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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: Dumb Girls
By Patty Wysong


Reggie jammed his hat back on his head and glared at the girls who were bunched around him. Dumb girls; shows how much they know! Tellin' me I can kiss 'em! Blech. Ain't no way I'd kiss a girl! He grabbed his bucket and stormed to the wagon, the girls trailing behind him, lugging their own water.

Martha smiled as Reggie stomped up. “Those girls pesterin' you again?”

“Yes'm, they're a nuisance.”

Earl's eyes twinkled. “Least they recognize a prime man when they see one.”

“I ain't a man,” Reggie muttered, his face burning even though he knew Earl was teasing. “Is there anything else I kin do fer ya'?”

“I told ya' before, son, we hired ya' to help me, not do everythin' fer us. Go have some fun before we git movin' again.”

Martha watched Reggie join the group of boys shooting marbles. “Mebbe he'd let us adopt him. It's shore nice havin' a youngin' aroun'.”

Earl stretched out on the ground, favoring his broken arm. “He's worth his weight in gold, thet's fer shore. I'm glad to see he's friends with those boys there instead of thet group of hooligans thet's always causing a ruckus.”

Reggie hunkered down with his friends, letting them do all the talking.

“'Bout time ya' got here. Ya' gonna play or not?”

“Yer jist hopin' fer a chance to git yer lucky marble back.”

“Won't be a problem 'cuz ol' Reggie ain't got no real skill an' I do.”

The boys laughed while Reggie grinned at the friendly ribbing and knuckled back his hat as he lined up for his shot.

“Kin I play?” Lizzie's voice came from right behind Reggie, making him jump and spoil a perfect shot.

“Nah, yer a girl.”

Reggie ducked his head while tugging his hat down to his eyebrows.

Lizzie planted her feet, her scowl settling on Reggie even though he hadn't said a word. “Oh, is thet so?”

Jist calm down, Reg. He scrutinized the marbles and ignored Lizzie.

“Git outta here, Lizzie. We don't want no gossipin' girls 'round here.”

Turning, she narrowed her eyes. “I do not gossip.”

“Yah, right. Yer with them gossipin' girls all the time.”

“They're the only girls on this wagon train 'cept fer the little girls.”


Lizzie blew out an exasperated breath. “I wouldn't spend time with them if I had someone else to be with.” She looked pointedly at Reggie.

Reggie drew his dusty sleeve across his face, refusing to look at her. How kin she know?

When Lizzie stalked away Reggie released the breath he'd been holding. “Ollie, s'yer turn. Hurry it up, will ya'?”

“She likes ya', Reggie, but don' ask me why.” The boys guffawed, and jabbed each other.

“Ya' don't know what yer talkin' 'bout,” Reggie said, his face flaming. She better not!

The game was ruined for Reggie and he quickly lost two marbles, making the boys tease him for letting a silly girl get to him. He laughed and teased them right back, “Yer jist jealous.” They have no idea... “I'm goin' ta the river.”

On his way back past the wagons he heard raised voices. “I'm tellin' ya', there's no way it wuz Reggie! He don't ever run with thet group of hooligans an' any time he's not workin' with Earl he's with them other boys-- the good ones.”

Reggie ducked around the wagon and went into the scrub trees that lined the river. I only talked to Lizzie thet one time when she tol' me about Earl needin' ta hire a boy ta help him. Surely she don't...

Shrieks jerked him back to where he was. “You dirty boy! Thought ya' could spy on us, huh?”

“Git outta here!”

Reggie stood with his mouth gaping before he turned and ran. Dumb girls! They shoulda had look-outs posted! He vaulted over a rock and stopped to catch his breath. They know better than to swim in their chemises without...

“Ooow!” Reggie jumped, swiping at his pant legs. “Git offa me!” Frantically he swatted and mindlessly ran. When he reached the wagon he was still hollering and swiping his pants.

“Haul his drawers down, he's got bees up his pants,” Earl called as he rolled to his feet.

With a quick yank Martha had his pants part way down before Reggie jerked them back up.

All three stood in stunned silence.

“Yer a girl!”

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This article has been read 785 times
Member Comments
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Laury Hubrich 02/07/08
Poor Reggie! What a day he's having. This was a fun read. Love the dialogue:) Great writing! Would be good to hear "the rest of the story." Hate to think that Reggie has to live this out forever. Let him redeem himself in a future story, okay?! LOL!
Sherry Castelluccio 02/07/08
How cute! I'm curious too- what happens next? Fun story.
Holly Westefeld02/08/08
Okay, ya got me. That was fun, but I, too, want to know what happens to Regina now.
Joanne Sher 02/09/08
Excellent job on the dialog, and the characterization was also wonderful. I'd also love to see "Dumb Girls II, the sequel". ;)
Ann Renae Hair02/10/08
Engaging story...I want more!
Great job all around.
Lyn Churchyard02/10/08
"Yer a girl"???
Well, I never saw THAT coming!!
I loved the dialogue. This was well written. I want to know what happens next.
Hanne Moon 02/10/08
Never saw the ending coming...good job! The only red ink I have is that it's hard for me to read a story that tries to phonetically mimic accents. One or two words to give a hint is okay, but more than that and my reading slows. I guess I know what the words should be, and when they're not, it stalls my momentum in reading the story. Other than that, I loved this!
Shelley Ledfors 02/10/08
Excellent! I love those unexpected endings.
Jan Ackerson 02/10/08
Very clever, and I definitely didn't see the twist coming! I loved the dialect, too.

My only problem would be with the pronoun "he" used throughout; it's as if you're not quite playing fair with the readers. Not sure how you can get around it, though.

I love the charm and rural flavor of this, and Reggie's a super character.
Betty Castleberry02/10/08
Charming. Love the dialect. The last few lines made me chuckle out loud.
Karen Wilber02/10/08
Can't think of anything to ink except that I got a little turned around when (s)he ran away from the raised voices and then wondered what Lizzie said. I was trying to relate the two in my mind and something wasn't adding up. Of course the ending put it all into perspective - so this is just a minor thing.

Wow. You are the queen of twist endings this week. So good - that I had to go back and see all the clues you left us. Bravo.
Sharlyn Guthrie02/10/08
Wow! What a surprise ending. Very cute story. I had to go back and read it again after the twist to see how it changed my perspective. Nice job!
LaNaye Perkins02/10/08
WOW! What a great surprise ending. You got me, and I loved this story. I want more!
Dee Yoder 02/10/08
Oh, you got me! I never guessed his/her secret. Very cute and, like the others, I'd like to read more of "her" adventures.
Beth LaBuff 02/11/08
Your writing is very good on this. I love reading period pieces and thoroughly enjoyed this! Your twist was great.
Loren T. Lowery02/11/08
I liked the pace and setting of this piece and the suprise at the end, was just that a total suprise, tieing it nicely into the theme this week.
Debbie Wistrom02/11/08
Wonderful! This read like the words flowed perfectly. Keep up the good words.
Sheri Gordon02/11/08
This is written very well -- and I, too, would like the rest of the story.

The dialogue was perfect. Nice job with the topic.
Leigh MacKelvey02/12/08
I would have never thought of this take on the topic! Very creative and wondeful writing.
Sara Harricharan 02/12/08
Oooh, very good here. I think you have a favorite! The characters were good and the twist at the end was even better, I thought that maybe Lizzie was Reggie's sister, but you certainly caught this one right on! Nice writing! ^_^
Beckie Stewart02/13/08
Great story....shocking ending. Well written and enjoyable to read.
Rita Garcia02/13/08
Nice writing!! The ending surprised me!! THANKS FOR A GREAT READ!
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/13/08
Absolutely delightful--a favorite--boy! did you get me!