Thanks to everyone who entered the Write On! Online March Challenge – Green! We received some excellent entries. Here are the winners:

1st Place:
Linda Lichtman – “Birthday Bogeyman”

(Prize: A medium-length (or 21,000 word) one-reader iScript; the 1st Place Story is posted below)

2nd Place:
Belinda McDonald-Paez  – “Greenville, Louisianna – A Childhood Memory”
(Prize: The Hero’s 2 Journeys DVD by Michael Hauge & Christopher Vogler, compliments of The Writers Store)

3rd Place:
Michelle Dennis Evans – “Shadows of Death”
(Prize: No Justice by Mystery/Suspense Author Darcía Helle (QuietFury Books) and The Frugal Editor by Carolyn Howard-Johnson (author of the acclaimed HowToDoItFrugally series). Courtesy of  VBT-Writers on the Move)

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THE MARCH CHALLENGE: GREEN

1st Place Winner – Linda Lichtman – “Birthday Bogeyman

Gift-giving for dad’s birthday was a continually daunting challenge for me; if he didn’t have it—he didn’t like it and definitely didn’t want it. The dreaded opening of the gifts took place with my mom, brother, and I seated around the partially eaten birthday cake as he stood simultaneously tearing the colorful paper and grimacing. I could still feel the knots tightening in my gut as he lifted up my present and opened the square or rectangular white box which contained the tie or tee shirt and/or socks, purchased with accumulated allowances. My eyes immediately sought the kitchen floor preparing me for that annual failure. And he never disappointed. Though not appearing blissful over the choices made by mom or my brother, mine always brought guttural disapproval. Hgggh! In those days we didn’t express hurt feelings to parents, we just sucked it up.

Year after year, the merriment of summer vacation was thwarted at the halfway mark by the July 29th event. During mid-July of my 13th summer, I was mindlessly sauntering through our local drugstore when I tripped over a display of men’s cologne. Bottles quickly pummeled me and my ego, but my embarrassment was quickly interrupted by the SALE sign: Old Spice, $1.00. I reached down and grabbed a fallen sample, immediately feeling the painted blue ship graphic on the bottle. I then opened and sniffed. Aahhh! A sweet fragrance drifted up and coated my nostrils. With the daddy debacle in sight, I experienced an immediate shift away from the trend of negativity. I closed my eyes and envisioned joy on dad’s flagrantly joyless face. “Yes my perfect daughter, I love my gift…a brilliant choice!”

The evening of the 29th caught me giggling and free, totally enjoying the taste of birthday cake, even though I didn’t care much for strawberry. Finally dad began the ripping of the wrappings and I could barely hold back my excitement, firmly believing I’d broken the spell. As always opening my gift last, I posed proudly as he shred the externals and opened the box … and smiled! Yes, he was almost giggling at the bottle’s blue ship. He then paused, turned to me and asked somewhat gruffly, “You didn’t buy this at Green’s Drugstore, did you? That man is a crook …. I wouldn’t give him two cents …” I continued bestowing that gift upon him for the next five years.

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Thanks again to all who entered. Remember, the deadline for the Write On! Online – April Challenge: Write a Limerick is April 30th. Also check Write On! Online on May 1st for information on The May Challenge!

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3 Comments

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  1. Ann-Marie 9 years ago

    Very good story. It reminded me of my father so much. Not sure we’ve found a gift to please him yet. 🙂

  2. […] Place: Linda Lichtman – “Birthday Bogeyman” – Posted on Write On! Online 2nd Place: Belinda McDonald-Paez – “Greenville, Louisianna – A Childhood […]

  3. Valerie 8 years ago

    Hey Linda;

    Sorry for not seeing this wonderful news before this. Been busy trying to think of ways to get back to NYC!!! So time oonsuming, especially when all the dreams are in my head and not on paper, or in reality.

    Congratulations on the win. Keep on, keeping on kiddo.
    Great stuff. Had me cracking up! Lots of love and hugs.

    Valerie

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