Monday, September 23, 2019

Flash fiction contest results-FINAL

Sorry for the delay on posting this. The weekend was guzzled up with reading. It was good, but there wasn't time for much else.

Herewith the results:

Words I had to look up

Aphra Pell elecampane

Things I had to look up (otherwise known forevermore as the Neflix and chill category)

flashfriday: IKR

Steve Forti eats my lunch.

I don't know why I even try.

Marshal Marshall marshalled martial artists through the church, feeling déjà vu. Eight years had passed, but this time his martial artists were here for marital artistry. As they began their graceful accompaniment down the aisle, Marshall watched Marsha from the altar.

They’d worshipped here after taking out the chic sheik called Gucci Gafir. They’d tracked him to Sachs, to Fashion Curiosities, to Two Tutus, too. Finally caught him at Au Bon Pain, his blood splattering the glass-paned ceiling, sealing their love with a crimson kiss.

He smiled, vowing to always praise how she prays and preys. “Oh yes, I do.”

Not really a story but evocative as hell.

french sojourn

Kate Outhwaite

Not quite a story but as deft a bit of word play we've seen in a while

Marie McKay

Exhibit A: Seaman Luke Wright's Log:

When songstress Bec Hickory flu into HQ, she praised hour oversees gifts too her, liking how they wear both waterproof and sheik. Eye reported we'd loched away most mail crew members when we herd she was visiting. She said only sailors with cheating hearts wear in danger and knot too feel two much sympathy for her pray. She always preys for those she seduces, and they are entranced in the blink of an I.
How wood won know they'd been seduced?: "Most experience disruption to sounds." She winked.

Exhibit B: Harp.

Not really a story but holy moly, this is really funny


Darkeyes, the fierce warrior princess and sole surviving heir of murdered King Myzylyzylyz, after a terrible war which decimated the kingdom and left the patriarchal populace of simple but good-hearted sheepherders trembling, at last and at great cost defeated terrible Chanii the Chicaner, and behold, locked him away deep within the Crevasse of Credere, where he will languish praiseless and unremarked for a thousand years, until the day—while the monster Smoggish preys—her descendant, the fair-haired but prophetically doomed Elewyn, prays for the birth of the Chosen One.

He: Wow, math class today.
She: IKR?

Here are the entries that stood out for me

Timothy Lowe

“The family that prays together, stays together,” beamed the four Jehovah’s Witnesses on my stoop. I groaned and ushered them through the panel door.

“Do you know the way to God’s heart?” said the woman, pressing a bible into my callused hand.

“Through the chest?” I replied.

Blank stares.

“Never mind,” I assured. “I know the way to yours.”

“Praise Jesus!” howled the kids, two painful little chickadees with the manners of drunken sheiks.

“Indeed,” I said, drawing the shades. Faintly, I could hear Mom and Dad stirring in the cellar.

The family that preys together, stays together.

This made me laugh.
I haven't had too many religious folk calling at the door lately. I think there's some sort of mark on it now--some years back I thought my sweetheart had lost his keys so I jumped out of the shower, grabbed a hand towel for my hair and flipped the deadbolt and opened the door just a smidge.

Two nice Mormon boys had knocked.
I'm not sure who was more mortified.


Gonzales glanced under the tarp, raised his eyes and said, “¿Quién es?”

Nobody answered him.

He tried again. “Who is he?”

“I know him,” one boy whispered. It was Ray, age six. “I saw the monster get him. El chupacabra.”

“There are no monsters, son.”

That wasn’t true. That monster under the tarp had swindled the whole town. “I tried to get help,” Ray said. “But chupacabra rips apart its prey so fast.”

Gonzales looked around. Nobody else spoke.

“Killed our chickens last month,” Ray added.

“Dear heavens,” Gonzales said.

Ray’s mama squeezed his hand. Nicely done, mijito. Nicely done.

Love love love this twist.
It's clear from the comments that many of you do as well.


"It preys on my patience," the old director ranted, "this dubious premature praise for a remake everyone prays won't be disastrous."

"They plan to shake it up, subbing a sheikh for the Dread Pirate. A romantic sheik with taut… cheeks. Nose like a blade. Très chic."

"How dare they write such drivel?"

"Someone sold the rights."

"Have I taught them nothing?"

"God knows, you tried," the nurse agreed, ever willing to humor his patients.

"I'll be raising a pint of ale…"

"Always good for what ails you."

"…'to the pain,' indeed."

"Best dialog ever delivered from a counterpane."

This was like applying paint to a canvas with a slingshot. Wildly entertaining.

Dena Pawling

October 31, NYC

Jaws crouches beneath the pier, peers out from behind her shark “mask”, prays for fresh prey.

Sammy, a regal sheik, and Abigail, a chic Princess Jasmine, prance down the boardwalk.

Jaws prepares to pounce and pare the population.

The cute pair knock on a door. Curtains twitch, door opens. “Trick or treat!”

Homeowner presents pears. Children mumble polite “thank you”. Jaws sighs. These two already have their pain. Where's the fun in that?

Jaws peers through windowpane. Homeowner types at computer.

“Praise all deities! Fresh prey!”

Jaws changes name and careers. Becomes Janet, literary agent.

This just cracked me up.


I leave the house with nothing but my driver’s license and pick up a couple of chicks, fully loaded, with chic backpacks and a wary dog. They pray, shimmy into the back, and give me an address. For forty minutes, I feel like a sheikh. The dog, riding shotgun, watches my every move.

Mission accomplished. They praise my driving while their dog preys on a nearby chipmunk.

I head home before my wife takes notice. She says we didn’t move to Orlando so I could live in Fantasyland, but, hey, isn’t that what being an Uber driver is all about?

Nice twist!!!


A muezzin calls the faithful to pray, soaring voice battling car horns.

"Praise be you were not inside!"

The driver's round eyes.

She opens her compact, hands trembling.

The Chichester Herald had screamed "Local Lass Marries Sheik". Not strictly true, though Saif had a Swiss bank account, a house with fountains, marble, flunkies. Real gold cufflinks. Crisp white shirts. Swoonworthy cologne.


But the tins in the basement - though labelled osprey, tulip, anemone - weren't paint.

And he wasn't in oil.

The blooming dust cloud reflects in the compact.

"Praise be," she says.

MI6 better give her a pay rise.

"and he wasn't oil" is one of those perfect little phrases that makes the story turn a corner and smack you in the nose.

As has become the pattern, I'll post the final results later today.
In the meantime, look these over, and tell me who you think should take home a prize (there might be more than one this week!)

Who did I overlook?


I knew from the first read through that Rio would take home the prize.
Then I read through the second time and had to add JustJan.

There's just too much excellence to choose only one.

And honestly, all of them are really wonderful!

Rio and Jan, let me know what you like to read and I'll get your prize books in the mail.

Thanks to all of you who took the time to write and enter.
This was utterly delightful!


Marie McKay said...

Terrific finalists. Well done, all. I wouldn't be able to choose between them. They are so clever.
Thanks for the mention, Janet.
(Duped by a Siren of my own making into thinking she'd twist mine into a story. What a fool!)

Aphra Pell said...

I am proud to have sent the shark to her dictionary.

Having read the finalists a few times, I've developed a soft spot for Rio's, but they are all excellent.

NLiu said...

Dena's was hilarious. She gets my vote for comedic brilliance.

And I LOVED JustJan's because she used our assumptions against us (he isn't a murderer! Shock!) and also because now I love Uber drivers even more. So clever and makes you think.

And I am PUMPED I tell you, PUMPED that I made the shortlist!! I was sure that story was terrible. What do I know?! Thanks Janet!

LynnRodz said...

First time I read Rio's story I thought, he's got this. Reading it again, I love it even more.

Dena Pawling said...

Steve Forti's first line made me lol

Flashfriday's made me lol

I'm honored to be included in the short-list! And it was fun that many of the stories used more homonyms than those which were required.

I like Rio's.

Timothy Lowe said...

Claire Bobrow's was my fave. Holding the "chic Sheik" until the end had me rolling. That and a necktie-fed camel? No contest.

Also loved Hank's, although not a story.

Fun stuff this week. Thanks for the shout out, Janet!

Fearless Reider said...

Terrific finalists and mentions! Flashfriday’s entry made me howl, Timothy Lowe’s chilled me to the bone AND made me laugh, Steve Forti’s made me question whether I should ever bother posting again, and Nliu’s made me want to read MORE of that story. I was tickled by the number of entries that included birds in some way, perhaps sparked by “prey”? The hive mind works in interesting ways, and we’ll never tire of murder most fowl.

And to KDJames: It’s inconceivable!

Colin Smith said...

NLiu: I've probably said this before, but more than once a story I wasn't sure about made the Finalist list, and stories I've liked haven't been mentioned. Just goes to show how subjective this is, which is something we need to remember as we query our work. Of course, fact is, your story is a worthy contender, so pay no attention to that voice in your head. Well done. :)

I also liked Rio's story.

But my choices would be Timothy Lowe and KDJames. I liked that they wrote good stories and embraced the theme of the contest (homophones).

Not that my opinion is worth a cent, let alone 2, but there it is. :D

Steve Forti said...

flashfriday or JustJan get my votes this week. Gave me a chuckle. Well done.

Also, Marshal Marshall is a callback to the last homophone contest from 2011. Always had a soft spot for him :)

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Well done, everyone!

My vote goes to Timothy Lowe's - I'm a sucker for a story that makes me shudder AND snicker. I also like the parallelism of the first and last lines.

Claire Bobrow said...

Well done, all you mentions and finalists! I loved the homonym havoc: from religious proselytizers about to become dinner (or worse?), MI6, Uber drivers, a chupacabra, The Princess Bride, an origin story for QueryShark, to some seriously twisted word play. Whew! Great stuff!

Timothy Lowe: Thank you for the kind compliment! Made my day :-)

Brenda said...

Steve makes it look easy.

RosannaM said...

Great finalists! Definitely not an easy decision. Best of luck to all of you!

Karen McCoy said...

Dena's is definitely a favorite. And, like Timothy Lowe, I liked Claire's also.

I think Steve Forti should get his own island. Perhaps the anti-Carkoon?

Just Jan said...

My vote goes to Timothy Lowe. Nicely done!

KDJames said...

What?! I'm a finalist? But, but -- I was just messing around, trying to fit in as many homophones as possible, being silly. I didn't every try to make it a story. I thought I might get a dishonorable mention for Excessive Use of HTML Tags, or something.

As Colin said, you just never know.

ALL of the entries mentioned are so good. I'm really honoured to be in this company. Thanks, Janet.

Michael Seese said...

Timothy's has a nice play / replay of the opening line.

Angel L said...

Timothy Lowe gets my vote. Great job everyone!

Cecilia Ortiz Luna said...

Sir Tim for the win!

I also loved Nliu's.

Belated happy birthday Claire🙂

Megan V said...

My vote's with Timothy too

NLiu said...

Your Majesty, I have a confession.

When I reread my entry earlier (after I commented the first time) I realised I had made a colossal error.

I got one of the prompt words wrong.

You see, when I was originally planning my flash piece I intended to put a word starting with "s" after "osprey", to make "preys". But when I finally wrote it, I forgot. (I was a little distracted that day.) So I actually didn't include the prompt word.

I'll accept my exile to Carkoon with good grace.

I'll bring nose pegs for the kale.

Yours in flustered grovellingness,

NLiu said...

P.S. CONGRATULATIONS to Rio and JustJan!!! You guys are brilliant.

Cecilia Ortiz Luna said...

Congrats Rio and JustJan!

Colin Smith said...

Congratulations Rio and JustJan!!

NLiu: Janet's rule seems to be that she will be forgiving when selecting finalists, but when it comes to winners, she's a stickler for the rules. A similar thing happened to me back in May. She selected my piece as a finalist, but I had accidentally edited out one of the prompt words. That disqualified me from being a winner (not that I would have won that week anyway!). So don't feel too badly. You got to the finalist stage on merit, even if your mistake cost you a potential win. :)

I have updated the Contest Spreadsheet in the Treasure Chest.

KDJames said...

Yes! I had so hoped Rio would win. I was at a complete loss to decide between the others for a second winner. Loved them all but for different reasons. Congrats to both Rio and Jan!!

Janet, "wildly entertaining" is one of the best compliments I've ever received about my writing. I've been slogging through weeks of self-doubt and that just means the world to me. Thank you.

Brian Wells said...

This contest was a hoot. Congratulations to all the finalists who did an amazing job.

Marie McKay said...

Well done Rio and Just Jan. What excellent writing. Congrats to the shortlisters, you all did an amazing job.

John Davis Frain said...

Well done Rio & Jan. Great job, all you amazing short-listers.

And Janet, those two impressionable Mormons at the end of Tim Lowe's story? They were just looking for a place to Netflix and chill. A little ahead of their time is all.

Timothy Lowe said...

Congrats Rio and Jan. Much deserved!

Claire Bobrow said...

Congrats Rio and JustJan! Well done!!

Just Jan said...

Congratulations, Rio! I am honored to be in your company. And well done to the other finalists. So many good stories, this is unexpected.

Rio said...

Wow, what a happy surprise! Thank you Ms. Reid and everyone who liked my story. JustJan, I'm honored to be co-winners with you, too. I love your sense of humor!