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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Touch (the sense of touch) (08/05/10)

TITLE: Touched by a Hot Dog
By Troy Manning


Stan had never eaten a talking hot dog before, and he was finding the experience a little unnerving. Although he lived alone, he looked around the kitchen to see if someone was doing ventriloquism.

She said her name was Irma and that she was from a small farm in western Connecticut.

Stan, feeling famished, took another bite. He must have missed her mouth because Irma continued.

“Being a hot dog is no picnic, I tell you,” she tilted her bitten end toward Stan for emphasis. “And you just wouldn’t believe the experience of being processed.”

Stan started to reply to Irma but checked himself. He added more catsup, causing Irma to giggle and writhe.

“I’m very ticklish. Are you?” she teased. Stan took a larger bite.

“I am kosher, you know,” she resumed, despite there remaining so little of her. “How about you, what’s your story? I feel like I hardly know you.”

Stan vacillated between giving Irma an answer and finishing his meal. He decided on the latter.

After chewing and swallowing, Stan sat for a moment; reflecting on his peculiar experience. The silence in his home now felt more acute than ever.

He fixed himself another hot dog. After a couple of bites, Stan asked its name but received no reply. He squirted catsup generously on it, but still nothing.

Stan finally decided on the name Ernie. Like Stan, Ernie was more the quiet type.

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Very different and unique. I was excited as I read it, but perhaps it ended almost too abruptly? I was expecting Irma to continue talking even after being consumed, and maybe offer a life lesson. That's how inventive the story began, because it opens to a wide range of possibilities. Thanks for a light-hearted read.
Ivy Strader08/12/10
Ha ha ha! Very clever! Great job.
Martha Granderson08/14/10
Uhh... it's a cute idea, but I'm not sure what you're getting at with it. The ending seems pretty short and sudden.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/15/10
This was good for a giggle or two. I just wished you had done more with it. I was enjoying myself immensely and felt disappointed when it ended.
Maria Egilsson08/17/10
Troy, this was a unique article and I'm glad I came back to read it (again). It makes me wonder what else is in your mind with this story. It was a bit abrupt but somehow it worked. Your writing is unique and there are layers of meaning and depths that are. I think reading your work as a "collection" would give insight into your quircky take on life and tongue-in-cheek reflections that make us laugh at ourselves as well. Look forward to reading more of your writing...keep it up, it's very good.
william price08/17/10
I love it, short or not. You've managed to inspire me to crave a hotdog. I liked your sentences and sense of humor. Your MC didn't have any mushrooms before the hotdogs, did he? Just wondering. Funny piece. God bless.
Caitlyn Meissner08/17/10
*dies laughing* I loved your opening sentence! Yes, it did make me go "hunh?" but it also kept me reading. A little more content and a little more meaning might not be a bad thing, but I still liked it as it is. Thank you. :)
AnneRene' Capp 08/18/10
Chucke, chuckle and then...LOL!

Admire the originality in your sense of humor with this!

Yes, I too was looking for it to continue, because...I was enjoying it, but that being said....was still a great ending.