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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Christmas Cards (11/06/08)

TITLE: The Perfect Card
By Joshua Janoski
11/12/08


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George grumbled as he looked down at his office phone. The ringing didn’t usually bother him, but seeing his brother’s number on the display left him less than eager to answer. After glancing at the calendar and seeing that it was mid-December, he decided that maybe his younger sibling deserved a quick hello, and so he picked up the receiver.

“This is George.” He said in a serious tone.

“George! How’s it going, Brother? Long time no talk!”

The voice on the other end was indeed that of George’s brother, Tim. Tim was always so full of excitement and pep. It made George nauseous. He couldn’t afford to feel that way considering that his job counted on him to be happy and laughing. George was the “Director of Creative Writing” at “Funny-Bone Greetings” - a company dedicated to bringing the best of humorous greeting cards to retail stores across the country. George thought up the clever lines found on cards placed in the humor section.

“Hey Tim. How’s it going?” George said with little enthusiasm.

“It’s going great! I just finished up a new design with a manger scene on the front and embossed gold lettering. I think it will do quite well this holiday season.”

George’s stomach tightened up even more. It wasn’t just Tim’s enthusiasm that bothered him. It was Tim’s job too. He worked for “Cards For Christ” - a company dedicated to bringing the best of Christian greeting cards to retail stores across the country. Tim was the “Lead Inspirational Writer” at the company. Tim did the same thing as George, but he replaced the jokes about bodily gas and getting old with Bible verses and inspirational messages.

“That’s nice, Tim. Too bad that your card is competing with mine. I created an awesome design featuring a monkey with a Santa hat on a tricycle. I used you as my inspiration. Reminds me of when you were little…and you still haven’t evolved completely. Hahaha!”

George put down Tim a lot. He didn’t like that his brother believed in God. He didn’t like that Tim was blessed with a wonderful wife, while his own marriage ended in a bitter divorce. Tim was happier than George despite making less money, and this caused George to have less than humorous feelings about his brother.

“You’re a funny guy, Bro.” Tim said cheerfully. His joyful response made George hostile.

“I know I am, Tim! That’s why I get paid to do what I do! I make people laugh. What do you do? Give people a false hope of a God that isn’t real? At least my cards put a smile on people’s faces without lying to them!”

“Geez, George. No need to get mad. I’m not trying to fight. I was just sharing news about my job.”

“Well you might get us both fired if you keep talking about company secrets over the phone. I don’t have time for this! I have to go!”

George slammed the phone, picked up his coat, and headed home. A few days later, he found an unmarked envelope sitting on his desk. He opened it. Inside was a folded piece of white printer paper. He unfolded it and began to read:

George,

Please don’t throw this away until you have read it in its entirety. I planned on sending you one of my new Christmas cards, but then I realized that maybe that would not be best. Instead, I have sent you what I like to call the “perfect card.” A card with no fancy picture on the front, no snappy one-liner, and no generic pre-printed message. It contains only words straight from my heart. I know that our employers are competitors, but I never meant for you and I to compete. I realize that you have had a rough year with the divorce and all. You may not understand my secret to happiness, and you may not want to know about the One who has brought me so much joy. However, that doesn’t change my love for you, and I would like for you to come have Christmas dinner with Lydia and I. We miss your witty humor. We are brothers, and I want you in my life, not just at Christmas but all year round.

Love,

Tim


George laid the piece of paper down and wiped the tears from his eyes. He opened his desk drawer and pulled out a sheet of paper.

“Time for me to write a perfect card of my own.”


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This article has been read 514 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Irvine Saint-Vilus11/13/08
This story is so touching. I appreciated the way Tim reached out to his defiant brother. And his love, which which mirrors the love of Christ, melted George's hardened heart. Good lesson.
Holly Westefeld11/13/08
I like the greeting card writing angle, and especially the reconciliation at the end.
Angela M. Baker-Bridge11/15/08
You've said a lot within the word limit, giving us good insights into these brothers' lives and relationship. Good job.
Laury Hubrich 11/19/08
This was very original. Good writing!
Leah Nichols 11/21/08
I like how you stepped out of the box (Josh-wise) with this entry. Nice work! A very good message. :)