Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Flash fiction contest results--FINAL

UPDATED at bottom of post

Sorry for the delay in posting results.
I've been busy packing my portmanteau for the trip Chez Yowl.

A raft of splendid entries this week! Thanks to all of you who took the time to write and enter!

Herewith the results

words I had to consult my lovely new dictionary about:
MaggieJ: moggies 
Steve Forti: bhangra

Great opening line
Alina Sergachov

Every runner knows one word in Swedish: fartlek. (I even have a track t-shirt that says, “I fartlek when I run.”)

Mike Hays

It’s one thing to be streetwise; it’s another to believe the moon is green cheese.

Great line
Flor Salcedo
At one point she’d been someone better.

Thwartied again!

Steve Forti makes mincemeat of my efforts to foil him!
Harry’s limbs were convulsing, reenacting some stupid dance.

“Turn that crap off.”

“Whaddya prefer? EDM, bhangra, cello solos?”

Suzanne rolled her eyes and kept chopping. “It’s all the same noise.”

Harry huffed. “You need some variety in your life, Suz. I mean…” He waved at the counter. “Scallions, leeks, chives – they all taste like onions!”

She set down the knife and spooned her special sauce, offering it up. She knew all about Harry’s variety. His escapist affairs. Harry slurped.

“Mmm…mmmrrrmmhhh!” Harry’s limbs were convulsing again, then he fell. Motionless.

She resumed chopping. The Suz era in this house had begun.
why do I even try?

Dena Pawling
“Great green globs of greasy grimy gopher guts. Yum. Your favorite.”

Duchess sniffed. That was soooo 20th century. Effective immediately, she'd require caviar.

But staff were dimwitted. Take petting. Humans were always busy doing inconsequential “stuff”. Time available for petting was slim.

Today she'd change that.

As thumbed-one left the kitchen, Duchess' sleek feline form dashed underfoot.

The fall was less than graceful.

Thumbed-one returned, arm in a sling, and plopped on the couch. Duchess revved up her best purr and worked her way into the sling. Permanently. Now thumbed-one had no excuse.

Perpetual petting.

Mission accomplished.

One morning during a previous visit to Her Grace, I stumbled into the kitchen to start the coffee open the cat food can, and somehow Her Grace was underfoot. I caught myself on the sideboard before coming down on her tail, thank all deities, but I realized she didn't know to get out of the way! She's lived such a pampered life that she never learned to be wary of feet.  I'd bet serious money no one has said a cross word to her in her entire life.

Megan V
"What do you think, Suze? Rain, or no rain?"
"From the pergola. Personally, I’m leaning towards no, but, well, what do you think?" Carrie gestured to the slim archway.
Suzie bit her lower lip, tried to grab hold of the perfect day that hadn’t been. Eyes closed, she envisioned the grotto awash in a pale green glow—Titania’s garden—as she floated (gracefully) down an aisle of lilacs. No sleek tuxedos, no staff. Just her, Carrie, and a jewel-bedecked officiant.
It would be a perfect day.
Except it wouldn’t be.
Suzie studied her brother’s fiancĂ©e.
“Rain fits."
Love those sweet little twists at the end! One word turns the story on its ear!

Colin Smith
The recipe is an old family prescription:

6 green onions
2 lbs leek, chopped
Slimy horned toad
3 Batswings
Uncle Joe’s taffy
1 garlic clove
Dash of salt

I left the pot simmering, the full aroma seeping into every crevice, while I took some samples outside. Anointed the grounds with ritual sincerity, the high priest of noxious concoctions.

The family arrived as I was emptying the pot in the garden.

“Yes, Mr. Briggs,” I said. “That’ll be $50.”
He wrote the check while I swept up the roaches.
“Same time next quarter,” I smiled.
Did I miss "grace"?
The "high priest of noxious concoctions" is a description that we must find further use for!

And living in NYC as I do, I'd like to ask if this roach killing concoction is available in gallon containers.

Katelyn Y

In hindsight, he shouldn’t have kissed her. But in his defense, there should’ve only been one sleeping woman in a tower. “You’re not Aurora.”

“Obviously.” Her slim form slid off the bed with a graceless thump. The green eyes were luminous against the sleek black hair, matching the smoldering orb on her staff. The one pointed at him. “I should kill you,” she said. Then smiled. “But not yet.”

He blinked as she swept past. “The kiss – ”

“Worked.” Another smile, sparks dancing in her eyes. “But unless you want to explain why you woke Maleficent, you’d best forget that.”
I am a sucker for turning a familiar story on its ear.

Aphra Pell

Walk 5k for suicide prevention. It’s a small ask.

Death held me close for years, a promise of escape that let me live another day. By grace of pharmacology, I refused the dust and ashes of the reaper’s kiss. Others aren’t so lucky.

We walk in their memory, to share hope.

At 3k, my joints rebel; the disabled body’s regular game of Russian roulette. Finishing was always a slim chance.

But I hold suzerain over bone and gristle. Clinging to my husband, a living staff, I stumble under sleek flags, as sunrise feeds green grass and brings light into dark.

This really isn't a story but the writing is so good I could not bear to leave it off the list. Phrases like "refused the dust and ashes of the reaper's kiss" and "my husband, a living staff" make me stop and just breathe for an appreciative moment.  

just jan
Eddie hunkered down on a moldy green tombstone. “Hey, Sleek, what’s a ghoul’s favorite dessert?”

My nickname’s Slick, but Eddie always got it wrong. Mama said he was a ‘there but for the grace of God’ person.

“Give up?” he asked.

I shrugged. I didn’t share his latest affinity for the dead.

“Key Slime Pie!”

One thing about Eddie, he never shut up. I didn’t mind anymore. It was lonely here since Mama stopped coming.

“Gravediggers at six o’clock,” I said, pointing.

He kicked at the ground. Still guilty.

The other thing about Eddie, he was a lousy lookout.

Very deft use of the prompt words!
 Plus funny!


To: Chez Yowl Staff and Residents

From: Your Grace, The Duchess of Yowl

Date: May 12, 2019

Subject: Sidewalk Debris

The owner of the slim green garden house that is placed on the sidewalk in my sun spot should alight from the rolling office chair and remove the sidewalk debris at once. I may be sleek, intelligent and beautiful, but unlike the west coast feline suzerain, Marino, I lack the opposable thumbs necessary to crank the maddening hose reel. Thank you.
Those is hilarious, and true.
The only problem is the typo.

I'm going to let this sit overnight, then come back in the morning and read the final list again.
Did I overlook anyone?
Who is your choice?

Also, how the HELL are we going to THWART Mr. Forti????

When trying to pick the prize winner, I get persnickety about things like typos, missed words, not a story.

With those in mind I looked again.

While Steve Forti has thwarted my every effort to stymie him, he has once again prevailed. The only question is how to reward this. Maybe sending him a 3000 page book so he's busy reading every weekend for the next year?

I have some Bill Vollmann books here to choose from:

In the end though, I went with deft and funny.

Just Jan, you are this week's prize winner!

Drop me a line with your mailing address and tell me the kinds of books you like to read, and I'll get your prize in the mail.

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

You provided a very welcome bright spot over this rainy weekend!


John Davis Frain said...

I think it's time to concede. That last line from his lordship takes the cupcake. If you were a British agent, Janet, Sir Forti would be knighted by now.

That said, I'm looking into a different theory about Sir Steve. I'll update the Reef when the investigation concludes...

Janet Reid said...

I have a theory too.

julie.weathers said...

Miss Janet, sometimes the better part of sanity is conceding defeat.

Forti is simply a literary thorn to be endured and enjoyed.

"One morning during a previous visit to Her Grace, I stumbled into the kitchen to start the coffee open the cat food can, and somehow Her Grace was underfoot."

Her Grace may be related to Taksim Metro Cat

All the efforts are wonderful, but Katelyn and Colin particularly stand out to me. Well, done to everyone.

Brenda said...

Dena captured the Duchess’ essence. I think they must be acquainted.

Aphra Pell said...

I fear that furkling to foil the fabulous Forti is futile.

But it does lead to some excellent reading so I'm all in favour of continued efforts.

And I have to confess that Janet caught me - that was micro-memoir rather than short story. I'm really glad you liked it though - the walk was on Saturday morning and my brain wasn't functioning on all engines that evening.

Hmmm, who to pick... I've got a bit of a soft spot for MeganV's.

I enjoyed Dena's but I fear she's given some of the rodent horde ideas. The husband has already spent an hour immobilised by an elderly gentleman with dodgy lungs, who wanted to sleep on his elbow. Said wheezy gentleman is now sitting on the back of an armchair washing his nose and giving me stink-eye because I won't share my chocolate.

Colin Smith said...

As gracious as you are to include my entry, Janet, I did, much to my disgrace, omit a required word from my story. *sigh* It was there when I originally wrote the tale, but I believe, in the unrelenting race to post something within the confines of the word count, I edited said word from the flood that was my original. Some kind of pellagra, cerebral in nature, I suppose must have come over me to make such a mistake.

I'm glad you like my graceless story, Janet. But sadly, there will be no bhangra celebratory dancing for it. I will, however, gladly rejoice with whoever of the fine bunch of legitimate finalists graces the winner's circle. :)

Steve Forti said...

*tucks away my UFO* Drat! She's discovered my secret!

Also, thank you to Alina for teaching me the word 'fartlek'.

Lennon Faris said...

Hmm... Aphra's really got me. The whole thing was incredible. This ironic line in particular was superb from a literary point of view: "a promise of escape that let me live another day."

The others were also excellent. Well done everyone and congrats to all the mentions!

Amy Johnson said...

Congratulations to all those mentioned! Colin: I, too, have noticed I accidentally cut a prompt word when trying to cut the word count. As far as I know, I've always noticed in time, but maybe not. Cue music: "You are not alone...". :)

John Davis Frain said...

Colin, that exit was graceful enough to cover your entry.

Janet Reid said...

Teaching Mr. Forti new words might be a criminal offense.

Colin, no worries. I wanted to make sure I didn't miss it if it was there.

Dena Pawling said...

Thank you for the mention!

I based my story on this page I saw last week that reminded me of DoY

Glad y'all liked it.

Jennifer Mugrage said...

Sometimes I have to read Steve Forti's entry a couple of times before I get it, but this one flowed so naturally and explained itself.

Of course they are all amazing and choosing just one seems completely arbitrary, but I do love the opening line, "In hindsight, he shouldn't have kissed her." Hooks you right in.

Claire Bobrow said...

Meow and pass the coffee. So much good stuff in this contest, and so hard to choose, but Dena's first line made me grin. The tune to that song sprang instantly to mind. I wish I could remember where I heard it in childhood, but we sang it enough that it stuck. I'm guessing a disgruntled gardener composed the lyrics as his crop of rutabagas got sucked 6 feet under.

Congrats to all the mentions and finalists!

Panda in Chief said...

Thwarting Forti
Sounds like the title for a novel.

CynthiaMc said...

Steve Forti is like Jeopardy dude - long may they reign.

Aphra's was lovely and timely-we just had our mental health awareness walk.

They were all amazing, but I still love fairy tales so my vote is for Katelyn.

Colin Smith said...

You're far too kind, Janet. If we're going to fudge the rules, then I would vote for Aphra's. Lovely use of language.

As for Forti? Admit it, Janet, you know it's a losing fight. You just love giving him the challenge. And so do we! He rises to the occasion so well. :)

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Steve Forti should join the long list of presidential candidates seeking to save the nation while increasing our vocabulary.

Marie McKay said...

They are all so good!I am glad I don't have to pick. Well done, everyone!Thanks,for another great competition Janet.

RosannaM said...

Just read them all through another time, and I am still undecided. We have funny and poignant. I think sometimes it comes down to what mood am I in. Thankfully, I am not the judge! Good luck to you all! Another great contest.

julie.weathers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Forti said...

I'm always flattered by the positive comments here :) It'd be cool to be the jeopardy guy. Not just for the money, but because I always wanted to be on there. Every couple years I remember to take the test and get a reality check of shame.

Colin Smith said...

Congratulations, Just Jan!! A worthy winner.

Might I suggest Stephen King's collected works as a prize for Mr. Forti? That'll keep him busy for a few years. :)

The contest spreadsheet in the Treasure Chest is up-to-date!

Claire Bobrow said...

Congrats, Just Jan -I loved your funny entry! Will you be sharing a recipe for Key Slime Pie? :-)

Just Jan said...

Janet, what a nice surprise! Thank you. You made a not-so-nice day more tolerable.

Claire, I cannot share my secret family recipe, but I heard a rumor that Key Slime Pie is served at the Old Kale Cafe on Carkoon.

Just Jan said...

Also want to add that my money was on Katelyn Y--I loved that story. And I am in awe of those who were able to incorporate suzerain so flawlessly into their work!

Amy Johnson said...

Congratulations, Just Jan! Your winner's party will include a pie smorgasbord! But no Key Slime. I must get to rolling out the dough. Lots and lots of dough.

Aphra Pell said...

Congrats JustJan - lovely work.

John Davis Frain said...

I went back and enjoyed your entry again, Jan. It's like The Office, still wonderful even in syndication! Great stuff. Congratulations. Key Slime Pie sounds like dessert at the Road Kill Cafe.

Richelle Elberg said...

What's 'suzerain'?? Queue Dictionary.com:

a sovereign or a state exercising political control over a dependent state.
History/Historical . a feudal overlord.
characteristic of or being a suzerain.

Thanks for the learning and the amazing creativity shown here! And congrats Just Jan. Loved it!

NLiu said...

Such a lot of great entries! Congrats Just Jan! And alas, Colin! Your entry may have been grace-less, but it was elegant.

Had a crazy weekend. After I sat staring at the prompt words for a bit and came up with precisely nothing, I decided to gracefully retire. Meanwhile, baby is ill and 3YO is up to no good. How can I tell? Suspicious silence. I'd better go.

Katelyn Y. said...

Always fun reading the entries! Also, congrats Just Jan! Your story was one of the ones that stuck out the most to me (along with Steve Forti's). :)

Katelyn Y. said...

And thanks for the mention Janet and for the kind words everyone! I almost didn't enter this time because the story didn't want to come together until Saturday night... I definitely hit my daily word count Friday and Saturday!