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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Stitch in Time Saves Nine” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/03/08)

TITLE: Promises, Promises
By Corinne Smelker


“Shows promise but needs to hand in homework on time, and not leave it for the last minute. Repeatedly tardy. Promoted to third grade.”

“Bright student. Peter’s work shows brilliance but seeing it only occasionally makes it hard to assess. Procrastinates continually! Promoted to the ninth grade.”

“Ah, Mr. Thale. Nice of you to join us.” The teacher’s words were accompanied by the obligatory titters as Peter stumbled into the classroom. “Class does begin at 8:00am. It is not a suggested time you know. I will have to mark you tardy again.”
Peter nodded his acquiescence. It was the third time since the term began a fortnight prior. “I tried my best to be on time, but you know, things just happen…”

“Son. Peter! Get up!” His mother was practically yelling in his ear. “It’s your first day on the job, get up!”
“Hmmmp. I’m up, I’m up!”
“OK. Well I have to get to work. Please don’t be late! Sarah only gave you this job because we’re friends. She knows your history of dawdling. Please prove her wrong.”
“Ok, ok mom. Just get off my back all right?”
As she left the room he heard her mumbling her usual litany, “I just don’t know! I am NEVER late! I always get him up in good time. Where did I go wrong, why can’t he ever be on time?”
Peter checked the bedside alarm. Ah, still another 30 minutes before I have to leave. I can shave and get ready in 10 minutes. Sleep for another 20…

“You’re fired!”
“Hey, come on. It’s my first day on the job. Give me a break please? I just overslept. It won’t happen again.”
Sarah glared at Peter. “You were warned. I told you, I told your mom that if you were late you were not working here. I need people to be on time. Running a medical lab takes precision and split second timing. And tomorrow you’ll come up with some other excuse. I can’t allow tardiness to interfere with my company. Peter, you’re so brilliant, but you’re wasting it by not controlling your time. ‘Going with the flow’ doesn’t work in the real world I’m afraid. I have to let you go.”

“Peter! My parents and I have been waiting around for you for 90 minutes! We didn’t want to start without you, but I insisted because we were hungry. How can you be so inconsiderate?”
“I’m sorry Lauren.”
Lauren flicked her dancing brunette hair out of her face. “Sorry? I’m sick of sorry! Get up on time, stop wasting time. You’re not improving, you’re getting worse!”
Peter hung his head. I resolve to get better. Hmmm. I wonder what there is to eat…

My dearest Peter: (he read)
I love you so much you know that, but I cannot take life with you any longer. You are NEVER on time for anything. Remember our wedding day? It’s traditional for the bride to be late, not the groom! You kept us waiting for 40 minutes because you were ‘busy and forgot the time’. I feel neglected, and worst of all I feel I’m not important enough to you that you would find time for me. Something else always crops up. I need to step away for a while and re-examine my future with you. The children are being affected by your constant tardiness and I’m running out of excuses for you. I try to make you look good in front of them, but when you miss the umpteenth ball game because you can’t plan your time properly, even with telephone reminders from me, then something has to change. Obviously it is not you, you’re incapable of it from the looks of things. You can contact me at my mother’s. I will never stop loving you, but I can’t go on like this.

Peter dropped the letter on the floor and realized how quiet the house was except for the blare of the television in his office – he must have forgotten to turn it off before leaving for work. He would call Lauren right now, absolutely. He strode into his office, picked up the phone and began to dial when “American Chopper" arrested his attention. I’ll call after this. She’ll understand.

On the other side of town Lauren sat by the phone, drumming her fingers and smiling nervously every time her sons looked her. “Daddy will call soon,” she told them hopefully.

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This article has been read 927 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Karen Wilber01/10/08
Don't you just want to slap Peter upside the head? Sad ending reminded me of the "Cat's in the Cradle" song. I wonder how his sons will turn out?
Temple Miller01/10/08
Good illustration of the mc's demise. He had a lot of chances to change, and I wasn't sure which way the plot would turn. Nice writing!
Joanne Sher 01/11/08
Ohh - people like this irritate me too! You certainly put us right in the middle of it. Nice job.
Sheri Gordon01/11/08
How sad this is for everybody involved. Good illustration on just how far procratinating can go -- how many lives it can affect. Nice job with the topic.
LaNaye Perkins01/11/08
I have met people like this. It's so sad to see them wasting a good life with such an attitude. Great writing!
Peter Stone01/12/08
Engaging reading. I've met people like this too, who will not motivate themselves for any reason. Seeing the character making the wrong choice at the end while his family wait for him to ring was sad.

Kristen Hester01/12/08
This is so sad. It is so frustrating to deal with people who always have an excuse. Perhaps he has ADD. Good writing.
Emily Gibson01/12/08
great illustration of how habits like this only get worse with more dire consequences. very well done.
Catrina Bradley 01/13/08
I was hoping that his wife actually leaving him would instigate a change, but there are some changes only God can make.
Hanne Moon 01/14/08
Karen's comments were my exact thoughts! As a southerner my first thoughts run to bopping with cast iron skillets! LOL Great story.
Dee Yoder 01/15/08
I knew a gal like this and she drove me up the wall! I can't stand being late-it's so rude to others. Great story-you churned the emotional waters with this example of the topic.
Jan Ackerson 01/16/08
Oooooh, good one! I'm one of those "always early" people and tardy folks really get my goat. Your ending is biting and perfect.
Julie Ruspoli01/16/08
Great writing.
I also became annoyed at Peter, but at the end I started wondering if he has ADD or something. To be distracted from calling your wife after she leaves is more than irresponsible. Still, a great lesson on being on time.
Tim Pickl01/16/08
I like how you show Peter as he grows up--every paragraph is a glimpse into his life...and why he is the way he is. If there was another chapter...I see a correction coming his way!
Gerald Shuler 01/16/08
Sorry I'm so late with this comment but you know how it is. Great story. I could almost see it ending with him being late for his funeral.
Sara Harricharan 01/16/08
Ooooh...that Peter makes me so mad! I just want to hold him and shake him until reality snaps into his head! What a consequence to pay for a little thing that could've been fixed and still could be if he'd just get a little bit more together than his selfish self. ^_^ Great job here, good character. As the reader, I could definitely relate to this!
Betty Castleberry01/16/08
This certainly raised some real emotion in me. Peter is a narcissist, to say the least.
You kept my attention, but I really wanted Peter to change. Well done.
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/16/08
You really nailed the topic with pitiful Peter. It was sad to follow his progression.
Loren T. Lowery01/16/08
Although I saw this coming, I enjoyed the "lesson" none-the-less. You really captured the mind of the slackerd and it makes one wonder can anything ever be done to change their behavior.
Joy Faire Stewart01/16/08
The snips of Peter's life is very creative. The vivid descriptions are so sad. Excellent ending too.
Beth LaBuff 01/17/08
A sad life that goes from bad to worse. You've got great descriptions and examples. Good lessons here. Thanks!