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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Shrewdness (03/07/05)

TITLE: The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men
By Chris Miller


“Hi, Sweetheart, I’ve got the tickets in my briefcase, even as we speak,” the high-powered
investment broker chatted confidently on his cell phone as he sped down the interstate.

“Sarah doesn’t suspect a thing. She thinks the boss is sending me to Omaha for a dreary
business meeting. Little does she know I’ll be hitting Honolulu with my girlfriend. Pack your
bags and get ready for three days of tropical fun.”

“Mark, are you sure she doesn’t know? I can’t believe she’s that stupid. Hey, why do I care?
The trip sounds great. Should I meet you at the airport?” Samantha continued painting her long
nails... passion red.

“Sounds like a plan, gorgeous. Meet me at Northwest Terminal, front counter, 10:00 a.m.
tomorrow morning sharp. Love you.” He snapped his cell phone shut, threw it on the passenger
seat, and turned up the radio. Passing car after car, he accelerated to match his mood. Finally, he
could break away and have some fun. Thirty years of marriage felt like sandbags pulling him
down. Now, he was throwing those babies away one by one, and his balloon was soaring high.

He couldn’t believe his good fortune in meeting Samantha at the company party. Of course, Sarah
had thought it was a late meeting with a client. No reason to drag her to these social gatherings.
After all, she didn’t care for the drinking, and it was easier to imbibe when she wasn’t looking
over his shoulder with those disapproving eyes. Good grief, ever since she’d become a Christian
she was a total drag. Thankfully, that didn’t have to stop his good times. He felt younger than he
had in twenty years. Aloha, Sarah!

Speaking of Sarah, was that his cell phone? He answered in his business voice, modulating the
excitement down a notch. “Hello, Sarah, what’s new?”

“Hello, Mark, I was just wondering when you were getting home. You know that the kids are
coming over for supper tonight since you’re leaving on your trip tomorrow,” she sounded
peevish, a real downer. He mentally reworked his evening plans in favor of Samantha’s condo
for a pretrip celebration.

“Sarah, you know I have lots of paperwork to do before the trip. Why don’t you have a nice
dinner with them and give my regrets. I need to stop by the office again and pick up something.
Don’t wait up for me. I’m sure they’ll understand.” He lied so naturally he almost believed

“Mark, it just seems that you’re gone so much lately. I know the kids will be disappointed. I’m
disappointed too,” she paused for some response.

“Now, Sarah, you know I want to be there; I just can’t this evening. We’ll make it up later.
See you,” Mark signed off without waiting for any reply.

He decided to surprise Sam. Maybe they could order in and just relax, listen to some soft
music, uncork a bottle of bubbly. The evening took shape in his lustful reverie as he exited off the
interstate. Two blocks and he’d be in her arms, chuckling over the day’s events.

Pulling into the lot beside her garage, he wondered whose Blazer that was. Maybe it was the
neighbor’s. He decided to forgo the formalities of ringing the bell and let himself in with his own
personal key that he kept hidden in his glove compartment.

Kenny G. played softly from the bedroom. Sam was nowhere in sight so he tiptoed up the
stairs. He knew she’d enjoy the surprise. Pushing the bedroom door open, he noticed clothes
strewn across the floor. What he saw next made his blood turn cold. She wasn’t alone, and she
wasn’t idle. He stared blankly at his playmate and walked back down the stairs.

Samantha grabbed her robe and followed him to the living room below. “How dare you come
over unannounced! Who do you think you are!?” Rage contorted her pretty face into something
he didn’t like.

“I can’t believe you’re with someone else. Where’s your loyalty? I’m taking you to Hawaii
tomorrow. I can’t believe you deceived me.” His wounded male ego smarted more than he cared
to admit.

“Mark, what do you expect? There’s no ring on this finger, unlike yours.” She spit the words at
him. “Forget the trip; I’ve lost interest.” She pushed the shocked, shaken man out the door.

Driving aimlessly around the block, he realized he had no place to go. Suddenly, he felt all of
his fifty- plus years.

Galations 6:8 “For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption.” (NKJV)

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This article has been read 760 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Great story and writing. Loved the descriptives. Deceptions begets deception!
Leticia Caroccio03/14/05
Very nicely written. Story flowed from beginning to end and kept me engrossed. It was quite frightening, actually.

I like the way you described marriage like sandbags. To describe marriage like sandbags can be a good thing, as well. A strong marriage, like sandbags, can protect you from painful experience life can throw at you. You don't have to go it alone. Good submission.
Debbie OConnor03/14/05
A great entry. Your story was vividly told and the topic nailed. Terrific.
Lynda Lee Schab 03/14/05
Excellent writing and story-telling. I don't know if "enjoyed it" would be the right words-LOL- but it definitely held my interest.
Well done!
Blessings, Lynda
Kathy Ellis03/14/05
Gracious! What a story! It sure kept my attention.
Sally Hanan03/15/05
Well done. This exposed the selfishness of wanting everyone and everything to please one person alone, and the consequences of living that way.
donna robinson03/16/05
I think the title said it all.
Phyllis Inniss03/17/05
You craftily exposed the selfishness of the husband and how he got his deserts. We reap what we sow.
Kathy Cartee03/18/05
Great story. Well written and drew me in from to start to finish.


Melanie Kerr 03/20/05
Where is the shrewdness? I can see selfishness and reaping what you sow, but I can't see shrewdness. This maybe just me. It certainly kept my attention.
Chris Miller03/20/05
I looked up shrewd in the dictionary. Synonyms are astute, cagey, slick: having or showing clever awareness and resourcefulness. I think this husband showed shrewdness in leading a double life and keeping his affair from his wife.