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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: Sammy, The Mastermind
By Deborah Engle


The ride home from winter camp was always too long, and the late hours they had kept last night made for a group of very weary travelers. Most of the Junior Highers were doing their best to catch some Z’s, wrapped in their warm coats – except for Sammy.

Sammy was in for a long, cold ride. He pulled his hood up and his sleeves down, but that didn’t help much. He looked around for something to wrap up in, but all the blankets and sleeping bags were stowed away in the back. “Would it hurt ta get the heater fixed?” he grumbled.

In the seat beside him, Adam stretched, opened his eyes and then sat up. “Sure hasn’t warmed up much in here. Hey, don’t ya want yer coat? Where’d ya put it?” Adam began to look around until he noticed that Sammy hadn’t moved. “Aren’t ya cold, man?”

“Yeah, I’m cold, but I don’t have my coat. This hoodie’s not helpin’ much, either.”

“What da ya mean, ya don’t have yer coat? Ya had it yesterday when we were tobogannin’. Did ya forget it at camp? They’ll haf ta mail it to ya.”

“Yeah, I ‘forgot’ it at camp, but they won’t be mailin’ it to me.”

Adam looked at his friend. “Whadda ya talkin’ about?”

“I’m talkin’ about I made sure nobody would find it, so now I’ll haf ta have a new one. It’s simple.”

“You tossed yer coat? Are you nuts? It’s the middle of winter, buddy!”

“I’m not so nuts. I hated that coat. You never had an older brother , so you never had ta wear hand-me-downs. John is a huge Dolphins fan and Mom bought that coat for him on clearance last year. He grew three sizes over the summer, so this year I haf ta walk around in a turquoise and orange coat. I don’t even like football!”

“Anyways, now Mom’ll haf ta get me somethin’ else, an’ I know just what I want. I’m gettin’ me a Detroit Red Wings jacket.” Anticipation shone from his face.

Adam stared in disbelief. “Sammy, what makes you think that she’ll spring for an expensive jacket after you ‘lost’ this one?”

“I got it all figured out, see. My mom is all about bargains, and since this is the end of the year, everything ‘ll be on clearance again. A Red Wings jacket will be cheaper now, so why wouldn’t she get me one? If she bought a Dolphins coat for John, she’ll buy a Red Wings coat for me, right?”

Adam shook his head. “If you say so.” They fell silent for several minutes, then Adam turned to Sammy and said, “Camp was pretty cool this year, huh?”

Sammy was happy to have another topic of conversation, and began to retell the story of the “Attack on Cabin #4” that he had mastermined. Pretty soon he saw that Adam wasn’t really interested, and complained, “Sorry if I’m boring you.”

“No, that was the best snowball invasion since we’ve been goin’ ta camp...but I was thinkin’ about the devotional Pastor gave. You know, the one on gratitude? Weren’t you listenin’ at all?”

Sammy’s eyes studied the floor for a moment. “Yeah, o’ course I was listenin’.” Then, lifting his chin, he defiantly stated, “...an’ I’m gonna be real grateful when I get my new coat.”

Adam slowly shook his head. “Man, you are a case!”


“Hurry up, the bus is comin’!” Adam watched as Sammy reluctantly jogged the rest of the way to the bus stop, joining the long line just as the bus pulled up. As the line slowly moved forward, he looked over his shoulder and asked, “Hey, what’s up with the Cardinals jacket? I thought you were gettin’ a Red Wings coat.”

“Yeah well, my mom knows nothin’ about sports.” Kicking at a mound of snow, Sammy’s face showed his disgust. “I told her ‘Red Wings’, but when she saw this she figured I must o’ meant Cardinals – cardinals have red wings, see? Can you believe it? An’ she can’t return it cause it was a “final sale”, so I’m stuck!”

Grabbing Adam’s arm and turning him around, Sammy moaned, “Do you know what’s gonna happen at school when the guys see me wearin’ this? Cardinals is the mascot of Western High.”

“They stole the league title from us. You woulda been better off keepin’ the Dolphins coat.”

“I’m thinkin’ the same thing.”

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This article has been read 794 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Beth LaBuff 01/18/08
Ha :) I think someone got what they deserved. I knew you'd work it out and you didn't disappoint me. Great work, great story, and an enjoyable read. Thanks!
Sara Harricharan 01/18/08
Heehee, bet he didn't see that one coming on here! LOL! The ending was good, I couldn't 'believe' that Sammy would deliberately leave a 'good coat' behind. You managed to teach a good lesson without taking away from the topic. Great job! ^_^
Marita Vandertogt01/19/08
Right on topic with this one.. good story. The last line is a perfect ending.
Jan Ackerson 01/21/08
I grinned at the mixup between Cardinals and Red Wings--the sort of mistake I'd make! Cute story.
Rita Garcia01/22/08
Thanks for the fantastic read! Love your writing style!
LauraLee Shaw01/23/08
Your dialect is GREAT! Your title is perfect for the piece, and your message from the topic is right ON! EXcellent!
Joy Faire Stewart01/23/08
Along with an excellent lesson on topic, this gave me a chuckle.
Dianne Janak01/23/08
Love it! Really can see this happening. I hope no teens read this..may give them some ideas, ignoring the consequences...
Loren T. Lowery01/23/08
This is really, really cute and so right on topic for the lesson it teaches. Great job with the story line and the dialogue and the characters.
Lisa Graham01/23/08
Very realistic and great message on topic. Loved it!
Dee Yoder 01/23/08
Unfortunately for him, he got his just desserts! Love the ending-and the twist with the mix up. great lesson presented in this story.
Karen Wilber01/23/08
Oh - this - is - good. I love how Sammy thinks he has it all figured out and then gets his just desserts in the end. This almost read like a trickster tale with people instead of animals.
Sally Hanan01/24/08
Ooh, this reminds me of all the times my son has hidden his school books so that he won't have to do his work...
Sara Harricharan 01/24/08
***Congrats!*** ^_^
LauraLee Shaw01/24/08
Congratulations, you mastermind, you... So happy for you!!!!
Sheri Gordon01/24/08
Congratulations on your EC. I love how you taught this lesson -- the jacket mix-up is hilarious. Great job.
Debbie Wistrom01/24/08
I can believe teens act like this,,,,I wished he would have had a few days to feel the cause of his ingratitude, but glad he didn't get the RW coat. Great story and congrats.
Joanne Sher 01/26/08
Great job with the dialog - definitely realistic for the age group. A BIG congrats on your EC, my friend! Awesome.