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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Prosperity (05/11/06)

TITLE: The Ottersides
By Jessica Schmit


“My name is Beatrice Deborah Otterside. I’m ninety three years old and it’s time ya’ all know the truth behind the phrase, ‘The grass is always greener on the other side.’

It started back in 1933 on a farm in Saskatchewan, Canada. ..”


“Beatrice, I expect to see healthy, green grass when I return in September.”

“Daddy, I promise I’ll do a good job.”

“I know you will pumpkin. And you make sure you take care of your momma when I’m gone and pray that people will buy their produce from “Otterside Farm, the best farm in the country!”

Beatrice smiled at her father as he concluded his sales pitch.

“Daddy, you’ll be great.”


“I hated seeing my dad leave for the summer, but harvest time was approaching and we needed the money.

I was determined to show my dad that I could handle more responsibility on the farm than just grass. Thus began my plan.”


“Beatrice! What have you done to the grass?” Jacob, Beatrice’s older brother exclaimed.

“You mean the color?”

“Yes the color. I’ve never seen grass that looks so…so…”


“Yeah. What did you do?”

“It’s my secret fertilizer.”


“Soon people from all over Saskatchewan heard about 'The Otterside Farm' and how the grass was always greener at the Ottersides. Unfortunately, with the fame came jealousy.

Envy came personified. His name was Gary, 'The Green Grass Guru.'
He was out for my family’s green grass.”


“Daddy, I’ve come up with a name for my fertilizer.” Beatrice looked up at her dad wide eyed.

“Is that right sugar? Well, what is it?”

“Otterside Prosperity Miracle Growth.”

“Hmmm…I like it.”

“So do I!” A voice rang out from behind them. Beatrice and her father turned and looked at the man sporting a green plaid suit extending a hand. “The name’s Gary! And I’ve heard about you and your grass all the way in Toronto. Do you folks know where Toronto is?”

Beatrice and her father exchanged looks.

“We live in Saskatchewan not Timbuktu.” Her father replied curtly.

“Right. Well, I would like to extend an offer to you to buy your fertilizer. I could take it all over the world. I er…you would be famous. What do ya’ say?”


“Of course we said no. Who would make a business deal with a man who refers to himself as a “guru’? Unfortunately, Gary didn’t like our answer.”


“Dad! Mom! Wake up.”

Beatrice tried shaking her two sleeping parents.


“Dad, the fertilizer’s gone! All of it!”

Sleep was no longer an issue.

Her father bolted from his bed, grabbed his bath robe and hurried down the steps. Beatrice led the way. They opened the barn door and saw…nothing.

“The barrels of fertilizer, the ingredients. It’s all gone!”

“It was Gary dad, I just know it.”


“Indeed it was Gary, “The Green Grass Guru.” It seemed jealousy had taken hold of the salesman and he stole every once of our ‘Otterside Prosperity Fertilizer.’ After days of fruitless chase, we resigned that we were never going to recover our fertilizer again.

A few months later we heard a rumor of a farm using a 'miracle fertilizer.' The rumors were confirmed a year later when we heard a knock on our door.”


“Good afternoon little miss. My name is Walt Bernstein and I’m selling the BEST fertilizer in Canada. Founded by the legendry green guru himself, Gary Goodwin. Are you interested in...”


“I slammed the door right in his face, but not before I glanced at the slogan painted on the box of fertilizer. Those red words still haunt me to this day.

It read, ‘Gary’s Prosperous Miracle Growth: For the Home Where the Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side.’

That darn Gary even stole our family's slogan, 'The grass is greener at the Ottersides.'

He took everything we had.

Unfortunately for Gary, we adopted a new slogan in our household. The sign, weathered from rain and snow sits proudly in my living room. It reads, *‘He (**The Ottersides) will be like a tree planted by the streams of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also does not wither. Whatever he does shall prosper.’

And so far, no green eyed salesman has been able to steal that.”

*Scripture taken from the Psalm 1:3 (WEB)

**Author's words

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This article has been read 1138 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Kenny Blade05/18/06
Great stuff! I love the use of the last name to bring this home. Funny, Warm and original. Great piece!
terri tiffany05/19/06
Fast moving tale with good ending. You used just the right measure of words and style to tell a good story. Nice writing!
Lynda Schultz 05/19/06
Go Canucks! Very creative and the play on the last name was a stroke of genius. Good job.
Phyllis Inniss05/20/06
Very creative. Very well told. Is it true? It's very convincing.
Sherry Wendling05/20/06
Ha ha ha ha! Ooh, this one is rich (pun intended). Excellent tongue-in-cheek humor, plays on words, fast-paced, believable dialogue, with a great wrap up! Very publishable and WIN-some. Thanks--you made my day!
Pat Guy 05/22/06
Great writing! It got my blood boiling about that sneaky varmit Gary! I was hoping for some retribution that came flaming down on his head! :) Like maybe he didn't know NOT to mix it with something and it blew up in his face! (tehe)

Okay, it was perfect the way it is and I had fun reading it. Second entry and your maintaining your dignity very well! ;)

Rachel Rudd 05/22/06
Very "corny" story, but right up my alley! I liked it! Well-written, kept my attention. Good job, Jessica!
Jan Ackerson 05/22/06
This is extremely clever! Wordplay always gets my vote. Love it, love it!
Lynda Lee Schab 05/22/06
Oh, I wish Gary would have got his - like maybe someone could have "accidentally" poured that miracle grow on his bald spot! But...sigh...that would have defeated the Christian message of this story, wouldn't it?
Creative, clever writing. Well done!
Blessings, Lynda
George Parler 05/22/06
Good job. I knew where it was headed with Otterside and green grass but still it pulled me into the story. Very nice.
Linda Watson Owen05/22/06
Very unique approach to the topic! Enjoyed the humor!
Anita Neuman05/23/06
What a delightful read - filled with wonderful humour (and Canadian content - hurray!). I would suggest taking out the ++++++'s and just let the story flow on its own. You're a creative story-teller. Keep it up!
Dr. Sharon Schuetz05/23/06
Jessica, this was great. I agree that the story could just about flow on its own. You are a very gifted writer. Great job.
Joanne Malley05/23/06
I loved how you worked this one - bursting with creativity in more ways than one! I, too, would prefer it without the +++++. It would be more appealing for the aspect of flow to eliminate them altogether. However, your talent for storytelling and creativity surpasses that little nitpick. Good job! :)
Maxx .05/23/06
Great story! Wonderful fun! But I hate to agree with the others.. I think there were too many breaks for a 750 word story. There must have been a better way to pull that off. Too bad to have that little structural thing detract from the humor. I still think it was a great read.
Rita Garcia05/24/06
WOW! Love it!! Great job!
Beth Muehlhausen05/24/06
You tickled all our funny bones w/ this one! And....the villain was very real and the resolution classic. :-)

I also think I would prefer to not have the breaks.

Good job!

Rev. Toni Brown05/27/06
Very creative. I like the ending.