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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Personal Peace (06/01/06)

TITLE: Tricking Eddie Banks
By Sue Goodreau


Simon Hayes was dying. Although he had never died before, he thought he was doing it right. His wife and children surrounded him, while the noise of the grandchildren outside gave assurance that life would vigorously continue. His affairs were in order, his wife financially secure. And most importantly, Simon knew where he was going. As he looked around the room, his eyes resting on each loved one, Simon felt the quietude of a man who had lived a good life and was content to leave things as they were.

It was when his gaze finally settled upon his best friend, Eddie Banks, that his failing heart gave a tentative thud. Peace fell away as Simon inwardly wrestled with the same questions that had haunted him for thirty years. If he told Eddie the truth, would his friend continue to serve God, or would his steadfast faith be shaken to its very foundation? He pondered how one small act could leave him gasping for peace at the very time that life was slipping away--how one small act that had saved a soul could so torment his.

Simon had tricked Eddie Banks into believing.

Simon had known Eddie his whole life; they’d grown up next door to each other--the religious kid and the popular kid. Simon loved the Lord, and he wanted Eddie to love him, too. But Eddie just good-naturedly laughed off Simon’s preaching with a saying he’d coined: “If God’s calling me, I guess he forgot to leave his calling card.”

Simon refused to give up. He saw exceptional qualities in Eddie that God could use. Eddie was immensely likeable, attracting people like bees to honey. He was a confident leader, but never deemed it beneath him to help anyone in need. Simon prayed for Eddie throughout college and seminary, but when he moved back home to start a church, Eddie welcomed him with, “ I’m glad you’re back, but, sorry, no calling card yet.”

For ten more years, Simon prayed for Eddie. As they continued their friendship, Simon wondered why God was taking so long. Finally, Simon got impatient. If God wasn’t going to leave his calling card, then Simon would leave it for him.

Simon talked to a friend, a man who occasionally moved his pulpit to the streets and preached to anyone within hearing range. Soon the plan was in place. Simon invited Eddie to lunch, and afterwards they went for a walk that took them past the preacher. At Simon’s urging, they stopped to listen to a message of salvation given so passionately that he wondered how Eddie could refrain from dropping to his knees on the spot. Then the preacher paused and pointed at the handful of listeners.

“Jesus died for you. He wants you--all of you,” he shouted. Then he locked eyes with Eddie. Simon held his breath.

“Do you say, ‘God isn’t calling me.’ Say, ‘He didn’t leave his calling card’?” He held up a Bible as he continued looking at Eddie. “Here’s your calling card. Right here. Right here,” he emphasized. His eyes bore into Eddie’s as he lowered his voice.

“So, you gonna answer?”

Simon glanced at Eddie. His mouth was open, his face pale. Eddie finally broke eye contact with the preacher and strode away without a word. Simon didn’t hear from him for a week.

And then, a miracle.

Eddie showed up at Simon’s door, grilling him for hours about God and the Bible. He started going to church, attentively listening to Simon’s messages. Six months later, Simon tearfully blessed Eddie, his new brother, as he gave his life to Jesus. God had been using him ever since, and Simon could say without envy that Eddie had led more people to Christ than anyone he knew, including himself.

But now, as Simon lay dying, he yearned for peace. Eddie’s belief that God had spoken to him was based on a deception orchestrated by Simon. He'd be in torment until he confessed. But what if Eddie abandoned his faith? Yes, he had tricked Eddie, but the Truth had been revealed--and salvation had been the result. No one would hesitate to trick a loved one to prevent him from jumping off a bridge to certain death. Was saving a soul any different? WAS IT?

Simon’s breathing became shallow. His heartbeat was slowing. Eddie reached out, praying over him. GOD, WHAT DO I DO? Simon screamed inside.






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This article has been read 913 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Lee Schab 06/08/06
Oh, come on! How can you do this to me? Wonderful opening - hooked me right away! The story had everything going for it...drama, mystery, suspense...but then, thud! So did Simon's heart really stop or did you intend to leave the reader hanging? Sigh. OK, ending aside, this was one awesome entry. I guess because it was so well written (up to the ending LOL), I'll forgive you. But I expect a sequel to be posted somewhere. Great work!
Amy Michelle Wiley 06/08/06
Hey!! No fair! LOL I agree, masterfull entry but the ending... I especially liked the line about him never having died before, but thinking he was doing it right.
Sally Hanan06/08/06
Yup, one of the more exceptional opening here on FW. Somehow the ending needs to be wrapped up more, but I loved your writing.
Jessica Schmit06/09/06
What a cliff hanger! No fair! Great story. Wonderful build up. I found myself laughing throughout much of this piece (in a good way). Great work.
Helen Paynter06/09/06
Great story - felt a bit let down by the ending - was hoping for a stunning insight into his dilemma - because I couldn't decide myself whether he should confess or not! Good writing.
Marilyn Schnepp 06/10/06
A fantastic story! From A to Z ! Kept me interested throughout and I loved the ending! Contrary to what the others say...the ending is what made the story A+...great job.
Karen Treharne06/10/06
This is a great entry - intriguing title, on target for the theme, good writing throughout ... to me, the ending was perfect. It was God's will that he should die without telling Eddie how he was tricked. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and its message of love.
Kim Thomas06/11/06
I'm a new writer...but a lifelong reader...this was GREAT!

A great example for me to follow!

I'll look for more.

Suzanne R06/12/06
I love the ending too! The whole thing, actually. If it doesn't do too well, perhaps it will be because 'personal peace' isn't exactly 'the star of the show' ... this more tells why the MC is lacking it. I could be wrong re. being on topic - the whole dilemma does affect his dying wiht peace. Anyhow, it's a GREAT story. Well done!
Pat Guy 06/13/06
I think the decision was taken out of his hands. Well done!

Yes, maybe th etopic wasn't exactly in the readers face, but it sure was written well and enjoyable to read.