"If you write FOR a particular market or FOR a particular editor you will often miss the mark. But if you write because your fingers have danced across the keyboard, because a character has tapped you on the shoulder, because a story has settled in your heart, then even if you never sell it you have done the work you were meant to do. And sometime, dear readers, real magic happens." Jane Yolen

11/7/08

Friday Fiction: Swayed



Welcome to my contribution to Friday Fiction, hosted this week by Julie at The Surrendered Scribe. Be sure to stop by there and read all the wonderful stories that are sure to be there - and feel free to link up and put your own fiction on the gadget there.

This is another FW writing challenge entry. Even though I wrote it a year ago (almost exactly!), I can still remember the fun I had writing it. Praying you enjoy it.


Swayed

Jeremy bounced across the living room and tapped his father on the shoulder.

"Can we go now? I don't wanna be late."

Hank Miller turned off the television and got out of his easy chair reluctantly. "Just a second. We've got time. Lemme throw on some clothes."

Hank dragged himself into the bedroom and slipped on some jeans and a sweatshirt, then put on his tennis shoes. At least I'll have extra time to get some stuff done around the house. With my busy week, Sunday morning alone time is definitely a plus.

Hank had been dropping Jeremy off at church on Sunday mornings at 10am for a few years. Hank had no interest himself, but his son seemed to have some friends there - and he'd noticed an improvement in his behavior. It did mean, however, that he had to get himself moving an hour earlier than he'd like on his day off. Yet, it gave him that needed puttering time, without distractions.

A couple weeks before, however, Jeremy asked to go in even earlier - it seemed that "Sunday School" started at 9, and Jeremy was missing it. It was definitely a tradeoff for Hank: he'd lose an hour of sleep, but gain 60 more minutes of peace and quiet.

Hank figured he'd give it a try for a week or two. He couldn't imagine an extra hour at church would hurt the boy, and maybe Hank could finish an extra project or two while Jeremy was gone.

Jeremy was already in the car, buckled in, when Hank entered the garage. He took his car keys from his pocket and got in next to his son.

"Guess I don't have to ask if you're ready."

Jeremy smiled. "Nope."

Hank pulled the car out of the driveway and began the five-minute drive to Covenant Community Church.

"Hey, Dad?"

Hank suspected he knew what his son was thinking. "What, Jeremy?"

"Why don't you come to Sunday School and church with me today?"

I was right. Hank sighed and grimaced. "Got a lot to do at home this morning, buddy. Maybe some other time."

"You always say that." Jeremy's face was downcast.

Hank pursed his lips. "Not this time."

"What do you have against church anyway?"

"Um, against it?" Hank sputtered. "Nothing. I just, um, like my Sunday mornings."

Jeremy's eyes sparkled. "But Sunday School is different, Dad. It's really cool. Instead of just listening and singing and stuff, you get to talk to people about God, and even ask questions. I'll bet you'd love it."

Hank pulled into a parking spot in the church's lot. "We'll talk about this later. You'd better get going."

Jeremy sighed. "Okay. But will you promise me something?"

Hank raised his eyebrows. "Maybe. What?"

"Will you talk to God about it for a couple minutes, here in the car, before you go?"

Jeremy's look was so pitiful Hank had to acquiesce. "All right. You go on, though."

Jeremy exited and lumbered toward the church, his head down. Hank saw his son pause directly behind the car, as if he was considering coming back. He continued on after a minute or so.

Good thing he asked me to pray here. I mighta run him over.

Hank closed his eyes once Jeremy entered the church building.

"Hey, God. I know I don't talk to you much, but my boy wants me to go into that church today. I don't wanna, but I told him I'd talk to you. Can I just go home now?"

Hank sat quietly for about thirty seconds. Assuming no response was permission to leave, he started the car and began backing up. After moving only a foot or so, he heard a loud pop, then felt the drive get rough.

"What the heck?" Hank turned off the car and got out, to find his left rear tire flat.

"Well, God, I guess you answered me."

Hank reparked the car and walked toward church.

**

"Dad!" Jeremy ran down the hallway when he spotted his father exiting an adult Sunday School class.

"Hi, Son." Hank put his arm around him. "You were right, by the way. Sunday School wasn't half bad."

Jeremy smiled. "So, are you staying for church?"

"I suppose I am. Will you help me with my flat tire afterward?"

"Um, a flat tire?" Jeremy pursed his lips and stuck his hand in his pocket, causing a clinking sound.

Hank looked at Jeremy quizzically. "Whatcha got in your pocket?"

"You probably don't wanna know."

**

Thanks for reading! Be sure to stop by Julie's blog for more great fiction!

8 comments:

  1. Thank you for the congrats at FW's! I love watching all of our writing progress:)

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  2. Hee, hee, God works in mysterious ways! This was a fun read.

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  3. I really liked reading this again. I'd forgotten about it. (And ps, you know I ALWAYS listen to you. ;) )

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  4. One of my favs, Jo. Love these characters!

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  5. I love this! Must have missed it somehow a year ago, so I'm glad you posted it here.

    Hugs!

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  6. I remember this one, and I like it just as much now as I did then!!

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  7. LOL...LOVED this. Great story, Jo!

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  8. That's too funny. I have a friend who would appreciate this story. He was an atheist and his son was grounded. The boy begged his father to let him go to church. The father was so angry he told the boy he could go to church, but he was going to sit beside him and watch him the whole time.

    That changed his entire life. He's on fire for the Lord, and makes frequent mission trips.

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