I was cold just thinking about it. The ending made me smile. Somebody's Dad must have enjoyed the telling of that story. Enjoyable read. Thank you for sharing.
Cheryl Harrison03/19/13
Brrrrrrrr... I'm cold now.

Funny story. I am sure this is one of those stories that is retold over and over again. Made me laugh. Thanks! God bless.
Judith Gayle Smith03/19/13
Ah yes, as we scramble to find the warmest spot by the hot crackling campfire, we will have great merriment roasting your MC with our marshmallows.

What a fun and creative write! I cringed and shivered, giggled and blushed with your MC.
Virgil Youngblood 03/19/13
I thought this was a thoroughly delightful well written memory of days gone by. Since you asked for red ink, it seemed to me the scripture reference at the end changed the tone and flow of the story unnecessarily. The story was quite satisfying without it. I loved the mental images you painted.
Ellen Carr 03/19/13
Thanks for telling us about this embarrassing, and painful, episode of your life. One can only assume that the girl who recognised you had seen you back then. My 'red ink' comment is that I thought the message at the end was a bit forced and didn't fully fit the story.But, a well told and engaging story.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/20/13
Oh this was a delightful tale--well maybe delightful and "tail" aren't the best examples, but what I'm trying to say is this is a real hoot! You had me grinning, wincing, shaking my head, and out and out laughing! I liked your beginning, your transitions were seamless and the ending brought the story full circle.

The only red ink I might offer is to go back and count the number of times you used a variation of the word sharp. I think you'll be surprised. Often when I see a topic word overused, it makes me think that the writer may have had some worries that the piece is not truly on topic. If you check out some of the stories in levels 3 and 4, you'll find great examples of writing a story that is definitely on topic, yet never uses the topic word once.

Not everyone can meet that challenge, but I believe that you can in the future. Your subtle sense of humor is amazing. You make it look so easy. I enjoyed this story from top to bottom. (sorry about the puns, but Noel hooked me on them!) Again you did a wonderful job.
Christina Banks 03/21/13
Congratulations on your EC. I'm glad this fun story made the cut. Great job!
Alicia Renkema03/21/13
Congratulations on getting first place in Intermediate -- way to go. This was a very funny story and you got the reader to empathize with your initial fear and then pain.
Bea Edwards 03/21/13
Thank you for drawing this comic word picture and congratulations on your win.
Cheryl Harrison03/21/13
I knew this was a winner! So funny. Enjoyed it the second time through as well. Congratulations!
Sandra Wells04/04/13
I loved it! You made me smile, laugh and cringe. I honestly didn't notice your name, and that you are a woman, until I finished reading. Incredible job. I could feel the sub-zero cold and felt my teeth chattering just thinking about it.