Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Fruit (10/10/05)
TITLE: The Lord Works in Exotic Ways
By Debbie Sickler
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“Wow Honey, you must have hit the big time! Your company went all out. We even got a fruit basket!” Jolene sat her purse down and inspected the produce arranged in a woven basket with an elegant bow. “They even splurged for a fancy one-not a single orange or apple in it! Oh, I wonder what that is.”
“I want to see it mom!” Brittany ran to her mother, nearly knocking her brother over in the process.
“I wanna try it!” Brian shoved his twin in retaliation as he plucked the fruit out of the basket and began examining it. “Eew! It looks like a pink artichoke. Never mind!”
“You’re such a baby Brian.”
“You’re only five minutes older Britt.”
“Fine. If you’re not a baby, then eat it.” She taunted, daring him with her eyes.
“Okay you two, that’s enough. Go put your suitcases in your rooms.” Mason ordered, trying to sound as fatherly as he could muster after a five hour flight packed full of nonstop sibling squabbles.
Oblivious to his father’s instructions, Brian peeled away at the dragon fruit, revealing a magenta flesh speckled with tiny black seeds. He took a huge bite, juice spilling out over his chin. “See I told you I’m not a baby!” He took another bite to emphasize his point.
Brittany stuck her tongue out. Brian continued to eat sloppily as he realized he actually liked it. “You’re disgusting. I can’t believe I’m related to you.”
“Hey mom, when are we going to Shasta Park? I wanna ride the Coaster of Doom!” Brian asked, spraying flecks of fruit everywhere.
“We already told you honey. Your dad has to go to his meeting in the morning, but we’ll go first thing and he’ll meet us there. Now clean up for bed. You too Brit.”
Jolene sensed someone’s presence and awoke to find Brian standing inches from her face. “Go back to bed. It’s not time to go yet; the sun’s not even up.”
“I don’t feel good. It’s hard to breath and my lips feel all fat.” Jolene walked him out to the hall and flipped on the light.
“Mason get up!”
“What’re you yelling for? I’ve gotta work in the morning.” Mason rubbed his eyes as they strained in the light. Once they adjusted, he couldn’t believe the sight before him. “Whoa! I’ll go find a drug store.”
Brittany smiled at the discovery of her brother’s misery. “What happened to nerd boy’s face? His lips are as fat as the sausages we had for breakfast yesterday!”
“He’s having a reaction to something. We’re guessing it was that weird fruit. Dad bought him some medicine last night, but it’s not working. We’re going to have to skip the amusement park and find Brian a doctor.”
“What! That’s not fair! He ruins everything! Thanks a lot you little creep!” Brittany cried as she ran off to lock herself in the bathroom.
“But MOM! I hate the doctor! And what about the Coaster of Doom! I don’t feel that bad, honest!” Brian’s eyes pleaded with his mother to reconsider, but one look at his lips told her she was doing the right thing.
Jolene tracked down a doctor with an opening and the three of them sat in the waiting room, gloomily wishing their day had gone as previously planned. Jolene’s cell phone startled them all.
“JO! Thank God, you’re safe! The kids-are they ok?” Mason’s frantic tone frightened Jolene.
“We’re fine honey. Bri’s face is still swollen, so I decided to take him to the doctor; it should be our turn soon. What’s the matter?”
“It’s all over the news! I was so scared. I thought I might have lost you guys forever.” His voice cracked as his tears began to overwhelm him.
Jolene whispered for Brittany to turn up the waiting room’s small black and white TV and check the channels to see what he was talking about. She stopped on the third channel.
“Hey mom that’s Shasta Park!” Brian’s eyes grew wide. “Why are the cops there?”
The reporter somberly continued, “This senseless act is indeed a tragedy. We don’t have an official death count yet, but the numbers are feared to be as high as one thousand, as this is one of the parks busiest weekends of the summer…”
No one spoke a word at the sight of utter chaos they were witnessing, but Jolene said a silent prayer of thankfulness for fruit baskets.
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