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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Manuscript (04/29/10)

TITLE: Noni and Maggie
By Sara Harricharan


Noni scrubbed her eyes open with one pajama sleeve, while fumbling for the bathroom light with the other. The shower was quick, the morning continuing with soggy cornflakes between gulps of scalding coffee as she checked email on her blackberry.

“…so late!” She scolded herself, scrambling for the jacket, keys and purse, before dashing out the door. “So much work…so much to do.” The one-sided conversation was maintained through most of the morning commute, before she arrived at the safe haven of work.

Her cubicle was quiet for the first five minutes, then time picked up and things began to happen. Happily jabbing away at the keyboard, Noni smiled wistfully.

I really should write a story about me. She mused. A mild-mannered…no…well, why not? I am pretty easy-going…that’s mild, isn’t it? I don’t have to be a superhero…it’d be a great story! The best story ever…if only I had the time.

Noni organized portfolios and stapled presentations together, the thoughts progressing. My life is normal enough. No one ever writes about the normal people. I have an apartment, a job... She stood on tip-toe to see if Jackson was through at the copier. It was too nerve-wracking to stand in line behind him—still. A love interest…that’d be the romance part…I don’t have a lot of adventures, but that’d be the fiction part! Good stories have spice! I’d have to—

The thought was interrupted as she was handed the lunch list. Her happy thoughts faded away, replaced with a forced smile. It was her turn. Again. Noni handed over the presentations and hurried out.

Her scowl surfaced in the car when she roared out of the parking lot and into the busy street. It was hard finding a safe spot in the crowded café, her coworkers’ favorite choice.

By the time she tumbled into bed that night, her feet ached, her head ached and her fingers were itching to create something new. She fell asleep with a tangled prayer from her lips.

Dear Lord…it’s been one of those days…help me write my story—tomorrow.


Maggie watched her stroll into the café, reddish-blond curls streaming out behind, head held high, untouched by the light drizzle outside. Her fashionable tan coat dripped in uneven lines as she jostled for a place in line with the best of them, her expressionless face giving nothing away.

A hard day, Lord? Maggie mused, hunched over her netbook on the tiny table, furiously typing to capture the scene before her. She seems so calm sometimes…I wonder…what a life she must live…working at Klingmet Designs…a dream job, if you’ve the head for it. I bet she’s one of the top designers oh look—a name tag…her name is…Noni. Oh, that’s pretty. I like it. She’s pretty too—and considerate, taking the lunch run in the rain. I wouldn’t do that for…well, I didn’t mean that the way it sounded, Lord…I would, but…probably not with pouring rain out there…my umbrella’s broken anyway. She doesn’t seem happy today though…I wonder…does she know you? My days ache less with you…

The musings were interrupted as Noni brushed past and the door sent gusts of wind and rain, causing Maggie to scramble for her coffee, stray napkins and netbook. She waited a moment, before daring to move, then carefully smoothed out the napkins, wiping dribbles of coffee off the edge of the table.

Definitely a bad day, Lord…please…whoever she is, give her a good night’s rest…she’s probably had a longer day than I have.

Maggie jogged back to her apartment; managing her thrift-store had left her more drained than usual. In the darkened shadows of her miniscule apartment, she typed up the last chapter of her latest creation, ending with a closing line of “…and Nora left the café, head held high, as the door swung shut, havoc billowing in her wake as patrons scrambled to rescue their napkins and cinnamon rolls. She was free.”

A good last line.

Printing out the final chapter, she added it to the stack on the tilted coffee table and double-checked the order of paperwork before settling the manuscript in a slender cardboard box.

Gilt-edged paper would be nice for this one, Lord. She smiled, scribbling her address along the corner in permanent marker. Thank you for Nora…and Noni…she was a good inspiration…I sure hope folks like this one as much as the first.

Manuscript tucked securely under one arm, Maggie darted out into the pouring rain, heading for the post office.


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Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 05/07/10
Your details in the opening paragraph drew me right in. I could picture everything. I was slightly confused at first with the sudden shift in characters, but as I read on I smiled that she was using Noni as inspiration, changing her name only slightly. I was also impressed that she prayed for the woman who had unknowingly inspired the writer.
Joanne Sher 05/11/10
So creative, dear. Love the way the imagination takes us to wonderful places - even when the "real folks" don't get there. Great stuff, sweetie!
Your JJ
Phee Paradise 05/11/10
Two stories, linked by writing. I like the concept and the stories were great. But I felt like I was getting a snippet of each story and I'd like to read them both in more detail.
Beth LaBuff 05/11/10
...and here Noni thought no one ever wrote about "normal people." :) I love the way you wove these two stories together. What imagination and talent displayed here!
Yvonne Blake 05/11/10
Ohhh...I liked the double plot! Great style!
Marita Thelander 05/12/10
I have a hard time keeping up with the story, but then I think "Sara" and it puts my mind in the proper gear. :P
Loren T. Lowery05/12/10
Very creative and instructive - writing about what we know best. Nice job of weaving the two into one (like juggling) while keeping the reader's interest to learn the outcome.