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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Once in a Blue Moon (01/06/11)

TITLE: All The News That's Not Fit To Print
By Mariane Holbrook


I don’t know to this day what made me do it.

I can’t blame it on stupidity because I had the dubious honor of being nineteenth in my high school graduating class. The fact that our class had only twenty-two students has no bearing on this discussion whatsoever.

And I can’t blame it on vindictiveness because it was conceived in fun for my best friend upon whom I’d played endless, mindless tricks during our twelve years in school together.

Okay. So I was sitting at my desk next to the publisher’s office of our local newspaper, bored out of my proverbial skull. My work was caught up and my boss was roaming the building. Besides taking dictation and transcribing the boss’ letters, I also operated an antique switchboard, very similar to Lily Tomlin’s, when she portrayed "Ernestine, the telephone operator" on the comedy variety program ROWAN AND MARTIN'S LAUGH-IN.

I casually put a piece of paper in my trusty Remington typewriter and began to fantasize.

For Janice Frantz, proof-reader, for immediate publication:


Janice Louise Frantz and Earl Campbell Fisher both of Waverly, New York were united in marriage September 18 at Waverly United Methodist Church with Rev. Jonathan Peters officiating.

A reception followed at Shepherd Hills Country Club with music provided by the Branded Heart band of Elmira.

The bride was given in marriage by her father, Charles Edwin Frantz.

Serving as matron of honor was Margaret Durham of Waverly, sister of the bride. Jennifer Scott, of Binghamton, served as bridesmaid.

Serving as best man was Timothy Anderson of Sayre. Groomsmen were Daniel Holliday of Chicago and Richard Brandon of Waverly. Ushers were Travis and Logan Frantz, brothers of the bride, and Samuel Shaw, uncle of the bridegroom.

Traditional wedding music was played by harpist, Margaret Louise Bowery of Sayre.

The bride is the daughter of Charles and Elizabeth Frantz of Waverly. She is a graduate of Waverly Senior High School and employed as a proof-reader at The Evening Times, Sayre.

The groom is the son of Weldon and Frances Fisher of Waverly. A graduate of Waverly High School, he is a field service representative with Oncor.

The couple honeymooned at the Sandals Resort in New Albany, Pa. They currently reside in Sayre.

I knew Janice would be working upstairs proof-reading all the local articles. She would read it and dissolve in raucous laughter before tossing it in the trash bin. Earl Fisher (also known as “Froggy Fisher” in high school) would be the last person on earth Janice would speak to, let alone marry.

A half hour went by, then an agonizing hour passed.

I decided to phone her desk.

“She’s out ‘til Thursday,” I was informed by a new girl in that department whom I hadn’t yet met.

Panic flooded me like a tsunami of Biblical proportions.

“Do you know if today’s wedding announcements have been proof-read yet?” I gasped.

“Yes, there were only two and they’ve already been sent down to the type-setter.”

I rushed down the staircase, taking two steps at a time. “Have you type-set the wedding announcement for Janice Frantz, yet?” I stammered, my words tripping all over themselves.

“There’s a problem,” he answered. “I recognized Janice’s name and phoned your boss to ask if the write-up was true. Just to be sure, he phoned Janice’s house where she is sick in bed. She was horrified and denied it. So, we just pulled the article.”

I ran to the window, looking for any sign The Rapture might soon take place.

Back at my office, my boss was standing there tapping his foot. Something told me I was not being named “Employee Of The Week.”

“I’ve done a terrible thing,” I stammered, “but, thank God, it was caught in time.”

“No thanks to you!” he thundered, “Do you know how close we came to being sued out of business? This is the most irresponsible thing I’ve ever heard of. I’m too angry now to talk. I’ll let you know at five o’clock whether you still have a job here or not.”

I cried all afternoon. At five o’clock I crawled into his office, my face swollen and red.

“I’ve decided to put you on probation,” he said. “One slip-up and you’re history.”

I thanked him profusely, desperately hoping I could retrieve the dead garden snake Janice and I had placed in the desk of that pesky society editor upstairs before she started screaming.

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This article has been read 705 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Patsy Hallum01/13/11
what a mischieveous MC. I wouldn't want her working for me. Would like to see more adventures from her.
Verna Cole Mitchell 01/14/11
This is one of my favorites this week. The emotions the girl went through with her prank (fun, horror,fear of losing her job, relief) are presented clearly. The last line is perfect.
Henry Clemmons01/14/11
Got a laugh out of me. Quite the character. Enjoyed the read. The ending could have went either way. Kept me guessing. Good work.
Lynda Schultz 01/15/11
Great fun.
Shelley Ledfors 01/15/11
Oh, what a fun entry! I really laughed at this one and enjoyed it so much. Thanks for sharing it!
Carol Slider 01/15/11
Got to stop laughing long enough to say... Absolutely hilarious! This was really fun to read!
Loren T. Lowery01/17/11
This sounds so much like something I'd do. A very fun read of someone of kindred outlook when things don't go quite as planned. I liked the very realistic take of the boss' reaction, too.
Edmond Ng 01/17/11
So much for professional journalism! One slip of a joke like this can certainly close an agency with flood "like a tsunami of biblical proportions." I enjoyed the read. It's an interesting take on the topic.
Steve Uppendahl01/18/11
Fun, enjoyable story. Loved the last line. Good times. (Too many bosses don't have a sense of humor. On the plus side, many, uh, socially challenged high school kids like the fish boy are often quite successful.)
Gerald Shuler 01/19/11
Your MC sounds exactly like me in my younger days . . . except, I always got fired.
Carol Penhorwood 01/19/11
I could easily imagine an enjoyable novel with all the pranks this MC created!
Beth LaBuff 01/20/11
You must write more of her stories... This was so enjoyable. :)