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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Digital Detox (04/24/14)

TITLE: Judge Cleaver
By Phillip Cimei


There is nothing that will stop you in your tracks like the sound of squealing tires. There is the initial gasp at the sound; then, the long, almost endless, wait for the outcome. On this occasion, the red Corvette convertible would send a bicycle sailing through the front glass window of the local cafe'.

Helen, the owner, almost spilled coffee on her new friend Bill when the bike landed in the unoccupied window booth. Outside, a tall blond woman exited the convertible; with Bluetooth wrapped around her ear and iPhone in her hand, she rested her iPad on the hood of the car.

The local sheriff pulled up immediately. “Miss are you okay? Can you tell me what happened?”

“Some moron child left his bike in the middle of the road and.......oh will you look at those scratches on my car.”

“ According to those skid marks, Miss, you were off the road and into the parking spot where the bike was hit. You should be glad that a child wasn't on it. You are going to have to visit with the judge.

“What! Are you nuts......I am calling my Lawyer...hey what are you doing?”

The officer took her Bluetooth, iPhone and iPad, loaded her into his vehicle and headed to the courthouse.

Helen turned to Bill and said, “Have you got a minute. You might enjoy this. Lets go down to the court house; she is fix'n to meet Judge Cleaver.”

“Sure, I'm game.”

“All rise for the Honorable Judge Hawkins,” came the announcement.”

“I thought you said his name was Cleaver.”

“Just wait and see.”

“ I understand that you lost control of your car and hit a bicycle parked on the side of the road.”

“ I was just talking to my workers at my boutique and trying to text my banker when an email came up on my iPad. I looked away for just a second. No big deal. I'll pay for the stupid bike and broken window.”

“You apparently don't see the severity of your reckless driving and what could have taken place. I show no leniency to those that abuse the use of electronic equipment while driving. A wise person once said, 'If your eye offends you, pluck it out; if your foot offends you cut it off, and if your hand offends you cut it off.' It appears to me that you have some devices that are controlling your life; I am going to do you a favor. Bailiff get the cleaver and take her away.”

The bailiff came to the front table and picked up the meat cleaver; he went over to the lady and escorted her out of the court room.

The woman kept pleading and asking for her lawyer. She was led into an adjoining room. Then, there was a blood curling scream, “Nooooooooo” and the sound of several chops.

“Bill turned to Helen, his face ashen, his mouth agape, “ He didn't do what I think he did. Did he?”

The door opened and two officers carried the limp woman back into the courtroom and set her down in the defendant's chair. They splashed some water onto her face arousing her. Bill let out a gasp and turned to Helen, “Her hands......her thumbs...I thought he....”. Helen interrupted him with a smile and said, “He doesn't take those words literally, just listen.”

“You have completed phase one of my digital detox program. Now you must do three things before leaving this town. First, you must purchase a new bike; then, you must replace the broken window, and finally, you need to stop by the florist and purchase some flowers, go to the edge of town and lay them at the two white crosses.”

“What crosses?” she asked with disdain.

“Five years ago a young man speeding through town was texting his girlfriend; he crossed the middle line and hit my beautiful wife and precious three year old daughter, killing them.”

The lady's demeanor took a sudden shift from arrogant to morbidly shocked as the gavel came crashing down and she heard, “Court is adjourned.”

She rose baring a look of confusion. After taking care of the first two obligations, she pulled up to two crosses. She placed the flowers and a bag containing the remnants of her devices gently down, knelt by the crosses, covered her face with her hands, and wept bitterly. She trembled uncontrollably as she cried out, “I am soooo sorry my boyfriend did this to you.”

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Milly Born 05/02/14
I love this well-written story. It has an unexpected turn and brings a good message. I would have stopped earlier though, right after “Court is adjourned.” The shock is maximum there and the last paragraph doesn’t add to the story. In my opinion, it even makes the main character less credible, because it left me with the question “Why has she been so arrogant, knowing that her boyfriend already killed two people while making the same mistake?”
C D Swanson 05/03/14
I thought this was a spectacular read, well organized, thought out, and well delivered. I actually saw the entire scene in my mind's eye, unfolding with each word.

Great twist at the end, excellent work here! And completely on topic. I really loved it.

Great tale, you have a gift spinning a good yarn. Keep it up.

God bless~
Toni Babcock 05/04/14
This is a great story. I agree with the comment to leave out the last paragraph to maintain a maximum climactic ending. Keep writing!
Larry Whittington05/05/14
I liked your turn-a-bout ending.

This is a story we should learn - learn from other's mistakes.

A few more descriptive words of the woman as she got out of her car could have been given to show her spirit (not humble).
Tracy Nunes 05/05/14
This had the ring of a tall tale - in a good way. I could see this being told around a campfire with all of the voices. It has that real but stretched quality that is often hard to balance. You balanced it very well. Great job!