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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Orange (the color) (11/19/09)

TITLE: Saving Money, the Root of Evil
By Bryan Ridenour


Somewhere between slumber and consciousness, Hank heard sobs. Recognizing the cries of his wife, Hank groaned to a seated position and leaned back against the headboard. An eerie orange glow hovered just inside the master bath doorway. Without warning, brilliant light flooded the room and Hank squinted into the direction of the orange haze. Leaning against the doorframe, Trudy, his wife, sported a new flaming hairdo. Black streams snaked from her puffy red eyes and flimsy facial tissues did little to staunch the flow. Trudy stumbled to the bed and collapsed into Hank’s arms, wailing.

“Oh, Honey, what happened,” Hank asked, swallowing back a yawn.

“”Don’t patronize me, Hank,” she moaned. “Can’t you see my hair?”

Biting his tongue, Hank refused to reply that her hair looked like something gone terribly wrong at a nuclear reactor. Instead he soothed, “So, your hair didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to? It's really not that bad.”

Trudy stood up, sticking a finger in her husband’s face. “Have I had any aspirations to join the circus, Hank? Have I?”

Hank stared into the frenzied raccoon-like eyes of his beloved, shaking his head.

“I have a business presentation tomorrow afternoon, and I’m going in looking like Carrot Top!”

Hank chuckled. “If that’s the case, shouldn’t your hair be green?”

“Oooooohhhhhh, men!” Trudy stomped into the bathroom, slamming the door.

Hank slid out from under the blankets and found his wife crumpled against the tub. “I’m sorry, dear. I’m not being very considerate.” Hank sat beside his wife, drawing her close.

“That’s what I get for trying to save money,” she mumbled.

“You mean you wished you would have gone to the beauty parlor?”

“Salon,” she corrected. “No,” she shook her head. “I’ve done this before. All I wanted to do was hide some gray and give some pop to my auburn curls. In my frugality, I chose a cheaper brand this time.”

“Where’d you get it?”

“At Everything’s a Dollar.”

Hank’s eyes grew wide as saucers, but spoke calmly. “You only spent a dollar on your hair color?”

Trudy dabbed at brimming tears blurring her vision. “No, less than that. I found the kit in the half-off bin.”

Laughing, Hank pulled Trudy to her feet. “Honey, it’s going to be all right.”

“That’s easy for you to say. You don’t have to stand up in front of a few hundred people looking like Linus’ Great Pumpkin.”

“No, it really is going to be ok.” Hank stooped and grabbed the empty hair-coloring box off the top of the trash. “See, read the fine print.”

Trudy squinted. “I can’t see it. Let me get my gla….”

“No, let me read it to you. Warning: Color may not match your hair’s current shade. To remove coloring, wash hair three times.”

“You mean I’m not stuck this way,” his wife asked, hopeful.

“No, sweetheart.”

“But how did you know?”

Hank smiled. “When I saw the box in the trash, I remembered buying this for the kids at Halloween. This is what the clerk recommended for a short-term change.”

Trudy drew her husband’s face close and kissed him. “So, all I have to do is wash my hair three times and it’s gone.”

“If you’re lucky,” Hank teased. “How about waiting until morning? I’ve secretly wanted a night light for several years.”

She jabbed her husband playfully. “Ok, you big lug.”

Trudy bounced into bed; Hank padded out the door and down the hall.

“Honey, where are you going?”

Hank poked his head back in the door, smiling. “To get my sunglasses.”

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This article has been read 666 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Anita van der Elst11/26/09
I like your tongue in cheek title!
Barbara Lynn Culler11/28/09
LOL at the title! Loved your descriptions and humor. Can't imagine anyone willing to put dollar store coloring on their hair!!!
Great read,
larry troxell 11/28/09
a humorous journey for these depressing economic times. great humor.
Mariane Holbrook 11/29/09
What a great tongue-in-cheek, teasing entry! I had this happen to me only it didn't wash out in 3 washes; not even 10 washes!

A delightful piece. Good luck with it!
Colin Swann12/01/09
Lots of fun here. Enjoyed!

Aaron Morrow12/01/09
Absolutely delightful read, great take on the topic. My only nit are the following:

"All I wanted to do was hide some gray and give some pop to my auburn curls. In my frugality, I chose a cheaper brand this time.”

"pop to my auburn curls" seems unnatural (descriptive device?) to the great voice you made for the character.

"In my frugality"
I have never heard the word "frugality" when hearing someone describe themselves...sometimes "being frugal", never "my frugality".

Nothing that diminished the article, just some little items that struck me as unusual to the great voices you developed.

Excellent work!
Noel Mitaxa 12/01/09
Good fun interaction, and you "oranged" a clever solution to what might have been a "growing" problem. Very clever
Jan Ackerson 12/02/09
Extremely clever--your two characters are very believable and fun to read.
Catrina Bradley 12/02/09
This was so much fun! I loved the descriptions of her glowing hair. :) My nit-pick is that I don't believe an experienced hair-colorer would mistake Halloween coloring for generic Miss Clairol. Good job building your characters - thank you for the smile today.