Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Blowout (04/28/11)
TITLE: THE BUBBLE GUM BLOWING CONTEST
By Jean Beier
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The two twelve year olds had completed the arm wrestle competition the day before. Stella’s thin arm paled to Jack’s muscular one, yet Stella smashed Jack’s arm down on the tree stump that they knelt at. The scarlet flush flowed down the boy’s cheek deep into his neck, matching the red of his hair. “Beginners luck!” shouted Jack. Stella, with much pride and confidence, relented with “best out of three, wins title.” Two more wrestles later, Stella had won the title, Arm Wrestle Champ of Newbery Township. Pride oozed from her demeanor. She felt unbeatable, which brought about the series of challenges to be held the next day . . . the blowout day.
The next morning, several twelve year olds stood looking down at Stella with her long blonde hair tied in a ponytail, as she hunched over the marble at the circled line drawn in the dirt. The marble was posed comfortably in her forefinger with her thumb in shooting position, ready to be shot at the last two marbles in the competition circle. The sparkling red marble belonged to Stella, and the solid black to Jack. All was needed was for Stella to win the title Most Skilled of Newbery Township, was to shoot the black marble out of safe zone. With great concentration she shot her shooter with speed and precision from her forefinger. The red made powerful contact shooting the black clear out of the circle, while making Sarah title winner. Pride welled up in Stella, and with it she lost sight of her best friend. She did not open her heart to his grief in his loss.
As the day progressed, there were other competitions of speed, strength and endurance. Stella came out winner time and time again. Along with the wins her pride grew, and Jack’s pride slumped. Jack felt he was loosing his friend. A challenge he knew he could win had to be made. That is when Jack declared the bubble gum blowing contest.
Stella thought she knew every thing about Jack, but she did not know the fact that he secretly loved chewing bubble gum, and blowing fantastically large bubbles. With this lack of knowledge, and filled with pride, Stella eagerly consented to the Bubble Gum Blowing Contest. It was to be the last contest of the day. It was agreed that the winner of the contest would be declared the best of the best, giving Jack one last chance to redeem himself with his peers, and save his friendship with Stella. Jack prayed, “Jesus, Allow me to be the winner. Amen.”
Both Stella and Jack put two large pieces of bubble gum into their mouths. They chewed the gum until it felt soft and pliable. With their tongues they flattened the gum against the back of their teeth. They then opened their teeth slightly and pushed the flattened gum through the opening with their tongue. Working the gum around the opening until they had a pocket to blow air into, they slowly blew air into the gum until a bubble was produced.
Stella looked at Jack and saw that his bubble was growing faster than hers, so she sped up her blowing. The two watched each other as their bubbles grew larger. The bubbles finally came to look equal in size. Neither children were ready to call a tie, so the contest continued. The onlookers held their breaths in anticipation, until finally they heard the pop as the blowout happened in unison in both bubbles. The pink gum spread across both faces and extended into their hair. Stella looked at Jack and laughed and laughed. All pride filled her as she thought on how funny he looked. Jack saw her pride, and like only a best friend would do, he declared Stella the winner. For to him, Stella was the best of the best. She had never looked so beautiful to him, with gum spread over her face and into her hair.
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