Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Empty Nester/Retirement (from work) (09/10/09)
TITLE: Taking a Stern Look at the Loch Ness Monster
By Bryan Ridenour
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“Thar’ she blows!” Grandpa shouted, pointing.
“That’s not right, Grandpa,” Jeremy scolded. “You say that for whales. We’re lookin’ for Nessie.”
Grandpa tossed field glasses to Jeremy. Jeremy made some adjustments, bringing his surroundings into focus, and scanned the darkened waters. A harvest moon illuminated something carving a considerable wake through the frigid loch.
“Do y’ think it’s her, Grandpa?” Jeremy whispered excitedly.
“I think it might be. Let’s get a closer look.”
Grandpa and Jeremy grabbed an oar and stroked in silent rhythm, darting for the troubled waters ahead. Grandpa held up a hand to halt the effort and stood. The boat creaked and moaned under the transfer of weight.
“Grandpa, be careful,” Jeremy warned. “We forgot our life jackets in the closet.”
Grandpa gave Jeremy an understanding nod and settled onto his seat, straining to see the aquatic wonder.
“Do y’ think Nessie likes sweets?” Jeremy asked, breaking off a bit of a chocolate chip cookie fresh from the oven.
“Toss it in and find out,” Grandpa encouraged.
A monstrous form passed under the boat, splashing water over the sides. An unidentified portion of the creature surfaced and snagged the floating bait and then dove into the depths, large rings marking the diving point.
“I guess so,” Grandpa commented with a smile. “Hey, do you hear that?”
“Sounds like footsteps, Grandpa.”
“You’d better do some diving yourself,” Grandpa instructed.
Grandpa jerked the covers down. Jeremy scampered from the stern and snuggled under the warm blankets. Grandpa plopped down on the edge, pulling the covers to his grandson’s chin.
“What’s going on in here?” Jeremy’s mom questioned, opening the door. The family dog’s tail unfurled from under the bed, thumping happily.
“Jeremy…Dad…what’s Blackie doing under the bed?”
“Prob’ly eatin’ a cookie,” Jeremy answered, giggling.
“Ok, you two, it’s time for lights out,” she announced. “Dad…Mom’s waiting with her coat on. She wants to go home and see news before bed.”
“I know, but Jeremy and I were on an expedition...to spot the Loch Ness Monster. Right, son?”
Jeremy pushed to a seated position and gave his Grandpa a big hug. Grandpa moaned to his feet and combed his pockets, confirming his wallet and keys survived the nautical adventure.
“Dad, don’t get me wrong,” his daughter began apologetically. “Since you’re no longer at the factory, I’ve loved having you come by more often. Jeremy is especially thrilled. It’s just that Jeremy has school tomorrow.”
“I understand honey,” he said patting his daughter on the arm. Grandpa leaned over and pecked his grandson lightly on the forehead. “Get a good night’s sleep champ. We’ll go exploring again soon. Next time, we’ll net the Loch Ness.”
“Grandpa,” Jeremy said sleepily. “I’m glad you’re retarded.”
Grandpa smiled and his mother stifled a laugh.
“Me too son, me too.”
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