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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Hotel/Motel (09/12/05)

TITLE: A Machete, a Bottle of Water and Cousin Eddy
By Jessica Schmit


My eyes jerked awake as our car came to a sudden halt.

“Why are we stopping?” I curiously asked my husband.

“It’s ok. I just need to let the car cool.” He calmly replied.

That’s when my untrusting eyes fell to the engine temperature gauge. It was PAST the little red warning line and into the “I’m going to explode” zone!

“Kevin, we’re in the middle of nowhere! What are we going to do!?”

We were making our way back home from a day at Jasper, a great little tourist town nestled in the heart of majestic mountains. We were celebrating our first year wedding anniversary.

“I think the radiator might have a small leak, but it’ll be fine.”

My husband has this amazing gift of making an almost certain catastrophe sound like picnic in the park on a sunny Saturday morning.

“Well, can you fix it?” I, the realist, asked firmly.

“It just needs to cool down. Then I’ll check the water level. Can you pass me that water bottle behind your seat?”

My eyes searched anxiously. Then I saw it. A small, half filled bottle of water expected to revive our dead car.

“Here you go.” I tried to hide my smirk. Sarcasm never really helps an already tense situation.


I had to laugh as Kevin crawled carefully out of the drivers’ window. Yes, window. The week before, our car door broke. And when you’re starving college students, you can’t simply take a broken car door to the mechanics.

My eyes followed Kevin as he carefully propped open the hood of the car and peered inside. He opened the bottle of water and….

“What’s going on?” I cried in horror as I saw billows of smoke climb into the night sky.

“It’s ok Jess. It’s only steam. It’s supposed to do that.”

Right. Sure it is.

Just then the heavens opened and an angel descended.

Well, not quite, but almost.

A van pulled up beside us and a man who resembled Cousin Eddy from The Griswold’s Family Vacation movies, stepped out.

“Hey, you need some help?” Eddy asked Kevin.

“I think it’s a leaky radiator.” Kevin replied.

“Ah, I see. I had the same problem a few weeks back. Bugs ya’ know.”

“Bugs?” Kevin asked.

“Yeah, those darn bugs fly into that there radiator and clog it up like stuffing in a Thanksgiving turkey. So, let’s see here.”

After a few minutes of “I see,” “Ohhhh,” and “that’s not good.” He gave his verdict.

“You ain’t movin’ anywhere tonight. Where you heading?

“Prince George.”

“Well, there’s no way you’re going to make it home tonight. McBride is about a half hour from here. I can drive you there if you want and then you can figure out what you want to do your car tomorrow.”

There’s only one problem with this mans’ suggestion. We had eighty five dollars to our name which had to last five more days till pay day. A broken car and an extra night at a hotel wasn’t in this month’s budget. Kevin’s sunken expression gave Eddy another idea.

“Well, me and my family have a nice little summer home close by. You can stay with us for the night if you want.”

Staying with Cousin Eddy and his family on the night of my first year anniversary wasn’t really my idea of romantic, but we had no other options.

“Let me talk it over with my wife.” Kevin replied hesitantly.

Five minutes later we were sitting in Eddy’s van.

The first thing I noticed was the giant machete sitting next to me.

“Great,” I thought to myself, “We got picked up by Hannibal.”

Eddy, who we later learned was named Bob, leaned towards me.

“Bears. The machete’s for them. I have a family to protect.”

I didn’t believe him.

A few minutes later we pulled up to his “summer retreat,” which actually turned out to be a 1971 tent trailer. And “the family” he referred to, was six children and a wife. It was like a mix between the Brady Bunch and the Beverly Hill Billies.

Bob explained our situation and Mary, his wife, instantly got busy making us up a bed in their already tiny camper. Me and Kevin stood back in awe as this amazing family went out of their way to make a little hotel room for us.

I must say. It was no Hilton, but I would give that hotel five stars any day.

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This article has been read 970 times
Member Comments
Member Date
karen McLamb09/19/05
This is funny! five stars HUH! Wow! a Great story.
Jan Ackerson 09/19/05
A few edits (Kevin and I, not me and Kevin...and lose the 2nd person) would make this piece a real winner! You wrote your narrator with a unique voice, very droll and likeable. Witty!
M'Kayla Kelly09/19/05
I love the humor - and the Griswolds are like old friends to me, especially cousin Eddie. This is a great story and so is the writing! 2 thumbs up! Blessings!
sandra snider09/20/05
what you want to do your car tomorrow.....want to do with? I like the droll wit you have! You are ready for level two!Since this is Faithwriters, however, I would have liked to have seen more of a spiritual component to the re-telling of this story.
Lisa Graham09/20/05
Good take on the Mars vs. Venus theme - men and women often see things from a different perspective.
dub W09/20/05
Absolutely delightful, I laughed numerous times thought this essay. Great humor, I hope this one wins something.
Anita Neuman09/21/05
A delightful, funny read! You have a great "voice". There are a few minor grammar/punctuation errors, but nothing to lose sleep over. Keep honing - you're doing GREAT!
Katherine Douglas09/21/05
funny story.... I thought it would turn scary...... good job.
Alexandra Wilkin09/22/05
Captures nicely how a young married couple are still learning to understand each other; I really like that the couple learn that no matter how little you have, there is always more when it is shared. Nicely observed; would have liked a little more description of Eddy's family, but it was amusing to read and left me with a smile. God bless.
Shari Armstrong 09/23/05
Vey well told, I had a car like that (but mine had BOTH handles break before I could replace the first one -had to climb in through the trunk/back window shelf lol) Anyway - good humor and a great example of people giving of what they have.
Julianne Jones09/24/05
I'm still at a loss why the machete featured in the story, but loved this. Well told and quite humourous. Thanks for sharing.
Deborah Porter 09/26/05
Amber, you have real potential - and I'm looking forward to seeing more from you in the future. You have a delightful sense of humor and the title alone was enough to grab the reader's attention. Jan's critique's were an echo of my own, but I think you really do show promise. With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)