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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Unsung Hero (12/07/06)

TITLE: Peddy Pattles Defends Smoking Angels*
By Daniel Owino Ogweno


Peddy was on his way home from church. He was still fighting the ambivalent feelings evoked by the interruption of the service by the visitation of the “smoking angels”.

His senses were winning in condemning him for “colluding” with the two strangers to disrupt the meeting.
“Maybe I was wrong, they might not have been angels”, he murmured, almost speaking aloud.

“But on the other hand”, he thought, “if they were truly angels…..”

“Eeh, young boy!” Someone called, interrupting the trail of his thoughts. He hadn’t noticed that two men were approaching ahead of him. He looked up. He didn’t know them.

“You seem to be talking to yourself—some kind of meditation or what?” One of them asked tantalizingly.

He absent-mindedly stared at them, unable to tell if his lips had given vent to the thoughts that were torturously criss-crossing his mind. The men realised that asking the shy boy more questions was like punishing. They gave him a booklet and told him to read it. He glanced at it and wondered if he would be able to understand all that literature. After all, he was just a young boy.

Peddy decided not to torture his mind with what happened at the church. Two days later, he got a message to meet the pastor in the church on the following Thursday.

Anxiety returned on Wednesday, a day prior to the meeting. What was he going to say about the strangers that he had insisted were angels. He found himself empty. He decided that he would withdraw and apologise.

That night he dreamt about a man who was sitting on a tree. When he saw the man, he wanted to climb and join him on the tree but the man forbade him saying, “It is better to remain an unsung hero”.

The man explained that if he climbed he would be noticed and his heroism would go public. In what looked out of context, the man shouted, “You have the answer, stop worrying!” He repeated this several times, each time his voice becoming louder and louder. He thought it was the man’s shouting that woke him up only to realise he had been dreaming.

Thursday came. Instead of the eight leaders there was only the pastor to meet him.

“Well”, the pastor began, “let me hear your defence of last week’s smoking strangers”. He was curious to know why Pattles maintained that they were angels?”

Peddy was paralysed for a moment. Then he said, “Did you realise that those strangers didn’t have the cigarettes by the time they were banished”?

“And is that enough reason to think they were angels”? The pastor asked, wondering at the same time if they still had the cigarettes when they left.

That was all. Paddy was through with defending the smoking angels. Failing to get any more words out him, the pastor let him leave. He left in such a hurry that he forgot a booklet behind. This is the same booklet he got from the two strangers he met on the way home last Sunday. He hadn’t read it but took it with him when he went to the pastor’s office.

The pastor reached out to the booklet, curious to know what was inside. He didn’t put it down until he finished reading it.

Space doesn’t allow to include the whole content of the booklet here. Below are two paragraphs from it:

“My messengers have gone forth. I commanded them to appear trampy; neither to sparkle nor wear halos; to carry something that would make people not think in the least that they were of noble mission. Because of this, I knew they would be chased from many churches. But I made a very low requirement: ‘If ONLY ONE PERSON in a congregation recognises My messengers’ nobility, I would pour My anointing into that church and open their understanding to see that I died for such as being chased away from some churches…”

“Any Church that belongs to Me must hear this: Come out of church buildings and meet the noisy; the thirsty; the tramps; smokers. Come out and give them water. …... The harvesting weather is outside. Don’t go out to bask in the sun of entertainment. … Let the flow of your programmes be disrupted for the sake of a tramp...”**
* This is a continuation of last week’s “Two Smoking Angels?”
** Coming soon: Full version of the mentioned booklet.

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Member Comments
Member Date
julie wood12/14/06
Enjoyed reading the conclusion to this original and haunting story. I love the ending--the message from the pamphlet is my favorite part of this conclusion. Beautifully and powerfully worded!

A few punctuation errors: The sentence "What was he going to say..." is a question and should end with a question mark; on the other hand, "He was curious..." is neither a question nor a quote and should end with a period only. Also all quotation marks should be outside, not inside, periods and question marks.

I love the original concept of "smoking angels" disrupting a church, as well as the one little boy being the only person to discern who they really were. A wonderfully refreshing message!
Jan Ackerson 12/15/06
The problem with entering "continued" stories in the Challenge is that we now know who you are, and it's not truly anonymous any more...and also, we have to go back and remind ourselves what happened in Part 1. Finally, you can't be sure that the topic of the week is going to fit into your story structure.

All that aside...you've got great writing skills, and your characters are interesting. I'm still amused at the incongruity of the phrase "smoking angels" which is a great hook for your readers.