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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Inner Person (09/09/10)

TITLE: Wheel of Fortune
By Kristin Slavik


I stare at the television and wonder when someone will come and change the channel. I hate the Wheel of Fortune. I used to think it was great, until I lived it. The fact that one wrong spin can change everything seems so random, and yet it is so true. I know it is just a game show, and it is probably better than most of the stuff on television these days, but to me it is pure torture.

My bad spin came just two years ago. My men were stationed in a part of Iraq that no one should have to go to. Most of the army chaplains like me refused to even enter the area, preferring instead to wait at base camp for the troops to come to them. Maybe I should have been like that. I always felt called to stay with my men, wherever they may need me. Before we deployed my sister asked why I would go to such a dangerous place. I told her the safest place for me to be was in the center of God will. If that was somewhere dangerous then so be it. Most days I still believe that.

On this particular day I was holding a service in a makeshift tent out in a remote location so some of the men who did not have the luxury of coming in to camp could find some comfort in their work. Before the service had ended, a HMMWV (humvee to the rest of the world) came barreling over to our tent. I knew right away that something was wrong. My chaplainís assistant, Chris, jumped out of the vehicle and stopped the service. He told me that one of my men had been gravely injured and needed me to come immediately. I jumped on the humvee and we headed back to camp.

I bowed my head in the front seat of the humvee and prayed for my injured soldier and his family. I prayed we would make it in time. I never thought to pray for me. Suddenly, I heard the unmistakable sound of a cell phone but before I could react we were thrown through the air in a ball of heat, gas and sand. My side of the vehicle took the brunt of the blast and by the time our escort car stopped to pick us up, I could tell the men thought they had lost me. I remember thinking not about myself, but about how sad my family would be that I was dead. I heard one of them yell to the others not to give up and to stop the bleeding, at least that what I think he said, I was out before he finished his instructions.

When I woke up I was in Landstuhl, the army hospital in Germany. I had lost an eye and was completely paralyzed on one side. My other side does not have much movement either. The worst part to me was that I could not speak. My whole life had been about talking; telling people about God and just connecting with them in general. In one moment I was reduced to this. Now I canít even tell someone to change the stupid channel on the television.

I watch people come in and out of my room every day. Some of them talk to me, some figure that since I canít talk back I must not be with it. I wonder if they know that they are one bad spin away from existing just like me. Some days I want to scream, and I beg for God to let me out of this voiceless prison.

The person trapped inside this useless shell is still here. On the television someone else has gone bankrupt. I cry out to God for mercy, and for the remote control.

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This article has been read 334 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/16/10
Wow what an intense story. You spoke for many silicate today and you did an outstanding job.
Kristi Peifer09/18/10
Absolutely excellent work. I was riveted throughout, and the MC's voice was authentic.
Genia Gilbert09/19/10
Good writing, though difficult to read. A real message of an inner person with all the props gone.
Barbara Lynn Culler09/21/10
WOW. What a powerful and sad story. So heartwrenching.

I like how you hooked in the reader with the game show and also tied it in at the conclusion.

Great job,and I think that this should be a winner!
Terri Schroeder09/21/10
Sad story. I wish it had ended on a positive note but realize things always don't end happy. It was very well written; I only noticed one error.
Cheryl Harrison09/21/10
Good job weaving anger and desperation together in this piece. Also, very creative--taking away your MC's voice so that all they had left was a heartcry to God. Sometimes, we need to be quiet before the Lord, so that our hearts can cry out to Him.
Rachel Phelps09/21/10
Wonderful! So on topic and impacting. Well done.
Sarah Heywood09/22/10
This caught my attention right away because the game show, "Wheel of Fortune" is huge in our house - my son with autism adores it and has actually been downright obsessed with it since toddlerhood - the wheel and all.

But anyway, I thought this piece was magnificent and I just love how you tied the chaplain's misfortune to the game show.

This is a winner for sure - great writing!
Christina Banks 09/22/10
There are so many casualties of war. Some men don't come home, and the ones that do are never the same. My brother has served three tours in Iraq. He watched five of his friends die from a road-side bomb. Your story made me think of him, and send up a prayer for the men fighting and their chaplains.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/23/10
Congratulations for placing 11th in your level!