Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: OPEN UP A CAN OF WORMS (08/22/19)
TITLE: Jenny's Stand
By Arlene Baker
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“Why not?” Marianna turned from the closet where she’d been selecting her Sunday wardrobe to study her husband's face.
“Can’t take another hypocrite.”
“What are you talking about?” She fluffed the selected dress.
“That George Spencer. Sells used cars down on Broadway. He talked my friend into buying one and it’s a clunker.”
“How do you know it’s George’s fault? Aren’t most used cars sold as is? Maybe he had no idea …”
“Makes no difference.” Larry’s lip curled. “And Terrance bragging how he fudged his taxes. I’m done.”
Marianna sat on the edge of the king bed. “Okay, even if one or two people are less than 100% honest, that’s not a decent excuse to quit church.”
“The pastor gets under my skin. Always whining about how much work he has to do …”
“He’s only one person. Everyone in the church should be contributing something. That’s why God calls us the Body of Christ.”
“Whatever.” Larry rolled over and shut his eyes.
“Daddy, Daddy.” Tiny footsteps bounded down the hall. A toddler burst into the room and threw her body against her father. “Get up, Daddy, get up.”
“Can’t, sweetie.” Larry caressed her shiny curls. “Daddy’s not feeling good today. Mommy will take you to Sunday School.”
“Come on, Jenny.” Marianna scooped her up into her arms. “Mommy will help you get ready.” She glared at her husband over their daughter’s head. “Liar,” she mouthed.
The following Sunday, Larry made breakfast for his ladies.
“Daddy, why are you in your jammies?” Jenny asked. “It Sunday.” Marianna scowled.
“I know, punkin.” Larry dropped a kiss on her head as he slid a pancake onto her plate. “Daddy’s sorry, but he has a lot of work to catch up on today. This is the only time I have to do it. Sorry,” he repeated.
Jenny ate, let her mommy dress her, and the two left.
“I’m not doing this again,” Marianna insisted early the next Sunday. “You’re lying to your daughter, while pointing fingers at other members of the congregation. If Jenny asks again, I’m telling her the truth.”
“Why would you do that?” Larry frowned. “She’s too young to understand hypocrisy. Let her enjoy the church while she’s young. She’ll learn soon enough.”
“You’re her father. You’re the one who is supposed to be an example to our daughter. It doesn’t matter about anyone else in the church. You’re the one she looks up to.”
“Not going.” He crossed both arms across his chest.
“What lie will you tell our daughter this week?”
“Not lying,” Larry growled. “I didn’t feel well the first time and I had work to catch up on last week. I work hard to …”
“It’s not exactly the truth either, is it?” Marianna hissed. “You know as well as I that a half-truth is just another lie.”
“Marianna, just drop …” At that moment, they heard the familiar patter of Jenny’s feet, heading for their room.
“Daddy, Daddy!” she squealed as she hurled herself into her father’s arms. “You go to church with Mommy and me?”
“No, honey …”
At that, Jenny slid out of her father’s embrace and planted both tiny feet firmly into their plush carpet.
“Daddy not go — Jenny not go.”
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