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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Hide and Seek (08/07/08)

TITLE: The Saga of a Temporary Loser
By Jason Swiney


My wife, Lori, likes to say that I’m a temporary loser. Certain items, such as my wallet, my keys, and my watch, occasionally don’t seem to be where I remember leaving them. We’ve learned not to panic. Search an hour, a day, perhaps a week, and the lost item usually reappears. Lori, God help her, has even designated a drawer for my possessions; a plan founded on good intentions.

Last night, while lying in bed trying to recall if I turned off the new gas grill, Lori informed me of today’s family plan. She would take Ali, our little girl, shopping for kindergarten clothes and I could use the day to accomplish the chores I had shunned all summer. To avoid perusing through pinks and panties and purses, I agreed.

While my little girl still dreamt of castles and my wife assaulted the snooze button, I attacked the morning. Clean out the storage rooms and the closets…take the old clothes to the community shelter and the garbage to the county landfill… mow the yard…hammer down those nails sticking up on the deck …and finish painting the back of the house. Ahead waited a day of good, solid man work, certainly ill suited for the wearing of a wedding ring. So I slid it off and put it…somewhere.

When drowsy Lori complained of my morning noise production, I rearranged my work schedule and headed outside to finish painting before the August sun heated up. By ten o’clock I was exhausted and relaxing in my hammock. My wife woke me.

“Nice job honey.”


Ali, ready to shop with her sparkly purple purse, studied the house. “Looks pretty Daddy,” she chirped. “Can I touch it?” She moved toward the wet paint with Lori in quick pursuit.

Leading our darting little angel away by the hand, Lori blew me a kiss. “We are off to the mall to find some deals and save you some money,” she laughed. “There are biscuits on the stove…whenever you head inside to clean.”

After tackling three downstairs closets and one creepy storage room, I had gathered six bags of clothes and garbage. Upstairs, Ali’s room was my main target. It was a land littered with half-naked dolls, broken-tail mermaids, label-less crayons, frayed princess gowns, and as many ridiculous toys as the grandparents’ income could supply. In the bottom of Ali’s closet, shoved into a corner, I found the dirty, worn “baby duck” backpack she had carried, well…drug, to pre-school. For sentimental reasons I thought about keeping it, for sanitary reasons I trashed it.

I completed my chores, saving the county’s nasty landfill for last. After returning from the realm of overgrown flies and clinging stench, I quickly showered. I intended to get clean and then put on my wedding ring. I also intended for my ring to be right where I thought I had left it.

Lori usually responds to my misplaced items by rolling her eyes. Knowing a lost wedding ring could result in the rolling of my head, I immediately did what any good husband would do; I frantically searched for that symbol of love. For an hour I tore the house apart. Nothing. The ring still wasn’t in the usual places the third or fourth times I checked.

As soon as Lori and Ali returned home, I again did what any desperate husband would do. I kept my left hand hidden and secretly sought help.

“Ali…have you by any chance seen Daddy’s wedding ring?”

She grinned and did a ballet spin. “I know where it is Daddy.”

My heart slowed to a normal rhythm. “Can you tell me please?”

“I saw it on your dresser this morning. I took it and put it in my special place so it would be safe. I’ll show you.” Ali took my hand and led me up the steps to her room.

“Okay Daddy, shut your eyes.” I peeked as we stepped past carriages and crowns and coloring books. Ali opened her closet door.

“Daddy, my backpack!” she screamed. ”My duck backpack, it’s gone. My favorite backpack is gone!”

“Ali,” I asked, knowing the forthcoming answer. “Was that your special place?”

I think we were both crying.

So…back to the county landfill to save my head and my marriage. I can’t wait to start digging through trash and reeking refuse. It’s getting dark and I don’t even know how late it stays open, but I’m going back no matter what…if only I can find my keys.

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This article has been read 1616 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Kristin Slavik08/14/08
This was very cute ~ and all too relateable! LOL -- Good job.
Lynda Schultz 08/16/08
Super story! I love the "temporary loser" title—have to remember that one for future reference.

Well done.
Dianne Janak08/16/08
This was the best therapy I have had in AGES! Why.. my hubby is also quite a loser.. and now I feel at home.. If this was true, I do hope you found your ring.. lots of clever funny lines.. kept me engaged and laughing.. are you an engineer? or is this really a woman writing?? I have to wait and see...
Joanne Sher 08/17/08
Hehe - great voice! Some great laughs throughout this. Love the ending especially.
Kristen Hester08/18/08
My husband is a loser as well. (And I mean that in the kindness of ways!) Great story. This made me smile!
Joshua Janoski08/21/08
A very charming entry. It made me laugh, because I lose stuff like this all the time. Very deserving of the top honors that it received. Loved the ending!
Janice Fitzpatrick08/21/08
Oh my goodness, is this so funny and so relateable. Unfortunately I'm usually the one who loses things and I am actually still trying to find the band that one adorned my finger.
The only landfills in my story are a few partially cluttered rooms screaming," Spring Clean me please.":0) This piecejust flowed and I loved the descriptions and expressions of the little daughter, reminded me of our 7 yr old when she was just a tad smaller. So cute! Very nicely done. Congrats on 1st place!:0) God bless. Janice
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/21/08
This is great writing, a very enjoyable story to read. Congratulations on being "first."
Johnna Stein08/21/08
This sounds so familiar!Congrats! When reading your story, your voice reminds me of Nicholas Sparks (I'm a big fan!).
Joy Faire Stewart08/21/08
This is hilarious and I can relate. Congratulations on your well deserved first place win.
Sheri Gordon08/21/08
Congratulations on your 1st place. This is so typical. Love the voice, and great job with the topic.
Heather Sargent08/21/08
This was a charming story, I loved it! Congrats on your win, it is well deserved. =)
Holly Westefeld08/21/08
I thought it was starting a bit slowly, but it snowballed quickly. The ending completely blind-sided me. Congratulations!
Sharlyn Guthrie08/21/08
I had to share your entry with my own live-in temporary loser. He got a good laugh out of it too. Wonderful writing. Congratulations on your well-deserved 1st place!
Chely Roach08/21/08
This was absolutely hilarious...congrats on your big win!
Karen Wilber08/21/08
What a hook; I had to know what happened. Fantastic job of tying different elements together into a great story. You wove every detail together so well, I had to read it again. Congrats on your first place EC!
Yvette Roelofse08/22/08
Congratulations! I loved the humour in this piece. PS: I, too, have searched through garbage...although not on quite so grand a scale :)