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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Checkout (06/09/11)

TITLE: Sticky Fingers
By Joey Parker



That’s the way the word sounded in her mind. All big letters in dark print. The word had an ethereal quality as it wound its way through her mind.


Rows upon rows of it. Chocolate candy. Peanut butter candy. Chocolate AND peanut butter candy. There were some in red wrappers and some in blue wrappers. Some were orange and a few were yellow. They looked so pretty all stacked up in straight rows. She let her eyes drift up as she tilted back her head. They went so high she couldn’t see the top.

Little Mary Catherine had one hand held up tentatively to her mouth as she subconsciously started to chew on her fingernails. She stared with undisguised lust at the sweetness in front of her but was so upset that she felt she might explode. She wanted it SO BAD but Mommy said, “No.” Mommy always said, “No.” It wasn’t fair.

All she wanted was a little piece of candy. Just one little piece.

What if she just took one? The thought made her eyes get big and she looked over to her mother. Mary Catherine just knew that Mommy heard what she thought. She knew that Mommy was going to be looking at her and she was going to be mad at her for thinking of doing such a bad thing but…she wasn’t looking at her. She was facing the lady behind the counter and was digging in her purse. Mary Catherine kept waiting to be fussed at for thinking of doing such a bad thing but Mommy just started pulling money out of her purse and giving it to the lady.

Mommy didn’t know what she was thinking! Mary Catherine looked back at the candy and focused in on the one in the bright red and blue wrapper. It was so pretty. She knew the candy was going to taste sooooo good. She could feel her mouth start to get wet inside as she thought about it. She kept thinking, “Take it.”

She looked at her mother. Again expecting for her to be looking down at Mary Catherine with a knowing look in her eye but she was still counting out money to the lady. Mary Catherine looked back at the bright wrapper and felt her heart start to beat a little faster as she started to see herself reaching out her hand and picking up the candy. She’d put in her pocket and go with Mommy to the car and she’d eat it cause then it was hers.

She glanced over at Mommy again and, when she saw that her mother had not seen her yet, she slowly pulled her right hand away from her mouth and started to reach towards the candy. Her hand stopped half way. Her eyes got big as she had another thought. This one was scarier.

“This was a bad thing.” The thought raced through her mind. “This was a sin.” Mary Catherine’s breathing became more rapid as she started to think about what she was doing. She could remember singing a song in Sunday School about the Ten Commandments and God said we shouldn’t take things that aren’t ours.

“But it’s only one piece of candy. They have so many!” She told herself. “They had so many different boxes all full of candy and she didn’t have any. They didn’t need all this candy and she just wanted one little piece. They were being selfish and that was a sin, too.”

She started to feel better because it made sense. Why should they have so much when she couldn’t have any? That wasn’t fair. She nodded her head and reached out again. She could feel the wrapper under her fingers and it felt shiny. Again, she stopped and looked at her mother. Mommy was now putting her wallet back in her purse. In a moment, she’d look at Mary Catherine and it’d be too late. She had to do it NOW!

Her fingers started to close over the candy when she started to feel all ugly inside. She stood like that for a moment before dejectedly dropping her hand back to her side.

“Ready to go, honey?”

She looked up at her Mommy’s smiling face. Mary Catherine smiled back and reached up to take her mother’s outstretched hand. They left the store together and any thought of candy in a pretty wrapper left with them.

She was so happy she thought she might explode.

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Bonnie Bowden 06/16/11
Well written story. I have been working with elementary children lately. I hear that line "That's not fair" quite a bit. You really seem to have gotten into the mindset of a child's thoughts.

This is the first story I've read for this week, but it seems like a winner to me.
Jenna Dawn06/16/11
Cute story. I liked reading the little girl's thoughts. I was able to put myself in her place and all the thoughts that were going through her head as she REALLY thought the whole thing through. I couldn't wait to see if she took the candy! I like how you tied in her thoughts of rationalizing why it was okay to take it and then the thoughts of why she knew it was wrong. And in the end, she does the right thing. Yay! :)
Lois Farrow06/16/11
Great story, I love it.
Nancy Bucca06/16/11
What a wonderfully creative story to find here in beginners. You won't stay there for long. Great job!
Charla Diehl 06/17/11
This is a delightful story as it describes the angst of a little girl trying to reason with temptation so perfectly. I agree, you won't remain in level one for long with writing like this.
Janice Fitzpatrick06/17/11
Well done! A piece most of us could relate to facing temptations, whether large or small. Very nicely written and you belong in a higher writing bracket for sure. Great job!
Leola Ogle 06/18/11
Good for Mary Catherine!!! If she can overcome temptation and do the right thing, how much more should we mature Christians do the right thing. Loved it! God bless!
Jan Ackerson 06/19/11
You did a fine job of capturing the young girls' POV. Far too often, young children in fiction are portrayed as too precocious or too goody-goody. This little girl seemed real.

I did feel as if there was a bit too much repetition in the first half.

I love the way you showed the girls' conflicted feelings--you're a very good writer.
Bonnie Bowden 06/23/11
Congratulations for placing 2nd in the beginner category this week.
Nancy Bucca06/25/11
Congratulations on your second place win!