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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Eek! (02/25/10)

TITLE: Oh, Ye of Little Faith
By Ruth Stromquist


A tiny bundle of fur zoomed towards the kitchen table, then desperately tried to brake when it saw his wife's foot. Its feet wildly skittered for traction on the polished tiles as it slid into the side of her tennis shoe with a muffled "thunk".

Rich laughed, spraying bread crumbs across the red and white checked tablecloth.

"Eeeeeek!" His wife leaped up, chair crashing to the floor. The mouse dashed under the refrigerator.

"Did you say 'EEK'? ... Oh, that's priceless!" He gasped for air between chortles, doubling over, slapping his thigh.

Tina's soft brown eyes hardened into a glare he'd never yet seen in the three weeks they'd been married. She stood, trembling, hands on hips.

"Oh now, Tina, come on!" He sat up, wiping tears from his eyes. "It was just a little mouse. You can't be afraid of a little ..."

"I did NOT say 'Eek!', and it's NOT funny. How DARE you laugh!"

He couldn't stop grinning. "Well, you DID say 'Eek!', and ..."

"Did NOT!"

"Tina, calm down." He noticed she was breathing rapidly, her face white. "Where's your faith, Hon? 'Fear not ... when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned ...' Right? And how about, 'Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith?' -- Right?" He smiled wider, "And, hey -- When the mousest zoometh into thy footeth --"

She threw a dinner roll; then turned and stomped out, as it bounced off his nose.

An hour later, he was still there, trying to sort it out, absentmindedly shoving bread crumbs into small piles with a finger. Could this be the wonderful lady he'd married? The depth and steadiness of her faith was much of what had caused him to fall head over heels in love. She had seemed so gutsy. Always ready to trust the Lord, despite the trials and pressures they'd faced during their long engagement. He had been counting on spending life side by side with one ready to stand strong through whatever was ahead -- through the hard times he suspected were coming ... and she was terrified of a MOUSE? He prayed silently, "Lord, she IS the one you wanted me to marry, right? This is crazy. Please strengthen her faith, Lord. I --"

She stormed back into the kitchen, and began grabbing plates and bowls from the table, shoving them violently into the dishwasher; then turned to face him, arms folded tightly across her chest. "I did NOT say, 'Eek!', and I'd expect you to at least have a BIT of understanding ..."

"But Tina. Babe. I'm trying! I've been praying for your faith and ..."

"Ooooo!" She slammed the dishwasher door shut so hard, the pans on the counter clattered. "So you're praying for my faith, are you? Well isn't that just soooo gallant, my man! You're a great judge. You with beams in your own eye, better not be spending time pulling motes out of mine!"

He stared at her, eyes widening. "And what's THAT supposed to mean?"

"Your faith isn't exactly rock solid either, buddy!" The door banged as she left. She shouted from the living room, "And I'm praying God gives my insensitive, idiotic husband some basic human compassion!"

Red-faced, he yelled, "You did TOO, say 'Eek!'"

They were weeding the garden, a week later, sweating in the sun, she at one end of a 40 foot row of lettuce, he at the other. Though things weren't back to normal, the two had at least established a guarded truce. He wondered if it was safe to try again to reason with her about her lapse of faith, as he reached for the next weed.

His hand froze in mid-air, the hairs on the back of his neck prickling.

Black, beady eyes stared into his.

Rich's heart pounded in his ears, dizziness and nausea sweeping over him, as the snake's head weaved back and forth. Reddish scales glinted in the sunlight.

Through the roaring in his ears, he heard Tina's pounding footsteps. He couldn't move. He couldn't breathe. Pain began building in his chest...

Then she was there, next to the snake, hooting, "You're afraid of a little GARTER snake?"

He silently prayed, trying to hold on, trying not to pass out ... 'Lord, help me!'

An Answer came. Rich knew what to do.

"Eeeeeek!" he yelled.

Chuckling, Tina slammed her foot into the snake's side, sending it flying into the bushes.

Author's Notes:

Matthew 8:26 (KJV) “And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.”

Isaiah 43:1-2 (KJV) "But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called [thee] by thy name; thou [art] mine. When thou passest through the waters, I [will be] with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.”

Matthew 7:1-5 (KJV) "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam [is] in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

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This article has been read 401 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/04/10
I loved it. I know God has a great sense of humor and it showed up brilliantly in this comic piece.
Genia Gilbert03/04/10
Well written and a great picture of human nature and or marriage.
Brenda Shipman 03/07/10
Poor guy, took a snake to point out the beam in his own eye. I liked this humorous look at a typical marital "misunderstanding". Nicely done!
Leah Nichols 03/10/10
Very cute story! With ultra-short fiction, it usually works best to stick with one scene, so the writing doesn't get too hurried. You did well, but it seemed to me like you were putting a LOT into 750 words. Think about narrowing the scene and implying the spiritual lesson rather than stating it. It'll save you words to use on the piece. Nicely done!
Kate Oliver Webb 03/10/10
I agree with the above. But it was a fun story and the vignettes were typical of young marriage. Ahhh, weren't we emotional back then, over stuff that barely makes us blink now.
Beth LaBuff 03/10/10
LOL! I had to smile at the "You with beams in your own eye, better not be spending time pulling motes out of mine!" This was entertaining with a good message to boot. (side note: I was cheering for the wife.) :)
Connie Dixon03/10/10
This was funny and you really got my attention when that slithering reptile showed up. Great descriptions and suspense.
Carol Slider 03/10/10
This feels very realistic--everyone, I guess, has certain unrealistic expectations as newlyweds. I do think there's a difference between real "fear" and that creepy, visceral reaction we have when we see certain creatures... but I suppose that's debatable. Good job--enjoyed this!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/11/10
Congratulations on the top 40!