Here is the SECOND of another pair of posts comprising a creative writing exercise from my undergrad days. The assignment was to create a scene in which one character tries to persuade another to do something, without specifically saying what he/she wants done. We were to write the same scene twice: once from each character’s point of view, AND make one version first-person (“I”) and the other third-person (“he” &/or “she”). I had WAY too much fun with this one…
Our couples’ Bible study class had finished up a few minutes early, so I visited the church’s coffee shop while my wife Sheila went to peek in on our toddler. Little Jake had been suffering from separation anxiety lately – and so had we. Even at home, he kept us awake at night, crying and wanting his mom to pick him up. We were both exhausted, so I was resorting to an extra cup of coffee every morning. Two more nights of this and I’d be mainlining the stuff. At least the three months of 60-hour weeks at work was about over. The new hire should be trained soon, and I can go back to a normal schedule. I became aware of high heels clicking up behind me. “Martin! So nice to see you this morning!” It was Yvette Patton, our Children’s minister, and she had a handful of folders.
“Good morning, Yvette. What are you up to – stopping for a dose of caffeine?”
She dropped the folders on the counter. “You’d better believe it!” Yvette ordered a double mocha – more caffeine; I’ve got to try that next week – and asked me, “So, what are you doing with yourself these days?”
“Well, my work schedule has slowed down just enough so I have time to mow the yard once in a while.” I was about to add that I hoped to start adding “sleep” to my schedule too, but Yvette piped back up.
“Yes, I thought you’d be bored, since WireServ added another engineer.” Bored! Was she kidding? “Say, you were just great at the Easter party last week! The kids loved Mr. Bunny’s jokes and the songs.” Hm. I never told a joke in my life. She must mean when the kids laughed at me getting my lines mixed up. “This was the best Easter party since I came on as Children’s Minister, thanks to you,” she went on.
Sleepy and hungry. I caught a whiff of some sort of food. “Is someone making popcorn? I think I smell butter!”
“Now, Martin, don’t be sarcastic. You know you have a gift for working with kids. Hey, look at these great craft projects.” Yvette opened the first folder. I looked in and saw a bunch of stickers shaped like vegetables. “No messy cutting, no liquid glue, no showers of glitter – just ready-to assemble art! Simple!” She nodded at me as if pleased about something.
“Simple. Right.” First I’m bored, now I’m sarcastic? “But I don’t have time for a hobby,” I explained, picking up my Bible. “I have three hobbies: Jake, Tiffany, and David. Plus their mom. Not especially interested in eggplant stickers anyway.”
“That one’s a beet!” she snapped. “But never mind that.” She opened the second folder. “Look here at this curriculum. Each week’s Bible verse, stories, games, and songs are already coordinated. No lesson to plan, just a few minutes a week to review – simple!” So, now she wants a sarcastic dad’s advice about what curriculum to use?
I looked over the first page. “Looks good,” I agreed, “I think you should use it.”
Yvette stared at me. “We are using it! We’ve bought the books for the next year, starting with June.”
What is wrong with this lady? Did she not just ask my opinion? I figured it was time to make myself scarce. “Great!” I said. “Well, I’d better get to Tiffany’s classroom and pick her up for the service. Nice talking with you.” I tossed my coffee cup into the trash and escaped into the crowded hallway. Maybe I can get a nap in after lunch.