"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

1/9/09

Friday Fiction: "To Thread A Camel"



Welcome to my contribution to Patterings' Friday Fiction, hosted this week by Catrina Bradley at A Work In Progress. Be sure to stop by her blog for more great fiction, and don't be afraid to participate as well. Just post some fiction on your blog then link up at the Mr. Linky gadget at Cat's site. All are welcome!
I wrote this story almost a year ago for the Faithwriters writing challenge (the topic was "Sewing," by the way). It was definitely a different approach for me, but it was certainly fun to write. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did putting it on paper!

TO THREAD A CAMEL

The strand of spaghetti was getting sticky.

Alistair Chesterfield slipped an off-white satin handkerchief out of the breast pocket of his suit and wiped it across the strand, turning it to mush.

Sighing, he pushed a black button on his executive telephone, leaning into it.

"Sally! Bring another one in, and a paper towel or something."

"Be right there, sir," a diminutive voice sang through the speaker.

Stuffing the handkerchief back into his pocket and placing a sewing needle in his drawer, Alistair leaned back, resting his wingtips on the edge of his mahogany desk.

A slight, mousy woman walked in with a cloth in one hand and a small bowl in the other. Alistair shifted his feet slightly as Sally placed the bowl on his desk, then wiped the bits of soggy spaghetti into her hand with the cloth.

"Anything else, Mr. Chesterfield?"

"Not now, but I'll need half-inch thick twine shortly. Make sure it's ready for me."

"Yes, sir." Sally shuffled out.

Alistair brought his feet to the floor and rolled his chair toward the desk. Grabbing a new strand of spaghetti with his left hand, he examined it, then lifted the needle back out of the drawer with his right.

"It's a small hole, all right. But if anyone can do it, Chesterfield Innovations can."

Pushing his chair out, Alistair rose, holding the needle level with his face. He strode toward a large, framed photograph hanging on his office wall. Taken in Saudi Arabia, the original photo had been enlarged, so the picture's subject, a camel, was nearly life-sized.

Looking at the picture through the needle's eye, he grinned, shaking his fist in the air.

"Chesterfield Innovations will."

Alistair ambled toward his door and out to Sally's desk, resting his arm on her computer monitor.

"Sally, get Bob and Mart in my office stat. And join us yourself. This is big."

Within two minutes, the four were seated in his office.

Alistair hit the desk with his fist. "Listen up. Since 1923, Chesterfield Innovations has provided amazing tools for the common man. Our instant coffee cup with brewing attachment has revolutionized coffee breaks. No one can deny that our sock connectors have saved customers hundreds of trips to the store to replace the sock lost to the sock monster. But that"s small potatoes. We need to go for the gusto--grab the brass ring."

Alistair paced the room, finally resting his arm on the short, pudgy man seated beside Sally.

"Mart, what do people want more than anything? What is every person's greatest desire?"

"Umm, money, sir?"

"No, you idiot! Security! They want to feel safe. Well, we're going to start selling eternal security."

Mart's face screwed up. "Eternal security, sir?"

"You bet! And we need to start with this," Alistair yelled, holding his needle up in the air.

"A pin?" Bob muttered. "Pardon me for asking, but how does one get eternal security with a pin?"

"It's a needle, you fool. And it's the key to eternal security. All we need to do is fit a camel through it."

The silence was deafening.

Alistair's eyes glowed and sparkled. "Don't you see? That Bible thing says if you can fit a camel through the eye of a needle, you can get to heaven. So, if we can do it, people will come running; and if we sell stock in it, every man, woman and child will want to buy a piece of that eternal security--their little bit of the forever American dream!"

The employees looked at one another in disbelief. Bowing his head slightly, Bob half-raised his hand.

"Um, Mr. Chesterfield, sir? How are we going to get a camel through the eye of a needle?"

"Not a problem, Bob my boy. We have the best R & D department west of the Mississippi. I have complete confidence they will come through for us. Any other thoughts?"

Mart cleared his throat. "No disrespect meant, sir, but I think you may have slightly misunderstood that verse. Jesus actually said 'it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.'"*

Alistair rested his hand on Mart's shoulder. "Is that all? PR can take care of that. They are expert spin doctors. Now we need to get serious. Mart, I need you to talk with the zoo about camel acquisition. Bob, you check on needle futures. Sally, you get that press release ready. We're gonna put Chesterfield Innovations on the map."

**
Matthew 19:23 NIV

Thanks for reading my silly little piece. Don't forget to stop by A Work In Progress for more great fiction!

12 comments:

  1. Ha, Ha...funny! Some people are so arogant that they think they can do anything!

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  2. I am so glad that we can have eternal security without having to put a camel through the eye of a needle. Praise the Lord!

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  3. LOL! How funny! I like this. The opening was really good with the spaghetti strand though...great stuff!

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  4. I remember this one, and still love it. A contemporary look at a message many missed with Jesus saying it in the flesh!

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  5. LoL Boy, do I remember this one. It's still a fun one, too! His personality totally cracks me up.

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  6. You made me smile! This was great.

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  7. I love this one of yours. So creative, so thought provoking, so makes me laugh at the poor, misguided man. No doubt he'll make millions, even tho he'll never be able to deliver on the concept.

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  8. Wow, hats off to your imagination! Delightfully well-written.

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  9. lol! Very clever. Also glad you cleared up the scripture at the end as you had me trying to remember what it actually says.

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  10. Loved the imagery, Joanne. I don't usually read any Friday fictions on anyone's blog, but this one caught my eye. I see the makings of a great story here. Your words had me in the scene and envisioning the entire exchange.

    So true of us as a human race...always trying to get an angle on Chrisitianity--how we can "live in" the world and still "get into" God's.

    Good work.

    peace~elaine

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  11. Thanks, Jo, for the much needed laugh! What a guy...such a concept. LOL.

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