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One of the options from this week’s Friday Story Writing Challenge is:

Tell us a story that either supports or refutes the assertion that “write what you know” is a bad idea.

Here’s my attempt.  I leave it up to you to determine which way I went with it.  Warning: Very silly. If you don’t think this appropriate during Holy Week, you may feel free to skip this . . excellent example of writing craftsmanship.


Two In Cold Water


Do you know the device on a submarine that makes the ping sound like in the movie “Hunt for Red October” where the captain said “One Ping Only”? Let’s call it the Ping-er, but you know what I mean. Well, the Ping-er is what the Captain of the Blue July (the largest submarine from the most recent fleet of American submarines) ordered his Pinger operator (I am aware that this person probably had responsibilities other than operating the pinger device, but that’s what I’ll call him here) to use. But in this case, the captain, Jim Nubmarine, ordered that that person (who’s name was John Royping but he’s not really in this story otherwise) make the ping sound with the pinger not once, but twice.


But he had a very good reason, although it was a secret known only to him and the radio-listener person on the other submarine in a very deep revine in a specific area south of South America, who happened to be a lady. Her name was Janey Lister.


When she heard the two pings, she rejoiced. She had secretly been dating Jim every weekend on their weekend leaves in Sacrimento. But since it was forbidden for two people in the Navy to date each other, they could never tell anyone.


They had decided that if ever the two submarines came near each other they would try to communicate with each other. They had further agreed that two pings would mean “I love you.” As she heard it, it warmed her heart to hear him open up like this. Finally.


But then the call came from the “Bridge Deck” of Janey’s Sub from her captain.


“What was that?” he asked over the radio. She froze. Literally. Because at this moment the two submarines collided (this happens occasionally, apparently, because they don’t really have breaks) and opened a huge gash in her radio listener post room and the freezing water poured into it.


Happily, the freezing happened at such a rate that she was cryogenically frozen and her heart rate slowed to only once or twice a minute (or there abouts). But Jim, on the other submarine didn’t know this. Looking out the side window, he could only look through the gash in the outer hull of the other submarine and see her body floating lifelessly inside the listener room.


Now, . . . there has to be a way for a person or persons in a submarine to, sort of, get outside when the sub is submerged, right? I’m just guessing here, but it’s a informed guess, because Star Trek is based on a Naval theme and they can get out of ships on those shows. So let’s say they can.


Immediately, Jim said to John Royping (I changed my mind, I guess he does come into the story later) “Take over!” And John went and sat in the captain’s seat as Jim ran out of the “Bridge”. He quickly went to the underwater-suit suit up room and suited up. And he then went to the docking bay and ordered that they open the door and flood the room.


Jim had no hope of saving her. He just wanted to honor her memory by at least retrieving her body. So when the room was flooded he swam around to where she was and pulled her body back to the bay opening and ordered that they empty the docking bay of the cold sea-water.


And he held her lifeless body and cried. But the Submarine’s doctor came running in (he had heard that the captain had left the submarine and wanted to make sure he was okay) and seeing Jaynie laying there he quickly pushed the captain off her body and listened with a stethoscope to her chest.


“There’s still a very slow heart beat!”


Words cannot express Jim’s joy.


“But she’s not out of the woods yet!”


Words cannot express Jim’s fear.


The doctor explained to him that she had been cryogenically frozen and that they had to unfreeze her, or cryogenically melt, if you will, her. He told him that there was a very specific way to do that. And he told him what that way was. And then he did it, using a combination of several space heaters and a torch used for welding metal things.


It was a very tense time for Jim, as you can well imagine, but at the end of the ten minutes, when she finally opened her eyes, she smiled, looked at him and said “Really? Two Pings?”


“Two pings, my Darling!”


And they embraced.


“But what about my submarine. Wasn’t it damaged?”


Jim ran to the nearest radio and called the “Bridge.” John answered.

“Damage report!” Jim barked.

“Our ship came out unscathed except for a couple dents. They’ll pound right out.”

“And the other sub?”

“We have been able to create a communication with them working the pingers to send a sort of make shift morse code. It seems they were able to shore up the hallways around the radio room and they have been able to contain the water.”

“That’s good to hear,” he said. And he repeated the news to his beloved. She embraced him harder.


Quickly they swore the doctor and the bay room operator to secrecy, so that no one else would learn about their hidden love. But as they walked out of the bay room, they knew without speaking that one of them was going to have to quit the cost guard so they could stop keeping their love secret.


“I’ll do it.” said Jaynie. “I’ll quit my post here at the Navy”

“You will?” asked Jim.

“Yes. Next week.”

“I’m so happy to hear that, Jayney, my love.”

“Even at it’s very slow rate, every beat my heart beated while I was cryogenically frozen was for you.”

There is a boy in our small group who sings poorly, and I think he knows it, but he still sings loudly when we worship together. My dad was like that, he sang along with the rest of us when we sang happy birthday for our kids. I have another friend who sings with his children loudly (I’ve heard him) even though he can’t really match the notes.


I know that there are those who prefer not to sing at all because they are embarrassed by their singing abilities. So as someone who can carry a tune, I feel honored every time I sing near one of these people who can’t, because they are willing to do this – they are willing to enter into worship – even though doing so risks the disapproval of others. When they do this, they are saying “I trust you. I want to be a part of this God-Praising time.”


Good on them.

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April 2009