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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "It's No Use Crying over Spilt Milk" (without using the actual phrase or literal exampl (02/07/08)

TITLE: Red Eye Express


At the firework stand, Sam and his buddies quickly got in line. They all talked at once, pointing out the different rockets and firecrackers. “Big Bad Mudder”, “Heat Wave”, and “Pro Comet” and other names were blastered all over the inside of the tent. The colorful pictures showed fantastic explosions of sparkles and fizzles. Sam’s eleven-year-old eyes took in everything. Then he noticed one sign in particular. It showed a rocket exploding in air not once, but twice. Cool, he thought. That was the one he wanted. But there was something he hadn’t counted on. The price was all the money he had in his pocket.

His mom’s voice whispered to him, ‘Buy only a few small fireworks, Sam. Remember, you've waited and worked a long time to have enough money for the CD."

“Come on Sam, move,” said his friend Joe. “We got to get our stuff.”

“Ok.” Sam said, coming out of his trance.

“Hey, Sam, your basket’s empty. Aren’t you going to get smoke bombs?”

“Well, yeah. I guess. But I really like that.” He pointed to the banner and read, “Red Eye Express. Shoots up a huge fan shape tail, glittering red pearls, with blue and green crackling tails, ends with a five shot red and green dahlia rain.” Sam didn’t know what a dahlia rain was, but it sounded awesome.

“Cool! Get it Sam. Everyone will think you’re the man!”

“Oh, I don’t know. It’s a lot of money.”

“Yeah, but it’ll be so cool. You’ve got the money. Get it.” And the other boys joined urging Sam to buy the Red Eye Express.

Walking home with his one item and very little change in his pocket, Sam had a funny feeling in his stomach. The guys went on and on how cool his Red Eye Express rocket would look. It was so awesome, they’d save his for last, they decided. They even offered to share some of their fireworks, since he wasn’t able to get anything else. It made Sam feel a little better.

That evening, the night was calm, no moon; perfect for fireworks. Loud noise and flashes of bright lights in the sky left no doubt of the 4th of July celebration going on at the county fair grounds. Several families had blankets spread on the ground and laid back to watch the air show.

Sam showed his dad the rocket. Dad didn’t say much, just looked at Sam, the rocket and back at Sam. The gut feeling got worse. He felt like he had done something wrong. But what? He earned his money and he could spend it on whatever he wanted. He knew he had said he wanted a CD, but this rocket was way cooler than that. And when everyone watched his rocket, they’d say ‘he’s the man!’

At last it was his turn, time for the Red Eye Express. Everyone was quiet. Sam put the match to the fuse and quickly ran out of harms way. It hissed angrily. The flame sputtered and then almost went out. Sam’s heart stopped beating. It’s not going to work. All my money and it’s not going to work, raced through his mind.

WHOOSH! The rocket screamed to life. It raced into space.

POP! The first stage activated and a softball size of red color appeared. Then it changed to blues and greens with drifting tails of glitter.

POP! POP! POP! Showers of color quickly brightened the entire sky.

And then…it was over.

The people clapped expressing their approval, then started for home. The big night was over.

Sam sat stunned. It was over so fast. Sure it was pretty. But now what? His friends had left him, the evening was over and all his money was gone.

“Sam?” It was his dad. “Come on, time to head home.”

“Oh Dad, “ he sobbed loudly. “I..I..my money…gone” Sam sat down and put his head in his hands, his heart broken.

Kneeling down, his dad put a hand on his shoulder. “Son, its OK. You got caught up in all the hype. We all do that sometimes. Not much you can do now about it. Let’s go home. We can talk about it tomorrow.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
LauraLee Shaw02/14/08
Great example and a very exciting story. Thanks for sharing!
Edy T Johnson 02/15/08
I think your title is the best of the best this week, since red eyes certainly fits with crying!
You write well and on topic and you know how to keep your reader entertained. Good job!
Seema Bagai 02/16/08
Vivid descriptions in this piece. Great story.
c clemons02/17/08
Good story.
Joanne Sher 02/22/08
Congratulations, Emma, on placing 15th in your level with this piece. Great work!