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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Junk Food (08/30/12)

TITLE: Junk Food National Historic Site
By Beth LaBuff


The beefy hand of the park ranger slid the pass to me and droned, “Please don’t remove or consume any historical items from the site.” My eyebrows puckered; silently I queried the dusting of powdered sugar near his lower lip.

It had been ten bland years since the prohibition against all forms of junk food. The military was pressed into service, called upon to round up junk food from manufacturing plants, warehouses, store shelves, and even from the private sector. It was transported to a rural area, where confections and snacks were bulldozed into a misshapen obese mountain. Within months of the junk food ban, the Bible was also banned. Of these two dangers to society, only junk food was memorialized with a National Historic Site.

In the penumbra of the gastro-monstrous mountain, the concrete Visitor Center and Museum beckoned. After the greeting by the sticky museum door handle, I felt the need to slide my hand down the spinach-green slacks I’d chosen to wear. Inside, a standard gray moveable sign on the left announced, “Junk Food National Historic Site -- mountain tours begin on the hour.” I checked my watch; I had thirty minutes to explore the museum before the next tour began.

The adjoining room to my left was labeled “Snacks.” I entered its dimness, allowing my eyes to focus on the bright displays. The first told the history of the potato chip, its origin and packaging through the years. Memories of fun-filled days spent with Jimmy at the county fair flooded as scents of popcorn and chips were vented into the room. The adjacent display used glaring geometric shapes and blaring neon colors with a chilling reminder of the calorie content and emphasized bodily damage from potato chip consumption.

Next, my buff non-junk-food-contaminated body hurriedly perused the snack cake display with its similar history followed by a consumer warning. Nostalgia smacked my lean six-pack with longing for those crème-filled delights of bygone days. Other rooms off the main hall were labeled, “Soda Pop,” and “Pastries.” I had my choice of which junk food rooms to sample next.

The last room I visited was labeled “Experience the sluggish life of a junk-food junkie.” This room was set up to be an experiential warning, where the participant could suffer through two minutes in the life of a junk food addict. This was the room I secretly and eagerly anticipated. This National Historic Site was the only place in the country where junk food was legally sold—in limited quantities. Just before entering, I purchased my artery-clogging, blood-pressure-raising junk food of choice. There was an overstuffed couch along the back wall of the lamp-lit room. I plopped onto the overstuffing and set my feet atop the coffee table that fronted the couch. The opposite wall sported a mounted television with a football game already in progress. I kicked-off my two minutes when I popped the soda can top and ripped open the single-serving bag of chips. The salty crisps and the fizzy liquid were an explosion of enjoyment, reawakening smothered and forbidden sensations. The two-minute experiential warning was pure ambrosia.

As I awaited the mountain tour, suddenly warning whistles blared. Uniformed personnel swarmed from every direction like ants looking for the last picnic crumb. The loud speaker announced that a praline had been stolen from the historic mountain site and recent mountain tourists would have to undergo a search. They were instructed where to go to await the search. Then came a saccharin apology, “We regret that due to the theft, there will be no more Junk Food Mountain tours today.”

I gave a quick wave to the park ranger as I left the National Historic Site. His double chin pumped his head in my direction as his mouth remained fixed and his hands seemed preoccupied with something beyond my vision. The sign at the park exit warned, “We remember; lest we go back.”

I plan to return next year, just to be warned again.

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This article has been read 1658 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Verna Cole Mitchell 09/07/12
This is really clever and creative, taking the reader on a most unusual adventure. I thought, at first, that maybe the guard or the writer was the thief.I surely hope junk food is never that severely restricted!
Myrna Noyes09/10/12
Love that last line! :D

What a creative and amusing piece! Your descriptive writing was great! I especially liked the "gastro-monstrous mountain" and the sentence mentioning the ants at a picnic!

Hope your scenario doesn't come true, as I love my chocolate! :)

Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/12/12
This is such a clever piece. I really liked how you built up the suspense. I think it was quite creative.

The only thing I might suggest would be to start off with something that would immediately grab the reader's attention. Perhaps the sirens roaring and lights flashing then have the MC go over her visit in her mind.

But even with that said, you did still grab my attention with the possible mystery of the guard's white chin. I thought it quite clever the way the story came full-circle with the guard being the likely culprit at the end--so perhaps I was wrong about having a catchier opening because the full circle was quite good.

You definitely covered the topic and the way some laws are being admitted something like your story could become a reality.
Francy Judge 09/13/12
Congratulations on your well-deserved first place. I enjoyed reading this even more the second time as I picked up on the interesting details. Creative and well-written--I loved it.
Verna Cole Mitchell 09/13/12
Woo Hoo to my challenge buddy- BOB this week for this delightful story!
Rita Garcia09/13/12
Congratulations! I so loved reading this delightful story, and love, love, love that it won FIRST PLACE!!!! YAY!!
Deborah Engle 09/13/12
Can you image the uproar this would cause if it was actually carried out? Can you imagine how much healthier we would all be? Very reative. Congratulations.
Danielle King 09/13/12
Excellent entry. Creative, clever, descriptive. loved every word of it! Congratulations!
Myrna Noyes09/13/12
CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR FIRST PLACE for this clever piece!! Way to Write!! :D
C D Swanson 09/13/12
Congratulations on your EC!!!!!!!!!!!!

God Bless~
C D Swanson 09/13/12

God Bless~
Bea Edwards 09/13/12
Scrumptious piece of work! Yummy to the last bite...
Lillian Rhoades 09/13/12
Delightful! Creative! So well written! Congrats!
Marita Thelander 09/13/12
What a very creative story! I was expecting a belch and belly ache after the chips and soda. :) And I love that the guard apparently nibbles on the monument. Congratulations, my friend!
Noel Mitaxa 09/16/12
Congratulations on your win, Beth, it was well-deserved. And thank you for answering a long-time mystery - about where all the weight goes when people lose it. But after all this time, it was worth the weight :-)
Eliza Evans 09/16/12
Bethie!!! What a joy to see your name at the top. Of course I ran over here expecting to be delighted by one of your uber-creative poems. But this?! Wow. Such fun. Such creativity. You multi-talented woman you! Love the funny details -- spinach green pants, obese mountain, ambrosia, saccharin apology...
I had a good laugh.
Well, well done, my friend.
Enjoy your win!
Leola Ogle 09/16/12
Congrats Beth. Good job!
Loren T. Lowery09/19/12
What a creative intellect you have. I'm just hoping your not particularly prophesy-gifted in this articles particular area, however : ) Not that I'm a junk-food junkie, but I am thankful for my wife's "hidden" chocolate " stashes. Truth be told, it would probably take up an entire room for your museum. Congratulations on your EC!