Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Eek! (02/25/10)
TITLE: Ain't Scared a'Nothin'
By Laury Hubrich
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Joey stood in front of Ted.
“Daddy, here’s your tea.”
Ted took it, distracted.
“Can you take me swimming?”
“Another robbery, can you believe that?”
Melody put her hands on Joey’s shoulders. “Your son wants to talk to you.” She took the remote and turned off the tube.
“Dad, will you take me swimming at the river?”
“We can go to the Y later, okay, Buddy?”
Joey, unfazed, attempted his request again. “It has to be the river. My friends bet me that I wouldn’t jump from the rope swing - said I was chicken.”
“So go. You’re not scared, are you?”
“Ummm…no, not scared, but you told me I couldn’t swim at the river without you.”
Ted grabbed the remote and turned the news back on.
Melody smacked him in the back of his head.
“Can’t I enjoy my Saturday morning?”
“Please, Dad? Everyone’s gonna be there. I just gotta go.”
“Let’s do it next week.”
Melody whispered in her son’s ear and he ran off, a smile gracing his face. “Honey, it’s important to go with Joey. He’s at an age where he wants to be like the other kids. Remember what it’s like to be called chicken?”
“You know I don’t like the river.”
“Why not? You scared of the creepy crawlies? Hmmm?” she taunted.
Ted’s body went into a full spasm thinking of things he couldn’t see in the dark water. He stood up, “Happy now? I’m going to get my swimming trunks on then spend a glorious Saturday morning with a bunch of crazy grade school boys.”
Melody wrapped her arms around Ted and nuzzled his neck. “I love you,” she whispered in his ear, “even if you are a big chicken,” she finished with a big smile.
Father and son walked down the road, both in swim trunks and towels wrapped around their necks.
“How come you never take me to the river?” Joey questioned.
“The swimming pool’s clean, less chance of getting some disease.”
“Me? No way.”
Joey looked at him with admiration. “You’re not scared a'nothin’, are you?”
“Sure I am. I’m scared of your mom.”
“Haha, Dad.” Joey ran off when he saw his friends but Ted took his time, staving off the inevitable as long as possible.
Joey looked at the rope swing then back at his dad.
“Go ahead, Son,” Ted assured him.
Joey grabbed hold of the rope, then, when it swooped over the water, he said, “See, told ya I wasn’t scared”, then he let go, making a big splash.
“Mr. Bradley. Betcha can’t jump this far off the swing.”
Ted ignored their pleas until he saw Joey’s disappointment. He slowly walked to the rope.
“Come on, Dad, you can do it!”
“You can do it, Mr. Bradley.” The boys cheered for him but then catcalled when he froze in the spot.
“Your dad ain’t scared, is he?” the boys asked.
“My dad ain’t scared’a nothing.” Joey proudly declared.
Ted rolled his eyes, amazed that the taunts of nine-year-olds would upset him. He jumped up and grabbed hold of the rope then swung out over the water.
“Jump! Jump! Jump!” they yelled, but Ted held on.
The thought of what could be in the murky depths almost brought tears to his eyes. The rope swung back over dry land then over the water once again. By this time, Ted’s arms grew tired. He knew what he had to do – let go.
He sunk deep into the water then popped up, spitting dirty water out of his mouth. Ted, smiled, happy he could make his son proud, but quickly felt something slither around his legs. Before he could stop himself he yelled out, “Eek!” He jumped up and down and screamed like a girl.
The boys stood, mouths dropped in disbelief, Joey’s too. Ted knew he had to act fast to save the Bradley reputation. He dove into the water, and with dramatic flare, fought off a mysterious sea creature. He popped back up and yelled, “Gotcha!”
The boys laughed and Ted knew he saved face.
On their way back home, Joey asked, “You really were scared, weren’cha, Dad?”
“You better believe it.”
“Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone.
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