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

TITLE: Road Rage
By T. F. Chezum
08/08/07


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I cranked up the radio and pulled onto the narrow country highway. I had been waiting for this day for a long time; I finally finished overhauling my mustang, and now I was taking it to town for a job interview.

I pressed the accelerator; a quick burst of power had me at cruising speed. This is nice.

Exhilaration tickled my thoughts.

I saw a blue van approaching the thoroughfare from a side street.

I hope he doesn’t. I rolled my eyes as he pulled into my lane. He better get that thing up to speed.

I continued at my speed, catching up to the other vehicle in a matter of seconds. “C’mon. Get it in gear.” I tapped my fingers on the steering wheel. He isn’t even trying to get going. I forced an exasperated groan.

Frustration clouded my judgment

I moved to the left of the lane to see around the larger vehicle; a line of vehicles crested the horizon to close to pass. The minutes on the clock clicked by in rapid succession.

“Get out of the way!” My emotions welled up inside me like a volcano waiting to erupt.

Holy cow! What’s he doing? I threw my hands in the air. “Get movin’ grandpa!” I huffed. “I’ve got an appointment.”

Impatience jabbed at me.

I jammed my throttle to the floor. My car lurched at the slow vehicle; he didn’t speed up.

“C’mon! Drive the speed limit, not your IQ!” I slammed my palms against the steering wheel. What’s his problem? “Can we at least come close to fifty-five?”

Aggravation throbbed in my eyes.

The brake lights flashed on. Like a bull seeing red, I reacted. “We’re going slow enough! What are you waiting for?”

The van meandered around a curve in the road. I’m never go’na to get there! Why can’t he just pull over? A traffic signal in the distance blinked to caution. “We could’ve made the green if you were moving.”

Rage overwhelmed my senses.

I adjusted the radio. Music did not calm me.

I glanced at the traffic light. It’s green. It’s green! I tightened my grip on my steering wheel. “It’s greeeeeen!” I blasted my horn, “The gas is on the right!” I hollered, spewing venom with every word. “Get moving!” Beads of sweat rolled from my forehead.

Anger strangled my spirit.

I popped the clutch. My tires screamed as I whipped the wheel to the left and shot into the intersection. “If you don’t know how to drive, stay off the road!” My voice cracked through my dry throat.

I burst by the van in the opposite lane. Let him try and stop me. I swerved back into my lane just avoiding an approaching car. I bolted through town and cruised into the parking lot. Eight minutes to spare.

I sat silent, ensnared in fury’s burning clutch.


*****


The sun sparkled through the stained glass as we entered the sanctuary. After the typical variety of hymns Pastor Benjamin stepped to the pulpit.

“I had a sermon prepared for today, but something happened a couple days ago and I changed my mind.” He clasped his hands on the podium. “I met a very unhappy young man while I was out looking for a new van for the youth group.”

“About ten years ago he watched as his wife and daughter were killed when their car was hit by a drunk driver. He became angry with God – bitter about life itself. He turned his back on everything that had been so important to him. He couldn’t understand why he was made to be so miserable.” He turned his head and cleared his throat. “I struck up a conversation with him while we were out on the test drive. I was making progress when an angry young man in some sporty little car came up behind us and began harassing us.”

Restlessness coursed through my veins.

The minister took a sip of water. “Finally the impatient youngster got in front of us,” he continued. “And on his back bumper was a bumper sticker - What Would Jesus Do. The young salesman didn’t say anything, but I could see the disgust in his eyes. I don’t know if I’ll ever get another chance to talk to him one on one like that. It’s sad, really.”

Regret washed over me.


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This article has been read 926 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/09/07
You made us feel so clearly the young man's anger, as well as his regret. Your piece is an excellent reminder for us to be careful at all times of our Christian witness.
Lynda Schultz 08/09/07
Oh, so true — if you are going advertise that you're a believer (as we all should) you'd better be living like one. One little thing that struck me: "I finally finished overhauling my mustang, and now I was taking it to town for a job interview." I chuckled at this, cause it made me think the mustang was going to be interviewed for the job. Minor correction. Good work.
Kristen Hester08/10/07
Ouch! I cringed when I realized what happened. Good job showing one negative side of our anger. The writing is superb. Great job.
Betty Castleberry08/11/07
This piece convicted me. I'm better than I used to be, but there are times when I still feel impatient behind the wheel. I like the twist. Nicely done.
George Parler 08/13/07
Ouch! Man that hit too close to home. This pulls the reader into getting caught up in the man's anger and then dumps a bucket of regret and shame on them. Excellent ride. But more importantly, it is an excellent message. Good job!
Jan Ackerson 08/13/07
Oooh, ouch! The bumper sticker was a real kick in the stomach. Great writing.

A minor detail: capitalize brand names (like "Mustang"); for a moment, I thought it was a horse.

The pacing of this piece was perfect...the building rage, the shamed resolution. Every word precisely right.
Jan Ross08/13/07
I love stories with a steady crescendo and then a punch. Yours had it all. Great work! Powerful conviction! Well done! :)
Joy Faire Stewart08/13/07
You held my interest throughout the piece. Very good lesson to be learned. Excellent writing.
Dee Yoder 08/13/07
I rarely have road rage hit me, but your description of it made me feel like you were watching me! Very good message and a powerful punch line at the end.
Catrina Bradley 08/13/07
Been there, and I'm glad I learned to get over it. You described road rage to a T. Love the ending and the message.
Seema Bagai 08/14/07
A good reminder that we do not know who is watching our actions, especially in moments of anger.
Joanne Sher 08/14/07
Excellent description - and a way too convicting message! I gasped at the end.
Julie Ruspoli08/14/07
Great lesson. I felt like I was in the car and in church with the man.
Leigh MacKelvey08/14/07

Exhilatation tickled my thoughts

Frustration doubted my judgement ... and on!

These standout sentences made the piece! At first I thought they would spell a word, but they didn't. They were very clever, though and contributed to a well written story.
The ending was a surprise ... a good one!

Lynda Lee Schab 08/14/07
Hmmm. Makes me consider not only how I act when driving, but also when dealing with my kids in the grocery store or how I handle myself when confronted by a rude sales person. Excellent story-telling with a powerful punch at the end. Nice job.
Loren T. Lowery08/14/07
What a vivid reminder that everyone has thier story...if only we weren't so impatient, so in a hurry not to take time to listen.
Pamela Kliewer08/14/07
Well done. You had me through the whole story, waiting to see what would happen next. Very thought provoking story.
Dianne Janak08/15/07
I just read this from your brick and am stunned at all it implies on so many levels. We just have to realize that the world is watching, and sometimes we forget who we represent. I am convicted, touched, with the good fear of the Lord in reading this.
LaNaye Perkins08/15/07
You did an excellent job in the telling of this story, and topped it off with a perfect message. Well done!
Patty Wysong08/15/07
Not only did your choice of words convey the anger, but the way your worked them into shorter sentences added to the overall feel. Great job. I have to agree--this one packed a punch.
Julie Arduini08/15/07
Perfect ending. Very well told, one sentence was missing end puctuation but it's so minor against the great pace and emotions you brought out here.
Jacquelyn Horne08/15/07
This shows how we need to learn to control our emotions. This article is a good example of how our witness is ruined by our actions.
Jennifer Wetter08/16/07
I envy the beauty and eleoquence of your writing all of you Masters demonstrate. Beautiful piece.
Christine Dunn08/16/07
I could feel chills, as the pastor mentioned the bumper sticker's message. It's so true that we need to practise what we preach! This was very well portrayed.