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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Bird in the Hand is Worth Two in the Bush” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/10/08)

TITLE: And The Winner Is?
By Marita Vandertogt


And The Winner Is?

“Can we have a dog mom, please. Every kid in the neighbourhood has a dog.” Josh stood in the middle of the kitchen floor, his twelve year old face squeezed into a look of pleading. They’d had this conversation before, many times before. Only this time his mother was prepared with a different response.

“Okay,” she said. “Here’s the deal. You have a choice. Either we can get a dog, and give up your father, or keep your father, and not get a dog.” Ginny pulled a glass from the dishwasher, polishing at a stubborn spot that wouldn’t go away.

“Do I hear a hesitation?” Josh’s dad came into the kitchen, a big smile on his face. “I just heard the ultimatum. What’s it gonna be Josh? Oh, did I mention I had passes for the hockey game tonight?”

With one look at the smiles on both their faces, Josh’s frustration got even bigger. “Funny guys, real funny.” Then he joined the game, determined to beat them at it.

“Okay then,” he said, mustering up all the wisdom he could. “Let’s look at this way. Mom, for every reason you give me to keep dad, I’ll match you with a reason we should get the dog.”

Ginny dropped the glass on the floor, smashing shards around her feet. Josh’s dad looked at his son wrestling between a moment of pride at the sudden flash of maturity, and disbelief, at the proposition.

“You’re on,” Ginny said. “You go first, and I’ll match you.” Josh’s father sat down at the table, a coffee in hand, and waited.

“Okay guys,” the young boy came up with his first plus for the pup. “He would be a great watch dog, and protect the house and the neighbourhood and everything.” His voice grew in exuberance.

“Well,” Ginny said. “I watched your father tackle a man twice his size when we were dating. Sure, it was because he thought this guy was hitting on me, but hey, there’s strong protection potential there. So one score for both.”

Josh continued, pointing a finger in the air at this one. “We could teach this dog with one word commands to do things for us. With dad, you gotta tell him over and over. Taking out the garbage and that kinda stuff.” Josh’s father shifted in his chair a bit, and took a big gulp of coffee.

“Okay,” Ginny scratched the side of her head, and began with, “But your father does do a few things without asking. Not many, but enough to make keeping him here worthwhile.”

Josh walked around in a small circle, then stopped and with a big smile said, “But a puppy would make you get out and exercise, you know, walking him and stuff. You know how you complain dad never gets out there with you in the mornings and you have to get yourself going. Dogs love walks.” Josh felt a big point for this one.

“True,” Ginny’s voice started to waiver. Josh’s father cleared his throat in an apologetic gesture. “True, but I don’t have to keep him on a leash when I am out there. No tugging on a chain, and he’s relatively noiseless, so it’s an easier walk.”

“Okay, one final one then.” Josh was gearing up for the crowning reason to trade his father in for a pup. “He’s a whole lot cheaper to feed.” With that, Josh’s father patted his raising belly and got up from the table. “Let me know the outcome,” he said, sucking in his stomach, grabbing the garbage to take outside and then “When this is finished, let’s go for a jog.” He said to Ginny. “By the way, I’ll keep you safe out there when we do go.” He left the two to his fate.

“Well Josh,” his mother said, patting her son on the shoulder. “You have some pretty good arguments. But I think the best reason to keep your dad, is because we know what we get with him. No surprises. And he’s still trainable. I say we go with the tried and true for now.”

With that, she grabbed her running shoes, yelling down the hall. “Your shoes are in the closet. Grab them and let’s go. I think you’re safe for another couple of weeks at least. The puppy lost, for now anyway.”

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This article has been read 740 times
Member Comments
Member Date
LauraLee Shaw01/18/08
This is adorable. It was like I was a fly on the wall watching the whole scene. Excellently written.
Dee Yoder 01/18/08
Ha-this is so funny! I love the characters and the poor dad's patience as they total up his "points" in comparison to the puppy. This is really a clever and humorous take on the topic!
James Clem 01/18/08
Very entertaining! Dad's sure feel loved at the moment. ;-{
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/19/08
Good humor and dialogue here.
Dianne Janak01/20/08
Adorably entertaining, fun, and on topic! I have to admit though, being a dog lover, I was hoping for some kind of compromise..keep dad and get a dog dad has always wanted maybe? Then it wouldn't be on topic holding all 3 birds! Loved the story though... great writing and easy to follow.
Joanne Sher 01/20/08
What a complete and total RIOT! This had to be an absolute blast to write - it certainly was to read. Awesome.
Sara Harricharan 01/23/08
ROFL! I was chuckling by the time I was half way through this. Too funny! I'm glad that the Dad won, it was getting a really close match there. Fun dialouge and cute characters! ^_^

RED PEN: The ending wasn't quite clear, was she talking to her son or husband when she was telling him to get shoes? Could just be me though! ^_^
Jan Ackerson 01/23/08
I really enjoyed the family dynamics here...not sugar-coated, but the affection is very obvious. Really good job.
Loren T. Lowery01/23/08
Grinning from ear to ear on this very clever and creative entry. I was wondering how it would work out...and to the dad's defense, maybe he does eat more than the dog, but he's more than likely also the one that pays for it, too.
Karen Wilber01/23/08
Loved it. I got completely caught up in the debate, even coming up with some reasons of my own. (I was cheering for Dad. He is potty trained). Great humor.

Where's that line I liked......"With dad, you gotta tell him over and over. " LOL.
Lisa Graham01/23/08
Oh I love the humor and the warmth of the family. Excellent!
Beckie Stewart01/23/08
I agree. This was so much fun to read. I love the reasons and the come backs. Great writing.
Paula Titus 01/23/08
This is so sweet :) Loved it!
Patty Wysong01/23/08
What a fun read!! I enjoyed it from beginning to end. :-)
Sally Hanan01/23/08
This was sweet and funny and so totally believeable that a 12 yr old would try and pull something like this off. Red ink: People don't drop things in shock; that's exclusively a movie/TV thing, and the glass dropping took away from the rest of the plausability of the story.
TJ Nickel01/23/08
I really liked this article. I thought some of the dialogue was unnecessary ("I heard..." after making a statement noting he heard). It did slow it down and make it concrete, but left a little from the reality needed in finding the sarcastic tone of love in this family. Really liked the tone you worked to create.