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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Beginning and End (04/16/09)

TITLE: Now What Didn't I Do?
By Lollie Hofer


I put my hand on the door, leaning in closer to the key hole in hopes of hearing the conversation from the other room. Mom hates when I sneak like this but I need to know how much trouble I'm in this time. By the tone of her voice, I guess the camping trip with my friends is about to be canceled.

I know it's my own fault AGAIN, but what can I say? I try hard, really I do, but it seems I never succeed at completing a task from beginning to end. Let's see, on my computer I have an unfinished term paper due last week which is 50% of my history grade. This explains the phone conversation Mom is having with my teacher behind closed doors. And then there's the unused piano in the living room. My friends think I'm weird but jazz and classical music totally rock. I want to play the piano cuz' I think playing jazz is a real babe-magnet. It's the practicing that bugs me. Hate it! What a drag. So far I've been able to master chopsticks and "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." Unfortunately, the girls aren't trying to knock my door down to get to me over those two songs.

"You never finish what you start! Never, ever!" Mom says. She rides my back constantly about it. She reminds me about the dusty trumpet in my closet, about the gym membership I begged for but have yet to use, about the broken motorcycle with its parts lying all over the back deck.

"Well, yeah, I'm a teenage boy!" I tell her. "Don't you read the comic strip Pickles, Mom? He's totally cool and I don't see him finishing any of his projects either." Well, maybe with the exception of when he painted his room black. THAT was totally rad, man.

Mom will be off the phone in a few minutes. She'll come out of that room hopping mad and accuse me of being just like Dad. When he lived here, I guess he never finished his projects either. The half-way installed garage door opener is dangling from the ceiling in the garage. Then there's the exposed insulation on the walls and ceiling in the sunroom he built five years ago. The rock garden is all weeds since he only purchased one load of rocks and it needs six. He never put the plants in either. Now that I think of it, I guess I AM like my ol' man.

Since I'm probably going to be grounded for a month of Sundays, I might as well go down with a hot fudge sundae in my stomach, complete with extra whipped cream and nuts. Now, that is something I WILL complete from beginning to end.

What is that thud? It's coming from Mom's room. Is that Mom moaning? What's going on? I think I'd better check it out. The hot fudge sundae will have to wait for a few minutes.

"Mom? Are you okay? Mo-om, you're scaring me. I'm coming in!"

I open the door and see Mom lying on the floor. She's all blue. "Wake up, Mom. Please, wake up." I shake her. I check her vitals. She doesn't have a pulse and she's not breathing.

I pick up the phone only to hear my history teacher yelling on the other end. He sounds like a hysterical, crazy man. "Hey, Mr. Hanley, yeah, it's me, Nick. Yeah, she fainted or something. I have to hang up now so I can call 911. Yeah, if you could come that sure would make me feel better."

My CPR training automatically kicks in. I count chest compressions. I blow into her mouth. More chest compressions. More blowing. I check her pulse. I check her breathing. The tears flow as I as I attempt to save Mom's life.

"Don't leave me, Mom. Please come back to me, please," I sob. More counting, more compressions, more breathing for her. "I promise to finish my homework. I'll finish everything. All of it, I promise!"

With relief, I feel a slight pulse. The emergency crew is here. I lean over the EMTs, watching them work on Mom. I wipe tears from my face. I wipe my nose on my shirt sleeve. Mom opens her eyes and gives me a weak smile. I thank God that the one thing I've ever completed in my entire life from beginning to end was the CPR class we took together last year.

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This article has been read 660 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Charla Diehl 04/23/09
I liked the MC's voice throughout and the nice twist at the end.
Seema Bagai 04/23/09
Glad he finished that CPR course. :-)
Lynda Schultz 04/24/09
Great twist and great voice. The title is A+ too.
Jan Ackerson 04/28/09
Very original, and I too like the teenage boy-ness of this.

I think that past tense would have worked better--the present tense jarred a bit, especially during the crisis. I wanted to say "Stop worrying about your audience and take care of your mom!" Present tense works better for pieces that are more introspective, less active.

Very good use of the topic--extremely original.
Carol Slider 04/29/09
Great job on sustaining interest all the way through! I wasn't expecting the ending... and I was very relieved (and amused) by what you did with it!
Beckie Stewart04/29/09
Oh wow, that took I turn I didn't expect, but glad it ended on a happy note. Well done.
Joshua Janoski04/30/09
Very glad to see that he completed his CPR training. It made for a really good ending. As one who also tends to leave projects unfinished, I took something away from this piece and I'm reminded how important it is to stay the course whenever you have goals set for yourself. Good job demonstrating this week's topic. :)
Kristen Hester05/01/09
This is a really fun entry. I wanted to hand your MC some ADD meds. LOL. Very entertaining! God job.