Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Actions Speak Louder than Words" (without using the actual phrase). (02/21/08)
TITLE: To the Rescue!
By Beth Muehlhausen
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Ebony stretched his lanky legs and shook each foot in turn as if to warm up his limbs for the forthcoming workday. “Gear up now, ya young fellas … might be a little crazy ta-day … we got lots … I say LOTS … ta ‘complish … 'cause ta-nite’s da dead-line. Rain’s a-cumin’ so we’d best have ‘dis here project come-pleat-ed ‘fore it comes.”
He spoke with authority through clenched jaws that meant business, while slowly emphasizing certain not-to-be-missed words. The rest listened and nodded their agreement. Ebony, the site foreman, deserved their respect. As laborers, their job was to carry out his bidding. Together they could accomplish anything!
This morning Ebony’s eyes bulged out even more than usual as he spoke. “Yes-‘ta-day we done made us sum great headway, boys. ‘Dis dorm-i-toree’s jus’ plain eee-norm-us … our biggest project ever.” He stopped momentarily and stared at the ground, searching for words. “Yes-ta-day’s collapse was … what is it dey say? Un-for-chew-nut. But we’s not quitters, is we? We’s not easily dis-cur-eeged, right? No sir! Not us! We’s all back and on duh job ta-day … dat’s what matters da mostest. Now boys (Ebony points his finger and shakes it at his audience), wid no mo setbacks we’s gonna finish dis here job up by evenin’.”
He singled out his young adult son - whose impressive muscular conformation resembled his own - using the nickname he'd acquired on the job site. “An’ son … you … Scrambler … cum ova here, boy.” Ebony beckoned with his forefinger, then bent his head close to Scrambler’s. “I ‘spect ya ta work like a doggone mule, boy! Be da pace setter fer dese here fellas.” He paused, thinking how he might encourage his son to put forth his best effort. “I din’t grow dese here muss-ul-s wid-out pushin’ da limits, ya know!” Ebony rubbed his sleek torso and flexed his arms. “Wid out no pain, dere ain’t no gain, so dey say. I wanna see you transportin’ dose raw mat-eer-uls like some MACHINE, boy – no slackin’. Ya done herd me?”
Scrambler’s eyes flashed. As the foreman’s son he was often held up as an example. “Of course – yessir, I’m a workin’ fool! Jus’ watch me, man!”
Without further discussion, the day’s work began. Individual crews assumed their assigned jobs. Scrambler plunged zealously into the backbreaking job of hauling building materials. His neck and arms ached from the previous day’s work, and yet he did not complain. Ebony’s son could not – would not! – ever be seen as a slacker.
Scrambler could hear his father’s voice above the din: “Dat’s right men, work like yous neva worked befo! Flex dem muscles … else I’ll hafta crack da whip at cha!”
After working full-steam-ahead all morning without even a short break, Scrambler was bushed. He sat down, exhausted, to catch his breath. “Hey, YOU! Scram-bull-rrr! You’s takin’ a break? Wha’s y’alls takin’ a break fo? ‘Member, I ‘spect mo outa YOU dan any one on ‘dis here job. Now git up boy, ‘n just git to it!”
But Scrambler’s head spun and he feared he might collapse if he tried to stand back up. “I’s sorry Dad … I ain’t no machine, I’s a livin’ or-gan-is-ism … kaint ya understand I got limits?”
“I say-ed … don’t cha hear good, boy? … pick up that thang … an’ WALK!”
Sweat poured down Scrambler’s face. His legs wobbled and his body shook while his father stood on a ledge to shout his best motivational speech through a megaphone - for all to hear! “You kin do dis … we both know’s it. So stop bein’ such a wimp!” Then with a more sinister tone, “Now jus’ don’ make me dis-uh-point-ed in ya, boy …”
As Ebony turned to oversee another crew, Scrambler’s friend – nicknamed Pincher - ambled over and poked Scrambler in the ribs with his elbow. “Hey Bud … here … lemme help ya wid’ dat.” A blend of mercy and fiery determination shone from Pincher’s eyes as he easily lifted half the load while Scrambler – greatly encouraged by the fact that someone had come alongside - lifted the other half.
Together they heaved and grunted – one slow step at a time – until they finally placed the huge grain of sand in its designated spot in the growing anthill. “Cool, dude!” Scrambler beamed. “Hey thanks man, for steppin’ in – ‘n helpin’ me! I think I kin keep goin’ awhile yet … after all!”
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