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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: River (08/31/06)

TITLE: Rock Paper Scissors
By william price


Carl Butterwinkers sat on the edge of the Chattahoochee River. With a faded black patch covering his right eye, he tried to focus on a large boulder on the opposite bank. Without taking his eye off the rock, he reached into his frayed flannel jacket and pulled out a salami sandwich wrapped in a paper towel. The snack was gone after four large bites. He wiped his fingers on his pants and folded the paper towel and put it back in his pocket. Reaching in another pocket, he retrieved an extra-large pill bottle filled with Kool-Aid. After struggling to get the childproof cap off, he swallowed the drink in one gulp and let out a tiny belch. The short, balding round man was trying to put the lid back on his makeshift canteen, when someone dressed in a white uniform walked up behind him.

“There you are, Mr. Butterwinkers. I’ve been looking for you.”

Carl turned around with a mischievous smile on his face. The fifty-year-old spoke slowly in a child-like manner.

“Hello, Charley.”

“What are you doing, Mr. Butterwinkers?”

“Lookin’ at that rock. Isn’t it cool?”

“Yes, it’s a nice rock. But it’s getting late, Mr. Butterwinkers; we need to be getting back.”

“I know, but the rock is so neat. I bet it would be fun to dive off of, or fish from, or even eat lunch on with a friend.”

“Yes, Mr. Butterwinkers, that’s one nifty rock.”

“I don’t like this river, Charley. If it wasn’t here, I could just walk over to the other side.”

“I know, but the river is here, and it is deep and wide.”

“We need a bridge, Charley, or a boat. You got a boat, Charley?”

“No I don’t, Mr. Butterwinkers.”

Charley turned around for a moment to talk into his radio. When he looked back, he saw Carl wading into the river.

“Mr. Butterwinkers! What are you doing?”

The orderly jumped into the water and tried to turn the patient around.

“Let me go, Charley. I want to get to that rock. I hate this side of the river. I hate it! I hate it!”

Carl started to cry.

Two more orderlies and a nurse arrived in golf carts. After some coaxing and a shot of Valium, Carl was ready to be taken back to the institution.

“I’m sorry, Charley. I just wanted to get to the other side.”

“It’ll be okay, Mr. Butterwinkers. I’ll see you in a bit.”

Charley told the other orderlies he would walk back. Before he started though, he spied a sheet of folded paper towel by the river. He went over, picked it up and put it in his jacket.

Carl must have taken this out of his pocket.

Charley then looked across the river at the large boulder. He imagined having lunch on it with his children.

I hate this river too.

That night two angels, one taller than the other, stood on the riverbank across from the boulder.

“So, what is it we’re going to do,” the shorter angel asked?

“We’re going to show him the Bridge.”

“The bridge? Oh, the Bridge. To which one?”

“To the one sleeping with the paper towel. He’ll tell the other about it.”

“Which one has it now?”

“The orderly gave it back to Carl before he went home.”

“Isn’t the paper towel what the visiting chaplain gave Carl to wipe his tears with last week?”

“The same one. He tried to tell him about the Bridge.”

“How are we going to get him to understand?”

“With these.” The taller angel held up a pair of golden scissors.

“Oh, the scissors. I love seeing people get set free.”

“Me too.”

“This is pretty awesome, isn’t it?”

“Yes, God is good. But, what do you mean?”

“You know, a bridge shaped like a cross, spanning over this hated river to the rock. I mean, very symbolic.”

“Yes, it is.”

“Would make a good story, wouldn’t it?”

“Yes, in fact we have to visit a writer soon to give him a rock.”

“You mean, the Rock?”

“No, a rock. We are going to have to hit him in the head so he’ll stop listening to himself and start hearing God.”

“That’s always fun.”

“Yes it is. Are you ready?”

“Oh yes. I can’t wait to see Mr. Butterwinkers and Charley on the other side of the river.”

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This article has been read 1342 times
Member Comments
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Sara Harricharan 09/07/06
This was wonderful! Delightfully engaging with a few chuckles tucked in. Great job!
Lynda Schultz 09/07/06
Love it! "Clever" isn't a good enough word, but you are, you are!
Amy Michelle Wiley 09/07/06
LOL! Too funny! This would read a little better with the first paragraph borken into several paragraphs, but very good!
Beth Muehlhausen09/07/06
Great dialogue - both human and angel! Layers of cleverness here...funny with a twist of insight.
Donna Powers 09/08/06
Very interesting and a great character study.
Jan Ackerson 09/10/06
This started out good, and it just kept getting better and better...love it!
Birdie Courtright09/10/06
I actually read this last night, and loved it. Its sort of sad too, but very entertaining at the same time. Love Carl's last name!
Sue Dent09/10/06
Is this what that vacation did to you? You didn't go to the river did you? Loved the dialogue tagless dialogue. Hey, somebody just threw a rock at me!!! LOL Great writing!
Marilyn Schnepp 09/11/06
Brilliant and creative mind. But I kept wondering about the paper towel? What was on it? Suddenly The angels came and interrupted my fascination with that towel. (lol) fascinating and unique story. "Masters"type writing.
Marilyn Schnepp 09/11/06
PS: You did your research - there IS a mental institution on the Chattahoochee River. Good work.
Joanne Sher 09/11/06
Oh, William - did I ever love this! So clever and profound and funny and thought-provoking and probably half a dozen other adjectives that are escaping me right now. I especially LOVED the end! What a creative mind the Lord has given you!!
Venice Kichura09/11/06
Very creative!
Jen Davis09/12/06
Very creative throughout, but I especially enjoyed the ending of this piece. "We are going to have to hit him in the head so he'll...start hearing God." Or so that she will, if I might add. Good work!
terri tiffany09/14/06
Congrats William!
Rita Garcia09/14/06
William, Congratulations on a great win! Wonderful story filled with creativity and delight!
Edy T Johnson 09/14/06
Sir William! Congratulations (again!)! You have a knack for giving us the most wonderfully human characters. I cannot help falling in love with every one. I hope you expand this into a long story, so we can see how this all turns out in the end. I'm so glad the Lord brought you and your talent to faithwriters, for our delight :)
Jan Ross09/14/06
Congratulations on your "Third Place" win!

God bless you as you continue to offer your gifts and talents to the Lord in such a wonderful way! Very, very well done!
Rachel Rudd 09/14/06
Hi William,

Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed this piece. I was a judge for the river challenge and this piece really made me laugh. It showed well how God has a sense of humor. :) Did you get hit with a rock before you wrote it?
May God bless you in all you do!
Joanne Malley09/15/06
William, This is tops!! I'm glad I stopped by to read it. Bursting with originally, awesome characterization, dialog...you've done it. :) And, likewise, I could learn a thing or two from you too. Blessings. Jo
Laurie Glass 09/15/06
How clever and original. Congrats on your high placement.
Pat Guy 09/22/06
Loved the atmosphere, the characters and all the levels the reader gets to experience. A great 'inside-out' perspective - loved it! ;)