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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Our Mutual Friend (not about the book) (09/15/11)

TITLE: Wordsmith's Introduction
By Fiona Stevenson


Wordsmith sat beside the bed listening to his friend’s stertorous breathing and the beep, beep, beep of the monitoring machine. Several days in the accident induced coma had the doctors shaking their heads, discounting hopes of recovery. Insofar as examination was possible they were unable to find skeletal damage, and thus were unable to link the coma with a particular injury. In the accident, when the vehicle in which they were traveling was rolled, Wordsmith suffered a broken arm with cuts and bruises. These were treated; he was now under observation, and spent much of his time watching for any sign that Penman was coming out of the coma.

He fought the somnolence induced by the unchanging breath sounds and the monotonous beeping by reviewing the years and terms of their friendship.

He remembered the early days with a half-chuckle. Penman was a hard taskmaster, and he made no secret that he resented the responsibility of having to train Wordsmith. For all that, he was very generous in his recognition of Wordsmith’s efforts and their early strained relationship became a close friendship as they worked together successfully.

Recalling Penman’s insistence on choosing the correct word, reading the dictionary diligently, discarding idiomatic words and phrases, Lexicographer came to mind. Penman introduced him, saying, “Wordie, I want you to meet my friend, Lex – Lexicographer. Listen to him, learn from him. Lex is a very good friend, and he knows more about words than you or I ever will.”

Wordsmith sat back and listened to the ensuing conversation. He learned as he listened and watched the two selecting words, letters and characters from a trolley tray, arranging and rearranging them on word screens, comparing them and balancing them as one might a selection of jigsaw puzzle pieces. Words have form, colour, consistency, texture. He saw them build castles with their words, tumble them, and start afresh. They included him in their friendship, taught him the elements of their engineering and landscaping escapades, until for him, too, the words became living, challenging, malleable and strong.

Through the maze of the memories Wordsmith became aware that Penman’s eyes were open, his breathing had quieted. He was trying to speak. Wordie picked up a beaker of water, held it to Penny’s lips.

“Nectar of the gods! Thank you.” It was half-whisper, half croak.

Wordsmith reached for the bell to summon the nurse. Penman stopped him with a shake of his head.

“Wordie, I have a question.” His voice was becoming stronger.

Wordie nodded, “Ask.”

“I had a dream – I think it was a dream. I saw a man. There was a star that bathed him with it’s light. He held out his hands to me. There were scars in his hands. I tried to reach him but something held me back. I could hear my Grandfather’s voice calling me. I couldn’t see him. Then it all faded, and I could only hear, ‘Ask Wordsmith.’” He caught his breath again. “Do you know, Wordie? What happened to us?”

Wordsmith nodded, swallowing hard.

“We were on our way to your old home – your Grandfather’s house – when we were involved in a motor accident. The vehicle we were traveling in was rolled by another.” He swallowed again. “But the man in your dream is the man I wanted you to meet. He was your Grandfather’s friend, the one your father hated. For many years his name has been forbidden in society, but he has been my friend since childhood, and when you told me about your Grandfather I knew that he was your Grandfather’s friend as well. His name is Jesus Christ, and he is the Word of God.”

Penman frowned his objection. “There is no God, Wordie. God is just an old-fashioned fairy tale.”

“Old, but not old-fashioned, and certainly not a fairy tale. That is why he appeared to you in your dream – it was the only way he could reach you. You had screened him out with the word-screens of modern ideology. God sent his Word, his Son, to reconcile us to himself. Jesus died to destroy the death that separates us from God the Father, and he calls us to walk the path of faith, to enter the life that lasts forever. Lex knows him as a friend as well, and together we have been scheming to introduce him to you. Through the accident he has opened the way. Will you allow me to introduce the very best friend that anyone could ever know?”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Linda Goergen09/22/11
Wordsmith, Penman, and Lexicographer huh? Cute and clever – talk about having your characters born of your own talents...or maybe created in the image as we are of God! LOL This was terrific! Wonderfully written wit and witness!
Nancy Bucca09/24/11
Hmmm. There seem to be multiple meanings here that have to do with the WORD. I like the way you tie it all in at the end. As one who loves wordplays, I really enjoyed this one.
Jody Day 09/26/11
"Wordie" ha, loved it! Thanks for the opportunity to learn a new word. I'm surprised I didn't know it since we have a houseful of people who snore. Good job, and right on topic.