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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Embarrassment (01/12/12)

TITLE: Herb Forgot
By Ken Ebright


Breakfast, politics and checkers was the order with the guys on Saturday morning at the diner in Meyer, Minnesota, a small town of 150. It was one of those towns if you sneezed everyone knew about it.

It was the weekend before Christmas. Herb decided to pick up the check for the boys. You could say that he was in the holiday spirit. He shuffled up to pay, as the cashier rang up the bill, he opened his wallet to find it empty.

"Ahhh…ummm I think my cell phone is ringing." He staggered over in front of the restroom as red blotches formed on his neck.

His shoulders dropped as he pushed the speed dial button on his phone. He looked over his shoulder at the cashier. "Honey, I forgot to stop at the ATM this morning. I loaned you the credit card so you could go to the city and shop. I offered to pay for the guys’ breakfasts. Brandy, the town gossip, is running the cash register. I’m a millionaire executive for a Fortune 500 company. What’s gonna happen when this gets out? Everyone will think I‘m broke or a deadbeat. You gotta get here quick."

"You‘re lucky. I was just leaving to go shopping. I’ll get there as soon as I can."

Herb sulked back to the cashier. "Herb, when are you going to pay, next June?" some of the patrons snickered.

Herb gulped loudly. "Brandy, if you don't mind, I want to sit, relax and have more coffee. I'll pay you later."

Brandy tapped her fingers on the counter. "Sorry, but I already rung it up. I can't void it. You gotta pay NOW!"

Herb's face turned red. "I want to pay, but not right now. Can't I just sit and relax for a while?"

Brandy smirked, "Sure, you can relax, but you need to pay now. There are other people who are waiting. I can’t void your transaction."

Herb paced for a few seconds. "What's wrong, Herb?" asked Brandy.

Herb looked like he was about to faint, "I…I d-do…n't h-ha…ve any m-money."

Brandy laughed, "You're a millionaire and ya don't have the money. Just wait till the rest of the town hears this."

Herb clenched his jaw. "My wife is going to be here shortly with the money. Please don't tell anyone about this. Could this be our little secret? Why does anyone in this town need to know?"

Brandy had a smirk on her face. "It's too late, everyone here has seen what just happened. I don’t have to tell anyone anything. Everyone here can do my dirty work for me."

Bill, one of the guys walked over. "Herb, I'll take care of the check."

"Thank you, Bill, but my wife is on her way."

Just then his wife showed up and gave Herb the credit card. "Here you go, Honey."

"Brandy, here's my credit card. Do you see it?" Herb held it about two inches from her face. "I can pay you now!"

Brandy laughed as she swiped the card through the machine. "That will be $90.67."

"Brandy, I'm going to try really hard not to get mad at you. Add a $25 tip to the check."

Herb hugged his wife and both of them walked out of the diner.

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This article has been read 328 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Ruth Tredway 01/19/12
You did a great job of describing small town life. I could identify with Herb's predicament.
C D Swanson 01/20/12
This was a wonderful story and it made me smile. Good job, and well written.
God bless~
Michele Fleming 01/20/12
I know this feeling! Good job and good luck!
Jenna Dawn01/21/12
Nice story telling!

A few small things to consider. In this sentence: "It was one of those towns if you sneezed everyone knew about it." You need the word "where" before the word "if". Was it only one of those towns IF you sneezed, or was it a town WHERE you sneezed?

I like some of your showing, like "he staggered" and "Brandy tapped her fingers".

Instead of saying, "What's wrong, Herb?" asked Brandy. Tell us what Brandy is doing. "What's wrong Herb?" Brandy tilted her head and placed her hand on her hip. Or, more interesting, Brandy chewed her gum and blew a bubble. This adds interest and draws the reader in.

Your ending could use a little more interest. Perhaps the MC could try to bribe Brandy into keeping her mouth shut by paying her an exorbitant amount of money. Maybe he slips her a $100 bill!

These are just a few suggestions. Your story was definitely on topic and you held my attention throughout. Nice job!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/21/12
You are making progress. I see some of the suggestions were similar to mine. I know you've been working hard on doing more showing than telling. Just push past those comfort walls and you will keep improving.
Linda Goergen01/23/12
This was cute but a couple of things didn’t seem realistic to me. One why would he tell his wife on the phone, “I’m a millionaire executive for a Fortune 500 company.” She would know his money situation and he certainly wouldn’t have to mention it to her. Second, why not just tell Brandy he forgot to stop at the ATM, everyone forgets sometimes. It wouldn’t make sense for anyone to think anyone of his position was broke just because he forgot to stop and get money. Besides if he lived in a town so small everyone knew when someone sneezed, if he had money problems everyone would have known it. A more realistic embarrassment line could have been that his wife wasn’t home and he had to have a police office accompany him to the bank to get the money or something like that. But this had great bones and fit the topic well.

diana kay01/25/12
i liked it :-) I took my 1 yr old daughter out to costa coffee once and we had coffee and lunch and then when i went to pay my card wasnt accepted at the till! I had no cash on me and my daughter had to use her card.... and didnt she rub it in :-) Great story and as I say i can relate. Only one comment it didnt need the final line !