I read the finalist entries again this morning, and then again this afternoon.
Every single time through I thought "how the heck am I going to pick just one?"
The idea of a random number draw crossed my mind but that seemed a bit unfair. Arbitrary is easy, but the work that went in to these entries deserves the effort of a hard choice.
So, I looked again.
I just can't get Morgan Hazelwood's entry off my mind.
That phrase "their drama had outstayed their welcome" was just perfect.
And the ambiguity of it is something I appreciate because it's VERY hard to do well enough to lead the reader to the finish without revealing too much, or worse, not revealing enough so the reader doesn't get it (a lot of entries are too elliptical for me.)
So, Morgan Hazelwood takes the prize this week.
Morgan, drop me a line with your mailing address and what you like to read, and I'll get a prize in the mail to you!
Thanks to all of you who took the time to write and enter.
The work here is insanely good.
And if your entry wasn't singled out, remember, this is entirely subjective and often mood-driven. It's NOT a comment on the caliber of your writing. Or you. Or your story.
We had a very low turnout this weekend!
But there was no drop in quality entries. You guyz really brought your A-game (unlike the MTA!)
First and foremost, I just frigging surrender. I have met my match and his name is Forti.
What’s the country code for Netherlands, Ma?
>>NL. Y Dee?
DSW - O man. LYW or DS? The hell do these codes mean?
>>Light yellow. Dead stock. Geez, ur no sneakerhead, Dee. Text me pics.
Ugh. How bout these pumps? DSW only ships from the Netherlands. Shoe Depot has them in East Baltimore, tho.
>>Fatti maschii, parole femine
>>Nvm. Those r cute. O, btw, shop called. Alterations r done on bridesmaid dresses and your gown.
Sweet. Made appt to get these snarls blown out, too
>>Good. Fixate on prep. Matrimonial tunnel vision. Ur dad and I r so excited!
Hits too close to home, Timothy Lowe!
Claire Bobrow cracked me up.
Madeline Mora-Summonte scares me
The Duchess of Yowl is certain Pen Name should the winner, although she curls a sardonic whisker at the menu here.
The Duke of Snarl could not fix this. He had ruined his prospects at a happy, easy life with one untimely feast.
He had eaten the Doritos, the sour-cream-and-onion chips, the sandy old snickerdoodles, and even things truly uneatable. The drinks, he knocked over, spilling soda and lemonade on the kitchen floor. Super Bowl Sunday? Ruined.
He had an excuse, of course. Manly deeds, womanly words. Too bad his servant didn’t know Catlingish.
She would be looking for him. Good thing he had a tunnel under the bushes down the street.
And good thing he ate her car keys.
Here are the finalists.
My life has been determined by prefixes and suffixes.I always appreciate this kind of playfulness, particularly when it makes a point.
Un-satisfactory, Un-acceptable, Un-important
Me. Myself. I. The least.
Im-pertinent, Im-possible, Im-pressionable
Never going to live up to their expectations, always going to believe their snarled words though actions speak louder on my skin.
Man-ly, Woman-ly, Irrevocab-ly.
Manly deeds, womanly words. His hands. Her venom. Never going to change. Because kindness comes with tunnel vision and firm hands fly fast.
Blood-y, Sleep-y, Sand-y
Dad strikes. I dream of beaches again. Maybe this time I won’t have to come home.
Sandy took everything.
Everything I thought was a fixture in my life:
The house. The car.
She even took the kids.
The worst part is, I never saw it coming.
I sat for a week asking what I did wrong.
What sin had I committed against her?
What provoked the snarl that tore our lives?
But there are no answers.
Just an east wind over an empty lot
As I take the Holland Tunnel away from
The wreck of my past.
This is so deliciously subtle I had to read it twice.
She stood transfixed by the edge of the woods until I cleared my throat.oh man oh man oh man.
"Carlos and you were supposed to be gone hours ago." As house guests, their drama had outstayed their welcome.
"Long gone. He should be beyond the tunnel by now." Her hand fluttered vaguely toward the road.
Oh no he didn't.
"You know you can't stay here," I sighed, defeated.
"I wasn't going with him while he was snarling. Again."
"I'm not blaming you, I just have to --"
"Let me clean up the blood, and then I'll be gone. It's the least I could do."
I love this twists!
I start by asking what they could have done differently.This just cracked me up!
Lance tunnels a hand through his sandy hair. “We shouldn’t have had intimate relations until she’d gotten divorced.”
Tristan nods solemnly.
“I shouldn’t have faked my death,” says Juliet, clutching her crucifix.
I call on Lois, our newest member. She’s been beastly ever since her boss insisted she attend group therapy.
“What do you want me to say?” she snarls. “That I should have asked if he was an alien with superpowers?”
“What about you, Cleo?” asks Heathcliff.
“Time’s up,” I say, checking my watch. “See you next week.”
I love the inventiveness of the concept, and the subtlety of the name Cleo.
We'll have to ask Jan if that homage to Clio was intended!
As a child, Tony the Tiger scared the hell out of me. Ferocious beasts should snarl, not wax poetic about glorified Corn Flakes. And don't get me started on Cap'n Crunch, whose eyebrows weren't affixed to his head, but rather, hovered mysteriously in front of his hat. But I dealt with it.This is funny, it was Pollocked the kitchen walls that made this stand out. A perfect turn of phrase.
Until that bird ogled me with its googly toucan eyes.
Grabbing my official Red Ryder air rifle, I took aim and Pollocked the kitchen walls with its flavor-bursting reds, oranges, and yellows.
Thus began my runaway train ride into the dark tunnel known as cereal killing.
As usual, I can't decide.
You guys read these and let me know what you think.
Every time I read them I pick a new winner.