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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Green (10/22/09)

TITLE: The Sparkly Fingered Woman
By Marita Thelander


DJ plopped into the hard plastic seats at the airport. Her over-stuffed backpack slid off her shoulder onto the floor with a thud.

“Passenger, Dorothy Peterson, please approach the counter.”

DJ rolled her eyes and grabbed her things. She could feel the flush on her face when she leaned to whisper to the handsome young man behind the counter. “I’m DJ…err…Dorothy.”

Counter-man’s eyes twinkled as he flashed his bright smile and whispered back, “Sorry, DJ…got it.” He winked and her tummy fluttered. “DJ, as an unaccompanied minor, you get to load the plane first and will be seated near the front. Once you land in Seattle, your guest will be allowed to meet you at the gate. ”

DJ rolled her eyes. He acted like she’d won a prize or something. Suddenly the flattery of the smile and wink meant nothing. Her Aunt Emily insisted that she travel as an unaccompanied minor, even though she would be a freshman in high school next month.

“Woohoo,” DJ feigned her excitement. She flipped her long braids aside and heaved her pack onto her shoulder while she thrust her ticket out to be scanned.

After a long day of travel, DJ began to fidget. Music didn’t interest her anymore and the book she brought put her to sleep. She stared at the sparkly manicure that belonged to the woman next to her.

“Are you visiting Seattle, or is that home?”

“Visiting,” DJ nodded and mentally told herself; smile polite and look out the window.

DJ could stand it no longer. She knew not to speak to strangers, but boredom had taken its toll on her. She turned to her neighbor and plunged in, loneliness and excitement mixed together. “I’m going to spend a month with my Aunt Emily. I call her Auntie Em. It’s sort of a joke we have.”

“Why is that a joke?”

“Well, my name is Dorothy, but I go by DJ, short for Dorothy Jean. We’re from Kansas. When I turned ten, she bought me a little Scottie dog and insisted I name him Toto. My aunt moved to Seattle two years ago.” DJ paused, unsure what else to say. “It’s silly, huh?”

The woman patted DJ’s arm, “I think it is very charming. Do you realize Washington is called the Evergreen State?”

Mesmerized by the sparkly fingernails, DJ tore her eyes off the hand that rested on her arm. “No, but it makes sense. Sure is a lot greener than Kansas.”

“Indeed it is.”

The woman laughed softly and it reminded DJ of the puffy clouds outside the window.

The stranger asked DJ, “Do you know what they call Seattle?”

“No,” DJ turned her attention back to her seatmate. This time she dared to look into the stranger’s face and noticed her clear green eyes.

“The Emerald City,” she whispered like it was a secret. Her shiny-glossed lips curved into a gentle smile.

“No way,” DJ beamed with the new information.

“What does your Auntie Em do in the Emerald City?”

DJ smiled at the use of the nickname. “She works in a Christian drug and alcohol re-hab center for women. I get to help in the dining hall and get paid.”

“That’s good,” the woman flipped through a magazine.

DJ took the opportunity to absorb her new friend’s appearance. She wore a white, shimmery blouse and a pale, cucumber-green skirt. She looked like an angel.

DJ’s stomach rolled when the plane tilted. She looked out the window and stared in wonder at the snowy-topped mountains, evergreen forests, and large bodies of water. Soon they were over Seattle. She leaned back to let her new friend take in the view.

“It’s beautiful,” DJ exclaimed.

“You’re certainly not in Kansas anymore, Dorothy.”

The plane taxied up to the terminal. “You know,” angel-woman’s soft voice drew DJ closer. “Maybe you will have an opportunity to help in a different way this summer.”

“What do you mean?” DJ whispered. Her heart pounded with anticipation.

“Maybe you’ll help someone find the courage to fight through their addiction. Or perhaps you can simply listen patiently to one who can’t quite form her thoughts because drugs have damaged her brain. It’s possible there’s a woman that needs to discover a loving heart buried beneath years of bitterness and anger.”

Once inside the airport, DJ greeted her aunt and turned to introduce her new friend, “I’m sorry, what’s your name?”


DJ’s mouth gaped open.

Glenda laughed and waved her sparkly fingers, “Ta-Ta, Dorothy dear.”

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This article has been read 1290 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Charla Diehl 10/30/09
This was cute and entertaining as you kept the Wizard of Oz theme growing. The ending made me smile. Thanks.
Laury Hubrich 10/30/09
OOOOO, love this:) I love the Wizard of Oz. This was very cute and entertaining.
Anita van der Elst10/31/09
With the first paragraph or two I thot this might have a Wizard of Oz flavor & it didn't disappoint me. Great job! Excellent connection to the topic. (Plus I love Seattle!)
Deborah Engle 10/31/09
Love it!
Colin Swann11/03/09
This is a lovely and fresh story - very interesting. Enjoyed!

Chely Roach11/03/09
This was a lot of fun...loved the MC, and all the Oz connections. I am guessing this was a blast to write! Tee hee!
Kate Oliver Webb 11/03/09
I don't see how this could have been better! I loved it - wish I'd thought of it!! Very cool, very well put together, excellent characters and dialog. Just great!
Brenda Rice 11/03/09
I found you and I enjoyed reading this so much. Great characters, great connection with the Wiz and the topic.
Catrina Bradley 11/03/09
What an imagination! This will definitely score high on the "creative" scale. I was compelled to follow the yellow brick road to the end of this story, and I found a treasure. :)
Laury Hubrich 11/05/09
I told you it was good! LOL:)
Betty Castleberry11/05/09
I LOVE this. So cute, and the ending is perfect. Congratulations on your well-deserved win.
Karlene Jacobsen11/05/09
Awesome story! I love all the references to OZ...

Congratulations on 1st place EC!! Woohoo!
Verna Cole Mitchell 11/05/09
I love it! Congrats on the great win!
Noel Mitaxa 11/05/09
Brave of you to lean on something so well-known as the Wizard of Oz, while keeping enough lightness to ensure a surprise in the ending.
Great sense of feeling that plumbs adolescent volatility - lifeless boredom one minute, and energy, insight and hope in the next.
Congratulations on first place.
Diana Dart 11/05/09
Ultra creative and sparkly! Made me smile and even gave me that feel-good bubble in my belly like the movie does. Congrats, so well done!
Beth LaBuff 11/05/09
Oh fun... I enjoyed all the references to Oz.. DJ took me along for the plane ride with this! :) Congrats, Mari!
Coleene VanTilburg 11/05/09
Congratulations Marita! Such a cute story. I have always wanted to see Glenda as an Angel instead of a witch...and now I can!
Kimberly Russell11/05/09
What a wonderfully fun story. Congrats on a well-deserved first place win.
Leah Nichols 11/06/09
Ha Ha! Loved it! You definitely nailed that one. Definitely worth NUMBER ONE!
LauraLee Shaw11/14/09
Wowzer, congratulations on this masterfully written piece! LOVED it!
Ernie Earth04/27/10
Very good work. The more I read the more I liked your story. Because you kept adding new OZ information, before the end I started looking for the OZ information. The name of the witch at the end was a perfect ending to a very well crafted story. Thank you. I had the pleasure of reading your story and I did not even have to buy the magazine.
Dee Keymel04/27/10
I loved it. Like a story being found with in another. You did a great job.