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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: In and Out (04/30/09)

TITLE: C.P. Camp Monmouth, NJ
By Tim Pickl


“Hey thanks Nick for eatin’ sloppo with me today. It’s good to have a brother in here.”

“Hey no problemo, Frankie.” Nick smiled as he sat down across from his new friend. “In a way I guess it’s better to be in here rather than out there.

“Out there in the fields? Yeah…I’m too old for that.” Frankie picked up a large spoon, and pointed it at Nick. “Remember the good ol’ days when we still had our homes?” Frankie looked away wistfully.

“And our families? Oh, yeah yeah I think about it all the time. What’s your favorite memory?”

“Ohhhh, I have so many….so many. Here’s mine for today:
“We was havin’ all my brothers an’ sisters an’ their kids over at our place for a picnic. It was a Saturday, the day before Mother’s Day. We wanted to surprise Momma. So whiles the wives and sisters were in the kitchen gettin’ everything ready, I was outside with my brothers and the husbands grillin’ everything up. Kids we’re runnin’ all over the yard. One a my little brothers was a clinger--”

“A ‘Klingon’ as I like to call ‘em. There’s one in every family.”

“Hey, that’s a good one Nickie. I like that—I like that. Ummm-where was I?”

“Kids we’re runnin’--”

“Oh, yeah, yeah. Kids we’re runnin’ and chasin’ like crazy. Two a the older boys we’re givin’ little Tony a real hard time.”

“Tony’s the ‘Klingon’, right?”

“Yeah, yeah. He comes runnin’ past the men, screamin’ ‘I want my Momma! I want my Momma!’ All of us just busted out laughin’ at poor ol’ Tony. It just made him scream for Momma even louder. He gets to the big slidin’ glass door of our house, and barely gets it open. Then he turns around standin’ right there in the doorway, and sticks his tongue out at a all a us, then sticks his thumbs in his ears and waves out at us with his fingers. He just kept standin’ there doin’ that, and then started shakin’ his hips like my dog wags his tail.”

“Too funny!”

“It was a real funny. When I caught my breath and stopped laughin’ I yells at him and says, ‘Hey, Tony! In or out, boy, IN or OUT! You’re lettin’ bugs in my house!’”

“What’d he do?” Nick sat up, looking around.

Frankie looked around too, then shoved a spoonful of sloppo in his mouth. “He ran to Momma, screamin’ and a-cryin’ like a little schoolgirl. Then I says to the men around me, ‘Okay boys, we better lay off a Tony now. We don’t want him to get a complex.’ Then, I changed the subject. ‘The meat’s just about done. We can sit down to eat real soon.’”

“Oh, man, what’d I’d give to have that picnic food right now. I can almost a-smell it now. Ohhhhh… Big, juicy steaks… meatballs… fresh pasta…”

“Just imagine this spoonful of sloppo is covered with pasta. That’s what I do.”

“What happened with Tony after that? Did he ever let go a his Momma’s skirt?”

“Tony’s a funny one. I made everyone sit outside to eat. It was a beautiful day. We put a bunch a tables and chairs together. Right after we said Grace, Tony announces to the family, ‘I’m gonna run away and I ain’t a comin’ back!’ That got my blood a boilin’. I stood up--”

Frankie stood up and pointed at Nick with his sloppo spoon.

“And I says, ‘Tony, let me tell you somethin’, boy. Either you are IN this family or you’re OUT. I will NOT put up with that kinda talk in my house. You got that?’ and he looked at me, and he looked around and he says, ‘Yes, sir.’ Then we sit down--”

“HEY YOU, Christian Fish Face, YOU sit down and SHUT UP!” The Warden at the Christian Prison Camp--formerly a closed Army base--returned grumpy as he always did from lunch and took it out on the prisoners. “And NO MORE talking! I WANT YOU ALL TO SHUT UP!”

The Warden viciously cracked Frankie’s back with a nightstick and Frankie fell hard sideways into his chair, bleeding.

After the Warden ambled away to his office, Nick leaned over and angrily whispered to Frankie, “That’s it, Frankie. We in here for lovin’ God an’ family an’ our country, but we need to do somethin’. I made some other friends in here, an’ I gotta plan.

“We’re gettin’ out.”


Reference: Hebrews 13:1-6 (New Living Translation)

Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!

Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.

Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery.

Don’t love money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said,

“I will never fail you.
I will never abandon you.”

So we can say with confidence,

“The Lord is my helper,
so I will have no fear.
What can mere people do to me?”

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Beth LaBuff 05/11/09
I enjoyed the memory of the family picnic. It made me hungry too. :) The "Klingon" was a cute touch!