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: Who Ya Hangin' With?
By Charles Toscano
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“It’s bad enough that it’s 12:15am and I’m drivin’ across town for a bottle of Nyquil,” she grumbled. “Now it’s rainin’, too. For cryin’ out loud, I hope that man appreciates the sacrifices I make for him.”
She placed the key in the ignition and began to turn it, but stopped suddenly.
She leaned forward and squinted through the rain spattered windshield toward the alley beside the drug store.
“Is that Daniel Walker?” She asked herself.
Unable to get a clear view, Mrs. Wilson leaned as far forward as the steering wheel would allow and squinted with all of her might, incessantly wringing her hands. She looked quite like a rat preparing for a meal.
In the alley, a young man handed an envelope to a scantily-clad woman and gave her arm a squeeze. Then he turned, flipped his collar, and glanced quickly toward the heavens. In that brief moment, the streetlight illuminated his face, and Mrs. Wilson’s question had been answered.
“Oh…my…word,” she gasped. "Daniel Walker?" She thought to herself, "with a harlot?! What will his mother think?"
"Oh…my…word,” she said over and over as she drove back home to her ailing husband.
The following morning, Mrs. Wilson was awake before the chickens; she was up before the sun. And she sat at the small formica table in her tiny kitchen and planned out her day.
“First, I must call Mildred,” she said as she scribbled on a notepad. “Yes, yes, won’t she be surprised. I should say this will put a stop to her daughter’s courtship with young Daniel.”
Mrs. Wilson arrogantly sipped her tea. And with each sip, her self-righteousness grew and grew.
“I’ll call Betty next. Her husband is a deacon, after all.”
Mrs. Wilson scribbled and scribbled maniacally as an author might when finishing what she believes to be her greatest body of work.
When the cuckoo clock on the paneled family room wall announced 9 o’clock, Mrs. Wilson picked up the phone and dialed the first number on her list. “Tsk, tsk,” the ladies would say. And “He was always such a good boy.” And “Such a Godly young man…what happened?”
“I saw them with my own two eyes,” Mrs. Wilson would reply, “Kissing, caressing, and the like. Such complete immorality!”
And at the end of each call, she summoned each acquaintance to meet her at the church at 3pm sharp. After all, Pastor David absolutely had to be informed of this sin by one of his congregation.
So, at 3pm sharp, Mrs. Wilson led a pious herd of ladies into the church and directly to the senior pastor’s door. She would not be deterred by Miss Jones, Pastor David’s assistant who insisted that the pastor was in a meeting and currently unavailable.
Mrs. Wilson knocked loudly, causing the babbling and murmuring behind her to cease. Much like a renowned conductor tapping her baton, the crowd instantly silenced in anticipation of what was sure to be a passionate and inspired performance.
The door opened.
“Why hello Mrs. Wilson!” welcomed Pastor David. “I’m sorry, did we have an appoint-”
Mrs. Wilson boldly interrupted him.
“Pastor David,” she announced, “We have a sinner in our flock! Do you know that Daniel Walker was seen—“
“Excuse me…” came a voice from inside the office. It was Daniel.
Mrs. Wilson was stunned. She stuttered, “I – I – I’m sorry Daniel, but Pastor must know what you were doing last—“ Her eyes drifted to the occupied chair in the room. It was the scantily-clad woman from the night before.
Mrs. Wilson became very confused. She stepped into the office followed by her gaggle of do-gooders.
Mrs. Wilson regained her conviction and turned to the pastor. “Daniel is having sexual relations with this…this…” she fiddled with the lapel of her trim and tidy jacket…”this prostitute!”
Pastor David chuckled. “Please relax, Mrs. Wilson. What you may not realize is that Daniel is serving the Lord by ministering to people downtown. He’s keeping company with homeless folks, and addicts, and yes, even prostitutes. This young lady has just surrendered her life to Jesus and she is committed to getting off the streets. And we’re going to help her!”
Pastor David added, “Please say hello to Crystal, Mrs. Wilson! She is now, after all, your sister in Christ!”
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