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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Current Affairs (06/07/12)

TITLE: What was said in Secret


Shelia enjoyed keeping up with current affairs. In fact, she prided herself on knowing the “ins and outs” of what was going on in her locality, as well as the nation. Being a bit over 40, married, having two grown children in college, she liked to keep up with her family as well as her friends.

It was a beautiful spring morning when she would thank God that for once in her life she was behind in current affairs. The day started off well and she arrived at Frank and Bertha’s Coffee Shop ahead of time and put on her uniform and quickly began putting together a muffin and doughnut mix. She loved baking. With her nimble fingers, good posture and ample strength in her arms, she almost smiled as she prepared the baked goods. The whole town knew about her baking and with her hair cropped in a becoming style, a smile that showed straight and even teeth, she didn’t look a day over 30.

As she whistled during the baking, she overheard a conversation that was going on about six feet from her work station. She heard someone say, “Don’t tell this to Shelia but I just found out that her employer here at Bertha’s is planning on dumping her and replacing her with two teenage girls. Gossip has it that she is just not keeping up with the work. Something else I shouldn’t tell you is that Shelia stole money from the cash register last week. I think Bertha said that she found $200 missing and that Sheila had to be the one who took the money because she was the last one on the register yesterday evening.

As Shelia listened, her face turned from one of happiness to one of the saddest faces the world had ever seen. It was like her face began to drop and her blue eyes actually become black from the lies she was hearing. In her mind she thought, “How could anyone, especially Bertha, think that I would steal from her. After all, she has been like a mother to me!”

As she continued to listen to the two women, she saw Todd Grayson, the head baker of the store and he was talking and laughing with Bertha. “Funny, she thought. ‘He seldom laughed or shared with her anything; but look how cozy he’s acting with Bertha.”

The following day at closing time Shelia was confronted by Bertha. “Sheila, I’m sure you’ve heard rumors that I was going to let you go. Money was taken from the cash register last week and I was told by someone—I won’t say who—who said they saw you steal the money. Well, I was ready to fire you last night but I found out who stole the money and it wasn’t you! Mandy, who was going with Todd for awhile, said that he took the money and that he wanted you out. Todd broke up with Mandy several days ago because he found someone else. Of course, I fired him and would like you to stay on. You’ve always been a good employee. I hope you’ll forgive my lapse in judgment.”

Shelia felt tears forming in her eyes and said, “No problem, Bertha. I felt certain the truth would come out and I’m glad it did. I will try and pray for Todd. He must be so lost.”

They both nodded in agreement and within minutes went back to work; a little bit wiser but sadder.

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Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 06/08/12
This is a sweet story. I could easily picture how the MC felt when she overheard the lies.

You may want to work on more showing. You use some great adjectives and adverbs say to replace passive verbs like was with action verbs. For example instead of saying her face went from the happiest to the saddest, tell us what that would look like- She pressed her lips together until they turned a pale pink as she blinked back tears that threatened to fall down her cheeks. That's probably not the greatest description but hopefully helps show what I mean.

You did a great job of developing the conflict in the story. Your message is agreat one and reminds me of something my mom used to say Believe nothing that you hear and only half of what you see. Good job.
Sunny Loomis 06/14/12
Glad Sheila trusted that the truth would come out. Gossip can be very hurtful. Thank you.