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

TITLE: A New Anger
By Rachel Burkum


I stared my adversary in the eye, my fists automatically clenched at my sides. Anger surged through my veins like an unrestrained freight train.

The look in the other man’s eyes wore a glaze, donated by the whiskey that was now absent from the bottle on the bar. It was a familiar look. I’d seen it when staring into a mirror only minutes before. But any remorse had fled long ago, along with peace that was now a stranger.

“Come on!” My foe staggered backward a step, raising his hands to eye level and taunting me.

I’d been insulted enough. My knuckles met his chin with a dull thwack, sending him sprawling to the floor. But the fight was far from over.

“What’re you in for?”

It seemed like such a trite question. I was tempted to tell my new cellmate that it had been the other guy’s fault. But after six weeks in here, my head was too clear to lie without guilt. Unfortunately, time machines weren’t available for people who channeled their anger in the wrong direction, just to find out they’d made idiots of themselves.

“One too many fights. One too many lapses in judgment. One too many times I let my temper win. Take your pick.” I could have been more specific. But why got into details about someone I’d put in the hospital? I was too tired to put forth the effort.

Funny what time will do to a man. He might claim and even believe with his whole being that his heart is too cold to change. That he can’t help the way he is. That he’s a lost cause, driven by destiny in the wrong direction. But somehow, the passage of time and a gentle tug in the right direction can pull him out of the mire so quickly that it will send his mind reeling. With just a little love and the resurrected glimmer of hope, he can rise above what he once was.

I stared my adversary in the eye, my fists automatically clenched at my sides. Anger surged through my veins like an unrestrained freight train.

My body shook as I confronted the evil that had dragged this man down. The others in the smoke-filled room laughed at his swaying frame. They egged him on, daring him to kick me out. For who was I to be here? Asking for a soft drink instead of liquor was just asking for trouble. But I’d come for a reason.

Compassion and sorrow ran neck and neck with my rage. I had been in this drunkard’s shoes once. I knew how it felt. And no one was helping him. They were only pushing him further down the road of destruction that offered false security and power. There was only one thing that could bring a man from this misery. Only One who could renew a lost soul and allow a second chance at life.

My hand gently met my opponent’s shoulder. I had learned almost too late that there was more to life than this. I only had one chance to show it to him now. I had to make it count.

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This article has been read 831 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joy Faire Stewart08/09/07
Excellent message coming from an "angry" piece. Loved the last line.
Chrissi Dunn08/09/07
A good testimony to how God can change someone.
Marilyn Schnepp 08/10/07
Loved the writing in this entry. So down to earth about "Why he was in jail"...and such a great ending. Common sense comes around for the final show-down; Loved it! Great read!
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/11/07
This is a very good story to show a lesson learned.
Jan Ackerson 08/14/07
This has a real "film noir" tone to it...gritty and real. Well done.
Joanne Sher 08/14/07
You paint a masterpiece with your words - this was like watching a movie. Excellent.
Catrina Bradley 08/14/07
I love these vignettes, telling the MC's story from uncontrolled anger to redemption to testimony. The language is so colorful and the voice comfortably intelligent. Excellent.
Kristen Hester08/15/07
Excellent, excellent writing. Your descriptions are so vivid. Great job!
Dee Yoder 08/15/07
I like the contrast between the two sets of confrontations. The first is written as a textbook example of where runaway anger, fueled by alcohol and drunken peers, can land a man. The second is an example that leads a man to a way of peace and real concern for his peers.
Loren T. Lowery08/15/07
This reminds me of the song, "The Winner" it carries much the same message and you've done an excellent job of showing that sometimes those best equiped to help are those who have been in the other man's shoes. Great job.
Brenda Welc08/15/07
Good descriptive writing, got your message strong and clear! Good writing!