Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: CLUE (09/06/18)
TITLE: Better Not
By Phillip Cimei
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Kelly was smart. Straight A’s. She graduated high school as Valedictorian with a 5.0 GPA. Yes, 5.0. While others were struggling to achieve a 4.0, Kelly was taking all the advanced placement classes allowed and aced them all. College was her path now, but it has also become her problem. She stroked that old wooden case. Her heart raced because she knew what was in it.
“Hey Kell,” came a startling welcome from her bedroom door.
Kelly jerked her hand back from the wooden box and wiped her tears again. She combed through her strawberry blond hair while jumping up like she got caught with her hand in the cookie jar, “Hey mom,” she said letting out another sigh. This one was long and pronounced, “Feeew! You scared me.”
“I saw your car outside, Kell,” her mother, Jane, said as her eyebrows crunched together. Fall break isn’t for another week.”
Kelly’s shoulders slumped as she plopped back down on the bed. She ran her hands down the sides of the box then along the top. She turned to her mother, patted the bed—mimicking what her mother used to do when it was girl talk time—and said, “I don’t think I can handle the temptations. I am quitting school.”
“Quitting school? Why Kelly Marie Johnson there isn’t a quitting bone in your body. What on earth has happened at school to cause you to say that?”
“The kids laugh at me every time I open that case and start that concoction.”
Kelly’s mother clutched both of Kelly’s hands and said, “Sweetheart, school is just a mirror of the real world. You will find those types all through life.”
Kelly briefly starred into her mother’s eyes and then shifted her eyes to that box on the bed, "Remember what dad said when he gave me this silly contraption at my graduation party?”
“I remember it took your father six months to build it. He put together every engineering trick he had in his bag and employed the help of every friend that knew anything about mechanical movement, hobby crafting, and woodworking to get it done.”
“No, I mean why he built it.”
Jane put her arm around Kelly’s shoulders and said, “Your dad knew that you would be tested at school. Drinking, sex, drugs. He trusted you, but knew that it would be good to give you a little helping hand.”
Kelly laughed, “Who would have thought that a silly little concoction would remind me not to fold to temptation.”
“Your dad always told you that God’s word will give you the clues you need to escape the traps of the Devil. He had to pick the most outrageous story in the bible to get his point across.”
Kelly lifted off the wooden cover and they both gave each other a grin. Kelly kissed her mother on the cheek and said, “You may have the honors.”
Jane looked down at what Kelly called a concoction. Sitting on a hand carved donkey was a little girl. Hand stitched and donning Kelly’s school colors and emblems. In front of the donkey was an angel made of the clearest most transparent glass imaginable. In her hand was a sword. Jane flipped a switch on the front of the platform. They both giggled as the mechanisms engaged.
The donkey turned to the side and cried out, “Better not.” Then it proceeded to slide to the side forcing the leg of the little girl against an intricately build wall made of little stones. The donkey again cried out, “Better not.” Finally, the donkey just fell down crying out the final time, “Better not.” Lastly, the translucent glass angel lit up. She raised the sword and said, “This path leads to destruction. Daddy says, ‘Better not.”’
They both let out a horrendous laugh. Jane squeezed Kelly’s arm oh so gently and said, “Your dad used that silly story of Balaam and the talking donkey, plus a little of his own fatherly guidance, to get you started thinking. Now use your heart filled with God’s word to tell you, “Better not.”
Kelly returned to school.
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