Herewith the results:
Filed under the why do I even try column YET AGAIN.
Special recognition for words I had to lookup:
Special recogniton for a great line
She who controls the toilet paper controls the world
The Duchess of Yowl approves of this entry:
Here's the long list of entries that stood out
“The Plot Thickens!”
“Twist The Knife!”
The old friends greet each other warmly, regaling one another with stories they’ve been in. From the far end of the table, A Snail’s Pace glowers at them.
“I thought they weren’t bringing him back,” mutters Plot.
Knife shrugs. “Can’t have one of these without him.”
The moderator approaches. “Anyone seen On The Same Page? No? Well, we can’t wait any longer.”
They settle in next to the moderator, who taps on her microphone, asks everyone to please take their seats. “Welcome,” she says, “to today’s panel discussion on clichés in literature…”
Digging for Grandpa required a treasure map. Luckily, Grandma left one.
“Twisted,” said Desiree.
“That’s Grammy.” I peered at the page. “Always with a sense of humor.”
We wound through thickets, splashed through streams, shovels in hand.
“Fitting payback for a lifetime of philandering,” she said. “But how did she know it would--?”
“He had a pacemaker put in. Next week, he went missing. Here we are.”
The mise-en-scene described in Grammy’s will: a rotten garter, a set of scarlet pumps, a wisp of gauze shrouding the shallow mound.
Desiree wouldn’t stop laughing.
“What’s so funny?”
“Sex marks the plot.”
They’re silent when I finish. Finally, Tolkien speaks. “It’s not bad. Just… take more space. The more words, the better.”Michael Seese
Odd. Heaven shouldn’t have criticism. “It’s… a short story.”
“Exactly. Short on plot and allegory.” Lewis, nodding solemnly. “Though I liked that twist with the lion on page nine.”
“There’s not…” This can’t be Hell. I didn’t do enough for that, did I? “I think you misread – ”
“Atrocious ending too,” says Christie. “I’ve no idea who murdered whom.”
“Exactly.” Tolkien pats my shoulder. “Just rewrite, add fifty pages, and we’ll talk tomorrow.”
Oh. Purgatory. Fair enough.
Her "farewell," delivered after-the-fact—via text—confirmed what I'd long known. That in Darcy's Theater Of The Absurd, my role was little more than the mise-en-scene. Verily, Darcy had turned the page on our relationship somewhere between her byline and the (overly) dramatis personæ, with countless props from her private performances meeting shattered demises against a wall or the sidewalk below, while she recited her life from its hackneyed script.
"I need more."
"I have no space."
Of course, plotlines should wrap with a twist, though in this case, twenty.
Specifically, the lug nuts on her brand-new Porsche.
My eyes rolled in time with the thud of music. Oblivious human groupies swaying behind me. Cause strobe-lights and Michael Bolton? Not exactly…going the distance.
Leaning over the bar, I cupped my mouth. “No, Paige. Like page.”
Smiling the bartender, not a merit scholarship lot, whose muscles were more suited to spandex and iron than vermouth, gave my martini over.
“No, thanks.” Gripping glass, I took my—very—needed drink. Slugging it down, I pulled my silver pistol and took aim.
Because as for the undead lead singer of this cover band?
Forever would be enough.
John Davis Frain
Frain, creature of habit, hit the jukebox for Friday night inspiration. The Jackson 4 record dropped. Jammed. He shook and twisted the machine. No music. No inspiration.The particularly nice twist here is that V is five in Roman numerals.
He’d try again Saturday.
When he woke, none of his four senses seemed to function. He flushed his flash.
Sunday arrived with the same result. He stared into space.
“Hey, V.” He showed his wife his entry, nary a splotch on the page. “I plead the fourth. Nothing’s working.”
“She gave you fewer constraints, yet it’s harder?”
“Nobody understands writers.”
V gave him a high-four, pinky lost years earlier in a motorcycle accident.
“Let travel through space and time.
Plot our way through the universe.”
The young guy sang my lyrics to me.
“You’re a legend. Can I get an autograph?” He ripped a page from his notebook.
It’s rare nowadays to be recognized as a geriatric rock star.
Rarer still to get an album sale. Tours? Forget about it.
“How about a picture instead?” I suggested.
To most kids his age, I’d just be another old man on the street.
I’m flattered he noticed me.
The twisted thing was he’d never suspect me when he later realized his wallet was missing.
Here's the short list of entries that stood out.
(this was REALLY a task to choose which ones!)
My evil twin rang the stage at dress rehearsal. “Bomb on mise-en-scène.”This is so much subtle fun!
Pacing, the director turned the page.
“Who plotted a twist without telling me!?”
A stage “dude” strode forth, a paper-brown box-en-hand.
Actors aghast, eyebrows high, and fingertips to lips.
The actor dropped the box.
Actors shuffled back once…twice…throwing up their hands (you should try it sometime, bleech).
End act one.
Standing from afar, I watched a fireball light the low-hanging clouds.
I turned to my doppelganger as she giggled with delight.
“I told you. With your lisp, they’d never understand mezzanine.”
She turned in shock. “What lissp?”
I read this three times and saw something new each time.
That's real artistry.
“Me, too.”While this isn't really a story, there's no way I'm not giving this some love.
Nods around the circle.
“Me, too. I was 12.”
Six inmates - Rikers Island. Tough women. Little girls robbed of trust. Of hope. Of future.
Janice stood guard as the weekly GED Study Group got off topic again. She liked these women.
“I’d plot a Lorena Bobbitt if I got my hands on the bastard.”
“Actually any raping bastard. Even Cosby or Spacey.”
“Preach it, girl.”
Janice understands- she still can’t even pee without drippage – broken beer bottle.
“You hear a famous twisted bastard’s in the men’s cellblock?”
Janice knew the cell number.
“Me, too,” she whispered.
Probably helps that I watch Unbelievable on Netflix over the weekend.
(I'd watch Merritt Wever in just about anything, up to and including just standing in a phone booth on Seventh Avenue)
Always known there’s a space.This really isn't a story either, and I normally don't go for much that is allegorical and abstract, but this just really spoke to me.
And a door.
Between There and Here, I mean.
Momma said, “Careful, baby – what’s There’s where it belongs. Got no business Here. Not anymore.”
Did my best to mind, but turns out it’s me that’s bridging.
Plotted to open it a crack - barely enough to slip a page – to see the light poke through. Figured, There must be a whole lot brighter’n Here.
Turns out it don’t abide partway. That door flew wide and wasn’t no light There. I ‘tribute it to folks being all twisted up and mostly dark inside.
Shoulda minded Momma.
Her words hit him like a poleaxe to the gut.I'm always a sucker for this kind of twist in a story, and this one is damn good.
She has the nerve to stand there in all her pageantry and look so smug. How could she mention my sickness in front of everyone? Why? I’m seeing a therapist… you money-grubbing cheese eater. Damn, now you’re bringing up my health.
But he, Walter Mitty, stood there and took it. Turn the page, be the better person.
Even more twisted, now she’s going on about my death…plotting it in front of all these people.
The minister turned, smiled, and said, “I now pronounce you, man and wife.”
C. Dan Castro
The promoter smiled. Feral. “And then?”This made me laugh out loud, particularly given I've spent the week offering up notes on manuscripts. I hope I'm not quite as blind as Mr. Feral (such a great name)
“Our hero flees with the Speck. But...plot twist! Monkeys steal the Speck. Give it to an eagle which loses the Speck in a clover field. Hero finds it, but other animals pounce. Tie him up. Threaten to destroy the Speck.”
“Then he gets them to hear a what?”
Feral laughs. “Feels like Abbott and Costello.”
“It’s a page turner. For a children’s book.”
“Yeah, fast paced. Ted, it’s ‘54. Commies everywhere. Make the eagle a vulture, giv’im a Ruskie name like Vlad, and I’ll see citizens hear about Horton hearing his Who.”
Fog oozed across the pier like an ocean of milk suffering from severe personality disorder.
"It'd help lots if you'd dispose of the body," said Vanderbilt, peering at the semi-seen scene with a twisted, uncertain grin.
"What I'm s'posed to do 'bout it?"
"Listen, it's a pretty hip age we're living in, but not hip enough for blatant murder."
"He should'na had that crap ace up his sleeve."
"And you shouldn't have had that knife up yours."
"Alright, I'll handle it—Vanderbilt?"
"Where's the body?"
"Rien ne va plus," said the fog. "Guess it isn't your lucky night after all."
Semi-seen-scene in and of itself is hilarious but for use of the prompt word mis-en-scene, it's sheer genius.
And that last line takes this from deft to utterly delightful.
So, who did I overlook?
And who's your fave?
I read these again today, and my initial choice is still the final choice.
The prize goes to Kregger!
Kregger, email me your mailing address and what you like to read and we'll get a prize in the mail.
Thanks to all of you who took the time to write and post entries.
It really livened up my weekend.