Sunday, September 08, 2019

Flash Fiction contest results-FINAL

Flash fiction contest results

So nice to be back with all ya'll. Yes, I spent a goodly amount of time clutching close my complete collection of Louise Penny books, but also managed to read some other terrific books. It was pure bliss!

The contest this week turned up some very interesting work. Some of you seem to think words being in the dictionary is optional, but if I don't know what it means, and I can't look it up, and I can't intuit from context, well, we have a problem.

But this week's GREAT news:

 I can't believe this but I just may have thwarted Mr. Forti!!!

When I put in my contact lens, often I drip some saline in first so it doesn’t start out dry. Yesterday I picked up – I thought so, at least – the saline bottle and squirted some in my eye. Except I grabbed the cleaning solution instead. If you’re wondering what a blow torch to the eyeball feels like, you can’t muffle that scream.

The chemical burn left a (temporary?) crimson wreckage, splotched in a jumbled up neum olio and transmuted my sclera to rotten tomato pulp. My son cries and runs away. Maybe I should get an eyepatch and consider piracy.

I believe that neum is NOT a word. I used my trusty Websters.

Olio is a word (hodge podge) but neum wasn't to be found.

NeumE is a word (nerve)

But neum, nada.

Dare I hope?

I ask your help in verification.

I'm too excited at the mere hope!

On the other hand, I'm excited about him burning his eyeballs and that doesn't say anything good about me at all!

So, I was wrong.
Very wrong.
Thwarti Wins Again.

Thanks to frenchsojourn I know that the dead cat bounce is an actual term.

Her Grace and Sleekness would like a word, Hank

A name that I think needs to be used MUCH more often

Colin Smith: Malcontentia

Special recognition for a great line
alyson fay “I heard your bones speak, boy,”

Special recognition for a great phrase
Fearless Reider the choir softened into their seats with a polyester sigh.

Who knew that Umoonasaurus was a real thing? 
Johnell for one. Now we do too!

And of course, I always appreciate a good pun!
Michael Seese
I cleared my throat.

"It softens easier to wallow in self pithy, than to face one's demons. Such is the fatal flaw of the young Danish prince, an inert introvert lamenting his existential existence, whimpering like a muffled pulpy, too timid to bark or bite. Alas, poor Yorick! I pneumo— "

"That's enough." I'd come to learn that Professor Cole's arched eyebrow heralded the arrival of a parable posed as a question. "Do you care to explain?"

"I dictated my term paper. I guess Google Voice never read Hamlet."


"You gave me an F. So the point is mute."

Here are the entries that stood out for me
Marie McKay
In a tower-block high in the sky, there lived a young woman. She had many things. She had creams to soften her resistance. Trinkets of gold to mute her pithy responses. Pulp to teach her she was ugly. TV to stop her from thinking. Demands to produce children that muffled her ambition.
She needed to escape; so, she tied the tv to the pulp, the pulp to the gold, the gold to their demands (which meant it would stretch all the way to the ground.) Then down down she climbed leaving all their expectations behind.

Steph Ellis
It had been a good year for windfall in Eden. Eve had mashed the apples, forced the pulp between a rustic press and left it to ferment. Adam had merely watched. As usual.

Her mood did not soften as her mate continued to leave the bulk of the work to her. As usual. Fell asleep. As usual.

“Why don’t we add a secret ingredient?’ hissed the snake. ‘You know, something which is the real, um, essence, of you.”

Eve grinned, muffled the splashes as Adam slept. Then poured his drink ready.

“Tastes like pith,” slurred Adam.

“Hope so,” said Eve.

Claudia scoured the shores near Lympne. Umoonasaurus bones often appeared near seas, just not England's. Still, the photos the Manchester Umoonasaurus Fellowship (MUF) flew down to her looked legitimate. Any plesiosaur near Loch Ness would be the Australopithecus equivalent for Nessie enthusiasts, and her ticket to fame. Claudia’s thoughts ran the gamut. Each time she’d made a discovery, Professor Mackray, that pulpital bore, took credit. Luckily, Claudia knew bones, and some tricks of carbon-dating. She hefted her backpack and smiled at the thought of her future “discovery”: a new hominid found inside a plesiosaur’s belly. She’d name it “Mackraylopithicus.”

“Hide the money.” Muffled voice from the tipi that’s next to ours.

Wilderness couple’s retreat. Wife’s idea.

Yay, me.

It’s often the case. I agree to something before pushing the TV’s mute button.

Wife hands me some guava drink filled with pulp and not enough booze.

Yay, me.

I guzzle it, or attempt to before she plops down on top of me with enough force to cause a pneumothorax..

I multitask, eavesdropping, husbanding, planning.

Yay, me. Seriously, yay me.

Tomorrow’s the oasis hike. I’ll bow out. Say I’m dehydrated. Locate and rehide the money.

Yay, me.

Fearless Reider
Pinch. “Stop it,” hissed Mama. Ike slid down the sweat-slicked pew, out of reach. The organ sagged to a stop and the choir softened into their seats with a polyester sigh.

We waited, mute. The heat-thick air pricked my neck, an itchy woolen muffler.

Up to the pulpit rose the preacher. And something happened. His words… they swirled around and swooped down from the ceiling like a cool wind, cool water washing over us. “Maybe,” I thought. We could be different. Better.

Outside, Ike socked my jaw. I turned the other cheek, then shoved him down the steps.

Not today.

Will McPhail
It’s the same each time. He goes mute, and a look of concentration comparable to a super computer built in the seventies playing solitaire, captures my attention. A mixture of pulp and pasteurization gone perfectly wrong. It softens as I peel back the fabric, and the smell is a brash mixture of demon’s breath and spoiled homogenized milk. I muffle my response with a jerking motion and turn away. He laughs, I swear he laughs at my anguish but he is the pith of my heart. The cold air causes a warm stream to slap my cheek, and he laughs.

He thought, after they’d chucked him unceremoniously into the firepit, he’d easily work his way back out.

An hour, if that, he’d bragged. Like the old days.

But the ash was soft, enfolding him deliciously in its warmth; and the embers’ pulpy glow wrapped round like a comforting muff. Leaving aside the regrettable absence of knight-flesh, for a manmade firepit it wasn’t half bad. If he tarried, who could judge?

Even the stars gazed down mutely, dispassionately.

He closed his eyes, letting the heat snuggle between his wrinkled scales. Soon!!! he’d roar his fiery revenge.






Some of you weighed in on how the prompt words were selected
Colin Smith
While these words can all be found in the poems of John Keats, I suspect Janet came across the word "pith" (maybe in a Keats poem), looked it up, then went on a Thesaurus journey from pith to pulp to soften to muffle to mute.

Nicola Liu
About those words. You must have used either a thesaurus or a reverse dictionary since the words form pairs of synonyms. (Pith and pulp relate to the insides of fruit. Pulp and soften are verbs meaning to make mushy. Soften and muffle mean to make quiet. Muffle and mute mean to make silent.) I checked Merriam-Webster and Roget's, and the Reverse Dictionary. It wasn't one of those. It wasn't MS Word's built in thesaurus either.

I have got thus far, and am stumped. I am out of time, and out of thesauruses.
Megan  V
Words inspired by the Great British Bake Off/ baking show? I’m stuck on that show lol.

I'm posting this late on Sunday night, and will have the winner selected later.
Let me know who your fave is, and if you think I missed any that were particularly good.

And of course, let me know if I have, at long last, thwarted the Fort(i)
I had such high hopes.

I'm sorry I haven't had time today to add to the comments about each of the entries that I liked. Vacation is great; dealing with the deluge upon return not so much.

I agreed with many of you: I think Fearless Reider takes the prize this week!

Fearless, if you'll email me with your preferred mailing address, and which (if any) of the books you want as your prize. If none of them are your cup of tea, that's ok,just let me know what you like to read.

Thanks to all of you who took the time to write and enter.
It was a great way to ease back into the fray!

And now, off to plot anew against Fortissimo.
I think barring him from using the letter A sounds like a good idea.

Particularly if the prompt words are cat rat spat flat and bat!



Steve Forti said...

"neume (/ˈnjuːm/; sometimes spelled neum)"
Encyclopedia Brittanica agrees, too.
I quadruple-checked before using it.
(And I really wish my eye burning story was made up. Alas...)

Megan V said...

neum is a musical term—and the fact that the Great Forti used it is kind of awesome considering the latest Queryshark post.

Alex said...

I had the pleasure of meeting Louise Penny at a writers festival. I told her the story of how I had inherited the typewriter my grandfather used as a homicide detective in the 60s. She was delighted. Lovely lady.

Kitty said...

My vote goes to french sojourn about the frustrated economics prof.

Mister Furkles said...

Collins also gives neum as a variant spelling of neume.

Steve Forti said...

(also casting a hearty vote for dead cat bounce)

John Williamson said...

neume /n(y)o͞om/ nounMusic
noun: neume; plural noun: neumes; noun: neum; plural noun: neums
(in plainsong) a note or group of notes to be sung to a single syllable.
a sign indicating a neume.
Neum is a town and municipality located in Herzegovina-Neretva Canton of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, an entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Janet Reid said...

I had such high hopes.
Forti not only thwartis me ...AGAIN...he does it so well
he first gives me hope of prevailing.

I'm going back on vacation...

*slinks to couch*

Sharyn Ekbergh said...

Ramona says the very thought of "dead cat bounce" being real makes her fur shiver.
These were far too clever to even think of trying to compete.
We spent the day with the new Louise, after all it was Caturday.

Kat Waclawik said...

I have to delurk long enough to vote for Fearless Reider. Beautiful, evocative writing and fabulous story.

Timothy Lowe said...

Gotta throw a nod to Hank -- made me laugh out loud. Also Mr. Seese, who is always stiff competition. Excellent job, everyone! Really enjoyed reading all the entries.

french sojourn said...

Contrary to popular belief, I am a cat person. ( we have 5 of the wee little beasties.) Thanks for the kind comments. I was blown away with the talent of all the entries, and a nod to the finalists. Well done.

P.S. I got the e-mail from Your Grace, and after some google earth searches I have found there are no sufficient piers in the area. I will have to widen my search parameter so I can ( as per your suggestion) take a long walk on a short pier.


shanepatrickwrites said...

Supercomputers playing Solitaire is a heckuva a name for a band

Sheri M said...

If I'm reading the highlighted letters over the three words correctly as pneumo (from up neum olio), I read pneumo which is a prefix, not a word in and of itself. Are prefixes allowed??

Amy Johnson said...

Congratulations to all the finalists and mentions! While it wasn't listed, I thought NLiu's story was beautiful. (I'm a big fan, NLiu. I eagerly look for your entries.)

Claire Bobrow said...

I'm still laughing at "mute point," Michael Seese. Good one!

Beth Carpenter said...

I'm in awe. All so amazing. I also loved the dead cat bounce story. I'm surprised no one mentioned the possibility of words being inspired by a new juicer.

Johnell said...

Wow. Some really great writing. I'm honored my Umoonosaurus made the cut. I'm constantly impressed with the talent in these contests.

JulieWeathers said...

Such wonderful posts. Not only the ones selected, but all of them. I am in serious awe of what you people can accomplish.

Fearless Reider is my choice. Great work. Evocative writing.

Good job all. Special hat tip to ?Steve, but how cruel.

Just Jan said...

Loved RoseannaM and Hank's dead cat bounce.

Richelle Elberg said...

Nice job everyone! My vote goes to Fearless Reider, lovely piece.

Bethany Elizabeth said...

I really enjoyed all the entries - but I've gotta say, Fearless Reider's was my favorite. :) Although Michael Seese also made me laugh out loud, so...

Marie McKay said...

Well done, Fearless Reider- a beautifully constructed story. Thanks for the mention, Janet and congrats to everyone.

RosannaM said...

Congrats to Fearless! I loved your last line!

Thanks Janet for including me. It is an honor that I cherish. The words were a bit pesky this time, though! Sorry your glee at defeating Forti was so fleeting...

Colin Smith said...

Congratulations, Fearless Reider!

And congrats to Mr. Forti. How could QOTKU doubt your meticulous research? :)

I have updated the Contest Spreadsheet in the Treasure Chest.

Be sure to check out the Treasure Chest. There are all kinds of goodies there, including a "Gems" page that links some of the most helpful articles from the blog's 10+ year history. If you're searching for help on queries or writing, go there before searching the archives.

If a gem of Janet's wisdom from the blog is not on the Gems page and you think it should be, let me know. In fact, if you know of good writerly help that should be in the Treasure Chest, drop me an email and I'll check it out. My address is in my Blogger profile (as yours should be!!)

Fearless Reider said...

Oh, wow! I only got a chance to read the entries this afternoon and I’m amazed by them, as always, and even more amazed to take the prize! I’m chuffed to bits, as contestants on a certain (possibly inspirational?) baking show might say. I was burning the midnight (er, 3 a.m.) oil on Saturday night, preparing for our big Sunday school kick-off and lamenting that I wouldn’t have time to enter the contest. I’m glad I stayed up just a little bit longer.

Well done, everyone, and thank you for your encouragement! If I’d had another 100 words, I would have gone into excruciating detail about the Vulcan nerve pinch my dad used to inflict on my siblings and me when we got up to shenanigans in church. It’s just one of a number of methods of corporal punishment that can be administered silently in the pews. And yet I continue to darken the church’s doors!

Casual-T said...

What a fabulous bunch of entries (once again!). And a well-deserved top spot on the podium for Fearless Reider... Congratulations!!

And just a quick aside in regards to the Vulcan nerve pinch: I am currently introducing my youngest to the original Star Trek (of which I claim to be one of the biggest fans). And we make it a point to yell out “VULCAN NERVE PINCH,” every time Mr. Spock uses it to fold yet another evildoer or space pirate in half. So much fun!

Colin Smith said...

BTW, Janet--since a couple of us did spare some brain energy to try to figure out where the words came from, were any of us even close to the truth?

You can't have us guess and then not tell... :)

Claire Bobrow said...

Congrats, Fearless Reider!

I loved your entry, but feel cheated we didn't hear details about the Vulcan nerve pinch. In hopes you will share them in a future contest: May you live long and prosper :-)

Michael Seese said...

Great job, Fearless Raider. The line "The organ sagged to a stop and the choir softened into their seats with a polyester sigh" was stunning.

Ellis Tandy said...

Congratulations, Fearless Reider! I loved your story. Also thought Marie McKay's was beautifully written, and frenchsojourn's was hilarious. Lots of high-quality stuff this week :)

Angel L said...

Congrats Fearless!

John Davis Frain said...

Great week at the reef.

Can't argue with the choice of winner. Congrats, Fearless.

I also thought Hank's dead cat bounce stood out and Marie McKay was stellar (again!).

Y'all should take a contest off so us mortals have a chance. It's like being in a division with the Yankees and Cardinals and Dodgers every season.

NLiu said...

Congrats Fearless! You had some amazing lines in there. You are now my benchmark for excellence in descriptive writing. Aiming high!

Amy Johnson, WOAH your comment made my week! I have a fan?! Excuse me while I do a dance!

*happy dances*

And Janet, I concur with Colin Smith and want to sign his petition (do you have a petition, Colin?) Are you going to tell us how you picked those words??


Marie McKay said...

Thank you John Davis Frain and Ellis Tandy for such lovely comments. You've brightened up a dreich morning in Scotland!

french sojourn said...

FearlessReider, congrats, well deserved, he said with a polyester sigh.
Such a refreshing choice of words.
Cheers ! Hank.

Thanks again for the kind comments guys!