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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: A Picture's Worth
By Holly Westefeld


The music commenced, and Ginger shimmied on to the stage in her scanty outfit. Panning the audience with her professionally smiling mask, she stopped, frozen in mid-step, as she locked eyes with a specter in skin-tight jeans and a muscle shirt. Now she knew why she had had such a nagging since of dejas vu when she had first met Pastor Jones, even though six years had transpired since she had last seen him in this context.

His sagging jaw conveyed mutual recognition, though he quickly snapped his mouth shut and assumed a bland expression.

Amid lewd goading to get on with the act, Ginger's muscles defrosted, and she fled the stage, past the other girls, directly into the cramped office. "Whoa there sweetie. Ya look like ya seen a ghost," drawled Wally, the manager.

Grabbing the desk for support as she caught her breath, Ginger responded, "You might say that, but all I came in here to say is that I quit."

"Just like that? No notice? Now that's not like a good little re-lig-ious girl," he sneered.

"I just can't take it anymore. I'll be by to pick up my last check on Friday." Before Wally could spew any further snide comments, Ginger headed for the dressing room.

Ginger sat shaking in her car. "Well, Lord, this wasn't exactly how I planned to start trusting You more, but I guess it's now or never. Not only will I apply at Bob's Diner like I promised You earlier today, I will also apply for any respectable work I can find. ... But Lord, what do I do about Pastor Jones?"

Receiving no flash of insight, Ginger reached for her cell phone, selecting a number she had used only rarely over the last few years.

"Hello, Hannah. This is Ginger Moore."

"Hi stranger. What's new."

"Oh lots of things, but I need some Godly wisdom, and you are the only person who knows my story."

"Sounds serious." Hannah emanated concern.

Ginger summarized the previous day and a half, from Pastor Jones' sermon on being known by the company one keeps, to the events of the past fifteen minutes. "So what do I do?"

"Where are you now?"

"Still in the parking lot."

"Do you see his car?"

"I'll pull around front and check. He could be long gone by now. ... Still here. Can you believe it?"

"Okay. You have a camera phone?"


"Can you get a good shot of his car and the club's sign together?"

"I'll try. ... Got it!"

Ginger switched to speaker phone, listening carefully to Hannah's advice as she headed for the freeway to the other side of town, and home sweet home. "Thanks so much, Hannah. I'll let you know how it goes."

After dropping her daughter, Megan, at kindergarten the following morning, Ginger not only completed an application at Bob's Diner, but at every business that was hiring between there and Grace Church.

Arriving at the church, she breathed a prayer on her way to the office. "Is Pastor Jones busy, Jill?"

No, Ginger. Go right in."

Ginger wasn't sure if it was surprise or annoyance which flickered across the pastor's face as she closed the door and took a seat opposite his desk.

"Good morning, Ginger. How may I serve you today?"

"She's beautiful, isn't she?"

"I beg your pardon?"

"Our daughter. ... Megan."

"Excuse me?"

"Six years ago. Same club as last night. By God's grace, I came to know Him, and didn't kill her like most dancers would have, and by divine justice, I joined this church three years ago."


"Pastor, I didn't come here to play games, but to give you the courtesy of knowing that I will attend the leadership meeting Thursday night, confess my sins, and submit myself for whatever discipline they deem necessary. I hope you will pray for the courage to do the same, of your own accord."

Pastor Jones wiped beads of sweat from his brow. "You want ... child support. ... I can take care of that without any fuss."

"No. I want to be in complete fellowship with my Savior. I'll see you Thursday."


"Ginger has demonstrated sincerity by quitting her job and seeking appropriate employment," Pastor Jones declared, smiling as he addressed Grace Church's leaders. "I don't see that anything else is needed."

With a deep sigh, Ginger took her cell phone from her pocket, turned it on, found the picture, and passed it to the gentleman on her left.

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This article has been read 813 times
Member Comments
Member Date
LauraLee Shaw02/28/08
Oh, I recognize this story, and I am so glad to hear the conclusion....or is it to be continued?

What a perfect way to illustrate this week's topic. The very person who said a man is known by the company he keeps contradicts himself with his actions. And then you double whammy the topic with Ginger doing exactly what she said she was going to do.

Brilliant! :)
Sherry Castelluccio 02/28/08
Ooh I love it! This was a guilty pleasure like a chocolate bar before dinner. Great job.
Jan Ackerson 03/02/08
I liked reading the next chapter in this story...Ginger is a very compelling and complex character.

I thought the introduction of Megan's paternity detracted from your story line--and just a note: sequels like this are usually discouraged in the Challenge.

Ginger's story is certainly worth telling in full--could there be a novel here?
c clemons03/03/08
Not sure where this is going, a couple of things have to be asked about content. Is it believeable? Would she forget the face of the man that fathered her child that easily? What action is she demonstrating by passing the picture on? The writing itself overall could flow better in some areas, that said I am sure you have talent so keep writing.
Chely Roach03/03/08
You had me from the first line. Great story!
Debbie Wistrom03/03/08
Thanks for the sequel, flowing smooth, would like to see more,,,Keep writing.
Catrina Bradley 03/03/08
Very compelling. I'm glad she confessed her sins to her church, but I'm not comfortable with the blackmail aspect. The ending left me with an icky feeling. The writing and the story, however are great, and you did elicit an emotional reaction from me, so ...good job! :)
Pat Guy 03/03/08
A gutsy piece of work Holly. Kudos to you for the stretch. And I think sequels need to have a little info from the prequel to stand alone - they can be kind of tricky. Others have done them too. But I love your 'out of the box' approach ... it was believable ... and that's a good thing.
Joanne Sher 03/04/08
Good descriptions, Holly - I was engrossed. I also felt the paternity issue was a bit distracting too. Well done.
Sara Harricharan 03/05/08
A picture's worth indeed! Wowza, you really have quite a story going here! All the different twists and turns. wow. I really liked the ending though and I'm glad that the MC was someone who could stand up and take actions. Nice job! ^_^