The Battle of Jericho

Author’s Note: This is a story I composed for a weekly challenge in which I often participate on LinkedIn. The prompt was, to my chagrin, the overused six-word story often credited to Hemmingway (not actually written by Hemmingway, but credited to him anyway). However, in the spirit of good sportsmanlike conduct, I found a way to compose a story that sidesteps the landmines of emotional manipulation that pack that story, and now I present it for your review.

Copyright Marie Gail Stratford, 2014

Copyright Marie Gail Stratford, 2014

“For Sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.”

“Seriously, Honey, don’t you think that’s a little dramatic?” Sarah jostled the three-month-old in her arms.

Hank shrugged. “I think it was a little insensitive of your friends to give newborn clothing to us in the first place.”

Sarah grinned as she looked up into her husband’s face. At six-foot tall, she wasn’t accustomed to looking up at anyone, but the seven-foot-six gentle giant had stolen her heart. “Good point.” She chose not to mention that her mother and younger sister were only slightly taller than average and genetics isn’t always an exact science. It would only hurt his feelings.

“Honestly, Hank, I think we can have the garage sale without putting up that sign.” Sarah handed the baby to her husband. “I need to get organized.”

The assortment of brand-new clothing and infant items the couple’s son had already outgrown was a little overwhelming to Sarah. Their friends and family members had been generous at the three baby showers thrown before Jericho was born. Unfortunately, many of them had vastly underestimated how big the baby would be. He weighed in at 13 pounds, six ounces and was 25 inches long. Hank joked that if Sarah had been an average-sized woman they would have named the boy “Ouch.”

As Sarah tackled the chore of organizing and pricing items for the sale, her cell phone rang.


“Hi, Sarah. This is Jill from the parish office at Guardian Angels.”

“Oh, hi, Jill. What’s going on?”

“Well, we have a bit of an emergency,” Jill began. “One of the women who came to the Lighthouse last night has gone into labor. They don’t have any clothing or newborn supplies for her little boy at the shelter, so they called the church. I thought of you immediately. Aren’t you having that garage sale to get rid of some of Jericho’s things soon?”

“I would love not to have that garage sale. Can we drop the items by the church later today?”

“That sounds great. What types of things do you have?”

“Everything.” Sarah glanced around at the piles in her living room. “Sleepers, Onesies, diapers, receiving blankets, a bassinette. Oh, and shoes, two pairs of baby shoes.”

After disconnecting the call, Sarah turned to Hank, who was playing on the carpet with Jericho. “I’m going to take some stuff over to the church. Maybe we won’t have to have the sale after all.”

“Want us boys to come along?” Hank flashed his winning smile. “We can take the Beetle.”

Sarah rolled her eyes. “That Volkswagen barely has enough room for you in it, much less all three of us and the baby clothes.”

“Don’t forget the shoes.”

Sarah laughed. “Here, give Jericho to me and take this stuff to the van. Once we get rid of it, I’m sending you to the dealership where you can trade that ridiculous clown car in for something that will fit you.”

4 thoughts on “The Battle of Jericho

  1. Dear Marie Gail,

    I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It’s a great spin on the familiar six-word story. I’m sure that Hemmingway himself would enjoy your take and even more-so if he’d actually written the original. 😉

    Thanks for the smiles.



    • storydivamg says:

      Thanks for popping in to read and comment, Rochelle. This was a HUGE challenge for me this week, but I found that the exercise actually helped me with plot creation. I even wrote a HubPages article based on the process of writing for this prompt. Sometimes biting the bullet and doing something I don’t want to do is actually good for me. Who knew?

      All my best,
      Marie Gail

  2. Mary Anne says:

    Great take on the story, Marie Gail. Thanks.

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