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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Elephant in the Room (12/05/13)

TITLE: A Green Smile
By Barb Burke


Ashley stared, horrified, into the mirror. She could not believe no one told her about the piece of green broccoli stuck in her front teeth! It was now just over an hour since lunch. Her face drained as she recalled meeting the new clients. She smiled quite a bit during her attempts to get off on the right foot with them. Ughhhh!

She stood at the sink retracing her steps, carefully making note of everyone she spoke to or smiled at. There was no way on earth they could miss such a huge bush of green foliage lodged smack in between her front teeth.

As she walked back to her desk, she neared April’s cubicle. Ashley had lunch with April, and they sat across from each other discussing the new clients coming in and how to set up the new account. April said nothing about the obnoxious green growth.

Ashley grunted in disgust. Really, how could anyone actually look someone straight in the face and pretend such a disaster wasn’t really there? She could feel the heat of anger and knew her face was probably growing redder by the step as she walked through the hallway.

She rounded the corner near April’s desk and stood there for a minute. Finally, April looked up and smiled. “What’s up Ash? How’d it go? Do they seem nice enough?”

Just as Ashley opened her mouth to dice up her friend, April’s intercom buzzed. “April, there’s a delivery up front for you.” April stood and smoothed her fitted skirt, telling Ashley she would be back in a flash.

As she walked down the hallway, Ashley saw the toilet paper trailing gracefully behind April. It fluttered around, permanently fixed to the bottom of one of her expensive black pumps. Ashley started to open her mouth to call after her, but shut it instead. With a smile of satisfaction, she went back to her desk.

Ashley had a moment to calm down and the guilt started to set in. She should have said something to April. The two voices in her head kept trying to oust each other from her thoughts, each with reasons why they were right.

Amy had it coming to her! Is that any way to treat a friend? Exactly, Amy should have told me so I didn’t make a fool of myself! So your pride is more important than your friendship?

Ashley had not been a good friend. She knew her pride had made her want to see her friend experience how she felt. That was not how God wanted her to treat others. She got up and walked past the conference room. As she passed, the two new clients looked up and Ashley flashed a foliage-free smile. She went to find her friend.

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This article has been read 334 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Larry Whittington12/13/13
Great story. We could "see" it all.

We all need stories like this to remind us to treat others like we would like to be treated. (Love them like we would like to be loved.)

It was such a good, simple lesson or example that I forgot to look for ways to improve. Sorry.
Sheldon Bass 12/16/13
Great message. "Do unto others..." Perhaps it would have been even more powerful if Ashley's conflict between her normal human response to her friend's unknown dilemma (the TP) and what she knew was right to do was brought out more. You could have lingered right there, showing the conflict raging inside her. Just a thought.

Good job of relating a realistic incident. Keep up the good work.
Judith Gayle Smith12/16/13
Ah - the old "tit for tat" situation. Well presented and a delight to read. . .

Please "throw a brick" for others to enjoy, comment and support your writing:


Hebrews 10:26-31 KJV
Judith Gayle Smith12/19/13
What a joy! Congratulations on your well-deserved win!

Love & Hugs in, through and because of Jesus, the Christ,

Judi Hebrews 10:26-31 KJV
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/20/13
I love this story because it is so realistic. Many of us have those flashes of pettiness. It's important to remember what it feels like to walk a mile in another's shoe. (especially with toilet paper dragging behind!)

I noticed you did the same exact thing I did this week--switch your character's name from April to Amy. I reread mine and read it allowed and still missed it until it was too late. If I hadn't procrastinated and waited to the last minute, I would have let the story set for a bit and reread it with fresh eyes.

The only other red ink I'd recommend is allow your wonderful words to do your exclaiming for you and save exclamation points for dialog. Also contractions like couldn't instead of could not (in the first line) will sound more natural as it seems to be coming from your MC's thoughts and most people speak with contractions. (It's hard because in school it's drilled into our head not to use contractions in formal writing, but in stories like these it sounds unnatural. :))

You did a wonderful job on this and I'm eagerly awaiting more stories from you next year as you move up to level two. You have a nice way with making your characters come to life. You definitely were on topic and did it in a way we can all relate to.

Over the break, check out Jan's Writing Basics in the forums. She gives excellent advice and has many threads that are helpful for all levels of writers.
Bea Edwards 01/07/14
Nice way to present a timeless truth. Congratulations on your 1st place ribbon.