Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Actions Speak Louder than Words" (without using the actual phrase). (02/21/08)
TITLE: The Chicken Noodle Connection
By Pam Carlson-Hetland
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"After what you told me, Honey, I only have one piece of advice: You need different friends...true friends." As her mother’s voice faded out on the cell phone then came back, Angela barely said, "I’m losing you.” before the connection ended.
"Hey, Girlfriend!" Jessica's silken voice interrupted Angela's thoughts about her mother's advice. “Going to Tiffany's party? Matthew will be there...I'm sure he likes you.”
“I don't think so. I have a cold.”
“Don't be such a party-pooper! You, an' me, an' Tiff—we're like best friends. Besides, a couple glasses of wine and you'll be as good as new. Oh, could you do me a favor?” Jessica's voice lowered to a conspiratorial whisper, “Mr. Jenkins just plopped this huge document on my desk to copy and collate, but I've got a ton of other stuff to do. Would you be a dear and handle this. He needs 125 copies by 5:00. Just put it on my desk. OK?” Without waiting for an answer, Jessica sauntered down the hall to her desk.
Angela looked at the reports on her own desk. “Well, they're not due until Tuesday.” she said to herself. Grabbing a box of tissues and the inch-thick file, she headed to the copier. Between sneezes, she raced to finish the task. Almost an hour into the project, Amy came in.
“Looks like you're the one who got Mr. Jenkins' monthly mailing to do this time.”
“Jessica said she was really busy and asked me to help.”
“Really? I just saw her in the break room talking to Matthew.” Amy said casually. Angela looked at her blankly.
“Let me help with this.” Amy said kindly. “You look miserable. I have some cold tablets in my desk. Maybe that would help.”
“Thanks. I'm so glad this is Friday so I can sleep in tomorrow.”
The two women worked efficiently as they chatted. Amy was hesitant to speak what was on her mind. “Do you know Jessica well?” she finally asked.
“Not really. She was the first one to introduce herself and be friendly when I got here. She's really a lot of fun, though.”
“Oh, yes. She knows how to have fun.” Amy agreed. “But, work-wise, it's generally a good idea to take care of your own responsibilites first.” She glanced up and gave Angela a quick smile. “You'll figure everything out pretty soon.”
An incessant ringing finally awakened Angela the next morning. Groping for the phone, she dragged it to her ear. “'Ello.” she croaked.
“Eeuuww! You sound horrible.” Jessica exclaimed. “Are you coming to Tiff's party tonight? 'Cause if you're not, could I borrow that cute black dress you wore last time?”
“Be right there, Girlfriend!”
The doorbell rang twice before Angela opened it. Jessica stepped inside the door, keeping distance between herself and Angela. “Oh, wow, Girl! You look terrible. But thanks for the dress. I owe you one.”
“Actually, Jessica, I could really use a can of chicken noodle soup. Could you run down to the convenience store and bring me one?”
Jessica glanced at her watch and grimaced. “Sorry, I've got a hair appointment scheduled. Catch you tomorrow maybe.” she said backing out the door, dress in hand.
A few minutes later, the doorbell rang again. Thinking that Jessica was coming back, Angela was surprised to see Amy standing there with a large bowl and a bag of DVDs.
“I know that homemade chicken noodle soup and a bunch of chick flicks isn't as exciting as a party.” Amy said, grinning. “But I figured this may be more your speed today. Would you care for some company?”
“I would love some. Thanks.”
Later that evening, the phone rang. It was Angela's mother. She had called to give sympathy and symptom relief advice. “Yeah, my nose is really stuffed up, so I'll try that.” Angela said. “Oh, and something else: I finally made the connection to what you were trying to tell me yesterday. You're right. Definitely--there will be some changes made.”
Angela listened to her mother but smiled at Amy who was laughing at a scene on TV. “No, I think everything will be fine. A good friend brought me noodle soup. We're just hanging out, watching movies--you know--doing girlfriend stuff.”
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