Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: The Pen is Mightier than the Sword (04/08/10)
TITLE: Florrie vs. Shackleford
By Patricia Herchenroether
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"Now, Florrie, don't get your blood pressure up. Our attorneys have exhausted every possible option regarding this matter. Your side of Route 7 is zoned agricultural. That Sh- (sorry) Shackleford got the other side re-zoned with the blessings of the state...and a few dollars in someone's pocket, I might add."
Hanging up the phone, a bemused Florence moved to her kitchen sink and stared glumly out the window. Across the county road was a huge billboard, a eulogy to the beautiful land surrounding it: "Future site of Shackleford Acres, an exclusive gated community." The elderly grandmother couldn't stop tears from filling her eyes.
Three generations, she sighed. Winter sled rides, summer picnics, and laughing children danced through her memories. I 'member townsfolk gatherin' for family reunions, kids swimmin' in the lake, and fishermen swapping big-un stories on the shore. Why, every one of my little ones rode his first pony through those old woods and caught his first perch in that lake. I can't let this happen-I won't let this happen. Lord, give me wisdom and strength to slay this Goliath.
Benjamin Washington Shackleford stepped out of his BMW and inspected the new sign his contractors had erected. Scanning the rolling hills his saw endless green; not the green that Florrie saw from her kitchen window, but the green tint of money. His late father and grandfather had been weak Bible-thumpers, permitting all that prime land to be used by the town hicks for years. He thought it was a total waste. Stomping down to the lake he would soon fill in, Benjamin chased two children off the property. "And don't come back," he yelled, "You brats are trespassing!" As he turned back to his car, the ever-present west wind blew dust into his face and knocked off his hat. He noticed workmen across the road sinking fenceposts on the Old Bat's farm.
A week later Ben was back to make sure people had not disregarded the "No Trespassing" signs plastered across his land. This time he held his hat on when he faced the wind and strode to his car. The fence posts on Florrie's farm had been closed in, forming several large corral-type structures. Oh, well, to each his own.
Dawn arrived with unusually warm, humid weather when Ben Shackleford was rudely awakened by a ringing telephone. Excavation was scheduled to start on his property today. The construction company foreman called to inform him the crew refused to work and walked off the job. They cited "environmentally intolerable conditions," a stipulation clearly outlined in the contract. Shackleford was furious and sped to the excavation site.
When he left his air-conditioned Beemer, Benjamin was slapped in the face with a stench-filled blast of hot air. The corrals at Florrie's farm were now packed with grunting, squealing, stinking animals. In front of the pens was a large sign: "Future Site of Hog Heaven, an exclusive penned community."
After five months and costly hearings, a disgruntled Benjamin Washington Shackleford withdrew his lawsuit against Florence M. Bensen. Furthermore, he leased the now worthless property on Route 7 to the town for 99 years at an annual cost of one dollar. A satisfied Florrie returned all the borrowed hogs to their owners. The pens had proved to be mightier than that Sh-(sorry) S-word.
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