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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Lifeguard (11/09/06)

TITLE: All the Wrong Reasons
By Stephen Paynter


Now this is my story ... and a rather fascinating one it is, I think youíll agree. If I was to give it a title, I suppose I would call it ďGodís gift ...Ē, where the phrase ďto the female of the speciesĒ is left implicit, if you know what I mean. Hah! If youíd seen me recently, youíd certainly know what I mean.

I suppose Iíd better begin eighteen months ago when I was at the beach with Alyson. Now Alyson was the typical ďgirl next doorĒ. You know ... a little bit tomboyish when playing with the gang, rather shy at school, a bit of a wallflower ... but I suppose in those days ... my best friend. I ... well Iím almost ashamed to tell you what I was like in those days ... quiet ... bookish ... a little bit too into all things nerdish. I didnít get out much, so my skin was a pasty white. I was also rather weedy. I donít think Iíd even seen the inside of a gym, or been to the municipal pool.

Anyway, this day I was walking along with Alyson chatting about nothing in particular, all the while scanning the tourist attractions as they lay bronzing in the sun. I was distracted by one particular strawberry blonde when I stumbled over this guyís foot. It was a total mistake but this guy ... muscled all over ... was more than a little irritated. Well, not to dwell too much on an unpleasant memory ... he, er, stuffed me headfirst into a bin. Even with Alysonís help, I guess I wasnít all that dignified getting out. Most of the beach was watching, and to my chagrin the strawberry blonde was even laughing.

I was seething with embarrassment and anger. However, as horrible as that moment was, it was totally the kick that I needed to do something with my life. I swore Iíd get revenge. So I set about a systematic overhaul. I started pumping weights. I swam every evening - soon building up to 1500m a session. If Iím totally honest, the swimming idea wasnít originally part of the plan. It only came about because I soon realised that there was more ... er, talent ... to see at the pool than in the gym.

Of course, I totally blew off Alyson and the rest of the gang. There wasnít room in my life for them and my scheme. I had a goal. I was going to become somebody. I was going to become a lifeguard - and nobody ... and I mean nobody ... was going to stuff me into a litter bin again!

I slowly became the marvellous specimen of manhood I am now. Bronzed. Muscled. Self-assured. And, of course, a lifeguard. Now let me tell you the worse thing about being a lifeguard is having to drag your eyes from the beach to scan the sea every now and then. Itís a total pain, and Iím big enough to admit that sometimes I forget for long periods of time.

Clearly, my life is now great. I even have a whole gaggle of strawberry blondes who like to catch my eye. I therefore find it a little embarrassing to admit that sometimes I miss my friendly walks with Alyson. Alyson wonít give me the time of day anymore. I really donít understand her.

Now comes the suspenseful climax to my story. As you probably remember, last weekend was a scorcher. Everyone was down at the beach, and I was on duty. Now I happened to glance up and notice Alyson there with some boy. I suddenly felt sick. I guess the burger Iíd eaten didnít agree with me. For some reason ... definitely serendipity ... I couldnít take my eyes off Alyson. That was how it came about that I noticed when she disappeared under the waves and did not come up again.

Hero that I am, I was across the burning sand in moments, and plunging into the breakers. I found Alyson and carried her to the shore. There I performed mouth to mouth, she spluttered, and started to breathe again.

I expected her to be eternally grateful. She did say thanks, but it was this nerdish looking boy she was with that she let cuddle and comfort her.

For some reason I canít quite explain I felt worse than when Iíd been stuffed in that bin. The only question is, what kind of makeover should I arrange this time?

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This article has been read 746 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 11/16/06
Super! This guy's got such a real voice, and he's just so, so...pitiful. I grinned all the way through this one.
Sue Dent11/16/06
Oh, so well done! The whole kicking sand in your face story gone ary!{sp?} Loved it! The voice was indeed very compelling and true to life. Poor guy. He just didn't get it, did he?
Donna Haug11/20/06
Ha! This was great. I loved your conversational tone. It sounded so real - and hilerious. Terrific job.
Shari Armstrong 11/20/06
Very well told - humor with a point. Good job :)
Joanne Sher 11/20/06
I just LOVE your voice here - what a wonderfully creative take on the topic - and so wonderfully told!
Donna Powers 11/20/06
This was so cute and enjoyable! I loved the story and could see the scene clearly. Thanks so much for sharing this!
dub W11/20/06
Good personal voice in this essay. Thank you for sharing.
Betty Castleberry11/20/06
This is a really fun read. It's a grown-up Leave it to Beaver story. Great job.
Jen Davis11/20/06
Great storytelling! I have to agree with all the above on what a captivating voice the character has. A really fun read. Good job!
Lynda Lee Schab 11/21/06
I agree with the consensus - terrific voice here! This was a fun, entertaining and silly piece that left me with a smile. Nicely done!
Allison Egley 11/21/06
Hehe I love the part about him thinking it's a "total pain" to have to scan the sea every once in awhile. Great job. Oh, and you spelled "Allison" incorrectly. ;) Just kidding.
Debbie OConnor11/24/06
Hi Stephen,

I judged this week and this was one of my favorite entries. Great work! Looking back at it, I think an overuse of "..." may have hurt your score.

Overall, this was a tight and fun story to read. Well done!