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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Hard and Soft (04/23/09)

TITLE: The Simple Truth
By Joseph Breton


Jake looked out of his third-story window while taking in the lively atmosphere of another spring day. As he looked down he could see the grass that had returned to life after facing the torments of a harsh frost. The campus was a small one but nevertheless was quite well known around the city. It was based on Christian principles and upon God’s Word. Today it bustled with activity as the students basked themselves in the rays of a previously elusive sun. But today Jake only looked beyond all of the hustling and social elation that flowed from the campus. His thoughts streamed back to the day before. It was a day when the fire of truth burned its way into the heart of this young man.
Just the week before, he was sitting un-attentively at a half empty table in the school’s spacious dining area. In a bored trance he leaned back in his chair as he watched some other students make their way out the exit while laughing and conversing in oblivious fashion seemingly unaware of all the upcoming exams that were poking their ugly heads out of the barrage of usual homework. This had captivated his attention until a voice broke his trance-like state. “Hey Jake! What are you going to do tonight?” It was Jared, a friend who loved the moment and rarely missed an occasion in which he could experience something exhilarating and possibly thoughtless. He continued to look expectantly at Jake as he leaned across the table
“Oh,” Jake hummed in his usual melancholy manner. “Nothing much, probably just a paper.”
“A paper!” He retorted as if it was unimaginable to think that someone could be so predictable. “Well, if you want to, some of us are going downtown.” This proposal offered a golden image that presented itself to Jake’s small world of sleeping eating, and studying. He had never been downtown before in the center of the metropolis. The whole idea was such a contrast from the stale, everyday routine.
“Sure, yeah, that would be fun. I’ll just work on that paper tonight. It’s not due until after the weekend anyway.”
With that last statement, a door was opened that would culminate in the climax of the most ominous meeting imaginable the day after: the President’s office. No, it was never his intention to find himself sitting across from the President of the school with both Deans looking on. His friends sat there as well but quickly confessed the embarrassing actions they had committed the night before. Thus, they were released with the word that they would never participate in the activity again. Jake was the only one left.
The President with his lightly graying hair and unfaltering stance spoke out into the thick tension of the room. “What you have done was completely unacceptable and embarrassing both to the school and to yourself.”
In defense, Jake pulled out every possible explanation that he could think of in order to vindicate himself and appear the righteous one in the group. Among his tactics was his claim to innocence and naivety. But with a struggle that carried on for an hour he finally just broke down into a tearful mess and promised that he would never be a part of something like that again.
Finally, the inescapable horror was over and the cheerful sun again rose from behind the steel towers which prominently stand out from a congregation of brick housing near the campus. Jake pensively stared out of his window as memories of past situations filtered in. He remembered past days when he would find himself in trouble how he would soften the edges of truth and treat life like an abstraction, how he would just mix it up until he could lighten the weight of reality and avoid full responsibility that was due him. That was his philosophy and way of life, but the President saw right through the “fog” that Jake had generated around truth and demanded it be reduced to it’s pure, unchanging form: the simple truth. And, yes, the simple truth is the hard truth. When it hits you it can hurt. But the simple truth has always been the best truth, not to mention the only truth.

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Jan Ackerson 05/04/09
A good cautionary tale for college-aged readers.

Apart from the word "soften" toward the end, I didn't find a way for this to fit this week's topic. And perhaps a second edit for sentence structure and paragraphing, to make your work a bit smoother?

This work has potential--keep writing!
Sunny Loomis 05/05/09
Good story. Think before we act. Paragraph separations would be helpful. Keep writing!
Jae Blakney05/06/09
You make a good point--thanks for sharing this! I would suggest improving the flow of the prose by removing words that don't add meaning or feeling. For example, in the first sentence, I would remove the words 'of' and 'while' to make it read, "Jake looked out his third-story window, taking in the lively atmosphere of another spring day."