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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Uncles/Aunts (04/17/08)

TITLE: The Turning Point
By Bill Obenauer


Tony Caruso stepped into the Warren County Police Department for the first time in almost seven years. As he walked through the entrance, he could feel the emptiness of the building sucking the life out of him. The waiting room would have mirrored that of a hospital if only it had been about ten times cleaner.

Behind two inches of bulletproof glass sat an officer drinking coffee and reading the newspaper. Tony walked up to his window, pushed the intercom button, and without making eye contact said, "I got a call about my boy, Frankie."

The officer let out a grunt in a futile attempt to express his disgust with the situation, but instead of verbally acknowledging Tony, he picked up a phone and said, "Hey Captain. Caruso's here."

The security device on the door buzzed and Tony was escorted down the hall to the Captain's office. He sat down across from Captain Craig's desk and heard the door slam shut behind him. Craig stood up and said, "I'm gonna make this short and sweet Tony. You should have been down here a dozen times already for this boy, but I always got him out before booking. This time, he got through. He should do time for this, but you've got friends who want it to go away. It's your choice, but understand this, if he walks, your family will be out of free passes. You got it?"

"Just let me talk to him before you release him," Tony replied.

The Captain led Tony to the room where Frankie was being held. Tony looked at his boy, hunched over and chained to a pole, and it brought back memories of himself as a teenager. This was not what he wanted for Frankie. "Frankie, son," he said.

But before Tony could get another word out, Frankie shouted, "Don't call me that! I'm not your son! You killed my parents. Don't you remember?"


Five years ago, Tony had been out celebrating two years of sobriety with a few friends when a congratulatory round of drinks arrived on the house. Knowing that this was the same type of situation that had cost him his sobriety the last time, Tony got up and called his brother..

From what the State Police could put together, Frankie was sleeping over at a friend's house, so his parents went together to pick up Tony. On the way, an oncoming vehicle slowly drifted into their lane. Freddie swerved to avoid it, but hit a patch of black ice and drove over an embankment. Frankie went to live with his Uncle Tony the next day.


Tony furiously flipped a chair across the room. The sergeant watching through the mirror- reversed glass stepped towards the door, but Craig motioned for him to stay where he was. With a full head of steam, Tony got right up in Frankie's face and said, "I know you hurt, and you've got to live with that, but I've got to live with the fact that my brother and his wife are dead because of me. I've got to live with the fact that their son's life is going down the tubes because of me. You've got a free ride ahead you and you're going to blow it. I don't know what to. I want to be here for you, but you don't need me. You've got to find God." Tony stormed out of the police station and left Frankie alone to walk home.


"Okay Greg. The tape is coming to a close and you're on in five, four, three, two, one..."

Greg Andersen looked at the camera and opened with, "And today Frankie Caruso holds the pole position at the starting line of the men's 5000M run here in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. I tell you the truth when I say that he has entered these games with more hype than any American distance runner since the late Steve Prefontaine in 1972.

"I had the opportunity to speak with Caruso earlier today, and we discussed how prior to the tragic accident, his father had started him running at the age of eight. The two of them used to study the careers of American greats such as Frank Shorter and Prefontaine, but at the end of our conversation he told me that the his uncle's words that night in the police station were without question the turning point in his life that drove him to where he is today."

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This article has been read 660 times
Member Comments
Member Date
William Stevenson04/25/08
A great Story but space does not permit proper coverage. Expand it and fill in the gaps.
Joanne Sher 04/26/08
Very vivid descriptions - and an extremely compelling read. I agree, though - expand this when you can. I would LOVE to hear more!
Terry Walker04/26/08
Good job of telling a story in the confines of word limits. I agree with the others, you can expand on this perhaps even to a novel length.
Carole Robishaw 04/26/08
Very good, I caught one small glich at the end, good reading.

I agree with the others, you should expand this, it shows promise.
Marlene Austin04/28/08
A large time span and a lot of action covered in a small space, but you controlled it well. Good job. :)
Willena Flewelling 04/30/08
I'm so glad Tony didn't let his own feelings of guilt get in the way of helping his nephew grow up. Getting in his face like that was the best thing he could have done to wake him up. Just imagine the result if Frankie had gone as far in the wrong direction as he eventually did in the right!
Jan Ackerson 04/30/08
Very well done! I especially liked the first half--really, really strong writing.
Sara Harricharan 04/30/08
Very nice! I didn't know that little bit of history. ^_^ I wish there was a tad bit more here, it felt like it needed more. Otherwise, really, good I liked the first half and especially the uncle's words to him. Great stuff. ^_^
Debbie Wistrom04/30/08
So glad you threw your brick or I would have missed this wonderful entry.Not one to get goosebumps, I'm covered in them. Keep up the good words.
Laury Hubrich 04/30/08
Very good writing here! So glad I caught your brick!
Chely Roach04/30/08
Wow! A very good entry here. To make people wish for more is a huge compliment. Well done!
Joshua Janoski05/01/08
You had me till the very end. I echo what others are saying. I wanted a lot more, but unfortunately that 750 word limit kept that from happening with this one. You did a great job with the amount of words given to you though. The story felt complete regardless.

Thank you for sharing! This was an enjoyable read.
Lynn Jacky 05/01/08
Glad I stopped by to read. Excellent story and I agree, wonderful compliment to leave your readers wanting more. Excellent writing keep up the good work and look forward to reading more.
Sara Harricharan 05/01/08
Congrats on your win! ^_^
Joshua Janoski05/01/08
Bill! We're moving on up brother! Congrats on your third place win. That's awesome! :)
Tessy Fuller05/01/08
Congrats on placing this week. If you expand on this, let me know, it would be a great read.
Mandy White05/01/08
This was great. So much in so few words. I know that is hard to do, but you accomplished it well!
Myrna Noyes05/01/08
CONGRATULATIONS on a well-deserved win! Your title really sums up your whole story very well, and I love the mood you set in the beginning!
Sheri Gordon05/01/08
Congratulations on your 3rd place. I really like this--the writing is very good. The dialogue was excellent. Nice job with the topic.