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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: Helpful Henry's Glass, Soundproof House
By Loren T. Lowery


Once upon a time, retired, Henry built a house for him and his wife, Clarisse. The new house was soundproof, inside and out, and made entirely of glass. Glass walls, roof, ceiling, floor – everything but the most private rooms were of glass.

Nosey neighbors especially liked Henry’s new house because they never had to wonder what was going on inside. All they had to do was walk by and look.

Some muttered that it would be nice to be able to hear what was going on inside as well, but for the most part, people largely liked it.

At first they greatly admired the old couple, because every time they looked inside their home, they were busy helping one another, be it sweeping, dusting, doing the dishes cooking or even ironing the bed sheets.

Both, it seems, always walked around with a large smile on their face. “Why shouldn’t they,” the nosey neighbors began to mock. “Who wouldn’t be happy if that’s all you did all day.”

But soon, something very strange began to happen; not to Henry or Clarisse, but to those walking and gawking by his house. All of them, from A to Z began to walk with a slight bent towards the glasshouse with one hand cupped around their ear. It was a very strange sight to see indeed.

“I want to hear what’s going on,” they grumbled. “Always busy and helpful to one another like they were planning for something grand. It's not natural. I bet she nags him and it’s all for show, if you ask me.”

Of course, no one did ask them and as time went on, the snoopy neighbors got more and more bent out of shape (bending and cupping one’s hand over one’s ear all the time can do that, you know). And, eventually they found they were having a hard time going into and out of their own homes; doors, it seems, just weren’t made for such awkward stances.

Now with banged elbows and bumped noses from doorsills as well as aches from bent and stretched necks, the neighbors began to get cranky. Irritated in fact. Blaming it all on helpful Henry and his smiling wife, Clarisse.

“Who do they think they are?” they would whisper. “Showing off, trying to make the rest of us look bad; someone should give him the what for.”

Some even began to carry stones in their pockets, because it seemed the right thing to do; yet this seemed to only add to their crooked carriage. But, oddly, the extra weight didn’t seem to bother them, even though their bodies were now nearly bent in half and touching the ground.

On one particular clear day (it was a Sunday, if fact) the nosey neighbors saw something new and curious. Henry was standing at his glass wall and he seemed to be saying something to them. Mouthing would be a better word, as they couldn’t hear him, but none-the-less; he was trying to get their attention. Frantically, he pantomimed their walks and pointed to their bulging, stone-filled pockets.

“He’s daring us to throw the stones at him and his house,” they exclaimed as one. “Well, we’ll just show him, won’t we?” And so all the crooked, bent out of shape, snoopy and irritated neighbors began to throw rocks at helpful Henry’s glasshouse.

Fortunately, Henry’s glasshouse was not only soundproof, but shatter resistant as well. And the stones merely rolled off his walls and into his garden. To their amazement, Henry gave the A-Okay sign, winked, and nodded at them as Clarisse joined beside him to do the same.

When all their pockets were finally empty, Henry came to the door and opened it. “I can’t find the words to thank you enough.” He began. “We’ve wanted to put in a rock garden for the longest time and your actions have helped us immeasurably.”

Clarisse moved beside him. “Please all of you come inside. We’ve been preparing the house for such a grand occasion as this.” She stood aside and motioned them inside. “What wonderful, helpful neighbors you are.”

“Yes,” Henry agreed. “We never imagined seeing such magnificent acts of kindness. Come, enter, it looks as if you’ve been carrying those heavy stones forever.”

And so all their neighbors entered, a mite meeker for sure, but mostly a bit lighter, much less bent out of shape and hugely relieved that their works and not their words were ever heard inside or out helpful Henry’s glass, soundproof house.

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This article has been read 906 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Holly Westefeld02/28/08
What an enjoyable, creative story. I nearly fell off my chair laughing when Henry revealed their desire for a rock garden.
Seema Bagai 02/29/08
Hilarious! I enjoyed reading this.
Leigh MacKelvey03/01/08
Oh My, If this doesn't place ... well, well ... I'll give it my own award! I enjoyed this so much, especially the language and the voice. This is such a creative way to show that actions speak louder than words. Bravo, bravo, bravo. ( it better place, I mean it!)
Verna Cole Mitchell 03/01/08
Very creative... and I love the conversational tone.
Pamela Murphey03/03/08
This story is a true gift to the reader. I felt like I was a young girl reading a moral of the story is book. What a refreshing writing style and a wonderful turn on the phrase,"people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones"
Catrina Bradley 03/04/08
What an enjoyable story! I loved when the people got "bent out of shape" - literally. Great job.
Jan Ackerson 03/05/08
Creative and hilarous! Love it!
Jan Ackerson 03/05/08
Creative and hilarous! Love it!
LauraLee Shaw03/05/08
Oh please don't build MY house out of glass! That's a scary thought! Of course, the Lord sees straight into our hearts, just like a glass house. Wow. How thought provoking. INCREDIBLE piece!
Julie Arduini03/05/08
This is why you are in Master's level! This was right on topic, funny, and written so well I felt like I was right there too. Knowing me, I probably helped with the garden!
Sara Harricharan 03/05/08
ROFL! I am still chuckling here as I type this. I love the character of Henry and his lovely wife. This was so fun to read, I liked the fairy-tale air to it and especially the bit with the rock garden. lol. That is just too funny for this. Great writing! ^_^
Joshua Janoski03/05/08
This definitely has a fairy-tale quality to it. I enjoyed it very much. Lots of creativity going on here. Excellent job! I appreciate you sharing this.