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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: fathers (06/06/05)

TITLE: "Going Up?"
By Madonna Hooper
06/11/05


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Mariah Steen stepped confidently into the elevator. She had been a star employee at the esteemed Powell and Fritz Corporation for fifteen years and rumor had it the President, Mr. Ronald Fritz, planned to make her Vice President.

Mr. Fritz had asked to meet with Mariah today at 9:00 a.m. It was now 8:40 a.m. She smiled, thinking how impressed Mr. Fritz would be when she walked into his office eighteen minutes early.

“Going up Miss?”

Mariah smiled at the innocent question which today held special meaning for her.

“Yes indeed. I am going up. Floor 39 thanks.”

The elevator climbed slowly, like an exhausted caterpillar. Both occupants stared lucidly at the silver doors.

“What’s your name Miss?”

The question caught Mariah off-guard. For the first time she noticed the other occupant. With thinning grey hair, slumped shoulders and clothes too loose for his skeletal form, Mariah wondered what business he had with the prestigious Powell and Fritz Corporation.

“Mariah.” She answered abruptly, not wishing to engage in conversation.

“Hmm, what a lovely name. Not very common is it? Apart from the singer I’ve never heard of it before. So, do you sing Mariah?” The old man laughed at his joke, waiting for a response.

If she had a dollar for every time she heard that! And everyone thought they were the first to come up with it. This time she did not even bother to give her usual forced smile.

“So Mariah, do you have children?”

“Yes.” Impatient with all the questions, Mariah sighed and tapped loudly on her briefcase.

“And how old are they?” The old man smiled kindly a twinkle in his eye.

Mariah looked at her watch and sighed. "What’s wrong with this stupid elevator. I could have walked up faster than this!”

“What’s your rush my dear? Life is to be enjoyed don’t you think? Every moment is precious. Now tell me about your children.”

“Look, I don’t mean to be rude but I’m not interested in small talk. I don’t want to talk about my hilarious name, my children, the meaning of life or stopping to smell the roses, O.K.?” She breathed heavily, trying to contain herself. This nosy man really knew how to push her buttons.

The old timer shook his head and sighed, “That’s too bad. That’s really too bad.”

She reached forward and pushed ‘39’ three times, believing her insistence would cause the elevator to acquiesce. As soon as she reached Mr. Fritz’ office she would call security and have them dispose of the annoying old man.

Standing close to the door with her back to the man, she epitomized the face of success. Startling good looks combined with confidence, intelligence, experience and business savvy made her highly desirable to any company.

The elevator ‘pinged’. Mariah sighed and stepped onto the hallowed ground of Floor 39. She could hardly contain her excitement. Not only were the surroundings more salubrious than she could have imagined, Mr. Fritz himself had come to greet her!

As he walked towards her she extended her hand. “It’s such a pleasure to be .....”

Her hand fell to her side as Mr. Ronald Fritz walked past her and embraced the old man who had also embarked at Floor 39.

“Dad, it’s been so long. An entire three hours I would say.”

Both men grinned childishly and laughed. Ronald playfully punched his father on the arm.

Mariah stepped backwards, wishing she could disappear through the floor.

“Mariah, I take it you’ve met my dad, Ronald Fritz Senior? It’s a well-kept secret but he actually owns 68% of the company and is my number one business advisor. I wouldn’t be where I am without my dad.”

Ronald Fritz Junior continued to joke with his father and Mariah’s face grew more pale with every passing moment.

“So dad, how did stage one of the interview go? Did she pass?”

The old man ran his fingers through his thinning hair, looked sadly at his son and shook his head.

Without a word, Mariah stepped back into the elevator and watched the silver doors encase her.

‘Going down,’ she thought to herself. ‘I’m going down.’


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This article has been read 986 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Carol Shaffron06/14/05
Exposed....this is too funny and yet so very, very sad. It exposes the impatience and snobbishness resident in so many of us. Beautifully written, incredibly succint "sermon" in a funny story. Develop the talent the Master has given you.
Shirley Thomas06/14/05
This is a wonderful story, as well as a reminder that we never know the impact of our "chance" meetings with others. GREAT!
Christine Rhee06/14/05
This is really marvelous!! Congratulations--well done!!
pam bryan06/14/05
I loved this piece! You captured the situation and the lesson well.
Venice Kichura06/14/05
WOW!
Joyce Simoneaux06/14/05
You took us from the top all the way to the bottom with your character and taught a very good lesson as well. Excellent writing!
Shari Armstrong 06/14/05
OOooo -I like it :)
Lynda Lee Schab 06/15/05
Bravo! Bravo! A wonderfully written story with a great twist at the end. Absolutely loved it!
Blessings, Lynda
Amy Verlennich06/15/05
My husband and I were reading this and you had us both in stiches! This serves as a reminder in so many areas... Thank you! I loved this! Would make a fun drama for church! Loved how you tied it into fathers as well.
Sally Hanan06/16/05
This was sheer genius. You made me laugh a lot! Join us on the message boards, we need you there:)
Benjamin Stephens06/16/05
Very nicely done - a perfect scene in perhaps a larger story centered around, Dad I think. Perfect hint on the boards as well. Ben
darlene hight06/16/05
Very much enjoyed this! Be careful- you may be entertaining angels unaware.
Pat Guy 06/16/05
very well written and so enjoyable to read! Good job! Very believable1 :)
Kyle Chezum06/16/05
Very good! You definitely have talent. Keep writing, please!
Amy Michelle Wiley 06/17/05
That was great! I loved it! Well written.
Suzanne R06/18/05
Oh dear!!! Well done on an excellent piece. One of my favourite lines was: The elevator climbed slowly, like an exhausted caterpillar." You wrote this very well.
Michelle Burkhardt06/19/05
Great title! Great Story! I had to get in line to make a comment. I thought the man was her interviewer. Great twist making him Dad and business advisor. Fantastic description. a winner in my book.
Debbie OConnor06/20/05
Congratulations Madonna! I loved this piece. :)
Tesiri Moweta06/20/05
Shouldn't we all be always careful how we treat others? we sure should. Thanks for sharing this and congrats!
Anthony Tophoney06/20/05
Maddona,

Might Mariah's frustrating association with a famous singer stem from any real life experiences? Hmmmm...

Congratulations on a superbly written entry and a well deserved 1st place finish!
Val Clark06/20/05
This works really well for me. We live in a world where judgments about whom we will and won’t relate to are based solely on appearances and this is a timely reminder.

Gabrielle Morgan06/20/05
A very well written story with great wisdom. So often people are swayed by appearance without looking for the depth of a person. Well done!
David Stewart06/22/05
Congrats on the well deserved win!! What a great story. GREAT writing. I loved reading this. Fantastic job Madonna!

Dave
Theresa Harvard Johnson06/30/05
WOW! This is the best short I've read in a long time! What a lesson ....
Deborah Porter 07/10/05
Hello Madonna - well, what a privilege it has been to see you climb the ranks in the Challenge each week. Your perseverance definitely has paid off. This was a terrific story.

Also, I must tell you that you did very well in the ratings for the Best of the Best awards - "Going Up" actually placed 6th overall. Quite an achievement.

So if you haven't done already, it's time to move on up to Level 3. I am really looking forward to seeing you go from strength to strength in the Challenge. Love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator)



Bill Ebert07/21/05
Wonderful story. Even though I figured out the ending early in the story, I was kept reading all the way till the end. Your style of writing is very fluid and animated. Thanks, KEEP WRITING!
cindy combs07/31/05
As someone who detests small talk, I could sympathise with Mariah. It also gave me a new perspective. Awesome story!