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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Gossip/Rumors (either or both) (10/28/10)

TITLE: Busybodies
By Patricia Protzman


Nancy and Cathy Blake peered from behind the dining room drapes. They watched a moving van and black Audi pull in at the house next door. A tall, dark-haired young man exited from the car, unlocked the front door, and entered inside.

“He must be our new neighbor. The realtor mentioned he wasn’t married.” Cathy murmured as she let the drapes fall in place.

“Let’s go meet him.” Her sister Nancy blurted.

Cathy tucked her short dark hair behind her ears and said, “Not now, let the poor man settle in first. Do you have any ideas for dinner?”

Nancy whirled around from the window, her long blonde hair swinging in the air. “Lasagna, we can make an extra one for him.”

“What a great idea.”

Three hours later the girls arrived at the neighbor’s front door.

Cathy rang the doorbell twice, and knocked—no one answered.

“Well, how do you like that? I know he’s home, I can see him. Let’s leave the casserole and go.” Cathy sneered.

“Maybe he’s tired and doesn’t want to deal with anyone else tonight.” Nancy commented.”

Twenty minutes later the girls observed a car pull up in the neighbor’s driveway; a young, dark-haired woman entered the house without knocking.

Nancy and Cathy glanced at each other with puzzled expressions. Cathy sputtered, “The agent said he was single.”

Nancy shrugged.

The next morning, the two young schoolteachers saw the neighbor and young woman get into his car and drive away.

Indignant, Cathy ranted, “Well, what do you know, she stayed overnight. We sure lucked out for good neighbors, fornication is happening right under our noses. Wait until the rest of the neighbors hears about this.”

At the end of the week, the entire neighborhood buzzed with the news. Saturday morning, the girls’ doorbell rang. Cathy opened the door.

“Hi, my name is Christy Miller; this is my brother, Greg. We live next door. Oh, here is your dish, thanks for the delicious lasagna. We appreciate your thoughtfulness.”

Nancy arrived in time to hear the introduction and see Cathy’s mouth drop open.

Nancy extended her hand to each and welcomed them, “Hi, nice to meet you. My name is Nancy Blake; this is my sister, Cathy. Come in, please.”

“Yes...uh...come in, please.” Cathy mumbled.

The visitors settled on the love seat while the sisters sat on the sofa across from them. Greg used sign language and spoke loudly until his sister signed him to lower his voice.

“Sorry, my sister, who is a speech therapist, is teaching me how to read lips and speak in a normal voice.”

“We understand. Cathy and I use sign language to instruct a few of our deaf students.”

“My brother is a professional diver. An accident left him deaf.”

Greg leaned forward, “I meant to thank you and return your dish before now, but my sister and I left town for a few days to see a specialist in New York.”

The four chatted for a few minutes and discovered they had a lot in common. Greg and Christy were Christians who had also lost their parents.

Cathy uncrossed her legs, and stammered, “Um...I have something to confess to you both. We thought Christy was your girlfriend, Greg, and you were living together in sin. Worse yet, uh...we told the other neighbors. We are so sorry. I hope you will forgive us.”

“Yes, so very sorry.” Nancy interjected.

Christy signed to Greg and said, “Now we know why those two women in front of our house ignored us when we waved.”

Greg nodded and grinned, “The real estate agent told me two schoolteachers lived here and I pictured you both as two old women. So, maybe we’re even.”

Everyone laughed. Nancy whispered to Cathy who nodded. She sat forward and said, “Cathy and I want to have a neighborhood party next Saturday in your honor. We hope you can come.”

“A party sounds great,” Greg commented as he arose from his seat and ambled toward the door. I’d like to meet more of my new neighbors. I’m afraid we need to leave now. It’s time for Sis to give me another lesson. Thanks again.”

Christy followed him to the door, “Thank you both, see you later.”

Cathy closed the door and faced her sister. “Nancy, remember the old saying, ‘If you can’t say something good about others, don’t say anything at all.’ This is wise advice if we wish to avoid sin.”

“Amen,” replied Nancy. “Amen.”

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Member Comments
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Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/04/10
This was a cute story maybe a tad heavy handed but an interesting read. It's funny how easily we can prejudge each other. Nice job.
Lollie Hofer11/10/10
My sister and I rented an apartment together (this was 40 years ago in California) and we were constantly explaining to other young adults in the apartment complex we weren't a couple. Speculation is most certainly a tool of the devil. Speculation seems safe but can lead to gossip and hurt people. Thanks for sharing a thought-provoking story.