Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Every Dark Cloud has a Silver Lining" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (02/28/08)
TITLE: Don't Mess With Momma
By Ruth Neilson
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It had been over thirty years since she had been violently assaulted. Her assailant had never been brought to justice, despite the attempts made by the police. Ann’s family was embarrassed for her. Nothing mattered in life except for a small baby and somehow surviving.
She grinned at a small image which appeared on the screen. A middle-aged man stepped into the room. The blue bar announced to the world that he was, Senator Blake Anderson; Independent--Alabama. Senator Anderson stood behind the podium waving somewhat bashfully to the crowd that was cheering for him. Clad in dark slacks and a pastel shirt with the collar open and sleeves rolled up to his elbows, he moved through the room enthusiastically shaking hands.
The question and answer session was about to begin—probably the first of its kind that was televised. But no one could say that Senator Anderson was one to follow the beaten path. Ann snorted as a young aid knelt next to her. “Ma’am, would you...?”
Ann shook her head. “Not today, maybe one day,” she murmured, tilting her head to the side to watch the politician on the screen make his initial statements before opening the floor to questions about his stances.
A young woman stood up and approached the microphone. “Senator Anderson, your opposition accuses you of being soft on rapists and murderers. What do you have to say to them?”
Senator Anderson considered the question for a long moment before clearing his throat with a playful smile on his lips. “I’d say they need to check their facts again. I have co-sponsored and sponsored several pieces of legislation that support the victims, and not their assailants.”
Ann smiled and nodded once. She could remember when Blake Anderson introduced that particular string of legislation—he had all but begged her to make an appearance with him, but she had refused. The young senator had lowered his head, understanding her long held bitterness and apologized to her.
Senator Anderson remained relaxed, playfully bantering back and forth with the audience, but never once forgetting to make sure that his stance was known. Finally, an elderly man stepped up, clutching in his hand several yellowed newspaper clippings.
His gravely voice brought the casual atmosphere to a stop. “So, do you have plans to improve the economy and start prison reforms?”
Ann went stiff as she watched the older man hand Senator Anderson the newspaper clippings. She knew that man...recognized the set of his shoulders. Setting her teeth, Ann pushed herself to her feet and slowly made her way towards the door of the small room. The aid in her room frowned, “Ms A., where are you going?”
Ann smiled faintly, “I don’t know, but I need to do something.”
The aid frowned for a long moment before a smile crossed her face. “I think I understand, Ms A. But, what can you do?”
Ann closed her eyes and sucked in a deep breath before she turned her gaze back to the television screen. Senator Anderson considered the older man for a long moment before glancing back down at the articles.
“Sir, you’re concerned that I do not have a plan for the economy or am not concerned about the current prison conditions. But Sir, I have learned that by meeting the needs of victims, in the long run, everything will improve.”
Ann tilted her head to the side and held her breath as the older man asked, “And how’d you learn that?”
She released her breath as Senator Anderson raised his voice so that everyone in the room could hear him. “Because, Sir, I grew up as one of those children.” Ann stood transfixed as her son turned to the camera and met her eyes. “My mother not only weathered the trials of raising a child alone but is now seeing the blessings that God had for her before she was raped.”
There was a pause before Senator Anderson spoke again. “And, Sir, it would be wise for you to leave my mother out of the campaign. You can investigate me, my wife, even my children—but leave my mother alone. She’s been through enough.”
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