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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Century or Centuries (02/17/11)

TITLE: This Girl's Best Friend
By Nancy Bucca


She's the one.

The only one.

The girl he's known forever. Or so it seems.

The one with the giant diamond sparkling in her hand.

This is the perfect time.

His heart beats like a hammer as he packs the useless tools into the box and eyes his grease-smudged hands. Definitely too grubby for emotional grit work. Best clear the kitchen clutter before dropping the bomb. Oh, who cares? Pop the question. This IS the perfect time. Yes, but...

His brief hesitation gives fear an opening. It grabs him in a bear hug, squeezing his chest like a grape.

Now is NOT the perfect time.

With a glib quip alluding to the mighty gemstone's buying power, he stumbles toward the front door.

Idiot! It WAS the perfect time, and he blew it.

The ice cold knob repels his anxious touch.

He turns, clears his throat, and with a super spiritual reference to some treasure hidden in a field, says he has a very important question to ask her.

Never in his wildest dreams has he imagined making such an awkward proposal.

He came there to unclog a pipe. That's all. Unable to snake it out via the usual means, however, he ended up praying, and as a result received a word of knowledge: a good-sized stone was in the pipe. Moreover, to remove it would take a miracle. To get this miracle, he encouraged Miss Becky to join him in a song of praise to the Most High (which she did, albeit a bit reluctantly). To her surprise and his, God answered by sending a mighty earthquake. Next thing they knew, the stone popped out of the pipe like a cork from a wine bottle. And what a stone it was!

Girl's best friend. He can tell by the mansions dancing in her eyes. His heart sinks. How can he, a journeyman plumber of less than thirty years, possibly compete with this captivating idol well over a thousand years in age?

"Yes?" she asks, her pupils sparkling in expectation of his prospective question. Two tiny tears well up inside her eyelids, telling the potential archeologist he's just struck oil.

Eager to disclose the buried treasure, he probes more deeply. "You have the most beautiful singing voice. Where have you been hiding it all these years?"

Choking back a sob, she protests, "You've got... to be kidding. Me, Becky Sadsong, has a nice voice? Are you deaf, Mister Head-Stuck-In-The-Sand Ostrich Man? Why, everyone knows I've a voice like a plucked chicken when it comes to singing!"

"Oh come on," says he. "I think you sound just fine. Whatever nakedness there be is covered by the garment of praise. Don't you know that by now?"

Her eyes grow wide. "Why, I never thought of it that way before, Isaac," says she, nearly dropping the shining gem cradled in her trembling hand.

She sure is stunning when she's stunned, he thinks. Determined to unearth the source of her low self-esteem, he asks, "What sort of fruit told you your voice was barren?"

"Alas," moans Becky, "tis all the blamed thorns dry rotting the Sadsong family tree. I'm sure you've heard of a few. Like Polly Wanting-Cracker Pitcher of the thousand mirror crunched glass batting average. (Crash! There goes another window). Or how about Old Buck Cantanky of Crazy Owl Hollow, whose screech could send a den of wolves packing for the Rockies in two seconds flat? Then of course, there's the guy that doomed us all, old stick-in-the-woods Bill Matterhorn who, with a mat for a horn, coined the infamous phrase, 'With voices like ours, singing lessons don't matter.' That was over four centuries ago. The cursed saying has plagued us Sadsongs ever since."

"Boy, that sure is sad," says Isaac, crying buckets on the inside over all the layers of historical sediment his questions have dug up. It's high time he planted a seed of new hope in the soil of his best friend's broken heart.

"Well, I don't know about your geneology," he says. "But mine is filled with faith heroes, ordinary people who believe in the extraordinary love of an extraordinary God to end every curse nailed to their family tree. But as far as names go, well - Sadsong is a mighty sad one. Why not change it a little?"

A hopeful smile lights her face. "Are you saying what I think you're saying?"

He falls to his knees. "May I have that diamond for a moment?"

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Member Comments
Member Date
Theresa Santy 02/25/11
Cute, lovely story. I enjoyed the turn of phrase. And I loved the ending, where you brought me right up to the moment, but left me right there, with a smile on my face.
Joanne Sher 03/02/11
Clever and fun. Enjoyed this.
Troy Manning03/04/11
Congrats on the Highly Commended. :) Had I not already known it was your piece, I would have recognized your signature in the paragraph describing Becky's family history! Nice writing.