Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Start (01/16/06)
TITLE: A Button Named Start
By Brad Paulson
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“It’s gonna to be Start, it’s always Start,” said Heated Dry.
“That’s not true,” said Rinse And Hold, “You’ve had your share of pressings.”
“I’m with Heated Dry, Start’s always the one she presses,” Heavy Wash grumbled.
Start didn’t say anything. He’d heard the same complaining and grumbling for years. At times it hurt his feelings. He never complained when one of the others was pressed, in fact he looked forward to it, it eased the tension. Rinse And Hold was the second favorite of the Lady of the house. The man occasionally pressed Heavy Wash, but poor Heated Dry was pushed once after installation and had never been pressed since.
“It’s not fair,” said Heated Dry as the Lady walked up to them and without hesitation pressed Start.
As the dishwasher ran through its cycles, Start pondered the situation. The others were jealous. In moments of extreme frustration Heated Dry had even suggested that Start take a hike, get lost. Although leaving seemed like an easy way out, Start had a job to do and he was going to do it, regardless of what the others said.
The doorbell broke his train of thought. The Lady of the house answered and although she sounded gracious, reluctantly agreed to take care of the rotten little neighbor boy. All the appliances cringed when Junior visited, he was dangerous. Moments after the front door closed he was running wild through the house. The buttons were fearful, Junior loved buttons, and he could be brutal. Horror filled the kitchen as Junior spied the dishwasher control panel, clinched his fist and began pounding on Start.
“Oh God, make him stop, he’s killing Start!” cried Heated Dry, “Somebody do something!” But there was nothing anyone could do except watch in agony as Junior pummeled the helpless button. A gasp echoed through the kitchen as Start’s plastic shell shattered and fell to the floor.
“God help us,” whimpered Rinse And Hold as Junior moved on to terrorize the oven. One by one they began to realize that without Start, they were finished. Who would want to keep a dishwasher without a Start Button?
The days that followed were plagued with uncertainty. The Lady had unloaded the dishwasher after the attack and had washed the dishes manually ever since. Time seemed to stand still and doom grew closer every time she reached for the Palmolive. The buttons didn’t talk much, they felt some guilt and shame because of the way they had treated Start, but none of that mattered, it was over.
The door bell rang.
“Please Lord, let it be someone other than Junior.” Their prayers were answered when a large man entered the home carrying a tool box. He walked up to the dishwasher and knelt down.
“Piece a cake, Mam,” was all he said. He removed the control panel from the dishwasher, snapped in a new button, put the control panel back and stood up. “That’ll do it,” he said while pulling his pants up a bit.
“Start, is it really you?” asked Rinse And Hold.
“Yeah, it’s me, new body, but it’s me.” The man pressed Start and the dishwasher began to hum. Start could sense that the others were feeling bad for the way they had treated him. “Fear not, my friends, all is forgiven. But, I do have one request.”
“Anything for you Start,” they all agreed.
“Here’s the deal, I was put here for a purpose, and all of you have a purpose as well. If one of us suffers, the whole machine suffers. Do your jobs, joyfully and with confidence knowing that we are all important. But most of all, know that as of today I forgive you for anything you have said or done, we’re starting over with a clean slate. It’s not easy being a button, and I think we can all agree, nobody knows that better than me.”
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