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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Irritated (11/08/12)

By James Dick


Tommy was an active eleven year old baseball fanatic. It was all he thought about. But he had a problem unrelated to baseball. It was Missy, the cute little ten year old next door. She followed him everywhere. She actually adored him and he found it annoying. He was at the stage where girls don’t matter.

His father told him to be nice saying, “One of these days when you are older you will see her differently. Just you wait; she’ll surprise you.”

Tommy vigorously shook his head saying, “No way, Dad. She’s a girl and a nuisance. That won’t change.”

His dad just laughed saying, “Well, don’t say I didn’t tell you so.”

Tommy’s torment continued for the next two years until one day his father called a family meeting. He had received a big promotion and they would be moving to Central City next month.

Following the move, Tommy adjusted quickly to his new environs and became a star baseball player. Working hard, he became the starting second baseman on the Central City High School team, leading the squad in batting.

Even so, he still missed Smallville, his home town. No one was a stranger there and people were always friendly and helpful. Surprisingly, he even thought of Missy on occasion but quickly pushed her out of his mind.

One evening three years later, Dad called another family powwow. His demeanor was somber and serious.

“Okay, family, I have some good news and bad news,” he began. “The bad news is that the corporate office is downsizing and my position is being eliminated. But the good news is that I’ve been offered my old job back in Smallville. I have to give an answer by noon tomorrow.”

He looked at his wife, Betty, and Tommy, now Tom, and asked, “What do you think?”

Betty and Tom nearly replied in unison, “That’s great, we still miss Smallville.”

Dad followed with the clincher, telling them he found a house in the old neighborhood, the Pullman place, priced right. Betty and Tom both told him to buy it. The issue was settled.

On his third day after the move, Tom spotted Missy in a hallway at Smallville High. She was dressed in her cute cheerleading outfit and had a long blonde ponytail. Johnny wanted to talk to her but he didn’t know what to say and he didn’t want to embarrass himself. She was with a group of cheerleaders and he thought it would be awkward.

That night at dinner he told his dad that he had seen Missy from afar and she looked terrific.

He told his dad, “And I know you told me so.”

His dad just laughed and responded, “Why don’t you go see her, Tom. I saw her father the other day and he remembered you. And Missy, uh Melissa, remembers you, too.”

The next afternoon after school Tom walked up the street to Melissa’s house. Before reaching the door, Melissa opened it. He wasn’t sure if she was happy to see him or not. Her eyes were expressionless and she had a slight smirk on her face.

“Missy,” he started. “Remember me?”

She looked irritated and replied with sarcasm, “It’s Melissa now, Tom and yes, I remember you. I knew you were back in town. I knew you moved in up the street and are now called Tom.

She continued, “I also know how you treated me when I was younger, telling others I irritated you. I also know that you knew that I liked you. I liked you a lot.”

Tom was beet red as he retorted, “Melissa, I’m sorry, but I was just a kid interested in baseball. I’ve grown up since then and I see things differently. Can’t we be friends, Melissa?”

Her frown quickly turned to a smile and her blue eyes began to twinkle.
“Of course, I‘ll be your friend. That’s what I always wanted,” she answered. “But just remember, friends stick up for each other and stay close. Can you do that?”

She then surprised him adding, “Come to the football bonfire Friday night. I’ll let you walk me home if you would like. We can reacquaint ourselves.”

Tom grinned and touched her hand, agreeing to her terms and telling her that he would see her at school and Friday night.

As he walked home, he knew that his dad had given good advice. Honesty, kindness and caring can overcome all obstacles. God sees to it if we let Him.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/16/12
This is an interesting story. You covered quite a few years with few words. Tommy grabbed my interest and was a likable character. You did a nice job of introducing the conflicts too.

I did notice you switched tense in this sentence: He was at the stage where girls don’t matter.It should be didn't Another thing you could have done here is show instead of tell. For example He was at the stage when a girl walked by he and his friends would crinkle their noses and shout, "Cooties!" Also some of the dialog didn't feel natural. Try to really listen to how kids around you or on TV talk and then imitate that in your writing. For example this sentence: I knew you moved in up the street and are now called Tom. might sound more natural like: I'd heard that'cha moved back and now are Tom not Tommy.

I really liked the idea behind your story./ How true what once may have irritated us can now be quite appealing. I think you did a nice job describing the quintessential teen trauma--matters of the heart. I also liked the message at the end of the story too. Nice job. Keep writing!