Dec 22, 2011


Tommy took the ornament out of the little box and carelessly swung it from its hanger placing it in a very convenient spot at the bottom of the tree.
“Tomas Daren Parks! You give me that ornament right this minute!” Grandma’s voice was almost frantic. Putting up her tree wasn’t Tommy’s idea of a great weekend, especially when there was a new layer of snow on the mountain just waiting for him and his snow board. Now she had to go and get picky too. Since his mother’s death a few months ago everything sucked but his snowboard, especially living with his Grandma while his dad was AWOL.
“Here you go.” He handed his Grandma the old trinket and turned to the next item. He pulled out an intricate blub wrapped carefully in tissue paper. He carefully placed it high up in a prominent spot and turned to smile at his Grandma.
The old woman did not look up. She didn’t acknowledge his carefulness with the apparently prized object. She merely sat looking at the piece in her hands with tears running down her wrinkled cheeks. For the first time Tommy really looked at what his Grandma held.
It wasn’t large or even fancy, really it looked like a school day craft. It was an angel made out of shells with what looked like a little fake pearl was glued inside. There really wasn’t anything spectacular about it. And his Grandma was even known to take angels wings off for her decorations.
“One shell for every summer he took us to the beach.”
The old woman looked up and smiled at her Grandson. “Did you know my father was a traveling sales man?”
Tommy chewed the inside of his cheek and looked out the window at the fresh powder. “Sure Grandma. What’s next?”

Grandma took the hint and placed her hand over the treasure gently and pointed to another box in the corner. “You can put those out on the counter and then we’re done.” She opened her hands and looked down again. “You don’t mind if I remaniss while you’re at it, do you?”
Tommy shook his head slicing the box open quickly. One more box, some cookies, and service project over!
“When I was a little girl my father came home about once a month. It was a wonderful time. My mother would dress up in her one nice dress and he’d take us out on the town. How we’d laugh and dance the night away. They held hands and whispered secret jokes to one another. Of course he called to say goodnight every night but when he was home we were all so happy. Then he’d leave and my mother would turn grey and empty again. She was a good mother but we were both lonely. There was one place we were always happy.
At the sea. My father took us there for summer vacation. One whole month of walking sandy shores and collecting wonderful treasures. We were so happy on those long warm days. Five summers we did this and I would keep the most perfect shell each time. See.” She held up the ornament for Tommy to see. He looked and nodded. “We were about to leave and I knew the long days of loneliness would soon consume me again. So I ran away.” Tommy stopped mid- teddy bear and looked at his Grandma.

“You ran away?”
“Wouldn’t you?”
“No, I mean at least you had parents, right?”
“I felt like I only truly had them at the beach.”
“So how’d they find you?”
“They didn’t. She did.” Grandma held up the angel beaming at it.
“Right.” Tommy once again wondered about his Grandma’s sanity.
Grandma frowned, “You are full of things to do but you do not know what you have.” She wagged an aged finger at him, “There’s more to life and being happy than sports and friends.”
Tommy wanted to chuck the ceramic bear at her but he slammed it down instead and just kept unpacking the stupid box. All his friends were back at his home, he had nothing but sports.
“If I stayed on the beach,” she finally continued in a small pleading sort of voice, “my parents would stay and then I could watch them from afar and know that they were happy. At first I headed to a cave I knew of near the shore, but the tide was up and the cave was unreachable, so I went futher down the shore. At first I thought it was my mother’s voice calling me, so I ran. But, instead of getting away from the voice, I only got closer, until coming around a rock I saw her standing on rocks bright and beautiful.
She shone like sunshine and her face looked out to sea as sad and as miserable as I felt. Just around her the night melted away into day. She called my name without looking at me and waved for me to join her. I crawled up the rock and sat down next to her feeling a comfortable warmth right next to her. ‘You shouldn’t run away.’ She said finally looking at me. She looked so much like my mother but it wasn’t her. I told her I had to. It was the only way for my parents to be happy. ‘You running away won’t make them happy, it will ruin everything.’ She reached down and dipped her hand in the water and pulled out a beautiful shell and opened it. Inside was what looked like a giant pearl. In its surface I could see my parents searching the shore and finding a cold wet body empty and devoid of life with my bow in its hair. I could see my mother and my father sitting with empty eyes and arms as they grew old without any child to fill them. ‘But,’ her voice sang out in the night air, ‘If you go home and live the life you were given,’ once again the scene in the pearl shifted and I saw my father, mother, and myself around the Christmas tree as he told us he’d gotten a job two blocks away and he wouldn’t be leaving anymore. I saw us moving to the sea shore and living happily there for many years. Then I saw children who had yet to be born gathering around myself and a handsome man I latter met and married. Then I saw you grandchildren. I even saw you and your mother the first time she took you sledding.”

Grandma sighed.

Tommy waited patiently fidgeting with the last figurine. Finally he asked, “So that’s it?”
“Almost. She told me to never give up because my life was better lived than run away from and she kissed me and told me she loved me. I went home and it all happened just as I saw. Then one Christmas I noticed my jewelry box had been ransacked and all that was missing were my shells. I asked about it and your mother handed me a small wrapped present saying she had meant to save it for Christmas. I opened it and found this.” She looked down at the angel cradled in her hands. “I had never told anyone about the angel by the sea but she had even found a little pearl and glued it in the shells.” Grandma stood painstakingly slow and walked over to Tommy. She took his hand and slowly placed the small ornament in his hand. “Did I ever tell you how much your mother looked and sounded like my mother? What a life she lived.” She closed his hand over the object. “I think she is your angel now.”

Dec 12, 2011

Idea for how to make the ending better? Ideas for names?

I’ve seen ‘em all. Every kind of low life out there has been
through this court and I’m the lucky man who gets to hustle ‘em through.
That night though, was different. I knew each of the players
Three men stood in line waiting for their cases to be
brought up. The court appointed attorney stood at his desk going over his notes
until at last the judge appeared and then finally looked up and nodded in camaraderie
toward his father. I knew this judge to be a good man with six sons the oldest
of whom sat behind the desk. On the other side of the aisle the prosecution glared.
It seemed an obvious violation of propriety to have the favorite son of the
judge as the defense, but it was even worse when you knew that the prosecution was
also the judges son, although they had had a falling out years ago and were now
estranged outside the court room. If you didn’t know them you might think
something funny was going on, but everyone knew justice would be the end
I lead the first man in and shut the door on the other two.
How I pitied the poor man. He rung his hands and wiped his sweat from his brow
with his shoulder. I could tell from his demeanor he knew neither his attorney
nor the judge. The prosecution nodded at him with a knowing smile. So the case
“Please state the offence.” The judge said matter-of-factly.
The defense attorney stood and stated sadly looking at the
client. “I have tried to get this man to come in and confer with me but I have
not seen him until this moment and I have never been give the proper authority to
defend him.” Then sitting back down he looked at the defendant expectantly and
the man shakily stood. The story was simple though difficult to understand between
‘um’s and nervous clearing of throats. He seemed to take no thought for
defending himself. He threw himself on the mercy of the court, his eyes ever
darting back to the prosecution who watched with relish the man who knew he had
been caught and only hoped for a lessened sentence. He plea closed and he fell
into his seat with much trembling. The prosecution looked at his notes and
simply nodded at the judge who then looked at his other son and sighed. The fine,
though strictly appropriate for the offence, was as lenient as possible. The
man cried out. He obviously couldn’t pay it, but there was nothing the court
could do. He was ushered out of the room and I retrieved the next offender.
How he irritated me. He wore a look of confidence and a suit
that said money. Under his arm he carried a briefcase the he immediately plopped
onto the desk next to the defense’s papers.
“Please state the offense.” The judge once again began.
Before the attorney could even say a word the defendant
stood up and smiled familiarly at the judge. I had never seen this man before
yet he seemed to feel completely comfortable here. He began his tale, a surprisingly
similar case to the man who had come before him. He looked at the defense attorney
and began to sight case where, having done his research, he had gotten men off
for similar and worse cases. He knew that his attorney would not only get him
off but he would do it without leaving a mark on the man’s record. He sat down
and looked at his attorney expectantly.
That’s when I noticed the smirk on the prosecution’s face.
He already knew the case was his. The defense stood up and merely stated, “This
man has never set foot in my office. I cannot represent this man as he has never
given me either leave or signatures to do so.” And without another word the man
sat down.
The prosecution stood and caught the attention of the defendant
for the first time. For a moment the man looked confused. Then as recognition
spread across his face, I knew where the man had gotten his slightly skewed
information on the cases the man had sighted. The two brothers looked somewhat similar
and the prosecution used the similarity to his advantage. He often brought defendants into
an office with the defences name on the door, convincing them they were working with their lawyer. They went through all the paper work and preparing a very flawed defence for their case.
The prosecution smoothly pointed out every flaw to the man’s
defense, the flaws he had carefully woven in himself, and declared the need for
a severe punishment. The proud man now lay with his head in his hands, his body
beginning to tremble. The judge shook his head and once again pronounced a fine.
It was more severe than the first but after finding out the other items the prosecution
brought out it seemed a light judgment. Still, the man declared that he could
never pay the full sum. The man was escorted from the room shaking his fists at
the prosecution and screaming the memorized cases that did not apply to his
I walked out to the last man. He sat calmly waiting his eyes
never leaving his defense attorney through the glass. “This way sir.” I
motioned and he followed.
As he approached the attorney’s desk he reached out and
accepted the hand proffered him. The attorney pulled him into an embrace and
whispered something in the man’s ears. He nodded gravely and took his seat.
“Please state the offence.” The judge said for the last
This time the defendant did not stand. The man said nothing
but the defense attorney stood and began the tale. The situation was once again
much like the two before, but it went further. “Once he had realized what had
gone wrong he came to me and began to work things out your honor. I can
personally vouch for his hard work and dedication. He has made full restitution
and has put in community time to teach others how to walk away from these
activities. He is now legally in my employ as a worker for the court.”
The defense sat down and the prosecution stood. The anger on
his face was evident but he kept himself in check. “Your honor, what the defense
claims may be true but the price for the violation still remains to be paid.
Just because you favor my opponent and his buddies does not mean justice may be
The judge nodded and declared the fine and the man looked
stricken. It was obvious from the look of him that he had no such sums. Then
the prosecution stood looked at the document with a pen poised. “I have been appointed
this man’s defense and he has worked with me to make restitution, I will pay
his fine.” And with that he crossed out the man’s name and signed his own
taking on him both the punishment and the crime onto his record. The man behind
the desk burst into tears and the prosecution lost control and shouted in his
brother’s face until he was taken from the room at the defense’s request. Then
I watched as the man embraced the prosecution and thanked the Judge. Then he
looked once more at his attorney and said “I can never repay that amount.”
“That’s alright,” The good man smiled, “You give me your
best, little brother, and it will be well worth it.”
As I locked up that night I thought about my other three
brothers, one behind each carried out in the clutches of justice and then the
other two who now stood discussing another case with our father moving forward
with a work of freedom and mercy. Just like me. I had had my day in court and
because of mercy, now I stand on the side of justice.

(PS Not sure I like the picture... does no one have a painting of Heavenly Father in Judgment with Christ as the advocate and Satan as the accuser?)