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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Christmas Carols/Carolling (10/02/08)

TITLE: The Arrival
By Craig Lankford


This wasn't the time . . . . . this . . . this . . . couldn't have been planned any more inconveniently if some higher deity had tried! It's the holiday season and my company is on a tight schedule on an even tighter project. This project was already a rush job, then the client moved up the schedule! At Christmastime too! What were they thinking? Over half my team has already gone on vacation and most of them refuse to come back in. Sheesh! But the real kicker came in the form of phone calls from my wife. Yes, I love her, don't get me wrong, but this project is huge for my company. If we ace this one, not only will it make my company a mint, but it will put us on the industry's map of big time players. It could mean significant advancement for key players in the company. I don't want to brag, but . . . . This project could be a big boost for my career . . . . for us.

This whole pregnancy thing. It really was her idea. Of course I want kids . . . . someday. It would be great to have a boy to do guy stuff with and all that, but I wanted to wait a little while longer. You know, get really established in my career – her career too! We had only been married and in our fields a couple of years when she surprised me one afternoon with the news. I was shocked. Pregnancies should last a lot longer just so the guy can have a chance to get used to the idea. I didn't even get the whole nine and a half months. Jenny was already more than three months pregnant when she found out. And the kid wants to pop out early too!?!

I told my secretary, Beth, er, the office receptionist since she is all the guys' secretary too, to hold all my calls this evening. We called in pizzas and Red Bull sodas just so we could keep driving on through until late tonight. Jenny had first called around mid-day but I didn't have time to talk, and Beth took a message. I was sure Jenny was calling to remind me of the Christmas Eve service she wanted to go to tonight. Church! Yes, I go with her when I can – you know, to be a good, supportive husband. Some guys from that church keep calling me, wanting me to join some “men's fellowship.” Really, I'm busy.

Jenny called a few hours later and I told Beth to let her know I would call her soon. My team was making great progress. Several hours and a few phone calls later Beth whacked me on the head with a pile of paperwork. At least it was the pile we had already gone through. Beth said if I didn't get on the phone with my wife this time, she would strangle me with the phone cord. Jenny was at the hospital and the labor wouldn't stop. She needed me there. How could this kid come a month and a half early? I'm not even used to the idea of Jenny being pregnant, much less fatherhood. Before I knew it, Beth pushed me out the door and halfway to my car. So I headed for the freeway, and the hospital. I'm gonna name the kid “Eve,” after the woman who brought Man down. I still can't believe this.

There was a nurse waiting at the Emergency Room door for me. I wasn't expecting that. She told me there were problems, complications. She charged down the hallway like the bulls of Pamplona were hot on her heels. I followed as quickly as I could. I awkwardly struggled into the gown and cap they threw at me. I squirmed between two nurses to hold Jenny's hand. Jenny was a bit out of it but she recognized me. The next ten or fifteen minutes were a blur, then the doctor held up what looked like a little red monkey.

A nurse cleaned the little monkey, then weighed her. When the nurse turned around, I got my first real look . . . . . at my daughter . . . . my . . . little girl. She seemed so tiny . . . and fragile. I couldn't take my eyes off her. The nurse placed her gently on Jenny's chest. When I reached my hand out, my baby girl grabbed my finger. Jenny looked up with a tired face and asked what we should name her.

“Carol,” I whispered.

“Yes,” Jenny smiled softly, “our Christmas Carol.”

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This article has been read 461 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Robyn Burke10/09/08
This one made me laugh out loud-- in all the right places... the bulls of Pampaloma on her heels, the little red monkey.. and of course, the heart melted right along with the harried dad as he sees his little girl for the first time. Good work!
Jan Ackerson 10/09/08
Wonderful, humorous voice...I love the self-deprecating humor.

I'm thinking this will be marked down for being on-topic, as it's not really about Christmas Caroling or Christmas Carols (despite its very clever twist).

You're a very gifted writer; I expect to see you moving up in the ranks soon.
Karlene Jacobsen10/09/08
I loved this! It really held my attention.
Anne Linington10/10/08
I agree about it not being quite on topic, though see how you incorporated it in the naming of the child. I enjoyed the telling and humour of the story.
Charla Diehl 10/11/08
This is humorous and the voice of the MC was truly believeable. Glad his attitude changed when he saw his "Christmas Carol."

Yea, not exactly on topic, but I liked this all the same.
Marlene Austin10/13/08
How sweet. :) Nice writing on the mood of this story - could feel for the "harried" MC. :)
Yvette Roelofse10/17/08
I enjoyed reading this -- the humour, the tenderness in the end. Beautifully told.