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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Encouragement (02/23/12)

TITLE: At Least He Tried...
By Noel Mitaxa


The front door crashed open. Heads turned.

“Brad! We need to talk! Now!”

Husbands who are catapulted into unexpected arraignments will know the sudden sinking feeling that this simple phrase can trigger. But this was no plaintive, determined female voice; nor was it set in ruptured, tense domesticity.

Every eye in the pizza joint was focused on the man-mountain who had just burst in, and who would surely consume his target when he got to Brad’s table. Steve was too big for anyone to interrupt – or to try to slow down. But wait – surely he had not been crying???

Surely not; but he kept wiping his reddened eyes with a handkerchief that had a strange yellowish pattern.

Brad’s table almost disappeared in the shadow as Steve’s bulk stood before him, his face torn in a three-way battle for ownership between despair, anger and frustration. The silence was palpable, for that phrase “we need to talk” was so out of character for such a big lummox. Was there actually a softer side somewhere down in this giant, trying to get out?

“You said that encouragement would help to get me started with girls; but you were wrong!” His accusation deepened the silence that blanketed the premises. So there was a softer side struggling to emerge...

“Take a seat, Steve,” Brad replied calmly. Without rising, yet with sublime foot-skills, he slid a chair towards his friend. Steve responded by lifting his leg and swinging it over the backrest, before pivoting downwards to displace himself over what Brad had pushed out for him.

“Tell me; what’s happened?” he asked him, while motioning to Poppa Giuseppe for an extra coffee.

“It didn’t work – and you told me it would!”

“What didn’t work?”

“Encouragement - that’s what!” The table scuffed along the floor as he leaned forward. “You told me that if I complimented a girl or said something encouraging to her she would like it. Well, you can’t say I didn’t try!”

“Well, what did you try; and when did you try it?” Brad was aiming to keep things objective, especially as poor Steve was at least one salad short of a full buffet when it came to sensitivity.

“You know the waitress at the hamburger joint; the one who gives all the guys that cute smile?”

Brad smiled and nodded.

“I’ve just been in there. She was working the grill, and I could see she was hot; but when I said what I thought was the most encouraging thing I could say, she got really mad. In fact she grabbed a mustard bottle and she squirted it right in my face – so I had to get out of there!”

“Oh man, that must have stung!” Brad winced, “but what did you say?”

Every ear was tuned up to maximum anticipation of what Steve’s verbal gem might be.

“I just congratulated her for sweating a lot less than any of the other fat girls on the staff!”

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This article has been read 428 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/01/12
HA HA HA HA! I seriously laughed for at least a full minute. I love this. What a great way to start my day. Excuse me __ HA AH HA HA AH AH HA AH HA!!!!!
C D Swanson 03/01/12
Hysterical piece...and completely on topic.

It made me laugh and smile throughout the entire piece. Clever story!

Thanks for this. God Bless~
Linda Goergen03/01/12
You built the story up perfectly, and ended with a hilarious bang. In the end, I had to fluctuate between laughing and feeling sorry for poor Steve! Great job!
Martha Black03/02/12
The fact that Steve rushed in to display his dirty laundry before a full pizzaria shows his lack of understanding of the subtleties of life. I know a guy like this. They feel so strongly about things and when they hurt, they hurt deep.

This made for a very funny story, but in real life, how hard it would be to explain to Steve what had gone wrong. Great presentation.
Amanda Brogan03/03/12
You have such a fun method of storytelling that makes the reader smile even at the most subtle descriptions. Such as Brad's "sublime foot-skills."

This piece was hilarious, and really great for the topic. Loved it! :)
Danielle King 03/05/12
Ah ... I know two people exactly like this clumsy hulk. It was familiar territory and incredibly funny all the way through to the punch line. I once heard someone's chat up line - 'Yer dunt sweat much for a fat lass!'
Leola Ogle 03/05/12
What a joy to read this humorous tale! Poor Steve, you can't help but love him! Thanks for the great laugh! God bless!
Edmond Ng 03/05/12
Very funny! How we encourage people with the right words is certainly of utmost importance, and you've shown us in this story how wrong words can make a difference. LOL! An interesting read.
Beth LaBuff 03/06/12
Yep, that probably didn't encourage her much. Ha! I enjoyed the clues your left throughout, and how nothing here ended as expected. Great work! I'm still smiling.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 03/08/12
Congratulations for ranking 7th in level 3!
Amanda Brogan03/09/12
Congrats on ranking 7th, Noel! Loved this piece. :)
Danielle King 03/09/12
Well congratuflippinlations to you Noel. That's my noelogism!