Home Read What's New Join
My Account Login

Read Our Devotional             2016 Opportunities to be Published             Detailed Navigation

The HOME for Christian writers! The Home for Christian Writers!
The Official Writing Challenge



how it works
submission rules
guidelines for
choosing a level


submit your entry
read current entries
read past entries
challenge winners

Our Daily Devotional HERE
Place it on your site or
receive it daily by email.



how it works   Submit

Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: The Reader (04/15/10)

TITLE: The Wicked Penguin
By Cecile Hurst


Coffee shops are never just coffee shops. They¡¯re entities. They have a smell, a pulse¡­ a character. ¡°The Wicked Penguin¡± smelled like coffee spilled on a book. Its pulse ebbed under very trendy-blue painted walls¡­ something between how children color ice, and mint. You could tell by its heatbeat it didn¡¯t excersise much, but it had character ¨C and that made up for everything else. Not really how life normally goes, is it? I mean¡­ I got character. That¡¯s why I go to coffee shops. And it¡¯s also why no one else ever goes with me.

I once had a conversation with an average looking person. Now I avoid them at all costs. You know the type. Average. Average confidence. Average intelligence. Average social skills. Well, we were having this average conversation that took a sudden plummet, like a feather in a vacuum, when completely out of nowhere she starts on about how she¡¯s happy she wasn¡¯t born ridiculously beautiful. Now to clarify this wasn¡¯t your average fishing for a compliment conversation ¨C this was pity. She felt sorry for me. Wanted me to feel good about myself. I could tell.

¡°I¡¯m glad I wasn¡¯t born like ridiculously beautiful or something,¡± she said.

Got to love that ¡®or something¡¯.

¡°I mean¡­ they have a hard life, you know? People always loving them for their looks instead of who they are and stuff.¡±

¡®And stuff¡¯. I¡¯m not a violent person. That being said¡­ I could have punched her. But we were at ¡°The Wicked Penguin¡± and I didn¡¯t want to be banned.

See, I¡¯m ugly. Truly. Really character¡¯s all I got. But it¡¯s one of those weird characters that often deveolps in people who are shunned. Above average confidence. Average intelligence. Below average social skills. I get in people¡¯s faces. Say things I shouldn¡¯t in ways I shouldn¡¯t. Miss social cues. Walk too fast. Mind you I got great hair ¨C thick and soft and the kind of blond color that people try to achieve by dying and it never quite works. Yep.

Anyways, ¡°The Wicked Penguin¡± was first a used book store. The guy who owned it went bankrupt so Jerry, the guy who bought it, could afford to buy all the books with it. And now that it¡¯s a coffee shop the books sell, so every once in a while Jerry gets a bunch of new used books and I purchase one. Today I¡¯m buying ¡°The Reader For Beautiful Girls.¡± It ought to be a scream.

I hand over 25 dollars, a 20 and a 5. ¡°Tell Jerry this one¡¯s a steal. Copyright 1956, 7th edition,¡± I tell the girl at the registar. She throws 25 cents on the counter and raises her eyebrows unenthusiastically. Doesn¡¯t even hand me the coin. ¡°Thank you girl at the registar,¡± I say while I scratch away at one side, trying to pry it up. I call her ¡®girl at the registar¡¯ because, though she wears a name tag that clearly states her name as Maggie, I asked her her name once and she wouldn¡¯t tell me. Now it¡¯s a pride thing.

I take a seat in the corner. I open the reader and read, sipping my coffee periodically because I like to give the appearance of being able to do two things at once. In reality, every time I sip my coffee I have to pause my reading.

¡°Susan is crying. See her tears?
This is Susan¡¯s Mother. ¡®Susan! Whatever is the matter?¡¯
¡®I¡¯m not beautiful like the other girls,¡¯ cries Susan, throwing herself into Mother¡¯s arms.
¡®My darling,¡¯ says Mother, ¡®everyone is beautiful.¡¯
¡®Not I!¡¯ cries Susan, ¡®I have dull brown hair, eyes as grey as river stones and such a long and pointed nose!¡¯
¡®Tisk, tisk!¡¯ says Mother, ¡®Come look in the vanity mirror. What do you see?¡¯
¡®I see a plain little girl.¡¯
¡®Yes, me too. We need to add some sparkle and beauty.¡¯Mother tickles Susan.
Susan laughs and smiles.
¡®There! Do you see?¡¯ asks Mother. ¡®You are beautiful! Every girl is beautiful when she is happy and she smiles.¡¯
Susan smiles again. She is happy. She understands now that this is real beauty.¡±

I smirk. I close the book. I finish my coffee. I ask for the key to use the restroom before I go. I don¡¯t look in the mirror. I look in the mirror¡­ and smile at myself.

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
Accept Jesus as Your Lord and Savior Right Now - CLICK HERE
JOIN US at FaithWriters for Free. Grow as a Writer and Spread the Gospel.

This article has been read 379 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 04/24/10
Interesting story I enjoyed the sarcasm and felt the MC pain