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

TITLE: Family Heirloom
By Johnna Stein


I donít miss the cold metallic nozzle of my former weapon pressing on my spine, stuffed into the waistband of my pants. This newly acquired weapon suits me just fine; itís smaller and slides into my back jeans pocket completely concealed. Strange to think that I feel more confident and safe under the protection of this simple tool passed down from my great grandfather. Hard to believe it is more powerful than the firing power of the .45 Colt I previously wielded.

I still canít believe I received this family heirloom from my cousin Johnny. We never did get along and it amazes me that he and I now are part of the same brotherhood; a testimony to family loyalty. When I swore my allegiance, Johnny handed this ďgiftĒ to me as a sign of trust and acceptance. I promised to follow family tradition and pass it on to the next worthy member of our family.

Of course, I am secretly hoping that my brother Joe will be the next recipient. Thatís why I am waiting in line just like last week in one hundred degree scorching heat to visit him at the state pen today. Getting the heirloom inside will be a cinch; the only real issue is if Joe wants it. Heís so set in his ways and stubborn like our father was. Pops never wanted to follow family tradition. He ventured out on his own and got himself shot and killed in a bank robbery when I was only fifteen years old. I guess we just followed in his footsteps.

As the guards call me into the holding area, first they examine the care package Iíve brought for Joe. Itís full of homemade chocolate chip cookies and a few books heíd requested. Then, they frisk me from top to bottom and top again. I find I am holding my breath and finally blow out a sigh of relief when they tell me to proceed to the visitorsí block. The heirloom remains secure in my left back pocket. I am wondering if I will leave the same way?

As I sit in the grey plastic chair and stare through the glass partition, I realize I could have easily been the one on the other side. Johnny came to me the morning of the planned heist. I still to this day donít know how he knew to come. He pleaded with me one last time and again recounted great grandfatherís legacy and for the first time I actually listened. He talked me out of joining Joe and our friends for the planned robbery. The hardest part was backing out. I only told Joe a half-truth and said I was sick. It was partly true cause I felt like I might puke every time I thought about my part as getaway driver.

Now here I sit free as a bird and there Joe will sit imprisoned for a 20 year sentence. Of course, itíll only be nine years total if he gets out early for good behavior. That could have been me serving nine years if Johnny hadnít come to see me that April morning.

Joe approaches his grey plastic chair, wearing the bright orange jumpsuit that distinguishes him from the free outside world. I am looking for a hint of what his answer will be, but canít find any clue in his unshaven face. He sits down, gives me a cursory glance and buries his head in his hands. From the way I see his head shaking, I assume he is crying. I want to reach over and put my hand on his shoulder, but physical contact is forbidden. So I wait.

Finally he puts his right hand on the glass and I return the gesture and place my left hand on the glass to meet his. Thatís as close as weíll get to physical contact today. I can see that he has indeed been crying and I am dying to know what his decision will be. Joe picks up his receiver so I know heís ready to talk. I follow his lead and put the receiver to my right ear.

ď Yes.Ē Itís only one word, but it will change his life and mine forever.

ďWelcome to the family!Ē I can barely get the words out.

I reach into my left back pocket and before putting the leather bound Bible into his care package, I run my fingers over the now barely visible engraved family name, Tozer.

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This article has been read 624 times
Member Comments
Member Date
darlene hight01/10/08
Excellent! I love this the way you sweep us along in the story and then a new weapon and a new Christian!
Joy Faire Stewart01/10/08
Love the way the story unfolds and the ending is perfect. Great job!
Sara Harricharan 01/11/08
Ooooh! I didn't expect the 'weapon' to be a Bible! Very good suspense here, I like the twist at the end.
Joanne Sher 01/13/08
You ABSOLUTELY got me with that twist. This is absolutely amazingly well written. I was absolutely engaged from beginning to end.
Sheri Gordon01/14/08
Wow, this is really good. Very well written, and a huge twist at the end. Very nice job.
Dee Yoder 01/15/08
I sorta guessed what the new weapon might be, but it was still a very suspenseful and enjoyable story! I like the tie-in to the topic, too.
LauraLee Shaw01/18/08
Superb piece of writing. This really touched my heart.
Debbie Wistrom01/18/08
Delightful twist! Thans for the fresh look at the weapons we are given. Top notch.