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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Control (01/30/06)

TITLE: I Can Control It
By James Clem


“I can control it.”

The bleary-eyed man staring out of the mirror taunted him with his own words.

David Jessup absently dropped the empty beer bottle onto the floor and numbly grabbed for another. He was well past his limit, but it was the last cognitive action the brain had given and the body continued to submissively comply. His hazy mind fought to grasp for any plausible way out of this appalling predicament.

Two images flipped end over end through his brain – Susan and Kris. His fingers rubbed gingerly at the front of his throbbing head. Sometimes the images of Amanda and Tyler tumbled along with Susan. He visualized family and friends from church all standing around him slowly shaking their heads, looking down at him writhing pitifully on the ground.

“Nate tried to warn you, but you wouldn’t listen,” the specter in the mirror just wouldn’t give him any slack at all. He deserved none. His friendship with Nathan went all the way back to grade school. He had been thrilled when Nate called wanting to get together after work. Two buds sharing a beer; but no, it wasn’t like that. Nathan just wanted to give him a Christian lecture that things were getting too hot between David and Kris. David had squelched that tiny voice of conviction and told Nate what he wanted to hear.

Susan was everything he wanted in a wife. She was cheerful and encouraging and always pampering him. She sang in the choir. She made his favorite brownies whenever she felt he needed something extra to boost his spirits. Amanda and Tyler were two wonderful kids, just starting school and pre-school. They went to church every week as a family.

Kris was younger and pretty… and lonely. Working together in the office, David often spent more time during the week with Kris than with Susan. He loved Susan - she was a wonderful wife and mother; but he also enjoyed being with Kris.

Susan thought his partner’s name was Chris. David thought it was best to not invite trouble and just never told her any different. He never lied to her. He would just say, “Kris and I have to go to Los Angeles for a few days, no big deal.”

Things started to roller coaster down hill when Kris’s husband, Ryan, went overseas. Embroiled in the crisis in the Middle East, he was gone for months, and Kris was looking for somebody to care and to listen.

David looked up to see his mirror twin shaking the beer bottle at him, “Yeah, you can control it all right. Great job Mr. Church Man! She’s pregnant, what are you going to do now? What happens when Ryan comes home, huh? What are you going to tell him? Their marriage is over - all thanks to you. Way to go. She won’t be able to travel anymore having to take care of a baby. Means she’ll probably end up losing her job. How is she supposed to even find a job and take care of that little one?”

David’s body began to shake under the unrelenting barrage, “Yep, you’ve pretty much messed up everything this time. What is Susan going to think of all this? Did you ever think of what might happen? Why would she not want a divorce? You completely betrayed the wedding vows you gave to her. Amanda and Tyler will just have to grow up without a dad – probably better off anyway, maybe you’ll get to see them on holidays.”

The room was spinning; his head wobbled under the assault of his own guilt. “It won’t take long for everyone to know. This is a small town; people will put two and two together in no time. ‘Did you hear about Kris Sheba being pregnant? And you know Ryan has been in Iraq for the past four months. I always wondered about David and Kris spending that much time together.’”

David absently dropped the empty beer bottle onto the floor and numbly grabbed for another.

“I can control it.”


God the Father looked upon his child, “Oh David, I love you. No matter what you do, that won’t change. But your ways are not my ways. My plans for you will bring you joy and fulfillment. Your plans lead nowhere. I laid out simple guidelines for how you should live. I wish you would follow them.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Lee Schab 02/11/06
I thought this was really well written. Made me feel for David and want to kick him at the same time! Wonderful message about the reality of consequences to our actions. God must just shake his head & weep for us sometimes. Nicely done.
Beth Muehlhausen02/12/06
The word that comes to my mind after reading this is "futility." We are weak humans who so easily spin out of control. Our only hope is in the Rescuer.

Well done!
Marilyn Schnepp 02/13/06
The slice of life story that "tells it like it is" - and how many people get hurt with just one little sin; I agree with the other Commenter; God must shake His head at our pitiful attempts to control our own lives; but He still loves us and wants to come into our hearts and make us better. Well done, nicely written and God Bless.