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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “All that Glitters is Not Gold” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/24/08)

TITLE: Crooked Smiles
By william price
01/27/08


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Sigmund Fraud was his name, a computer scientist by trade, a deceiver of men at heart. The slouching weasel of a man would work through the night hours in his basement laboratory below his suburban ranch style home on the outskirts of Chicago.

The balding 44-year-old had an irritating habit of twitching his rodent-like nose as he worked. The only time he cracked his crooked smile was when he finished a batch of his product.

Glancing at a wall clock he noticed it was 6 a.m.

Time to get ready for work.

Sigmund finished boxing up his latest shipment of product and carried it upstairs.

In an hour, Sigmund was standing on the front steps of his home waiting for his carpool ride into the Windy City. He was dressed in creased khaki pants, a white button-down shirt and blue tie. His David Hasselhoff style wig was fit firmly on his head. His product was tucked safely away in his alligator skin brief case.

Five minutes later, (an eternity for Sigmund), he was still waiting. Glancing down the street he noticed two little old ladies visiting with his neighbor’s wife at their front door. They were showing her a brochure.

“Christians,” he muttered, “Can’t they leave their lies at church?”

Where’s my ride?

Sigmund’s brow began to sweat when he saw the women ambling his way.

Where’s my ride?

“Hello, sir, can we have a minute of your time?”

“I’m waiting for my carpool; they should be arriving shortly.”

Sigmund tried to smile, but his mouth was too tense.

One of the women turned and looked up and down the street and then back at Mr. Fraud.

“Well, it appears, sir, they’re not here yet.” She smiled.

Sigmund noticed her grin was a little off kilter, crooked like his own. His curiosity was piqued.

A kindred spirit maybe? I wonder what she’s selling?

“Maybe I do have a minute, young ladies. Would you care to come in?”

Sigmund invited them inside his home and they all sat in the living room.

“I might have to leave for work, so let’s get down to it. What‘s your scam?”

Taken aback, one of the ladies blushed red.

“We’re not scamming anything, sir, just inviting people to our church.”

“And what Church would that be?”

“The Southside Revival Center. Here’s one of our brochures.”

Sigmund took the pamphlet but didn’t look at it. His mind was churning.

“Hmm, to the best of my recollection, there is no Southside Revival Center, except for the County Jail. I hear that is it’s nickname.”

Both women blushed.

“Oh my,” one spoke, “I think we’ve been found out.”

“So, what are you doing, taking donations to a fake church and then flying off on vacation?”

“You’re pretty sharp, young man. We are, in fact, planning a trip to Phoenix next week.”

Sigmund flashed his crooked smile.

“Well, maybe we can help each other.”

“Oh, and how could we do that?” One of the women’s smiles bent crooked as she spoke.

Sigmund opened up his briefcase and pulled out a box full of his product. He opened it and handed a credit card to one of the ladies.

“And what is this?”

“A gift card, with another person’s credit card number on it. I usually just send them to church membership lists in the disguise of an anonymous blessing, and then wait to read the newspapers to see who gets arrested for credit card fraud.”

“How do you do that?”

“I have access to all the information at work. I also have the knack for spotting a fake. You two are no church goers. So why don’t you take a stack of these, sell them for donations, and we’ll split the profits?”

“Ingenious,” said the one of the ladies as she pulled out a Blackberry.

“Excuse me a second, sir. I’m getting a text message.”

Sigmund laughed.

Old ladies with blackberries, what a hoot.

In a minute there was a car honk outside.

One of the old ladies flashed another crooked smile.

“I think your ride is here, but before you go, would you please take a closer look at our brochure?”

Sigmund’s face went pale as he read.

“A search warrant?”

“Yes, Mr. Fraud. Our agents will be in shortly. We hope you enjoy your visit at the Southside Revival Center. We’d love to stay, but we have another case in Phoenix. And, by the way, love the wig. David Hasselhoff was always a favorite.”


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This article has been read 1390 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 01/31/08
Great title:) What an unexpected ending!
Laury
Joanne Sher 02/01/08
Amazingly vivid descriptions and characterization. Love the title, too. Enjoyed this.
Peter Stone02/02/08
Excellent read. I was wondering if the ladies were more than they appeared to be. Also loved touch of them announcing his ride, and him ending up going to the Southside Revival Center anyway! Only comment was that he calls them young ladies - was this deliberate?
Karen Wilber 02/03/08
Twisty! This was a fun read with all of the different strands of the plot woven together nicely at the end.
Sharlyn Guthrie02/03/08
This is such fun to read and unravel. The title is very fittng, too.
Betty Castleberry02/04/08
I didn't figure this one out at all until the very end. I love your old ladies. This was a hoot. Well done.
Pat Guy 02/04/08
You got me! How wonderful and creative. I LOVED this ... wow ... what a fun read.

And what a twist. Ingenious.
Lyn Churchyard02/04/08
Love this sort of story! Bad guy getting his just reward LOL
I guessed the minute she said “Excuse me a second, sir. I’m getting a text message.”
things were not as they seemed. Love the title too!
Kristen Hester02/04/08
What a hoot. I loved this. The crooked smiles, the ladies not being who they arppeared to be--twice, and the twist at the end. This was a fun read. I enjoyed it. I especially liked the discription of Mr. Fraud in his basement. I could picture it all.
Catrina Bradley 02/04/08
Enjoyed this twisty tale of crooked smiles. I have one on my face now. :)
Linda Watson Owen02/04/08
Crookedly creative and fraudulently fun!! heehee! What a treat!
L.M. Lee02/05/08
masterful! no idea where this was heading
Jan Ackerson 02/05/08
AWESOME! I'm applauding madly! You totally took me in, and I loved every word.
Pam Carlson-Hetland02/05/08
Loved it. Masterful writing, kept me interested all the way to the twist (crooked) ending. Still chuckling! Great job!
Paula Titus 02/05/08
I didn't see it coming! Very creative and fun read :)
Tim Pickl02/06/08
I love it! This story kept my attention all the way through and the ending is perfect--LOL! This story could be developed as a skit for church...
Hanne Moon 02/06/08
Loved it! Crooked smiles and all! Great ending...
Joy Faire Stewart02/06/08
This is very entertaining with an excellent message. Love the ending, it's unexpected and enjoyed the humor of it.
Joanney Uthe02/06/08
I loved the duel deception and the MC's presumed intelligence at figuring out that they weren't who they said they were. Great writing. Very creative twist.
Holly Westefeld02/06/08
Excellent! Definitely among my favorites this week.
LauraLee Shaw02/06/08
Wow, What a twist! And the common bond between the crooked smiles was brilliant.
Sara Harricharan 02/06/08
ROFL! You certainly 'got' me with this piece. I wasn't expecting a sting setup. This was too funny, at first I thought Mr. Fraud was doing drugs instead of credit card fraud, the little 'old ladies' added a lovely-extremely funny-twist to the story. The line with the blackberry was my favorite! Nice writing! ^_^ This is a favorite of mine this week!
Dee Yoder 02/06/08
I love mysteries and I figured out the ladies' real intention before the end (but not very much before the end!). Great story and I really enjoyed the characters.
Loren T. Lowery02/06/08
Should have figured ole Sigmund's scam from his name, (Fraud) but it didn't register until the "ladies" told him his ride had arrived. I liked how he sensed something was amiss with them, but chose to trust them anyway because he took them to be so much like himself. An intersting insight into his true character.
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/06/08
This is so creative and clever. The crooked smiles, the little old ladies, the name of their "church," and then the final zinger were just perfect.
Corinne Smelker 02/06/08
Very very clever and unexpected ending!
Sheri Gordon02/06/08
What a fun read. The dialogue was perfect. A great illustration of the topic.
Debbie Wistrom02/06/08
Great offbeat tale, loved the deception. Keep up the good words.
LaNaye Perkins02/06/08
This was a hoot to read! I was taken in from the title to the last word! Great writing!
James Dixon02/07/08
Your masterful wit is an inspiration.
LauraLee Shaw02/07/08
Congratulations on your EC and your 1st place!!! :/ (that smile crooked enough for ya?)
Pat Guy 02/07/08
You rock William! Congratulations my kind and wonderful friend!
Sheri Gordon02/07/08
Congratulations on your much deserved 1st place. This story is really great.
Leigh MacKelvey02/07/08
Nice double win!! Well deserved. I liked the ttle and the creative take on the topic!
Loren T. Lowery02/07/08
Way to go, William. Twice!
Can't get any better than that.
Edy T Johnson 02/07/08
My favorite spinner of yarns strikes again. Congratulations, friend! You create the most fascinating characters and you weave those yarns into an intricate tapestry worthy of a whodunit. I want an autographed copy of your book! :^)
Dee Yoder 02/07/08
Congratulations on your EC!!! Way to go!
Sandra Fischer 02/07/08
Clever and well done, William. I loved the name play and the D.H. wig. Good job and congratulations!
Joy Faire Stewart02/07/08
Congratulation on your First Place EC win. Well deserved!
Betty Castleberry02/07/08
Woo Hoo and Yee Haw! Look who's sittin' at the top of the heap. Congratulations. You deserve it.
Peter Stone02/08/08
Congratulations on your EC first place! Great job!
Sara Harricharan 02/08/08
***CONGRATULATIONS!*** Really awesome writing! ^_^
Beth LaBuff 02/08/08
Wow! What a fun and entertaining entry! Good work and congrats on your EC!
Christine Dunn02/09/08
Congratulations - a well deserved win. I love how Sigmond Fraud was caught out - very funny!
Judy Burford02/10/08
William - congratulations on your win! Your story is soooo funny. I wasn't sure at first where it was going, but I just cracked up when I got to the end.
Marilee Alvey06/24/08
William, I'm just getting back in the pace of things and read this story. It's a great one! Talk about a surprise twist and another surprise twist! You ARE a master, indeed. This was a worthy win and, I'll bet, came out a no doubt, overwhelming winner. You inspire me!