Monday, March 07, 2016

Our Inner Criminal Writing contest results--FINAL

As usual you tormented me with your talent. I can hear you all chortling about this.

Herewith the results:

Words I had to look up (which I should hasten to add is not a bad thing)
pinchbeck E.M. Goldsmith 8:27am
tippet Janice L. Grinyer 1:30pm
Tadalafil   allierat 8:13pm
Prisunic LynnRodz 7:26am

I love this line
Em-Musing 9:57am
“Hey! I’m not a criminal; I’m a writer!”

Amy Schaefer 11:23am
"It’s never a good thing to wake up in a forklift."

The vivid imagery in these two lines is perfection:
David 2:09pm
After braving Batman and Robin tattoos with his girlfriend, she ditched him for some dude not dumb enough to lose his thumbs in a knife fight. Apparently, she liked having her ass pinched more than she’d let on.

Special recognition for interesting POV
a honey bee
cassandra newbould 10:00am

Outstanding diction and rhythm
Timothy Lowe 10:11am

Splendid, gorgeous writing.
Celia Reaves 10:21am

Very meta
Craig 10:39am

Simply in a class by himself, hilarious stories, off-beat POVs and outstanding use of prompt words: Steve Forti 11:33am.

Special recognition for GREAT names:
JSF 11:03am
"Wit's End" (I think it's a bar)
Nickleburp Filcherdinck (I think he might be Felix Buttonweezer's friend)

I had to google to get it  but oh boy, this is lovely when you understand it. (not quite a story though)
Mark Ellis 1:56pm

I'm not sure why but this line just cracked me up:   
keeping his air lift proved impossible as he neared the castle. He started to walk.)
And Fred! What a great name for a dragon!
Rene Saenger 8:06pm

Not quite a story but terrific writing and some great lines!
Scott Sloan 8:29pm
Michael Seese 8:43pm "cuckoo for Soduku"
Anonymous 10:42pm

Not quite a story but this just cracked me up completely
Sara Halle 11:41pm

Not quite a story but innovative form, and pretty damn funny to boot
John Frain 2:23am

Lovely tribute to the recently departed Pat Conroy
Matt Adams 8:38pm

Special recognition for skilled use of the vernacular
Rena McClure Taylor 10:51pm

The Steve Forti Award for diabolical use of prompt words:
Lynn Rodz 7:26am

Long list
Mallory Love 3:07pm
1 finicky wife
1 disillusioned husband
1 aerobic instructor with a penchant for filching
A prenup

Throw the second and third ingredients together. Add a pinch of lust. Let it simmer. Once blended, lift the veil off the first ingredient's eyes and put her into the mix. Bring to boiling. Then toss out the wife, penniless.

1 disgruntled ex-wife
Her wits

Make a peace offering to ex's girlfriend: ex's favorite dessert recipe, extra walnuts. Wait for the call. Act shocked when told. Confirm girlfriend knew about allergy. Collect his estate. Best served cold.

Bethany Elizabeth 7:12pm
His eyes were too sweet for drinking, so I asked for ID. His card was new with a bright donor sticker. Two months earlier, I’d have pinched his cheek and served him a pop. Instead, I brought him a little liquid courage and a smile. Filched a laugh.

We met outside the diner. “Happy to see me, or is that a…”

It was.

Who robs waitresses?

Cops caught him too late. Bullet through his eye. My liver.

They airlifted me to St. Nick’s. Angels drifted through my room before the transplant.

He got my cash.

But I got his liver.

allierat 8:13pm
Oak refused to shorten his shadow at noon. Lifting, long, lean, graceful; undulating over boulders, sinewing up a slope, the crown nicking a dark cave.

“Hey!” Apollo shouted, glaring. “Will you defy me? And physics? Just who do you think you are?”

Maple’s leaves whispered, “He’s on Tadalafil! Cheater! His wood ain’t worth a pinch hitter’s bat!”

Amassing darkness, clouds robbed Oak of his shadow. Zeus threw a lightning bolt. With a crack and a groan, mighty Oak fell, to rise no more.

Next spring, an acorn grew.

Short list
Mark Thurber 10:20am
“Un lapin, Charles?”

“Non, Robert. It’s the old fox, after the new chick.”

“Shall we warn her off? Il chasse, n’est-ce pas?”

“Oui, Robert, he is hunting. But let’s see what happens if we don’t lift a hoof.”

“Are you lost, Mademoiselle?” the fox asks the chick.

“Oui, Monsieur. I am looking for a bite to eat.”

“Moi aussi. Please join me!”

The fox pounces. A flurry of fur and feathers, and it is over.

Farmer Jean finds the fox out cold and nary a nick on the chick. “C’est magnifique! I should teach all my chickens martial arts.”

I love how this story incorporates one of the things we talked about on the blog this week (using foreign words or phrases) without being all Hey! Look What I DID! about it. Nicely subtle. And this story is hilarious. 

And those are some very artful prompt word uses too! And "nary a nick on the chick" just cracks me up completely. This is terrific writing.

Maggie Maxwell 10:39am
3rd grade
Joe pinched me cuz I wasn’t wearin’ green. I sent him home black and blue. Mama said, “He likes you.”

6th grade
Joe lifted my skirt on picture day “to see if I was really a girl.” I knocked him outta his shoes with one punch. Daddy said, “Boys’ll be boys.”

9th grade
Joe filched my homework and slapped his name on it. I nicked his wallet. The cops said, “Nice girls ain’t reprobates.”

12th grade
Joe said he was gonna make me hurt. I said, “I ain’t seen ‘im, officers” with my dirty hands behind my back.

This entry is evocative of luciakaku's last week that started the discussion about what makes a story (and what doesn't) What makes this a story is the twist at the end. The last line “I ain’t seen ‘im, officers” with my dirty hands behind my back. 

Of course the double standard is what makes this a terrific twist at the end too.

And you've got to love any story with the word reprobate!

Megan V 10:50am
I can’t recall who stuck me with the boy, but I remember that pinch-faced teenager with every blink.
We stand beneath fluorescent lights. I shove a smock into his hands.
“Welcome to Chuck’s Bait Shop,” he says, his voice robotic. “Buy some monofil chuggers.”
“Welcome to Chuck’s Bait Shop. Monofilaments and chuggers are on sale today.” He’s making progress.
“Welcome to Chuck’s Bai—shit!” He chases a shoplifter.
Crack! Panicked yells. I hobble outside.
Bloodstains on his smock, but the boy whispers, “I tried.”
I shelve thread and lures. On Sale: $4.99

Of course what makes this stand out is the repetition of the word "blink" but what makes that work is the rhythm of the other sentences.   Notice how the number of words (left) and the number of syllables (right) in each sentence rise and fall?

S.D. King 10:55am
In a pinch, Filchenkov agreed to ride with Chakravarthi to the String Theory Conference. Their debates were legendary.

Chakravarthi preached Unified Theory proposing ten alternate reality dimensions.

Filchenkov wrote the book refuting it.

“So right now, you think an invisible reality is taking place inside and around this car—LOOK OUT!

A tire from the semi ahead flew toward the windshield. Chakravarthi ducked. In the nick of time, the tire lifted over the car.

Miles later, the debate resumed.

“The very premise is improbable. Impossible!”

The third passenger, Gabriel, dusted off and settled back onto the luggage rack.

“You’re welcome.”

Get it?

DLM 12:46pm
When had it shifted – from being impossible to see aught but the end of waiting, to being impossible to believe there was an end?

When she’d been robbed. When she’d gained weight and stopped holding in her stomach, when her skin had begun to crepe. When her mouth had become pinched, her brows ever harder to lift out of hatchet-faced gloom.

When the nick of the needle, as she sewed the never-ending shroud, had been pain not worth itself. When she found she wanted to be taken as easily as a pickpocket might filch a stranger’s gold.

Damn Odysseus.

Of course I'm a sucker for all thing Odyssey and I do love the alternate view point here: Penelope waiting at home. But mostly this is just beautiful writing and I love it.

Writer 4 2:58pm
Carbon Cliff, Il. Chicago is over a hundred miles behind me. I see a bridge up ahead. Hell, if that's the Mississippi, then I've made it! Iowa, here I come. Farmers won't extradite me.

Up in Chicago, they'll have found the bodies by now. I was in a panic. Killed them in self defense.

Red lights flash just before I reach the border. Busted. "They attacked me first!" I plead, as the officer eyes the blood stains on my shirt.

"Save it for the geese police," he answers. Then whispers, "Zero blame from me, chef. I love foie gras."

"Save it for the geese police" is one of my favorite sentences of all time.
And "farmers won't extradite me" is really funny.
And of course the punch line of foie gras is perfect.
Then there's the artful use of prompt words.

In other words, this is just about perfect.

CarolynnWith2Ns 6:14pm
Filched food, got a karma gut ache.
Shoplifted a bottle of Chevas, drove, lost my license for a year.
Got it back.
Robbed a 7-Eleven. Bad money, bad lawyer, one year.
Got out.
Pinched a Plymouth. A bridge abutment got me two weeks in ICU and two years in county.
Got out.
Did a 180 with a shit-job, finicky wife, house, kids and a cat.
Life sentence.
And then a bastard stole her heart.
And then I stole a gun.
And then I went to see them.
Death sentence.
Karma jammed the gun.
Got out.

I love the twist on this story!

Scott G 7:44pm
“Hello, dad. Good to see you again.”

He laid there, eyes closed. No response. Typical.

“You robbed me of my childhood.”

Nothing. Didn’t even lift his eyebrows to acknowledge my existence. He’d always been that way.

“Sorry I had to do it. Must be a nick in my DNA.”

I lodged the flashlight between my teeth and filched the watch off his wrist.

“Got your attention this time, didn’t I.”

The sweet, sweaty smell of his bedtime stories came rushing back to me. I gagged.

“Actually, I’m not sorry.”

I pinched my nostrils together and closed the casket lid.

Normally when there's an error in grammar, the entry gets the boot, but I loved the ending of this so much I let "lay/laid" slide on by.  (He lay there, not he laid there)

And I really like how our expectations for what's going are are turned 180 by the very last two words. This is really excellent.

So, again, I'm having trouble picking just one story to recognize for Outstanding Achievement in Flash Fiction.

I'm going to swill some coffee and read them all again.

Meanwhile, weigh in!

I'm beginning to suspect you all of conspiring against me in writer grottos across the land. It's getting harder and harder to pick just one entry each week as The Outstanding One.

I think I've read all the short list more tha six times now, and in the end, this is the one that just stuck with me as truly amazing.

Congratulations Mark Thurber 10:20am.

Drop me an email with your mailing address and the kinds of books you like to read and I'll send you John Frain's novel a book.

Congratulations to all the short and long list entries, and those entries who caught my eye for other things as well.

Thanks to all of you who took the time to enter. It's a pleasure to read your work. Y'all are dangerously talented writers.


Kae Ridwyn said...

Wishing I'd had the time to enter, but I've barely managed to skim your daily posts this last week. THANK YOU for writing such detailed contest results posts, Janet; I learn so much from them! And this, with the chart of syllables to words, is just so incredibly far "above and beyond"!
My vote would be for Scott G. Those last two words - an exquisite twist :)

french sojourn said...

Carolynnwith2n's. Loved yours the most, well done.

Great entries, the reading this week was as always spectacular. Well done to all.

Cheers Hank

Em-Musing said...

Congrats to all that got mentioned and can't wait to see who the winner is. Thank you, Janet for the recognition.

Jason Magnason said...

Great entries this week.

CynthiaMc said...

Congrats, everyone!

Michael Seese said...

I'm caught between Maggie Maxwell and CarolynnWith2Ns.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Well that's a long list of wonderful stories to pick a winner from. What you need here is a dart board. Pin the names of all the finalists to the thing and throw. Otherwise, I could go about any way.

It is quite an accomplishment to write such a story in so little time. I ran out of time this weekend, but I feel obligated to at least try now. My story shrinks next to these clever pieces. These contests are such a wonderful exercise. Good luck, my queen. And great job long listers and finalists.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Steve Harvey isn't here, is he?

Steve Forti said...

Hmm... usually I have a clear favorite. But torn among DLM, Writer, and Megan V this week. I think I'm going to root for Writer, because I love super short form humor, and that one made me laugh with its surprise ending that flipped genres.

Nicely done all, as usual! I'm still looking for that elusive first win, but I'll take this kind of praise any day!

Colin Smith said...

I would probably give it to Diane because, for all the years she's been active in the comments, this was her FIRST CONTEST ENTRY!! Not many people pull off a first-time flash fiction entry this good. Gosh-darned impressive, don't you think? She should at least get a special recognition award? (Or some kind of punishment for keeping us waiting for so long!!)

However, if I was Janet, based on her comments, I would give it to Writer. It's the only entry she says was "just about perfect." In a close call, it's the little things that make the difference.

Great job, everyone--finalists, long-listers, mentions, and all who entered, especially those who took the plunge for the first time. :)

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Actually I loved the entry of Lee Davis.

Donnaeve said...

On the third read, I got S.D. King's.

In general, I have no idea....these are all uniquely good in their own way. No wonder you're pondering.

The good news is all of these are deserving of a win, so no matter who you decide on in the end, you won't be wrong! And honestly, if the rest feel like I do when I any sort of mention, that's like a win in of itself!

Donnaeve said...

2N' remembered Lee Davis??? And you say I remember sh**! That's a blast from the past. Hee! (thank you)

Brian Schwarz said...

Damn. Missed the writing contest AND the WIR, and I had a sub header nomination? What a weekend...

Thank you Janet, for the wonderful WIR!

I love DLM's entry. She is always an elegant writer. And 2n's has such a great twist and such a stark piece of writing. I love it. No frills, just thrills. But I gotta say, SD King's blew me away. It was so simple and elegant with such a subtle twist but somehow it just hit me right in the feels. :)

Celia Reaves said...

Wow, once again with the amazing entries! You guyz, you rock. I'm torn between S.D. King's story (I love mixing string theory and angels) and DLM's switcheroo on the Odyssey. I also love Mark Thurber's funny story addressing last week's discussion of foreign words in fiction, and Carolynn's wonderful ode to karma. Yes, amazing is a good word.

And my Queen recognized my own entry with a mention!! I'm floating.

DLM said...

Maggie Maxwell's. Sigh, gasp, growl. Sigh again.

Colin, thank you, but just entering is no reason to win (and to clarify, this is my first entry here, but far from my first flashfic). I definitely do not think mine is the winner, nor should it be.

Maggie's. All the way (through every grade).

Colin Smith said...

Diane: No, simply entering isn't a reason to win. But entering for the first time with THAT entry--now, that's a reason. :) I don't expect you to agree, of course. But I'm right. This time, at least. ;)

Lucie Witt said...

How is it possible these get better every week?

Janet Reid said...

Lucie, I've wondered the same thing and I think it's a conspiracy. Either that or I blame Obama.

Ok, sorry, no (more) political jokes from me.
The subheader is quite enough.

Scott G said...

I'd have to go with Writer 4. Great writing, great lines, and Janet says it's (its) (it is) (hell, I don't know) just about perfect.

Congratulations to all the finalists and mentions. Janet, thank you for all the time you spend helping writers. It is greatly appreciated.

Celia Reaves said...

Janet, one typo in the original post. The special recognition for skilled use of the vernacular goes to Rena McClure Taylor (not Rene). A well-deserved mention, and I know you want to get her name right. Rena, that really was masterful!

Amy Schaefer said...

I'm with 2Ns. A great field, as usual! I'm going to miss entering these contests.

Kregger said...

Ninja chickens made me laugh out loud.

Good job everyone. Every FF contest I think I need to step up my game and find out I'm a step behind.

Keep up the good work.


Anonymous said...

I read for pure entertainment and have a short list:
Mallory Lowe
All three of these were a lot of fun for me. The rest were great of course but too serious for this weekend. My head was getting a little heavy.
(Now for the important stuff - yeah for me! I wouldn't have done it without you, Janet Reid.)

Colin Smith said...

Amy: Uhh... did I miss something? I thought I read all the comments. Maybe my memory's failing? You're not entering anymore?? What's the deal?!

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Colin, isn't Amy back to paradise soon. How do you enter FF from the middle of the South Pacific.

Colin Smith said...

2Ns: Cell phone? SharkNet? Message in a bottle? I just assumed she'd find a way. Oh well. She'll be a nytba soon no doubt, as will Donna. At least we'll be able to read her books... *sigh*

Rena McClure Taylor said...

What talented writers! Way above my "word" grade, but thanks for the mention.

Janet Reid said...

Thanks for catching the typo Celia.
Sorry about hashing your name Rena.
Fixed now.
More coffee.

Amy Schaefer said...

Colin, 2Ns has it - we're back on the boat soon. We only have internet when we are in port, and it is usually, in a word, pathetic. We're travelling from Australia to South Africa this year, and I don't expect to be connected for most of that time. I can send/receive text-only email over our SSB radio; that lets me update my blog, as well as stay connected to friends and family. But the internet is a distant dream.

Anyway, I'm not gone quite yet, and I'll be back at the end of the year. And thanks for caring! :) I'll miss this place.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

Oh man, I don't envy Janet the task of picking one - these are all great. I really enjoyed all of them, but Megan V's entry is probably my favorite. I like the flow, I like the repetition, and I really love the ending.

Megan V said...

I really enjoyed Mark Thurber's entry—his turn of phrase was just delightful! :D

Maggie Maxwell said...

Everyone saying the entries get better and better aren't kidding. It's an honor to be included with such amazing talent.

I have to vote for Writer 4 for the amazingly creative use of the prompt words.

DLM and Michael Seese, y'all're making me blush. Thank you (And thank YOU, Janet, for another fantastic, inspiring contest!)

Nate Wilson said...

I guess I'm in the mood for humor this morning. My vote's split between Mark Thurber and Writer.

Great job, all!

RachelErin said...

Two shortlist entries involving poultry...interesting.
I love the chicken martial artists, not least because the story reminds me of the classic Tale of Jemima Puddleduck, but retold with a zippier pro-goose-onist.
However, I also have a weak spot for Penelope, angels, and foie gras.

Foie gras is a hot topic in Chi-town. I lived there just before the ban (now removed).
Sadly my writing time is so tight I couldn't justify not adding to the WIP. Fun prompt words this time!

Karen McCoy said...

Really enjoying everyone else's entries, and am always inspired with the talent displayed here!

I'm stuck between Mark Thurber and Writer. Gotta love those birds!

I sympathize with Kregger--I'm also trying to hit the right pitch and keep missing. It really reminds me of the importance to just have fun with these, and not worry too much about how they land each week.

Plus, the writing practice is invaluable!

Mark Thurber said...

Fair winds, Amy! My wife and kids enjoy once or twice a year overnight stays in San Francisco or Angel Island, but I expect I'll always be more of a bay sailor than a bluewater one.

LynnRodz said...

I like Writer's story, the foie gras cracked me up. Then too, I like Mark Thurber's story. I used foreign words in my FF as well because we talked about them earlier in the week. But Mark did a better job at showing they could be used without needing footnotes. So my choice is between those two. The reversed N in Tиxо kept coming out as a 'u' or an 'n' so I finally gave up deleting my entries. (Sorry Janet.)

As for Scott's, I think lay-laid-laid and lie-lay-lain should all be arrested. All irregular verbs should be. Now if I were QOTKU...

Oh yeah, I just want to mention, I absolutely loved Debradorris' story. Great job!

Thanks for the mentions, Janet.

Dena Pawling said...

Major thunderstorm here. Lightning, thunder, wind, rain. We get something like this only about once per year. My dog is whimpering under my husband's desk. Poor thing. Then I have to DRIVE in it to get to court. Ugh.

Need to post this while we still have power.

Again I understood only about half of the finalists. I'll keep working at it throughout the day.

I agree with LynnRodz. Lay/lain/etc should all be arrested, taken out back, and shot.

Happy sailing to Amy!

Congrats to everyone.

Joseph Snoe said...

I'm for him
or her
dear sir

DLM said...

Joseph, I'm a woman (of sorts). But I LOVE this vote - talk about flash, that is the shortest sweetest poem! Thankee kindly, sir or ma'am.

S.D.King said...

Congrats to Mark! A fun entry.

Thanks to Janet for what must be a LOT of work!

Colin Smith said...

The results are in!

Congrats, Mark!! Yeah, we all have our favorites, but they're all worthy winners. Well done, Mr. Thurber for standing out in a stand-out crowd. :)

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Great job, Mark! And everyone who enters. It's a tough field

Joseph Snoe said...


‘Joseph’ should have been a clue I am a man.

As for my poetry, the only poet I ever understood was James Thurber, who may be related to Mark Thurber, who possibly prefers prose. Only heaven knows.

Mark Thurber said...

Thanks, all! I was already smiling all the way to work this morning just to have been a finalist among this amazing group of entries, and to have made the Shark laugh. My entry also made my 9-year-old son laugh, which seems to be a good sign. (My entries in the last two contests just made him go, "Huh?")

LynnRodz, thanks for brining back nostalgic memories of my time living in Mexico with your use of "pinche cabron." It's been a long time since anyone's called me that...

Angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

The prompt words were fantastic. The entries over the top. It was hard to keep my nose to the grind and not enter but, holy moly, the competition here is sky high.

Congratulations to all who entered and to those mentioned

Congrats Mark, I love your Franglais.

I loved the Week in Review yesterday. All the craziness that goes on here. And the information the Queen shares is precious.

Mark Thurber said...

Mr. Snoe, it
Pays to be a poet

I don't know if there's any James Thurber relation, but I'm certainly a fan.

Rena McClure Taylor said...

Celia Reaves,

Hadn't seen the typo or your comment until I saw it in my gmail. I've been called all sorts of names. "Rene" is one of the best. Like someone said, "Call me anything--just call me."

Thanks for your gracious comment.

Maggie Maxwell said...

Congratulations and great job, Mark!

Donnaeve said...

Congrats to Mark! I'll admit, I'm going to have to look up some of the words to "get it" fully.

Man! My chicken story should have held a ninja component!

Well. Cluck.

DLM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DLM said...

By the way, is anyone else seeing Charles Boyer as Pepe the Fox in Thurber's work?

Joseph, I was being a little funny. Infinitesimally so ... :) For this, we clearly must rely on Mark.

Congratulations, Mark!

Thank you to those who have been so kind, most especially our host - and extra dollops of thanks for all her hard work.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Yes, fab entries and so fun to read through and wonder how Janet will sort them all.

Like Kregger and Karen McCoy, I always feel a step behind, sometimes like I'm a seriously inept muggle. But, enough whining.

Congrats Mark Thurber. And to all the other writers mentioned. What great imaginations and story-telling exists inside the brains of the Reiders. Great place to study craft.

And, off topic: Happy sailing, Amy.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Thanks for the mention Janet and thanks to all who stepped to my side of the room during this morning’s caucus.
Some candidates are just better than others.

Congrats Mark, acceptance speech please.

BTW I don't care what size your hands are.

Donnaeve said...

Lordy, 2N's, you're on a roll!

I don't care what size...sheesh. Sneeyort! Just when I was getting over the visual of the shitzhu on The Donald's head.

Colin Smith said...

Amy: Wow--sounds like a lot of fun/work! Safe travels, and I look forward to your return to the contests. :)

Donna: The Donald. The Don. Hmmm... that makes him sound like a mafia boss. Why is no-one laughing? :-\

Celia Reaves said...

Yay, Mark - congratulations on inching ahead of this week's very stiff competition. Ninja chickens, forsooth!

Congratulations to all the winners on the long and the short list, and everyone who earned a mention.

Karen, I'm with you. For me the contests are about the fun of playing with words and meeting the challenge of coming up with something worthy of submitting each time. Any mention at all is just gravy. With 80 or 90 submissions each time, from such a talented group, "winning" is right out.

Rena, you deserved the mention. It was terrific.

Timothy Lowe said...

Congrats Mark, and finalists and mentions. And always thanks to Janet for making the weekends interesting!

Steve Forti said...

Congrats Mark!
@2N's: Thanks for the laugh about the hands.

Karen McCoy said...

Also looking for an acceptance speech from Mark!

Thank you Celia! And you produce lots of gravy, for sure. So do you, Lisa! I admire you both.

Marie McKay said...

Congrats, Mark. Well done, everyone, and thanks Janet for your hard work.

Marie McKay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark Thurber said...

All right, 2N's and Colin, you asked for it...

Donnaeve: Look at those chickens in my entry. Are they small chickens?
Mark Thurber: Let’s see if she answers it.
Donnaeve: Don’t worry about it, little Marko.
Mark Thurber: All right, let’s hear it, Big Donna.
Donnaeve: I guarantee you there is no problem with the size of my chickens. I guarantee.

I've always wanted to know what Carkoon was like.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Mark, hahahahahaha !

Mark Ellis said...

Always nice to show in this talented field. Congrats to Mark and the finalists, and a nod to my fellow mentionables and all who entered.

Feeling a bit down about Downton Abbey ending (here in the US); this helps.

Rena McClure Taylor said...

Celia Reeves

This is embarrassing. Obviously I am behind on my reading--both the contest entries and the results. (We're trying to get a house ready to sell.)

But your entry is exquisite--and your mention greatly deserved.

Lennon Faris said...

Congratulations, Mark! All the entries were amazing.

Amy - sounds like an adventure. Enjoy your travels!

LynnRodz said...

Congrats, Mark! Hmm, where were you hanging out in Mexico and being called pinche cabron? Okay, you don't have to tell me. LOL. I took a hiatus from Paris years ago to live in Mexico City for awhile. I love that city.

I want to thank my mother and father for the Steve Forti Award and also to my 8th grade English teacher, Mrs. Leonard. Last, but not least, to Janet for giving me this award...

Oh, that's right, it's Mark who's suppose to give a speech! I guess I'll shut up now. But, before I do, let's 'Make DONALD DRUMPF Again!'

John Frain said...

Mark Thurber,
Hearty congratulations. Well done. You should feel especially good against such a crowded, talented field.

Regarding your relative James, just tell people he's your uncle. If they don't wanna believe you, say You Could Look It Up. But don't start acting like Walter Mitty or they'll turn away quick.

Great entry, from a guy who doesn't know a lick of French, even after a visit to French Lick.

OT: Amy, Wow! You're livin'.

John Frain said...

OMG, Mark, and I forgot to comment on your prize. So close to winning some guy’s novel. (I kept trying for a cross-out there, but the comment box is on to me.) I’d hate for you to have to “settle” like that. After you finish the goodread Janet sends you, I’ll forward you a chapter of mine so you can feel even better about your prize.

I teach by example, kids. Learn from me -- don’t do what I do!

Mark Thurber said...

John, I definitely want the crossed-out prize too -- so yes, please do send it along!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Mark and all those mentioned! Great job!

Thanks so much, LynnRodz! Mentioning my story and that you liked it made my day! I'm still recovering from an illness that landed me in the hospital on life-support. Smiles and laughter are just what I need! :)

Although I don't participate much in the comments, I read and enjoy every post. It's taking me a while to catch up on what I've missed these past few months, but since I'm not able to work on my MS just yet I should be up to par soon.

Thank you, Janet Reid, for hosting this site and these FF contests! (QueryShark is wonderful too!)

Colin Smith said...

debradorris: ?!??!!! Wow!! I'm glad you're recovering. That's it. I need to go for something lighter in my contest stories. Enough murder and suicide. We need more laughs... :)

Steve Forti said...

@Lynn - Take good care of that award. But beware how you hold it - it's got some sharp edges. Keep some Band-aids nearby.

Julie Weathers said...

Congratulations to everyone who entered and to those who were mentioned. Special congratulations to Mark. Way to go!

The competition is getting seriously stiff around here.

The ninja chicken story made me laugh. Mother used to order 500 chicks every year. One year she ordered 500 Golden Cross Giant chickens. I have no idea what they were, but they were colorful and huge. They dressed out at 10-12 pounds, which is about the size of an average turkey.

Mother had one rooster named Goldie who was gold, (she was gifted at naming animals) with red wings and flowing gold, red, and green tail feathers. He was gorgeous...and meaner than a junkyard dog.

I went out to gather eggs one afternoon and was walking back across the corral when I heard a familiar thump thump thump. Goldie was coming up behind me and I knew he was about to pull his ninja attack flogging again. You wouldn't think a chicken would be that bad, but 15 pounds of rabid rooster spurring and flogging up your back hurts.

I waited until he was right behind me and I knew he was flying up to hit me, then swung around and hit him with a milk bucket full of eggs.

He dropped to the ground like a rock.

I delivered the eggs, most of which were scrambled, to my dismayed mother and told her she should plan on chicken dinner as I had just killed Goldie. Unfortunately, I hadn't. The cantankerous demon spawn survived to ninja attack another day. He just avoided me.

Julie Weathers said...


Good grief. I am so sorry to hear that. I'm glad you're feeling better, but prayers sent up anyway.

It wasn't mentioned, or if it was, I missed it, but I'm curious about the things Miss Janet would purloin. I'd definitely love the armor and barding in the last picture. Who wouldn't love to have the buildings, though? I assume that's a temple.

Where are these things exhibited, just in case I ever find a really great burglar or just go visiting?

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Julie W, you childhood should have been a reality show before there were reality shows.

Joseph Snoe said...

Funny ninja rooster story, Julie.
Sometimes it pays to put all your eggs in one basket.

Just Jan said...

Another great contest! Congratulations to Mark and all the finalists and mentions. Thanks again, Janet, for hosting!

Colin Smith said...

FYI: I have updated the contest spreadsheet in the Treasure Chest.

Congrats again, Mark! :)

LynnRodz said...

Debradorris, prayers and healing vibrations are being sent your way. Hope you're well soon.

Steve, thanks for the heads up, but too late. There should be a warning sign on that award of yours.

Megan V said...


Your rooster Goldie reminds me a lot of a chicken from my childhood.

Angel was an all-white cannibalistic clucker that chased the barn cats away from the cat food. She had no qualms about pecking the hands that fed her and particularly enjoyed wing-beating anyone who passed near her roost. Most days, she liked to roost in my dad's shop.

One night some idiots tried to steal my dad's tools and lo' and behold Angel attacked. Although they weren't caught, the wanna-be thieves must have had one heck of a night. When my Dad wandered out to the shop the next morning, he found tools tossed every which way, a floor full of feathers and footprints, and a smug Angel roosting in the middle of it all with blood on her beak. From then on Angel was affectionately known as Angel the Watch Chicken.

Brian M. Biggs said...

Congratulations Mark! Excellent. All the "Long List" and the "Short List" Way to go. Writer 4: Amazing!!!

Lance said...

Congratulations to Mark for a heckuva story. Also to the short- and long-listers and the mentionables. This was a tough competition. Thank you, Ms. Janet, for continuing the struggle and the excitement.

Julie Weathers said...


Too funny. You had a guardian Angel!

Anonymous said...

Lots of good stuff, here. :) My favorites inc Megan V for pathos; Just Jan, so funny and blunt; Lennon Faris for story thick with revenge; and Christina Seine for plot, but mostly for the final line, 'nothin' today'.