The Official Writing Challenge
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Oh, my...I've just started reading entries, and I can't imagine reading one that I'll like better than this.
Horrible characters can be so much fun. Have you ever heard of Victor Meldrew?

Please don't kill him off or reform him completely until you have had a lot more fun with his bad behaviour. Let him deserve everything he gets!
What a beautiful story..and the writing is excellent. This is way good!!
I loved this read! One hint: when you start a new paragraph in the middle of someone talking, don't put quotation marks at the end of the first sentence. For example you wrote,

“It’s nothing but a bunch of noise and fuss; that’s all it is.”

“Do you hear what are they singing, Gladys? These are the days of Elijah?”

Because you put quotes after is." I thought someone new was talking. Take the quotes off to keep the continuity. Other than that tiny little thing I thought this was absolutely touching.
Wow! You made me cry! It was very effective to not let us know that Gladys had died at the beginning. This is VERY good. You won't stay in Level One very long.
The ending came a bit too quickly (I know... word count), but I really love your MC. What a real person he seemed to be.
Congratulations on your first place with this story! This story is so touching, I could feel the emotions of the old man - a well deserved ribbon.
Congratulations, Jim! Just FYI, your entry also placed 25th overall.
I loved this. It was written very well. It made me cry. Someone had written that they thought it ended too soon, but I really think it was just right for what it is--a glimpse at a moment in this bitter man's life--the moment he starts to heal. Well done, and congratulations! :-D