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Character: marathon runner
Action: making a cheese plate
Setting: haunted house
Prop: business cards
Congratulations to Wendy Grant, who took home the prizes this month with a great story.
Jackson is a runner. He has a sweat band and expensive socks and breathable shirts. But after he ran a marathon, he took it to another level. He started wearing a heart rate monitor to work. He does data entry. He enters some data and announces his resting hear rate.
“I’m a marathoner,” he tells people he meets. He buys a vanilla latte at Starbucks, checks his heart rate monitor, and explains to the bewildered barista that he’s a marathoner.
No one knows what to say to that, except something vaguely complimentary, like, “Wow, good for you,” or something inappropriately self-deprecating like, “Oh, I can’t run at all. I’m such a loser.”
He even got business cards made. They say Jackson Lowery, Marathoner, and his e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The truth is, Jackson did run in a marathon. But he didn’t run the entire thing. Oh, he wasn’t sidelined by an injury or pushed to the ground by a passing Kenyan. No. He was on his freaking iPhone during the marathon, calling people.
“What are you doing?” they asked as he panted in their ears.
“I’m running a marathon,” he said.
He called me while I was making a cheese plate. It’s really hard to get the brie—you know, the yummy, gooey, cheesy part—out of the crappy wax layer, so I was struggling to hold the phone while I wrestled with the brie, and I accidentally hung up on him. Undaunted, Jackson called me right back.
“Aren’t you going to ask me what I’m doing?” he asked.
“Aren’t you going to ask me what I’m doing” I asked.
There was a long pause: the dawning revelation.
“Oh. Yeah. What are you doing?”
“Getting an exorcism.”
“Yeah. My house is haunted, and now the evil spirits are all up in me. There’s nothing else I can do.”
“An exorcism! I’d really like to see that!” he panted.
“Well, come on over,” I said.
“But I’m running—”
“GOBBLEDY GOBBLEDY GOOK!” I screamed. “Sorry. Evil spirits.”
“That’s so cool! I’ll be right over.”
I returned to the brie.
* * *
Jackson was not soothed by the cheese plate.
© 2010 Wendy Grant
Wendy M. Grant is a writer and editor. She’s written innumerable advertisements, newsletters, and brochures, and she co-authored a book on the history of Naval Air Station Miramar. When she’s not writing and editing for the clients of her company, W-inkling, she works on her screenplay, which she plans to sell in 2011.