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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Actions Speak Louder than Words" (without using the actual phrase). (02/21/08)

TITLE: The New Tenant
By D. Phenes


If you have ever lived in an apartment building, you know that it’s actually a social entity in itself. There’s the self-proclaimed busy bodies, who always know what's happening. There’s the loners who mind their own business. The loner in this story is Earl.

Earl was a quiet man and spoke when he needed too. He moved into the Huntington Apartment building about 6 months ago. The moving van pulled up and unloaded his sparse belongings. He had sold most of his belongings when he had moved closer to his daughter. This was just the beginning of the excitement surrounding the NEW TENANT.

"Did you see the shabby looking couch they brought in Betty?" asked Susan.

"Why I heard that they delivered an old beat up table too?" replied Betty with a question for her answer. "I am a bit disturbed that they are allowing such riff raff here. It's gonna be called the Junkyard Apartments before you know it!" declared Betty. She was quite proud that she had figured this fella out right from the beginning. What would they do without her around here?

"Well, I better get some laundry done." thought Earl "I hope I do not have to talk to anyone." he hoped. As Earl put his clothes and detergent into the washer; he realized he was being watched. There in the door way stood a lady around his age with her hand on her hip. As he turned and caught her looking, she put on a plastic smile and spoke.

"Guess everyone is trying to use this laundry room tonight." exclaimed the lady. Then she continued to talk and talk, not allowing Earl to speak. Earl was grateful that he could not speak at this time. She turned on her dryer and bustled out of the room talking all the way. She did not realize that she had not introduced herself, but she felt as if the NEW TENANT was rude not to even say Hello.

Later that week, Betty decided she would give Lynn a call. "This is Betty. Have you noticed the flowerbed out front?"

"Yes, of course it’s right outside my window." replied Lynn.

"Someone has been in them and plucked all the weeds." declared Betty. "Who would have done that without telling me, I mean us." Betty corrected herself."

Lynn looked out her window and reported to Betty. "It looks nice. With this rain, the weeds have been growing."

"Humph.." Betty grumbled. Things did not happen without her knowing.

As the neighbors gathered, they discussed the NEW TENANT and shared their opinions of who he was. "I think he’s rude." stated Susan telling of her visit with the NEW TENANT in the laundry room.

"He does smile." commented another follower.

"You never know what’s behind that smile." Betty declared. She knew who was trouble and there was nothing good about him.

Earl chuckled as he listened to the chatter of his neighbors. He could hear them through his door. "It's too bad about the new tenant. Wait, I am the new tenant." suddenly Earl thought. "Lord, you know me and I am a good neighbor. I even picked weeds the other day. Help me to show them who I am.”

The next day there was a carnation at each door, with a note saying "Blessings, from your neighbor," Why there was never such a buzz in the building. Who would have and why did they? The flowers had brightened their day and conversations.

As Betty left her apartment a lady came up to her and asked "Could you help me find the manager." "Who are you?" Betty asked. She had never seen this girl before and knew everyone there.

“I’m Stephanie and my father Earl is a tenant here. He's been recovering from throat surgery and cannot talk. I need to ask some questions for him." Betty realized that the NEW TENANT was this girl's father.

The neighbors realized that Earl was not a bad man. He had been through some tough times and could not speak to them. He was the one who pulled the weeds and given them flowers. They had judged Earl by his lack of words spoken.

When Earl could speak he began to interact with his neighbors. Betty stated one day, “Earls a good egg. The garden looks wonderful and he helps all the time." For when Betty speaks, she knows she is always right.

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This article has been read 495 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dee Yoder 02/28/08
Wonderful word pictures in your story! The characters are a hoot-you captured the many personalities beautifully. The only thing I'd suggest to improve this lively entry is to have another set of eyes proof-read for you to catch the little glitches that we writers sometimes miss with our own entries. This entry will shine with a bit of polishing! You have an engaging, natural way of story telling that's very appealing to the reader!
Marlene Austin02/28/08
Nice story-line. :)

Arlene Showalter03/02/08
Good story. The beginning could be smoothed out a bit to improve flow...great topic, great job.
Joanne Sher 03/03/08
Nice job with characters, and I enjoyed the storyline.
Joshua Janoski03/04/08
I love the characters in this story. You did a good job fleshing them out, especially Betty. Thank you for sharing this great story.
Beckie Stewart03/05/08
This was good. I thought Earl was shy, but it was neat to show this story in the way that you did. I too found the characters well portrayed.
Holly Westefeld03/06/08
I enjoyed this story, and how the gossips were confronted with the errors of their presumptions.
I believe what would smooth out the beginning of this story would be to omit the first paragraph. A reader is captured by being immediately introduced to a character, especially one in a new situation such as a move. This type of showing, rather than telling, is what grabs the reader and maintains a fast pace for the story.
Lyn Churchyard03/06/08
Great story. I like Earl, he'd be a good neighbour to have. Loved the characterizations of the other tenants. Well done.
Sara Harricharan 03/06/08
Oh I had to giggle here! I loved the characters. so colorful and fun, Betty was hilarious too! I liked the twist at the end with the throat surgery, that was good. Nice job! ^_^