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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Junk Food (08/30/12)

TITLE: Be Careful what you Eat!


It was lunch time again and James was eating junk food. Once again he was going against his mother’s warning, “James, if you keep eating junk food, you will look like the kind of food you’re eating!”

Of course, James never listened to his mother. After all, he was fifteen and almost a man and he knew about life and about food. Besides, his mother, Helena, was old-fashioned and only ate vegetables, lean meats and fruits. How square can you be!?

It was on a November day in James’ school cafeteria where something happened that made him think twice about eating junk food. He was eating one of his favorite meals—meals that the cafeteria often made--when he noticed something odd. He was eating a greasy rib sandwich with salty French fries and downing it with a huge container of very sweet pop. He was enjoying it so much—savoring the salty and sweet taste of the meal-- when he noticed that his hands and face felt different and were changing color. All of a sudden, instead of his normal skin color of white, his skin began to have a kind of dark red and shiny color; a lot like the greasy sandwich he was eating.

He didn’t think much of it because he noticed some of the other kids also had a dark red and shiny color. Probably was the lighting in the cafeteria; after all, the school was always looking for ways to cut back on expenses. He finished his meal and then got ready for his next class. Junior high was rough and the stress often made him feel hungry. Oh well, he mused. Got to get ready for Math class and old Mr. Huggins.

As he walked into his Math class, he saw that his teacher, Mr. Huggins was not there. That gave him time to eat a candy bar. He pulled out a chocolate candy bar and proceeded to eat it.

“Hey, you’re not supposed to eat in class!” It was Jeffrey Doolittle. He was always pounding on someone and he seemed to enjoy it.

“Don’t you know that if you get caught, you could go into detention? How do you know I won’t fink on you? I could, you know?”

“Go ahead. I’m not afraid of Huggins. I’ve seen him eating in between classes. So, live it up. Make my day!”

About that time Mr. Huggins came through the door and saw James putting his hand behind his back, as if hiding something.

“O.K. James, what’s in your hand and in your mouth?” He was not in a good mood so James brought his hand around and showed the candy bar.

“James, this about the seventh time I’ve seen you with food in my class. That’s it! Be in detention after class—Room 105!”
James said nothing, folded up the candy bar and sat there with a puppy dog look until the end of the class.

After school, James walked home and as he walked, he noticed he wasn’t feeling well. In fact, as soon as he got home he went to his room and sat on his bed. After several minutes, he went to the bathroom and looked into a mirror.

He noticed that his face was indeed reddish looking and had a slimy look. He muttered, “What’s going on?”

The experience of looking at his face and seeing an image that looked a lot like the food he was eating, did something to him because from that day on he avoided junk food and weeks later after eating what his mom called, “decent food,” he looked better. In fact, he looked a lot like his friends—those who ate decent food.

It was his girl friend, Lola, who noticed a difference in History class when she said, “James, you look good. You actually look healthy! I guess my mom was right when she said the other day, “Lola, be careful what you eat! You don’t want to turn into a salty pretzel!”

Eating is necessary for everyone but if we don’t eat things that are good for us, we could turn into the strange kind of food we eat!

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This article has been read 328 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Nancy Bucca09/07/12
I really like the idea of looking like what you eat, which seems to be the main message in this. You do a good job getting that point across, I think.

The part about getting caught eating junk food is sort of like a message in itself. There's a lot you can do with either concept, but I thought the best parts were when your MC noticed the difference in his skin color both with and without after eating junk food.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/08/12
This is a cute story. I really enjoyed it and thought it was quite out of the box. I enjoyed the characters, especially the nerdy kid who threatened to tattle. I think everyone can think of someone like that.

The only thing I might suggest would be to start out with more of a grabber. Perhaps have him notice his face is red and slimy. That would be a great way to grab the reader's attention. Since it's a story for kids have those gross descriptions will intrigue most kids.

You also did a nice job of having the kid resolve the conflict. Often people will make the mistake of having the adult be the hero but like you did--the best thing is to have the adult guide and be a good example but have the kid do the resolving. I don't think you need the last paragraph because you did an excellent job of getting the message out with your story and you didn't need to spell out the morale of the story.

You covered the topic in a fresh and interesting way. This was a pleasure to read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
C D Swanson 09/13/12

God Bless~