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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Angry (08/02/07)

TITLE: UP IN FLAMES
By Kevin Rodgers
08/07/07


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Stepping through the back door, Chad left the comfort of his air conditioned environment for the intense heat his open patio offered him. Drops of sweat formed on his forehead and slowly trickled down his already bright red cheeks. Chad was fuming hot, and it wasn’t only from the temperature!

Collecting his words, Chad stood silently with an empty plate in one hand and a fork in his other. Wiping the stinging sweat from his burning eyes, he cast his penetrating stare to the opposite end of the patio at Coleman.

“I have had enough,” Chad said through clenched teeth.

Coleman said nothing. No expression…nothing.

“Are you listening to me? I have had enough.”

Still no response.

Waving the fork sporadically at Coleman, Chad’s voice escalated into a full blown tirade. “YOU’RE WORTHLESS! YOU CAN’T DO ANYTHING RIGHT!” Chad yelled as he sent a flowerpot crashing across his lawn with a single football style kick. He was furious.

His shouting voice echoed throughout the neighborhood causing quite a commotion next door.

“Carol, what is he doing over there?” Sandra asked curiously.

“It sounds like he’s pretty angry at someone, doesn’t it?” Carol responded as a look of shock appeared across her face.

“Yea, but at who?”

“I’m not sure, but it doesn’t sound like the Chad we’re used to hearing at church, does it?” Carol asked. “Wait till the girls hear about this,” she added with a mischievous smirk.

With curiosity getting the better of her, Sandra silently motioned for Carol to follow her to the wooden privacy fence that separated Carol’s yard from Chad’s.

Standing on tip-toes, the women peered over the fence to catch the Second Act of the show. Trying not to attract Chad’s attention, they remained silent, as they watched him continue to vent his anger.

Now seated in a patio chair, nursing a sore foot, Chad began again. “Now you’ve crossed the line. I told you last time, you had one more chance. AND YOU BLEW IT!” Chad screamed, as he rose to his feet.

Carol and Sandra each stopped staring at Chad long enough to glance at each other. Both women were astonished, as well as a little confused, at what they were seeing. Something wasn’t quite right. They both knew that Chad wasn’t the violent type, but today, the man had been pushed to his limits. But why? They had no idea.

“You’re out of here,” Chad ranted. “I’m finished with…”

“Chad,” a voice called from the doorway.

Turning his attention to the call, Chad saw his wife, Rose, holding the patio door open with one hand, the other attached to her hip. Her expression clearly showed that she wasn’t pleased.

“Chad, will you cool it. You’re attracting a crowd,” Rose said in a reprimanding tone, as she nodded towards Carol and Sandra, who still stood spying from beyond the fence.

Slightly embarrassed, Chad waved. “Ummm, hi ladies.”

Realizing that they had been spotted eaves-dropping, Carol and Sandra, though embarrassed themselves, waved back. “Everything okay?” Carol asked.

“No, not really,” Chad responded. “The grill’s broken,” he added in an irate tone.

Walking towards Coleman with the empty plate and fork still in hand, Chad raised the lid and was nearly blinded by the smoke that barreled out. After fanning the smoke from his eyes, he scraped the charred T-bones from Coleman’s scorching rack and plopped them onto the plate.

Surprised that the ‘bricks’ didn’t shatter the plate, Chad kicked Coleman with his already hurt foot. “YOU PIECE OF JUNK!” he yelled, as he made his way back inside.

Carol and Sandra, now in a state of shock, remained standing at the fence a second longer. After realizing the show had ended, the women sulked back to their seats with humility in their strides.

“Rose, you may want to order out,” Chad called.

“Already ahead of you,” Rose replied. “Dominoes should be here in ten to fifteen minutes.”

“Twenty-five dollars down the drain,” Chad muttered to himself, as he dumped the steaks in the trash. “I’m buying a new grill first thing tomorrow.”

“Yeah sure, like I haven’t heard that one before,” Rose laughed

“This time I mean it,” Chad said emphatically.

“Yeah, Yeah,” Rose said under her breath.

“This time I’ll buy a ‘Char-Broil’, or maybe a ‘Brinkmann’,” Chad thought, “anything but another ‘Coleman’!”


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This article has been read 530 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joy Faire Stewart08/09/07
Great job putting humor in the anger. Clever twist. I like the neighbors too. You never know who is watching!
Christine Dunn08/09/07
Very funny! I sensed there must be a catch somewhere to Chad's anger. I wondered if he was acting out a scene at first, but laughed when I realised what had made him so mad! The fact that the nosy neighbours were so disappointed was quite telling too!
Lynda Schultz 08/10/07
I can relate — I have far more patience with people that I have with things that don't work the way I think they should, or as fast as I would like them to. But it's still anger nonetheless and needs dealing with before it gets turned to humankind. Good work.
Marilyn Schnepp 08/11/07
Not ever owning a grill, I wouldn't know a Brinkmann from a Coleman - but now I know! This one kept my interest...wondering who Coleman was, a dog? a person? a makebelieve friend or foe? Nicely done.
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/11/07
I was with Chad from the beginning and enjoyed the ride for his tirade at "Coleman." I like how you managed to show that, in spite of its faults, he liked old Coleman.
Jan Ackerson 08/13/07
Clever twist!
Sheri Gordon08/13/07
Very creative -- but I have to admit I figured out your twist from the first mention of Coleman. (Maybe because my husband is barbequing right now.) I especially liked the subtle message about eaves dropping and coming to the wrong conclusion. Good job with the topic.
Dee Yoder 08/13/07
I laughed at this because I have two neighbors, right across the street from me, who go to my church. Once, we "heard" an angry tirade from each of them, and once they "heard" one from us! It keeps the anger in check, I'll admit, when you know your church family is listening-and watching! I highly recommend having church family as neighbors-accountability is continuous. Unique story!
Kristen Hester08/13/07
Oh, this is fun. I thought Coleman was a dog. I'm glad it was a grill. I think Chad is going to have to spend more than $25. Great story!
Joanne Sher 08/14/07
Clever and fun - love all the "messages" skillfully woven through this piece.
Betty Castleberry08/14/07
This would make a great beginning for a sitcom sketch. I can just see Tim Allen manning the grill. It's well-written, too. Thanks for sharing.
Loren T. Lowery08/14/07
I know this about anger, but it still put a smile on my face as I've been there before, too. Nice job of story telling.
Julie Ruspoli08/15/07
Very clever. It is even funnier when you read it the second time and picture Chad yelling at a grill and calling it Coleman. Great article.
TJ Nickel08/16/07
Like the storyline, unique and everyday made into a story. Clever means to keep a reader searching while reading.
Seema Bagai 08/16/07
Didn't see the twist coming. Guess I don't know much about grilling. Great job on this piece.
Janice Cartwright08/21/07
Catchy title and great work, Kevin. I love to see everyday situations taken to the higher level of an entertaining story.