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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Sport or Fitness (02/15/07)

TITLE: A day at the gym
By T. F. Chezum


“Now what?” Jack blurted, disgust echoing in his voice. He slid a yellow flier from under the windshield wiper.

How many?

A quizzical expression crossed his face. “Stupid junk.” He crumbled the paper and tossed it to the back of the carport.

“The dumpster is at the other end of the complex.” Mrs. Johnson gestured, reeling in her yapping Pomeranian.

Jack gave a sarcastic wave. “Whatever.” He climbed into his Escalade, dropping his gym bag on the seat beside him.

Her scowl reflected in his rearview mirror.

“How many?” The radio blared as the engine fired up.

“Geeze!” Jack flinched at the unexpected greeting, cranking the volume down. He rested his Ray-Bans on his nose and drove off.

Mrs. Johnson shook her head in antipathy.

Jack pulled into the fitness center parking lot.

The driver of an orange Volkswagen put the top down on his car before pulling out of the stall; a little red Corolla waited behind. Jack whipped his SUV into the vacant parking space, missing by inches the convertible that had backed out.

“We were waiting for that spot.” Joyce leaned out the window of her compact car.

“You snooze, you lose.” Jack shrugged, stepping from the driver’s seat. His foot slid on a torn newspaper; he glanced at the headline.


He kicked it away from his car.

“You’re such a jerk.” Her engine revved as she drove off.

The treadmill droned.

“Are you almost done?” Kathy smiled, resting against an elliptical machine.

“I still got a couple of miles.” Jack patted his brow. “Then a cool down.”

“All the machines are taken.” Her smile faded into a glare. “You’re not supposed to take this long when people are waiting.”

“Sorry, can’t interrupt my training.” He took a swig from his water.

“Forget it.” She swung her arms in frustration.

Jack sauntered toward the pool, his towel draped around his neck. He paused for a moment, admiring his physique in the mirror.

“How many people?” A nearby walkie-talkie crackled.

He jumped at the sudden noise.

Frank snatched the radio from the counter and stepped out of earshot.

Jack smoothed his hair and proceeded to the door.

“The pool’s not available.” Frank waved his arm, trying to get Jack’s attention.

“What do you mean?” Jack’s brow furrowed with contempt. “I paid for my membership. I get my pool access.”

“I’m sorry,” the young worker replied. “Senior water aerobics, and there’s a lot of them today.”

“Great.” Jack whipped the towel off his shoulders. “My workout gets ruined by a bunch of hapless geezers.”

Frank stared in disbelief as Jack stomped off.

Tabitha stood up from the weight bench, stretching her arms over her head. The slogan on her shirt stretched into view.


Jack jumped to the barbell adding weights to both ends.

“Hey, I was using that.”

Jack sat on the bench. “You walked away.”

“I was stretching between sets,” Tabitha huffed. “I wasn’t done.”

“Oh, well. I won’t take too long.” He reached behind him and grabbed a towel. “I think you forgot this.”

She snatched the towel from his grasp and stormed off.

Ron and Belinda stood, engrossed by the television.

Jack leaned across the counter, snapping his fingers.

The video echoed through the snack bar, “People will be influenced by…”

“Can I get some service?” Jack hollered.

“Sorry.” Ron paused the tape. “She’s pretty new. Just showin’ her a training video.”

“Well that’s very dutiful of you.” Jack’s words radiated disgust. “But I need a Triple Berry Blast, pronto.” He gestured toward the preparation area. “And I want it done right, so don’t let her touch it.”

Jack snatched the smoothie from the counter.

He slipped his shades on as he walked out the door. A neon sign flickered to life.


A honking horn didn’t phase him as he stepped from the curb; he extended his flat palm toward the driver.

“Watch where you’re going,” Bill barked.

Jack continued to slurp his smoothie while strolling through the lot.

A green paper fluttered on the windshield of his Escalade. “Not again.” He ripped the leaflet from under the wiper.

Your actions.

How many people will be influenced by your actions?

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This article has been read 1164 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanney Uthe02/24/07
This was very cleverly done. I kept hoping that Jack would "get it". Proper names for all of the other characters made it seem as if he actually knew all of these people, but it also made them seem more real. Great job keeping the interest of this reader.
Betty Castleberry02/24/07
I don't understand why you don't like this. I think it's wonderful, and conveys a great message. You painted your main character as an arrogant narcissist. I hope he "gets it" before it's too late. Very well done.
Allison Egley 02/24/07
I also liked this. I liked the idea of him getting the "message" in little bits all throughout the day. I too hope he "gets it" before it's too late. Great job.
Jacquelyn Horne02/24/07
Good writing! I could see the negative influence left by Jack. I, too, hope he "gets it" someday. But many people never do. Wonderful article.
Marilyn Schnepp 02/24/07
A SUPER sermon on humility, kindness, patience, tolerance, unselfishness and good deeds packed into this delightful, entertaining and educational story entitled "A Day At The Gym". Sermons should always be this enjoyably blunt, forward and to the point...without being boring! Loved it! Great Job!
Patty Wysong02/24/07
What a lesson! You painted him so real I felt like getting in his face and letting him know just how he was acting!! Good job!
Joanne Sher 02/25/07
What don't you like about it? I found it hard-hitting and exceptionally well-written. I'm glad your MC didn't "get it."
Jan Ackerson 02/25/07
This is masterfully structured, and masterfully written. Absolutely superb.
Lori Othouse 02/27/07
I like that he didn't get it. Even though he should have, it was more a message for the reader to "get" through his example. Good, realistic situations also. Great writing!
Sara Harricharan 02/27/07
Wow. This is pretty neat. I can't begin to compare where I feel like that sometimes and where I run into someone just like that. I liked how you blended the bold words, (actions, influence, etc) into the storyline. Great job with the feelings/emotions that kept me riveted all the way through. ^_^
Marilee Alvey02/27/07
Thanks alot, Tim. I needed to meet this guy....AGAIN! Your story read very easily. It was very creative. It got the message across without preaching or hitting us over the head with it. Understated....yet powerful. Great job!
Michelle Burkhardt03/01/07
What a fantastic way of using a subliminal message. The dialogue and the days events were very believable. Great job.
Maxx .03/01/07
Tres bien ... tres tres bien! :-)