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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Much Ado about Nothing (not about the play) (07/28/11)

By Marilee Alvey


“God, would it be too much to ask that I could have some sign that Fred is okay? It’s been a year. I am DEMANDING a sign! YOU decided that me being his caregiver for fourteen months was a good idea! I chased every symptom. I cooked, I baked, I wiped his mouth after he threw up. I went out to the store at all hours of the night for anti-diarrhea meds, constipation meds, you name it.”

Okay, I just need to go to bed.... I turned off my bedside light and waited for sleep to come.

I dreamed of fleas. Some sign. I was trying to cut them in half with my fingernail but each half would begin to move separately, effectively doubling my problem. Then I felt something. Fur? Feathers? They were rubbing against my arm. No wonder I’ve got fleas. I brushed my arm almost unconsciously when I startled. It WAS feathers. I didn’t want to open my eyes. A bird, loose in my house? Perched on me? Fred had been a pilot. Was I becoming a pirate?

“Sara, SIT UP!’

It talked. It WAS a parrot. I was to become a pirate!


I squinted one eye open, wishing for a pirate’s eye patch. There, standing above me, was an angel, bright enough to be in a Tide commercial.

“What?” I said wiping sleep from my eyes. Perhaps you’ve wondered what you’d say if an angel suddenly appeared at your bedside. Well, that’s what I said. Luckily for me, the Bible had already been printed. My words would not be passed down for my descendants in the Hall of Shame.

“You’ve been wanting a sign. How’s this?” Irritated, he dusted off his wings.

“Who are you?”

“Name’s Cecil. Sara, you are chosen of God,” in a sing-song voice.

Would I be bearing a child at 60? At 66 I’d be getting kindergarten supplies. Would I need to build an Arc? I can’t even repair my mailbox.

“What would my task be?” I was no Mary. Let the record state, “and she said to Cecil, let it be unto me as God has said.” Alas, I did not.

“Although God has infinite patience, I, personally, am sick and tired of all the whining!”

“So God sent you?”

“No. Any of us can show up....but no one wants to.”

“No one?”

“No one.”

“Not even Fred?”


“Why you and not Fred?”

“I filed a noise complaint.”

“ I KNOW he loved me!”

“Sara, his ‘death’ wasn’t ABOUT YOU, nor your children. It was all about Fred. There is no describing what your ears, your eyes, your heart will behold on your day. You will not think for a moment about those left behind. You will feel complete peace, amazing contentment. You will see colors, hear music that are indescribable with earthly words. You will feel complete, as if, all your life, you were broken in half, but you become whole for the first time of your life. You will be focused on the vast, wonderful future of Eternity. Fred knows that his real life has just begun.”


“Your time will come.... You see, humans sit in a waiting room their entire lives. They amuse themselves by reading magazines, doing puzzles, when, finally, the doctor calls them into his office and tells them to prepare: they are ‘pregnant’ and about to deliver into Eternity. But the crazy thing is this: they’ve come to believe that it doesn’t get any better than the waiting room. They just want to continue there, as if puzzles and reading magazines are the greatest joy. They will be assigned labor before their delivery. It may be a hard, long labor. It may be quick and totally painless, but, afterwards, they won’t even remember the pain. Every one, to a person, will wonder why they didn’t jump up in the waiting room as if they’d gotten the golden ticket when their name was called.”

“What about my sign?”

“Consider this your sign.....oh, how’d a letter be?”

“Yes!” I answered.

“No!” Cecil was a pill. “Your job is to tell others about Heaven. Do you accept?”

2:33AM. I ran for the phone.

I never became a pirate. I became a weirdo. I was happy at visitations and funerals. I’d hope for ‘bad news’ at the doctor’s. I never fit in again, and that’s been fine with me. This isn’t my home anyway.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Juliette Chamberlain-Bond08/05/11
There aren't too many people who are happy to hear the doctor say that our time here is nearly at an end - so I can understand why the character calls herself a 'weirdo.'
You show the eternal perspective very well. Your metaphors are strong and sound throughout the piece, although you never fully explain where she lost contact with the person she was caring for.
I know that the word limitation does not allow much leeway but for me that explanation was rather crucial.
However, overall, this was a very good read.
Noel Mitaxa 08/07/11
I had to read the first line again to see that this is timed after the death. Maybe ..."that Fred is now okay..." might have made this clearer, but otherwise it's an enjoyable read. Your MC now knows of the FUN in funeral (see my entry) but tucked into the humour is the solid truth that this is not the end Very well done.
Linda Goergen08/09/11
I found this very humorous, while at the same time messaging serious truth! Well done and enjoyable read!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/19/11
Congratulations on placing 8th in Masters and 14th overall!