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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Diet - deadline is 8-9-12 9:59 am NY time. (08/02/12)

TITLE: Man is More Than Food or Drink
By Loren T. Lowery



Mitch was a twenty-something year-old handyman. He was also a young-man struggling in life.

“Mitch,” John spoke into the phone, his jaw clinched, “are you not coming out again to finish what you started last week?”

“Uh, no, Mr. Jenkins. I…I just got a little behind…”

“Here’s the deal, Mitch, this is the third time you’ve stood us up. I’ve tried to be patient because I’d heard good things about your work, but you’re undependable. You’re fired. Send me a bill for what little you’ve done and I’ll cut a check.”

“Mr. Jenkins, wait; I can explain…” But he was talking into dead air. He hung up.

“Lost another one, didn’t you?” A voice muttered behind him.

“Mom, please, not today.”

“You’re pathetic, you know that. Just be glad your father’s not alive to see how you’ve turned out.”

He turned to her, face red. “What, you don’t think he’s up in heaven looking down shaking his head, crying tears of shame for this pathetic loser son.”

“What would you know about heaven? You’ve not been to church since I can remember. I tried raising you right. Why you couldn’t turn out like your brother…”

“Quit comparing me to Wayne, I’m not him. I never could be. And as for your God, well I hear-tell he’s dead. Or didn’t you get that message last time you two talked and he didn’t do anything you were asking…like praying that your good-for-nothing son would get a job and go somewhere else to live. Well, it looks to me you've been duped, ma.”

“Don’t sass me and don’t you go talking about God that way. Probably why you turned out the way you are. A drunk…”

Mitch put his hands to his temples. “I’m not a drunk…”

“Don’t lie! I can smell it on your breath; you’re wearing the same clothes you slept it. I’m sick of your phony excuses. I should’ve done this long ago. I’m through with you, just like your customers. Get out of my house and get out of my life. If I never see you again, it’ll be too soon.”

Tears blurred Mitch’s eyes. Shoulders slumped he walked into his bedroom, closing the door. He went to his bureau; the mirror above reflected a dazed, bewildered man. He pulled a gun from the bureau and moved to lay upon upon his bed. He put the gun to his chest and with a final sob, fired.



“Mitch,” John spoke into the phone, “did I get the time for you coming out to finish our project?”

“Uh, no, Mr. Jenkins. I…I just got a little behind…”

“I know how that is; but this is the third time and we’re counting on you. The church deacon speaks highly of your work and I don’t want to look for anyone else. Look, why don’t I call you a day before the next appointment…?”

“Gee, Mr. Jenkins, that’s great, but it should be my responsibility.”

John laughed. “You know if it weren’t for my wife reminding me of things from time-to-time, I’d probably forget what day it was.”

“Thanks, Mr Jenkins. I'll do better, I promise. I'm on my way to your place right now.” He hung up.

“Your next appointment?” A voice asked behind him.

“Hey, mom. Yeah, Mr. Jenkins. Wish there was more like him in the world.”

She walked up and smoothed down his bed-ruffled hair. “There are, son.” She studied him, eyes saddened. “You were drinking again last night, weren’t you?

“I’m sorry, ma; I’m trying to stop. Really I am.”

“Sometimes I wish your dad were still alive...”

“Don’t go there, ma, you’re doing a good job. It’s me; I just wish I could be more like Wayne.”

“Now you don’t go there. You’re two completely different boys. Wayne has his own issues; but I love you both equally.”

“I talked to Reverend Parker.”


“Says AA is something I should think about.” Said a lot of things – about God’s love, His hope for us. Reminded me when I was a kid. Made me feel good about myself; but I still slipped.”

“We all do, Mitch, But God promises new beginning everyday and never gives up on us. Just know I’m praying for you – a lot of people are.”

“It’s not easy.

“No, it’s not; but keep trying and know I’m never giving up on you either.”

Kissing his mother, Mitch walked out to his truck, started the motor and began once again – a re-nourished man.

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Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 08/09/12
This was like a story within a story, and so well crafted. It held many messages, and entertained in the process. Nicely done. And, I loved the ending. Thank you. God bless~
Charla Diehl 08/09/12
Words we speak can be the difference between life and death (emotional, spiritual and even physical) to whom they are spoken. Your contrasting stories make that point come across so clearly. Uplifting words go a very long way--we should use them often. Thank you for providing the insight that backs up your title.
Myrna Noyes08/09/12
Wow! This piece really shows how our positive or negative attitudes can affect the people in our lives! Excellent message! Sobering and thought-provoking. I really want to be a support, encouragement, and positive influence on those with whom I come in contact every day! Your story is a good reminder of the impact that can have.