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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Cyber Communication (email, IM’s, etc) (11/04/10)

TITLE: Oh, the Fun of Monday Mornings
By Leah Nichols


“Extra hot soy gingerbread vanilla latte,” the barista calls.

I step up and take my drink, sipping to check its perfection. “Ah, Christmas in a cup,” I murmur to myself. No better way to enjoy the holidays when you have to work.

Squeezing around the long line of people, I slip out the door and head toward the office, only a block from the coffee chain's flagship store. I consider myself blessed to have such excellent coffee so close to my job.

A few minutes later I wiggle the mouse as I settle into my office chair. Better check my email first. I type in my password and wait, as the list of messages quickly quadruples. “Oh, wonderful,” I mutter out loud.

The bold titles stand out on the bright screen.

U.S. Government Lottery – You Win! “Yeah, right.” -Delete-

Dear Sir, Your Assistance Requested -Delete- "Like I'm really going to send money to someone I don't know."

I scroll through the emails, finger poised on the delete button. Spam abounds after the weekend. Oh, the fun of Monday mornings.

LOW PRICES! on medz u need! “I'm sure you think you know what meds I need.” -Delete-

Sponsor a child in need! Just pennies a day. Haunting eyes stare out of the side of the screen, with the email partially open in the right panel. The African child, clothed in rags, gazes at the camera with a morose expression. Dirty, obviously hungry, she holds out an empty bowl.

Like I'm really going to send money to someone I don't know, the words echo inside my head.

For some reason, however, I read the email. Annah has no family to care for her. Left on her own at age thirteen, she seeks any way she can find to simply fill her belly. A few cents a day would provide rice for Annah and other children in need. A few dollars a day would provide for her to go to school, give her clothes to wear, and allow for needed medical care. For the price of a daily coffee drink, you can help Annah have a better life. Will you partner with us, and make a difference this year in the life of a child?

Christmas comes in five days, and I have already purchased my gifts for family and friends. All I have left in my budget is the few dollars for my Christmas in a cup. To give that up would leave me with some dreary days over the next few weeks.

Inspired, I take a sip of my drink, relishing its delicious warmth. My finger hangs in the air over the mouse button, ready to delete the distracting message. I really have a lot of work to get done right now. I can always do something like that later on.

The email is still open on the screen. The child still stares with her sad eyes. I still have work to do.

Like I'm really going to send money to someone I don't know.

My finger presses down with a decided movement.


The next title pops up immediately. British Lottery: Your a winner! “I'd believe you if you could spell,” I mutter. -Delete-

Lowest Price Meds! -Delete-

Taking another sip of my wonderful drink, I continue. Oh, the fun of Monday mornings....

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This article has been read 951 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Connie Dixon11/12/10
Ooooh, I have so been here. I was expecting a happy ending but your "more realistic" ending was probably more exact. Hmmm, what would I do? (Loved this)
Brenda Shipman 11/12/10
A totally realistic slice of life, and so well-written. I could easily identify with the battling emotions and the progression of thoughts. Loving my occasional Starbucks, this dilemna hit a personal note with me, only the e-mails that tug at my heart are those from Voice of the Martyrs. Terrific entry!
Mona Purvis11/12/10
You so aptly describe an ongoing dilemma that we each face from day to day. The homeless man on the street, the new opportunity to give for a Sunday School project, the other worthy causes that flood us this season.
It would be hard for me to write it without the giving, but yours is so much more honest.
Beth LaBuff 11/12/10
Yes, a haunting message here. We get jaded because we're so bombarded with requests. Your entry will stay with me.
Sarah Heywood11/12/10
This made me think because I could so relate to the MC here. I wonder, as I pray with my requests for favor from God, how have I become so jaded to the needs of those around me? Very good!
Laury Hubrich 11/12/10
Oh, ouch. My toes are stepped on big time. I don't think I've ever gotten one of these emails but the commercials are heart-wrenching, for sure.
Henry Clemmons11/13/10
That's one issue with the nternet, you never know what is legit and what is not. Super story and you hit the topic square. Those are gut wrenching ads, but I didn't feel any less for the mc passing it by. Those are tough calls when you don't know who is getting your money. Great writing.
Caitlyn Meissner11/13/10
Wow! What a great story. I think the "bad" ending was better than a soppy ending would have been (even though I love it when characters learn a lesson). Good job!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/14/10
This was a great story. It did bring up all kinds of emotions for the cost of the fancy coffe a child could have a better life. The MC could have researched children charities found a reputable one bought a can of coffee to keep at the office and still have her coffee(sure not the expensive foamy kind, but coffee) and support a child too. No matter how hard things are at Christmas I try to have my kids give a toy for Project Christmas. What a lesson it has taught us all. The years I want to skip because I can barely afford presents for my own kids were the greatest years. What a gift to see my little ones willing to sacrifice. It never failed we were rewarded 100 times over. Great story and I like the ending it's more likely to make people think...I hope that child got a sponsor...maybe it was a scam... What will I do this year? Great job!
Sarah Elisabeth 11/15/10
Yes. It made me feel. This was a relaxed piece, so the realness of it had double impact. Wow. Good job.
Rachel Phelps11/16/10
It did take me a bit to sink into the flow of the story, but when I got there, I was hooked. Since you asked for red ink, I would suggest tightening the beginning and giving it a bit more of a voice - I wasn't sure of the age or gender of the narrator (although the anonymity worked fine). I love the ending.
Verna Cole Mitchell 11/17/10
I felt two responses to your excellently written piece--1.
I need to be careful that my money for the needy really gets to those with needs, 2. I need to care more, practically and unselfishly, for those with needs.
Theresa Santy 11/18/10
I loved this piece and I've decided I want to write like you when I grow up!

Amazing example of showing/not telling, getting me, the reader, involved by activating my thinking cap.

I loved the phrase 'Christmas in a cup' which was beautifully ironic. For what sort of a Christmas could a deprived child have, if someone were to relinquish that cup?

I once criticized my brother-in-law for one of his favorite hobbies, going to the shooting range with his rediculously large rifle, for which each bullet costs five dollars. But then, God immediately placed a mirror before my face, and I shrank.

Congratulations on your well-deserved placing.

Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/18/10
Congratulations on your EC! Way to go my friend! I would say you elicited all kinds of emotions from many people!
Marita Thelander 11/18/10
Congratulations, Leah. I was waiting for the boss to appear over her shoulder, or her coffee to spill. "Drat, there goes my Christmas."

I have to say that emails like that bother me if they are a scam. But if the heart is tugged, seeking a reputable children's charity would be good. Just random thoughts.

Good job! Congratulations, Your a Winner! :0)