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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Predicament (03/01/12)

TITLE: If You're Going to Start a Fire...Stay in the Kitchen
By Laura Manley


The blast from Shelly’s cell phone alarm woke her with a start. She had been known to actually sleep through it, but not this time; and that was good.

She threw her head back to get the last few strands of hair remaining in her face as she reached over to give her nap partner a hug. Her pug, affectionately known as “Piggy,” was very spoiled and especially liked taking naps with anybody that would have her. Both gave one more stretch and off the bed they went in unison.

Out to the kitchen they both scurried; Shelly to prepare dinner for her husband…Piggy to get herself a few laps of water.

Shelly enjoyed cooking and tonight she was going to prepare one of her husband’s favorites…pork chops. She had potatoes ready to bake in the microwave, French cut green beans to cook and a green salad to prepare. That should satisfy her school bus-driving husband.

She carefully chose one of her favorite pans to fry the pork chops in. Shelly loved cooking in butter…well, she didn’t love cooking in butter, but loved cooking her pork chops in butter, so she placed a cube of butter in the pan and turned the stove on high. It was getting late by the looks of the stove clock and she would need to hurry if she was going to have dinner prepared by the time John got home.

“I’ll be right back,” Shelly called over to Piggy who by this time had gotten very comfortable at her special spot on the sofa. She talked to Piggy as though Piggy would care and then left the room for her sewing room, just past the mud room. She was only going to be gone a minute, but if you knew Shelly, who loved to sew, a minute could easily turn into several minutes and sometimes, even hours.

She was just going to put the embroidery attachment onto her sewing machine, wanting to make something for her Pastor’s wife. But as Shelly often did, one more thing and then she would get busy doing whatever she needed to do. She had totally forgotten the butter on the stove.

As Shelly got the hoop ready to place on the embroidery attachment, she smelled something funny! The second she did…she knew what she had done, but not until Shelly entered the dining room did she realize the seriousness of it all.

Shelly opened the door from the mud room and smoke blasted her in the face. She looked into the kitchen where flames were shooting up from the now-blackened pan. She had two initial thoughts; the first, to get the still-active flames somehow smothered; but secondly, and in her opinion just as important, making sure Piggy could breathe.

Shelly didn’t quite know why she was remaining calm; that was so unlike her in the predicament she found herself at the moment. She went over to the stove and carefully, avoiding the flames which had obviously been more involved than what she initially thought, turned the stove knob off. Surprisingly to her, the flames immediately dissipated. Once she knew the flames were out, she took little time to get to her pug which was still on the sofa. She began opening every window in the house including those in the office where she placed Piggy to keep her away from the smoke-filled house.

Once the initial crisis was over, still keeping her mouth covered with a kitchen towel, she realized the smoke alarms had not gone off. She would need to check the batteries as soon as she inspected the damage from the fire.

Shelly went back into the fire-stricken kitchen. ‘Oh, my,’ she thought. ‘I’m lucky I didn’t burn the house down.’ The first thing she noticed was the very visible damage to the over-the-stove microwave. It had changed colors in just a few moments, where once it was white…it was now black and not working. She tried to force the door open. Nothing doing!

She stepped back and surveyed more of the damage. The heat of the flames had charred the cupboards above the microwave and she had smoke damage onto the ceiling as well.

She was lost in thought when all of a sudden she heard…”what on earth happened?” It wasn’t the usual “what’s for dinner?” question she was used to hearing. John was home and Shelly knew she had some real explaining to do.

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This article has been read 376 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 03/10/12
Cute title! Nice story that held my attention throughout. I love the little pug too!

Good job with this.

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/11/12
I like this story. It was a fun read. Just last week, I put pasta on the stove and took the dog out for a quick walk but it was nice so it ended up being a 40 minute one. Thankfully, the pasta hadn't burned and the house was safe. I could so relate to the MC. The title is quite and catchy but I wonder if it gave away too much of the story. You did a nice job staying on topic while starting my day off with a giggle.
Nancy Bucca03/12/12
Oh, that's funny in the end when her husband walks in. I must say, here is another story I can relate to. I too have forgotten things on the stove. I think I'm doing better at it, but how easy it is to say "I'll just be a minute doing this other." Next thing you know... God willing I'll never have an accident like this one!
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/14/12
I was glad that the dog was safe and the house didn't burn down in your story!
Geoffrey johnstone03/15/12
I liked the story. We've all been there. Although I am not sure what the predicament was.
Perhaps having to explain things to the husband.

Connie K Cameron03/15/12
I liked your story. You can write!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/15/12
Congratulations for placing 10th in level 1!