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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Reading (01/25/07)

TITLE: Rulings All a Quiver
By cindy yarger


It is forbidden. Jonathon read the words and the quivering began. The words were not new to him. He’d read them many times, many places. The quivering wasn’t really new either. He could not pinpoint when it had begun. Now, it only and always came with the reading.

If…then…but never that. It is forbidden.

You must not unclasp hands…
You must not let a rose touch you…
You must not stand erect…
Three letter words do not count…
You must not hesitate…

All of these were forbidden. The whys jumbled around in Jonathon’s head. All he could remember were the rules. Maybe that was how it should be. How could he measure that all was well if he didn’t remember the rules?

It wasn’t all no’s and must not’s though. There were just as many yes’s and must’s.

You must sit in a circle…
You must creep up on grandma without being seen…
You must write down all the proverbs that you can think of…
You must select a verb of action…
A small bowl of rice must be placed on each table…

Jonathon grew confused. He noticed that he was clasping and unclasping his hands. There wasn’t any rice on the tables beside him. He began to quiver.

It was then that Amy appeared. She was light hearted and laughing. She stopped when she saw the look on Jonathon’s face. “So what is wrong with you? You look terrible.” Amy was concerned.

Jonathon stammered back “I…I really don’t know. I’ve been reading again… I can’t keep everything straight. I don’t know if three letter words don’t count when I select my action verb or if I’m not supposed to hesitate when I pick one. I don’t know if I’m not supposed to unclasp my hands while I’m sitting in a circle or while I’m sneaking up on grandma. Just too many rules and I can’t stop this quivering!”

“Jonathon, you read too much. Quit already! Stop fretting and get on with life. You can’t possibly play by all the rules. Relax!”

Jonathon awoke with a start. The book he’d been reading “The Cokesbury Game Book” had hit him in the head. He gave a quick chuckle, turned off the light, and promptly fell asleep again.

Game rules, in order of their appearance, taken from “The Cokesbury Game Book” Arthur M Depew copyright MCMXXXIX; Hat in the Ring, The War of Roses, Feather Relay, Word Spelling Race, Passing, Uncle Ben, Grandma, How Wise are You, Mystic Code, and Five Points

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Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 02/02/07
This really intrigues me--is Jonathan autistic? I've read this several times; there's a strange, disquieting poetry to the rules as listed here. This is a definite out-of-the-box entry that is quite appealing--but odd. I like it.
Marilyn Schnepp 02/02/07
Not being familiar with any of the "referenced" quotes, I'm not sure which is the Writer's writing and which is interjected from others. But I liked the idea, the creativity and the brief respite from heavy, deep-thinking and over-my-head type entries. Thanks!
Mariane Holbrook 02/06/07
Mariane Holbrook 02/06/07
Nice job! Kudos! I like your work.
TJ Nickel02/15/07
I really like this article. I know it's coming late as a critique, but this is good. For me, I saw strictness for the character being arbitrary for the reader, then things get mixed up for the character and the reader feels at pace with him, and then the humor appropriately relates at the end. Maybe I missed it all, or maybe I got it, but there's something real good in this piece.