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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Grrr! (01/28/10)

TITLE: Wounded Soldiers
By Cindy Carver


Like wounded soldiers, they stood with half torn labels and paint drip-dried down their sides like blood that just wasn’t red. They had done their duty, now no one wanted them, not even me.
I called all over town to get rid of them. No one would take them. They had to be empty to even toss in the trash.
“Grrrr”, how frustrating. I looked at them, all different sizes, containing paints of off-shaded colors with no purpose but to frustrate me to no end.
What to do with them? I had no idea, perturbing, that’s what they were,”grrr,” I heard myself growl under my breath.
Always in the way and unwanted for sure; no matter where I put them I could find no place were they belonged. I finally called one place that said once a year they offered a pick up of such waste, but of course, I had just missed it yesterday.
It was illegal to dump them they told me. I envisioned cop cars and sirens surrounding me and my injured soldiers, my dirty dozen paint cans, empty--surrounding me in pools of their non-red blood. Guilty they would say without saying anything just sitting there, tripping me up once again.
I knew I had to get rid of them. Can opener in hand, I popped their tops. Some didn’t open easily as though fighting for their lives. The sticky substance more like glue than paint, I fought valiantly and won. Looking inside them, the milky oils all looked a dirty yellow no matter what the color said on the side. I started stirring the ugly yellow muck; some turning to yellows, greens, whites, browns, and even blues. I just had to get rid of them--those cans were going to be the death of me yet.
Then I saw it, across the yard, a big doghouse, long vacant. I plucked up a can of greenish colored paint and began to paint that old doghouse from the bottom up. The can now empty and a line on that old doghouse, almost looking like grass. Then the off-whites and pale blues; I painted and painted, mixing them all the way around into a patchwork sky, until all but five cans set upright, the other cans upside down. Grabbing the light yellows, I began painting a picture of old Lulu--the funny old pug who had shown up at the end of my driveway one day. Funny how the oddball colors of yellows and whites reminded me of that character of a dog, and a picture began to take shape. She was what they called fawn. A kind of yellow-white that only looked clean when you looked at her face which may be because it was grey, almost white from old age. There was no pink, but a funny burnt umber I mixed with the whites to form her tongue. I’d say it was comical when I got done, but hadn’t Lulu always been comical. She’d been frustrating at first, someone dumped her, blind and arthritic, unwanted by anyone. I didn’t want her either, but she tripped into my heart with her blind courage when she barked at my vacuum cleaner I’d sat in her pathway. She challenged it in her house, our home--she had courage to take care of me in her heart.
All the cans were now upside down and a funny smiling faced dog looked at me from under a patchwork sky. I couldn’t help but smile. I enjoyed every minute of that painting. All the cans were in the trash now; the only a reminder of them on that funny looking doghouse.
Inspired, by the thought of Lulu—I went to the pound. No replacement for Lulu, but a new friend for me. Her body odd shades of whites and yellows much like my painting though her tongue is bright pink. A pug mix mutt no one wanted; she sits in the opening of the doghouse like a billboard come to life. She makes me laugh when she barks at strangers though mostly they are my friends. Like Lulu, she has courage to take care of me in her heart.
I wonder if all those paints hadn’t been half empty if this little character would be sitting here now. I don’t think so. It was something about how all that hodge-podge of paint--those wounded soldiers made something when no one wanted them; like Lulu, Sunshine now has a home.

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Member Comments
Member Date
PamFord Davis 02/04/10
Creative article!
AnneRene' Capp02/04/10
Well, I have a heart for Soldiers and love critters so you captured my attention all the way around! I even felt bad for lulu being gone but so glad you have another commrade.
Ruth Brown02/07/10
Wow, you can write. Just one hint, put space between paragraphs. That would make it easier to read. You wove a good tale. Blessings,Ruth
Micheline Murray02/10/10
I love this!! Have gotten in trouble with our garbagemen for throwing away paint cans too!!! What a nice tie-in with Sunshine--really cute story.
Amanda Brogan02/10/10
Beautiful flow! I like how you give the paint cans a life of their own. I also love the theme of taking something that's unwanted and making it into something beautiful. Very poetic writing!