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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Abundance (06/08/06)

TITLE: The Examination
By Theresa Kissinger
06/14/06


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Treating me like I’m senile,” he muttered to himself. Walking into the waiting room he took a seat, “Trying to put me in the grave early…”

“Mr. Reedy, you can go back now,” said the receptionist. Taking off his hat, he stood and walked in his usual quick step.

“I’m waiting for my daughter to come in, can you tell her where I am?

The nurse busied herself with the chart. “Mr. Reedy,” here is a gown could you please put this on. Your full name is Frank Reedy is that correct?”

“Yeah that’s right. Have you seen my daughter?”

“Your daughter doesn’t need to be here today. This is the Examination Room, now if you would change and lie down we’ll be right with you.”

The old man let out an annoyed sigh and changed, he sat on the gurney and swung his feet up, with his hands cradling his head, he scanned the room.

White tile floors and walls, and shiny stainless steel made it feel sterile. ‘Where the h…’ His thoughts were interrupted by the screeching of a loud speaker.

“Mr. Reedy, we need you to verify your personal information. Your mother’s maiden name is?”

“Claire Dent.”

“Do you have a wife and is she living?”

“Elizabeth, she passed away six years ago.”

“Was this examination ordered by my doctor?”

With no response, the old man lay back on the gurney and impatiently tapped his fingers. Then the lights dimmed and a screen slowly lowered from the ceiling.

“Mr. Reedy don’t be alarmed, we want to show you a little video.”

“That’s me, where did you get this? Did Clairie give it to you?”

“Who is that in the pink snowsuit?”

“That’s Clairie, my daughter, she must have been two.”

“Who’s standing at the window?”

“That’s my wife Elizabeth holding Frank Jr.”

“You all look happy.”

“Yeah, I guess we do.”

“Where is this?”

“The old house on Bailey Rd., we moved there in ‘61’.

“Do you remember this?”

“All three of the oldest had chickenpox and we put them together in a room.”

“What are you doing?” The loud speaker interrogated.

Mr. Reedy shifted nervously, “I’m covering them?”

“Where is your wife?”

“Driving the babysitter home, I think.”

“Why didn’t you?”

“I couldn’t drive, I…I had a few too many. What does this have to do with my examination? Where’s my daughter?”

“Can you explain what is happening here? Why is Clairie beating on the window and crying like that?”

“She had been sick so she stayed home with me. She could be dramatic like her mother.”

“Is that why you took off your belt? Is she afraid of you?”

“I doubt it. Look she’s sliding down the stairs laughing now.”

“She looks a little hysterical,” the voice in the box pointedly responded. “What changed her from the fearless little girl in the snowsuit?”

Shrugging his shoulders he swung his legs around to sit up.

“Wait one moment Mr. Reedy, there is just one more scene we like you to identify.

Letting out a long sigh, he looked toward the screen. “That’s Clairie in the garden; I guess she’s weeding or something.”

“She’s on her knees but not gardening, listen. What is she praying about, do you know?”

With a sardonic tone he responded, “How should I know.”

“Shhh…listen.”

“According to Your Word, whose sins against me that I pardon, they will be pardoned. I call on Your abundant grace to pour out on my father that all praise may be multiplied to You. I release him of any wrong he’s done to me, please bring him into salvation.”

“Well, Mr. Reedy did you gain salvation?”

“That’s what they tell me.”

“Who?”

“Pastor and Clairie, they said I prayed the sinner’s prayer.”

“So you did. Did you repent?”

“It was part of the prayer I prayed. Why am I here? So…I am dead then? Is this about getting into heaven?”

“It could be. Your sins are forgiven when you ask but we are concerned that you’re hiding things. That’s the reason for the examination under a True Light. Lay back.”

As he did a shaft of light scanned his body, Mr. Reedy felt it enter and shine through him until it came out the other side. Tears were streaming down his face.

“Oh Lord, forgive me,” he cried.

A door swung open and light flooded the room, “Mr. Reedy step this way.”

Hurrying toward the Light, “When my daughter gets here tell her I’m sorry but I couldn’t wait.”


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Member Comments
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Stefanie Noonan06/17/06
Interesting read. Thanks for sharing it with us. The dialogue was well done. Sounded like a screen play. Keep writing. Stef.
Sandra Petersen 06/17/06
What can I say about this piece? Excellent use of dialogue. Good buildup of suspense.

For instance, when you have Mr. Reedy shift nervously when he sees the first picture on the screen, you set up an "Uhoh" in my mind. Without telling us it was probably incest or repeated physical abuse, you created drama.

A few punctuation booboos here and there. I didn't understand at first who was speaking in the following:

'“Elizabeth, she passed away six years ago.”

“Was this examination ordered by my doctor?”' You could put these together as I suspect they are both being said by Mr. Reedy, or if you want the question to have impact, you could include something about him getting irritated.

The last part about the examination under the True Light gave me chills! This is an excellent short story! Applause!
Sherry Wendling06/17/06
Wow! Just the right build-up, suspense, then the True Light is revealed at the end. Nice touch with the repentance and new peace with right with God more important than his earthly ties. It left me hoping somehow the surviving daughter would know the answer to her prayers!