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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Break (02/06/06)

TITLE: Dovis McClement Breaks The Rule
By Kris St. James
02/12/06


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It all started in third grade…

Dovis McClement was my best friend. Now, that statement carries with it the assumption that one has several friends and that one among the many is favored above all the others. Dovis was not only my best friend, he was my only friend. He was my only friend because he was my friend. No one wanted to be friends with the friend of Dovis McClement. It was against the rules.

Dovis was an only child. I’ve heard it said that when he was born, his mother took one look at him and vowed never to risk creating another one. When they made Dovis, they broke the mold.

I’m not sure if it was his giant ears, or his lazy eye, or his enormous overbite. It may have been his tiny nose. Yes, tiny. Dovis McClement had what some may describe as a “snout”. And I really wish I could say that all that ugliness was evenly compensated by a clever wit or creative genius. Nope. He was as dumb as he was ugly. He had…issues. I tend to blame his father.

His father was just like all the other dad’s on our street, except Mr. McClement had an odd sense of humor. Here’s just one example: Mr. McClement would set poor Dovis on his knee and bop him up and down gently and sing “Old MacDonald”.

“Old MacDonald had a farm, E I E I O. And on that farm, he had a rabbit, E I E I O. With a _ _ here, and a _ _ there. Here a _, there a _, everywhere a _ _. Old MacDonald had a farm, E I E I O.”

No sounds. Old MacDonald had a rabbit, a giraffe, a llama, a three-toed sloth, an iguana, and an octopus. They never made a sound. It makes for a really weird song, which makes for a really weird kid. You might think that this was very cruel, but Dovis never got his feelings hurt. Until he met Sara Stone.

OK, Dovis never actually met Sara Stone, but he certainly saw Sara Stone. She was the most beautiful girl at Calvin Coolidge School. She moved to our town the summer before the third grade and Dovis fell for her quicker than an octopus can say _.

Sara Stone was beautiful. Sara Stone knew she was beautiful, too. Even worse, Sara Stone knew that Dovis knew that she was beautiful and she tormented him daily. She’d sachet around school, dropping her books on his feet so he’d pick them up and carry them for her. She’d sit with the other girls and wink at him when she caught Dovis looking, then she’d whisper to the others and they’d all giggle. Dovis was none the wiser.

Dovis carried her torch high until tenth grade. In the tenth grade, Dovis did what many other boys and girls often did—he learned to drive. And drove he did—right over to Sara Stone’s house and asked her for a date. And she accepted and they fell in love and lived happily ever after. On Mars.

I have often wished she had just slapped his face and slammed the door. He would have eventually gotten over that. Instead, she laughed at him. His big lip began to quiver and his crossed eyes watered and she laughed even harder.

“You are the most ridiculous looking thing I’ve ever seen! I’m sure you know there are rules about this? You’ve got to be kidding!” Then she slammed the door.

Dovis came back to the car where I was sitting and slammed the door and just sat there, staring ahead. I had never seen him act this way. Finally, silently, he drove me home.

The next day at school, everyone was very excited. Apparently Dovis had driven back to the Stone house; back through the Stone house. Sara’s bedroom. She was not there at the time, but the impact killed him.

Everyone was laughing about it.

What is so funny?!” I screamed. “How can you possibly laugh about this?” Everyone suddenly became quiet and stared at me like I had just dropped my pants.

“Dovis is dead. Dead! All because he wanted to fit in. Because he wanted to be like anyone of you. Because he wanted to be wanted.” I sobbed, looking angrily at each stunned face.

“Of all the rules you all have broken, couldn’t you break that one rule just one time?”


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This article has been read 1257 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Brandi Roberts02/13/06
Wow. That's all I can say. Wow.
Anita Neuman02/14/06
This is a FABULOUS story! You sucked me right into your character's head and I experienced all of it with him. Amazing! You have a GREAT writer's voice!

There were a few little errors(ie. sashay instead of sachet) that are worth fixing, because this piece is simply incredible.

My favourite line: "and Dovis fell for her quicker than an octopus can say _." I am also very impressed with the abruptness of Dovis's death - you wrote it exactly how it would've felt. Bravo!!!
Edy T Johnson 02/14/06
What else can anybody say, except, I want to read your books! This is an absolute keepsake. Thank you for writing it.
Pat Guy 02/15/06
Good, great, and excellent! Wow! What a story! How often are these thoughts carried in the hearts of those 'left out?' You did a fantastic job of portraying this. Excellent read!
Lynda Lee Schab 02/15/06
You did a great job of getting the reader to sympathize with Dovis. Who can't relate at some level to wanting to fit in? The narrator practically disappears and Dovis took center stage, which demonstrates great story-telling abilities. The only part that didn't connect with me (and it's probably just me) was the ending. It didn't flow for some reason. I can't put my finger on it - sorry! But overall, I felt it was a good, solid piece and left me with a new awareness of how we treat people who are different. Very convicting. Well done.
Blessings, Lynda
Crista Darr02/15/06
Excellent storytelling, and your ending completely took me by surprise.
Kevin Kindrick02/16/06
I gotta echo number one here, Wow. And another Wow just for good measure.

God bless,

Kevin
janet rubin02/16/06
You really are a heck of a story-teller. Seriously entertaining. Keep it up.
Sandra Petersen 02/18/06
I felt so awfully sorry for Dovis by the end of the story, realizing that students still treat kids who they think are the least bit different like this, and worse. You did a good job of moving my emotions. Excellent mixture of poignancy and humor. Just a couple of things: you meant "sashay" instead of "sachet," which is a small perfumed fabric bag used to scent a pillow or drawer. I also was confused about what actually happened to cause Dovis' death.
Kids are very mean to each other in the schools nowadays despite the supposed "zero tolerance" rules. Maybe a story like this one is needed. Thank you for sharing.
Sandra Petersen 02/18/06
Okay, call me blind. My daughter pointed out to me that Dovis didn't leave his car at the curb but slammed his car into Sara's bedroom. The last comment of the narrator, sadly, would probably not have affected his classmates much. Like I said, kids are mean today, having grown up in an almost godless society.
Melanie Kerr 02/19/06
A very engaging style of writing. You described Dovis so well.
Marilyn Schnepp 02/20/06
Congratulations on your First Place win! I didn't read it originally - but now that I have...I agree. It is a Winner! Wow! /ms
Gwynn Turner02/20/06
Stunning and straight to the heart. It gives me pause to reflect on anyone I might have slighted during those awful "teenage-fit-in" days.

Congratulations on a well-deserved first place win!
Rachel Rudd02/20/06
WONDERFUL STORY! Having been on the wrong end of the teasing throughout the latter half of my elementary years, I can totally relate! Well-written style...congratulations on the win!
Betsy Tacchella02/20/06
This is a wonderful article, so articulately written and so easy to relate to. I think we've all had a Dovis in our life. This really speaks to the innate value of every human being. I plan to give a copy of this to our church youth group leader. Thanks for writing such a poignant article.
Grace Sempa02/20/06
Excellent writing.
Congradulations.
david grant02/20/06
Original, kind of, but I didn't like it. The writing had no flow. It was very choppy, and I had a hard time staying with it.

I wasn't inspired,either, but saddened by the anger and the waste of life.

Again, sorry.
Kris St. James02/20/06
Thank you all for your very kind comments. I truly appreciate them all. As a note to this piece, many of you know a bit about me and know I have a child who has a serious disability. I wrote this with him in mind, hoping that all of you who are parents will be reminded just how powerful our words are and how delicate their feelings can be, especially those who live on the "fringes"--who are not accepted by we "normal" people. If I'm *normal*, we have a lot to worry about!

It was also inspired by my my best friend who was killed in a car accident when I was nineteen. He had hemophylia and could not do all the things we other boys could do as we grew up, so he was often left out. As a teenager, he turned to all kinds of self-destructive behaviors, including drugs and promiscuous sex. He was killed in a drunk-driving accident and I miss him dearly. That event really molded my future as I became a rehab counselor, serving people who suffer with mental illness and substance abuse; people who are often discarded because they're "ugly".

I know not everyone liked the piece, but it was written with sincerity and to the best of my ability. Obviously most folks liked it, but I know it probably could have been better. Everything can always be better. I'm glad someone was saddened by the anger and waste of life portrayed in Dovis' life. I feel the same when I think about my childhood friend.
Kenny Blade02/20/06
I haven't been here in awhile ( you know why- keep praying brother) but I had to make an exception when I heard you won. This piece got just what it deserved. It is very difficult to be original. You hit a home run there. I was inspired. I was chastened. I was saddened. I was uplifted. Lil biased being your B.F.A.M., but I'd buy the book just because this piece was in it. Keep it up!
Linda Watson Owen02/21/06
Kris, this is such a heartfelt story, moves the reader profoundly. Thank you for this entry, and congratulations on your well deserved win! May God bless you richly as you do His work among those He so tenderly loves.
CYRILS OKPARA02/22/06
When a person encounters beauty,raw and unpolished beauty, he loses the ability of description...your work has left me mute and dumb -founded...a master piece by every standard, a must read, well done
Deborah Porter 04/23/06
Hi Kris.

I'm just preparing all the winning entries for inclusion in the FaithWriters' Anthology for last quarter, and need to get a short bio note from you (written in the third person), to include with our "Meet Our Authors" section. If you are at all unsure what to write, it may be worth checking some of the bio notes at the end of the articles at FaithWriters' Magazine (http://www.faithwritersmagazine.com). Once you have your bio note ready, could you please send it through to me at debporter@breathfreshair.org

Thanks for that. Look forward to hearing from you.

With love, Deb (Challenge Coordinator and Editor, FaithWriters' Magazine)