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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Irritated (11/08/12)

TITLE: The Test
By Dan Blankenship


The pen mechanism clicked repeatedly, making it nearly impossible for Jessica to concentrate on the test she was taking. She gently tapped Jeffery Millingham on the shoulder and quietly asked him to stop clicking his pen over and over again. He complied with her request. But a moment later, her teacher, Mr. Covington, asked Jessica to explain her break with the code of silence demanded during all of his biology tests.

“I was having trouble concentrating because Jeff was clicking his pen over and over again,” Jessica explained. She was sure he would understand the necessity of her actions.

“Regardless of the reasons why you felt the need to depart from my rules, you have broken them, and I will have to assign you an after school detention.”

Jessica was caught off guard by her teacher’s declaration. She had never received a detention before, and wasn’t even sure where she needed to report to after the regular school day was over. She began answering the rest of the questions on her test, trying to will away how irritated she had become, first by the clicking of the pen and then by the punishment that far outweighed the crime.

Jessica remembered a verse in the Bible she had studied weeks ago in Sunday School: Proverbs 12:16 (NIV): “A fool shows is annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.” She hid her frustration from her classmates and her teacher, choosing to concentrate on the test. She had been insulted, but she had to stay focused. When she finished, she was pretty sure she had aced the test.

The rest of the school day, Jessica could not shake her anger and frustration at Mr. Covington’s exaggerated reaction to her minor infraction. “I will stand up for myself and tell him I am being unjustly punished,” she told a friend during lunchtime. Her friend urged her to stand her ground. For far too long Jessica had let other people walk all over her and not give her the respect she deserved.

The moment of truth came at 3:05PM. Jessica walked into the detention room and approached Mr. Covington. “Mr. Covington, I want you to know that…”

Before she could finish speaking, Mr. Covington interrupted her, “Ah, Jessica, I am afraid I owe you an apology. I overreacted today – in my classroom, during the test. See, I’ve had a really bad week, and I was upset about a few things. I should have heard Jeffery clicking his pen and realized what a distraction it must have been for you. You do not have to serve this detention, and I am sorry for being so short with you in class. I hope you can forgive me.”

Jessica stared in disbelief, so very grateful that Mr. Covington had cut her off in midsentence. She had almost become the fool who showed annoyance at once. But now she was the prudent student overlooking an insult and enjoying an apology. “Oh, I forgive you alright. In fact, I think you just renewed my faith in mankind,” she said, following it with a giggle as she left the detention room and headed home.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/15/12
This is a great story. You did a nice job of building the conflict. I also liked how the teacher admitted he had made a mistake. This was a pleasure to read from beginning to end.
Carolyn Ancell11/17/12
This was a fun piece to read, as it focused on a simple irritation that felt so greatly annoying. And then carried us on the MC's emotional roller coaster ride throughout the day. To its satisfying conclusion. One question: the phrase "over and over" is used twice in close proximity. Maybe change one of those to a slightly different phrase?
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/23/12
Congratulations for placing 6th in your level and 20th overall!