Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Outbreak (04/07/11)
TITLE: Ask and You Shall...
By Mona Purvis
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What's that? you say. A real miracle? Tell me about it.
I thought you'd never ask.
My name's Warren Teed and my brother Garren and I were born in the small town of Repentance, Missouri--nothing more than a bump in the road back in those days. We were one of the many sets of twins and triplets born there around the same time.
Folks are always asking for a sign; well, that's what first started the whole ball rolling. This sign was posted at the edge of town: Welcome to Repentance, Mo.
Garren and I rode our bikes—Schwinn's, his red and mine blue—by the sign every day of our twelfth summer on our way to pick blackberries that we sold to Mrs. Marv Ellis to make pies for the church social.
We came upon the sign just as Sonny Day was taking it down.
“Whatcha' doin', Sonny?” Garren slid to a stop throwing gravel as he hollered.
“Gotta change this old sign, son. Can't let folks be misinformed. Repentance done long ago grown past 812. We been having us a population explosion, a baby boom.”
“What's the count now?” I beat my brother to ask.
“Don't rightly know. That's the problem. We no more than get a new sign done and it's wrong again. Something strange is happenin' around these parts. Lots of twins like you boys. Gonna have a town meetin' tonight to see what's up.”
“Did ya hear that, Warren? We gotta town meetin' to sneak into. Could be aliens messin' with us. Or communists.” Garren always did put his nose where it didn't belong and I was right there with him.
By nightfall the town hall was filled to overflowing. Garren and I sat on a bench between Howie Doohan and Thor Luther. Every time we snickered, Thor would thump us on the head. “Hush up!”
Mayor Cam Payne took charge. He used a gavel better than any judge in the state bein' that he was a licensed auctioneer in his spare time.
“We'll do this in an orderly fashion. Speak only when you are recognized. Gene Poole, our historical expert, will open the meeting by sharing a report.”
“Thank you, Mayor Payne. Fellow citizens. I've lived in Repentance all my life. Used to know everyone here...not anymore. Our fair city is seeing unprecedented growth. It's hard to explain. We have no new industry, the interstate by-passed us a few years back...and yet. Multiple births are commonplace now. It's like all of a sudden this town has become extraordinarily fertile. I don't know. Maybe, someone else can shed light on what's going on.”
Noah Lott spoke up when Mayor Payne nodded his go ahead. “Well, we can't keep changing the sign every month...too costly to the taxpayers.”
“Put a patch on it.”
“Change it to show the elevation.”
“Town name only, I say.”
“Just the date we were founded...”
The gavel silenced the ruckus.
“Quiet! The city council has voted to update the sign to read:
Repentance, Mo. welcomes you. No population. Tonight, we want to address the cause of this baby boom. Anyone wish to speak to that issue?”
“I say there's fertility drugs in the spring...”
“Nutrition, I tell you...”
“It's our laid-back lifestyle, no stress...”
“Everyone I know has cut out smoking...”
“We know what causes babies, Mayor...”
“Arya Reddy is carrying twins, after all these years...”
“Quiet! I see we're not getting anywhere with this tonight. We'll adjourn for now. Helen, will you close this meeting in prayer?”
Helen Heaven was Repentance's oldest—as well as wisest-citizen and looked up to by all present and boy, could she pray.
“Heavenly Father, we love You. We know You are in complete control of all that happens in our little town. Thank You for Your many blessings on us. Thank You for the gift of Jesus. And Father we ask that You continue to bring more people to repentance. Amen.”
I looked at Garren to see if he heard what I heard. He did. We snickered. Thor Luther thumped us hard.
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