Give use your best 300 words using the following prompt:
He had a death grip along the sides of the podium. His mouth was dry; the luminous stage lights blazed down on him with hot, white light. Someone in the audience of thousands sneezed, otherwise there was perfect silence. Pierre took a large gulp of water from the nearby table, cleared his throat, and said to hell with his prepared notes: he’d speak from the soul. ‘Terrance Roberts, is my friend, and my friend is both a monster and a saint.’
At the word “Saint”, there was a disapproving intake of breath. Pierre started again.
“I’m sorry, Saint Peter… of course Terrance is not a saint. But he is a good man.”
Pierre felt his confidence returning. Looking up, his eyes scanned the assembled host, so solemn in their white robes; not a feather of their wings moved in the expectant stillness.
He tried to meet their infinite, inhuman gaze. Thousands upon thousands of them there were, all of them gathered here to hear Pierre, the one friend chosen by Terrance, to speak on behalf of his soul and plead for admittance to Heaven.
“Terrance was a monster, yes. But what made him a monster? The world made him that way, his world. Poverty, inequality, hopelessness, a world in which the only the drug dealers were rich. Growing up fatherless, his brothers in prison, is it any wonder that he turned to gang life?
“The world made him this way. And yet, the divine was in him, and somehow he managed to pull away. He reinvented himself as an activist, a role model, a friend to the young. He was my friend. He taught me to respect myself, to aim for a better life. If I had not been stabbed to death in a street robbery, I would have been at university by now, thanks to Terrance.
“Yes, he shot a man. He was a mortal, in fear of his life. He learned to use a gun before he could read; pressing the trigger was a reflex reaction to danger, bypassing thought. But do not let this single act negate all the good he did in his life. The prodigal son was welcomed wholeheartedly, please, welcome Terrance now.”
Saint Peter thanked him for his words, and commanded the angels to vote.
Morgan Brown says
This is excellent!
Phil Town says
Pierre paused to allow the general hubbub caused by his opening comment to die down. He surveyed the audience and took in the fear and concern on the faces of the town folk packed into the theatre; it seated 500 but it did feel like there were thousands in there, lining the aisles and pressed against the walls at the side and back. For good measure he took another gulp of water before resuming.
‘You all know Terrance – the one that we see every day. The caring doctor, the volunteer worker, the considerate neighbour, the friend of us all. This Terrance is not a lie. He exists, and he’s touched all of our lives. Who amongst us would say that they wished they had never met him?’
Pierre paused again, this time for effect. People turned to each other and were nodding furiously: Terrance was a good man, there was no doubt about it.
Pierre paused for a third time, now because his mouth felt like sandpaper. He took yet another long draught of water, preparing himself for the next part. The ‘but’ had hushed the crowd.
‘… as your mayor, it is my duty to inform you about the other Terrance Roberts …’
Now the members of the audience were perplexed. Pierre was rushing to finish; it was already dusk.
‘… the one that last night killed five of our number. Yes! I witnessed it with my own eyes; he only did not kill me, I think, because something must have stirred in him and reminded him that we are best friends. That other Terrance Roberts is–‘
Pierre did not finish; something very large began banging on the main door at the back of the auditorium, its hinges buckling under the pressure.