Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: SLANDER (09/07/17)
- TITLE: This Weeks Newspaper Article. A Letter of Concern.
By Matt Guddat
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It was late on Thursday morning and Walker’s routine had been thrown off by a phone call from a disgruntled elder who had been complaining about a mess in the church sanctuary. Gilmour, who was the second-to-longest standing elder, had arrived early to the prayer meeting to find someone had trodden a bag of chips into the carpet. Walker could care less for the carpet, he had always thought it dingy and wondered at the Ministers décor tastes, nevertheless, he felt a duty to aid his fellow elders witch hunt. After a few calls, he growled the Youth Pastor for the incident and finally got around to the morning paper.
With a cup off Earl Grey in hand Walker sunk into his reading chair and unfolded The Local Paper. At first nothing seemed out of order. Mrs McKinney’s farm was for sale, a local boy had received a scholarship, and the local farmers market was cancelled due to bad weather. Despite mundane news it took Walker a full 45 minutes to scan each page until he was satisfied he’d have enough points to gossip at the guys chess evening.
A space was reserved on the last page of the newspaper for the local Minister to write a faith based article. It was typically a small piece and had grown shorter in past months. Rumors circulated that the paper was trying to cut the text but the Minister was putting up a fight. Since the parish’s beginnings every Minister had published a weekly article in the paper. Walker was the only exception to the rule. Being a retired journalist and longest-standing elder, he had an arrangement with the standing Minister to write a piece every fourth week.
Walker choked and coughed his cup of tea down on reading the Ministers comments. A few steamy drops landed on the paper and wrinkled the newsprint. Deep furrows appeared on Walkers forehead as he signaled disapproval to nobody present in the room. The Minister had gone too far this time and something had to be done.
Moments later Walkers desktop computer began to whir and a plastic bag that kept dust off the monitor was removed. The screen showed a blank email. Walker punched at plastic letters with his fingertips. Black pixels jumped to attention to form the title “This Weeks Newspaper Article. A Letter of Concern”. It was addressed to Elder Gilmour and followed with a slanderous attack of the Minister. Walker knew he could be overbearing but enjoyed the adrenaline that coursed his veins. He would say it all.
Forty minutes went by. On reading and rereading his letter for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors Walker hit the ‘Send’ button, assuming it would soon arrive in Gilmour’s inbox. Standing to his feet he winced at the newspaper that fell from his lap. He didn’t pick it up. He didn’t need to. He knew what the-fool-of-a-minister had said.
The next evening the guys gathered to play chess at the town hall. Usually ten men would turn up to compete and gossip between lines of conversation. It wasn’t long before the Ministers article surfaced and each man offered a new angle that hadn’t been considered. On the way out Walker jabbed Gilmour’s side and asked about the email. Gilmour looked puzzled. What email? He hadn’t received any. Walker caught himself from speaking too loud and shrugged it off. Perhaps it was user error? He still struggled with technology. He’d resend it when he got home.
The week crept by. Walker forgot about the Minister and his comments. It was late on Thursday morning when the kettle boiled and Walker poured himself an Earl Grey before sinking into his reading chair. Like clockwork he picked up The Local Paper and took 45 minutes to read it through. On turning to the last page Walker choked and coughed his cup of tea down. A few steamy drops landed on the newsprint which read, “This Weeks Newspaper Article. A Letter of Concern”.
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