Friday, November 18, 2016

Steps Challenge

Russ sat in the bleachers of his daughter’s basketball game. Instead of watching his eleven year old soar over her opponents while grabbing rebounds and throwing elbows, he sifted through Google images of Atlantis on his smartphone. His company had offered up a “steps challenge” for his office. The employee with the most pedometer steps in the office gets an all-expense paid trip for two to the Bahamian resort.

They weren’t in the best financial situation when they got married twelve years ago, so they couldn’t afford a honeymoon. They got pregnant with Laura a few months later; then over the next eleven years four more kids arrived. The finances never got any better – they managed to keep their head above water over the past decade, but that honeymoon never came.

This trip was going to be his and this was going to be the honeymoon his wife, Christine always wanted.

“What are you doing?!?!” Christine chastised while hitting Russ in his knee.

“Owww.. What??”

Russ hurt his knee with this challenge. He was walking in the wooded area behind the office on Wednesday when he stepped in a hole and banged up his knee pretty good. He didn’t tell Christine about the challenge nor the knee because it would have brought up too many questions.

“Your daughter is out there playing like an all-star and you’re on your phone!!!”

“Okay okay okay.. I’m done anyways.”

Russ put away his phone but was still focusing on the pictures of Atlantis in his mind. He also focused on the leader board in his office. Megan was about four thousand steps ahead of him on Friday. He worked claims while she was the office clerk. Her job description gave her the reason to walk and walk and walk.

Russ secretly despised Megan. The twenty-two year old recent college graduate doesn’t need to go to the Bahamas. What does she have to get away from? Selfies on SnapChat? Her stupid old beagle named “Buddy”? He’s got kids. He deserves this vacation. She’s got plenty of years to go to Atlantis, Russ tried to justify.

Since he hurt his knee he hadn’t been able to walk as much and his count suffered. Megan was able to catch up and pass him because of the injury. Russ also noted she didn’t do a lot of walking on weekends and it was his time to catch up. Yet he wasn’t able to because of this stupid knee. The final step count would be turned in tomorrow morning at 8 AM and all Russ would have are these Google Images of the Bahamas. He hated he’d have to hear about the bathing suits and cute lifeguards from Megan.

Oh how he despised her.

The buzzer sounded and the game was over. He and his family cheered for his daughter’s winning team. He gingerly made his way down the bleachers to embrace his daughter.

“Excellent job, Ladybug!”

“Thanks” an out of breath Laura said while guzzling down some water.

Russ hugged his daughter and pulled something from her waistband.

While other family members congratulated her, Russ looked at the pedometer he removed from his daughter’s shorts. Seven thousand steps added to his count. Hello Atlantis. Let’s see her stupid old beagle get that many this weekend.


Taken from Writer's Digest.  The writing prompt was as follows...

In an effort to improve the health of the office, your company has issued a steps challenge—who can take the most steps in a week. The winner gets a free trip to the Bahamas (something you are determined to win). It’s come down to the final day and it’s between you and one other person in your office—and that person keeps trying to sabotage you.  What happens and who wins?



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