Herewith the results:
A perfect example of a very clever entry---except it's so clever I didn't get it.
Timothy Lowe 9:34am
Here's what I think the crossword puzzle answers are:
4. And here's where you lose me because I am the only person in the world who cannot quote anything from Monty Python except "no one expects the Spanish Inquisition"
This isn't quite a story but it cracked me up completely
Stephen G. Parks 9:51am
Not quite a story, but I really appreciate the liberties taken with Santa in this one!
Mon (Moniza) 10:25am
Not quite a story but drop dead gorgeous writing
Lucy Crowe 11:01am
Not quite a story, but a lovely use of form here (and a nice twist on our expectations)
Amy Johnson 12:23pm
A line that I think we need to use more often
“Let me play Devil’s avocado,” he said. "
An entry that is beautiful and heartbreaking
Here are the entries that made the long list
Craig F 12:29pm
And here are the entries that made the short list
Mallory Love 10:12am
We watched my mother-in-law, Sandy, whip and nae nae on the dance floor, speechless. Straight gin and an open bar inspired the gut-wrenching booty shaking for all to witness. But I couldn’t blame the poor woman. She was jilted at her own shotgun wedding years ago.
“At least she’s not as bad as my Uncle Louie,”I consoled my new husband. Louie’d left three women at the altar and nowadays was always half tipsy.
We looked over at him. Louie flashed a smile, stumbling over.
“You Sandy’s boy?”
My husband nodded.
“Nice to finally meet you...Son.”
Of course, the twist at the end is both horrifying and hilarious, the best of all possible twists. There are clues in the story too, which is a real feat with so few words available. The writing is vivid and clean. Really really nice entry.
She shouldered the shotgun and fired, the kick knocking her whippet-thin body into a rosebush. In a flash, my new gutter became a colander. Fortunately for the squirrel, Mom couldn’t shoot straight. “That damn squirrel in your attic is driving me insane. If you won’t call the exterminator, I may have to move to town, with your sister.”
I pulled her from the thorns. “Let’s get you patched up.”
“I’m fine.” She stomped into the house.
Once she'd gone, I brought out the live trap and opened the door. “Okay, squirrel. Girl squirrel and peanuts in the attic. Party on.”
Of course, this made me laugh out loud. I particularly liked the gutter becoming a colander. This is a delightful entry, and the descriptions are perfect.
You read it all night.
The pace and the plot, the whip and the lash, you couldn't stop.
Your eyes bloodshot and your gut clenched, you can barely think straight.
Who sent this?
Nobody you've ever heard of.
But on the Internet he's called Manuscript. Not even 'the.' He doesn't need it.
You must have this manuscript.
You can't wait. You must have this manuscript.
You call him.
The phone rings.
He's got to pick up.
The phone rings again.
Why won't he pick up?
The phone's still ringing.
So this is what it feels like.
Fucking John Frain.
This cracked me up completely (sorry JD(ms)F!) Of course, I revel in any entry that employs the second person (so rarely used well like it is here) and it has a lovely ironic twist at the end that will make every writer cackle with glee.
John Davis (manuscript) Frain 8:25pm
Was she monkeying around?
Juliet! Papa grunted. Be straight.
If he only knew. She lumbered around the enclosure. Devoured four bananas. Two chocolate chimp cookies.
Mama said, Do we get to meet him?
She considered the pronoun. Hmm. Not exactly.
Papa shot Juliet a look. Mama said, If you’re happy, we’re happy.
Juliet smiled. Meet Romeo. She’s the gorilla my dreams! Out pranced one-hundred-fifty-nine pounds of orange-haired orangutan.
The jolt gave Papa whiplash.
She’s not a baboon, Mama cried.
She’s not a he, Papa snarled.
But I love your daughter, Orangutan said.
That’s enough for me, Mama and Papa sang.
You had me at "Gorilla my dreams" and the prompt word gut in orangutan makes me quiver with joy.
This cracked me up completely. It's hilarioius but it's also brilliant writing.
Claire Bobrow 9:31pm
“Fruitcake?” offered Pamela.
“No, thank you.”
“Try it dear,” insisted Mama. “Pamela doesn’t serve that cheap kind, preserved in rock-gut whiskey.”
“I’d rather be whipped.”
“Oh, honey,” tinkled Mama, “don’t worry - you will. Fifty lashes! What a joker.”
“Or shot by firing squad.”
“That’s enough, young lady! Pamela - give her a slice of your fruitcake!”
Rosebuds of uncertainty colored Pamela’s cheeks. The plate trembled.
Stomach rumbling, I swallowed it straight down.
“You see?” said Mama. “A bit of fruitcake might even improve your manners.”
“But not necessarily your appearance,” I gagged, fruitcake re-emerging to decorate Mama’s Sunday best.
This just cracked me up completely. And what holiday writing contest would be complete without fruitcake!
“Dude, somebody shot you!”
I know who did it. I’d tell you, if I could talk.
“Damn, man. The bullet went straight through your gut. Your insides are spilling all over the place!”
Yes. Those are my intestines.
“Hold on! A car just whipped into the driveway!”
I see flashing lights. I can’t keep my eyes open.
“Hey! You got a cellphone? Call an ambulance!”
“Oh my god! I’m his wife. What happened?”
“I was driving by and saw this man lying in a pool of blood next to his car! Somebody shot him!”
That’s . . . her.
That’s . . .
You've really got to admire the POV choice here. Very hard to carry off with complete clarity. Very nice work.
Dena Pawling 12:47pm
Megan brushed the rat's nest, then curled the straight sections. Satisfied, she whipped out the spray-o-perfection. A little pouf, a little tease.
Passable, but still a teen from the gutter.
She applied concealer to hide the lines and blemishes, foundation, some blush-o-temptation for color. A little lipstick. Eye liner. Shadow.
Still needed something.
Rummaging, she found false eyelashes. Perfect.
She stood back and admired her work.
Megan changed into a black suit and set out refreshments.
Family and friends gathered, offering condolences.
“She's beautiful,” the mother said, weeping. “Thank you.”
Megan smiled. This was why she became a mortician.
Very nice twist at the end makes this a lovely story. Very nice rhythm and pacing too. Subtle writing always makes me very happy! And blush-o-temptation for "shot" is exquisite.
I have a couple I'm leaning toward but I like to hear what you think first. Any I left off the list that you think I should have included? Have a fave among the finals? Let me know in the comments
Further results later today!
I just had to go with the entry that cracked me up this time, and with such deft word play and clever concept. That's you John Davis Frain! All the other finalists were just terrific and it's hard as hell to choose. I may resort to eenie-meenie-miny-mo one of these days.
JDF, I have your mailing address so the books will be out in today's mail to you.
Thanks to all of you who took the time to write and enter the contest. I really love reading your work!