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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Pigs Might Fly (10/31/13)

TITLE: Now Hear This
By Virgil Youngblood


What’s a guy to do when his mother-in-law comes for her first visit and his bride lays a sweet lips request on him, her arms wrapped around his neck from behind as he’s sitting cocked back in a recliner? You understand, don’t you?

“Honey, I know the Aggie game starts in ten minutes, but Hinkeldy’s is having a fifty percent off sale between one and three. Mom needs to buy a gift for a ladies retreat speaker. Will you take Mom? I have a conference call scheduled with an overseas client. I’ll tape the game so you won’t miss anything.”

So I took Celeste’s ear nibble as down payment on something better, collected Madge and we departed for the mall. The last thing Celeste said was, “Hinkeldy’s is on the lower level next to the west entrance. Park there.”

Women! Always giving advice. The mall was built into a mountain slope. It would be quicker to enter on the upslope east side and take the escalator down three floors. That would shave five minutes off the twenty minute round trip. Surely Madge wouldn’t object to that. After all, quid-pro-quo: she’d get her crystal vase purchased and I’d get back to the game.

We parked and entered. Down the short hall leading to the central corridor we could see a dazzling display of kites suspended from the atrium’s ceiling. I held Madge’s elbow hurrying her along as we crossed the bridge toward the stores on the other side. Madge, watching the swirling, decorative kites did not realize we were crossing the abyss.

I angled closer to the railing. Three floors down kids were gathering on a stage with a conch shell backboard.

“Whuuuuuu-u-u-u-u-u-u” Madge moaned, her fingernails plowed red-tinged furrows down my right arm as she collapsed onto her knees. She sagged face down, clamping the iron railing in a two handed grip. Sweat beads pimpled her brow and a vein in her neck pulsed red like a neon sign.

“Help!,” she whispered weakly. “Help me.”

“What’s going on, Madge?” Kneeling beside her with a hand on her heaving back, feeling the tremors rippling through her, I realized my knowledge of heart attack symptoms was woefully inadequate.

“Hi - - -heights - - - para - - - paralyze - - ”

“It’s okay. I’ve got you.” I reached for her arm and tried to lift Madge up. She wouldn’t release her grip on the railing. She was snuffling and whimpering like a baby. A small but spreading stain in her tan slacks announced her bladder had taken early retirement. A crowd was gathering and I wasn’t making any headway getting Madge onto her feet.

“Get a medic,” I shouted at the gawkers. “We need help here.”

Mall security arrived to control the onlookers, quickly followed by an EMS crew. When they couldn’t persuade Madge to loosen her grip, they gave her a tranquilizing shot. Soon she calmed and allowed the paramedics to put her in a wheel chair. They rolled her to my car and stayed until she regained composure enough for us to leave.

When we arrived home Celeste met us at the door. “Mama, what happened?” she cried, quickly supporting Madge with an arm around her slender waist. Before Madge answered Celeste glared at me and yelled, “You didn’t park on the lower level did you? You didn’t listen to me.” She started bawling and Madge sang harmony. The racket was terrible. I headed outside to see if Bolivar had room to spare in his dog house.

Thirty minutes later or maybe less, my courage bucked up. It was time to have a talk with Celeste. Somewhere I had missed something beside the Aggie game.

“Honey, I didn’t …”

“I know Bruce. If you’d only…”

“Only what?”

“Listened, Bruce. Listened. I told you to park on the lower level.”

“But why? She might have freaked out there just as easy.”

“No, she wouldn’t. Mom has acrophobia. She tries hard to avoid …”

“Accra who?”

“Acrophobia – a fear of heights.”

“Well, knock me down and call me Shorty. I knew something…”

“That’s not funny, Bruce.” Celeste dabbed her eyes. “Mother feels bad about today. She wants you to know it wasn’t your fault.”

“Awww. You’ve got a great mother. If she’s feeling better, I’ll take her back to Hinkeldy’s …”

Celeste nailed me with her blue eyes. “Not before the next of never – and maybe not then.”

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This article has been read 546 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Danielle King 11/10/13
This is fantastic writing. From Celeste's ear nibble, through Madge's bladder retirement and ending with Bruce's, 'knock me down and call me Shorty.' It was hilarious right the way through in all the little details. Great job, loved it, and I think its got to be destined for high places. (Pun unintended. Ha!)
Bonnie Bowden 11/10/13
Always listen to your wife. I'm sure this poor husband will never hear the end of it. Funny and well written!
C D Swanson 11/10/13
This made me smile. Nicely done, and well written.

God bless~
Frankie Kemp 11/10/13
You know something that blesses me about participating here at Faithwriters? Seeing what stories come out of all of us. Sometimes I wonder how did he/she think of that? It's really a testimony to the One who inspires us and His creativity in giving all of us unique minds and clever talents. I'm so glad that you write! This one makes me wince, laugh, and feel sorry for every single one of the characters.
Allison Egley 11/10/13
Great job with this. I loved the subtle humor... "...early retirement" and "knowledge of heart attack symptoms..." Nice job.
Judith Gayle Smith11/11/13
Hysterical! Drama, angst, comedy, horror, sensationalism (see bladder) - sterling!
Ralph Leavers11/12/13
Great Story! Very enjoyable love the humor. :) My wife seems to think I have the same problem:)
Don V. Standeford11/14/13
Great story. I thought the theme of "Pigs Might Fly" was also shown nicely.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/14/13
Congratulations on ranking 13 overall!