Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: The Reader (04/15/10)
TITLE: The Missing Invitation
By Barbara Lynn Culler
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“No. Why? Are you expecting something?” Mother responded.
With an exaggerated sigh, he dropped his backpack onto the couch “Duh! Eric’s cool party? The invitation has this secret code you gotta figure out to win a cool prize and I hafta decipher this code so I can be the winner!”
“I’m sure the invitation will come before Saturday.” Mom answered as she walked out of the room with an armful of laundry.
Peering into the refrigerator, Billy responded: “It better be… I gotta be there!”
Sammers appeared and dropped a red ball at Billy feet. The shaggy black dog loved to play, but he also loved to get into trouble by chewing on clothing, furniture and even dollar bills.
“Let’s go play in the backyard” Billy announced to the dog. He bit into an apple, and carried it clenched in his teeth as he scooped up the slobbery dog toy and went outside.
On Thursday, Billy came home feeling both mad and sad. He went out to the backyard and sat on the porch and sulked. Sammers wagged his tail in anticipation as he looked up at Billy, and then back down at his ball.
“Not now, I don’t feel like playing ‘cuz I didn’t’ get the invitation ... all the guys in class are talking about it, and getting the code. It’s not fair! I thought Eric was my friend.” Billy rested his head on his hands.
Sammers picked up the ball and dropped it his friend’s feet. “Go away” he yelled at the dog. “I don’t feel like playing with you.” The little dog’s ears went flat, his tail stopped wagging and he rolled over onto his back.
“You silly dog” Billy laughed and patted the pink belly. “I’m sorry I yelled at you, it’s not your fault” Billy hugged Sammer’s then threw the ball. The pup licked the boy on the nose and then chased after the ball.
Having heard Billy scold his pet, Mom brought out two glasses of chocolate milk and sat beside her son.
“They don’t want me at the party” Billy glumly announced as he gulped down the icy cold drink.
“I’m sorry you were left out; it’s hard to feel lonely, isn’t it?” Mom took a sip of her milk.
“Ah huh” Billy responded as he watched Sammers rolling in the grass.
“Have you talked to God about it yet” Mom asked.
“No. Why should I?”
“Well, you remember how we can go to God anytime, to tell our troubles to him. When you feel good, or bad or happy or sad, God wants to hear about it. He really does care about you and what you are doing. Just tell him how you feel”
Even though he did not think it would make things any better. Billy prayed in one long breath:
“Dear God I feel so left out cuz I wasn’t invited to Eric’s party please help me to not feel so lonely thank you in Jesus’ name amen.”
When Billy finished with the ‘amen’, Sammers barked, as if in agreement. Billy and his mom laughed at the dog. Sammers started running and Billy chased after him. The two friends loved to play Hide and Seek, so when Sammers rounded the corner of the house, Billy dove into the dog house. He sat real quiet so that the dog would not hear him but forget that Sammers could find him by smelling him. The dog gleefully ran into the doghouse and licked Billy all over the face. Laughing, Billy tumbled with his dog on the blanket when suddenly he noticed something orange partially hidden under the blanket.
“My invitation!” Billy yelled out. It had been partly chewed, but he knew it was his missing mail.
“Mom! Look what I found” Billy called out as he ran over to his mom. Sammers was trotting behind him, unaware of all the trouble he caused.
“You did that?” Mom laughed and pointed at the dog, Sammers looked guilty and rolled onto his back
“It’s okay Sammers. You’re forgiven” Billy said as he patted his tummy
“Don’t forget to thank God” reminded Mom.
“Yah, right. ‘Thank you God for helping me to feel better and for finding the invitation’. Amen.’”
“Woof” barked the dog. They laughed. “Let’s go figure out the code; don’t have much time left”
Sammers trotted behind Billy, his tail wagging in happiness.
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