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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Pen is Mightier than the Sword (04/08/10)

TITLE: Florrie vs. Shackleford
By Patricia Herchenroether


"James, use your God-given brains to do something about this. You're the town mayor-file another one of those petitions or appeals or whatever you poly-ticians do. My Georgie (rest his soul) must be rollin' over in his grave!"

"Now, Florrie, don't get your blood pressure up. Our attorneys have exhausted every possible option regarding this matter. Your side of Route 7 is zoned agricultural. That Sh- (sorry) Shackleford got the other side re-zoned with the blessings of the state...and a few dollars in someone's pocket, I might add."

Hanging up the phone, a bemused Florence moved to her kitchen sink and stared glumly out the window. Across the county road was a huge billboard, a eulogy to the beautiful land surrounding it: "Future site of Shackleford Acres, an exclusive gated community." The elderly grandmother couldn't stop tears from filling her eyes.

Three generations, she sighed. Winter sled rides, summer picnics, and laughing children danced through her memories. I 'member townsfolk gatherin' for family reunions, kids swimmin' in the lake, and fishermen swapping big-un stories on the shore. Why, every one of my little ones rode his first pony through those old woods and caught his first perch in that lake. I can't let this happen-I won't let this happen. Lord, give me wisdom and strength to slay this Goliath.

Benjamin Washington Shackleford stepped out of his BMW and inspected the new sign his contractors had erected. Scanning the rolling hills his saw endless green; not the green that Florrie saw from her kitchen window, but the green tint of money. His late father and grandfather had been weak Bible-thumpers, permitting all that prime land to be used by the town hicks for years. He thought it was a total waste. Stomping down to the lake he would soon fill in, Benjamin chased two children off the property. "And don't come back," he yelled, "You brats are trespassing!" As he turned back to his car, the ever-present west wind blew dust into his face and knocked off his hat. He noticed workmen across the road sinking fenceposts on the Old Bat's farm.

A week later Ben was back to make sure people had not disregarded the "No Trespassing" signs plastered across his land. This time he held his hat on when he faced the wind and strode to his car. The fence posts on Florrie's farm had been closed in, forming several large corral-type structures. Oh, well, to each his own.


Dawn arrived with unusually warm, humid weather when Ben Shackleford was rudely awakened by a ringing telephone. Excavation was scheduled to start on his property today. The construction company foreman called to inform him the crew refused to work and walked off the job. They cited "environmentally intolerable conditions," a stipulation clearly outlined in the contract. Shackleford was furious and sped to the excavation site.

When he left his air-conditioned Beemer, Benjamin was slapped in the face with a stench-filled blast of hot air. The corrals at Florrie's farm were now packed with grunting, squealing, stinking animals. In front of the pens was a large sign: "Future Site of Hog Heaven, an exclusive penned community."


After five months and costly hearings, a disgruntled Benjamin Washington Shackleford withdrew his lawsuit against Florence M. Bensen. Furthermore, he leased the now worthless property on Route 7 to the town for 99 years at an annual cost of one dollar. A satisfied Florrie returned all the borrowed hogs to their owners. The pens had proved to be mightier than that Sh-(sorry) S-word.

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This article has been read 723 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lisha Hunnicutt04/15/10
This was a GREAT piece. I love you take on the word "pen"! Your writing was very descriptive and easy to visualize, and the characters were very realistic. Loved it!
Barbara Lynn Culler04/15/10
Brilliant! Proves that "Davids" can win!
Robyn Burke04/15/10
LOL, choking on my morning oatmeal as I got to the very end and 'got it'. I was waiting for Florrie to write some powerfully vicious letter so the pen you used really caught me off guard. Love that!
Loren T. Lowery04/15/10
Very cute and engaging and oh so out-of-the-box creative!
Angela King04/15/10
I really enjoyed reading this story! Nice job!
Noel Mitaxa 04/15/10
Very clever treatment that will "sty" in my mind for some time. Poor Benjamin got a taste of new (s)wine. Thoroughly good reading.
Virgil Youngblood 04/15/10
She who laughs last laughs best, as you have clearly shown. Great writing.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/15/10
This really is fantastic. I enjoyed it thoroughly!
Jackie Wilson04/15/10
Terrific plot twist, and surprise use of "pen"! Loved it!
Patricia Turner04/16/10
So, so very cleverly and entertainingly written.
Kathleen Tollifson04/17/10
Very clever, both the story and Florrie.
Lynda Schultz 04/17/10
Oh so clever! You kept us thinking in the wrong direction right till the end and then came up with an absolutely inspired twist. Really good.
Beth LaBuff 04/19/10
OH my! LOL! This was great! ...and how resourceful Florrie was! We raised hogs for years, there's nothing like the smell. Love this!
Maria Egilsson04/19/10
Patty, I found you!! Great job!!
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/20/10
Very creative...and interesting--a delightful twist
Sara Harricharan 04/21/10
Heehee...glad Florrie won. Served that Shackleford right! I was wondering exactly what she'd do to win him. Good one!
Marita Thelander 04/21/10
I like how you set up for the ending. I knew the wind would have something to do with it, but the exclusive pen community still caught me by surprise. YOu did a good job of taking what everyone thought was the ending (cuz of the topic) and added a great pen pun.
harvestgal Ndaguba04/21/10
Oh so clever! Awesome ending. Most creative and unique take on the topic. I loved it.
Kate Oliver Webb 04/21/10
Didn't see it coming--and that's the sign of a great story! Wonderfully done.
Mona Purvis04/21/10
Amen to above comments. Fresh and interesting approach to the subject. It should do very well.

angelos2 wark04/21/10
Well I guess there's not much to add. All of the previous comments have pretty much "penned" in all of the wonderful attributes to this great story.

Florrie is a gal after my own heart!
The work of a Master for sure!
Edmond Ng 04/21/10
Brilliant idea to bring in the hog! God must have answered the prayer, Lord, give me wisdom and strength to slay this Goliath! I particularly like the scene you painted of what's at the site for three generations, the winter sled rides, summer picnics ... those are certainly precious. The ending had me put a smile on my face with the S-word! LoL (",)
Carol Penhorwood 04/21/10
This should be a winner in my book. What creativity!
Joshua Janoski04/22/10
Haha! I loved it! Your ending made me chuckle.

I was saddened thinking about real life and how so much beautiful land has been taken over for housing and retail developments, and I wish that wasn't the case. But your character's solution to the problem was brilliant and oh so funny! :)