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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Agreement/Disagreement (01/19/12)

TITLE: The Key Point
By Allen Povenmire


I had bought my first brand new vehicle, a shiny black pickup truck. It had been washed umpteen times since I drove it off the dealer’s lot, but now that the odometer had surpassed the 3000 mile mark, and it was time for my baby’s first oil change. Loading up the family, we took off for a nearby shopping center. After I dropped the wife and kids off to shop, I headed for the center’s tire and lube garage and drove into the bay where the technicians started immediately going to work on my pride and joy.

Watching from the customer waiting area as my truck was hoisted into the air, I saw the old oil draining from the crankcase. Although it didn’t have the blackness of used oil I was accustomed to seeing from the old heaps I was used to driving, I was glad to be following the manufacturers’ recommendation and having the job done as prescribed. I anxiously observed every movement the workers made until the job was finished, much like a new father taking his son to the barber for his first real haircut.

I went to pay for the work as one of the technicians drove my truck out of the garage area and parked it in the lot beside the garage. Settling the bill and having an extra set of keys made for the truck, I went out, got in the truck, and...it wouldn’t start. The engine cranked and cranked and cranked, but as if it was out of gas, it would not fire. Completely baffled, I went back inside and spoke to the manager, who promptly went out to start my truck himself and got the same results.

The service manager and I then began to exchange viewpoints on the responsibility of the non-starting condition of my practically brand new truck. My thinking was the truck was perfectly fine before his mechanics’ hands laid their hands on it. He made the point that his mechanic drove it out of the bay area and the trouble seemed to occur after I got behind the wheel to go home. We became mutually infuriated, standing nose to nose, eyeball to eyeball, lashing out at one another. I finally said something like, “Look bub, all I did was pay for the job, have an extra key made for the truck, and get in it, and now it won’t start.” “You had a new key made inside?” “Yeah!” The manager looked suddenly like he’d been revealed the hidden secrets of the universe...

Several Bible passages comment on the situation I found myself in with the service manager that day. James 1:19 tells us clearly we “should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (NIV), which neither one of us followed on any count. Both of us could have benefitted from the advice given in Proverbs 15:1, which says, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (NIV). There was plenty of wrath and harsh words being spewed that afternoon, let me tell you. And of course, I must confess, both parties violated “In your anger, do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26, NIV). The worst part for me was my children witnessing the entire fiasco.

...The manager asked me for my old set of keys, which I dug out of my pocket and handed him. He climbed back into my truck and proceeded start the engine, using my old keys. He shut the engine off and got out. “These new trucks have a special micro-chip in the key. The keys we make here will turn the ignition, but without that micro-chip, the engine won’t turn over. Only the dealership can make you those kind of keys” We both looked at each other foolishly, our faces still red from the anger in which we’d been entangled. He turned to leave. I started to get in the truck, but turned back toward him, shouting, “HEY!” “Now what?” he replied, the blood starting to reenter his face. “Well...do I get a my money back for the key?” Neither of us could contain our sheepish grins.

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This article has been read 539 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 01/26/12
This was a very well written story...I enjoyed it and loved the ending. This would have been good in last weeks embarrassment category too! Nicely done.
God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/26/12
This is a great story. It is perfect for a devotion. My biggest suggestion would be don't give away the ending with the title. You did a great job writing on topic and I giggled at the end.
Judy Sauer 01/27/12
A very relatable story. Find ways to shift your words around to prevent Using the word "I" to start most sentences. There were a few run on sentences.

When driving the car to the car shop, I was hoping to read more descriptive words about the MC's reactions to the car. Wording that expose feelings give character to the story.

You kept my interest. Nice work.
Jenna Dawn01/28/12
Nice job on a story that definitely fits the topic.

Make sure you start a new paragraph each time dialogue changes (see your last paragraph).

I was wondering if the MC would make a point (as I would have) that the they shouldn't have made a key for a truck that needs a microchip! They should have known. ;) However, I like the ending and the fact that they grinned at the end and formed a positive connection.

Good job!!!
Jan Chapman01/30/12
Very nice article. Would be a great read in a men's Christian magazine.
Leola Ogle 01/31/12
This hit on such a common problem - a situation is ignited when a simple solution settles it. A key! How clever! Good job! God bless!
C D Swanson 02/02/12
Congratulations on your ribbon! Nice job
God Bless~