Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Charade (08/14/08)
- TITLE: Life is a Game
By Marita Thelander
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“Life is a game,” Jimmy commented.
“Well, it’s a cereal and a magazine, too, but that is beside the point.” Exasperated, Joanna threw herself on the couch. “Eww, don’t drink out of the milk jug.”
Jimmy wiped the milk mustache with his sleeve as he placed the jug in the fridge. “Whatever,” he tossed over his shoulder on his way back to his room. “But I’m tellin’ you, life is a game, like a charade. This is deep stuff, here, think about it.”
Restless, Joanna jammed her flip-flops on. She hollered over the sound of her annoying brother’s video game, “I’m going outside.”
Frustrated, she headed to the hammock lazily hanging in the shade of the willow trees. As she climbed in, she expertly positioned herself so she wouldn’t tip over. With her leg hung over the edge, she coaxed the hammock into a gentle motion and let her mind wander.
“Life is a game. Life is a charade…” She could hear her brother’s idiotic comments resounding in her head as she drifted off to sleep.
A rather large woman stood before her with a clipboard in hand and a pen stuck into a tight black bun on her head. She wore a straight black skirt and a simple white blouse that barely remained buttoned over her ample bust. She also sported pointy glasses that matched her pointy shoes, and used ridiculous red lipstick while she spoke with an annoying nasal sound.
“You’re in trouble, young lady.”
“Sorry?” Joanna tried to make sense of things.
“You know this is serious business here. This isn’t some candy-land job.”
“I don’t have a clue what you are talking about, what job?”
Disgusted at the question, the pointy-toed, red-lipped woman turned on her heels and swiftly walked over to a nearby bridge. She slapped her clipboard down on the rail with such force it caused Joanna to jump as if she had ants in her pants.
“For land’s sake, Missy, you boggle my mind. Will you get over here?”
Joanna had no idea why she needed to obey this battleship of a woman, but she dared not risk anything and jumped into action. As she clumsily approached, she bumped the clipboard and it plopped into the water.
The old-maid glared at Joanna, “I am only going to give you one chance…Uno chance, to get this right. Got it? Go fish it out of the water.”
Joanna slipped and slid her way from the bridge towards the murky water below, down the bank like a series of chutes and ladders. When she reached the water’s edge, she secretly hoped nothing would play a cruel hide-n-seek in the murkiness. Things appeared so bizarre that she feared a hungry-hungry hippo may live under the bridge.
As she began to scrabble around the bank, she could see the clipboard just out of reach. This could be a tricky operation, one that could put her job at jeopardy.
Joanna began to have one solitaire thought, “What is my job anyway?”
This thought began a domino effect in her mind. This woman didn’t have a monopoly on her life. She was not some pawn in a live game of chess to be moved around wherever old pointy-toes demanded. Who was the master mind of all this anyway? How did she get lured into this mouse trap? And why was it so taboo to ask about her job?
Joanna waded into the water and finally reached the clipboard. She pulled it out of the water and noticed a tag hung from the board with big bold letters: LIFE IS A GAME. The memory of her brother’s stupid words stared at her. With a quick toss across the water, the clipboard landed on the bank.
“This isn’t some trivial pursuit here, Missy.”
“What is my purpose in life?” Joanna demanded.
“Twister!” The word shrieked from her thick red lips as she pointed to the ugly sky in the distance.
Joanna panicked. She hurried to hide under the bridge and hunkered down with her hands over her head.
With a thud, Joanna awoke to find herself on the ground. Jimmy stood over her and laughed as he held the edge of the hammock after he had successfully dumped his sister.
Joanna stood. Feeling a little rummy she looked her brother in the eye, “Life is a cruel charade.”
“And that, my dear sister, is a game.”
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