Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: SHOP (01/03/19)
TITLE: Continuing Education in Flirtation
By Betty Castleberry
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When I told her industrial arts, you could have driven a small car through her gaping mouth. In fact she said, “Industrial arts? You mean shop? Where you use saws and stuff?"
"Yes. The schedule says we’ll be working with metal, too. Why are you so surprised?"
"Well,” she answered, “as long as I've known you, you've never been interested in that sort of thing."
"It’s a recent interest. Besides, lots of females take industrial arts."
"Yes, but they're usually high school students. You know, teen-agers." Her eyes narrowed. "Wait a minute. Is the instructor the same one that teaches high school shop?"
"I believe so."
"Now I get it. I heard he's a Sam Elliott look alike.” She stood up. “Listen, I’ve got to run. Call me and let me know how it goes.”
After promising I’d report back, I couldn’t wait to get ready for class that night.
The classroom held six big tables with four stools at each one. Most of the stools were already occupied. I claimed a seat beside an innocuous looking man and smiled politely.
Just then a tall, slender, silver-haired man strode into the room and sat on the stool in the front of the room. “Hello. I’m Will Bryce, your instructor, but please call me Will.” Calling him gorgeous would have been more accurate.
He continued saying something about signing in only for the first class, we were adults, here to learn, we were responsible, whatever. He could have said the building was on fire and I wouldn’t have noticed.
The man next to me tapped my arm lightly and passed me a sign-in sheet. That got my attention for a minute.
Will continued to speak, “I won’t be assigning grades since you don’t need a high school credit. However, I’m required to issue a pass or fail considering there are a few of you here on a work program. I’m going to assume none of you know anything about industrial arts. We’re going to make a simple birdhouse to start with. You’ll find the pattern in the center of your table. Read the instructions carefully before you begin. But before you do that, we’re going to watch a short safety video. Safety is our first and foremost priority in this class.”
As soon as the video was over, he began walking around the room. “As I come to your table, I’ll help you get started. I’d also like you to hear why you chose this class.”
When he stopped beside me, I looked up into a pair of gorgeous blue eyes. I fumbled the birdhouse pattern and said, “I’m still reading.”
“I see. So why did you want to take industrial arts?”
“Jesus was a carpenter.” The words tumbled out of my mouth.
He nodded and walked on.
Although I did read the birdhouse instructions carefully, by the end of class, I had accomplished nothing except cutting half of my birdhouse roof at the wrong angle, spilling an ocean of glue on the table, and dumping sawdust onto my table partner. It wasn’t because I was mesmerized by Will either. I had decided to give the class my best effort, although I wasn’t sure it would be enough.
It was a relief when Will announced our time was up. I gathered my things and headed for the door but he stopped me. “Mrs. Paxton? Would you please wait a minute?”
I suspected he was going to throw me out for incompetence.
“Call me Patricia. I’m widowed,” I said stupidly, trying to cover my nervousness.
“Okay, Patricia. You’re not taking this class because Jesus was a carpenter, are you?”
“No. But He was.”
I thought I saw pain flicker across his eyes. Encouraged, I went on. “Do you know Jesus?”
He looked down. “I used to.”
“Used to? Do you want to tell me about it?”
“Coffee shop across the street?” He raised one brow expectantly.
“Only if you’ll go to church with me this Sunday.”
“No promises, Patricia.”
“Fair enough. One more thing. I doubt I’m going to be very good at shop. Will you pass me?”
“Not on your life, unless you deserve it.”
I couldn’t wait to call Carrie.
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