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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Hacker or Virus (computer) (12/15/11)

TITLE: Thanks, What Are You Having?
By Wilma Schlegel


A strange looking vehicle pulled into my driveway at exactly the time the ‘Safe Again Computer Service’ said they’d be here. That could certainly be a ‘Geek Mobile’ I thought, but the guy that got out was no geek.

I found the house and pulled in right on time. That’s what we promise in our ad in the Christian Business Listing. Well, that and trustworthy service, all around. A woman about my age answered when I knocked at the door. She scrutinized me before she let me in. I told her my name - Keenan, and showed her my ID.

I’m always very careful who I let into my house. If only I could have been as careful about what got into my computer. Anyway, I showed Keenan, the guy my husband John told me would be here, into the computer room. “Here it is, it’s a disaster,” I said. “All I can get is this blue screen.”

“Ah, the blue screen of death.” I’ve seen it many times, I said to this woman. I asked her what I should call her as I started to set up.

Well, I told him to call me Jill and that’s when my phone rang, well actually it was on ‘vibrate’. It was Renee, my best friend. I’d been hoping she’d call soon. A finger on one ear, my phone at the other, I watched Keenan arrange his various tools.

“Hey Jill, how are you holding up?” Renee asked.

“I’m okay. I’m getting that computer virus taken care of,” I told her.

“That’s good for your computer, but it’s you I’m concerned about. I know there was a problem over the weekend. Your family situation hasn’t gotten any better, has it? I’ve got time if you need to talk,” Renee said.

A little background is always helpful when you’re fixing a computer. Maybe she tried a new game that wasn’t really a game or maybe the virus was attached to a spreadsheet. It could help me to know. So I asked, “Do you know how or when this happened?”

“Oh I don’t know,” I said to Renee, “There are so many things wrong on so many levels, I don’t even know where to start.”

“I hear you,” I said and I started my work.

“Hang in there Jill,” Renee said to me. “Jesus warned us we’d have problems in this world.”

“It’s so frustrating and hurtful. Why me?” I asked Renee.

“Oh, don’t take it personally, millions of computers get viruses. Although it does make a person wonder. It takes real ingenuity to make a virus. Sadly and scary too - that whoever made this probably has a psyche similar to an arsonist. But at least they probably weren’t attacking you in particular.” I gave Jill my expert opinion.

“A lot of people want me to do whatever it takes to preserve our relationship, but my family’s been so crazy.” I told Renee.

She thinks her family had something to do with this? ... I wondered at that, but I didn’t make any comment. I just deleted tainted files; one after another after another, after another..

“I know, Honey,” Renee reassured me.

It actually wasn’t too hard to get rid of that virus. It only took a little while and a few more strange comments from Jill and I was finished my work. “Looks like your computer’s back to normal,” I was glad to tell her.

“Now more than ever, I really need biblically sound advice.” I told Renee.

I took a deep breath, what did I say to that? It didn’t seem like the right time to hand her the bill I was writing up.

“Remember what Jesus needed to do in his home town,” Renee reminded me.

“Shake the dust off?” I asked.

“If you need to,” said Renee.

Phew, I was relieved that she thought of that one herself. “Yeah, that’s always good, or you could use canned air.” I told her.

“Thanks so much,” I said to Renee. “You don’t know how helpful you’ve been. I would love if you’d join John and I for dinner tonight.”

“That sounds great,” Renee agreed. “What time?”

“How about six?” I suggested turning to see that Keenan was done fixing my computer and he was ... looking surprised about...?

“Really?” This was a nice surprise. On business time of course I couldn’t, but on my own time, that’s a different story. “Thanks, what are you having?” I asked.

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This article has been read 272 times
Member Comments
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C D Swanson 12/29/11
This was a cute story, I would have loved to read more-but you couldn't because of the word limit.
But nicely done, it was very believable as well.
God Bless~
annie keys12/29/11
Cute--speaks to the modern time trial of trying to figure out if somebody is talking to "you" or talking to somebody on their blue tooth while looking at "you". Sometimes, it's a hard call to make. LOL It took a bit of work reading the story to figure out who was having what conversation--but then, I guess that was what the story was about, right? LOL Fun read.
Allison Egley 12/30/11
This is cute.

There are a lot of point of view shifts here. Especially if you are doing it in first person, you need to keep who "I" is the same... Don't switch between the home owner and the computer repair man. It gets confusing as to who "I" is.

I loved the ending. :)
Helen Curtis12/30/11
This is wonderful! What a delicious mess of conversations you created! I do agree, it became a bit hard to follow; perhaps you could have made one of the characters' words italics? Not sure if that's accepted practice or not though?

Anyway, I loved the ending, and in my mind Renee is single, as is the PC guy, and they both end up coming for dinner and a beautiful romance blossoms between them! Ahh yes, I'm a romantic! I truly loved this, well done.
Jenna Dawn12/30/11
This was very cute. Inventive how you tied in the two conversations. I was, however, very confused about who was talking since the narrator kept changing. I also wondered, since you mentioned the that Jill was about the same age as Keenan . . . just how old was the Keenan? Had you not mentioned that, I wouldn't have wondered, but since you did, it leaves the reader wondering. Probably better to not mention age at all, really.

In the sentence "I would love if you’d join John and I for dinner tonight" . . . John and I should be John and me. If you took John out you wouldn't say "I would love it if you'd join I for dinner". You would say "me", therefore, it is "John and me".

I liked the ending. Very humorous how the repair guy asks what they're having for dinner. Nice job. :)
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/04/12
You definitely covered the topic. I was a bit confused though. You used the first person for both MC's which made the story really hard to follow. The part about Jesus in his hometown felt like it came out of the blue. It felt like you added it because this is a Christian site. It's okay to write a good story without mentioning God. I think you have the start of a great mystery. I sensed Keenan was going to steal her identity and it was a pleasant twist in the end that a possible romance was developing.
Edmond Ng 01/04/12
An interesting read, but the switching between characters using 'I' makes it somewhat confusing. I think a little reworking on the piece will make this a very good story.