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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Stitch in Time Saves Nine” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/03/08)

TITLE: Jared Alexander and the Runaway Slothful
By Janice Cartwright


Three days of wind and rain drove wild creatures to their dens and Jared Alexander indoors to his computer. “Okay. C’mon, c’mon. Man this dial-up is snail.” Around midnight he gave up, hit the shut down command and crashed. While he dreamed, the storm lifted.

Early morning sunbeams gathered steam at the glass pane, expanded, and warmed Jared out of deep REM sleep. He opened his eyes. A large, coffee-colored ceiling stain, directly above his head, confronted his gaze. He blinked. In just a few days it had matured from walnut-size to about the height and width of his mountain bike. In fact the outline bore a curious similarity to a bike.

He popped out of bed like burnt toast. “They’re gonna’ kill me.” Soapy, his cat, looked at him as if pleased at the prospect. To further demonstrate her opinion she nipped his ankle and squeaked.

“Sorry, Soap.” He shook a few grains of cat chow at her empty dish.

“They’re gonna’ kill me. They’re gonna’ kill me.” Still dripping wet from his shower Jared scuttled through the house with a towel wrapped around him. Now what was the name? The Sealing Surgeon? No, it doesn’t sound right. He stepped on a Purina fossil wedged into the carpet: “Ow.”

B-ring-ring. Hopping on one foot Jared tracked the sound to the bottom of the laundry bin. He exhumed the cordless from underneath a wad of grubby jeans along with a desiccated peanut butter sandwich. Caller ID told him it was best bud, Chuck Stewart.

“Hey, s’up?”

Chuck jingled a set of car keys near the handset. It was an invitation to cruise.

“Nay, bro. No can do. You’re speaking to a dead man.” Jared hitched up his right shoulder to hold the telephone and started to flip through a black rolodex. “R.”

“Are what? And how’s come you’re deceased?”

“Can’t talk right now, chum. Gotta’ go. Janine and Lynn are due back any day from their mission trip and I have one huge problem. Like I said, I’m dead.”


Jared spotted it first: an orange three-by-five on the message board adjacent to his computer: The Roof Doctor, telephone and address printed neatly below. Peering over his shoulder, Chuck read aloud the attached note:

Jared. I told Lynn you would remember, but he said to be on the safe side I should put it in writing. Once we’re down the rabbit hole we won’t have contact for the entire six months. Be sure to call Mike (Mike's the owner) next week and have him come out to inspect the roof. The day we left Lynn noticed what looked like a loose shingle near one of the dormers. Ecclesiastes 10:18. :) There’s a signed check on the fridge under the daisy magnet. See you Christmas. XX’s & 00’s. Janine. BTW make the check out for whatever amount Mike tells you. He’s a Christian; you can trust him.


“You should have called months ago. If I was Miz Janine I’d clobber you. But then she’s nicer than me.” Mike ripped loose another shingle.

Jared watched from a safe distance at the top of the ladder. “How many boards will you have to replace? How much will it cost? How long do you think it will it take?”

“One sheet of plywood, two roof joists, and a bundle of shingles. About the price of that fancy bike of yours. And I don’t know. But I’ll tell you one thing, you let your sister shell out and I’ll come looking for you, personal.”

Jared decided he’d climb down and see if Chuck needed anything.

From the look of it, Chuck and his Slurpee were good for a while. “I read the bible verse and you were right. You’ve got cement for shoes, old bud.”

Jared cringed. “I know, I read it too.”

“Mind if I pay out the Ibis Mojo?”

Jared turned his palms over and shrugged. “Okay by me. We might run the payment plan idea by Mike first. While he’s still in a decent mood.


“Guess we better get going on the sheetrock and paint, huh? It's not likely to jump up there by itself.”

“Sheetrock? Paint?”

“Scary how fast a little slothful can droppeth a house.”

“Ooh, yeah.”

REM-rapid eye movement. Deepest sleep.

Scripture reference: By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through. Ecclesiastes 10:18. KJV.

Ibis Mojo – pricey mountain bike

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This article has been read 791 times
Member Comments
Member Date
darlene hight01/10/08
Great story. I love the feeling of near panic as he realizes the situation that he is in.
Patty Wysong01/10/08
LoL--I like this!! This is an excellent example of the topic!! :) The dialog was super, too! :)
Sara Harricharan 01/11/08
What a fun read! I bet this could be a children's story. The character's were delightful and you showed how thier actions led to a consequence. Great job!
Dee Yoder 01/11/08
Top-notch realistic dialog. I like the references you put at the bottom, too. Great writing; you really held my interest with the characters and plot.
Joanne Sher 01/13/08
I love the attitude of this piece, and all the slang (some of which I didn't understand, but I'm sure it's correct LOL) made it feel so real. This is one awesome piece. DYING to know who wrote it!
Jan Ackerson 01/14/08

My only problem was with the word "slothful" in the title--it's an adjective, but you've used it as a noun. Or maybe, is that part of the slang?

Your writing is outstanding and really compelling--I loved reading this very contemporary-sounding piece. Superb!
Karen Wilber01/14/08
Love the dialogue and all the little clues that Jared is a bit on the slothful side. (ya' think?) This was fun to read.
Temple Miller01/14/08
I loved this story. I liked the details, the dialogue, and bike-shape stain foreshadowing the future. Great story!
Catrina Bradley 01/14/08
Great! The slang kinda lost me in places, especially "pay out the Ibis Mojo". Needless to say, I appreciated the footnotes. Super cool, as we old people used to say. :) Perfectly on topic, great writing.
Sheri Gordon01/14/08
Great lesson -- and the dialogue was perfect. Nice job with the topic.
dub W01/15/08
Good story, well written. We Sloths should have a convention - wanna come fix my fence?
Tim Manzer 01/15/08
Great job! It reminds me of the TV add, "Pay me now or pay me later."
Beth LaBuff 01/16/08
What a great illustration of the verse. Your title is perfect. Super great writing! I love it!