Friday Fiction! The Game of Life

>> Thursday, January 8

WELCOME TO....




I am humbled and honored to have been chosen by Patty Wysong to host Friday Fiction this week. You should also take a minute to check out her inspiring blog, Patterings, I promise it will be worth your while.



I've chosen to post something new today to celebrate being the hostess. (By new, I mean unveiled.) I wrote this for the "Game of Life" challenge, but "couldn't" finish it. I had fun writing Billy's tale, and I like it because I remember the excitement I had for the idea and the enthusiasm for writing the story. I also like it for its potential to be something much bigger and longer. I know what else is going on - the back stories behind what you are about to read - but you don't. It was challenging to try to get as much information across within 750 words as I could.

I decided after re-reading the story a few times it could end just where it was. I added one sentence to complete the scene, and did a bit of cleaning up, but the whole thing is still needing a good editing.

At the time, I was going to call it "Over the Edge" because I couldn't use challenge topic as the title. Now tho, I've decided to rename it....


The Game of Life

Billy peered over the edge. The scene below caused his breath to catch in his chest.

Rocky whitewater roiled 100’ under his feet. Beyond the perilous outcropping lay a pool of calm, safe water, his target.

Behind him fell the equally perilous outcropping he had risked to climb to this apex. And his two buddies egging him on.

Roll the dice. It’s your turn



Billy peered over the edge. The scene below caused his breath to catch in his chest.

In the second row sat his parents, beaming with pride; his baby sister’s fingers beckoned to him from between their shoulders

As the principal handed him his high school diploma, he blinked rapidly, washing away what might have been; wondering about what might be.

Before him lay a future many graduates can only dream of – an Ivy league education… or what was most expected of him -- running the corner store, then eventually taking over for his dad.

He lay the scroll in his lap and wheeled his chair across the stage.

Roll the dice. It’s your turn.



Billy peered over the edge. The scene below caused his breath to catch in his chest.

When he caught sight of his parents’ and his sister’s faces amongst the sea in the stadium, déjà vu loomed. Billy took the rolled and ribboned diploma from the dean’s hand. Indulgence in the past and the future threatened to overwhelm the present.

A choice lay before him … Mammon or manna? This diploma was his ticket, but which destination was on his docket? Sensation? salary, security, and set hours? Or mercy: mindnumbingly menial, but meaningful, ministry?

Roll the dice. It’s your turn.



Billy peered over the edge. The scene below caused his breath to catch in his chest.

He never had grown accustomed to heights. He had been given a window office on the 32nd floor five years ago, but the sheer distance from his feet to the sidewalk below never ceased to give him pause for thought.

He had earned the prestige of the window office after 12 years in the inner workings of the complex clockwork that was Rolfe & Smithers. The cubical mazework was the core of the office, much like the core of an apple – surprisingly strenuous, and strongly connected. Bite the mealy outside away, and you’ll see the core still at its purpose, holding it all together.

A decision had to be made. How much was all of this worth to him? His eyes absorbed his opulence, and he weighed the balance that allowed his homelife to swing in equal proportion. Yet, the door had opened again upon the turnoff to mercy.

Roll the dice. It’s your turn.



Billy peered over the edge. The scene below caused his breath to catch in his chest.

Milling about on the dock was a sea of humanity. That family there – lighten their skin color and that could be his mother and dad, little sister in tow. But only if his family had been forced to endure a life eked out of this Godforsaken land like this threesome had. They and hundreds of their ilk waited anxiously for the angels they’d heard wind of to disembark. The multitude swarmed, hovered.

He could still turn back. The ship wouldn’t turn down an extra hand on the return voyage. But in front of him lay the opportunity of a lifetime, and the exit ramp to mercy.

Roll the dice. It’s your turn.



Billy peered over the edge. The scene below caused his breath to catch in his chest.

He had faced this moment before. The choice was again life or death…but this time it wasn’t his life. Nor was it his choice.

Behind him, the path to this peak was just as perilous, though paved smooth. He had risked his life to reach this apex

The vista before him demanded his attention, confronted him. Rocky whitewater roiled 100’ under his feet. Beyond the perilous outcropping lay a pool of calm, safe water; in its center: his target. The drowning child.

There was no choice. “Toss me over.” He turned to the silence of his mates. “Now. I can still swim, and I can swim well. Let me do this. Please. I need your help.”

Rick and Charlie looked into the same burning eyes Billy’s friends had faced that fateful day 20 years ago. These eyes were 20 years older and 100 years more experienced than those younger, beseeching baby blues, and neither man questioned their request; their demand. They positioned Billy’s chair as close to the edge as responsibly possible and set the brake.



9/11/08 Catrina Bradley

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