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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Game of Life (09/11/08)

TITLE: The House on Baltic
By Joshua Janoski


“Bob, come here!” Edith whispered loudly while peering through a small crevice between the drapes. “It’s the landlord!”

Bob laid his newspaper down and walked over to the window. Bob gently pushed Edith aside and peered out the crack. A silver Rolls Royce sat on the curb outside their home. “Relax, Edith. He never comes inside the house. He’s just making his normal rounds, you know, collecting his couple hundred.”

“Here we are forced to live in his slummy housing complex, while he lives like the rich and famous. Did you hear about the $10.00 he won in a beauty contest? How about the home on Pacific Avenue? I hate slum lords!”

“You’re coveting, Edith.” Bob scolded. “There are others worse off, like the poor folks living down the block on Mediterranean Avenue. Now that is destitute. Folks here on Baltic have it good compared to them.”

Bob maintained his optimism despite troubling circumstances. Once an engineer for the Pennsylvania railroad, Bob was injured and put on a meager disability salary. He and Edith moved from Indiana Avenue and into housing on Baltic Avenue in order to make ends meet. Edith frowned at the situation, but Bob kept smiling. He felt like he had to stay happy in order to counteract Edith’s pessimism and maintain a balanced marriage.

“We may be better off than the Mediterranean tenants but that doesn’t change the fact that everyone’s house is green, and all of the hotels are red. The contractor’s designs are tacky!”

“They are prefabricated structures, Edith. What do you expect?” Bob sat back down and resumed his newspaper reading.

The car drove off and the neighborhood got quiet for a moment. Soon, the sound of barking could be heard. Edith peered out the window again. A silver colored dog sat outside of the house.

“That dog is back again! I don’t know which I hate more, the barking of that little dog, or the noisy galloping of that silver horse rider that passes through here. Of course, it doesn’t matter what I think. Mr. Slumlord manages to collect rent from everyone that chooses to venture into his territory, permanent resident or not. He doesn’t care that they disrupt our peaceful existence.

Peaceful existence? Nothing’s peaceful with your constant complaining, Edith. Bob thought to himself while thumbing through the sports section. Edith skimmed the text of the police blotter.

“Crime is getting worse. Did you know that inmates can get out of jail now just by showing a card? It’s terrible! No longer do they have to do hard time. They can just present a card to the banker and get out free! I am scared for my life with all these hooligans running loose! We need to move into a better neighborhood again, Bob. There is an open position at the B.O. Railroad. You could work there, and free parking is just down the road, so you wouldn’t have to feed quarters into the meters.”

Bob looked up from his paper. “That railroad STINKS, Edith! My back still isn’t in great shape either, and besides, it’s owned by the same “slum lord” that owns our home. You sure you want me to work for him?”

“I heard that a deal went through and he traded the railroad for property on New York and Tennessee Avenue.” Edith said.

“Interesting,” Bob replied as he took some orange juice from the fridge.

Edith rolled her eyes. “That’s all you have to say? You’re not going to agree with the idea of returning to work?”

Bob’s retort was interrupted by the rumbling sound of a silver battleship pulling into the neighborhood. Bob and Edith ran out the front door to look at the massive vessel.

“How can it possibly get any worse?” Edith asked with a sob.

“This is how.” Bob said, while pointing up behind them towards a gigantic hand that was picking up their house.

A man jumped off the ship and walked over to the couple. “Sorry to break the bad news folks, but your landlord recently visited my employer’s ocean-side property on The Boardwalk. He stayed at the hotel and ended up not being able to pay his $2,000 bill. This property is being mortgaged. You’re going to have to find someplace else to stay.”

“These greedy men with their orange five hundred dollar bills are monopolizing our lives!” Edith screamed.

“Calm down, Edith. At least if we stay at the jail we don’t have to pay rent.”

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This article has been read 1056 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 09/18/08
Oh, this is PRICELESS! Definitely my favorite so far, and I wish I'd thought of it. Hilarious--I loved the line about the B. O. Railroad "stinks", and...well, just everything.
Chely Roach09/18/08
Oh my! This was BRILLIANT. Well done:)
Leah Nichols 09/18/08
I laughed out loud! Absolutely brilliant! Great job with this one. :)
Beth LaBuff 09/19/08
Your title immediately got me in the Monopoly "thought-mode" and just knowing about "Baltic Ave" and where it is on the board…. :) I had to smile about "the $10.00 he won in a beauty contest". Then your contrast between Baltic and Mediterranean. :) Enjoyed the fact that he worked on "Pennsylvania RR" and they had a "green house," then that they could get out of jail but just "showing a card to the banker". LOL (and the B&O RR stinks :) I loved all the Monopoly touches and totally enjoyed reading this. This was TOTAL FUN!
Patricia Turner09/20/08
This is such a fun read. Living in a Monopoly game! What a creative take on this topic!
Shelley Ledfors 09/22/08
Oh, my! I LOVE this piece! I can't begin to list the particulars that I especially liked because...well, I'd just be reposting the whole story! :-) I'm still laughing. Great job!
Joy Faire Stewart09/22/08
Oh, this is creative, entertaining, excellent, and fabulous! Can you tell I enjoyed it?
Edmond Ng 09/22/08
An entertaining read that brings a smile. I like the way you describe the details so vividly despite it being fictional. You have a talent deserving of pursuit if ever you think of changing from your current techie role. (",)
Valarie Sullivan09/23/08
Hilarious! And very creative. Enjoyed it very much!
Marlene Austin09/23/08
Wow, Josh! You deserve to collect $200.00, 'cause you sure "passed go" on this one. :) Your humor and creativity are not only an entertaining joy but a true BLESSING. Thanks for writing and sharing here at FW. :)
Scott Sheets09/24/08
This was truly a classic piece! What a riot. I loved the unique perspective. Two thumbs up (with a thimble on one)!
LauraLee Shaw09/24/08
Oh myyyyyyyyyy. So, I'm reading along, grinning from ear to ear thinking, Wowzer, this is creative. Then, I got to this:
Soon, the sound of barking could be heard. Edith peered out the window again. A silver colored dog sat outside of the house.
I started laughing out loud so hard that tears were coming out of my eyes. My kids demanded I read it to them. Their eyes lit up as I read them the piece. Wow. This is magnificent.

Dee Yoder 09/24/08
Josh, this is just hilarious! What a clever take on the topic...you sure have an imagination! And I LOVE the title. I was smiling all the way through this.
Celeste Ammirata09/24/08
I really enjoyed this! Very creative take on the topic. Loved the silver dog! Great job :-)
Yvette Roelofse09/24/08
This is fantastic and so creative! I love it.
Lyn Churchyard09/25/08
Oh Josh, you've done it again with a very creative and humorous piece. The $10 prize in the beauty contest confused me for about 10 seconds, then I realised.

This is soooo good!! Josh, your writing just getting better and better every week. Wonderful job my friend.
Verna Cole Mitchell 09/25/08
Josh, this is fabulously creative. I loved it! Is it time to move up to Masters?
LauraLee Shaw09/25/08
Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee Hawwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

Congratulations on 2nd place, Josh!!!!

Do not pass go, do not collect $200, go directly to... ;)
Ann Grover09/25/08
Brilliant, brilliant, Josh!
Joy Faire Stewart09/25/08
Way to go Josh! Congratulations on your 1st place and EC.
Gerald Shuler 09/25/08
Josh, you are THE perfect example of how a novice writer can grow in the FaithWriter's challenges. You have become an incredible writer.

Oh, by the way, I loved this creative entry more than any you have done so far. What's next? You are coming around to Boardwalk, but don't worry. You own the board.
Edmond Ng 09/25/08
Congratulations to you JosH for getting EC second place! You deserve the award!
Celeste Ammirata09/25/08
Congratulations Josh! I agree with the others who commented on how much you've grown as a writer. God Bless!
Yvonne Blake 09/25/08
Ha, Ha, Ha... I didn't catch on until you mentioned the red hotels. My son probably would have gotten it with the title! Creative story!
Congratulations, Josh!
Beth LaBuff 09/25/08
Josh -- Yay, Super congrats on placing with this... "go past go and collect the $200, then park at FREE PARKING!"
Scott Sheets09/25/08
Congratulations on your 1st place and EC! This was such a fun, imaginative, well-written entry. I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Karen Wilber09/25/08
Oh yeah, we had a similar idea this week. But yours is sooooo much better. This is great, Josh and definitely EC-worthy. I always enjoy your entries, but this is my favorite one. Smart, clever, witty, I'm running out of adjectives. When the battleship finally pulled up--you hit it out of the park. Absolutely loved every bit of this.
Marita Thelander 09/25/08
WOW, Josh! You have come a long way. Your stretching yourself and growing as a writer. Very fun read, my friend, very fun.
Leah Nichols 09/25/08
I want to say "I told you so" but I'll just say "Congratulations!" You so deserved it....now you get your name in lights! See how many people you bless just by being yourself? LOL :)
Pamela Kliewer09/25/08
Josh, you rock! Congratulations on a well deserved win! This was great fun to read and I laughed out loud. Just when I was wondering if there would be something about B.O. and what it refers to, you threw the punchline... LOL Kudos!

Seema Bagai 09/25/08
Hilarious. You brought back memories of one of my favorite board games. Loved all the clever references and the railroad joke. Congrats on the win and EC.
Jason Swiney09/26/08
Awesome, well written, well deserved - Congratulations Josh on your EC!
Peter Stone09/26/08
Well done Josh! And congrats on such a humorous article, writing it from the perspective of those poor souls who 'live' in the Monopoly world. The clue that tipped me off was 'the $10.00 he won in a beauty contest?'
Glynis Becker09/27/08
So clever, Josh. This has to be one of my all-time favorites. You hit it out of the ballpark and DEFINITELY deserved your EC. Wow!! I'm so proud of you :)
Charla Diehl 10/02/08
Absolutely brilliantly creative, fun and entertaining from start to finish. Wish I'd thought of it. Congrats on your win.
Joanne Sher 10/12/08
I can't say anything that hasn't already been said. SOOO deserving, Josh. Incredibly funny and witty and clever and MASTERful! So glad I finally remembered to pop over here.
Norma-Anne Hough10/16/08
Hi Josh,
Am a bit behind with my reading the challenges. Congrats on a really fantastic achievement and entry. You sure have an amazing imagination.