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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of “A Stitch in Time Saves Nine” (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (01/03/08)

TITLE: Little Mess
By Karen Wilber
01/08/08


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Plop! A little mess landed on the floor. It wasn't much of a mess, just a bite of ice cream sandwich and a corner of wrapper. The rest of the ice cream accompanied a little boy who scampered around the corner.

Little Mess looked around. He watched people mingle about the fellowship hall. No one took notice of him, which bothered Little Mess a great deal. He didn't want to be ignored. He didn't want to be little. He longed to be a big mess, a significant mess, a spectacular mess, but he didn't know how one little mess could achieve such greatness.

A gathering of giggles interrupted his thoughts as a group of girls stood over him and sniffed.

“Eeewww! Look what's on the floor.”

“Yuk. You clean it up!”

“I'm not going to touch that.”

Little Mess observed the girls devouring their own ice cream sandwiches and decided that they would neither understand nor appreciate the irony. The girls ran off and Little Mess continued his rumination. Surely a little mess could become a big mess with only a little time and planning.

Little Mess noticed a figure in the distance, entering the hall from the kitchen. The figure carried a tray piled with cups and saucers. Atop the cups perched a plate of cookies. Balanced among the cups and cookies were two pots of freshly brewed tea. Mrs. Beatrice Fitzgibbons was on her way to the ladies' Bible study with refreshments in hand. She wore her new patent pumps, purchased precisely to impress the ladies as she served their tea.

Little Mess had a big idea. He felt the floor around him and found it to be . . . freshly waxed.

Suddenly, a woman blocked his view. Attached to the hands of the woman were the struggling arms of two excited boys. The Boxley twins tugged at their tired mother as she directed them toward children's choir practice.

“What's that?” they cried in unison and pointed down at Little Mess.

“It's ice cream! We want ice cream!” they wailed, renewing their struggles.

Someone should wipe that up before someone slips thought Mother Boxley as she tightened her grip and her resolve and steered them around Little Mess.

Little Mess looked back toward the kitchen. Mrs. Fitzgibbons came closer, her tower of pots and plates pitched precariously as she careened through the crowd. The patents, perfectly polished, had not yet acquired enough scuff on their soles to maintain purchase on a newly polished floor. Little Mess spread himself out preparing for the inevitable fall. A few more steps, a slip, and a skid and Little Mess would become a substantial mess, a considerable mess, covering the floor in crumbled cookies and crunched crockery.

“Oh dear,” said a quiet voice above him, “There's a little mess on the floor.”

A kindly face regarded him with a smile as fingers searched through the cuff of a sweater. “This will only take a second.”

Miss Jennie extracted a tissue from her sleeve and knelt to pick up the wax wrapper. “We wouldn't want anyone to slip on that, now would we?” she said to herself as she fished through her pocketbook for a spare napkin to clean up the melted ice cream.

Little Mess was rubbed and dabbed and absorbed until he felt himself being entirely lifted from his place on the polished floor. Oh well, he sighed sadly as he disappeared in a wad into the trash bin.

Beatrice Fitzgibbons, her tray of tea untoppled, swayed past on her way to the ladies' Bible study not knowing how close she came to calamity.


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This article has been read 1394 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Tim George01/10/08
Right on topic! You have illustrated such an important truth. The "slips" that are avoided in life are seldom recognized. Great falls are sensationalized for all to know about. But ... the spills of life that were prevented before they happened often go unnoticed. Great story. Love the title.
Sheri Gordon01/10/08
This is very good for the topic. The characters are fun -- especially Little Mess -- and the lesson is illustrated very well.
James Clem 01/10/08
Oh grumble, grumble...
I was rooting for Little Mess. His aspirations were so charming. Fun and creative. This is a winner!
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/10/08
A clever idea--to personify Little Mess and clean him up. I enjoyed this fun read.
Temple Miller01/10/08
An absolute delight to read this imaginative work. Great personification! This is my favorite so far.
Lynda Schultz 01/10/08
Oh, this is super good! Love it, love it, love. Little Mess has such personality.
Marita Thelander 01/10/08
Positively perfect ploy of puns!
Joanne Sher 01/11/08
Delightfully creative and engaging. An extremely fun voice and a wonderful read. Loved it.
Rita Garcia01/11/08
Entertaining from start to finish! Great take on the topic!
Laury Hubrich 01/11/08
Wow! This was perfectly on topic! I really expected to see the woman fall -- but alas, a calamity averted:) Great message!
Laury
Emily Gibson01/12/08
What a creative take on the theme. Great job.
Sharlyn Guthrie01/12/08
A perfect illustration of the saying, and a delightful read. I love the POV and the twist near the end, averting calamity.
Catrina Bradley 01/13/08
Cute POV! Great story for the topic. We need more Miss Jennies in this world.
Kristen Hester01/14/08
Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. This story is in masters, exactly where it belongs. The writing is engaging, the plot is precious and it is creative and clever. Right on topic! Great job.
Loren T. Lowery01/14/08
In a word, I find this brillaint. It captures the essence of the topic with flawless creativity...and, did I happen to mention, I like it very much : )
Jan Ackerson 01/14/08
Oh my, I've rarely seen something this creative! Who thinks to personify a little mess??? Awesome.
Sally Hanan01/14/08
Cute and fun. Little mess sounds a bit devious to me :)
Holly Westefeld01/14/08
A fun read. Where would we be without those who write for children, and teach them such important lessons while engaging their attention?
Yvonne Blake 01/15/08
Interestign POV!
I didn't know those things had a mind of their own! NO wonder they seem to grow when you're not looking!
Beth LaBuff 01/16/08
Wonderfully written! It was such fun to read and picture scenes that could happen as you described them. I love the tissue from the sleeve. :)
Sheri Gordon01/17/08
Congratulations on your much deserved EC Karen. Way to go!
Linda Watson Owen01/19/08
Karen, this is one of the most creative pieces I've read in a long time! What a cute MC! Little Mess...at first I thought 'he' was one of my children that got in there! Haha! EC was certainly right for this one! Congratulations!