Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: START (02/25/16)
- TITLE: A Close Call
By Raymond Bouchoc
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Brandon looked down at the scale. “270 pounds! I can’t believe it!”
“Did you say something?” Amy, his wife, hollered from the room.
“I weigh 270 pounds! This is ridiculous. No matter what I do, I can’t seem to lose any weight.”
“It’s not like you DO very much.” Amy appeared at the bathroom door with her hand on her hip, and an “I told you so” look on her face. “When are you going to start getting serious about losing weight?”
“I don’t want to hear it.” Brandon said, pushing by Amy and going to his closet to get his shoes.
“And when are you going to the store to get the things I need?”
“I’m going now!” Brandon yelled back. He left the house, got into the car, and put the key in the ignition.
It didn’t start. “Of course not!” He slammed his hands on the steering wheel. This day was going downhill. After a few more tries, the car finally warmed up, or something, and started. “I’ve got to get that fixed.”
Brandon drove to the grocery store, went inside, and got the things Amy needed, huffing the whole time. He was huffing because he was not in a good mood, and he was huffing because he was having trouble catching his breath.
Coming out of the store, he heard a racket outside. He looked up across the parking lot. He saw two teenagers, rough looking, hemming and hawing and carrying on.
“Good grief,” he thought as he walked to his car. “Do they have to be so loud?” Brandon reached the car, scowling at the teenagers.
All of a sudden, one of the teenagers looked at him, and saw him staring at them. His face darkened, and he yelled at Brandon, “Hey! Whatcha looking at!” He backhanded his friend, and said, “Let’s go have some fun.” They started walking briskly towards Brandon.
It took him a minute to realize what was happening, and then the panic set in. He tried to push the button to unlock his car. He couldn’t get it at first, but then it beeped the familiar beep. He opened the door, got in, and locked the car.
He tried to put the key in the ignition, but couldn’t. His hands were shaking terribly. Finally, he got it in and turned the key. It didn’t start.
“Come on! Come ON! Not now! START!” Brandon stole a look over his shoulder.
The teenagers were getting closer, walking determinedly towards him.
Brandon tried again, and then again. “START!” Finally, the engine started. He pulled out fast, and pulled away. In his rear view mirror, he could see the teenagers. They were laughing, and hanging on each other, and pointing at Brandon. Brandon was red with embarrassment and humiliation.
He drove around aimlessly for a while, until he was able to calm down. It took a surprisingly long time, but it allowed him to think about everything that had happened. After relaxing a little, he drove to a mechanic, and made arrangements to repair his car later that week.
Then he drove back to the grocery store, looking carefully, of course, to see if the teenagers were still around. When he was convinced they were gone, he went into the store and did more shopping.
At home, he unloaded all the things he bought onto the kitchen table. Amy came into the room with an exacerbated expression. “What took you so long?” she complained. “And what is all this stuff you bought?”
At that moment, Brandon realized that he and Amy had fallen into some bad habits. They had forgotten how to be kind and patient with each other. They always bickered, and didn’t do kind things for each other often enough.
Softening his face, he said to Amy, “I figured the time has come to start making some important changes in my life. I need to make the changes now, before something bad happens, and it’s too late to fix things.”
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