Herewith the results
Special recogniton for being utterly delightful
Amy Johnson 9:08am
The strangest coincidence EVER in the long history of these contests: ending with the same line, and so close together there's almost no chance the latter saw the former before posting.
Nate Wilson 11:23am
Beth Carpenter 10:31am
Special recognition for compound words (which, when separated put entry over the word count)
french sojourn 5:11pm
Kate Outhwaite 4:16am
Here's the longlist
Timothy Lowe 9:09 am
Gammy had a gift for making long stories short.
“Likely story!” she cawed when Grandpa noticed strange smells on their 18 acres.
“Cock-and-bull story!” she cackled when he observed declinations in the soil, the ground so hollowed out it collapsed.
“Bedtime story!” she shouted when his imagination conjured a billion dollar reservoir.
Finally, exasperated, he served her papers which she signed.
“Sob story,” she muttered. That night, while digging a hole in the cellar, a madcap eruption of black gold spewed at her feet.
After the sale, we asked Gammy what happened to Grandpa.
“Long story,” was all she said.
Sharyn Ekbergh 9:14am
I walked by the yellow Victorian. Counted the cats.
The door was open. It was never open.
I walked up the stairs. I entered the house.
“Miss Fish?” I called.
I searched each story. The basement.
In the kitchen 18 bowls.
18 pairs of jewel colored eyes.
The pride capered around an elegant black cat with emerald eyes.
On the counter a short statement.
The Will of Arabella Fish.
“I leave my property to the person feeding these cats.”
I looked down. The black cat smiled.
“So, how do you like your tuna, my darlings?”
Patricia Shelton 9:47am
Cowering back, hands raised to fend off the hellish glare of the bright light, he stands his ground, attempting to quell the anger before him.
“It runs on gasohol, it's roomy, with heated seats.” Defiantly stepping forward, taking charge.
The snort of derision stops him mid-stride. They come ahead, menacing, forcing him to caper back against the open top limo. There were 18 of them, they'd brought family. Their leader steps forward, lowering his head, dimming the light.
“Long story short, Santa, you gonna ride this year, or walk?”
“I hate Christmas.” My handcuffs chafed.
“Well, G.R., Who doesn’t.”
“I’m green with envy.” I evolved my story. “Not the dye pack.”
“Get over it.” The guard capered along. “You’re 18 now, grow up.”
“It’s all that singing, noise and merriment, it drives me bat-shit.”
“Tell it to the judge.”
I stood before her honor, like a rain-drenched werewolf in Soho.
“Mr. Inch,” she banged the gavel. “Tell me a short story.”
I did a counter-clockwise Linda Blair and kicked off my shoes. “I’ve got a tiny heart?”
“How graphic. Thirty days…”
I turned away.
“…and return the presents.”
Mallory Love 2:17pm
Blind Date # 18
Location: An upscale wine bar in Soho
The Prospect: a corporate executive; a little on the short side, but cute
The Conversation (on the record):
“So, Beautiful, what’s your story?”
“Well, I’m thirty, never married, but looking for something serious. You?”
“Are you from around he-"
His phone buzzes and flashes a name-Erica. Personally, I think it’s rude, but wave him on as he leaves the table to answer it.
Ten minutes later, he returns.
“So where were we?”
We settle into comfortable chatter and kiss goodbye.
Afterwards, I call Erica. Another cheating husband caught.
Ginger Mollymarilyn 5:15pm
“So, honey, what’s your name?”
“What do you want for Christmas?”
“Escape Renegade and the Ariana doll.”
“Emma, you’re on the Naughty List. Lying to your mommy, quite the storyteller, I see. Only 18 days till Christmas, help Santa, and you’re on the Good List. Santa’s been eating too many shortbread cookies and can’t fit down the chimney. Do you know what code your mommy uses to get in your house?"
“Yes, 2011, when I was born.”
“Don’t tell mommy our secret or else you’re on the Naughty List again.”
This year, Santa’s gonna be getting.
Sherin Nicole 10:30pm
Not much time considering the crimes they’d committed to get here: fraud, threats, shoplifting to corroborate their Instagram backstory.
Anything for 15 minutes of the good life. They’d nearly gotten away with it but came up short.
Mindy shoved her hands into the pockets of her orange jumpsuit. She’d shank someone with her silver stilettos if she didn’t get food fast.
Taylor grimaced when a girl picked the capers off a Mediterranean Frittata. “Criminal.”
“How much longer?” Mindy glared at the guard.
Ugh, you literally had to commit murder to get a brunch table in Soho.
Just Jan 7:53am
“What’s the story?”
“Fat Boy tried to drop Rudy off an 18th floor fire escape.”
Rudy probably deserved it, the little shit, but still. “Did he forget you guys only fly on Christmas Eve?”
“You know how he is—so HOHOHO about everything.”
“He didn’t get into the elves’ brownies, right?”
“Not this time.”
“Good.” Assault would be hard enough to defend. He didn’t need a drug charge, too. “Anyone tell the Missus?”
“No way. If he’s grounded, she’ll turn us into short ribs.”
“Understood.” Frosty picked up his briefcase. “I’ll take it from here.”
Law and Order: North Pole
It's that last sentence that made this stand out from all the other santa stories we had. I thought it was really funny (and since I'm a devoted L&O fan, I immediately started casting the series!)
Central Park is partying tonight. Soho's far enough from Seoul, they'll never find her. She pats her roofline into place. The plastic surgeon did her proud.She's stashed the stuff on the 18th story, on top of bagels, underneath the lox. She tips a vat (or two) of whiskey into her waterlines, and turns the speakers up. Her elevators start to list.The doorbell rings.She jumps, begins to fall. It's tipsy being tall, when you're used to short.Windows crunch. Bagels shower.Children cry, "There's rocks in the cream cheese!"Central cries, too. The perfect escape, ruined by gravity.
This is brilliantly imaginative and needs to be read slowly at least twice to be appreciate fully.
News that the records are unsealed horrify me.
My name’s in there.
Sure, not on the short list, maybe not even on the long list.
But mentioned. Investigated by the alphabet soup agencies.
Dismissed as an unlikely suspect then,
now journalists and conspiracists will ferret me out and gnaw for answers.
Of 18 people in the know, I’m the last living.
So how did I get away when escape routes were barricaded?
Sobbed my eyewitness story and went home with my mother.
No one thinks a fifteen-year-old girl
can be turned into an asset, and I can’t ever tell how.
I love love love the idea behind this story.
"So how are you, Major?"
"Short and sassy. What's your story, Doc?"
I was the good girl.
Todd was the bad boy my parents warned me about.
We were 18. Invincible - except for them.
"Marry me, Jen."
"You can't escape romance."
Todd went to war with the Few, the Proud.
I went to medical school.
"Afghanistan's a long way from home," I said.
"Yet here we are. Thanks for saving my leg."
"My pleasure. Sorry about the other one."
"War's hell. No regrets. You?"
He wasn't wearing a ring.
"Just one. I should've said yes."
"Marry me, Jen."
You have to read carefully to get the chronolgoy correct here, but this is such a lovely story it's worth the effort.
This one wasn't hard. There were a lot of terrific entries, but CynthaMc just stole my heart.
Cynthia, please send me your mailing address and I'll get a copy of The Usual Santas in the mail to you.
Thanks to all of you who took the time to write and post entries. Your work was a wonderful weekend respite!