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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Christmas Tree (10/09/08)

TITLE: The Tasty Treat of a Christmas Desert
By Patrick Whalen


A vast, empty land stretched out before my weary eyes. I squinted against the scorching sun above.

“How did you get here?”

Was that my voice?

“Great, now you’re talking to yourself.”

“Who cares?”

“I could use a drink.”

“That’s what you were doing before you ended up here, remember?”

“Leave me alone.”

“Fine with me.”

I took a few steps towards the setting sun. No breeze, no birds; nothing. Minutes ticked by with each dusty step. In front of me the red, purple and blue sunset lit the sky behind a hill. A hill! My feet carried me faster until they tripped. I looked at the ground as the fading light cast a golden hue upon the rock of my torment.

“Wait! That’s not a rock. It’s gold!”

“What are you going to do with Gold out here?”

“I told you to shut up!”

“Fine with me.”

With my cracked, weathered hands I dug around softball sized rock. It was heavy, but I didn’t care. I gathered the treasure and started up the hill. The sky went dark and I began to shiver. The precious treasure in my hands grew as cool as the night air.

“You’re not going to make it.”

“Shut up!”

“If you drop that gold you’ll make the top.”

“I said….”

“Okay, okay.”

The ball became colder and colder as hours passed by. I slipped on the sand then fell to the powdery soil. I watched as the ball slipped away and rolled down the hill. I stood up to discover that I was at the top. From the precipice, moonlit silhouettes of endless hills appeared.

Down and then up I strode onward. Upon the third peak I sat down. I needed to rest and the sun would not sleep much longer. I noticed a piece of wood protruding from the sand and gave it a shake. The sand ran down the hill and exposed a small cart. I pulled it from its desert grave only to find that there was no wheel.

“A cart with no wheel. How fortunate.”

“Look for the wheel.”

“Ah! Leave me alone.”

“Fine with me.”

I gave the cart a shove and watched it bounce and careen to the foot of the hill. Behind me the sun began to wake so I pressed forward. As I passed the shattered remains of the cart, sticking out of the sand was a wheel. I laughed out loud and my voice bounced back at me. Another hill stood before me.

“I’ve had enough.”

“You’re going to quit?”

“Quit what? Up and down, up and down. What’s the point?”

“What is that up there?”

“Leave me alone.”

“Fine with me.”

I looked at the hill and at the top stood a tree! I ran up the slope and reached the solitary tree. The deep green leaves were soft to my touch. I picked one from a sturdy branch and rubbed it in my dried out hands. The cracks and blisters soothed until they felt as if they had never hurt. As the night sky gave way to the light of day, a single a star appeared to perch itself upon the very top of the tree. I buried myself in the cool shade then fell asleep.

“Good morning daddy!”

I jerked awake in my bed, bouncing and shaking under the jubilant dance of my daughter.

“Good morning Christy.”

“Come on! It’s Christmas!”

She disappeared from my room in a flash. I donned my flannel robe and ventured down the staircase.

“Honey, it’s beautiful! How did you do it? I thought we didn’t have money for a tree this year. That star, it’s absolutely stunning.”

I stood in silence, smiling as if I knew what had happened.

“You do.”


“What honey”

I shook my head. “Nothing, just thinking out loud.”

“Oh Jonathan!” My beautiful wife gave me a tremendous hug then disappeared into the kitchen. She returned and held out a glass of juice.

“Merry Christmas honey!”

I placed the glass of ice-cold juice to my parched lips and drank.

“How was the drink?

“Fine with me.”

“Did you say something dear?”

“Me? Oh, nothing. Just thinking out loud.”

“Oh. Before I forget, don’t worry about the car. Mom called this morning and they’re going to give us theirs.”

I stuck my hand in my pocket and felt sand.

“Don’t ever give up.”

“Fine with me!”

“Are you okay?”

“Yes dear, I am. We are."

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Member Comments
Member Date
Gregory Kane10/20/08
Great atmosphere.
I'm not entirely sure what was going on but the dialogue was certainly a lot of fun
Verna Cole Mitchell 10/22/08
Now that's one guy who made talking to himself an art! There's a whole lot more to the story than appears on the surface. I enjoyed it very much.