“Len’s Final SatWE Challenge”
Len heads to his office, his wife trailing him, nagging. “It’s Saturday, Len, and the grass needs cutting. Yesterday, the neighbor’s kid hit a ball into our yard. Spent all afternoon looking for it. Still can’t find it.”
“Not my problem.”
“Yeah.” Her hands hit her hips. “And whose problem is it?”
“Don’t know. Don’t care.” Len plops down at his desk and turns on his computer. He places the can of cold beer on the desk and hooks up the IV.
His wife, watching, looms in the doorway. “You are one crazy old man, you know that?”
“Yeah, well…I know lots of things. But what I don’t know is why I married you.”
“You got lucky…that’s why.”
“Yes, lucky.” Len drifts into his thoughts, dredging up a quote. "A little government and a little luck are necessary in life; but only a fool trusts either of them."
“And what’s that supposed to mean?”
“Look it up.”
“I can’t.” She gestures at the computer. “You’re using the only computer in the house.”
“That’s because I have a job to do.”
“A job?” She scoffs. “A job is something you get paid for.”
“Being the SatWE editor,” Len begins, straightening up in the chair, “has intrinsic value.”
“Well, intrinsic value don’t pay the bills. Or buy me a new dishwasher. I’m tired of washing everything by hand.” She shoves her hands into her husband’s face. “Look at my hands!”
She stares back at him, her eyes narrowing.
Len just taps his hip. “It’s loaded.”
“Leonard Ignatius Maxwell!”
Len rests his hand on his gun and smiles. A sly twisted grin creeps across his lips, and his wife exits quickly, marching across the linoleum floor and back into the kitchen.
Len gets to work, accepting posts into Gather Writing Essentials, glad to read clever responses by Brenda, Lynn, and John. Then he sighs as he sees the next one. “A post from Kimberly Black…a…dar. I hope it’s some sappy teenage melodrama or some swell poem in iambic penta-who-cares.” Len eyes Bud. “You understand sarcasm, right?” Then he clutches his confidante in his hand and brings the cool liquid to his lips. “Ahh, I couldn’t do this job without you.” He returns the can to the desk and turns his head toward Jack. “Or you.” He flicks the IV tube. “Just a little more, and I’ll be able to read her pathetic drabble.”
He clicks on her submission. “Just the title makes me want to vomit.” He begins reading out loud, “’Love Makes Me Smile!’ by Kimberly Blackadar.” He clears his throat and elevates his voice a few octaves. “Love lives in every aspect of our existence. Just stop and take a look around you.” Len surveys his area, sees Jack and Bud, and nods in agreement. “The other day I was strolling down a sun-filled path, and my children, holding my hands, began singing cheerfully. My heart swelled with an indescribable joy and my mouth revealed a crescent of sheer happiness. Life is so good, so wonderful. Love makes me smile! Are you smiling? Smile with me! Come on, you can do it! Yes, you can!” Len stares at the screen, not smiling. He cannot read another word. He reaches down, slides out his gun, and pulls the trigger.
Len’s wife drops a soapy dish onto the floor and rushes to the office. She swings open the door. “Oh no! Oh, God, no!” She steps forward, crying, and reaches out to touch the blown-up monitor. “Why, Len, why?”
Hanging his head in shame, Len mutters, “I just couldn’t take it anymore. Her writing is so…insipid” He rips off the IV and then rests his gun on the desk. He rises and starts for the door.
“Where are you going now?”
“I’m going to mow the yard, then maybe trim up the bushes.” He pauses and sighs. “After all, I need something to do on Saturdays now.”
- Put this challenge statement at the beginning or end of your submission so readers will know what you’re supposed to do.
Challenge: Write something (prose or poetry; fiction, nonfiction, or essay) about this picture. Put yourself in there or one of your kids, friends, or neighbors. Go off on a tangent and explain how all writers are a bit crazy -- and don’t confine yourself to writers, think about all computer users.
- There is a limit of three submissions from each member per day. If you’re extremely prolific, spread out your work and post only three submissions per day.
- Post to Gather Writing Essential.
- Tag your submission with SatWE.
- Include (Saturday Writing Essential) as part of your title.
- I ask that you make your submission(s) by next Friday afternoon.