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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Actions Speak Louder than Words" (without using the actual phrase). (02/21/08)

TITLE: Do you get it now?
By dub W
02/22/08


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Not even an unforgiving humidity-borne breeze broke through the steam in Municipal Park. Why Albert insisted on this meeting place I never knew. But, there I was, sitting among artists, students, drug dealers, sunbathers, bums, and an array of office workers taking lunch on the park benches. I pretended to read the Constitution – Atlanta’s major newspaper. I had little interest in anything other than the sports page, hence fifty other pages of the paper were slowly slipping down to the ground. My waning attention caused me to miss his approach.

“So, did you bring it?” His voice betrayed his life on the street, too many cigarettes, too much all night revelry, and too much “Albertness”. I had to half hold my breath. An odor of the street traveled with Albert.

“Yeah, it’s in the bag.” I had two-fold meaning. One, I had documents in my satchel; and two, my mission on his behalf was finalized.
“Good.”

“That’s all? Just good? I worked a year on this project.”

“Yeah. You got a cigarette?”

“You know I don’t smoke.”

“Too bad, we could use someone smart like you; but you have to smoke.”

“That’s ridiculous Albert. Nobody has to smoke.”

He coughed and laughed. “You haven’t a clue.”

I watched my associate peek into my brown briefcase. “Whatcha look’n for? I don’t have any food in there.”

He looked confused. “Why not?”

“Cause it is a bag for carrying papers, Albert. Sheesh. You need some money for food?”

“Yeah, you got a twenty?”

“You must eat well.” I looked in my billfold. I had two tens. “All I have are tens.”

“Give’m to me.”

I reluctantly handed him one. He carefully folded it and walked away. This is it? He’s leaving?

Albert walked up to a bag lady and gently held out his hand to her. She extended a hand to him. And I heard him say. “Emma, I think you dropped this back there.” He handed her the ten-dollar bill. Then he walked back to me. “Gimme the other one.”

I gave him the bill then opened my wallet to show him there was no more. He took the ten and stuffed it into his shirt pocket. “I know some kids who haven’t eaten today; I’ll get some nabs later.”

“Want me to talk to social services?”

“Do as you please; we don’t need paperwork and government programs. These people need food.”

I tried not to argue. “How about food stamps?”

“You don’t get it, do you?” The sweat was pouring off of his face. “How come your missionaries do better in Nairobi than we do here in South Atlanta?”

I had no answer.

“I thought so. Take the papers over to the cafeteria. That way they can legally bring left over food here to the park.”

“They’ll need someone to serve it.”

Albert shook his head. “Man, you just don’t get it.”

“Get what? You are irritating me with this you don’t get it.”

Albert stood again. “Thanks for getting the papers.” Then he sauntered back toward the bridge.

I sat for a minute before walking over to MARTA, the Atlanta subway, I had felt proud about running the legal documents between municipal departments. I dare him to say I don’t get it. I’m helping. I got a restaurant to contribute one day. “What does he want?”


------------

The Food Research and Action Center estimates that 13 million children go hungry every day in the United States. There are articles and speeches. But, to date, little is being done about it.


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This article has been read 612 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Dianne Janak02/28/08
I really liked this. It made me think. It made me wonder. It is so true, and we are all guilty. Well done! Perfectly on topic..
Joanne Sher 02/29/08
Love the voice AND the message. So true, too.
Beth LaBuff 02/29/08
You’re a master at creating suspense. You’ve created a lot of questions for the reader and some are answered. There is a lot of depth in Albert’s character and he is quite interesting in a “Robinhood-ish” sort of way. I know there are many things that we in our lives “don’t get”. Very good writing on this piece.
Jacquelyn Horne03/01/08
Good article. Informative and good pov.
Chely Roach03/03/08
Great piece...this could also fit the topic 'walk a mile in their shoes'. Most people who have never been there, or even close to it, don't get it. Good job!
Hanne Moon 03/03/08
Nice job with the topic! Your dialogue is wonderful, and Albert is such a multi-faceted character! Very thought-provoking!
Debbie Wistrom03/03/08
I like the slam against the tobacco companies. This flowed well and was meanigful. THANKS for the message.
Jan Ackerson 03/03/08
Albert is an AWESOME character! Love it!
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/05/08
Your MC left with his "I've doon goodness" and Albert was left with "Albertness" which DID good. This was a great example for the topic. I guess you can tell--I really liked Albert and the way you described him so creatively with his "Albertness."
LauraLee Shaw03/05/08
I loved your interesting characters, and your note at the end put an EXCLAMATION MARK on the piece. Well done.
Marita Thelander 03/05/08
Nice take on the topic. I liked how it left me pondering....hmmmm
Julie Arduini03/05/08
This was a great message that will stick with me a lot longer than most meals. What a powerful footnote at the end.
Beckie Stewart03/05/08
This definitely gets you thinking.
Joshua Janoski03/05/08
Smart writing. You left me thinking about your words. Albert was an appealing character too. Thank you for sharing!
Joanney Uthe03/06/08
Your heart for this subject shows through so well in this story. Even after watching him give the ten to someone else, she still didn't get it. Great writing.
Sara Harricharan 03/06/08
Heehee, what an interesting character this Albert is. I liked the phrase with "Albertness" cute.