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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "It's No Use Crying over Spilt Milk" (without using the actual phrase or literal exampl (02/07/08)

TITLE: Frank’s Pity Party


“This news report was brought to you by… “


“Nothing but bad news.”

“What are you mumbling about, Frank?”

“Nothing, Nancy.”

“Well, when you’ve finished mumbling about nothing, you take out the trash.”

“Ok, Nancy.”

Frank stood with a groan and reached for his cane. It was a routine he had found himself in since the accident. Wake, bathroom, dress, breakfast, sit, watch the news, then empty the trash. “Oh, joy,” he muttered as he opened the back door. “It’s Wednesday… Nancy’s ladies’ meeting.”

He grumbled and groaned the short walk to where the trash can was located by the side gate and dropped the bag in. A car door slammed, followed by another. Frank glanced over the fence. “Well, well,” he muttered. “Looks like the new neighbors have moved in over there. Noisy kids too, I suspect, or annoying cats.”

He turned to go back indoors. His thigh ached from the cold. “Twenty seven-years old, Lord, and I feel eighty. I’m useless. Why did you let me survive? I’m finished. With this hopeless leg, my life is over. I…”

A high-pitched scream interrupted his pity party with God.

Another scream and a door banged shut. Frank startled and returned to the gate as fast as his useless leg would carry him. The woman opposite was running toward the street.

“Help! Help!”

Frank opened the gate and hobbled up his path. “What’s wrong?” he yelled.

The woman was trembling. “Please, help my son.”

“What’s happened?” Frank asked when he reached the other side of the road.

“I think he’s dead.”

“Where is he?” Frank asked calmly, hoping he could calm the woman’s panic.

The woman practically dragged Frank up the path and through her front door. On the floor lay a man about his own age. He was very still and appeared to have stopped breathing. Frank knelt on his good knee beside the man and felt his pulse. “What’s your name?” he asked the woman gently.

“Michelle. Michelle Warrick,” she answered, her distress easing. “This is my son, Colin. He’s a diabetic.”

“OK, Michelle, this is what I want you to do. Go over to my house and ask my wife to call 911. Then, ask her to make you a cup of tea and stay there until the paramedics arrive.”

The woman turned and ran without questioning.

Frank moved Colin carefully so he could clear his airway. He checked head to toe for any injuries that may have been caused when he collapsed, then rechecked his vital signs. Suddenly, Frank’s upper leg cramped, causing him to sit hard on his backside. He gripped his thigh and sat rubbing it frantically until it subsided.

Frank was checking Colin’s vital signs again when Colin began to move. He opened his eyes and looked around, obviously confused, when his eyes settled on Frank. There was a sound of a distant siren.

“It’s OK, Colin. The paramedics will be here soon. Stay still. Do you hurt anywhere?”

“Hello, Frank! Who do you have here?”

“Tony, good to see you.” Frank introduced Colin. “This is a buddy of mine; Tony.”

Frank pushed himself out of the way and Tony busied himself with the patient.

Another paramedic rushed in. “Frank, are you OK?”

“Hi, Sarah. So, they’ve teamed you up with Tony.”

At that moment, Michelle returned with Nancy. “Colin, are you OK?”

“I think so,” he replied groggily.

Tony turned to Colin. “We’ll rescue you from Frank and get you checked out at the hospital.”

“You know him?” Colin asked, obviously still confused.

Nancy stepped forward and helped Frank to his feet. “Frank the hero can’t help himself.” She smiled.

Sarah inserted an IV into Colin’s arm. “Frank was Tonys’ paramedic partner and driver until a drunk ran a red light and hit the driver’s door of the ambulance. He lost his lower leg,” she added sympathetically.

“It’s not the only thing he lost,” Nancy added sadly.

Tony looked up at Frank. “You still feeling sorry for yourself? You still have the gift, Frank. It’s in your blood, no matter how long you sit in that overstuffed chair and feel sorry for yourself.”

Frank watched as Tony and Sarah eased Colin onto a portable gurney. He then looked into Michelle’s relieved eyes. He put his arm around Nancy. “Tony’s right, it’s time to move on. Maybe they can use my help down at the first-aid station. I can manage that and we’ll see where it takes me.”

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Sara Harricharan 02/14/08
Kudos to Frank for deciding to quit the pity party and get up there and see if there isn't some way he can start helping again! I like how you tied in his background to helping the new neighbor. This was good. ^_^
Chrissi Dunn02/14/08
This kept my attention the whole way through. Glad Frank was able to escape feeling sorry for himself.
Debbie Wistrom02/14/08
God can use us where he puts us, what a great message. This felt real, thanks!
Joanne Sher 02/14/08
Great characterization, with a very believable transformation. This felt very real.
Laury Hubrich 02/14/08
Very good story. You fooled me when the man was only in his 20's. Excellent job!
Seema Bagai 02/15/08
Great message in a well-written piece.
Shari Armstrong 02/15/08
Very cool :) A great lesson - don't focus on what you can't do, but what you can.
Sharlyn Guthrie02/18/08
A good illustration of the topic and also a way out. I, too was surprised he was so young, based on the earlier descriptions. Living in morbid regret ages a person.
LauraLee Shaw02/18/08
This story involved me at the very beginning. My mom was handicapped from a car wreck, and I remember so well her battle to feel like she could do any good in the world. And by the way, she did. Well done.
Lyn Churchyard02/18/08
What an old grumble-bum Frank was in the beginning. I loved the bit about noisy kids and annoying cats. So glad he woke up to himself. Great story Ms Chrissy :)
LaNaye Perkins02/18/08
Wonderful story and message my friend. I love the turn around at the end. Well done!
Leigh MacKelvey02/18/08
Your writing was very good, as usual, I enjoyed the story!
Rita Garcia02/18/08
Great characterization! like your take on the topic!
Patty Wysong02/18/08
A great example of the topic. It was fun to reread this and see the hints--way to go!
Jan Ackerson 02/19/08
Great characterization of Frank, and I love Nancy's line toward the end: That's not the only thing he lost...Very good writing.
Verna Cole Mitchell 02/19/08
I enjoyed your story and was glad to see Frank come to a happier frame of mind.
Lynda Schultz 02/19/08
I suspected what Frank's profession had been — more competent than most of us would have been under the same circumstances. Good story
Pam Carlson-Hetland02/20/08
What a great story. The characters are realistic. I was thinking that the Lord really does put situations in our path to provide opportunity to clear our thinking...if we take them. Good job, wonderful writing!
Edy T Johnson 02/22/08
On topic, girl! Good story, too. Now, how did "Frank and Nancy" show up in both our stories (^&^) -- must be great minds move in the same channels, right! I noticed SirWilliam had a Frank, too.

Thank you for commenting on my Oasis story. I sure appreciate you, friend!
Celeste Ammirata03/01/08
Great story. I love reading stories where people finally come outside of their self absorbtion and pity.
Well written with an easy flow.