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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Calm (emotionally) (09/13/07)

TITLE: The Eye of the Hurricane
By Douglas Sowers


The door banged open and admitted a tall tough looking African American man. “We need to put Mike in solitary for cursing again,” growled Daniel. Faint screaming followed him into the room.

The vein Angela’s temple instantly began doing the Macarena. “Where is he so I can assess his behavior before you transport him to the room?” replied Angela, a very tall Anglo. She rose to leave so abruptly that she bashed the desk with her thigh and tipped her coffee onto her new suit.

Daniel clenched and unclenched his hand, making the tendons in his wrist stand out like massive ridges. “He is in the last dorm room down the hall. We really don’t have enough available counselors on this shift to move him,” he said while pounding on the desk. This only served to splash some coffee onto her blouse also. While ignoring the muscles bulging as Angela clenched her jaw and glared, he led the way out of the office.

In the main office, Angela saw Joshua, the Jewish accountant with a haunted look to his eyes, and called, “We need your help with a student.”

Joshua said, “Sure, who is it?” as he sipped his coffee.

Angela chimed sweetly, “It is only that young sixth grader, Mike.”

Joshua crumpled his Styrofoam cup with a jerk saying, “I really need to finish submitting the bills for the seven latest arrivals.”

“We can’t have a repeat of last time,” said Daniel as he put his arm around Joshua’s shoulder and steered him away from his office door. “We need the extra manpower.”

As they strode down the hall, she saw Mrs. Fielding checking out. Her tight bun of gray hair was beginning to explode. She was fishing through her purse with desperate jerky motions as her arm tightened desperately around her load of papers that was slowly shifting out of her grip. As they approached the hall, Angela said with a scowl, “Mrs. Fielding didn’t have that drawn look last month. We may lose another teacher.”

As Daniel unlocked and opened the hall door, the heckling started. A tall redheaded teen shouted raucously, “Hey, Ms A, are you going to get locked in solitary again?” In response, a tendon popped out in her neck to start a tension party with the jaw and the dancing temple vein.

A beefy 17 year old Latino called, “Hey, Sarge, have you found your missing key yet?” Daniel strove to show no response but the keycard in his clenched fist suddenly was rendered useless. “I suuuurrrreeely don’t know where it is, but you won’t find it even if you strip the hall again.”

Joshua’s face seemed to have frozen in expectation. Joshua showed no response when the slender 16 year old African American boy called, “Mr. J, Mr. J, sorry about your wrist, can you carry someone else to solitary with it?”

Suddenly Joshua said quietly, “I thought you said Mike was screaming curses.” Listening past further taunts, Angela realized quiet was emanating from the last dorm room that they were approaching.

Rounding into the room, they saw the math teacher sitting on the floor, quietly talking with Mike and several other inmates. Seeing the trio descend, Mike jumped up and screamed, “Don’t put me in the room, you bags of @#%@.”

Before Mike could say more, Mr. Hardy, the slightly built math teacher soothed, “Mike, if you have to go, I’ll come with you until they agree you have calmed down. If you settle down now, we may even negotiate a lesser punishment.”

Mike spun his four and a half foot tall body and growled, “You’re going to trick me too!”

Mr. Hardy called to Jose, “When I promised you that pancake party, did I deliver?”

“Yes sir,” responded Jose, “Dave even bet you couldn’t be trusted. I won a radio.”

“Ja’mal, what about the help for the test?” Said Mr. Hardy quietly, as Angela watched stunned.

“You stayed over. No one else has done that,” responded Ja’mal.

“See Mike, I keep my promises”

Daniel growled, “You can’t trust these kids. You have to be tough with them. They must know who is boss.”

Mr. Hardy sighed, “I told you, though Jesus doesn’t trust people, He loves them deeply and treats them with respect. Mike has settled, could he give up his unfortunate events book until he finishes his missing assignments instead of solitary? Oh, they gave me this key.”

Angela stood wondering whether she should reconsider this Jesus.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 09/22/07
Nice job writing this through Angela's eyes. Keep up the great work!
Joanne Sher 09/24/07
Very vivid descriptions. I had a bit of a tough time figuring out exactly what was going on - it may just be me, though. It took me a couple read-throughs. Last line is great!
Leigh MacKelvey09/25/07
Loved the last line and whole concept. You have god descriptions, strong verbs and nouns. I think your story should'ground" the reader sooner, possibly in the first or second paragraph. Give us a clear idea of where the story takes place. I still wasn't sute at the end if this was a juvenile hall, a jail or a school. Some lines weren't worded clearly such as the line about Angela ignoring the bulging muscles or was the other character ignoring her muscles? All in all, very good writing ... just a few fix-up's needed!( you said to give critique!) Don't worry, you'll be out of beginnners soon!
Dianne Janak09/26/07
I was also a little confused as to where this takes place, but loved your writing skills. You are in the right place, and as you keep writing, you'll see a huge difference when you are open to critiques.
Loved where it went at the end... light in the midst of all the darkness...