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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: In and Out (04/30/09)

TITLE: Static On The Radio
By CJ Raney


The bright sun ducked in and out of the pearl, white clouds on a warm spring day. Elizabeth sat on her back porch, watching her son, Michael, play in the backyard. The radio crackled in and out of tune, but she hardly noticed since she was so distracted. All these months of stress would be over with today.

Elizabeth heard the doorbell ring. “Michael, I’ll be right back.” She walked inside to the front door.

“I thought you might need a friend today.” Sara smiled at Elizabeth, showing her the plate full of warm chocolate chip cookies. “Also, Jonathon has been driving me crazy, wanting to come see Michael.” Sara looked down at her son who could barely stand still.

Elizabeth opened the screen door. “Come on in. Michael is out back playing.”

Jonathon ran out the sliding glass doors calling to his friend. “Michael! I’m here!”

Elizabeth and Sara followed behind him, setting the cookies on the table. “Okay, boys, stay where we can see you.”

“Okay,” they yelled in unison, as they headed toward their makeshift fort they built last time.

As they sat where they could keep their eyes on the boys, Sara handed Elizabeth a cookie.
“I know these last few months have been really tough on you.”

“Just a little.” Elizabeth answered as she poured two glasses of iced tea.

“Everything is working out, right?”

“Well, we’re finished with the IRS audit. The agent agreed that the ranch is a legitimate business and not just a hobby. So nothing changed on our return.”

“That is great news! Hopefully, they will leave you alone for a long time.”

“I wish this other issue would be over with soon. It sure has been a long few months with very little sleep.”

Elizabeth’s husband, Mark, had his own business. He was a very generous man who tried to help everyone out. So when Bro. Jack from church needed a job, he gave him one. Well, everything didn’t quite work out as planned and he had to let him go. It’s been a very tense situation with church and the fact that he coached Michael’s little league team. A couple months went by and Mark received a letter in the mail, stating that a complaint had been filed against him with the labor board. He couldn’t believe it when he saw the name of the employee, Bro. Jack.

“Hopefully, everything will go okay at the mediation today. We’ve prayed really hard that it would be over with soon.”

Elizabeth stood and started pacing along the back porch. “That is what everyone keeps telling me. That it will be over with when the court stuff is done. But, to me, that is just the beginning.” The tears started to flow. “When will I ever be able to have a conversation without crying?”

Sara walked over to her, putting her arm around Elizabeth’s shoulders. “What do you mean?”

“The healing is the hardest part. How do I get passed all the hurt feelings? It’s affected so many different parts of our lives. I know what I need to do, but I’m not there emotionally.”

“It’s very hard to separate your feelings and do what is right. It’s like that radio playing. The static comes in and messes up the song.” Sara pointed to the radio. “God tells us what he wants us to do and then we let our feelings creep in and push out what God told us.”

Elizabeth looked over at the radio, sniffling and giggling at the fact she just now noticed the radio was out of tune. “The last thing I want is for there to be a rift in the church because I can’t forgive.”

“It will take some time. But, you need to forgive for the healing to even start.”

Elizabeth leaned her head over onto Sara’s shoulder. “Thanks for coming over today. I really needed the shoulder and the cookies.”

The phone started ringing. Elizabeth fumbled for it, glancing at the screen.

“It’s Mark.” Taking a deep breath she closed her eyes. “Hello.”

“It’s over.” Mark said.

With a half smile to her friend, she thinks to herself, “That part is.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Lollie Hofer05/10/09
Great story with a powerful message. Well done. The interaction between the characters felt natural. The dialogue also seemed natural as well.
Sunny Loomis 05/13/09
Good dialogue in this piece. Could almost smell the cookies too. Well done.