Sunday, November 25, 2018

The Reading Retreat Flash Fiction Contest results!

This was a whole lot of fun! Thanks to all of you who joined in.  I waited till today to read all the results. You really knocked my sox off!

Herewith the results:

Day One:

Words I had to look up: argillaceous


Steve Forti Award for deft manipulation of prompt words:

Marty Weiss
Be a republican, democrat, or independent,
it matters not. Just live up to ideals of the American
constitution.

Amy Schaefer
No, I don’t mind missing out - the steak béarnaise is all yours, darling. Jimson weed seasoning and all.

Writer Geek Esq
It was an honor to bear the beer to the bear’s bier at its funeral. But Jerzy couldn’t bear to.

Hat tip to current events
Karen McCoy
Smokey the Bear called the meeting to order. “It appears we have more work to do.”

Entries I thought had particular merit

Colin Smith
Bear.
Hunter.
Gun.

Bear.
Hunter, gun.

Bear, hunter, gun.

AJ Blythe
There's a...bear...in the tree.
No, there's not.
Can't you see it? Eating gum leaves.
It's not a bear.

This is very very subtle.
I missed the point on my first read; I spotted it on the second pass.
Do you get it?

Claire Bobrow
I have eaten
the Braeburns
that were in
your icebox.

Forgive me.

The door
to your
cabin
was
unlocked.

Bear.

Well, ok, there's the one that knocked it out of the park!


Day Two


Words I had to look up: bair, barege, tabaret

Steve Forti Award for deft manipulation of prompt words

Steve Forti

"Big deal. So you saw his downstairs cheeks. So what?"
"You’re not listening. I said I saw Dr Fausto’s bear bottom."

“Yeah right. Enough of your jibba jabba.”
“Re
ally. That mad genius actually did it. He made himself into a hybrid.”

Ashes
Bearing no resemblance to her former self, Suzanne exited the plastic surgeon's office. Finally, she was free. (Amy Johnson)


"Alice?"
Suzanne flinched.
"Yes?" she said, the barest hint of disdain.
She didn't know him. But he knew this face.
Totally creepy and cool!


Sherry Howard

I have eaten
the Braeburns
that were in
your icebox.

Forgive me.

The door
to your
cabin
was
unlocked.

Bear. (Claire Bobrow)

**
You’re right.
The door was unlocked.
But the window wasn’t broken out.

Show your bare a$$ here
again.


Goldie’s Granny

This just cracked me up.



Brigid
Thee, did you grab a red apple? Seven have MYSTERIOUSLY VANISHED.
Alice

I have eaten
the Braeburns
that were in
your icebox.

Forgive me.

The door
to your
cabin
was
unlocked.

Bear. (Claire Bobrow)

Not cute, Theodore. No pie for you.

I'm not the only one that loved Claire Bobrow's Day One entry!



Claire Bobrow
I have eaten
the Braeburns
that were in
your icebox.

Forgive me.

The door
to your cabin
was
unlocked.

Bear.

*******

I was saving
those apples
for dinner,
Bear.

But my cupboard,
though bare,
yields
fruit.

I dream of plums.

William.

Deliciously subtle.


Day Three

words I had to look up: Gomerels
Words I couldn't find: merenge

Sherry Howard
(Claire Bobrow)
I have eaten
the Braeburns
that were in
your icebox.

Forgive me.

The door
to your
cabin
was
unlocked.

Bear.

**
You’re right.
The door was unlocked.
But the window wasn’t broken out.

Show your bare a$$ here
again.

Goldie’s Granny

**

Granny!

I’m your biggest fan!
These are for you.
You made me realize what an oaf I am.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Claire Bobrow

I have eaten
the Braeburns
that were in
your icebox.
Forgive me.
The door
to your cabin
was
unlocked.
Bear.

*******

I was saving
those apples
for dinner,
Bear.
But my cupboard,
though bare,
yields
fruit.
I dream of plums.
William.

*******

Mere chance,
William,
but I ate
the plums
from your orchard,
too.
This is just to say –
oops!
Bear.

Colin Smith
Drummer.
Girl.

Drummer electrifies girl.

Girl electrifies drummer.

Girl drummer.

I loved this but of course, Colin didn't follow the directions so he is now being eaten by bears.



Day Four
CED
"Be a real sport, yeah, and step into the transmogrifier. Promise it won't hurt... much."

"Can it turn me into an amoeba?"

"Really, mate, I thought you'd have more imagination than that."

"Will it change my genome? Rewrite my DNA?"

"Nothing so exotic. No permanent damage. You going in or what?"

"How do you know so much about this gizmo, remind me?"

"Well, mate, I used to be a bear."

It's that last line that really elevated the entry!

Karen McCoy
Smokey the Bear called the meeting to order. “It appears we have more work to do.”

“And cleanup?” asked Chipmunk.

“The bare essentials.” Smokey placed a map, trash can, and garden hose on the table.

“A smattering of gardening implements will merely aggravate these wildfires,” said Squirrel. “We’ll need something more drastic.”

Smokey sighed. “More might not help. We’ve reached our last recourse. Rakes.”

Chipmunk and Squirrel facepalmed in unison.

And again, it's one line (this time the penultimate) that elevates this.



Claire Bobrow
I have eaten
the Braeburns
that were in
your icebox.
Forgive me.
The door
to your cabin
was
unlocked.
Bear.

*******

I was saving
those apples
for dinner,
Bear.
But my cupboard,
though bare,
yields
fruit.
I dream of plums.
William.

*******

Mere chance,
William,
but I ate
the plums
from your orchard,
too.
This is just to say –
oops!
Bear.

*******

Less is more,
Bear,
but I also have popsicles.
Sweet, cold, delicious.
Oh Muse,
meet me at the icebox!
William.

This just cracked me up.



Thanks to all of you who took the time to write and post entries.

There's no way to award a prize here; there are too many really wonderful things you did to pick just one, although Claire Bobrow deserves a special shout out on this one!


Regular posts resume tomorrow!

23 comments:

Claire Bobrow said...

Well, gee - I am feeling the love! Thank you so much, Janet, and all those who worked my entry into their own. So much fun! I'm glad you enjoyed my homage to 'This Is Just to Say,' by poet William Carlos Williams.

Congrats to all the other mentions and entrants - I loved reading your work. As always, it was stellar! Karen McCoy: - yours really resonated with me. Facepalm, indeed. Argh.

Amy Johnson said...

Wowza, such fantastic work! Congratulations to all the mentions! I admit I was so lamebrained it took me until "Grizziarty" on Day Four by Mike Hays to realize what was going on in the story. (How did I miss all that?) But once I got it ... nice job, Mike.

Thanks for an especially fun contest, Janet. Have a great day, all!

E.M. Goldsmith said...

I was lost in New York last week so missed you guys having fun without me.

Great job, Claire.

Pity about Colin being eaten by bears.

Kregger said...

As DoY would say, "Thumbs! Quit using your fingers to type and prepare me some purr-duck-in, stat!"
Congrats to all.
Is everyone out of turkey yet?

John Davis Frain said...

Wonderful post-turkey reads. Claire, imitation is the highest form of flattery. And you should feel flattered after your homage to William Carlos Williams.

We had 37 guests--who are all these people?!--and they would not allow me access to anything near the internet.

If I was a bear, I'd hibernate till Tuesday.

Claire Bobrow said...

Kregger: we are still eating turkey. The only thing that makes that bearable is the accompanying cranberry sauce, which turned out well. Unlike my pumpkin pie, which was a fail...

Dena Pawling said...


We bought a fresh turkey and there was no room in our freezer for an entire turkey, so we had to cook it on Thursday. Despite that we were sick and had to reschedule our Thanksgiving dinner with my mother to Saturday. And we didn't want leftovers for the actual Thanksgiving dinner, so we bought another turkey. Now we have leftovers from TWO turkeys, including stuffing, yams, gravy, etc. We'll be eating turkey dinners for the next week. Fortunately there are five of us, plus we now have some room in our freezer.

Hey Colin - nice way to end 2018, by teaching us that cheating results in being eaten by bears. Have no fear. Your legacy will live on!



Karen McCoy said...

Claire: So glad it resonated! Your writing, with its poetry, its resonance, its brilliant storytelling, always knocks me out cold. This time especially. And at least we've had some rain to clear up some of the smoke! ;)

And thanks, Janet! Seeing this made my day, and these contests are always tons of fun.

KDJames said...

Claire, I loved your entries! So clean and clear and concise. That takes real talent and congrats are well deserved.

I had the best intentions to participate, but succumbed to holiday festivities. I'm capable of enough weirdness as it is, without posting under the influence of excess turkey/sugar/alcohol. Wonderful family celebrations, though.

But honestly, after seeing "What Happened to Colin," I'm relieved I didn't join in. Poor Colin. Poor bears?

Colin Smith said...

Hang on a minute... hold the bears... where did I cheat? I used a word from the previous day. You didn't say anything about using the same word on consecutive days, did you? And that's important when you're writing stories using only three words!

All that aside, this was fun and challenging, and I'm glad you enjoyed my attempts, Janet. Thanks for the shout out! And congrats to Claire and everyone else who participated. 20 word stories are tough.

Megan V said...

It was a lot of fun seeing not only Claire's original work, but everyone's riff off of it. Great work everyone!

Just Jan said...

Yes, this was challenging and a lot of fun. Good job, Claire and everyone else! Good reading over the long weekend and interesting to see what everyone came up with.

BrendaLynn said...

Good job all, especially Claire!

CED said...

Thanks for the mention, Janet, and nice job to everyone! I knew Claire's entry was going to be a favorite after Day 1.

Janet Reid said...

Oh this is interesting! Colin said "I used a word from the previous day"

I wrote these directions:
"your entry MUST include one from yesterday's blog post. It can be yours; it can be someone else's. The words of the post you use must be in the same order as originally posted but they can be anywhere in the post. Commenters names DO not count against word count."

I meant to use the ENTIRE entry, not just one word of it.

Writing directions is really hard!
Thanks for helping me figure out where i need to be more clear, Colin.

Also, Colin didn't cheat! (harsh!)
Didn't follow the directions as I intended but that's not cheating.


Colin Smith said...

Janet: OHHHH!!! Now the directions make sense! I'll take the blame for not reading carefully enough, especially since plenty of other people understood exactly what you meant. The only defense I can offer on my behalf is the fact that my Mum's visiting from the UK, so I was posting my entries very late at night/very early in the morning. :)

Dena Pawling said...


Wait! So Colin did NOT cheat, he just didn't follow the ambiguous directions. And he managed to write half of a six-word story and have it make sense.

But he still got eaten by bears?? That's harsh =)

Craig F said...

WOW, Claire, you dominated. Your start resonated with six or eight others and spread like wildfire(sorry if it bites too close to the bone) through many others of the crowd.

T'wasn't much of a wonder that you won. Congrats, Claire.

french sojourn said...


Congrats Claire, A day late...been that way for the last week. Cheers all!

robinssis said...

This is just to say...I've never been a fan of that William Carlos Williams poem. Thanks to Claire Bobrow for a new appreciation! I love her take on it. Well done!

Claire Bobrow said...

Thank you, robinssis! Glad to be of service :-)

NLiu said...

Congrats everyone!

Claire, I loved yours too! Made me want to go and eat fruit out of the fridge! So crunchy and juicy and sweet.

And Colin, it wasn't just you. When I first read Janet's instructions I thought that's what they meant too. (Perhaps I could have used a bit of help from Mike Hays' Sherwood.)

AJ Blythe said...

Some brilliant entries, but Claire's definitely shone. Meanwhile I am doing a private happy dance at the shout out. I wish I could have continued with the rest of the FF days, but there just weren't enough hours in the day.

On Thanksgiving, I heard a funny/sweet story on the radio. An American was being interviewed (no idea who - I missed that but assume it was someone famous). He said when he was at university he and his housemates hosted Thanksgiving for a bunch of their friends. They didn't socialise in the same groups so each didn't know all who showed. When everyone was leaving there was one guy left sleeping off the food on the lounge chair. The next morning when he woke up they discovered he was a homeless gent who'd seen the party and joined in. The housemates had all assumed he was someone else's friend.