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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Shopping (03/01/07)

TITLE: Grocery Gig
By Lisa Graham


“Amy, I have serious misgivings in hiring you . . . you are inexperienced and unqualified for a staff position here at Hummingbird Retirement Village,” Miss Harper intoned. “But since we are short-handed, I’ll give you a chance.”

“Thank you.”

“Stop mumbling!” Miss Harper looked at her sternly. “Your first assignment is to assist the residents with grocery shopping . . . try not to lose any of them!”

Feeling sufficiently intimidated, Amy made her way to the circular drive where a bus sat idling, and timidly asked the driver, “Are you going to the supermarket?”

“Yep, my name is Kyle . . . you look a little young for the chicken run.”

“It’s my first day.” Amy nodded and changed the subject. “Why do you call it a ‘chicken run’?”

“This grocery gig is a hen party on wheels! The men never go . . . they’re probably glad to get the women out of their hair!”

“I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do,” Amy said self-consciously.

“Pretend you’re on a field trip with a bunch of kids and count heads . . . no sweat,” Kyle suddenly quieted as a group of ladies came spilling out of the lobby.

“What shade of hair color did you use, Twyla?” Louise asked.

“It’s called ‘‘Brilliant Blonde,’” Twyla tossed her curls.

“It looks like ‘Positively Purple’ to me,” Christine commented wryly.

“Christine, your glasses are obviously in need of adjustment!” Twyla’s feathers were ruffled.

“I’m sorry . . . I’m just afraid of chemicals! One time, I was trying to be a bottle blonde, and my hair turned bottle green!”

Amy introduced herself as they climbed aboard. Remembering Kyle’s advice, she counted ten heads, one of which was a peculiar shade of purple. “I’m here to help with your shopping.”

Martha cheered. “What fun . . . honey, get some Nutter Butters on the sly for me!”

“While you’re in the cookie aisle, I could use some Little Debbie’s Zebra Cakes,” Ruth smacked her lips. “Later on, you can slip me the contraband when the dietician isn’t looking.”

Harriet patted Amy’s shoulder. “Tell us about yourself . . . I’m sure you have lots of friends.”

Amy bit her lip. “Actually, I’m new to this town. Making friends is difficult for me.”

”I once suffered from terrible shyness,” said Bess. “But I conquered it when my husband was an evangelist. “Preacher’s wives aren’t allowed to be shy, so I cured mine with shopping!”

”Bess, you don’t have a shy bone in your body,” Louise declared.

“What does shopping have to do with shyness?” Grace was curious.

“I shopped for friends,” Bess explained. “Whenever we went to a new city, I looked for people to befriend. Concentrating on someone else made me forget my shyness. Amy, here’s your chance to make ten new friends. Let’s all share something about ourselves.”

“Oh, spare us the old Mickey-Rooney-Judy-Garland-let’s-do-a-show routine,” Christine piped up. “Get to the good stuff, like confessions.”

“I’ll go first,” Maggie gave a sly smile. “I shoplift Twinkies.”

“That’s theft,” cried Ruth.

“Petit Larceny,” Maggie corrected her. “Watch Perry Mason . . .”

In spite of herself, Amy was beginning to loosen up. “I must confess . . . I’m scared of Miss Harper.”

“Confidentially, Harper hired you to baby sit us,” Harriet chuckled.

“Babysitting you guys is like herding cats,” Kyle spoke up. “But Harper is a real battle-axe.”

Grace suddenly sobered. “All kidding aside . . . I’ve often wondered about her. She seems unhappy . . . no joy in her life . . . I wonder if she has Jesus in her heart.”

“I’ve wondered that myself,” Harriet said quietly.

“Remember when I told you about shopping for friends?” Bess asked. “Befriending people gave me the chance to witness to others about Jesus.”

“Bess is right,” Amy suddenly announced. All heads swiveled as she spoke. “I now understand what shopping for friends is all about. Jesus will give me the courage to actively seek others for Him. I’m no longer afraid . . . I’d like to go back and ask Miss Harper to join us.”

“Hey, Kyle, turn this bus around,” Christine ordered as everyone cheered and clapped enthusiastically.

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This article has been read 874 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Loren T. Lowery03/08/07
Really liked your dialogue and the wit you brought out in the ladies - it all seemed so real. Sounds like a fun bunch to hang out with - shopping or not.
Joy Faire Stewart03/09/07
Wonderful inspirational message, very strong characters and the best dialogue I have read.
terri tiffany03/09/07
Yes - you made these characters come alive for me! I felt like I was watching a movies as I could picture them so well. My only suggestion would be to drop the last word - as the rest already implies they were excited:) Good writing!!
Joanne Sher 03/10/07
Super interaction! Loved each and every character. You do a wonderful job with dialogue.
Marilyn Schnepp 03/10/07
I agree with all the comments about dialogue, fun, nicely written, and characters...but asking Miss Harper to join them is a bit unbelievable; after all- she is the boss lady in charge...but otherwise enjoyable read.
Jacquelyn Horne03/12/07
Wonderful Sunday School lesson from the hen house. HeHe. Good writing and I enjoyed this banter.