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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Conversation (face to face) (10/07/10)

TITLE: Breakfast Decree
By Dan Blankenship


“It’s just not used anymore!” Harold Gruse proclaimed to his buddies at Crevinston’s Diner. He rubbed his unshaven chin with his left hand while the fork in his right hand assaulted the overcooked scrambled eggs on his plate. “I think that’s why we come here every morning. We’re keeping something alive while everyone else is trying to kill it.”

“That’s just nuts, Harold,” George Hallibreeze interjected, chewing toast around his words. “Look at the tables surrounding us. Aren’t all of these people talking to each other?” A look of victory took over George’s wrinkled face, his eyes telescoping out like a cartoon character witnessing something shocking.

Jeff Livingston leaned over his bowl of butter with a taste of grits and defended his friend of 45 years. “They may be talking to each other, but they’re not having conversations. We don’t just talk here. The five of us are carrying the weight of the world on our shoulders.”

“The weight of the world; what are you talking about?” Doug Rallinger questioned, adjusting his bifocals from a recent slide.

Jeff leaned back and made sure all of the men were looking at him. “Listen, we discuss the news of the day, the news of yesterday, and forecast the news of the future. But we do so much more than that. We listen to each other, discern what’s important and what’s malarkey, then we engage in intelligent, witty debate dedicated to preserving the lost art of conversation. We are all able to talk openly about any issue, and anger or frustration never rises to such a level as to stop us from saying what we want to say.”

“I still don’t see how…” Doug tried to interject. He was surprised how quickly Jeff cut him off.

“The rest of the world uses blogs, cell phones, voicemail, and five minute chats to communicate. They don’t listen or truly think about what they’re about to say. God gave us brains, and we’ve created so many ways to communicate that we forgot how to do the very thing that all those contraptions were made for.”

Harold entered back into the discussion, “That is exactly what I’m talking about. All these inventions and still the number one way to really understand what anyone is trying to say is to have it said face to face.”

The waitress came up to the table and filled all the men’s coffee cups. “So what are you all talking about today?”

“Well, Harold says he really likes his new cell phone and said he’s able to send texts a lot faster with it,” George began. “And Jeff just got his Skype account all set up and talked to his grandkids in Florida this morning. Doug just started his own blog about Chevys and I finally signed up for voicemail forwarding so I won’t miss anymore calls.”

“Wow!” she replied. “You guys are so up on all the new gadgets. I don’t even have the Internet at home. It’s still not available in my area unless I use a satellite dish.”

As the woman walked away from the table, the five men began laughing hysterically. “Yep, Harold, the only thing we’re keeping alive is the art of illusion,” Doug quipped, retrieving his bifocals from the center of his biscuits and gravy.

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This article has been read 638 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/21/10
You have a delightful sense of humor from the names right until the very end! It's nice to start the day with a giggle followed by thinking about the truth of your message. Well done!
Lollie Hofer10/21/10
Well-written, realistic dialogue, strong characters and a timely truth. Without real human contact, we may be more knowledgeable and more aware with our savy tech stuff, but without real human contact we're much more lonely. And less stimulated because iron sharpens iron...just like these gentlemen are doing for each other. Great story!
Theresa Santy 10/21/10

I love your writing style. Phrases like, ..'cheweing toast around his words..' are so much fun to read.

I also loved the layers: You wrote in dialogue, a conversation, debating various forms of communication, advocating the value of face-to-face, while the characters are simultaneously experiencing that value--priceless!
Joyce Morse10/21/10
I loved this! Great humor that fit the story well! I loved the characters and the fact that you had a serious theme but it was told in a fun, light-hearted way.
Jody Day 10/21/10
Great characters! I wanted to see what else they would say. Hope these guys show up somewhere else. Great piece.
AnneRene' Capp10/22/10
I enjoyed your story being told through the eyes of men who convey what so many of us "experienced" souls have come to realize. You said it well with: we’ve created so many ways to communicate that we forgot how to do the very thing that all those contraptions were made for.
Also, love the creativity with your names and descriptions.
Genia Gilbert10/25/10
This is a funny piece and a realistic approach to our place in a hi-tech world. But lets never stop stugging to maintain some face to face relationships.
Jan Ackerson 10/25/10
Love your wonderful details that really help the reader to visualize this scene.

Jeff's long-ish speech near the middle seems a tad unrealistic; I think this group of friends would have more back-and-forth banter and less speechifying.

All in all, a highly entertaining read.