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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Crime and Punishment (not about the book) (07/21/11)

TITLE: No Law, Just Love
By Lillian Rhoades
07/26/11


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No Law, Just Love


In the pitch of night, a lone figure saunters down an obscure path towards a garden laced with olive trees. Laden with destiny, and entwined in eternal purpose, He pauses, kneels, and bows His head in prayer. Generations to come, and a little boy named Billy lay heavily on His mind. He knew that their only hope depended on His willingness to keep His date with suffering, even though it would take almost two thousands years before they would understand what took place that dark and lonely night when punishment became the crime.


Generations came.


Billy stopped abruptly in the middle of the sidewalk. A newly cleaned suit hung deftly on his left arm. Why hadn’t he thought about this before? He could pawn the suit, pocket the extra cash, and tell his boss at the tailor shop that someone had stolen the suit. With little concern about consequences, Billy found a pawn shop, and sold the suit for fifty cents; enough to buy a ticket to the circus. It was early 1900s and Billy, who had just reached his ninth birthday, had also taken his first step into a life of crime.

In the pitch of night, a lone figure walks.


All the boys who worked at the drug store delivering packages did it. Most were older than him, but Billy caught on quickly. He learned how to supplement his $6.25 weekly salary with ill-gotten proceeds of narcotics stolen from the drug store, and stealing money from cash paying customers. He felt like a millionaire. His poor little rich boy status continued until he was caught and fired again; fortunately not for selling drugs which would have meant certain jail time. With his mother’s prayers and pleadings echoing in his ear, Billy returned to school for one year, but left again, never to return.

In the early years of America’s industrial development, jobs came easily, and no one bothered to check Billy’s background. At fourteen, he landed another job working for a ticket office, both as a ticket agent and maintenance “man.” The fox had landed in the henhouse. With the ease of a seasoned criminal, he began earning “bonus” pay by slipping his hand behind the cash drawer as he dusted under the desk.

In the pitch of night, a lone figure prays.


Convicted by circumstantial evidence, that included a gold tooth, Billy returned to school, this time a reform school for boys. For two years he lived among teen-agers bent on furthering their careers in the murky and dangerous criminal sub-culture. Many knew exactly what their next job would be once they had “done the time.” His release from reform school came two year later, and the prodigal son went home to the opened arms of a praying mother who begged him to change his ways and give His life to God.

A leopard cannot change its spots, and only God could change Billy’s heart

In the pitch of night, a lone figure yields.

One day, right after Christmas, and now eighteen years old, Billy decided to move to another state. By this time, drugs and alcohol had a firm grip on him, and he loved his mother too much to let her see what they were doing to him.

This was the last time he would see her alive.

With the last bastion of prayer and intercession removed, Hell had a field day. Jail, gangs, drugs, homelessness, life-threatening beatings, until finally a blow to the head and a gunshot to the leg left Billy bleeding and almost lifeless for four hours before someone found him lying behind an abandoned house in a pool of blood.

In the pitch of night, a lone figure drinks the cup.

By train hoping, panhandling, drinking, and engaging in every possible criminal activity, Billy crossed the country from Pennsylvania, Chattanooga, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Oakland, and finally Seattle.

On a quiet street in Seattle, Washington, Billy, tattered and hungry, stands with mismatched shoes staring at the clear, crystal waters of the Puget Sound. The water looked awfully inviting. No one would know; no one would miss him.

On a quiet street in Seattle, Washington, minutes away from the Puget Sound, an elderly woman of a different race sits in her doorway as Billy walks by. She offers him a bite to eat and place to sleep. While he eats, she tells him about a lone figure Who died for crimes He did not commit, and Billy exchanges ineffectual laws for effectual love.


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This article has been read 408 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Allison Egley 07/29/11
I like this. I kept thinking the "Billy" might be a famous Billy, but that's probably just me. That's not necessarily "red ink" either. You did a nice job with this one.
Phee Paradise 07/30/11
Your intertwining of Jesus' prayer with Billy's life of crime is very powerful. The end was good, but I think it was a bit abrupt. Otherwise, it was a moving story. I especially like the line about Jesus drinking the cup.
Laury Hubrich 08/02/11
I love the beginning. How Jesus could have been thinking especially about this little boy before He went to the cross. Awesome thought. He could have been thinking of me. He was, actually. Of us all. Thought-provoking story.
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/03/11
I really liked your personalizing Jesus' reason for dying for Billy, a symbol for each one of us.
Catrina Bradley 08/03/11
I think this is a very creative slant on an age-old theme. The concise descriptions of Christ's surrender are a chilling backdrop to Billy's life story. The voice and narrative tone create a fittingly somber tone, yet the opening prayer of the "lone figure" keeps us from losing hope. Loved it.