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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: Walking Pork Butts
By Patty Wysong
01/09/08


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“It's not fair! You get to do everything and I can't even go to the movies.” Jenna flopped onto her unmade bed.

“I'm also two years older than you.” Kayleigh leaned against the door jamb, surveying the mess.

“Yeah, but you went to the movies all the time when you were my age.”

“Yeah, and my room didn't ever look like this, either.”

“I don't see what the big deal is,” Jenna whined as she looked around. “I'm not a neat-freak like you are. Who cares?”

“It's not about being a neat-freak; and obviously Mom and Dad care, otherwise you'd be at the movies now and not here, whining.”

Jenna glared at her sister. “I'm not whining.”

Kayleigh flipped long hair over her shoulder. “Whatever.” She gingerly walked to the clothes hamper near the closet and peered into it. “There's dirty clothes all over the floor and none in here. Wouldn't it be just as easy to toss 'em in the hamper as it is to drop 'em? That's not being a neat-freak; that's being a short cut freak.”

Jenna scooped up a handful of clothes and pitched them toward the empty hamper. “There's no such thing,” she muttered as all but one thing fell short of its mark.

“Sure there is. You're the queen of short cuts, so you ought to know.” Kayleigh picked her way back to the door.

“Short cuts, pork butts. I can have this done in nothing flat and still make it to the movies,” Jenna declared, rising from her bed.

Kayleigh snickered as she stepped into the hall, almost running into her mom who rolled her eyes and shook her head at Jenna before padding off to the kitchen.

A little later Jenna trotted into the kitchen. “My room's clean. Can I go now?”

Her mom frowned as she looked up from the cookbook. “At the beginning of the week we told you that you could go if you kept your room neat...”

“Yes! Thanks, Mom.”

“Not so fast, Jenna. Your room's been a mess all week; in fact, it was completely trashed just 15 minutes ago.”

“But it's clean now,” she sing-songed.

“Well, good. Let's go check it and we'll see if it's done right.”

“But what about the movie?” Jenna asked hopefully.

“You lost your chance at a movie by not keeping your room clean throughout the week. We'll see if you get to do anything else this weekend or not.”

The hopeful smile slipped away as Jenna followed her mother. When her mom dropped to her knees and reached under the bed Jenna grimaced. Soon there was a mound in the middle of the floor. Next her mom went to the closet and cautiously reached for the door while looking at Jenna, her eyebrow raised in question.

“Uh, Mom, why don't I finish and let you know when it's done?”

“You already had a chance to do that. It seems you need some help, so I'll give you a hand.”

Sinking onto the bed Jenna groaned when her carefully constructed pile toppled out. Soon the closet was empty except for the clothes that hung neatly in place, and the bedroom floor was littered with several weeks' worth of concealed debris.

“There. Doesn't that look better?” her mom said as she surveyed the closet.

Jenna smiled weakly. “I get the idea, Mom...” Before she could get any further, her top dresser drawer was sliding open.

“Oh, my,” Mom sighed. “I was afraid of this.”

With her mouth hanging open, Jenna watched as her mom set aside the folded clothes, then pulled out drawer after drawer and emptied them over the collection on the floor.

Wiping her hands on her jeans, Jenna's mom looked around. “Well, that about covers it, don't you think?” Her eyebrow was up again as she studied her daughter.

“Short cuts are great things, Jenna—when you use the right ones. Otherwise they truly are pork butts—the kind that walk on four feet.”


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This article has been read 722 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Ann Renae Hair01/10/08
I admire this tough mom! I am so inconsistent in this area that it's a bit of a battle. Your title grabbed me! Great story did not disappoint.
Joanne Sher 01/10/08
Such a great example for this topic. I have to say two things: I'm glad that MY mom was not like this, and I wish that I WAS like this LOL. Great detail and dialog.
Debbie Wistrom01/10/08
Yours was the first entry I read because of the title! I loved the dialog and feel it was true, one girl who had learned, the other who still was learning. Enjoyed it very much.
darlene hight01/10/08
You might have to lengthen this a little but here is a possible outlet that I received in my email.


DATE: 1/10/2008

SUBJECT: Guide Magazine

FROM: Rachel Whitaker

MESSAGE:

Url: www.guidemagazine.org

Compensation: $50-100

Title: True Stories for Kids

Summary: Guide, a weekly Christian magazine for ages 10-14, is looking for true stories that illustrate Bible truth and show young readers how to walk with God. Categories include adventure, inspirational, personal growth, humor, nature, and Christian role model.

Category: Creative Writing

PROJECT LENGTH
1000-1200 words

TARGET AUDIENCE
Kids ages 10-14

KNOWLEDGE REQUIRED
Know about the situations kids face today, their interests and concerns. Know how to convey spiritual truths by "showing, not telling."

WRITING STYLE
Tell a nonfiction story using short-story techniques such as dialogue, plot, setting, characterization, etc. Focus on a kid protagonist (ages 10-14). Include a clear Christian message.

DELIVERY FORMAT
Submit via e-mail to guide@rhpa.org, or send hard copy with SASE to Guide, 55 W. Oak Ridge Dr., Hagerstown, MD 21740.

HOW WILL THE CONTENT BE USED
Published in 32-page, four-color weekly magazine distributed throughout North America.

CONTENT OWNERSHIP
We buy first world rights and reprint rights.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Please consult writer's guidelines at www.guidemagazine.org/aboutguide. Also read sample stories on the Web site.

REPLY E-MAIL: rwhitaker@rhpa.org

Laury Hubrich 01/10/08
Well written story and fun! I had a room like this, in fact, some weeks I still do:) Right on topic!
Laury
Sara Harricharan 01/10/08
Title caught my eye here. Great story! I am glad to be somewhat of a "neat freak" ^_^ Good point!
Donna Emery01/11/08
This is such a cute story and very realistic. I actually thought of this story last evening when I saw that my son had "cleaned" his room by putting everything that had been on the floor into his suitcase! Hugs
Jan Ackerson 01/11/08
Great title, and your dialog was absolutely realistic. Really well done.
Temple Miller01/14/08
Loved the title and everything that followed. Great dialogue and rising tension. I loved how the mother handled her daughter. You've presented a good message in a fun read. Yes, I vote for you to extend the length and submit it to be published!
Sharlyn Guthrie01/14/08
Very realistic and funny, too. I had a son with the same problem. Now he's his wife's problem! LOL
Dee Yoder 01/14/08
Realistic dialogue and characterizations. You have the teen mannerisms down pat. The title is great!
jodie banner01/14/08
I've actually done the same thing to my kids. very funny. Great illustration of the topic.
Betty Castleberry01/14/08
Very cute, very true. Loved the title. This was a fun read.
LauraLee Shaw01/14/08
I enjoyed this. It was a creative and delightful read.
Catherine Pollock01/14/08
Wonderful illustration of the topic - creative, funny, and it gets the point across.
Sheri Gordon01/14/08
Your title is an absolute hoot. The dialogue was very real -- I felt like I was in the house with them. Nice job with the topic.
Janice Cartwright01/14/08
Lots of teen themes this time including my own. Shows how great minds work - right? Good, good title, lively dialogue and definitely connects.
Karen Wilber 01/14/08
OK, with a title like this I just had to read this one. Too funny. I have a feeling I'll be living this in a few years. Thanks for the mom pointers! ;-D
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/14/08
Your story was very visual, in addition to having such realistic dialogue. I could just hear the "whatever."
Catrina Bradley 01/14/08
I had to read this one when I saw the title. Great dialog, wonderful mom. Sounds exactly like my daughter's room. :)
Catrina Bradley 01/15/08
I just saw in the hints who wrote this! I'm not surprised it's so good. I love your word choices - flopped, pitched - strong verbs, and the phrase "the hopeful smile slipped away". More stuff I noticed on the 2nd read. :)
Loren T. Lowery01/16/08
Well-written and so, so real. I could just hear this exchange between my wife, my self and our kids.
Great job!
Beth LaBuff 01/16/08
What fun with a great lesson. I love your title!!! Great work on this.
Maxx .01/16/08
been there, done that ... on both the delivering AND receiving end! lol! Love the story. Good work!
Tim Pickl01/17/08
Perfect dialogue and characters! This one could be developed as a skit for church!?
Patty Wysong03/14/08
This is only a test: [url=http://impeej.blogspot.com/]Patterings[/url] or is it: Patterings