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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Orange (the color) (11/19/09)

TITLE: Where there’s Smoke, There’s Fire!
By Barbara Lynn Culler


Symbolic of energy and flamboyance in its blend of reds and yellows, the color orange played a prominent role on that hot and smoggy July afternoon in 1986. The scene started out with brown smoke rising from the crevices of the hood of my ten year old automobile, and concluded as I helplessly watched my little car rapidly consumed by copper colored flames.

I was weary after a day of apartment hunting, and desired the comforting oasis of my home. Traveling up a residential street, I noticed wisps of white smoke rising up and around my front windshield. I pulled over to the side thinking that there had been no previous indication of trouble in the engine, and hoped it was just over-heating. Across the street, I noticed a corner house that had the carroty-colored neighborhood watch sign in the window. I hurried over and knocked on the door to ask for assistance. A man answered, and while still standing in his doorway, looked out over to my car and nonchalantly stated that he did not feel that particular color of smoke was any indication of fire. He refused to call for help and closed the door.

Feeling rejected and alone, I returned to the scene and removed important papers and items from the car. Within minutes, the smoky wisps turned into geysers of black soot bursting through the gaps and the now bronze colored smoke billowed out as traffic began to back up. Several minutes later, a man in a gold colored BMW drove up and dialed 911 on his cell phone, then began to direct traffic.

A well-intentioned man came along, scaled the brick wall of someone’s yard, threw over a garden hose and sprayed water under the car’s hood, oblivious to the consequences of water on a potential electrical fire. In one loud whoosh, large tongues of fire licked the front end of my poor little car. The red-orange flames danced across the vehicle as pumpkin colored smoke rose into the sky like a mushroom cloud. I was horrified, yet I was calm as I tried to think what to do, where to go and how to get there. As I watched the spectacle before me, the car’s front right tire melted then popped like a balloon. The metal radio antenna collapsed in slow-motion to a 45 degree angle, the front window exploded and the Chevette’s sky blue paint simply dissipated. It was reminiscent of the final scenes from the movie “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” The stench was ghastly; I feared an explosion and stood far away. With hand covering my mouth in disbelief, I prayed,
“God, I cannot handle this alone. Please send me some support.”

The fire station was a mere five blocks away, but fire fighters had not yet responded to the first call and the man with the golden car called a second time on his cell phone. About that time, the fire truck came rolling up, and the flames were quickly doused. The neighborhood watch person had a change of heart and had contacted the fire department. He came over to me and contritely apologized for not believing that I needed help. A few minutes later, a friend from church unexpectedly appeared and stayed with me to the bitter end.

As the scorched carcass of my car was being hoisted up onto the tow truck, I observed an unscathed red-orange colored 42-ouncer soda cup in the back seat and smiled at the evidence of my addiction to Diet Coke, wishing I had some at that moment. After my first-bought car was unemotionally hauled away, my friend took me home.

Although powerless to action as the showy fire and spirited destruction of my car, I shall never forget that day when God heard my prayer and responded to my cry for help.

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This article has been read 542 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Phee Paradise 12/01/09
Nice descriptions with great detail. I was a little confused when you said you needed help, since the man in the BMW was already helping. It's great how God always provides.
Sarah Elisabeth 12/01/09
Awww, good story! Lots of potential.

I would love to see some dialogue, especially between the rude man who closed the door on your MC ("Whatever lady.") I found dialogue can really spice up an entry and draw the reader in...at least that's what I'm learning.

Great title, fit this entry well. Keep writing!
Carol Penhorwood 12/04/09
Great descriptions! I couldn't wait to see what happened next!
Edy T Johnson 02/19/10
Your writing is so readable, with a "You are there!" quality. Well done, Barb!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/08/10
This is fantastic details and writing Barb. I love how help appeared when you prayed. This is great.