Monday, June 25, 2012

Three Minutes of Defense

Normanday #34: It’s not what it looks like.

You are so busted. You’ve been spotted in front of the new library holding a paint brush dripping with red paint. And you just happen to have an open carton of eggs. “But officer,” you say. “I can explain.” Write for three minutes…

…explaining how you absolutely positively are not up to mischief.

Email what you wrote to woof at bright dot net by the end of the day July 1 (put “Norman is Artistic” in the subject line). I’ll post as many of my favorite entries as I want next Monday. Include your first name (or, even better, use a pen name) and age (unless you’re tortoise-old). If you’re a published children’s or young adult writer, include a biography to be posted with your entry.

Here are the entries from last week when I asked you to write for three minutes about…

…the unusual phone call you received.

Wil, age 11

I was about to watch my favorite TV show when the phone rang. I got up and answered it. It was my cousin telling me his amazing adventure about how he and his sister were being chased by Bigfoot while camping in the woods, one hundred miles away from their home, and how they survived it all.

When he was done telling me the story, I was speechless. It was the most incredible story I had ever heard. I asked him if he would write it down and mail it to me. He said that he would.

A few days later I found the story in my mailbox and I read it over and over, still amazed by what happened to my cousins. The next day I shared the story with my friends. They were, just like me, speechless that my cousins survived a run in with Bigfoot.

Schae D. Lane

I just sat down on the couch with my favorite snack, a stack of strawberry oatmeal bars, and was tuning into my favorite TV show, Spys E.S.P. when the phone rang. Muttering to myself, I walked to the phone.

I answer, “Yello.” I say craning my neck to watch the opening credits on the TV, bobbing my head to the theme music.

Usually in situations like these I would continue with a fake answering machine message to trick the caller into thinking I wasn’t home. Most of the time it worked, the caller would just hang up, but for some reason this time I decided not to do that and boy was I glad I did.

“Hello, is this Martha Elizabeth Louise Theresa MacDonald?” The caller asks in an excited tone.

Okay, I’d better explain my name and believe you me, I know what you’re thinking. The thing is my parents couldn’t decide on a name for me when I was born. It was getting close to the time to take me home, except hospitals don’t really let new parents leave without naming their babies first. Since they couldn’t decide, the hospital called me Jane Doe MacDonald. My parents decided that might get me into some trouble later on in life. So, they thought that if they just looked at me, really looked, a name would pop into their heads. That didn’t work. None of the names they came up with looked like me. In desperation, they asked my grandparents, doctors, nurses, cafeteria workers, and at least one janitor for their opinion. By the end, they narrowed it down to four names. I guess time ran out because they couldn’t just pick a name, so they included all four on the birth certificate. My friends just call me Melt.

Now when I hear all four names it means, I am either in deep do-do or it’s an official call.

I respond quickly, “yes, how can I help you?” I wonder why the voice sounds so familiar.

“I’m sitting here with a friend of yours, Maddie Mickleson. She’s chosen you to be her phone-a-friend on our game show, “Let’s Win Millions and Scream.”

For a second I am stunned, I rack my brain. I knew Maddie had talked about being selected to be on a game show, but I couldn’t remember which one and she hadn’t mentioned it in a while, so I thought it fell through. Now I know why the voice sounds so familiar, it was Phil Winkbanks.

“Hi Phil, what do I need to do?” I ask a little nervously.

“Well Martha Elizabe…” I could hear some muffled whispering then, “you go by Melt?”

“Yes,” I reply. “Long story, please continue.” I hear the audience laugh in the background.

“Well Melt, all you need to do is answer a question and your friend will win millions of dollars and get to scream. You will have 30 seconds on the clock to answer after she reads the question to you. Are you ready?” Phil says.

“Sure,” I quickly eye up the encyclopedias on my book shelf, too far away. My desktop computer sits in my home office, too far away. My iPhone is resting on the arm of the couch, too far away. Looking at the cord connected to my phone, I ask myself why, oh why did I not have a cordless phone.

Maddie’s voice come over the line. She sounds flushed with excitement. “Hi Melt. Okay, here’s the question.” She pauses. “How fast is the speed of light?”

Oh…My…God…I don’t know! Wait, I do know! The Galaxy Song by Monty Python. If I can just sing it to myself…I start humming the song, but I’ve forgotten some of the words. My heart is pounding. My brain is racing. To make matters worse, Phil is saying that I only have 15 seconds left and I know I’m not half way through the song yet.

I’m at the last part about the universe expanding and I can hear the audience counting down “5, 4, 3, 2…”

I shout out, “twelve million a miles a minute!”

The silence is deafening. Did I remember it right?

I hear Phil say to Maddie a calm voice, “Alright Maddie, do you accept Melt’s answer?” he snickers at my name.

I hear her say yes in a rather weak way, but it is a yes. I hope I'm right.

“Well Maddie, you better start screaming, because you’ve just won millions of dollars!” Phil exclaims.

A recorded voice comes on the line. “Thank you for your time and cooperation from the producers of Let’s Win Millions and Scream.” The line goes dead. With shaking hands, I hang up the phone. Did that just happen? I turn and run to my couch, quickly looking at the TV.

Darn it, just in time for Spys E.S.P.'s first commercial break…

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