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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Hear (07/08/10)

TITLE: Some Things Just Stink
By Amanda Brogan


“My life stinks!” Colin slammed his two-year-old iPod onto his desk and began rapidly pacing the floor. His hands knotted into tight fists and his eyes burned fire.

His mother leaned against the doorframe of his bedroom, arms crossed along her chest. The patience in her face may as well have had a “low-battery” sign. “Young man, I won’t tolerate talk like that, nor your attitude.” She paused slightly, seeming determined not to blow up at him. “If anything stinks, it’s your behavior.”

“It’s just not fair!” He turned to face her. “Everybody in the world has updated tech stuff except me. My iPod should be in the technology hall of fame. It can’t even take a video!” He flopped face-first onto his bed.

“First of all, not everyone has an iPod that can take a video. Secondly, what would you do with it if it could take a video?”

“I don’t know.” Came a pathetic mumble from the blankets.

She moved to the foot of his bed and sat down. “Maybe you should start thinking about what you have, instead of whining about what you want. You’re so blessed, Colin. There are probably hundreds of kids in this world who would love to be in your position.”


His mom pursed her lips and shook her head. “Have you ever thought that there are people who don’t have iPods or don’t have a bed like the one you’re pouting on?”

He didn’t answer.

“Have you ever thought that maybe there are people who can’t even hear the music you have on that thing?”

He glanced at the rejected gadget, then mumbled, “At least they could use the camera on an iPod nano.”

She tossed her hands in the air and stood up. “Ya know what, you think about it. If you don’t want that thing, then fine – give it away. But I’m not getting you an updated one when you’re acting like that. You don’t deserve what you have.”

When she was gone, Colin punched his fist into the bed. “It’s not fair.” He repeated.

Mom didn’t understand. He couldn’t whine to her.


His best friend would feel his pain.

Travis’ house was only a few blocks down, so Colin rode his bike. As he suspected, his buddy was happy to see him.

“Hey, bro! What the dizzle?” Travis was the 13-year-old king of street talk as far as Colin was concerned.

“The dizzle is not sizzlin’, that’s for sure.” Good thing Travis was patient with his attempts at the ghetto language.

“Ah, fo’ real? What’s goin’ down?”

Colin then proceeded to explain all that was “going down” with his non-technologicalness.

Travis listened intently, nodding every so often. “Wish I could help, man. That’s a bummer. But ya know, your mom’s got a point. It would totally stink not to hear.”

Colin squirmed. “Yeah, I guess. But that’s not the point here.”

His friend shrugged. “If you say so. Hey, I’m gonna get us some drinks.”

Colin leaned back against the giant surround-sound speaker behind him as Travis disappeared to the kitchen.

It would stink not to hear.

Before he could process the comment, he was assaulted by a huge blast of sound. He jumped away from the speaker, hands pressed against his ringing ears.

“What was that?” He screamed over the noise.

Travis’ two teenage brothers came be-bopping into the room. They looked surprised at Colin’s position on the floor – kneeling with his hands on his ears. He must’ve been blocking out most of the music because all he could hear was ringing.

Travis ran back into the room and soon all three boys were beside Colin, motioning to him. He took his hands off his ears but all he heard were muffled voices. His heart-rate sped up. What was going on?

One of the boys called his mom who frantically drove him to the emergency room.

It was weird, like being under water. In place of voices and everyday sounds, all he heard was incessant ringing and very muffled noises.

The doctor had a look at him and stuck a strange tool in his ears, he guessed to check his hearing. Doc said something to his mother and handed her a sheet of paper. Colin glanced over her shoulder, catching key words. “Temporary loss. Can last up to three days.”

He sighed in relief.

He wouldn’t be deaf. But he knew he would be thankful for much more than his iPod when all this was over.

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This article has been read 562 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Brenda Shipman 07/17/10
Good writing going on in this story. I like your use of strong nouns and verbs, vs. adjectives and adverbs, for description (e.g. "knotted into tight fists and his eyes burned fire".) You captured the conflict of teenage angst over not having the latest in techno. You presented a great lesson, learned the hard way!
Rikki Akeo07/19/10
I feel like printing this for a few kids to read...
Loved it from beginning to end!
Joan Campbell07/19/10
Clever! What a great lesson for an ungrateful teenager. You wrote it very well - I particularly liked the humour sprinkled in to it and Travis' street-lingo.
Caitlyn Meissner07/19/10
Hey there! I loved this article, and certainly didn't expect that ending. It's a great reminder to all of us to appreciate what we have in life. Your characters stood out really well, too. They definitely seemed realistic. Good job! :)
AnneRene' Capp07/19/10
Definitely wish I had this article when my daughter was a teenager...come to think about it, still might work on her and her "trendy gotta-haves" :) This was cute!
Kate Oliver Webb 07/19/10
Very well-written and absorbing story, complete with humor and wonderfully strong imaging. Great job!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 07/20/10
This is a great lesson and one many teens need to hear. It kept my attention all the way to the end. It was great that you took a unique ending. I was sure his friend was going to be in financial trouble or have a sibling that couldn't hear. Bravo for finding a clever ending.
Colin Swann07/20/10
Oh, praise the Lord all my kids have flown the nest. This piece brings back mixed memory feelings of parent dealings with kids' fads. Good story, well written. Thanks!
c clemons07/20/10
I wasn't sold on the attempt at "ghetto slang" but at least there was a moral to the story. Keep practicing.
Barbara Lynn Culler07/21/10
I was expecting that the friend did not have any of the gadgets, and MC had no idea!

Great story. Enjoyed the street language too.

I loved the reference to LOW BATTERY Sign on the mother!
Shirley McClay 07/21/10
I like how you used actions to show emotions quite often in this story. It did seem like a lot of he's and she's esp, when he is talking to his mom.. maybe you could vary that more. Overall a great story for teens!
Lollie Hofer07/21/10
Ooh, I like this story. Good action, real-to-life dialogue between mother and son, and a great lesson to be learned. Super cool!
Verna Cole Mitchell 07/21/10
Great job of "showing" your character and teaching a lesson. Interesting story all the way through.
Author Unknown07/21/10
maybe it's my stage in life, but I'm paying a lot of attention to parents (moms particularly) in writing lately. I love this mom. I love that she's trying to be patient though the battery is low (wouldn't that be handy? leave mom alone, battery is low).

I agree that the "street language" sounds off-- but the reality is, I am very out of that loop and when my cousin comes over, I can't understand a word he says. So. take that with a grain of salt.

I think this was a great story. Enjoyable read. if my battery were fully-charged I could maybe be more helpful with some pinkish ink, but all I've got is good words today. Hope you don't mind :)
Edmond Ng 07/21/10
This conveys the moral behind the story very well. We should just be thankful for what we have rather than keep complaining about what we do not have. It's so difficult to convince the young these days not too stay too connected to the world. Interesting read.
Susan Montaperto07/21/10
What a great story about teenagers and for teenagers to read (as well as adults). God Bless. Keep writing.
Chely Roach07/21/10
Great message for teens and their parents. Yeah, the ghetto slang was a tad tame, but the dialogue with the mom was much more on target. Nicely done!
Sarah Elisabeth 07/21/10
Good message on a very relevant subject. If only more kids could get a fairly harmless "wake up" call like that ;-)

Good job, girl, keep writing!