Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Pen is Mightier than the Sword (04/08/10)
TITLE: Fourth Call
By larry troxell
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Doc Evans had predicted the cancer would consume his life within two months. Joe had always controlled his own destiny and he wasn’t about to allow any cancer dictate his life timetable.
As he headed home, Joe’s cell phone binged indicating a text. It was from Rosie, the only bright spot in his miserable 62-year-old life.
<i>“Grandpa, I love you and I’m driving down from Ohio this weekend to see you. Have you read John 3:16 yet?”</i>
Of all times for Rosie to be preachy. Joe tolerated her occasional references to God because he dearly loved her. However, he had done alright without church and all that God stuff. If he died before sunset, he still would have outlasted any of his family.
Joe first called his attorney.
“Mark, make sure my will is in order. Everything is to be sold with all the proceeds going to Rosie. And quickly. You drag this out to pad your bill and I will haunt you from the grave, filling your life with nightmares.”
The call was interrupted by another message from Rosie.
<i>“Grandpa, if you haven’t read John 3:16, here it is. ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.’ Grandpa, can you imagine such love?”</i>
You’re so young Rosie, Joe thought. Sadly, this Godspeak is only for children and women.
Slowly, but confidently, Joe placed his second call. It was his ex-wife’s machine rather than Rose that answered. Maybe that was best.
“Rose, we haven’t talked in years. I’m asking your forgiveness. We waged war for nearly 30 years before you kicked me out. In hindsight, I was wrong. I abused you in so many ways though I never laid a hand on you. I’m sorry. Yeah, it’s really Joe. You keep an eye on Rosie, okay?”
<i>“Grandpa, you must be in a meeting since you haven’t answered my texts. Isn’t God’s promise in John 3:16 so cool? Love you.”</i>
I should answer Rosie’s text but I need to call Ron, Joe thought. As he turned into the driveway, Joe dialed his son.
Ron answered on the third ring.
“Son, it’s your ornery dad. Please, don’t hang up. We haven’t talked in years and we don’t have to talk now; just listen to me for a moment. I was always hard on you, and yes, I beat you half to death several times but I was trying to knock some sense into your head. Didn’t want you to become an alcoholic like me. Thanks for bringing Rosie into the world. Without a doubt, you’ve been a great father to her. Son …”
The phone clicked.
Joe became angry with himself feeling a tear escaping down his cheek. He walked over to his workshop and picked his favorite shotgun from the rack. He inserted a single shell as he climbed the wooded path behind his log cabin.
Struggling for breath, Joe took a seat at the trunk of the huge oak tree that marked his property corner at the top of the hill. He thought of his worthless life, all the failures, his constant battle with family, friends, business associates … well, with everybody. Except with Rosie.
As he clutched the shotgun closer to his chest, Joe heard another texting ring.
<i>“Grandpa, I pray you’re not mad at me. I know you’re uncomfortable with me when I talk about all that God stuff. But today, Grandpa, I have such a burden to remind you of God’s love, and my love for the greatest grandfather in the world!”</i>
Joe eased his finger off the trigger and dialed an unintended fourth number.
“Rosie, if you want to, tell me about your friend Jesus.”
Author’s note: Scriptural reference is from English Standard Version.
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