Monday, January 12, 2015

The Bishop's Wife flash fiction contest results

Our first contest of 2015 was a barn-burner! 95 terrific entries!  Here are the results.

Special recognition for outstanding achievement in names
Bishop Jack Daniels
Rashda Khan 10:17am

Brent Salish 10:17am

Special recognition for a great first line:
"Jonathan Bishop brought along a six-pack and a hammer to the end of the world."
David 1:01pm

"The fundraiser at the parsonage required black tie and deep pockets."
eparentcoach 9:24pm

Special recognition for a great closing line:
"So long as wifey’s in the trunk and not in the ground, there’ll be no chilling,”"
Jay Stewart 9:23pm

Special recognition for a great phrase:
"another flailing nerd-brawl in the hotel lobby."
Terri Lynn Coop 2:22pm

The Kathy Bates in Misery (Except Nice! Really!) Award goes to:
El El Piper 2:23pm

The first ever [on this blog anyway] Edward De Vere Award goes to
Andrew Wells Douglass 5:23pm

Special recognition for the BEST prompt word adaptation (ever I think)
Ashland 8:47am

Here are the 9 finalists:

(1) JennyC 10:48am
 On Bishop Street in London is a small park with a sandbox. I watched from a shelter of trees while my twin daughters built a sandcastle. Sarah and Sophia. Their blond hair blew in the gentle breeze. When Sarah looked up, her cornflower blue eyes mirrored my own.

Until two weeks ago, my former wife had kept their existence a secret. Her voice slurred, she’d left me a message, repenting.

Sarah laughed. My heart hammered against my ribs. Her new parents were both doctors with busy lives. One child would be enough.

I stepped out of the trees.

(2) 11:11am
I swung a hammer for a living. Probably drank too much Pabst. Oh, and played chess. That’s how I got the nickname. Bishop. You’re surprised? Hell, even the wife was impressed, at first.

Later, all I got was, “Loser this, loser that.”

I mean, it won’t like I married her for intellectual stimulation. As they say. Years of her bitching and come to find out? She’s got a secret bank account. Now, that shook me up. That, and the recording.

Repent? Shit. No offense, but I ain’t a believer.

So. This here drip starts, and I’ll just go to sleep?

(3) Jule M. Weathers 11:59am
Martha and Tilley sat in the church bingo hall perusing the latest issue of Duds for Studs.

Tilley stabbed a wrinkled finger at a model's jean-looking thong and tool belt. "Oh, yes. It's hammer time. I'm ordering this for Henry."

Martha instantly regretted imagining Henry in the thong. "I like the cowboy better."

The bishop's painting glowered, as if he could force them to repent from enjoying their lingerie catalog. Maryjane stuck her dried-apple face between them. "What kind of wife reads those, especially in a church?"

"The kind who isn't secretly fooling around with the mailman?" Tilley answered sweetly.

(4) Shaunna 12:42pm
Deacon Ellis was first to leave, though it was his wife in the coffin. As the other mourners followed, the caretaker fussed about the gravesite, adjusting the straps and lid latch, singing colorlessly, "If I had a hammer..."
The bishop, standing near, fingered the letter in his pocket. 'The TTX will make me look dead. I'll gladly live in secret if we are together.' One moment of weakness he would repent forever.
"Did you hear something?" the caretaker asked.
He shook his head, grabbed a fistful of dirt, and sprinkled it on the coffin.
"Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem."

(5) Chantal Nair 1:33pm
“Anything?” A tiny girl in the first pew leaned forward, eager for his answer. The bishop sighed. It was supposed to be a sermon, not a conversation.

“Did you say ‘a child can be anything’?”

If interrupting was a sin, she didn’t seem inclined to repent. He imagined this becoming a terrible new trend: children hammering him with strange questions during his sermons.

“If it’s the Lord’s will, you can be anything you want when you grow up: wife, nun, scientist. ANYTHING.”

The girl leaned further forward, as if to share a secret. “I am going to be a fish!”

(6) Unknown 3:15pm
    He holds a tiny hammer above the serpent’s open mouth. “Do you know why we handle snakes in this church?”

    I nod. “Mark 16: 17-18, S-sir. Our dominion over evil.”

    The bishop smiles.

    “People see the power of God, and repent.” He brings the hammer down with a surgeon’s precision, knocking out a fang. “Of course, this bit of ‘dominion’ is our little secret.”

    He holds up the fang, a glint of venom slick on the tip. “But you know all about secrets. As does, apparently, my wife…”

    I lunge for the door, but the venom has me in seconds.

(7) Matthew Wuertz 4:10pm
Alan toyed with the gun’s hammer, sliding his finger over it.

Then the passenger door opened, and a bulky man sat down while the car groaned underneath. “Don’t,” the man said.

Alan looked around the empty parking garage. “Look, pal, you better get out.”

“Your life is too valuable.”

“You’ve got no idea what I’ve been through.”

“Actually, I do. It’s no secret – not to someone like me.”

“What are you, like a bishop or something, coming to preach repentance?”

The man smiled. “I’m just a servant.”

“What brought you here?”

“Your wife’s prayers, Alan.”

Alan set down the gun.

(8) Carolynnwith2Ns 7:02pm
 “Grandma, any regrets?”
“Only one to repent for.”
We stood before the small headstone of Baby Bishop, her first child, born and died same day.
She handed me a new hammer.
“Use the claw end to dig away the dirt at the back of the stone.”
Carved in the granite under the dirt line, “Mercy Killing”.
“She wasn’t right, she was suffering. Now it’s our secret.”
How could such a good wife and mother kill her baby?

At Grandma’s grave, after everyone left, I buried the bloody hammer behind her headstone.
I had carved “Mercy killing”, in the handle.

(9) Steve Forti 10:15pm
“Ugh! Bishopric, diocese – same thing. Why must you always correct me? It’s literally driving me crazy!”

“You mean fig---“

“Seriously? You’re such a grammar nazi.”

repentant. It’s not my mouth secreting fallacies.”

She glared. All the fish in the sea, and had to partner with this flippin’ ale
wife. “I hope you get eaten by a shark. One of those ugly malletheads.”

“You mean---“

A shadow cawed, and a beak snatched Harry from the water. She chuckled.

“Well that took a tern
for the better.”

And fading into the distance, she could just make out, “You mean a hammerbok…”

You'll all be glad to know that I read these final entries about a dozen times, and each time decided on a new winner.  This was a VERY tough decision...but then, when is it not?  (I can only think of two or three contests when the winner was instantly obvioius)

This week's contest winner is
JennyC 10:48am
JennyC if you'll email me with your mailing address, I'll send you a copy of The Bishop's Wife by Mette Ivie Harrison.  If by some stroke of genius you already have a copy, let me know and I'll find another prize to send.
Congratulations to all the finalists and thanks to everyone who entered. I hope you had as much fun writing as I did reading your entries.


french sojourn said...

It's staggering to think of how much time you put into these Flash fiction Contests, 95 entries..all so great.

Congrats to the JennyC and finalists.

"Repenthouse"...slayed me.

Thanks again. Hank

S.D.King said...

Congrats, Jenny C - I picked that as the winner, too!

Kitty said...

Congrats to Jenny and everyone else who made the finalist list!

Btw, Matthew Wuertz, was the servant's name Clarence? ;~)

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Congrats to all the mentionables and to Jenny C. Sooo fun to read.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Ha, I knew when I read it, it would be THE ONE. Congrats JennyC, don't stop now, we want to read "the rest of the story".

So fun, this first of '15, and to make it as a finalist, a great way to start a new year. Congrats to all and thanks Janet, for another great ride.

Anonymous said...

I really loved Jenny's entry, and so many more were really good! I'd hate to be you, Ms. Janet, and try to select a winner. That has to be a real hair pulling exercise.

Congratulations, Jenny! Congratulations to all the others who received a mention, as well as the rest of the finalists.

I always feel like a winner when I get a mention, I really do. Now, off to buy The Bishop's Wife- I really wanted that book!

Christine Sarmel said...

Congrats to all and thanks to Janet Reid for all of her time and hard work!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Congratulations to all those mentioned, the finalists and JennyC! Really enjoyed the winning entry. :)

Steve Forti said...

Congrats JennyC! And props to Carolynnwith2Ns - yours hit me in the gut the most. Happy to come *this* close - looking forward to the next one. Thanks as always!

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Congrats Jenny C, beautiful. I loved Donna's entry as well.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your support Angie! Your vacuum sounds...made me laugh! Paaaaa-poooom!

Unknown said...

Congrats to all, and to JennyC with her chilling entry. As for me, Christmas will never be the same again as I hum "Chess Nuts Boasting in an Open Foyer"--I'm still chuckling, Terri Lynn!

These contests are a blast, Janet. Thanks so much for the recognition! Winning the Kathy Bates Award makes my day. My entry was actually closer to Flash Autobiography than Fiction....

Shea said...

Congrats, Jenny C! Yours was my fave as well. And thank you Janet for picking me as a finalist (I'm #6, Unknown, apparently - bloody buggy Blogger account). - Shea Wong

Colin Smith said...

Oh yes--I *totally* called this one! And it seems I'm not alone. There were MANY great entries, but JennyC's stood out (at least to me). Congrats Jenny!

And I'm with El El--the last line of Terri's is the kicker. My kids would call that "Dad humor" but it made me laugh.

Congrats to all the finalists. This was a great start to the 2015 contest season. :D

Ruthy said...

Congrats to Jenny! These were all great. Thanks for another fun contest!

Anonymous said...

Good job, Jenny. That was a really powerful story in such a short space.

Thanks to all the entrants, I had so much fun reading.


Unknown said...

So thrilled to have won!!! Beyond thrilled. Happy dance! My YA novel is about Sarah and Sophia when they are 17 and Sarah finds out she was kidnapped by her biological father - who raised her to be a jewel thief! Thought it might be interesting to write from the father's perspective.

Unknown said...

Also, thanks everyone for all your very kind comments!

Just Jan said...

JennyC your entry gave me shivers.
Congrats to you especially and to all the mentions.

Also, Repenthouse...words escape me!

Thanks for the contest, Janet.

Karen McCoy said...

Congrats to the finalists and JennyC--your entry was bone-chilling!

I realized too late I put "repent" twice, but that would have meant a second mulligan, so I let it slide. I also wish I'd seen this sooner. But it was still loads of fun!

Anonymous said...

Congrats JennyC! I picked yours as the winner also. GREAT job.

And Congrats to all the finalists! I loved reading all the stories.

So many wonderful entries to choose from. You amaze me Janet Reid. Thank you for hosting these flash fiction contests.

Susan Bonifant said...

Congratulations, Jenny! What a great, and haunting entry. Nicely done!

Terri Lynn Coop said...

*nerd flail*

What a FAB contest. The entries were incredible and "Repenthouse" leaped out at me.

Congrats to JennyC and all the finalists for making a very tough cut.


Stacy said...

Congratulations, JennyC, and to all the finalists! They all rocked.

Lilac said...

Congrats to all the mentions and the finalists.

JennyC, great job!

Thank you Janet for giving us--the international crowd--an opportunity to participate in your wonderful contests.

Cindy C said...

Congratulations to JennyC and everyone mentioned. I love these contests, both the readin' and the writin'. Thanks for starting off the New Year with a contest, Janet!

Unknown said...

So, this is totally off the wall, but I was looking up Barbara Polle because of the quote you posted, Janet. When I went to the website, I ADD'ed over to their news section. Then, I saw some news for a book called Ghost Ship, by Clive Cussler. Oh. My. God. In his biography, he found a ship under a parking lot in Galveston, TX! If you've never heard of this author, Janet, you need to look him up. I want to go to his house and demand that he tell me his life story just based on that one fact.

Matthew Wuertz said...

Thanks for a great contest and for all you do on this website!

Congratulations, JennyC!!

Kitty - possibly. :-)

Michael Seese said...

Yup, hard to argue with the choice. Nice job, JennyC.

Unknown said...

Congratulations, JennyC. That was awesome!

And Thank you Janet for the opportunity to bang out some flash fiction.

I just found your blog over the holidays and as my character Bishop would say, "I'm stoked."