Thanks to everyone who entered.
I really liked these lines:
"java in Java" by Stephanie Thornton 12:36am
"puddle of nun" by Rachel Searles 12:59pm
"the snakes were restless tonight" by Janet T 2:09pm
"I'm no jumped up java drinking labradoodle either" by Alex 2:18pm
"Times, they hadn't changed; they'd revolted" by Rebecca LuElla Miller 8:45pm
Most Terrifying: Tom M. Franklin 12:36pm
Most Enticing: Michael G-G 12:34pm
Most poetical!: jdh 7:36pm
Great word play from Catherine 11:44pm
Great punch line: Sue Harrison 9:41pm
Disqualified for word count but very nice: JenninReality 10:45pm
The four stories that stood out are:
“What’s that, dear? You’re a gardener?”
“No, ma’am. My name is Rachelle Gardner.”
“And you’re looking for your Labrador today? Be a miracle if you found him here, what with my hundred cats.”
“No - Labor Day parade. I can’t read this map. Do you know—”
“That’s considerate, but my cats don’t need a nap. Serve you some tea? Or are you one of those hippie java types?”
“Um, tea is fine, but I don’t really have—”
“Course not, dear. Go find that dog of yours. Such devotion. Be sure to take him round the corner - there’s a parade going on.”
Java is a clueless dog. I consider it a minor miracle every time he finds his way back into the house from the yard. However, you train him in a few simple tasks, serve doggie treats as rewards, and he'll carry them out with a boundless, simple-minded devotion.
For example: Did you know that many banks allow seeing eye dogs on their premises? And with proper motivation, a two-year-old Labrador with a canvas tote bag will go to every guard in a room and retrieve their guns for you?
In theory, anyway.
See you in ten, three with good behavior.
"Doesn't matter how much devotion he shows to his family. Look at that cute black labrador puppy in the yard, for God's sake! Or if we like it...can't think about it, we still have to serve him." Rachelle slumped in defeat against her squad car's seat, gripping the foreclosure summons tightly.
"Yeah, I know. But still, we could go get some java and forget the whole thing- you know- pray for a miracle or something?"
Neither felt up to shattering yet another American dream.
She shoved the summons into his hand. "You serve, I'll buy."
The dog whines at her name and paws my hand.
She's a Labrador. Black, like uncreamed coffee or the fading night.
Hope had been a Golden, a sun-filled garden, her bright devotion burning like Hannukah oil for eight precious years.
Black, though, is a color I understand. A bond buds where I thought no new would grow.
She waits patient in her harness. I take up the handle, eager yet cautious, aware she's my freedom, my salvation. My own miracle worker, ready to serve.
"Forward," I say to Java -- but what I'm really saying is good-bye to Hope.
The winner of the last writing contest of the summer, the Happy Birthday Rachelle Gardner contest is Phoenix.
Phoenix, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll figure out what delicious prize you've won!
Thank you to everyone who entered (these are a lot of fun to read!) and congratulations to all who were singled out!
And Happy Birthday Rachelle...how old did you claim to be??