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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Telephone (07/17/08)

TITLE: Karen's doing what?
By Scott Sheets


“Hey, Karen. So what are you going to do now that you’ve graduated?” John asked, fully donned in cap and gown.

“Well, I really want to get into clothing design. I was thinking of a applying for a position at Columbia Sportswear.”

“Oh, that’s cool. I’m going to be the next American Idol.” John raised his chin and struck a pose as if anticipating a wave of cheers. “I’m driving up to Jersey for auditions next month.”

Karen raised her eyebrows and with a quirky grin replied, “Good luck with that.”

“No luck needed,” John said as he caught a glimpse of Steve out the corner of his eye. “Hey, I gotta talk to Steve. See ya later, Karen.”

John rushed toward his partner in classroom crimes. “Steve, we did it man.” The clap of their high five faded into the roar of conversation around them.

“Hey, was that Karen you were talking to?” Steve asked. “What’s she going to be doing now?”

“Get this. She’s going to be designing sports jerseys in… Oh where was it? Columbia. That’s right. Columbia.”

“No way. I never expected her to move so far away.”


“Thanks for coming to my open house, Emily,” Steve said as he gave Emily a hug.

“So where are you going to college?” Emily inquired.

“I’m going out to Denver, but that’s nothing like where Karen’s going.”

“Really. Where’s she heading to?”

“John told me she’s going to Columbia, South America.”

“What’s she doing there?”

“Oh, it was something with sports uniforms. I don’t remember. Maybe she’s laundering for a soccer team or something. Must be good money.”


“Cindy, guess what I heard about Karen.” Emily sat cross-legged on her bed with the phone sealed to her ear.

“What? Tell me.”

“Steve said that she’s laundering money for a team in South America. I bet they’re a drug ring.”

“You can’t be serious,” Cindy exclaimed. “Karen selling drugs in South America?” Cindy’s little sister, Abby, was passing by Cindy’s door at that moment and ventured out to the living room. Her father reclined in his plush, burgundy chair with the daily paper in front of him.

“Abby,” he asked, “what’s your sister all worked up about?”

“She said that Karen’s going to be selling drugs down south.”

“Oh, her dad must have got her a position with his pharmaceutical company in Texas. She’ll probably end up marrying some cowboy down there.”


Abby put on a rhinestone necklace to complement the silver glittered purse by her side and promenaded around Erica’s bedroom. The two girls giggled as they mimicked their perception of womanhood. Erica’s older brother, Ryan, peaked his head in the door and interrupted their play.

“Hey, Abby. What’s your sister doing this fall?”

“She doesn’t know yet,” Abby said. “But I know Karen’s going to a pharm…a pharm…a pharm something down in Texas. She’s going to marry a cowboy.”

“Really? Karen working on a ranch!”

Ryan headed downtown to meet some friends at the mall. He pulled open the oversized glass door and Susan came bounding out with an armful of packages.

“You need some help, Sue.”

“No thanks, I got it. So what are you up to, Ryan?”

“Nothing much really, but did you hear what Karen’s doing?”

“No, what?”

Ryan placed his thumbs in his front jeans pockets, bowed his legs, and said in a southern drawl, “She’s going to be brandin’ cow hides in the Lone Star state.”


“That’s what I heard,” Ryan said and then galloped off into the mall.

Susan, meanwhile, meandered toward her vehicle in the parking lot while perusing the seventy percent off wardrobe she acquired. In the midst of her retail reveling, she nearly knocked over her home economics teacher.

“Excuse me, I’m so sorry– Mrs. Murphy. It’s you. Are you O.K.?”

“I’m fine, Susan. I’m fine. How’s the summer going?”

“Great. Sure glad to be done with school.”

“What are your plans for the fall?”

“Well, I’m taking some classes here at West Tech. But– you know Karen, right?”


“I just heard that she plans on designing a brand of leather clothes in some ‘star’ state. Probably California.”


Karen answered the phone, “Hello, this is Karen.”

“Hi, Karen. This is Mrs. Murphy.”

“Hi, Mrs. Murphy.”

“I heard you want to get into clothing design on the west coast. You should apply at Columbia Sportswear. I have a friend who works there.”

“That’s exactly what I was planning on doing.”

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This article has been read 702 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Connie Allen07/26/08
We all need to listen more accurately before we repeat what we think we heard, right? Loved the story, reminded me of a game we called 'gossip' which I recently learned from some writers that the game my generation called 'gossip' was, in another generation called
"the telephone game".....LOL
Patty Wysong07/27/08
Excellent! I think you really nailed the topic with this take! I was able to follow along without any hitches and I chuckled throughout at the way it changed. Great job!
Helen Murray07/29/08
It all sounded so convincing! Great story.
Mary Hackett07/30/08
I love how this came flawlessly full-circle. It was easy to follow and very entertaining...a cute idea for a children's book since there are so many different scenes. Great job!
Joy Faire Stewart07/31/08
Scott, congratulations on your EC. This is very creative and delightful.
Patricia Turner07/31/08
Scott, when I read this last night I knew it was a winner! I love the way the story progressed and how it looped right back around to a great ending! A big CONGRATULATIONS on a most deserved win!
Betsy Markman07/31/08
Yes, I remember playing "The Telephone Game" as a child. This brought back many fun memories. A fun read.
Catrina Bradley 07/31/08
Super take on "telephone". Congratulations - a well deserved EC. :)