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

TITLE: Back-up Plan
By Marita Thelander
08/01/11


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I rolled over, startled at the bulb-nose two inches from my face.

“Git up, Bobby…fish are bitin’.”

“Did I say I wanted to go fishin’?”

“Did I ask?”

Papa yanked the blanket off and laughed at my Sponge Bob boxers. That set me off more than the rude awakening…like laughing at my manliness. I mean, I have hair under my arms now.

I tried not to perk up at the smell of bacon. The sizzle caught me like a hook in a fish mouth. Nana lured me with fluffy buttermilk pancakes and thick slabs of last year’s pig.

“Mornin’, Bobby,” Nana kissed my head.

“I go by Rob now.”

“Or do ya mean Sponge Bob?”

Papa is so annoying sometimes. I let him know I thought so, but my stare-down didn’t seem to bother him. I pulled my cell out and texted Jake: Just shoot me now.

“Put that thing away at the table,” Papa glared right back at me.

I decided to text Liz, mostly ‘cause I knew it would make Papa mad. He stood to grab my phone. I shoved it in my front pocket.

“Sit down, Bob. Let the boy have his one vice while he’s here.”

Nana, the peacemaker had spoken, and Papa sulked like a little boy. I rolled my eyes…so immature.

With our bellies stuffed, Papa grabbed up his Folgers can full of dark dirt and fat worms and kissed Nana on the cheek. I turned away when I saw her pat his butt. Like…really? Wow.

“I’ll catch us some supper.”

“I’ll have a back-up plan,” Nana whispered to me and winked.

“I heard that.”


I helped Papa put his rickety dinghy in the water. “You sure that’s gonna hold us?”

“You know how to swim, don’t-cha?” Papa’s grin taunted me.

I stepped in and he jarred the boat on purpose. “Sh—“

“Watch your mouth, Boy. I don’t ever wanna hear you cuss again, got that?”

“Yes, Sir.” I knew I’d crossed a rebellious line on that one.

Papa cast his line and I watched the poor, fat worm wiggle all the way to the water. We sat in silence. I texted with Jake and Liz about my misery, stuck at the farm all summer because of my insubordination. I complained about the hummingbird-sized mosquitoes, my grumpy, righteously retired, back-woods preacher grandfather and his no television, video games, or world-wide-web allowed in my home, rules.

“If you’d put that thing away, we might have us a conversation.” Papa stood to recast his freshly baited line. Another victim destined for a watery grave.

“We’re not really staying out here until you catch supper, are we?”

“You doubt my fishing abilities, Boy?”

“Hell---o-there, yes I do.”

“I told you, watch yo…” Distracted by a slight tug on his line, Papa gave it a quick jerk. It jerked right back at him.

“I do believe I caught us some supper.” His big ‘ol eyes looked at me like he’d seen Santa crawling back up through the chimney…if he believed in Santa, that is.

“Whoa, Papa, you’re rockin’ the boat something fierce.”

Papa tugged and reeled and tugged and reeled. “Git the net ready, Boy.”

“What net?”

He glanced over to the shore where his net lay. “Oh, for cryin’ out loud. I finally get a big ‘un and don’t have my net?”

We wobbled. Papa barked out orders. I stood to help him and heard a *plop*.

“My phone!” I instinctively dove in head first to save my lifeline and rocked the rowboat. Still submerged, I heard a loud splash on the other side.

I surfaced and chucked my phone into the unmanned vessel. Fear and adrenaline kicked in. I swam around and found Papa treading water, reeling in his catch like nothin’ ever happened.

“Git my hat, Boy,” Papa nodded towards the floating straw Panama. “Git ready to scoop ‘er up.”

I struggled to keep my head above water. The weight of my wet clothes pulled at me. I gulped in too much water and coughed.

“Tread, Boy. Kick and wave yer hands back and forth.”

I frantically scooped at the fish and tossed it into the boat.



Nana scowled at the puddle we left on her kitchen floor. “Well, I hope it was worth all that upheaval.”

I held up my drowned phone. Papa shrugged and presented our six-inch supper.

“So…what’s the back-up plan?” I grinned at Nana.

“Captain Clancy’s Chowder House in town, which happens to be conveniently located next to Verizon.”


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This article has been read 361 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Virgil Youngblood 08/04/11
Day One, and Nana to the rescue. I suspect a sack full of back-up plans will be needed before summer is over. A fun read.
Robyn Burke08/05/11
This was fun to read. Good descriptive writing.
Anita van der Elst08/05/11
So many great word pictures, so many delightful expressions. Loved the dialogue too!
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/06/11
Your story is an outstanding example of "showing" your characters. One of the best entries for me this week!
Lillian Rhoades 08/06/11
Every aspect of great writing displayed here. I have a short list of potential authors for this piece. Can't wait to see if my hunch is correct. Great story, and a just right title. Not sure if it's fully on topic, but well written - no doubt.
Noel Mitaxa 08/07/11
Loved the characters and the harsh filter applied to them by the superior wisdom of your adolescent MC. Wonderful images and descriptions.
Colin Swann08/07/11
An excellently written fun story. It ought to have been about the one that got away - I say a 6" sprat catch!
Linda Goergen08/10/11
Yes, this was a delightful read! I was thinking if this were real, Bobby (or Rob) may think it punishment now, but in actuality is making some precious memories with his grandparents that will be treasures when he is older! Excellent job on this!