Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Every Dark Cloud has a Silver Lining" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (02/28/08)
By Jack Taylor
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Running into Juno was like being bitten by a shark. Something you don’t hope for. Something you don’t plan for.
Juno was born Trevor X Sielig. His mother couldn’t have guessed who his father was if she tried. If the crack didn’t erase the man’s face from memory the alcoholic stupor would have. Trevor X was a class 5 hurricane unleashed. By the time social services claimed him from Central Station it was estimated by a neighbor that he’d already spent half his five years alone crying from hunger.
Trevor was given the name “Juno” so he could get a new start. “Juno” was chosen because the police found him alone in front of the television watching the Juno awards. He smelled like he hadn’t bathed in a year.
The neighbor had called 911 fearing that a bomb had gone off next door. She wasn’t far off. Trevor had come unglued. The apartment was a write off.
The social workers let him keep his first name and the X. If the X was supposed to motivate him to be like Malcolm X the plan backfired. From the earliest grades Trevor loved to deliberately put down wrong answers just so he could count the X’s. From the earliest grades Trevor had a fixation with authority figures and loved to be sent to the principle’s office.
The mercy rule saw him shuffled upwards through the school system until he hit junior high – literally. His second day in seventh grade he stole a car and drove it into the gymnasium wall. He crawled out the back window, brushed the glass off his Levis, retrieved his Dockers and disappeared.
A woman walking her dog saw him hop the bus wearing a crimson rugby jersey. The bus driver dropped him off at a downtown mall. Security cameras captured him stepping into an elevator. No camera caught him stepping off.
The papers stopped running articles on his disappearance in less than a week.
Rumors of a ruthless gang boss started surfacing nine years later. The gang suppression unit nicknamed him “the ghost”. No matter how close they got to his lieutenants “the ghost” was elusive. No one knew him. No one had seen him. The only clue was a crimson rugby jersey someone had seen.
It was the jersey that tripped him up. And the windbreaker. On a hot New York day security cameras caught the glimpse of crimson as “the ghost” unzipped his windbreaker to retrieve a pen from his pocket.
Three intense weeks were spent scanning security tape after security tape until his path was traced back to the same mall that had seen the disappearance of Trevor X Juno. The same camera captured him going into the same elevator. No camera caught him leaving.
It was Stormie Williams who twigged onto what was happening. She noticed that several of the lieutenants used that same elevator throughout the week. They always entered the elevator alone. There was never any other purpose in the mall except to enter the elevator for under a minute.
When the first lieutenant was picked up and interviewed he refused to explain this strange activity. Stormie suggested to investigators that Trevor X was holed up inside the shaft somewhere. That he was escaping through the roof of the elevator to access his lair.
When the mall shut down Tuesday night twenty-two members of the SWAT team squeezed their way up through the roof of the elevator. Half ascended and half descended as silent as stalking panthers. Trevor X. was curled up in a fetal position with his head resting on a crimson rugby jersey.
By his third year in prison Juno had risen to the top of his row of inmates. His word was law. None of the casualties could be traced to him but everyone knew.
It was nine on Sunday morning when he decided to join the rest of the gang straggling off to chapel as an excuse to get some fresh air. He had business with someone in that chapel. He’d never been before.
Two hours later he was still in the chapel, on his knees, sobbing. The powerful story of a love that would not let him go shattered his stony heart and left him defenseless. “The ghost” was visibly shaken.
Suspicions dogged him for weeks as he was escorted out of his cell for special sessions with a visitor. No one understood the transformation. Last week Trevor graduated as a fully trained prison chaplain.
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