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

TITLE: High Noon
By Maxx .


I tasted trouble coming. It coated my tongue like a month old graham cracker found behind the car seat. I opened the door and entered our house.

Annie rushed from the hallway, hurdled a Little Tikes riding bus, and stood opposite me, hands on her hips, feet apart.

In the center of the living room, partially hidden beneath a soiled spit-up rag, the remote.

The clock on the wall began a lingering chime. High noon.

For a contracted moment neither of us spoke.

The muscle above my right eye begin to pulse. “So?”

“You gotta lot of nerve showin’ up just now.” She edged into the room.

An arid breeze swirled through the open window, lifting the yellowed drapes in a slow rustle, like soaked crib sheets drying on the clothesline after a nighttime Huggies blow-out. A dirty Kleenex tumbled across shag the color of strained peas; a spinning whirl of Cheerio dust followed near behind.

“Come on, Annie.” I moved from the entryway, my boots slowly inching onto the carpet. “You know when I get home and what I want.” The stubble on my chin prickled as I wiped my mouth.

The fingers at her side twitched, a smirk thinned her cocky lips. “Don’t be thinkin’ you’ll be gettin’ it.” She reached into the bottle holster slung around her waist. Her movements quickened as if searching, eyes glancing down then about the room.

“Lose something?” My voice was mocking.

Her gaze darted to our coffee table covered with baby powder, drool stains, and used diaper wipes… settling on the lumpy rag.

“It ain’t big enough for the both of us.” Stepping sideways, I began to circle along the wall, spiraling toward the center.

She countered, mirroring my actions, slinking with the coiled motion of an over-wound jack-in-the-box. “Touch that and you’ll regret it.”

“Really?” I lifted an eyebrow. “I’d say time’s come for a little Law and Order ‘round here.”

The wild green of her irises was narrowed by a menacing glare. “Nope. I’ll be takin’ you to General Hospital.”

I stopped, my eyes locked onto hers in a long, cold stare. “I reckon we best settle this.”

She blinked.

In that instant I darted between the rocking chair and baby swing.

Annie dove over the back of the sofa and through a pile of stained onesies, hand stretched, reaching. She snatched the remote and held it up with an exclamatory whoop.

I fell prone across the walker, knocking a mobile to the ground, and grasped her celebrating wrist as I crashed down. “You’re supposed to be…” I wrestled, pulling her to the floor. “…submissive to your husband!”

Her grip tightened. The TV clicked on.

Struggling, she yanked her captured hand, but not hard enough. “Well, where’s my sacrificial love?” She grunted and tried to spin away. “You’re supposed to give up everything for me. Otherwise I gotta take it myself.” Her nails pinched my side like baby teeth on a teething ring.

“Hey!” The remote pounded against the floor as I arched and twisted from her claws. The stations flipped wildly, filling the room with a strobing cacophony.

“Let go! Give it!”

Grabbing her hips with my knees, I rolled. “Jesus never gave a remote to nobody.” We tumbled over Duplos and Mr. Floppy Bunny, rolling together until a slimy pacifier smudged into her ear. She flailed, sending the control skittering away. I scampered from her, crawled past a dried carrot, and grabbed it.

“No!” Her voice sounded hurt.

“Mine! All mine!” I pointed toward the TV. “Yes, sweet victory.”

“Not fair!” Annie sulked onto the couch and slumped next to the spilled diaper bag, face in her hands. “You cheated.” A muffled cry slipped between her fingers.

“Ah, come on.” My stomach knotted. I sat and stroked her back. “It’s only one episode.”

“You know my show’s important to me—.” Her words became lost in a wrenching sob.

I dropped the remote and lifted her face with my palms, wiping the tears from stained cheeks. “I’m sorry, honey.”

She leaned against me, eyes round and glistening. Tilting her head, she pressed her lips to mine as her arms encircled my neck.

Mindless, I reclined into the stuffed animals as she caressed my temples. I felt her breath on my skin. Hot. Close.

A groan of satisfaction rippled through me.

Her fingers began to play with the buttons... both on my shirt and the remote.

She changed the channel.

I didn’t care.

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This article has been read 1312 times
Member Comments
Member Date
janet rubin02/06/06
Last week, someone said they wished to see something "lighter" from this author. Here it is and I LOVED IT! Very funny, very sweet and good messege thrown in. So, so good. Got my vote!
Linda Watson Owen02/06/06
ROFL!! And so are the days of our lives! Filled with the passion of the bold and the restless! With only one life to live...go for the remote!! (Great writing, of course!)
Kenn Allan02/06/06
I usually don't comment on other writer's work (I'm a lousy critiquer)but this piece reminds me SO much of my wife and me. Great job!
Debbie OConnor02/06/06
What a hoot! I loved it from beginning to end.
dub W02/11/06
Abosolutely wonderful, this is a delightful and fun re counting of many Christian husband/wife teams. Great job.
Jan Ackerson 02/11/06
Wonderful! Great job! You're great at humor and satire, as you are in everything you write. You have a great fan in me.
Carla Feagans02/11/06
Loved it! I may only have 5 kids myself, but I could totally relate. :)

Wonderful through and through, but I especially liked the "spinning whirl of Cheerio dust"
Cassie Memmer02/11/06
Wonderful fun! I am curious as to how you know what "a month old graham cracker found behind the car seat" feels like on your tongue! LOL! Sounds like the tv needs to be turned off while they clean the house! Which reminds me... "SOMEONE CLEAN THIS HOUSE while I'm on the computer!" LOL! Great writing as usual, certainly held my attention and I enjoyed this 'real life' moment! Definitely a high noon piece!
Shannon Redmon02/11/06
Once again great descriptions! We wrote on the same topic but from different angles and I liked your better...dang it! What a well rounded talent you are!
Cheryl Harrison02/11/06
Funny and all too true! I loved all the references to baby stuff.

We women sure do have our ways don't we. Resorting to tears and other forms of manipulation to gain control of the remote...how classic! However, your characters, if they are not careful, will be needing more baby stuff and then you will have a novel on your hands!

You have a wonderful future ahead of you Maxx. God Bless!
T. F. Chezum02/11/06
Very funny. Brought back memories of when my son was a baby. Good job.
Lynda Lee Schab 02/11/06
What can I say that hasn't been said? Everything about this piece was great - the humor, the flow, the characters... yep, you've proved yourself. You rose to the challenge. Great work, as always!
Marilyn Schnepp 02/12/06
I might find this story entertaining in a secular type magazine; however, I did keep with it to the end ...to find the control. Thanks for sharing.
Suzanne R02/12/06
Ugh ... a slimey pacifier in the ear!! What a fun piece - briliant work - chuckling as I type.
Crista Darr02/12/06
You made me laugh out loud several times! This is top-slot winning material, Maxx.
Pat Guy 02/13/06
Maxx - this was one of my personal favorites. Exquisite! This entry has it all for the reader. A joy to read!
Beth Muehlhausen02/13/06
Breathe, breathe....I think I'm hyperventilating! This one took my breath away!!! ;-D

What a tale - from menacing to slurpy. Just amazing.
Reni Bumpas02/13/06
I read this outloud to my husband and both of us laughed out loud several times. Great Job!
Kelly Klepfer02/13/06
Very, very funny. Clever. Loved the play(s) on words.
Anita Neuman02/14/06
Oh so funny! Great job, Maxx. I loved the whole thing - every too-familiar word!!!
Jessica Schmit06/07/06
Love it Maxx! I don't how you were able to pull at so many emotions, but you did!For instance, the first line made me prepare my a dark, twisted tale. The second line drew a smile to my lips and I waited anxiously to see what my eyes would be awarded with. By the middle section I was ready to slug the husband and my the end I was like "I want to be there!" LOL. laughter, exctienment, suspense, hot steamy romance (kinda), what more can one ask for in a story. I forgot to check, but did this one place? I loved all the countless referances to little kiddie toys and objects as well as all the food names thrown in there. I found it really helped to picture the whole family scene. ok, for the "bad" points. I didn't think "coming" had to be in the first line. It sounded disjointed from the rest of the sentance. That was it. I'm sure there was some grammer errors or something wrong with the story that some smarter person could pick up on, but my grammer mind is fried at the moment.Oh, and I loved th eplay on words that you throw amongst this story. Very well done. A wonderful read.