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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "A Man is Known by the Company He Keeps" (without using the actual phrase). (01/31/08)

TITLE: Neighborhood Watch
By Johnna Stein
02/04/08


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Shannon leaned snugly against the wall and peeked though the front bay window. “Hey Mom! Looks like Randy is having another big shindig.”

Mother appeared from the kitchen, hands on hips. “If that’s the case, this time I am definitely filing an official complaint with the neighborhood association. I’m sure he’s breaking at least one of the by-laws.”

Shannon continued to observe. “That same red clunker with smoke pouring out of the muffler just pulled up. Oh my gosh! This time he’s parking on Randy’s lawn. Mom, you will not believe this. Come look at what just stepped out of that guy’s car.”

Mother slid next to Shannon, not wanting to be spotted from the street. “Oh my goodness. Those gals look like they just came fresh from the street corner. Shannon, if I didn’t know better, I’d say they were hookers.”

“Yea, they do kind of resemble Julia Roberts from that movie ‘Pretty Woman’. Wow, I didn’t know people really dressed like that. Randy has the weirdest group of friends.”

Mother disappeared, then abruptly returned with a notepad in hand. “I am going to record with detailed description everything and everybody we witness. Shannon, I am so sorry that a good Christian young lady like yourself has to be exposed to this kind of riffraff. Our neighborhood’s good reputation is at stake here.”

“Mom, isn’t that the guy who’s always begging on First and Main? Man, he really needs a bath. Look who’s behind him, the dude who was arrested for a DUI last week. I saw his photo in the paper when I made my report for Driver’s Ed. I’m sure it’s him.”

“Shannon, how many people have you counted so far?”

“Well, I think about eight, but there were already two Harley Davidson’s parked out front when I saw the red clunker arrive. So that would make it at least ten.”

“Hmm… I know there is some rule about requesting a permit for a party, but I can’t recall the number of guests that requires a permit. Let’s keep an accurate count to be certain.”

“Mom, why do you think Rachel Smith would be going to Randy’s? She’s getting out of a taxi and actually waving to the beggar dude. Now that is really weird.”

“Honey, Rachel is a troubled girl. You know she gave her baby up for adoption last year. At Bible study Agnes did mention that Rachel has struggled with an eating disorder.”

“Do you think that band will play like last time?” Shannon secretly hoped so because last week she had opened her bedroom window and listened. The distance was too great to actually hear the lyrics, but the music was awesome.

“Well, if they do, that’ll be perfect. I can write them up for breeching the ‘disturbing the peace’ by-law.”

“Uh-oh. Mom, I think Randy is headed over to our house. He just crossed the street and is coming up our walk. Do you think he caught us spying on him?”

“I am not in the least concerned whether he saw us spying on him and his hoodlum friends. He’s going to have to answer to the Board soon enough.”

The door bell rang and Shannon wiped the sweat from her palms before she opened the door. Uncertain of what to say, she heard the thumping of her pounding heart. She tried to act casual.

“Hi Randy.”

“Hi Shannon. Is your mom here? I need to ask a favor.”

Mother stiffly walked toward him with a tight smile on her face. “Randy, what could I possibly do for you?”

Randy tried his best to explain, “Well, I probably should have warned you that we’d be meeting again so soon. Tommy usually hosts the mid-month celebration, but he’s in the hospital so I agreed to host this week.”

“You mentioned a favor?” Mother asked with a sarcastic slant to her voice.

“Could I borrow a coffee maker? My reserve just broke. Hosting these ‘Celebrate Recovery’ meetings without enough coffee might put me on the hit list. Freshly brewed coffee and the love of God is the recipe for keeping these new believers on track.”

Mother tilted her head as if she hadn’t heard Randy correctly. She stood there just staring at him, washed in shame.

Randy shifted and stuffed his hands in his jeans. “You do drink coffee?”

“Yes, of course. Shannon, run into the kitchen and get the coffee maker and a can of our imported premium roast.”


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This article has been read 434 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 02/08/08
I did NOT see that coming. This was just like Jesus and the tax collectors - a very good example for the topic.
Dee Yoder 02/10/08
It's so easy to jump to the wrong conclusions sometimes. Great characters and dialogue!
Lynda Schultz 02/11/08
"Judge not, lest ye be judged." Very "ouch!" Love the title.