Herewith the PRELIMINARY results of this week's contest.
Final results tomorrow. (also the results from last week which are hideously, unforgivably late)
Weigh in on whether your fave got overlooked or which entry you think should win, or questions you have, in the comments section of this blog post.
Special recognition for using words I had to look up
Lucy Crow 2:39pm
Amy Schaefer 9:57am
Steve Forti Award for dexterity with prompt words
Steve Forti 9:05am
low rents, fade at home, hombre wranglin,
To be eligible for this award you have to underline the prompt words in your entry.
Special recogniton for a great line
The first Valentine’s party over, streamers dripped from the walls, the buffet, puddling on the floor like so much discarded happiness.
Just Jan 3:06pm
And a bottle of Jack Daniels reclines, soberly, on the bare floor.
A line that should be required in all future manuscripts
Steve Forti 9:05am
Embiggen the wall
Michael Seese 9:10am
"a freshly brewed cup of happy"
Not quite a story but superlative writing
Timothy Lowe 9:50am
Lucy Crowe 2:39pm
Four line perfection
Claire Bobrow 10:05am
She stirred the non-dairy creamer. Nasty stuff.
“Covers the taste,” he said. “You trying to kill me?”
They both had a laugh,
As he clutched his throat.
Example of something that's very well written, but I don't quite understand
Death can throw a wrench into any man’s plans, but on days like today I swear the cowl-wearing creep has it in for me. Put it this way.
Death of a coffeemaker? No brew.
Death of a tranny? No truck.
Death of a digger? No crew.
Death of a Salesman? No fuck.
All in all a sucky day.
That’s about all I can say.
Or it’s all I would have said, and I could have let it go.
But when Death tries earning street cred with the Devil, the scythe drops hard.
Death of a proposal? No ring.
Here is the long list of finalists
“Father is threatening to shoot my low-rent brother, Benny,” said Mr. Brewster.
“Low-rent?” said the Sheriff.
“Father calls him a low-rent joyride athlete, because Benny is-- was-- a male prostitute. He says he’s retired.”
“Sounds like he has a problem with Benny’s lifestyle.”
“Father’s indignant about it, but that’s not the problem.”
“Then what is?”
“Benny has written a salacious memoir, pornographic yet surprisingly literate for him, and…”
“And your father doesn’t want it published.”
“Oh no, on the contrary. Father’s a publisher. Benny’s book would make a lot of money. But purely out of spite, Benny decided to self-publish.”
She looked different in death. Was her hair always so red?
Of course, she wasn’t dead. Not really.
A bullet could stop her like a wrench could fix a broken heart.
She’d been my partner. And I loved her. Once.
That was before she was bit.
There’s a Hebrew phrase: gam zu l'tova.
The stake fit my hand. Or, perhaps, my hand had molded to fit the stake.
I raised it and plunged it into her heart, digging it into her chest.
There was no cry of agony. No hellish scream. No death-rattle.
Oops, I thought. Wrong funeral home.
Amy Schaefer 9:57am
Our job: guard the gate. But our passion: helping people. Even today, with our guts a witches’ brew of expired burritos and cherry cheesecake, we succeeded.
“Let me pass,” she begged. “He’s in there.”
We squirmed, trying to avoid the indignity of shitting ourself. What a predicament. Her wrenching sobs tugged our heartstrings, but the rules stipulated: souls only.
The perfect idea.
We mauled her.
Her shade stared at the chunky mess oozing over the rocks.
“Welcome,” we said, moving aside. “Enjoy your death.”
We trotted away and gratefully squatted over the Acheron. “Cerberus,” we chuckled, “you’re a good dog.”
“One last game?”
Lawrence looked up. At the bar sat a familiar face, flushed beneath the indigo light advertising a glowing deal on craft brew. He nodded towards the vacant poker table.
“You look tired,” Lawrence said. “More tired than the last time.”
“It’s been a while.” Death picked up his cards.
“Eighty-one years. You took my dog.”
“Saved you, didn’t I?”
“Not this time?”
Death threw a red poker chip into the mix. “Afraid not.”
Lawrence sighed. “Yeah, alright. Call it.”
“Not to worry, kid. It’s a full house by now.”
Lawrence grinned and took his hand. “Damn straight.”
Dena Pawling 12:50pm
Mildred finished digging and smoothed the dirt. Good riddance.
Back inside, her alarm chimed. They're almost here!
She grabbed a wrench. “This'll do,” she said, hammering.
Pictures hung, she shoved dirty clothes under the bed, dirty dishes in the oven.
To cover the deathly stench, she opened a window and brewed some coffee. That's better.
Social services arrived. “Where's Charlie?”
“At a friend's house today. Active boy,” Mildred said, laughing.
He scanned the house. “You've cleaned up quite a bit since last month.” He jotted notes, took photos. “I'll close your case. Congratulations.”
Mildred smiled. Free at last.
Digging in Joe's drawer for his utility knife I find diamond earrings. They look expensive and they aren't mine - my tastes run fake and ironic. I put them in my ears anyway because I'm not stupid; they might be useful where we're going. The storm's still brewing when I run out and I smell death, animal or marital, rising in the yard. Wren promised she'd fit me in the car but she takes one look at me and locks the doors. "Can't take you no more, Freddie, those are my earrings and you know it."
Washing machine came on again—the TV told it to.
I’m sure of it.
My phone brewed a pot of coffee at three a.m. and a Sousa march on repetitive loop kept me awake. I punch the digital display on the furnace but it remains frozen at sixty. As do I.
The appliances are taking over.
Can’t unplug them—they’re hard-wired.
Technology now renders us obsolete.
They said it would advance us, and it did for a while, but it has surpassed us and will cause the death of the human race.
I’m sure of it.
Scott G 11:44pm
We stood at the alter and my heart wrenched as I watched her walk down the aisle.
I’ve loved her since we were five, next door neighbors digging in the sandbox.
I loved her in high school, talking on the phone late at night until mom poked her head in my room and gave me the death-stare.
I loved her in college, bar hopping, drinking brews and throwing darts until last call.
The reverend turned to me. “The rings, please.”
My face reddened as I dug the symbols of faithfulness out of my pocket and gave them to my brother.
John Davis (Manuscript) Frain 2:16pm
Whiskered postal worker reads the label on the package. Looks up. You get this a lot.
“Your name is …”
“Death. Rhymes with teeth.”
Whiskers nods. Indignant. “’Course it does. Noel. Rhymes with asshole.”
You don’t argue. He’s accurate.
“If I can just get my package…”
He shakes his head. And the box. “Sorry.”
Noel does rhyme with – you stop yourself.
“Says there’s a bomb inside.”
“Excuse me?” Category 5 headache begins brewing.
“Right here.” He points at lip balm.
You begin to understand the idiom going postal. You leave. Find Wren at home. Tell her, “We’re joining Amazon Prime.”