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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Flat (01/03/13)

TITLE: Flat Broke
By Linda Gage


Man, I remember it just like it was yesterday. I was living in a bad one-room crib in New York. Ringing startled me awake at noon. I blew it off. More ringing as, I toked a quick joint, downed a flat beer and checked my look in the mirror. I was stylin’ as usual even after the crazy night at the lounge. There would be no more gigs at the most happenin’ place in the flatlands, after those two chumps started that brawl and wasted a narc. I staggered to the phone. My homey said the fuzz would be on my tail any minute. I had to split. I made it out of my pad in 2 minutes flat, only saving myself and my sax. Sirens were fast approaching. I peeled out and although the road was flat and smooth something abruptly jerked my ride. It swerved and spun 3 times.
“Flat tire,” was my first thought. The river that I crossed every day was quickly becoming my death bed. Next thing I know, I’m flat on my face in the snow, cold and freaked out. I felt my body floating as I was lifted into an ambulance. Lights were flashing and the noon-time sun was reflecting off the snow, yet it was dark. Man, it was like one of my psychedelic trips on a primo stash, only I was clean to the max.
I could see a guy driving the ambulance, though my view seemed skewed, because I was looking down. I saw another guy messing with my arm. My arm and my face had some funky tubes attached to them. I was watching me! I flat refused to believe this. But there was no denying this trip. It was crazy, man.
Then a dude in a white dress held his hand out to me, as if saying, “Give me some skin, Bro.” I looked up and saw very bright light. I looked down and saw my collapsed body laid out with the monitor showing a flat-line. Terrified, I grabbed his hand. We flew further away from that flat line. It was like, “Yo, man, just chill.” It was peace-city and far out. (literally) My mind drifted to my pad and my gigs and all I that would miss if I left that bitchin’ place; drugs, foxy ladies, all the dough and of course the lounge. It was a choice place for a cat like me. Suddenly, the scene turned freakishly black. A sense of dread hit me like a brick. Instantly, I knew deep inside that I was flat broke and I’m not talking loot. I looked up and the white light was gone. The dude in the shiny threads let go of my hand and I was free falling into the black. “NO!” I floundered in the air. I was trippin’ out- down and out! I fell flat onto the hospital bed.
A doctor yelled, “He’s back.”
“I don’t want to be back with the blackness. I want to go to the bright white light, totally peace-city place.” No one heard me. A Day, a week, a month may have passed. No one visited me. No one gave a damn. I was there with my own thoughts. That was a big bummer. There had to be more to this bogus life; more than being a burn-out, sax-playing hood.
I saw it. I took a new trip, a better trip. Was it God? Well, no duh! I knew it was God. I fell prostrate and asked Him to forgive me. As soon as I got out of the hospital they escorted me to the slammer. After time served, I left New York and never looked back.
I had to pay my dues to ‘the man’ but the skinny is this- God’s Son paid the ultimate debt that I could never pay. He took my raunchy, deflated soul and revived it. Now everything is copacetic between me and God. So dude, stop being the fool that you are. You have a raunchy, deflated soul too. Fall on your face and ask God’s forgiveness. I did.
I may see the dude in the shiny threads again; I may not. But, I will go the bright light and be with God someday. I know it, for sure. Man, be there or be square. Hope to catch ya on the flip side.

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This article has been read 222 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Theresa Santy 01/10/13
Wow. Clever application of theme. Loved the way you used multiple context's of the word flat. Your character was believeable, compelling, and likeable.

My only comment would be to put a line space in-between paragraphs. I don't think this matters much as far as judging goes, since it's my understanding they focus on content-and your content was great. But adding line spaces will make it easier for readers.

Well done!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/14/13
You did an awesome job on this piece. I was immediately drawn in by the conflict. The voice of the MC really helped to develop his personality. I felt like I had been transported back to the 70's.

The only thing I might caution you on is some of the words would be considered swearing and could be a cause for the story to be pulled from the challenge. Though the words fit the MC, you still want to be careful in how you use them. This story has an awesome message and I'd hate to see it pulled.

The ending was spectacular and left me feeling satisfied with no questions lingering. That's not ready to do in a limited word count. You covered the topic quite well and used several of the definitions while still keeping the transitions smooth. This was a great read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
C D Swanson 01/14/13
This was intense! Wow - good job and fantastic piece of writing. God bless~
Terry R A Eissfeldt 01/16/13
I enjoyed your voice - authentic, articulate, action-packed!
Keep up the good writing.