Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Make Hay While the Sun Shines" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (03/06/08)
TITLE: The Encasement
By Marlene Austin
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“Yeah, I just didn’t sleep well last night. I had a lot of strange dreams.”
“Oh, I hate it when I have a nightmare!”
“Well, these weren’t exactly nightmares. The one I remember was just really – strange. That’s the only way I can describe it.”
Joey continued to consider the disquieting dream as he drove to work.
I was on a white, sandy beach. I looked out at the ocean – the waves, the currents of water, the surf - washing over the shore just like you would expect. But, then when I stepped back and looked up, I saw a clear, cylinder-shaped object encompassing the whole body of ocean; an encasement holding all that water.
Then, I saw these people on the beach. One lady was saying, “Thank you for saving our house. It would have burned down completely if not for you.” And, I remember thinking I’m not a fireman. I work in plastic products. Why is she thanking me?
There was another group of people, and a man in a suit smiled at me and said, “We couldn’t have kept the hospital open without your help. The whole community owes you a debt of gratitude.” I was at a loss.
Arriving at the employee parking lot of the plastics firm, Joey concentrated on finding a parking space and mentally prepared for the workday ahead, pushing thoughts of this unsettling dream to the recesses of his mind.
“Mr. Lochhead, the meeting of the quarterly report is scheduled for the Boardroom in fifteen minutes.”
“Thank you, Carla.” Joey responded, stopping by his desk before making his way to the location.
“Well, gentlemen, there is good news to report.” Mr. Vance, the owner and CEO of the company, announced. “Our product sales are higher than they have ever been. In fact, I feel the time is right for expansion of our facilities. We are at maximum potential for our established products. What I would like to see is a visionary idea, something that no other manufacturer has on the market at this time. We will be the creative genius which will set the standard for all others.” Mr. Vance continued to motivate the group by suggesting a promotion for the person able to come up with the most innovative product.
Joey decided that he just might have the idea for which Mr. Vance was looking. He got a research team together and a prototype was designed. The outcome was a lightweight, clear, cylindrical container, which could hold a supply of clean, fresh water for use in remote areas and emergency situations. Rural communities purchased many to place in increasingly populated areas to use in case of fire until the fire departments from neighboring cities could respond. Hospitals purchased cylinders for use in emergencies where the local fresh water supply might become contaminated, as in flooding or germ warfare. Soon, nursing homes, apartment complexes, school systems, and a variety of businesses were also placing orders. Within a month, Joey was promoted to Vice-President of Research.
That summer Joey’s wife talked with her father on the telephone, “Oh, dad, I never would have believed your pond and well would be so low. I knew it had been a dry season there, but I wasn’t aware there was such a drought. It’s too difficult for you and mom to haul water in that old pick-up of yours. How are you going to manage?”
“Uh, hon, I have a suggestion. I’m sure we can help.” Joey said reaching for the receiver.
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