Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Cross (as in the Cross of Christ) (08/17/06)
TITLE: A Collector's Dream
By Rachel Rudd
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Yet sitting in a faded orange swivel chair, Ralph’s eyes were fastened to the wall. From ceiling to floor, his collection filled every inch of available space. Ranging in dimension from the size of a dime to the size of a grown man, the assortment of crosses displayed a zealousness for the commodity. Wooden carvings, marble glazing, gold plating, and even cloth stitching formed the outline he desired most to see. Yet, something was missing. The treasure that alluded him day after day…the object he searched for ever since he began his gathering…a cross made of wood bearing a crown of thorns.
He knew it existed. Where was he to find it?
Packed like sardines in an unopened can, the family set out on a two week vacation. “Hey gang, are you all ready to swim in the mountain lake?” Ralph questioned his family.
“Yeah, yeah, dad, are we there yet?” his ten-year old smirked back at him. “Will you promise not to stop at every junk store on the way so we can make it there by nightfall?”
“Alright, as long as I’m allowed to go out and explore the neighboring towns tomorrow. Does that sound like a deal?”
“Good idea, Dad, then the rest of us don’t have to be dragged along in all that dust and mold.”
The next day, the sunshine sparkled on leftovers of the night rainfall as Ralph approached his car. “See you later, guys. Remember to do what your mother tells you,” Ralph called after his children who were headed out to swim.
Unimpressive brick buildings greeted him when he drove into the nearby town. Change had forgotten the main thoroughfare while on the adjacent street it seemed that even time stood motionless. After parking the car, a gleam lit in his eyes at the sight of a second-hand shop on the opposite side of the street. A tangled web of cords hung over a pile of antique books advertised the shop’s diversity in goods. Untreated wood and a musty aroma tempted his nostrils with past treasures when his foot stepped onto the aged carpet inside.
“Yes, sir, can I help ya’?” A man twice his age inquired.
“I’m looking for…” The sight of his pursuit stunted his words. Nailed to the wall above the ancient cash register was the cross. Smeared in grime and a drop of blood the cross surprised him with its rustic beauty. He found his words. “I want to buy that cross, but first I’d like to know why there is a drop of blood on it?”
The old man smirked a little, “Well, son, it ain’t easy to nail something to the wall with thorns sticking out at ya’, is it?”
“No, I guess not. Well, anyway, how much do you want for it?”
“It ain’t for sale.”
“I’ll give you 100 dollars for it.”
“It ain’t for sale.”
“I’ll give you 200 dollars for it. I’ve been looking for this cross for 10 years. I have crosses in every shape and size imaginable, but this one I don’t have.”
“Listen, son, I’m glad you like, but it ain’t FOR SALE.”
“I’ll give you 1,000 dollars for it.” He shoved a handful of bills at the man.
“I don’t care what you offer for it. That cross means too much to me and my family.”
“If you don’t know why, then I think I oughta tell ya’. The cross shows how Christ gave His life for me…well, everyone actually.”
“I’ve heard all that jazz before.” Ralph informed him. “But I just want to buy the cross to put on display.”
“It ain’t for sale!”
With a humph, Ralph retreated to the jingling door. “Hey, son, you didn’t think to ask.”
“Ask what?” Ralph snorted.
“Ask if I would give it to ya'.”
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