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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Cooking or Baking (01/04/07)

TITLE: Choices
By Rhonda Clark


As Trinie stretched her body, the scent of fresh baked bread and muffins wafted into her domain. The delightful smells of banana nut bread and chocolate walnut muffins were making her hungry. For much too long, she had been sitting in this chair staring at the tiny rows of numbers. She hated this job and the paranoia that came with it. Hiding in a back room of a bakery doctoring books for the local mob boss was not an ideal job. But her babies had to eat, and her youngest needed his medicine.

In a flash, the door flung open, and Trinie jumped.

"Hey Trinie, my sweetie," Shade said as he bounced through the door. Trinie knew his name wasn't really Shade, but that's the only name she knew—it was safer that way.

Shade spun a chair around backwards and perched himself atop it. Resting his arms on the back rest, he asked, "Cookin' those books good?" then he let out a sinister laugh. Continuing, he added, "Wouldn't want you to leave anything half-baked, or you might find yourself burned." He cackled again.

She cast an angry glance in his direction. The blond-haired slime ball was always making cracks about what could happen to her if she made an error. "Shade, I'm almost done. Then, I'm leaving. I want to get home before the kids wake up."

While smacking on chewing gum, he replied, "Mr. D. said you don't have to work all these nights. You can work during the day."

"I know, but people don't tend to come around asking questions at 2:00 a.m. like that do at 2:00 p.m."

"Yeah, okay, whatever. Just doing what I was told. He doesn't care when you work, just as long as you do. Understand?"

Again, she got the message, but she was not about to let this sleaze bag intimidate her. Slamming her hands onto the book, she said, "Listen Shade, I do my job, and I do it well. Now get out so I can finish. Go have a cup of coffee and a danish. You can get the books on your way out.”

"Alright, I'm going." Shade jumped off the chair and out the door.

Trinie sat back and took stock of her life. Her days were filled with fear and suspicion. She wished she had never taken the job as a baker's assistant out front. That was when this nightmare started. Artemis Stone, the bakery's manager and co-owner, discovered her talent with numbers, and he brought this to the attention of his partner, Mr. D. Trinie was offered a promotion. All she had to do was keep the two sets of books separate and her mouth shut. She had felt trepidation about taking the job, but with no medical coverage and a child with AIDS, Trinie felt she had no choice. Now, she wanted out, but there was no way she could leave. If anything happened to her, both her children would go into foster care. To Trinie, that was a fate worse than death.

She sank her head into her hands and cried out, "God, if you're real, tell me what to do; get me out of this."

For several minutes, she sat there waiting for an answer. When no answer came, she lifted her head, and said, "That's what I thought. Not even God cares." She pulled open the desk drawer to retrieve her purse. When she pushed her hand inside the drawer, she felt something new. Unsure of what she was touching, she pulled the object out. There in her hands lay an old, worn bible. Trinie had seen bibles, but never actually touched one. With curiosity, she began to thumb through the pages, and a piece of paper fell to the floor.

Picking up the paper, she read the hand-written words. "If you ever want to get out, just call." Turning the card over, she discovered it was the business card of an agent for the Treasury Department. Trinie froze, unsure of what to do. If this was ever found on her, she would be dead for sure. Then she noticed a highlighted passage in the bible. "Do not be afraid of them; the LORD your God himself will fight for you.”

Tirnie dropped the card back inside the bible, then shoved both into her purse.

Do not be afraid of them; the LORD your God himself will fight for you. Deuteronomy 3:22 NIV

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This article has been read 964 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 01/11/07
Interesting, and I liked the other interpretation of cooking--cooking the books. Very original.

A note: the word "Bible" is always capitalized.

Great conclusion--you gave us just enough, but not too much.
Pat Guy 01/12/07
Wow! I really, really enjoyed this entry! It had everything! Mystery, intrigue, hopelessness (and believable reasons why) - I could relate to her heart and desperation.

And Bibles in drawers DO happen!

This was a GREAT story!

PS. Creative take (and subtle humor) on the topic too.
Marlene Bonney 01/13/07
I really liked your original take on the topic and you did it very well! I thought the character interesting and believable and insightful.
cindy yarger01/14/07
I liked your story!
Valora Otis01/15/07
This is a story that crosses all time lines. I could almost picture this back in the 20s or even the 40's. Just enough emotion and believable characters. This story is begging to be expanded. Great job!
Joanne Sher 01/17/07
Your ending was PERFECT - and I love your play on "cooking," and the subtle humor. Great stuff.
Dennis Fletcher01/17/07
Well done, couple of spots that needed grammer fixes, but they really don't stand out. Great story.
Betty Castleberry01/17/07
You kept my attention throughout this piece. I could feel the despair, then the glimmer of hope at the end. Nicely done.
dub W01/17/07
Interesting turn of the word prompt. Loved the ending, the beginning confused me a little, but I caught up.
Jen Davis01/17/07
A very creative approach to the topic: "Cookin' those books…” The story was very intriguing, holding my interest throughout. I enjoyed it very much. I loved her reaching out in prayer, finding the message on the card, and the scripture. Great job!
Sara Harricharan 01/17/07
Wow! I liked the setting of this, spy-thriller sort of style, a really great suspense-filled story. The twist at the end was great, and I loved the MC, my only complaint was that 'Shade' didn't seem very 'sinister'. He came on as a pretty decent villain and then he was kind of toned down. Just my opinion though-I loved this piece, great job! :)
Sandra Petersen 01/17/07
Great 'out-of-the-box' story. I would never have thought of 'cooking' the books.

Your character Shade was wonderfully slimy. Good suspense throughout. Could be expanded into something longer.

You ended this part of the story (more please?) at just the right place.
Ruth Neilson01/17/07
I like this. I like the setting, the feel of an era that can bridge to any person. Different take on 'cooking.' Keep up the good work
Marty Wellington 01/17/07
Great story with suspense, intrique, and real-life emotions from a woman feeling trapped. I enjoyed it! Good work.
Libby East01/17/07
excellent job! I want to read more.I wasn't ready for it to end. This would make a great book.
Kathie Thomas01/17/07
Great story, I loved it and wanted to keep reading more. Got a catch in my throat right at the end.
Donna Powers 01/17/07
Interesting "take" on the topic. I enjoyed this story and the excellent ending. Thanks for sharing it!