Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: PICNIC - deadline 7-12-12 @ 9:59 AM NY Time (07/05/12)
TITLE: The Missing Table
By Kellie Henningsen
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ADD TO MY FAVORITES
Yeah, right between a Cadillac and Mercedes. Nice.
“Have fun with your friends, kids! Make sure you check in once in a while though, ok?”
Great, my safety blankets are sprinting away.
“Relax, Roger. These people are friendly.”
Friendly? Fake, is more like it.
“Susan! I’ve been looking all over for you! Roger, nice to see you again. Can I steal Susan for a bit?”
Steal her for a bit. Why not? I’ll just go rub elbows with the driver of the Mercedes.
“Roger, right? Glad you could make it today! We have fruit punch and there’s more lemonade on the way.”
What you really mean is “Where have you been?” Thanks for the punch, though, ma’am. Love the smile; it almost seems real.
“Burger or dog? What’s your flavor?”
This dude looks like he actually enjoys grilling in 90 degree heat. I certainly wouldn’t be smiling if I were him.
Ok, I’ve got a drink and food. Now to find a secluded spot where I can eat in peace and steal a quick nap to get through this blasted afternoon.
“Hey, man. Looks like you found the best place here. Mind if I join you?”
Seriously? I can’t hide anywhere.
“Sure. Help yourself to a patch of grass.”
This kid can’t be more than fifteen. Why isn’t he with friends?
“Phew! Is it hot! I can’t be in the sun so I’m always on the lookout for a little shade that isn’t already filled with women or the elderly, know what I mean?”
Can’t be in the sun? What’s with that? Teenagers live in the sun.
“Tend to burn, huh?”
He’s barely chewing that burger; it’s going down so fast. It’s like he hasn’t had food in months.
“Yeah, it’s the chemo. Just ended my second round though and starting to feel better.”
Chemo? But, he’s making jokes and enjoying life. How is that possible?
“Welcome everyone to our annual church picnic!”
Oh good. Distraction. Time now for the pastor to get up and tell us about how wonderful the Lord is and how our lives will be filled with blessings if we’ll just follow Him.
“This year, I have nothing prepared to speak on.”
Amen! Oh man, hope I didn’t say that out loud.
“I’m going to open it up for a time of sharing instead.”
Ok, time to tip the hat down, lean against the tree, and close the ole eyes.
“I’ll start Pastor.”
Hey, it’s the juice lady! Let me guess, her cat died last week and she’s struggling. However will she make it through?
“My twin sister was diagnosed with a terminal illness two days ago. I thank God she knows her destiny but the pain is very real. Please pray for her and for our family.”
But she smiled when handing out the juice. She welcomed me to the picnic like she cared.
“Pastor, I would like to share as well.”
Hey burger dude! Alright, now here we go. No one that happy flipping burgers in the heat could possibly know hard times.
“I lost my job a month ago. We’ve been living on savings but with one child in college and two at home, we’re about out. I need a job bad.”
Really? Why does his smile seem to come from the inside and ooze out onto his lips?
“Yes, Miss Ross.”
I can’t take this anymore. Each has a burden worse than the last. Yet each one smiles. Why?
“Dude, you don’t look so good. You feelin alright?”
This kid’s coming off chemo and he’s asking me if I’m feeling ok? Right.
“I think I missed the table handing out all the smiles, that’s all.”
“Ha ha, good one, man. It’s not a table you missed though. It’s the Bible.”
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