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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Write in the MYSTERY genre (04/05/07)

TITLE: Little Pitchers Have Big Ears
By Catrina Bradley


They were talking about it again. The carpet itched the backs of Benjy’s leg, and he absently scratched with one hand and pushed the dump truck back and forth in front of him with the other. His attention was fixed on his mom and dad, though. Benjy didn’t want to miss a word

“I swear, Jeff, there is such a thing as the sock monster. Look - six unmatched socks in this load.” Benjy’s mom didn’t sound happy.

“Did you look…”

“I looked everywhere – I even muscled the washer and dryer out enough to make sure they weren’t hiding back there. I swept a yardstick under them and only brought out dust bunnies and dryer sheets.”

“Carol, they’ve got to be somewhere. Socks don’t just disappear.”

A flash brightened the room, and seconds later a deafening crack of thunder made them all jump. Benjy had all but forgotten about the truck his hand now gripped.

“Uh… I mean..,” Jeff faltered, “they don’t disappear in this quantity, anyway. How many is that, now?”

“These six make 23. At this rate, there won’t be a single pair of socks in this house by summer. I’m telling you – it’s the sock monster!”

Another burst of light was followed immediately by a crash of thunder. The skies opened and a torrent attacked the roof with a clatter.

Jeff’s eyes shot toward the window, and he saw his son’s ashen face, a full moon glowing in the darkening room. Benjy was doing his best to be brave, but his lower lip quivered.

Jeff snapped his fingers. “Hey, I’ve got an idea!”

Benjy tore his gaze from the storm outside, and looked up at his dad. A single tear escaped. He wiped at it with the back of his hand before it could trickle down his cheek.

Jeff lowered himself to the floor to sit with his son. “Ben, you and I going on a sock hunt. Somewhere in this house are 23 socks, and we’re going to find them. I don’t believe in the sock monster – how about you, squirt?”

“Umm, n-n-no?” He wanted to be brave for his dad, but he wasn’t too sure about the monster. His mom believed in it, didn’t she?

“C’mon, it’ll be fun. We’ll each get a flashlight, and we’ll search every corner and cranny of this house. And whoever finds the most socks wins a prize.”

Benjy cocked his head to one side and squinted at his dad. “What kinda prize?” Visions of chocolate bars filled his head.

“A surprise prize.”

“Well…I guess.” He gave his mom a pleading look, and she returned it with an encouraging smile. He left his truck and, feet dragging, trailed after his dad to the garage. And so the two set out on the Great Sock Hunt of ‘07, Jeff determined, but Benjy reluctant.

A half hour of poking into closets, peeking under beds, and peering behind furniture produced only one missing sock. Jeff scratched his head. “Ok, squirt, only your room left. Let’s hit it.”

“Dad? Can I have some milk?”

“After we finish the sock hunt, Benjy. We’re almost through.”

“But…I’m thirsty.”

“You can wait, it’ll only be a couple minutes.” He studied Benjy, who had commenced to quake and tremble. Jeff squatted down and laid a hand on Benjy’s shoulder. “What is it, Ben?”

“The sock… The… “ Benjy took a deep shuddering breath and squared his shoulders. “N-n-nothing, dad. It’s ok.”

Jeff took Benjy’s small hand in his big one, and together they ventured on to Benjy’s room. Once on the other side of the door, though, Benjy stood stock still, a wary eye on the bed, as Jeff searched for socks. “Hmm, no loose socks in the closet…none behind the bureau. Ok, let’s look under this bed.”

“Be careful, Dad.” Benjy was shaking again, and his eyes were filling.

“Careful of what, Ben?”

Sobbing now, Benjy blurted out, “The monster, Dad! The monster under the bed!”

“Benjy, we’ve talked about this. There’s no such thing as monsters, and there isn’t one living under your bed.

“But, Mommy said there is a monster – The Sock Monster!”

Jeff choked back a laugh, and struggled to keep a straight face.

“But I'm not too scared, Dad. He won’t eat me. I made sure.”

“How’d you do that, squirt?”

“I feed him. Almost every day. And so far he’s left me alone.”

“What have you fed him?”

“Duh, daddy, he eats socks! Do you think Mommy will be mad at me?”


NOTE: "Little pitchers have big ears" - Adults must be careful about what they say within the hearing of children. The saying refers to the large handles (ears) sometimes attached to small vessels.

source: http://www.bartleby.com/

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This article has been read 1352 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Leigh MacKelvey04/13/07
This was a tender mystery! I loved how Benjy was such a typical little boy ... of course there was a sock monster under his bed! Didn't his mommy say there was one! Also liked the strong verbs used throughout the story such as "muscled", "faltered".
The storm background gave a spooky setting. Great writing!
Patty Wysong04/13/07
This is Wonderful!! Finally an explanation to where all those socks have disappeared to! :-) I'm off to check under the kid's beds...(again-lol)
Rhonda Clark04/13/07
This is very good. Love the imagery. I could visualize it all. The only thing you may want to work on is the pov stuff. Overall, very solid writing.
Dolores Stohler04/13/07
Really cute take on the mystery genre. Actually I solved that sock thing a long time ago. They go out through the vent on the dryer. Just kidding, lol.
Lynda Schultz 04/13/07
I used to have a monster under my bed - I never thought to feed it socks. Great idea, and great story.
CeCe Lane04/14/07
That is really cute. I liked it. I could so picture one of my girlies as Benjy.
Marilyn Schnepp 04/14/07
Great mystery piece. Great title, no errors, and an interesting story that kept my interest throughout. Kudos!
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/14/07
What a delightful story! I thought of the mystery of missing socks, but I could never have come up with anything as clever and sweet as this!
Joanne Sher 04/14/07
Just as good - and fun - the second read-through. Great characterization and detail.
Jacquelyn Horne04/15/07
Really cute. What a surprise. Very creative ending.
Jan Ackerson 04/16/07
So precious! I just love the innocence of children, and you absolutely nailed it.
Esther Gellert04/16/07
This was very funny. I really enjoyed it.
It's also a good reminder that children hear SO much more than we realise.
Sheri Gordon04/16/07
This is really sweet and nicely written. This is a lesson I need to be reminded of often. Great take on this week's theme.
Myrna Noyes04/17/07
This is an absolutely wonderful, sweet story with a clever ending! I enjoyed every minute of reading it! Excellent writing! :)
Sara Harricharan 04/17/07
Aww! this was a cute children's mystery. I liked the spelling of Benjy and especially the idea of a sock hunt and the 'sock monster'. Great story!
Val Clark04/17/07
Another delightful story! Well crafted, good characters, you set up the 'problem' well and lead the reader down an unexpected path. Well done. Feeding the sock moster! Still smiling. yeggy
Julie Arduini04/17/07
This was absolutely precious. I wouldn't change a thing. This is one that will stick with me for quite some time because it was that good!
Rita Garcia04/18/07
This was a treat to read! Fantastic all the way around!
Loren T. Lowery04/18/07
This was so cute and a delight to read. You kept your characters so believable with their age-appropriate thoughts and dialogue.
Sara Harricharan 04/19/07
Congrats! ^_^
Bonnie Way04/19/07
This was hilarious! Great mystery! Congrats on getting second place.
Sharlyn Guthrie04/19/07
What a fun, completely believeable story! Congratulations on 2nd place!