Monday, October 06, 2014

WE ARE NOT GOOD PEOPLE flash fiction contest results

Clearly there are a lot of you dying to get your mitts on WE ARE NOT GOOD PEOPLE by Jeff Somers (pubbing tomorrow 10/7/14 in fact!)

Here are the results of the contest:

Special recognition for a great phrase:
"the smile slips from her face; splattering as it hits the floor."
Jennifer Deane 11:07am

Special recognition for a great line:
Succss smelled of patchouli and incense
D.B. Sundstrom 7:04am

"The Underpants Avenger spoke."
Kim English 2:15pm

"In the morning, he would be just another hangover."
raisedareader 1:49pm

"It’s right here in Diabetic Witch Today."
Karen McCoy 1:39am

Special recognition for entries that weren't quite stories, but if they were
the start of novels, I'd want to read on:
french sojourn 7:07am

boblozzia 11:48am

Jennifer R. Donohue 1:40pm

Jennifer Moorhead 10:37pm

A cameo for Gossamer the cat!
Mark Songer 10:19 am

A cameo for a gun wielding shark!
BonnieShaljean 11:07am

Special recognition for why JedCullan is now dead to me TWICE!
Maligning Reacher! The nerve! Poor Dead Jed.
JedCullan 1:23pm

Every Saturday librarian's secret wish
Christina Seine 4:54pm

Best  non-fiction story
LynnRodz 5:11am

Too horrifying even for me:
"In a bookstore in Tel-Aviv, the saleswoman is clueless about Roxane Gay's "Bad Feminist," and she doesn't know who Patrick Lee is."
Lilac Shoshani 7:00am

And here are the semi-finalists:

D.B. Sundstrom 7:04am
The sign on the door read EDIE'S MAGIC SHOP with no posted hours. She tried the handle anyway. Success smelled of patchouli and incense. She walked toward the psychic's booth in the back, admiring the caricatures of past patrons on the wall, when she spotted her own.

"I've never been here before. Is that, blood?"

The occupants of the past tried to warn her. Their sketched eyes fixed on the door.
But she drew the connection too late.

She found herself looking at the door with the other spirits. One eye drawn slightly larger than the other. 9:34am
Sunday, under a big tent, Preacher Dan was busy cleansing spirits, urging followers to drink the blood of Christ. His gospel invoked speaking in tongues, a yielding of souls, complete and utter faith.

Doubters whispered, “Its black magic!”

He adjusted his ill-fitting pants, lifted a venomous snake in one hand while waving the other in its face.

It struck!

He stood firm, unwavering, and caterwauled, “A miracle! A message from God himself!"

Believers now, the crowd surged forward, coins raining into his little collection basket.

Only when he headed to the next town, would he remove the prosthetic hand.

Shaunna 9:39am
First time Steve wore the magic pants, it rained cats for a week. No kidding! Fur balls everywhere. And dead birds! He swore he'd put them away, but there's some's in their blood, seems like. Ain't nothing like the spirits of your ancestors in a pair of brown corduroys.

Anyhow, he got antsy and dragged them out again. Couldn't help it, I guess. Folks set out milk and litter boxes. Just to be ready. But they were wrong. Dead wrong. A bit macabre for my taste, but they could have used those cats when the cockroaches showed up.

Kitty 9:41am
How I Became A Man, by Luigi Abbadelli

"Wearing short pants when you're ten is embarrassing. It dispirits the soul," I told Mama.

"Che cosa รจ dispirits?" asked Nona.

"He wants to wear long pants," Mama said.


Papa was reading the paper. I needed him on my side, so I said, "They're old world."

Mama and Nona gasped because they're still hot-
blooded Italians. But Papa was now an American. His framed naturalization certificate was proudly displayed below Pope Pius's picture. "Old world" worked like magic.

Papa stood, straightened his shoulders and
categorically declared, "My son will wear long pants!"

Old Fogey 2:21pm
After I finished with April’s cat, Magic, I put the shovel in the shed. I washed blood and mud off my hands and poured some spirits. Knob Creek is my libation of choice. Lately, finances dictated house brands, but tonight my shaking hand found joy.

The only thing magic about that late animal? She’d only peed, pooped, or clawed things belonging to me. That yellow puddle on my novel—stored for safety on a high shelf--had been the last straw.

April entered, yawning. “Blood on your pants,” she said.

A smile.

“And poison in the bourbon.”

Gail 3:26pm
Spirits of dark rum took the blood off those pants like magic. Run away, little hemoglobin molecules, run away! He'll never find out unless he digs up the azalea in the front yard. Ah, I think I hear him now.
"And how's my dollbaby this evening?"
"Sweet and high, my love."
"And where's my little kitty?"
"Out scouting the voles. Back soon."
"What were you gardening, honey, honey, honey?"
"Gardening?" I say. Maybe he knows. Is my face red? I frowned. The shovel! My God, the shovel!
"Oh there you are!"
I stared, slack-jawed. The cat was back.

J.D. Paradise 3:31pm
"Blood Spirits Pants Magic!" Cat chanted, cranked up to 11, laughing in the thrashing crowd. Onstage the Chili Peppers bounced, socks flapping. It was 1996 and I loved a girl who would never love me back.

"Let's run away together," I said later, tangled in dormroom bedding that smelled of Coors and Parliaments. Propped on elbows, inches apart, Cat looking past my shoulder.

Cat, remorseful: "I'll never be that girl."

"I love you anyway." Desperately. "Always."

She tugged the sheet higher. "We shouldn't have done that."

But we had. And just before sunrise, we moved the hitchhiker to the landfill.

Alex King 4:17pm
"Pants? Really?" Ted asked.

The cat looked down at him. "Could be worse."

"Worse how?"

"Could be bloody pants."

"Could be," Ted agreed. "Depends if you're British or not."

The spirits were to blame. He'd distilled them himself, poured some in the cat's bowl for kicks. Now his cat was magic and Ted was a pair of pants.

"Some bad trip," Ted said.

The cat jumped down, onto the floor where Ted lay, limp and hanger-less. "For you, maybe." He unsheathed his claws. They were pale in the moonlight, bleached bone, not keratin. "Abracadabra, now you're a mouse."


Just Jan 10:44pm
"Fisher, most likely," Doc said, probing my cat's jugular wounds with a pudgy finger. "She's lucky; a coyote would've killed her."

"Can you work your usual magic?"

"Maybe." He leered at me over the top of his bifocals. "For a price."

"I can pay," I assured him, glancing down at my ratty t-shirt and sweatpants.

He reappeared an hour later, smelling strongly of spirits. "Couldn't save her. Lost too much blood." He lurched toward me. "Time to pay the piper, sweetie."

"It wasn't a fisher," I said, revealing my fangs, "and it isn't me who's going to pay."

And here are the finalists:

Ruthy 9:06am
“Mommy, do cats go to Heaven?”

“God will take good care of Jinxie.”

“Can He do magic and unsquish him?
Maybe he can put some blood back in?”

“Honey, sometimes spirits are better off being free.”

“Is that why Jesus didn’t wear any pants?”

“How about we go to the pet store tomorrow and buy a turtle?”

“Ooh! Okay, Mommy. Don’t worry. I will teach him how to cross the street really fast.”

Michael Seese 9:56am
“Big Brother”
by Michael Seese

"Sorry, cat," I said to the lifeless mass at my feet.

"Mom will be home soon. Get some paper towels."

It was a mess. Lots of blood.

"What are you going to tell her?"

"If we clean up, nothing," David said.

"Can't you tell her the truth? That you heard you could see spirits?"

"Bad idea. You'll understand when you're older."

David was right. There's a lot that's confusing to a six-year-old.

"We're in trouble, aren't we?"

"We'll be fine."

“OK.” Big brothers are magic.

"Hurry. Throw the pants in the fireplace. And her name was Kate, not Cat."

Calorie Bombshell 3:36pm
The vehicle’s occupants didn’t move a muscle as I approached with my flashlight and violation book. Seven years crunching the midnight gravel on Highway 85 and I never clocked a Jaguar doing 140mph before. An $818 magic ticket was one week’s salary, enough to keep my spirits high and mind off the woman who refused to vacate my spare bedroom although I kicked her no good Trickster son out three months ago.

“License and registration, please.”

The antique German Luger leveled at my chest was his, a wedding present from an old college buddy.

The bloodcurdling scream was mine.

Jo-Anne Teal 3:09am
In September, a tenement fence became castle wall to our cat and to my sister’s boyfriend, Geraldo. The cat was best at gaining entry. Neighbors weren’t eager to open the door to human wildlife, particularly someone wearing a blood-stained Nehru and drawstring cotton pants. Too weird even for the East Village.

So while like magic my sister’s stomach expanded, Geraldo waited across the street: sitting cross-legged in front of Renaldo’s grocery, playing broken sitar, drinking spirits from a bottle ineffectively covered by brown paper.

In October, my sister went outside to tell him there was no reason to wait anymore.

And the winner is Ruthy 9:06am!  Ruthy, please email me  your mailing address so we can send you your prize. If you've already read or bought WE ARE NOT GOOD PEOPLE, we'll find you something else that's delicious to read.

Thanks to all the entrants; it was a great round of submissions!  Y'all amaze me every time with your diabolical plotting and clever writing!


Kitty said...

First of all, I am amazed I actually made the semi-finalist list! I love the contests for the challenge, so thank you, Janet!

Congrats to all who made the finals. But Ruthy, I gotta tell'ya that I choked up reading your winning story.

JD Paradise said...

Nice work, all! Congrats, Ruthy! And thanks for doing one of these again, Janet. I've missed them :)

Anonymous said...

Wheeeee! After reading these entries, I thought, no way will Preacher Dan stand a chance.

Thank you for the semi-finalist recognition, that was a total surprise!

Congratulations Ruthy! Loved your story.

(I was quite surprised at all the dead cat entries - I thought surely those were no-no's in the Sharkly One's eyes.)

Colin Smith said...

Ahhh... an OFFICIAL writing contest! That was like the first cold snap of autumn after a long summer. :) Thanks, Janet, and congrats to Ruthy!

french sojourn said...

All the entries were as usual amazing, but this contest's entries were definitely a step above.

Thank you MZ. Sharque for hosting this, and for all the time you spend sharpening the quills of your followers.

Cheers Hank

Congrat's to Ruthy, and all the rest.

Calorie Bombshell said...

I loved this writing contest!! Congrats to Ruthy - great entry! And, of course, to the shark queen herself for the finalist recognition.

LynnRodz said...

Congrats, Ruthy, and great job everybody! I always enjoy reading all the entries.

(Sorry about #6, Janet, but when you wake up with a better phrase, you have to go for it.)

Dana Breann said...

@Michael Field, yours killed me. I had to share with anyone currently online when I read it.

@Ruthy, congratz! And yes, that's why he doesn't wear pants.

@Janet, thanks for the mention. I loved that line too.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Congrats to the winners and mentions and everybody, really!

(I did mention, donnaeverhart, that I liked Preacher Dan!)

Thanks for the mention! I seem especially good at starting stories in 100 words.

Jo-Anne Teal said...

Thanks so much for inclusion in the finalists. I'm really tickled! And of course, congratulations to Ruth. Well done!

Just Jan said...

So much fun! Thank you for the mention and for brightening up a dreary Saturday. I loved reading all the entries. Congrats to all the finalists, especially Ruthy!

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Congratulation to Ruthy and all the mentioned. And Congrats to Jeff Sommers for making PW!

Anonymous said...

@Jennifer, thank you!

I've come to the conclusion if I can write 100 words for FF, I can AT LEAST get 100 words a day towards other projects..., right everyone?

(goal is 1,000 per day, but hey, baby steps for a bad day)

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Loved these !
Congrats to all.
For all us "also-rans" lets put out pants back on and go home :)

Julie said...

Congrats, all!

Julie said...

(And thanks, Janet...)

Amy Schaefer said...

Nice one, Ruthy! I'm rooting for that turtle.

(And Calorie Bombshell, I loved your last line.)

Jed Cullan said...

Congratulations to everyone, there were some great stories.

Can't wait for the next competition. Wonder what Reacher will get up to next?

Unknown said...

Wow! I am honored and thrilled. Thank you, Janet! And thanks to everyone for the kind words. (I must admit, I was sure Kitty had it in the bag.)

Michael Seese said...

A great story, Ruthy. I loved the last line.

Calorie Bombshell said...

Aww thanks, Amy Schaefer. I always marvel at your consistently well-done entries!

Cindy C said...

Congratulations to Ruthy and everyone mentioned. I loved reading the entries, and was once again amazed at the talent here!

Dena Pawling said...

I loved the line "Diabetic Witch Today" and actually googled it, just for fun. Turns out, there is a movie called Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, an action/horror film, and Hansel is diabetic from all the candy he ate at the witch's house.

Terri Lynn Coop said...

I scored an early copy of Jeff's book, "We Are Not Good People," and trust me on this one, you want to get it TOMORROW! [Do not make me come hunt you down . . .]

Jeff will be the monthly spotlight writer in my little newspaper this month and I will be spamming, um, distributing bookmarks and stickers on my paper route this month.

I made the mistake of reading some of the entries before I started and it was, "Damn, I got nothing on these."

Congrats to Ruthie and all the finalists, semis, and shout-outs. You guys rock.

PS: And my own shout out to Amy Schaefer [please forgive if I misspelled,] the line, "but I'll never have to steam incense out of the drapes again," just slayed me.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Great contest. Also enjoyed reading everyone's stories. a lovely way to spend a Saturday. Congrats Ruthy!

Lilac said...

What a fantastic contest. Congrats to all the winners, the mentions, all of you.

Super story, Ruthy! I loved it.

And thanks for the mention, Janet. I will try not to horrify you ever again. :) I'm too grateful for all that you do.