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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Download/Upload (11/17/11)

TITLE: Ericka
By Jack Taylor



“Ericka!” The distress call echoed up the basement stairs and into the kitchen where the young teen sat munching on a taco.

Before she could empty her mouth to reply, the call reverberated once again. “Ericka, I need you.”

Ericka dislodged the earpieces of her iPod, tucked her midnight coiffure behind her ears, and bounced off the stool she had been perched on. By the time she reached the stairwell going down, the distress call sounded one last time at full volume. “Ericka, please, help!”

Ericka couldn’t help smiling as she witnessed the panicked expression on her dad’s face. He seemed paralyzed on his chair in his basement office. His hands were interlocked over the top of his red crew-cut and his blue eyes were locked onto the flashing images and instructions racing across the screen of his laptop.

After half a lifetime of missionary work in the villages of Africa, Chris Jensen was trying to make up for lost time in the world of technology. At a Black Friday sale, he had picked up a laptop, an iPod, a digital camera, and a Blackberry Messenger cell phone. He had bravely jumped into the circus of trying to connect his devices and to transfer information. His only hope was his youngest daughter.

“What is it this time?” asked the smiling teen.

“I don’t know. I just pushed the ‘okay’ and everything started whirring and flashing. I keep seeing all these green bars racing by.”

“What do you think you were trying to do?” asked Erica.

“It asked me if I wanted to download a printer driver and I thought it might be a good idea.” Chris unlocked his fingers from over his head and lowered them into his lap.

“Did you select the printer driver option that matches with your printer?” Ericka shouldered her way around her dad to look at the computer screen.

“I’m not sure. I just pushed okay. Did you know you can download movies and even books onto this thing?”

Ericka elbowed her dad gently. “I may have been born in Africa, but I’m not blind. Everyone here downloads everything. They just hook up to the web and transfer all the data to their computer. It’s not rocket science, dad.”

Chris scooted back in his chair and stood up so his daughter could access his keyboard better. Without hesitation, Ericka took his place, grabbed the mouse and began to click her way through the mess. Within minutes, the protesting laptop was brought into submission.

Ericka checked through a few options then announced. “Dad, I’ve got the same printer. I’ll just upload the printer file from my computer to yours. While I’m here, I think I better upload those pictures you took of our Thanksgiving dinner. Let me set this up for wireless to make this easier.”

Chris watched in fascination as images began to flash onto his screen. His wife Sharon, holding out a pumpkin pie piled high with whip cream. His two sons, Zach and Ben wrestling over a football as they imitated the game they saw on the television. His beagle pup, Snoopy, licking out the gravy bowl. And of course, there was the turkey and the mashed potatoes and the special salads that Sharon was famous for. Face after face of family, friends, and neighbours popped on and off the screen.

After a moment, when Ericka was done, she turned to her dad and asked. “Dad, do you think Zach and Ben and me would have ever learned this computer stuff if you hadn’t of adopted us out of that Ugandan orphanage? Did you really want us?”

Chris, looked at the screen saver Ericka had selected. He and Sharon sitting around a table with six children. Three older white kids and three younger black kids. Four daughters and two sons.

“I look at it this way. Some of my kids I downloaded and some I uploaded. It doesn’t matter how they got here. All six of you are programmed into my heart now and there’s no delete file to mess things up. You are loved.”

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This article has been read 645 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Martha Black12/02/11
What an awesome picture of the frustration of navigating the foreign mess of the computer, which becomes the no-brainer of tomorrow. What an awesome picture of nagigating the mess of an integrated household, which becomes the family of tomorrow. I especially loved the sheer panic of the father and the calmness of the daughter. Well done!
Kelvin Fowler12/02/11
Lovely, uploading and downloading kids programmed in his heart. Cheers
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 12/03/11
This is a sweet story. It touched my heart with the patience the daughter showed.

I noticed a few minor things. In the beginning, I thought two different people were calling Ericka (because each one had an end quote indicating the speaker is done) You could fix it by putting them on the same line or by using ellipses.

When you were describing the photos, at first, I thought they were incomplete sentences describing action in the room. I think if you had put the phrases in italics, I would have realized instantly that they were the photos.

I think you did a wonderful job of making the story about the topic. I really liked your characters. The beginning made me wonder what was happening that Ericka was so desperately needed. It made me want to keep reading.

The ending was lovely too. I was surprised to learn Ericka was adopted. I always enjoy stories that surprise me.
Danielle King 12/04/11
I like this story. It fits the topic and is original and has a satisfying ending. It's one aspect of uploading and downloading that I wouldn't have thought of! Lol! Well done.
Amanda Brogan12/07/11
How cute! I had to smile at the Dad needing the daughter to figure the computer out for him. I'm often summoned for help when my mom or dad gets stuck. :) Enjoyable entry.
C D Swanson 12/07/11
This was an adorable entry, and one that is appreciated most especially by parents. Thank you. Blessings~
Helen Curtis12/12/11
This is a favourite one of mine this week! I'm not old, really, but boy I feel just like the dad sometimes! But the ending had me tearing up; to think of what might have been had she not been adopted, and the image of them all sitting together "up- or down-loaded" into his heart, that was just beautiful. A really great take on the topic. Well done.
Edmond Ng 12/14/11
A very nicely written story that touches the heart. Well done!
Danielle King 12/15/11
Congratulations on being highly commended Jack. Very worthy.
C D Swanson 12/16/11
Congrats on your placing. This was such a cute story. God bless~