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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Ow! (01/07/10)

TITLE: "Daddy Has An Owie!"
By Susan Gurney


The life of an apartment maintenance man is not very glamorous. Sure, I get a few benefits not granted to the usual tenant: since my wife also collects the tenant rents on the weekends, we get our rent free; I occasionally get first dibs on any used furniture abandoned by vacating tenants and my two boys are more tolerated than the other tenant children when they wildly (and continuously) ride their noisy big-wheeled plastic tricycles around the apartment courtyard. Oh—and occasionally I get the honor of viewing how the other tenants live when my work order permits me entrance to an apartment to fix a leaky toilet, a cranky disposal or a door about to fall off its hinges. But in all my experience in apartment maintenance I’ve never found myself in quite the situation I’m in now—both arms stuck nearly to the shoulders in a chimney shaft with my face jammed against the top edge of the chimney, my fingertips just above a bunch of squealing baby squirrels…

--Now there was that time I had a work order from apartment management to enter Apartment #23B to work on a Mrs. Ritter’s refrigerator. The refrigerator was freezing everything, including her lettuce and eggs…so according to the office, I had permission to enter the apartment on that particular day at that particular time. The tenant would be at work. No one would be at home. I knocked at the door and then let myself in using the pass key. I walked straight to the kitchen, opened the refrigerator door and got to work. What I needed to do would be easier with the refrigerator door removed, so I set about doing that. I had just separated the door from the rest of the refrigerator and was in the process of trying to maneuver it towards the nearest wall so I could lean it there without spilling the raw eggs, quarts of milk and juice and various condiments lodged on the door shelves, when a very commanding male voice said, “Police! Drop it and put your hands up!” So I did. Drop it, I mean. The refrigerator door fell hard on my foot, then toppled over with a loud crash, spilling milk, juice and catsup all over the kitchen floor. I proceeded to jump around in the mess—oh, did I forget to mention the broken, half-frozen eggs mixed in with everything else?—yelling, “Daddy has an Owie!! Daddy has an Owie!!”

You—as did the two startled police officers standing there--may wonder why I would yell such an odd phrase at such a tense time. Well, for one thing my foot hurt very, very badly. As for the wording of the phrase, I had made a pact between myself and God when my oldest child was born, that I would not swear in front of my children. With my eldest now six years old, I had had plenty of time to develop a more appropriate reaction to pain than my childless repertoire of rather more colorful words. Hence, “Daddy has an Owie!!” (You might be interested to know that my first truly spontaneous use of the phrase came about when my youngest son was about eighteen months old. I was napping on the couch. Son was exploring his surroundings. Son finds a large, heavy glass candy dish on coffee table. Son decides to awaken sleeping father by dropping large, heavy glass candy dish in the middle of father’s forehead. Father shrieks, “Daddy has an Owie!! Daddy has an Owie!! Oh, my, does Daddy have an Owie!!”)

Well , back to my story. Once the police saw my work order, and Mrs. Ritter sheepishly admitted that she had stayed home ill from work that day and had forgotten that someone from maintenance was suppose to fix the refrigerator—I hobbled away, the police left, and apparently Mrs. Ritter spent the next hour cleaning up her kitchen and finding someone else to fix her refrigerator, as I refused to do it.

I suppose I’d better stop reminiscing now and alert someone to my current dilemma…Oh, no! What is that climbing up my pant leg! "Ow, Ow, Ow! Help! Help! Up here…on the roof…the chimney! Help! Ow!"

“Daddy, is that you?”

“Yes, Joey! Run and tell Mommy to call 911! I got stuck in the chimney trying to get out a nest of squirrels…and the mommy squirrel is biting me on…on…Daddy’s bottom, and…and… ‘Daddy has an Owie!!’”

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This article has been read 455 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Rachel Phelps01/16/10
Cute premise with lots of humor. I found the long paragraphs made me want to skim, searching for the punch line. A little trimming often goes a long way Loved the conversational feel.
c clemons01/18/10
Fun but interesting from the MC perspective. A few more breaks might help the flow, but overall good job.
Karlene Jacobsen01/18/10
The end made me giggle. In agreement with the previous commentor, some tightening up will really push this over the top.

Great take on topic.
Rachel Rudd 01/19/10
Great story...made me laugh! :) I think it would be good with some more breaks in the paragraphs, but I liked the details you put in with the refrigerator story.
Kate Oliver Webb 01/19/10
Really great story-telling: I really SAW that mess in the kitchen, and definitely felt for that poor guy!
Ruth Brown01/20/10
I loved it hillarious!
I agree you might break it up a bit, but what a great use of topic. You can spin a yarn!
Carole Robishaw 01/20/10
Fun read! I agree the the other comments, I have to work on the same thing, I want to cram too much in, I also struggle with the tell/show.
Amanda Brogan01/20/10
I love the light-hearted humor! I think my favorite part was where he was thinking back to his first use of the phrase. Quote: "Son was exploring his surroundings. Son finds a large, heavy glass candy dish on coffee table. Son decides to awaken sleeping father by dropping large, heavy glass candy dish in the middle of father’s forehead." That cracked me up! Great wrap-up too!
Catrina Bradley 01/20/10
Great story-telling voice - and a story full of smiles (except for Daddy, of course).
Carol Slider 01/20/10
This was a lot of fun to read! Well done.
Edmond Ng 01/21/10
I like the story very much! The MC must have an Owie full of pain getting stuck in the chimney with mommy squirrel biting! Great sense of humor. LoL. (",)
Carol Penhorwood 01/21/10
Very funny! Congratulations on placing in your level! Have you checked out the Writing Challenge forums?