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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Search Engine (10/06/11)

TITLE: Boxes
By Hazel Robinson


For two days Johnny Larson had seen the man standing on the street corner by his school - even during lunch the man had been there. The first day Johnny thought nothing about it; now, he noticed that at the man’s feet sat two medium-sized boxes. He couldn’t remember if the man had had the boxes the day before, but seeing them today aroused his curiosity.
Johnny Larson was twelve years old and in Junior high school. Everyday his parents made it a point to tell him about the dangers of using drugs. They also told him about drug pushers who prey on children his age; thus, seeing this man in front of his school made curious.
Getting on the school bus, Johnny saw that the man was still there. When the bus reached his stop, he hurriedly got off, ran into the garage, dropped his books on the floor, grabbed his bike and took off.
Peddling as fast as he could, Johnny stopped about a half block from where the man was standing, parked the bike, and sat down on the curb to watch. People were lined up to receive small green packages the man was handing out. Johnny watched for a while; then he jumped on his bike and raced home.
Jan Larson had seen her son speeding away from the house, and she was slightly irritated that he’d not bothered to come in first before going off. Now, as he came into the house, she was all ready to scold him until she saw the look on his face. “Mom, Dad!” Johnnie called excitedly.
“I’m here,” said Mrs. Larson.
“Where’s dad?” He questioned.
“He’s upstairs son. What’s wrong?”
Just then Mr. Larson came down the stairs. He was about to say something to his son, but the boy, anxious and excited, cut him off with,
“Dad, there’s a man standing on the corner by the school, and he’s been there for two days. At first I didn’t notice the two boxes he had. He was there at lunch and again this afternoon when the bus came. So after school I decided to go back and watch him. This time he was passing out little green packages.
Dad, I just know he’s selling drugs!”
With no further discussion n, Mr. Larson picked up the phone and dialed the sheriff’s office.
“Say Walt, this is Max. Yes, Maxwell Larson. My son here has witnessed something you ought to know about. Johnny says there’s a man on the corner of Twelfth and Walnut passing out drugs. Yes, Johnny says he saw the man giving out packages wrapped in green paper. He says the man has been there by the school for two days.”
After a few, minutes, Maxwell Larson hung up the telephone saying,
“Walt wants us to meet him there.” He said to his wife. “You’d better call dad and mom and let them know what’s happened. After you call them, then call my brother, Bud, he’ll want to know.
“Okay and you be careful.” Jan Larson admonished.
On the way Max met up with Walter Hudson, the County Sheriff, and within a few minutes they reached Twelfth Street. Sure enough, the man was still there, and sure enough, he was passing out small green packages.
Patting his hip to make sure his gun was there, the sheriff got out of his car. Slowly he walked over to the man. Just as the sheriff was almost upon him, the man bent down into one of the boxes. The sheriff pulled his gun. At the same time, the man looked up from the box saying, “You just made it; this is my last one.”
The man reached out to the sheriff. In his hand was a green leather-bound New Testament Bible. Without a word, his face as red as a beet, the sheriff took the little Bible; then turned, walked over to Maxwell Larson’s car and gave it to him.
By this time all the relatives and neighbors had surrounded Max’s car. They saw the Bible, and they saw the sheriff’s face. They also saw the man, as he, without a word, drove off.
The lesson here: Things aren’t always what they seem. The Book of Proverbs, chapter 4 teaches, “Get knowledge; get wisdom; but, in all your getting, get understanding.”

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This article has been read 486 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Gwen Plauche10/20/11
You did a nice job keeping the reader interested in what was in those little green packages! Keeping the reader engaged is sometimes very difficult. Keep up the great work, Gwen
C D Swanson 10/21/11
I loved the story, and was hoping that the little green package somehow was a Bible. I was so glad to see it was.

The only advice I would offer here, is to break up the paragraphs, it makes it easier to read.

But you probably realize it already-it happened to me one time in my entry when I went to transfer it, so I am guessing it happened to you too.

Bottom line, nice writing, and a beautiful message.
Thank you. God Bless you.
Jan Ackerson 10/22/11
This entry is best at judging criteria #2: it is certainly unique and memorable. I've read hundreds of challenge entries, and I'm sure i've never read one like this.

It's probably weakest at criteria #1: being on topic. I can't find any reference to the topic here, not even as a metaphor.

Good job also on #5--conclusion.
Jackie Smithwick10/22/11
I liked the story. You did a good job at keeping my interest.

I too am wondering about the topic; maybe it is that all information, regardless of the source, should be filtered through wisdom and understanding.
Mona Purvis10/22/11
Go to the forum and review the points the entry is judged on. Keep a copy nearby and score your entry on each one before you submit it. While this is an interesting piece, it can only score so high since it is not on topic. A couple of typos. Why not get on board with a group to help with these things and get you scoring higher in the competition?
Ruth Neilson10/22/11
There's a few things that you need to tighten up with this entry, one is that you stated a couple of times that your character is a curious young man and then he jumps to the conclusion to the fact that the mystery man is a drug pusher. Would there be any other evidence that would lead Johnny to this conclusion? Just food for thought
The other major problem is this entry really isn't on topic for a 'search engine'. You can always come and check the boards if there is any questions about the topic because there are several of us who will happily lead the writers back to the correct idea. (They do it for me on a regular basis)
Keep writing!
Allison Egley 10/22/11
Good story!

A few things that I'd change if I were you.... One has been mentioned already, so I won't go into detail, and that's topic. I don't see the topic "search engine" anywhere. To me, it was a bit predicable when he mentioned the "little green packages." I would have made this man a bit more... secretive with giving out his packages. That would have made it more believable that he was up to no good. Like if the child had heard him say to another kid "Don't tell your mom and dad about this."

This is a good entry, overall. Keep writing.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/22/11
This was an interesting story and your piqued my curiosity from the start. Below is my opinion using the rating criteria ona 0-5 scale.

Topic 1.0 I didn't see anything at allthat related to a search engine. They have a spot on the message boards that helps writers understand what the topic is about.

Craft: 2.5 You had some typos, remember to double-space. Also you should capitalize words like Mom or son when used as a substitute for a name.

Creativity: 3.5 I thought this was acute story but it was a tad predictable.

Comphresion: 4.0 The message is a great one and one everyone could relate to. I don't think you need to tell the reader your message. Let them figure it out.

Flow: 3.8 You did a great job taking me through thestory and keeping my interest.

Start: 3.8 You intrigue me and made me want to keep reading, you also did a great job developing the MC.

End 2.9 I didn't think you needed to tell me the moral. It would have been more powerful if it had ended with the son hanging his head in shame and Dad loving him through his mistake.

Publishable 2.9 With some polishing this would makean interesting children's story. I could see it as a SundaySchool take home sheet.
Linda Goergen10/22/11
I enjoyed this story and its message at the end is so true! People get themselves into so much trouble by jumping to conclusions without facts to back those conclusions up! I loved the way the man passing out bibles acted when the Sherriff walked up, pulling his gun...without any show that he maybe was being harassed, he simply offered the Sherriff the last bible...that scene was terrific!

I personally think though, that the character of Johnny Larson acted a bit more as someone younger would have, not so much like a Jr High age boy would have – if you hadn’t given his age I would have envisioned him more as being in elementary school. I think an older boy would have rationalized that a drug dealer wouldn’t likely be so openly passing out drugs.

Others have mentioned topic so I will only add a comment about the para breaks, you may want to consider, to prevent the spacing issues that occurred in your story, to hit “preview” and see how your work will appear before you submit it. I know the “preview” function is a great help to me!

All in all this is a very good, strong story and has a powerful message and you did a great job conceptualizing it!! I could easily see it passed out to a youth group and it discussed.

Mildred Sheldon10/31/11
A very enjoyable story. I leave critiquing to the experts since I'm not qualified to judge your writing ability. Take their advice and run with it. You do have talent.