Monday, January 11, 2016

Benefit of the Doubt writing contest results

Terrific entries, and what a treat to see so many new names! Welcome to the contest!

Herewith the results:
The Steve Forti Award for innovative use of prompt words:
Steve Forti 10:18am sashimi
Cynthia Mc 4:08pm (also Kitty 9:23am) Chillicothe
Sam Hawke my ex, E. Cute as ever

Special recogniton for a great line:
Rhen Wilson 1:08pm "What is it about a cliff side that pulls you near the edge? "
Margaret Turkevich 1:30pm "I dropped dead."

Not quite a story, but a lovely entry nonetheless
Tamara Shoemaker 2:12pm
When I executed Time,
The cold chill of eternity shimmered
In bold blackness, the weight of nothing
Absorbing everything.
And I sank, weightless, beneath the stars.

When I executed Time,
I meant only to reverse the race,
Slow the chariots, return the horses to their stalls,
But instead, the Four Horsemen
Descended upon me, and when I looked up,
Nothing remained, except the murmur
Of Time's last pulse.

When I executed Time,
Time itself betrayed me.
Now, I wait, eternally, for

Special recognition for a particularly poignant and evocative entry:
LynnRodz 2:15pm

This isn't quite a story, but don't you want to read the novel it's in? I do!
Matthew Wuertz 1:43pm
Amy Schaefer 4:37pm

Special recognition for a fine display of minimalism (that actually works!)
Lance 9:53am

 And here are the finalists:

(1) Steve Forti 10:18am
8:04am: Julie’s good morning text emboldens me. Time to execute Operation Seduction.

8:23am: Netflix n Chill invitation accepted. Giggity giggity.

12:14pm: Wegman’s: wine, rice, breath mints, condoms

5:08pm: Takashi’s Market: sashimi

6:49pm: Candles lit, dinner ready. Bright smiles.

8:17pm: Movie’s on, pants are off. All is good.

11:33pm: Pounding on door. Sounds like her boyfriend.

11:38pm: Shit! Shit shit shit. Blood everywhere.

11:41pm: Fuck! Why’d Julie have to freak out, too? Fuck fuck fuck.

1:53am: Home Depot: closed

1:59am: Walmart: shovel, bleach, flashlight, absorbent towels, gloves

3:24am: A1 Car Wash: premium detailing package

8:31am: Sarah’s good morning text emboldens me.

For starters, any story that includes the word "giggity giggity" and I know what it means is textbook great writing.  It's the last line that makes this story great though. Just exactly the right touch that made this hilarious.

(2) Madeline Mora-Summonte 10:22am
Max always did what I said.

LOST: Birthday Barbie
Max took the doll at recess.
Emboldened by wickedness, Max lit the first match.
Our skin absorbed the burnt plastic scent like perfume.

LOST: Gary the Guinea Pig
Johnny asked for help searching for his pet.
Max limply took his hand, led him into the woods. I executed the rest.
Though I shimmered with sweat, Max's tears chilled me.

FOUND: Johnny Sears
I smiled, told Max girls like us were never suspects.
Max frowned, looked away.
Johnny won't talk. Max will.

MISSING: Maxine VanCourt

Max always did what I said.

This is incredibly creepy given the clues about the character's age/s.  So much is left to the reader's imagination, but there's exactly the right amount of information here so we can fill it in with all the horror it deserves.  This is very elegant writing.

(3) Colin Smith 10:39am
Peter's eyes are pitiful, starin' at me like that. If only he didn't have such ill manners. Why, he never even talked about his wife, let alone introduced her. Had to find her out for myself.

I went to their big house in the boonies. She answered the door, bold and sassy. Said her name was Babs or Barb or somethin'. Held her hand out at me. I held out Peter's Beretta.

Pop. Pop. Pop.

Ditched the gun and left. My plan and my rival executed perfectly. No witnesses.

Except me.

I turn from the one-way mirror.

"That's him, detective."

It took me three passes on this to really get it. On the first I got to "one-way mirror" and thought "oh wait, I missed something." I knew that because usually if you say a mirror described by how many ways it "sees" the answer is two. Since this said "one" I knew it was important. This is why you leave OUT the stuff your reader will normally intuit. If you do, you can actually use that to clue in the reader that things Are Not What They Seem.

The second pass I got a bit closer to what was going on. Then in the end I realized "Peter's eyes are pitiful" and the one-way mirror tell the story.

This is gorgeous elegant writing.

(4) Donnaeve 1:30pm
I’ve killed thirty people. I remember every one of them.

Some begged.

Some acted bold, only to piss themselves soon as I started.

It was this last one though, what did me in.

The morning I would kill her, a lasting chill settled into my bones.

Stoic, she absorbed the current, willingly it seemed.

Sickened, I was the one who shimmied and shook as I went about it.

My resignation followed. I’d never execute someone for the state again.

She’d asked me to be there, to do it.

She’d been good, once.

A father knows this about his little girl.

For a nice demure looking southern lady, Donna is one scary writer.

This is one of those stories where you really have to stop reading at the end and just breathe for a second.

(4) CynthiaMc. 4:08pm
We were bored ten-year-olds in my back yard in Chillicothe, Bree absorbed in making some voodoo electronic thingy to contact space aliens.

"Execute!" she said.

"It's action."


I filmed Bree inviting aliens to visit.

She filmed me singing Shimmy Shimmy Ko-Ko-Bop.

We were career-driven thirty-year-olds at our favorite bar.

"Kami, they answered! Let's go to space!"

I wasn't that bold.

I'm a sixty-five-year-old ex-actress in Beverly Hills looking at a spaceship playing Shimmy Shimmy Ko-Ko-Bop.

Out pops Bree, still thirty.

"Happy birthday, Kami. Have I got a present for you!"

This is just delightful!

(5) Kae Ridwyn 4:14pm
The bus jerks forwards.
"Bloody Asians! Go home!"
"Fucking slants!"
"Piss off!"
Boys, emboldened by pack mentality. Itching to execute righteous judgement on boat people.
Recent media attention had sparked public rants; I'd barely noticed.

The bus stops. The youths push past, exit.
"Are you okay?" A lady touches my shoulder. "Idiots. We're not all like that."

I smile indulgently at her, absorbing her implications. That wasn't at me. I'm white.
Aren't I?
A sudden chill shimmies over me.
Mum is from Malaysia.
My eyes widen but I harden my face. Inside, keening erupts as cognizance obliterates innocence.

I love this because what the story is about isn't what the story is about. I love this kind of elegant subtle writing.

(6) R. Keelan 7:47pm
Achilles is everywhere. It's a shim, a piece of code that passes a request from here to there. That's all. It executes constantly because everybody uses it. It saves a couple hours of work on a usual project. No one gives using it more than a moment's thought.

If it started absorbing those requests? Well then you'd have a problem. All caps. Boldface. 'Cause without my little shim, nothing works. Not your computer, not your phone. Not your car and not your pacemaker. Nothing. It'll never do that. I promise, it won't. I just wanted you to know. It could.

This really isn't a story in the classic sense, but it is when you think about it. It's more like a reverse-story. You, the reader, fill in everything. And to each reader it's a different story.  This is so gorgeously subtle I almost overlooked it myself. Those last four sentences though. YIKES.  Those really pack a wallop.  It's like an Amish quilt. It looks simple until you really look at it.

(7) Almitra Clay 7:59pm
t wasn’t until I began to absorb him that he struck. A bold move, hiding that sharpened shim among his flagella, waiting until after I had swallowed him to strike.

The sensation of my own innards gushing into my digestive sac shook me to my psudopods. Panicking, I disgorged the protozoa. He came at me then, chill as a euglenoid in ice, executing a wicked barbed grab.

Enough. I bore down, forcing my soft pellicle to exude shell. There would be no more shape-shifting, not in this life. But I might just live.

Hungry, angry, we parted ways.

This story now holds the record for the number of words I had to look up. And once I looked up: flagella, psudopods, euglenoid, and pellicle, I realized this was hilarious.

(8) John Frain 3:52 am
People collect things.

Wide Load Johnson collected license plates. From the cars he stole.

Temperature in single digits, windchill below zero. Ideal conditions. Wide Load poured a shotglass of boldness. Watched the lady warm up her SUV, run back inside.

Time to execute. Wide Load lumbered to the SUV. Shimmied behind the wheel. Drove to Pepe’s Garage, where he parted out cars after hours.

That’s when he noticed the ID card. And badge. He’d stolen Detective Bridget Flynn’s car. His mind absorbed the painful reality.

Wide Load Johnson collected six to ten years.

He makes license plates for the state.

This cracks me up. And I love the symmetry of it. And the names. Great character names really do add zing to a story.

(9) Stephen Spain 9:33am
It was a lot to absorb.

I'd been on the shelf a long time before she came along. Sure, I'd been picked up before. Others had considered taking me home, using me. But they had only had been bold. She was brazen. They dreamed of cleaning up their lives. She made plans and executed them.

Her hands were all over me. In the carriage. In her car. In the kitchen when I was half in the bag. On the chilly marble floor, back and forth through the shimmering crimson pool beside her husband's head.

It was a lot to absorb.

this cracked me up. Have we ever had a story from the POV of a roll of paper towels before?

And the winner is: Colin Smith.

Colin, I'll need your post-LAX, post Carkoon mailing address to send you your prize.

Thanks to all who entered, it was great fun to read your work!


CynthiaMc said...

Congrats, Colin!

Janet - I had a blast writing mine. So glad you had fun reading it.

Lucie Witt said...

Congrats, Colin!

Loved seeing some new names this week. As always, I'm blown away by all the talent.

Kitty said...

Congrats, Colin! And congrats to all who entered.

Anonymous said...

Congrats to Colin! Really great entries. My entry was my first post on this blog, and I actually had to stop reading them until after I posted. I was going to lose my nerve, they were so good. Not surprised I didn't get a mention, but glad I posted regardless. Been reading for a while, finally started commenting.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Congrats, Colin! And to the other finalists and mentioneds. And loved LynnRodz entry too. What a lot of great stories.

Steve Forti said...

Great Googly Moogly! An award named after me? Holy crap, that's awesome! Seriously made my Monday morning, thank you.

Congrats Colin! More for the "post-Carkoon" status than the win, actually. How'd you manage to escape?

@Stephen Spain - Yours was awesome and hilarious. I always love strange POVs like that.

@John Frain - You've got voice. I always look forward to reading your entries, but also get a moment of disappointment when I see your name while scrolling through because I know it means I'm that much less likely to win that round.

Great work everyone.

Laura Mary said...

Woo hoo! Congrats Colin! And well done to everyone who entered - I think the last time I managed it was during the summer FF season!

December has been insanely busy (we decided it was a good time to move house!)so I have only just finished catching up on the last few weeks posts. No time to read the comments unfortunately, but trust you have all been your usual wonderful & entertaining selves!
Am back in the office now so hopefully should be able to pop by daily again :-)

Belated Happy New Year to you all!

LynnRodz said...

Congrats everyone! Thanks for the mention, Janet. Merci Lisa. I'm on a trip from hell! 30 hrs and counting, 2 missed planes, 1 lost suitcase, 1 lost husband, and I haven't reached my destination yet! Gotta run or that'll be 3.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Yes! Colin! Fantastic. Great stuff.

I am still in the weeds with my R&R so forced my entry a bit. I knew it wasn't great but still worth doing. Practice makes perfect. Such great talent here. It takes work to stand out. Loved John Frain's Wide Load entry- getting character, conflict, and resolution in 100 words is a feat.

Congrats to all mentions and finalists. And especially Colin.

Now we must gird our loins for Janet's rant tomorrow. So excited, well excited but scared.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thank you, Janet! So excited to see my story here as a finalist.

Congratulations to Colin and to all those mentioned! The year is definitely off to a creative, imaginative start.

Lucie Witt said...

luciakaku - I don't read any entries until I've posted, just so I won't chicken out. And don't worry if you don't win - tons of us never do. Flash fiction is such a tricky art, and I think the most talented FF writers in the damn world post here. I'll remember some past entries as long as I live (the creepy one about the boys and their prisoner in the mill, the train station/concentration camp and the falling ashes).

Unknown said...


Thank you for the challenge, Janet. Glad to have amused you!

Nice work Colin!

John Frain, Madeline, Steve Forti, I particularly loved yours.

Unknown said...

Congratulations, Colin, good stuff. Liked all the finalists, except the one I still don't get but I'll work on it.

Unknown said...

Amanda, if it's mine you don't get, I don't blame you. :D

Amy Schaefer said...

Well done, Colin, and all the finalists! It's always fun to read the contest entries.

MC said...

Congrats to Colin and the other mentions. Reading these stories is the best part of Monday morning. They are soon good! I think I'll break from contributing and stick to reading for awhile...

Anonymous said...

@Lucie: Yeah, I learned after reading three of them that it was a BAD idea to read first. Once the, "Who the hell do I think I'm kidding? I've a better chance of being laughed out of Carkoon forever," thought came in, I scrolled down and posted before the doubt levies burst. Thanks for the encouragement. ^^ I'll keep trying. Flash fiction is a great form to practice.

Colin Smith said...

*stunned silence*

Me? My... address...?

Recovery Ward
Vident Medical Center
Greenville, NC

Seriously? Wow... I mean... so many great entries. Seriously humbling.

Thank you, Janet. :)

luciakaku: Welcome! And congrats on entering the contest. It really did warm my heart to see so many new folks take the plunge this week. Especially if you're not used to putting your work "out there," it's a huge step, and you should feel very pleased you did it. I think a number of us who have been doing this a while will tell you it's always best to write your entry and submit before reading other people's stories. I try to write mine on Friday, and then post when I get the opportunity on Saturday. That intimidation factor is real, even after--5 years? wow! Which is why I don't take this win lightly.

Lucie: Heck yeah--I don't remember who wrote that concentration camp story, but that's one of the classics. Truly brilliant, creepy, and unforgettable.

Donna: I need to go back and start tallying how many times you've been a finalist. That's probably a scary number. Wow! Congrats. :)

And congrats to all the finalists. And, again, to everyone who entered. The win is all more special because of how good you all are.

OK, I'll shut up now.

Lucie Witt said...

Colin - was it E.M.? I'm thinking it was maybe.

Colin Smith said...

Oh, except to say, I vote for "The Steve Forti Award for innovative use of prompt words" being a regular thing. :)

Colin Smith said...

Lucie: Now you mention it, you might be right. I'll have to check the spreadsheet. If Janet ever does a "Best of the Best," that one would definitely be there.

Donnaeve said...

Steve Forti - congrats on an award category named in your honor. That's definitely as good as a win in my opinion!

So many of those who enter that I enjoy reading - too many to name but I'm always on the lookout for theirs b/c I know how hard it will be to win.

With that, COLIN - I've done a double whoop and scared Little Dog to death in your honor! I actually had to re-read it a few times and then I got it and I was like OMG. SO GOOD! You're upping your game there. (and, actually, I'm not sure how many times I've been a finalist...I've kept copies of all my entries and tried to update them with "SEMI, SPECIAL RECOGNITION, WINNER, etc. but I think I might have missed the past few.)

And QOTKU - hey, I scare myself sometimes. And my husband. And...THANK YOU for choosing the story as a finalist and I hope you've caught your breath!

Congrats to all other special recognition, mentions and finalists. Ya'll brought your A-game.

I am anticipating THE RANT, although every time I think of it my heart goes Ba-BUMP!

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Colin/Lucie- I did write the concentration camp story. It is fun to win but I enjoy entering regardless of mention, and I do better when I enter prior to reading any entries. That will intimidate you.

There are so many great word masters among us. And there are about a dozen, Colin included, who are consistently clever. Donna is in that group too. I have my moments but some of these writers are simply always brilliant, funny, scary, and imaginitive. And like others have said, this is great practice.

I was asked by three different agents to cut my word count on my WUS, and this contest has been so pivotal in helping me with that. My manuscript is 1000 fold better than it was three months ago. And there are less italics and adverbs :) So it is worth doing even as just an exercise to improve your own craft.

Dena Pawling said...

Congrats to Steve and Colin! Congrats to everyone, especially those who were new this round.

Theresa said...

Yay, Colin!

It was another great batch of entries.

Kregger said...

A post carkoon win! I bet it doesn't make you pine for the old days of kale chips and caves.
Congrats to everyone and a shout out for the first time entrants.
Keep your butts in your seats and hands on the keyboards.

John Frain said...

Oh, Colin, this one should taste sweet because there were a slew of superb entries. Yours was one where I instantly said, "Yowza, one more reason I ain't winning this week."

Loved it so much, when I got to the end and smiled I had to re-read it again with a whole new sense of enjoyment. And -- this is so small and so subtle, but it sure worked for me -- that lil' apostrophe in your opening gave me a distinct visual of your female lead. Surely different than the woman in your mind, I'm sure, but that's okay.

Aside to Lynn Rodz. Great entry. Well captured in multiple ways. Also, your comment earlier this morning where you "lost one husband" among other things. I was still in story character, so I thought to myself oh, she's having a successful trip. That's her, detective. Good luck the rest of the way, now that I'm out of character.

Thanks, Janet, the new year is off to a roaring start.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

There were so many entries that gave me pause as I read them, and most of them are here! I'm getting better at reading 'em, anyway ^^

Congrats Colin and the finalists!

S.D.King said...

Wow! Another great bunch of entries.

Congrats to Colin and all the finalists.

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

This was an especially good batch of stories. I love reading how everyone applies their words. I'm learning some new techniques, but also learning how y'all balance text and subtext. That takes some real skill.

Stacy said...

Fantastic entry, Colin. Congrats! Really enjoyed reading all of the entries.

Karen McCoy said...

Congrats Colin, and all the finalists! You all really know the art of suspenseful subtlety.

I'd like to throw in an extra vote for Sam Hawke. Ex E. Cute was just one of the word plays in there, and the story was fantastic.

Cindy C said...

Congratulations Colin and all the finalists! And now I have a new goal, to get mentioned in The Steve Forti Award for innovative use of prompt words!

As always, a great batch entries that are both fun and intimidating to read.

John Frain said...


Thank you. But let's be honest, anyone who gets an award named for them (and not posthumously, thank you!) clearly has voice. Of course, they also clearly have a challenge in front of them now. Good luck on that, as if these exercises aren't difficult enough already!

Time to get your giggity giggity on!

Timothy Lowe said...

Congrats everyone, especially finalists, mentions, and of course Colin. Your entry did stand out to me - and, like Janet, I had to reread it to "get" the first line. Truly well done. I also really liked Donna's - I immediately assumed 'killer' meant murderer - it was a neat touch to have that realization build. And that last line - yikes.

Tough words this week! I find that either the entry 'comes together' or it's work. This week it was work. So congrats to those who were feeling it flow.

Sherry Howard said...

Congrats to all, especially the esteemed Colin Smith. And to QOTKU a case of good Kentucky bourbon for reading and commenting on this amount of flash pieces in one day. That's a lot of concentrated reading that only a shark could accomplish.

Mark Ellis said...

Nice, Colin, congrats for the win.

Janice Grinyer said...

YAY COLIN! I had to read it twice too when I got to the mirror part, but oh what fun in the second read -Excellent writing. Congrats to the mentionables, the semi's and the finalists for a job well done. I look forward to reading more in the future!

AND so many new names! I think that is the best part of the Shark's contest; reading everyone's take and spin on five selected word prompts. Also, I personally felt the heartbrokenness that Randi Bacon wrote about in their piece - well done, Randi, and hope to read more of your work in the future!

Kate Larkindale said...

Congratulations to Colin and all the finalists. Next time I promise I will enter... I just get scared off by all the awesomeness.

BJ Muntain said...

Congrats to Colin! Great job!

And also congrats to the finalists and mentionables!

Unknown said...

Congrats to all! It was beautiful reading through everyone's entries.

I also support the foundation of "The Steve Forti Award for innovative use of prompt words".

Ditto to Her Grace, the Duchess of Kneale, esp on the use of text and subtext.

Lovely way to practice. Thanks, Janet!

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Congratulations Colin. Way to go. Jumps up and down. Your writing is always lovely.

All the selected entries were a treat to read. Janet's comments in blue are wonderful to read.

I loved Rhen's line when I read it yesterday morning. I loved Donna's story and John Frain's.

QOTKU mentioned my entries a few times in the last year. One because of a new word and one for a poem. It's a jolt to the heart to see your name mentioned.

Steve congratulations for the dedication.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Colinnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn !
You do good work for a boy ;)

Congrats all. Sorry I missed this one. Watch out next time.

Steve Forti said...

Wow, I'm touched by all the support for my mention! Thank you everyone. Guess I've got a reputation to live up to now. (And a smile to wear the rest of the day.)

Oh, and I second Angie's mention of Rhen's line. When I first read that, I thought, "Oh man, I wish I came up with that." Vivid and easily relatable. And sets a great mood to start a piece.

Colin Smith said...

OK, I'm risking a return trip to Carkoon, but you all are so nice, I have to say another thank you, and respond to...

John: I'm really gratified you picked up on the apostrophes. Those were not accidental. I had the idea to use "such ill manners" as a use of "chill", but that's a quirky phrase. People more often say someone has "bad manners" or they are "such an ill-mannered person." I could ditch the quirk and find another use for chill, or I could keep that phrase and let it suggest voice, which is what I did. So, "he didn't even talk about his wife" became "he never even talked about his wife." I then got that voice in my head and wrote, "Had to find her out for myself" which I thought almost nonsensical. In fact, I nearly changed it to, "Had to discover her for myself" but I decided that was way too formal for this voice. As nonsensical as it might sound, the first version fit the voice much better, so I kept it. Replacing those "g"s with apostrophes was the next step in suggesting the protagonist's voice. So that was quite a perceptive observation of yours. :)

2Ns: You got your Ns back and then some!! Thank you. I try. :)

Colin Smith said...

oh, and Donna--my wife really liked yours. Just thought I'd tell you. She liked mine too, which is not always a given (she's a GREAT First Reader). If my wife and Janet both like something I've written, it can't be too bad. :)

John Frain said...


That was 1% perception and 98% your storytelling. (Trying to get bad at math so my brain learns where to focus its small amount of energy.)

I loved "had to find her out for myself." Also, "bold and sassy." Such voice. But your coup de grace was your double-meaning for "execute" when she boasts "My plan and my rival executed perfectly."

Yesssss! Hell hath no fury like Colin's protagonist scorned!

Roger Mohajir said...

Long-time lurker/reader, very infrequent contributor here....

Congratulations to Colin and everyone who entered. I am honored to have made the list of finalists. I'm so glad I didn't read the other entries until after I submitted mine -- I would definitely have chickened out. As it was, seeing the other entries caused me to delete my original effort in favor of a more polished one.

Just Jan said...

Fantastic entries! Steve Forti, I laughed out loud when I read yours. Next time I'm going to try for your Award! Stephen Spain, I think the paper towel POV was brilliant! Colin, congratulations on the win.

And thanks again Janet for all the fun!

Marie McKay said...

Congratulations, Colin. Brilliant story. Congrats to all the finalists and mentionables. The writing here is always so strong. Thanks, Janet for a great competition.

RKeelan said...

Can't say how shocked I was to see my name among the finalists. I didn't think I'd ever see that, even if I posted for years.

I hate to be repetitive, so instead of thanking and congratulating, which I ought to do, I'll just say that these two sentences from John's entry make me smile no matter how many times I re-read them:

"Wide Load lumbered to the SUV. Shimmied behind the wheel."

Nate Wilson said...

Congratulations, Colin, both on your win and your (temporary?) return from Carkoon. My other favorites were the bookend finalists, Steve and Stephen, though all the finalists' stories were fantastic. Well done, all.

And Lucie, wow. From all the entries over the years, my tale of boys at the mill is etched in your mind alongside E.M.'s unforgettable concentration camp story? I am deeply humbled. Thank you.

Lilac Shoshani said...

YAY! I’m so excited, Colin. What a fantastic story, my friend! Congrats to you and all who entered. YAY again! :D

french sojourn said...

Congrats Colin, as usual, you're there setting the bar. Cheers!

So much talent, and it's so enjoyable to read them all. It is great to see so many added names.
Thanks to Janet for her time and expertise.

And congrats to all that wrote.
Cheers Hank.

Lucie Witt said...

Nate: glad I know remember who to attribute that creepy tale to. I had to read it so many times to get it, and maybe it's because I have two little boys, but yeah. **shivers** I will remember that awesome use of "weekly" for a long, long time.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to all the entrants. It takes a lot to write flash fiction. A huge bravo to the winner and cited stories. Good job to all.

Unknown said...

No, Almitra, I got yours and enjoyed it. Reminded me of my biology classes. Not really fond memories.

It was R. Keelan. I'm missing something because I think I'm stuck on what a shim is. To me, it's something my husband puts between the window and the frame when he's installing a new window.

Colin Smith said...

Amanda: That's probably the most common meaning of "shim." But I believe it is also a computing term. R sort-of explained it in the first line--it helps a request get from point a to point b. However, that "shim" code can also be used to transform the request and work like a virus. As I understand it, that's the basis behind R's clever story--or reverse story.

Anonymous said...

Congrats, Colin! Very well done. And to Steve for the namesake award! How cool.

So much good work over here, as always. And I agree with others who remarked on how nice it is to see all the new names. Kudos to all of you who were bold enough to enter. I bet you're hooked now, aren't you?

I skipped this one for the first time in a while and reading the entries made me feel left out. :( But I think I've finally figured out what has been bugging the crap out of me in the current MS and I've had my head down trying to fix it. Back to it.

Lance said...

Thank you, Ms. Janet for a great, first-of-the-year contest. Some really great stories. Congratulations, Colin. All that kale paid off. Seriously, a great story. Also congratulations on being the namesake of the award, Steve. One to which we all aspire. Bountiful allocations of accolades to the finalists, mentionables, and other entries (particularly the first-timers). Thank you, Ms. Janet for the mention.

This begins day one of the kale-a-day, 30-day trial. Portuguese soup with kale, sausage, potato, and onion.

RKeelan said...

Amanda, Colin: That's exactly right. A shim is (among other things) a small program that makes otherwise incompatible programs and hardware compatible. Like a travel plug adaptor.

Donnaeve said...

I was in Raleigh all day and have now only had time to catch up on the comments.

Thank you to E.M., Angie, Colin, etc. who mentioned my story but honest to Godiva, I was SO IMPRESSED by a LOT of the stories this week!

I don't know how QOTKU does it when she picks these out - but the other impressive thing is her eye for snagging on details I typically miss.

Oh, and Colin - I love that your wife liked my story! Big smile. Tell her thank you.

John Frain - Wide Load Johnson needs a novel.

Stephen Spain - your paper towel POV? Heeeelarious! (and kind of gross)

Almitra - I've got to do what Janet did and look up your words, but something tells me it will make me smile.

Anyway, I could go on and on, but it's late (for me) and it's been a long day with Mom. Tomorrow - The Rant. Eeeek. Hope I don't have nightmares.

Donnaeve said...

Argh! Timothy Lowe - just read your comment - THANK YOU!!!

Lennon Faris said...

Congratulations to you, Colin Smith! These are all inspiring (and some pretty creepy)!

Kae Ridwyn said...

OMG OMG OMG I'm a finalist!!! My kids came running (from the other side of the house) and found me screaming and dancing for joy; they looked at me like I was crazy.
Thank you, Janet! Thank you SO MUCH!!!

I actually wanted to relate this story on your last Thursday post, as this was my own experience as a 16 year on my local bus in Brisbane, Australia (the city of my birth, by the way).

Funnily enough, I showed the story to my best friend of the last 14 years, and she gaped at me when I told her it was autobiographical. "But you're white, aren't you?" she said. "White, with a good tan?" It blew her mind that I wasn't. And she knows my Mum well, too, and *knows* that she's Malaysian - and yet, it had never occurred to her that the two of us 'weren't white'.

I guess self-perception influences our actions more than we realise it does. Now to just apply that to my writing. And to truly 'see' myself as a writer, rather than just a pretender. Back to my desk now...

And thank you again, Janet!!!
(Oh, and congrats to Colin, other finalists, and all the mentionables. I agree with everyone who wrote that it was wonderful to see the influx of new writers this week. To be chosen as a finalist amongst such a pool of formidable talent still has me shaking my head. Well done, everyone!)

Anonymous said...

Kae, words matter. Words have power and meaning, perhaps none more so than the ones we tell ourselves. You ARE a writer. Say it and believe it.

Kae Ridwyn said...

Thanks, kdjames, I shall do as you say. (How can I not? Your writing inspires me so!!!) And I must admit, I certainly feel less like a pretender after this week!

Lilac Shoshani said...

Donna: "For a nice demure looking southern lady, Donna is one scary writer." I completely agree with Janet, and I love it! Great story! :D

Unknown said...

Thank you.

LynnRodz said...

I finally got to read the stories, they were great. I loved a lot of them, especially Stephen's paper towel POV, who would've thunk it?

John, finally found hubby 3 hours later (our smart phones were on strike) and we were in an intn'l airport we weren't even supposed to be in. Believe me, you don't want to know.

John Frain said...

Oh, but Lynn, I DO want to know.

The moment you tell me I don't -- that's the moment I do, of course!

Sam Hawke said...

Congrats Colin and well done everyone!

I never read the other entries until after I've done mine if I think I'll have a chance to write something. This time when I read them afterwards I must admit I laughed out loud to see I wasn't the only one who used 'abs or butt'! Great minds, and all that. ;)