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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: On the Telephone (11/18/10)

TITLE: What's The Big Deal?
By Leola Ogle


** It was sitting on the floor next to the sofa, forgotten and unguarded, when she spots it. She walks towards it; her new shoes on the tile floor sounding like soft rain hitting a window. She glances furtively over her shoulder, knowing it was something she shouldn’t do. She knows exactly what pocket it was in. She bends over and removes the phone from her mommy’s purse. She presses a button and grins when it lights up.

That’s when she sees grandma watching her. They smile conspiratorially at one another. She giggles when the phone beeps. She places it against her ear, mimicking what big people do.With a puzzled look she holds it in front of her, studying it for a moment. She gives it one more try at her ear before dropping it on the floor and toddling off.

What’s the big deal, she must be wondering – why do all the bigger people spend so much time on the telephone?

But then, who knows what really goes on in the mind of a one year old.

** With an air of arrogant confidence as if he owns the place, he walks amidst the chatter and antics of teens. He observes the usual phone pasted to most ears, or fingers poised for texting.

He’s two; his parents are youth pastors, so he is allowed to hang out before and after service. He spends the in-between time in the church nursery where is he just another toddler.

“Where’s your phone, Josiah?” a teen asks. The fun begins. Several gather to watch as chubby fingers pull daddy’s old phone from a pocket. He puts it against his ear, jabbering away, complete with facial expressions and elaborate hand gestures that he has seen the teenage girls do.

They laugh and applaud. He giggles in response.

Such a big deal to a tiny boy!

** She digs around in her purse, then searches all over the kitchen. At last she finds it – and him. Her eleven year old son is lying in front of the television, talking on her telephone.

“At least ask me first, or just use the house phone,” she says, holding out her hand.

“Ah, mom, why can’t I have my own cell phone? What’s the big deal? All my friends have their own phones.”

** Carrying a grocery bag in each hand, she enters the front door, loudly calling her teenage daughter’s name, hoping to get some help unloading the rest of the groceries.

“Mom!” the young voice responds in indignant irritation, rolling her eyes. “What? Can’t you see I’m on the telephone?”

What’s the big deal? Mom doesn’t really need help, right?

** She feels neglected and forgotten. His company’s involved in a merger, and he works late most evenings. Even when he’s home, it seems he is always on the telephone. He promises her a nice evening out, just the two of them.

The restaurant is lovely – romantic music, candles on the table. He tells her she is beautiful!

His phone rings as drinks are served. Pulling it from his pocket, he frowns. “Sorry, honey, I need to take this.” She sighs in disappointment. He hangs up after a few minutes, leaning close to kiss her. She smiles again.

By the third call, she listlessly pushes her food around, staring at the wall décor as she tries not to cry. It’s obvious that she’s hurt and angry.

Paying the check, he gently takes her hand. “What’s the big deal? At least we had some time alone. I’m doing all of this for you and the kids, you know?”

** Shuffling his feet across the floor, he sets his coffee and bowl of oatmeal on the table. He glances at the telephone on the counter, wishing one of his kids or grandkids would call.

He is so lonely! He misses his wife of 52 years – she’s in heaven now. He pictures her sitting across the table, and tears fill his old, tired eyes.

He glances again at the telephone. It’s no big deal, he supposes. They are all so busy – he knows they love him. He bows his head and prays. With fingers gnarled and trembling from age, he pulls his bible towards him. He will read Psalms as he eats breakfast.

Startled by the ringing telephone, he manages to answer by the fifth ring. He smiles when he hears his daughter’s voice on the telephone.

“I love you, dad.”

It is a big deal to him.

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This article has been read 722 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Randy Somers11/25/10
Good. Very good. A good review of a common problem in all our lives. You pointed out how we grow up being taught the importance of the phone, it's problems and then it's uses. I can picture people I know in each of these situations. Enjoyable read.
Verna Mull 11/26/10
Yes, this is a great read. I am so in agreement with you. Telephones can be a menace and you described it all so well. Glad for the happy little ending. Yes, a telephone does have its place.
Lillian Rhoades 11/29/10
I love the progressiveness of your story - how the phone plays out in the life of an infant to the life of an old man. Lots of potential in this piece.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/02/10
Congratulations on your EC! Your story really showed how the phone can have different impacts in different lives. Nice job I really enjoyed the progression and the so real characters.
Lollie Hofer12/02/10
Congratulations on your well-deserved recognition...not too many Beginners make it in the top ten. Well done.
Jan Christiansen12/03/10
Wonderful story! Loved the way you portray the phone's role in the many facets of our lives. I could imagine each scene very clearly and you captured the "voice" of each character. Nice job!