The Official Writing Challenge
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Fiction, I realize, but true!
You did a nice job of setting up the scene. You have a couple of great conflicts to pull the reader in. I might suggest you start a bit sooner with introducing the conflict. Your first line is a passive one, but with just a little tweaking you could make it active. For example: Cody's heart hammered. He forced himself to focus on the client who sat across the table; Mr. Brown didn't seem to have any problems shoveling his lunch into his face. Cody, on the other hand, feared his hamburger might not stay down.
I know I took a lot of liberties, but sometimes it's easier to understand an example than just the words show, don't tell. Instead of saying he felt panic, you can show what that uneasy feeling looks like. I also noticed at first it was one client, but next it was plural. That's just a tiny thing though. I also noticed you switched from past tense to a few lines of present tense and back again.

By the time, he was writing the check, I was almost screaming No! That's because you did such a nice job of developing your character. I didn't want to see anything bad happen to him. Even though the ending was a bit predictable, I still enjoyed reading it. I was hoping my hunch would be wrong. It's not easy to create a character that the reader can click with in under 750 words. So great job on that. The verse was a perfect fit for the situation. You did a fine job.
Yes, learning from experience can come quickly but it lasts a long time.

Good example of the word for the week.

Don't let hiccups. Spoil a day of writing.
I liked Cody and felt bad everything went wrong for him. I think there are some grammatical issues, but aside from that, the story moves along. I found myself carried through the story without wandering to other things while reading it. It had a good pace, and flowed onward from beginning to end.
Sad, but all too true.
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