Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Single Sentence Writing Contest results

This was a tough contest to judge. Just after the contest closed, we were shocked with the news of another vicious crime of gun violence, this one taking the lives of 50 people. I think all of us are still in shock. I know a couple of you deleted your entries.

My appreciation for dark twists in story lines ebbed a lot on Sunday.

Of course there is some terrific work here, and with some extra time to gather my wits, herewith the results:

Special recognition for a great line:
Craig 9:57am
Then the chainsaw slipped, I swear it.

Not a story, but yow, what an entry
tell me later 2:35pm
There’s a time when you stand with a gun in your hand when you trialed-and-errored past the line in the sand but your conscience is clear if your logic is late and as the world turns pitch black yo--


As usual we just need a whole separate category for Steve Forti. Not only does he always have something interesting to say, he uses prompt words in a way that boggles the imagination.
For Sale: Nagging wife. Previously used. Full disclosure: Once it starts talking, it won’t ever stop. It changes moods without warning. Expensive tastes. Good cook, though. Sold as is. All offers considered.

Free: Lazy husband. Previously useful. Distinct lack of man
liness. Hair everywhere but on its stupid shiny head. Clogs toilet daily. Good luck convincing it to rake the damn leaves.

Wanted: Sense of humor. And cure for “headaches”.

Wanted: Sharp knife, preferably s

Help Wanted: How to get rid of --- Oh no you don’t! This is my line. He
y! Ow!

Help Wanted: Good lawyer.

The Duchess of Yowl makes an appearance!
Megan V 9:33am

Not quite a story but damn funny
Erin Szczechowski  11:50pm

Here are the finalists

Colin Smith 10:14am

Dateline: Saturday, June 11, 2016

Page 3
Police are still investigating the mysterious death of James “Butterfingers” Willoughby, owner of Jim’s Bakery, 211 Fourleaf Road. Mr. Willoughby’s body was found in an abandoned log cabin near Oak Woods last Friday. He suffered multiple stab wounds to the chest and neck. Anyone with information please contact Kernville police at 555-2141.

Page 6
WANTED: Tiffany pitcher. Red floral pattern. 1920s. One of a pair. Name your price. Contact M.W. 555-2137.

Page 7
FOR SALE: One set steak knives. Lightly used. $10. Contact molly182@gmail.com.

Colin gets a gold star for putting two prompts so close together it took seven tries to find it: pitcher. Red.

I like the subtlety here. Nothing is overt but what happened is very clear.

Just Jan 4:04pm
(-ology) A branch of knowledge

(methodology) Stray text message, clearly not intended for me

(ophthalmology) I spy my errant wife in the park sharing secrets with him

(neurology) My trigger finger twitches as I drag the gun from its holster

(audiology) A blast, a high-pitched yowl, deafening chaos

(pathology) Massive hemorrhage from the bullet wound

(cardiology) Heart rhythm flat-lines before the paramedics can arrive

(psychology) Serious error in judgement--she never strayed

(criminology) Guilty by reason of temporary insanity--the man I killed was her therapist

This is an unusual form, which drew my attention of course, but the story didn't rely on the form to be interesting and have a twist. That's what makes it stand out.

Sara Halle

    My new book's liftoff paralleled that of an unswung yoyo.
    While my agent cautioned, "Sales take time," I wasn't in the mood for logic.
    Then I heard of a guerrilla marketing firm that could place me atop the social media loop. Itching for readers, I quickly signed on the dotted line.
    But instead of eager buyers at my next event, there were only moaning, mangled bodies strewn across the floor. And in the corner, a big ape glowering in a cage.
    "What happened?" I cried.
    An out-of-breath animal wrangler glanced at me. "There are risks with gorilla marketing."

This has everything I love: it's about publishing; it's actually a clever warning; it uses homonyms to make a point, and best of all: HILARIOUS.

Beth 5:22pm
“Someone has to maintain community standards.” Ada jabbed the doorbell.

“I’m not sure it’s wise to alienate your neighbor.”

“Nonsense.” She lived to terrorize the neighborhood. You should see her blog – line after line yowling about lack of manners, pitching fits over unmown lawns and unleashed dogs.

When he opened the door, Ada stared him down. “Mr. Smith, is something wrong with your garage?”

“My garage?”

“You park in your driveway.”


“It’s rude.”


This was going nowhere. I stepped forward. “Your police car. It’s scaring away her clients.”

His eyebrows lifted. “Mary Kay?”

“Mary Jane.”

Ada nodded. “Rude.”

I would have left off the last line for a stronger ending, but this is still pretty darn hilarious.

sdbullard 11:34pm
They owe me. After all I've done. If they think I'll go unrepaid, they're in error. I'll take what I deserve. I'll swallow them whole, spit children bones out, revel in every bite.

They owe me. I finally rid them of that man always chasing them. The metal didn't bother me. I'd been Hooked on his flavor for years.

But now they don't want to pay for that service. One boy would suffice. Otherwise, I'll just take them all.

I slide on my belly toward their hideout.

Logic says to start with the flying boy.

Tick tock.

Their time is almost up
I love the phrase "Hooked on his flavor for year" because it's both a clue, and a good sentence. Even if you don't recognize it as a clue, you wouldn't think "wait, what does this mean."

Scott G 11:56pm
I’m a virgin and I need a marriage license.

I wanted to shout from atop the steep-pitched courthouse.

Not the part about being a virgin anyway.

The clerk logged into the database to pull up our names.

Holding hands, we waited.

Several minutes of typing. The clerk scowled. “I keep getting error messages.”

My heart sank. I guess she’d have found out sooner or later.

I gulped, stifling a yowl. “Try first name Barbara.”

I searched for understanding in my fiancĂ©’s eyes. Would this change things? Please, no.

Worry lines appeared on her forehead.

“Try first name Steve,” she said.

It took three reads to fully grasp this. Absolute subtle perfection.

This one was easy: the winner is ScottG 11:56pm.
Scott, if you'll email me with your mailing address, I'll get you a copy of the prize book.

Thanks to all who entered for your time and writing. It's always a pleasure to see the work in these contests.

And now, back to contemplating what one person can do to stand against gun violence. If anyone has any ideas, let me know.


french sojourn said...

Wonderful entries as usual, sublime winner, congrats.

Janet, as always thank you for hosting these. The time and effort you put into these is really appreciated. I know this is the first site I click on each day, then I devour the contents and comments.

You truly are QOTKU, and your dedication to this blog and little furry woodland creatures does enlighten each of our days. So don't discount the joy you spread in this occasional dark and stormy world. It does make a difference to more people than you imagine.

Cheers Hank.

Colin Smith said...

Another round of great entries... and I got a finalist nod!! Wow!!! Thanks Janet. I'd also like to thank the PW (Publisher's Weekly) Daily newsletter for inspiring this. A few weeks ago, there was a story about Macmillan buying the self-publishing platform Pronoun, and moving Pronoun's employees to the Flatiron building. A little further down, there was another story about how Macmillan is considering leaving the Flatiron building for a new HQ. My first thought was of all those former Pronoun employees turning up for work at Flatiron and finding no-one there (talk about a subtle pink slip). This then got me thinking on the idea of a story being told by various seemingly unrelated pieces in a newspaper. So I actually wrote this flash story a few weeks ago. The prompt words this time happened to fit such that I could use it. :)

Congrats Scott G! And well done all the other finalists, and all who entered. Even those who withdrew their entries given the circumstances. It's sad that such an act of mindless evil would deprive us of your work, but I completely understand. You have to do what you think is right.

Lennon Faris said...

Congratulations, Scott! I loved reading through them, as usual.

Janet, I think any and all acts of kindness and helpfulness can help combat that mindlessness. You have a very public blog where you continually promote the well being and sanity of us woodland creatures. You stick up for the 'little guy' all the time. I think that is very inspiring.

Colin Smith said...

I don't want to start a political debate, but since Janet asked, I will say this: ANY weapon in the hands of sinful men will cause untold suffering and devastation. If we think the solution to evil in the world is gun control, we miss the point.

And, in the immortal words of Forrest Gump, that's all I have to say about that. Seriously. I'm finished on the topic. At least here. I only mention it because Janet asked. :)

Now, let's talk about kale... :D

Kitty said...

Congrats to everyone, especially Scott! The entries were filled with great writing and imagination.

Btw, I hate missing a JR flash fiction contest because I love the challenge, but my weekend was filled :(

Colin Smith said...

I will give a hearty AMEN to what Lennon said, though. You're doing your bit for the world Janet not just by the kindness you show here to writers wherever they are on their publishing journey, but in your work. Sure, some of the books you represent are violent, but as was expressed at one of the panels at Bouchercon, unlike life, most thrillers have a resolution. Evil is vanquished, and good prevails. In a world where so often justice is sidelined and there seems no end to the wickedness of men, these novels give expression to our hopes and desires for a world where a Jack Reacher can ride into town and set the world to rights.

So keep doing what you do, Janet. :)

Steve Forti said...

Congrats ScottG! Some very entertaining ones this week. And thanks for the kind words Ms Shark - always brightens my day.

@sdbullard - I thought you were a shoo-in. One of my all time favorite entries here. Bravo.

Unknown said...

What a great read of FF. All different and so well done. Kudos and huzzahs to honor and winning entries. Imaginative and intricate writing; art meets craft!

And heaping praise on QOTKU can never end. The smart, thoughtful, and gracious support from someone on the inside gives those of us on the outside courage to strive for our goals - and always with a smile, reminding us not to lose our sense of fun!

Timothy Lowe said...

Tough competition, as always. Too many great pieces to comment on, but I did enjoy sdbullard's crock "tail". I also loved Michael Seese's entry. His line, "Emma had perfect pitch. Emily could only carry a grudge" made me smile.

Thanks for hosting this fun, Janet!

Stephen G Parks said...

Congrats to the winners!

Like Steve Forti, I fell in love with sdbullard’s entry.

Off topic - Colin said: ANY weapon in the hands of sinful men will cause untold suffering and devastation. If we think the solution to evil in the world is gun control, we miss the point.

I disagree with framing that way. This isn’t about evil, it’s about controlling crime. For crime, there’s motive and opportunity. Motive to commit mass murder exists worldwide, but only in countries without real gun control does opportunity exist.

Look at the Australian example to understand this. Australia didn’t remove ‘Evil’ after the Port Arthur massacre, they removed the guns, to spectacular effect. Back when John Oliver was still with the Daily Show, he did a piece on it.

-- blogger won't allow me to link right now (our HTML cannot be accepted: Reference "“http:" is not allowed) so: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVuspKSjfgA

Another example, I remember one day there was (yet another) shooting rampage in the US, and at the same time, there was a similar attack in China, but given China’s gun control, the attacker had had to use a knife, and didn’t manage to kill anyone.

-- and http://edition.cnn.com/2012/12/15/world/asia/china-us-school-attack/

If there's a will, there's a way.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

I loved Just Jan’s entry. Very funny. Good job to ScottG for the win. Brilliant. Fun. Laugh out loud worthy.

The shooting among other things did put me off entering this week. How I wish answers to prevent these horrific acts of hate were easy, but something is rotten in the state of Denmark or so the saying goes.

The answer is simple but hard in the extreme to embody. As always, truth is found in love and kindness, peaceful resistance in the order of men like Jesus Christ, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King. Yes, for some reason men of love evoke unfathomable hate.

They nailed Christ to a tree, Gandhi was shot at point blank range three times in the chest, and MLK assassinated because their truth threatened power and turned the darkness on its ear. All these men brought light to a dark and fallen world, showing us all that there is a better way to be. It is better to die spreading love and kindness while speaking your truth firmly and clearly. Death comes for us all so our only recourse is to expand the light instead of the darkness during this brief sojourn encased in flesh.

Janet, you already spread great light. You may not even know it, but your generosity and willingness to listen and respond to others in kind is a great gift. Your great humor and compassion touches more lives than you are probably aware. You never know what acts of darkness a kind word from you, a humorous line may prevent, turning someone from despair to hope.

No, evil can’t be defeated forever. It can only be slowed. All we can do is to defy the darkness that wants to devour us all. We only have providence over our own actions, and while we can’t control how others feel and act, we can be beacons of light in this dark world.

It’s not a satisfying answer and not a permanent solution, but history shows us there are no permanent remedies for the broken embers of the human soul.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Yes, I second Colin, now let's talk about Kale. And lima beans maybe.

Celia Reaves said...

Congratulations on a well-deserved win, ScottG! I loved that entry when I read it on Saturday and it would have won, I'm sure, in any case - but it's especially poignant now, after Orlando. Love is love.

There were so many great stories this time around. sdbullard gave just enough hints for me to get the point (that capital H on Hooked was exactly right). The interconnected newspaper bits in Colin Smith's entry outlined the action very subtly. I enjoyed Beth's juxtaposition of Mary Kay and Mary Jane, and Sarah Halle's of gorilla and guerrilla. Just Jan's form was unusual but fit her story perfectly, and it was indeed an entire story, start to finish. Amazing. Dee Blackshear's last line broke my heart: "No wait! I misspelled..." Carolynn turned my blood to ice -- NOOOO! Not even a Pulitzer could make it worth killing an agent! Michael Seese had me crying for poor Emily, and his use of words was outstanding (carrying a tune/carrying a grudge, erring on the side of caution/erring on all sides).

Such amazing writing, everyone.

Unknown said...

And to the darker subject (and with no care for appearing the Trope) - my eighth grade English teacher reminded me once to keep Donne's poem close when the world made no sense.
Aside from all the political issues going on, I hope the community that was hit in Orlando knows and is reminded by the writing community that they are "a part of the main."

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Well done, everyone. And congratulations to Scott!

Claire said...

Congratulations to all the finalists, some very clever writing there!

(And I couldn't agree more, Stephen G. Parks. Well said.)

Julie Weathers said...

Congratulations to all the winners. I read some of these as they were being posted and thought there were some excellent entries.

Good job to all.

"And now, back to contemplating what one person can do to stand against gun violence. If anyone has any ideas, let me know."

For one thing, recognize this attack for what it was. It wasn't gun violence. It was terrorism.

Guns are completely banned in Paris and that hasn't stopped those attacks. The cops who were shot in cold blood were unarmed as were the citizens.

Some of the strictest gun laws in the nation are in Detroit and yet it regularly leads the nation in violent gun related crime.

The shooter's father puts out videos for the Afghanistan Taliban. Why hasn't he been picked up as a terrorist supporter and been deported? Instead, politicians rant about how we need to keep bringing in more unvetted "refugees". Even when we know we have terrorists in the country we don't act most of the time.

The shooter had several complaints filed against him, but the employers were afraid to fire him. He's been on an FBI watch list for three years. The FBI couldn't do anything about him because they were afraid of discrimination charges. The Ft. Hood shooter had complaints on him, but they were afraid of discriminating. When are we going to stop trying to be politically correct and recognize sometimes there really is a problem?

There are fifteen active terrorist cells that the FBI admits to in the country and rather than do anything about them, the administration is going to keep telling everyone global warming and gun control is all we have to worry about. Well, it isn't. And hoping that nothing bad happens until after the election and the next administration has to deal with it probably won't work either.

That's what took place in Libya. We can't admit there's a problem and increase security. Let's just hope nothing bad happens until after the election. Oops. My bad.

More gun laws won't stop the next terrorist attack. It won't stop the next bomb. You can disarm every citizen in the US and we will be just like France and the rest of Europe, sitting there waiting for the next attack and hoping a swat team arrives in time to mop up the mess.

I've got some advice. If everyone thinks gun control is the answer to terrorism, invest in hospital stocks.

More gun laws didn't stop the attack on the Boston Marathon.

What's next? Ban pressure cookers?

Julie, off to buy another damned gun.

Marie McKay said...

As always, a great winning story. Very clever story Scott G. Loved it. And congrats to all mentioned!

Marie McKay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brigid said...

Remember what Mr Rogers said — "Always look for the helpers. You'll always find somebody who's trying to help."

Donnaeve said...

Congrats to Scott G! I must not watch enough TV (???) b/c sdbullard's still has me stumped - even with the hints supplied by commenters. (crock tail, and Hooked)

Tough writing under the circumstances, but a bit of a diversion. Good job all.

Thank you QOTKU for your fortitude, and offering a spot of calm in a rough sea.

"If we think the solution to evil in the world is gun control, we miss the point." Amen, Colin.

Gun laws. Let's not forget the massacre in Paris only months ago - they have some of the strictest gun laws of any country. Same for Australia - plus there's only 24M people there (some of our friends can confirm the #) and we have about 300M here. Rounding up all the guns like AUS would be about as probable as deporting 12M people.

From the Gun Facts website: "Fact: Many of the countries with the strictest gun control have the highest rates of violent crime. Australia and England, which have virtually banned gun ownership, have the highest rates of robbery, sexual assault, and assault with force of the top 17 industrialized countries."


By stating this, I'm not taking a position. I just like to know the facts so I can come to a logical conclusion. My conclusion: gun control will not stop these events from happening because criminals do not follow laws.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Julie- you speak the truth. We don't have a gun problem. We have a darkness problem. People who hate want to destroy the Western way of life.

Those people will always exist and sometimes they will wave no banners nor claim any borders. And they don't pay attention to laws. A piece of paper won't prevent a fanatic from his quest. Might as well pass laws that require unicorns to shoot out your butt. That would be about as effective as trying to cull an enemy you are not allowed to name. I swear ISIS has taken on the power of Voldemort, He Who Must Not Be Named.

Colin Smith said...

Donna: Forget TV. Think movies. Particularly DISNEY movies. Old Disney movies. sdbullard's POV character is NOT human. Tick tock. "Flying boy." Part of the cleverness of the entry is the fact it's completely out of left field. It took me a couple of reads, looking carefully at all the clues to piece it together. :)

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Colin...I love Forest. Perfect as usual.

Cindy C said...

Congratulations to everyone mentioned, and especially ScottG. Your entry could win any week, but seemed especially fitting this weekend. A simple love story for today's world, a plea for tolerance, all without preaching, and with a bit of humor on the side! This is why we need stories. Sometimes they can help us find the better part of ourselves.

As always, thanks Janet for having these contests.

Kate Higgins said...

Congratulations to Scott G on your wonderful happy 'rainbow connection' story! The Crocodile memoire was my favorite...it took me until the 'TickTock' to really get it.
I grew up in a western state where guns were de rigueur. I now live in an area of another western state where diversity is celebrated. Rainbows happen everyday in the Pacific Northwet. Unfortunately there will always be storms, as there will always be news that saddens us. But 'News' is all about the sensational, the negative and the unusual things that happen in life. The good things don't or won't get the coverage or attention, they just don't 'sell'.

Life is diverse and basically good or it would not have continued on this planet. And the one thing that is impossible to murder is love, it shows up in compassion, helping hands, memorials and hugs for those who have lost their loves and their lives.

I propose that next 100 word contest be one that will discombobulate us woodland creatures. Next time we write a compelling story that does not contain a salmagundi of murder, melee, massacre, mutilation or evil minds. The twist and turns and mental angst can still be included, even enhanced, but the insinuation of extermination could be missing.

Now that would truly be a challenge (especially for a certain shark we all know and love). Can we do it with the same creativity with which we produce mayhem?

Claire Bobrow said...

Congratulations to all those recognized! Great work and very enjoyable reading. Loved Colin Smith's entry, Just Jan's clever use of "ology," and the super-funny gorilla marketing story by Sara.

Unknown said...

Thanks to the great group of finalists for providing me with much-appreciated laughs. Congrats, ScottG on a well-deserved win. I also got a kick out of the entries from Brigid (charming), Marie (spooky good), and Donna (nice non-violent twist ending, at least if I understood it correctly).

Mallory Love said...

Love conquers all, sees no flaws. Beautiful story, Scott. Congrats to all the finalists. And thanks, Janet, for these writing contests. : )

Scott G said...

In difficult times, when violence rears its ugly head and the world feels like its spiraling downward in a vortex to hell, we all search for answers. We can debate, we can discuss, we can call for action, but what we cannot do is succumb to the pressure of evil. We cannot let it fester and grow without trying everything in our power to beat it into oblivion.

Janet asks what she can do to stand against violence. I would say this. Keep doing what you are doing. You help people. You make people better. The effect you have is profound. If we all did half of the good that you do on a daily basis, the world would be a much better place.

I commend all of the blog readers and those that enter these contests, because it is a way to become a better person. Time spent improving oneself for good means there is less time and energy available to feed the hungry monster of evil.

So thank you, Janet, not only for this contest, and this blog, but for helping people, and providing a means by which others can improve themselves and the greater good, so that in the end the people of the world can flip the vortex right-side up instead of leaving it upside down.

Claire Bobrow said...

Hear, hear, Scott! Thank you for those words.
Thanks also for your excellent writing. I'm learning so much from all of you guys, and from Janet's blog.

french sojourn said...

...as for gun violence, I blame Newton's Third law of motion.

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction:

With women having the miracle in the ability to give birth, man unfortunately reacts in the horror of taking it.

just my 2 cents worth.

Joseph S. said...

Must be a bad morning. I only understood three of the stories.

ScottG - congratulations. I actually understood yours on first read. I like big clues and Virgin was a big clue; as was Barbara.

I missed the clue is "She'd find out sooner or later" since I read she as meaning the clerk.

Barbara's admission made Steve's dilemma easier to resolve for sure.

Donnaeve said...

Thank you Mark Thurber! Yes, you understood it.


Lennon Faris said...

Donna - "sdbullard's still has me stumped." Stumped, eh? Need a prosthetic for that? Like maybe a nice, shiny hook? :) Your comment made me giggle.

Joseph S. said...

Thanks Colin, A bell went off after your explanation and I now understand the sdbullard story. Unfortunately because I didn't know who or what the narrator was, the story flew over my head. I was in never never land. And it was far from obvious to me who or what the narrator was, and I had no inkling it referred to another work. Once I understood the narrator was ______, it was a very clever story.

Joseph S. said...

Okay Colin - after I'm finally awake, your entry makes sense, too. Keying in on "Butterfingers" broke the code. I've deciphered them all.

Donnaeve said...

Lennon - ha! Just don't call me Eileen.

Boy. I've got Edit Head.

Janice Grinyer said...

Congrats to the mentionables, semis and to Scott - Thank you JR for hosting these and giving such valuable feedback! I really enjoyed the "hook" on the one... :D

Since you asked, JR, I am willing to share my thoughts on Gun Violence in this format. Sorry so long- hard to discuss this topic in a 100 words or less.

First of all, I think there is no such thing as gun violence. That statement could be construed as anthropomorphic, and that the gun itself can do violence. I'd rather put the burden of violence on the shooter. I believe there are people who have legal access to guns who should not have that access. They have violent beliefs, whether from culture, politics or their religion. Whatever method of weapon that they use, they are violent. Violence does not come from the gun (firearm) itself. The responsibility is on the person who is pulling the trigger. Violent people are hard to reform, let alone regulate.

I believe we need to instill a better screening method federally before selling a firearm - laws vary within the states and they are not consistent. If you think you will be banned from being sold a firearm, then the burden is on you to clean up your lifestyle, not on the government to do it for you. Put the responsibility on the gun owner, not the government. Having qualifications to own a firearm is the gun owner’s responsibility. The second amendment isn’t about selling guns to the unstable with violent beliefs, the criminals, and the ignorant.

Before purchasing- everyone should know the 4 R's, and for personal safety, situational awareness training. If a person cannot understand how, what, why in use of a firearm then they should not be using a firearm let alone buying one (remember, firearms are designed to kill, target practice is to learn how to kill more efficiently). My children are not hunters, but they went through hunter safety training so that they could comprehend when someone wasn't using a firearm properly. So many people grow up without this training, and become dangerous to others not because they are violent, but due to their ignorance. We can prevent that by education. Education eliminates ignorance.

I also believe that Assault rifles should be authorized for military and law enforcement use only- assault rifles are designed to kill people, not animals. It is not a play toy, nor a self defense weapon; it's purpose is to kill humans effectively and in quantity. We have video games to be used as play toys, not firearms. Everyone should know the difference.

Concerning the NRA – they may have started out with good intentions decades early on, but are now a large lobby group who are in it for wrong reasons. They do not represent all gun owners. Especially not me.

Janice Grinyer said...

prt 2 - Personally, for hunting, If I have to fire more than two shots, I need to be responsible and practice more, in order to be a humane hunter. I don't want the animal to suffer. I don’t need a large clip, I need better practice.

After the fire, many animals, both domesticated and wild, had to be put down. Our children's pony too. One shot and she was gone within seconds. It is still advocated by Large animal Vet Associations as the quickest, humane way to put down an animal in a rural/remote location, if you know how. I have had to do this. I was glad I knew how.

We understand about being prepared for all situations. Livestock needs to be protected from predators. Hunting needs to be accomplished in a humane way. Situational awareness training is important to know for personal safety. Although Montana is a stand your ground/castle doctrine state, the responsible ones know that guns are the last resort, not the first. Most people I know, know all of this.

And for the others, they arent afraid the government is going to take away their guns- they are afraid that the only viable solution now may be to banned all firearms. We need to come up with solutions that allow the responsible to own firearms in order to hunt safely, protect their livestock, and for personal safety, and somehow keep firearms away from the violent, ignorant, and the unstable with violent beliefs. Having qualifications and proving you can own a firearm safely without a burden to the US government is a start; certainly by no means the end.

Orlando - my heart is still hurting. It was supposed to be a safe place, where people could have fun :/

angie Brooksby-Arcangioli said...

Congrats Scott G. It took me three reads before I got it.

Sunday I read most of the entries and thought it would be difficult to choose a winner because so many are awesome.

The Orlando tragedy is horrifying. I'm speecheless.

eap said...

Great QOTKU, thank you. Congratulations to Scott G, and seconding your comment in this thread about Janet and the positive impact she and this community make every day. Thank you everyone who submitted an entry to the contest. They were great as always and reading them made things a little easier to bear. Been breaking down a lot since the news broke.

I know I'm a writer and I'm biased, but I really do believe this: stories save us. Stories can bring us back from despair, can confront ugliness unflinchingly and remind us of the good in the world. At least that's the way it feels to me when I have grief with no bottom and anger with no hands.

Rambling thoughts:

If you are willing and able in the Orlando area, consider donating blood in the coming days and weeks. From what I understand donor blood can degrade after less than six weeks, and the shooting victims may continue to need blood after that. (Please correct me if I'm wrong on that info.) And if you can donate blood wherever you live, that's a good thing.

There are several organizations working to help and support the victims' families. If you can, consider donating to one.

Keep pride month going. Read stories written by LGBT+ authors and read stories that feature round and awesome LGBT+ characters. Consider making a donation to your local LGBT+ organization or youth shelter.

Gay or straight, on the rainbow or not, live your truth and do something nice for someone today. Not saying that we shouldn't be angry or passionate or galvanized--just don't let the anger and grief warp something good in you. (I'm writing partially as a reminder to myself because it's not easy. At all.) But as Scott G wrote, we cannot succumb to the pressure of evil.

Karen McCoy said...

Congrats to everyone, especially ScottG! These contests are a wonderful way to see the varying hefts of clever words at work. Bravo!

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

From Stockton to NYC to Sandy Hook and now Orlando, and all the God-awful tragedies in between, my eyes were always glued to the TV, my heart broken again and again, by looped horror playing over and over.
Not this time.
This time I focused on the cops in the pick-up taking wounded to the hospital. This time I watched as people carried people to help and safety. This time I realized that one person may have done this but there’s a world of good people out there, everywhere, to help.
Orlando brought back all the Sandy Hook feelings for our family. Reliving something such at that, such as this, has me doing what Newtown did for its babies.
I chose love.

As a writing friend once said, “Hate is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Hate is the holy-water of extremists. Eventually they will drink themselves to death.

John Davis Frain said...


Congratulations twice today. Your winning entry and your winning comment. Both were exquisite. Both gave me a smile.

Craig F said...

Congrats to all who entered and ScottG for winning it. I do love the wide range of entries. They are as complex as real life is.

Since many others have brought up the unthinkable I have a few things to say:

Someone really dropped the ball on this one. There should have been so many flags flying that even the FBI should not have been able to miss them.

This guy made it easy to get stopped but no one did it. He bought these guns just for this purpose and was passed because he had licenses granted to few. He had these because he was a security guard for a big outfit.

He had to have bought a bunch of ammo and extra magazines for both weapons. Those things should have been flagged also.

To have been able to shoot over a hundred people he had to have modified the long gun to shoot in three round bursts. Only some of the AR-15 models out there can be modified in such a way. Those models should be removed from the market in places like Florida. I live there and know that use of anything beyond semi-automatic is illegal.

Blaming the President will get nowhere because each state is very sanctimonious about the rights they have and states can get some ignorant shit passed. Florida recently almost passed a law to make it legal to carry guns on college campuses.Some thought it would curb violence there if someone could shoot back.

It is way too late to contemplate curtailing gun sales. The AR-15 has been the top selling gun for over a decade and their owners will not part with them unless the price is right. We need better oversight for sales and we need to close loopholes that ease gun buying. I wish I knew a way to make things better but I don't.

Colin Smith said...

FYI, I just updated the Contest Spreadsheet in the Treasure Chest. It seems Scott G deserves double congrats, since he won the last-but-one contest. That's the closest anyone has yet come to consecutive wins. Well done, Scott. You can be sure a certain Sharkly agent has her eye on you, if you're not already taken... :)

AJ Blythe said...

Congrats Scott on the win! I did well this time, the only one I didn't get was Beth's entry.

Donna, yep, we have about 24M peoples here. The other thing to remember is that the Port Arthur Massacre happened here 20 years ago, which is when our gun control laws changed. I'm forever grateful they have. Yes, we still have guns, and yes, bad people still get there hands on them, but they aren't easy to get!

Miss Janet, I second what has already been said: keep on doing what you are doing. You provide a warm, welcoming Reef and your generosity to those of us in the trenches is probably more appreciated than you realise.

My great-grandfather was a lay preacher and he preached that heaven and hell don't just wait for after death, that we experience a little of each every day. For every action we take a consequence follows. If you are good, you get a touch of heaven in your life, if you are evil, you get a touch of hell.

Janet, for what you do here on the Reef, there must be a little bit of heaven in your life everyday.

(I was going to say good always trumps evil, but realised with the political shenanigans happening in the US that probably wasn't a wise choice of words).

Kae Ridwyn said...

Congratulations, everyone - especially to the honourable mentions, shortlisters and of course Scott!

Steve Forti's gripped me from the get-go; one of those entries that made me wonder if I just shouldn't bother with this competition. But I'm glad I did; the exercise in editing is SO worthwhile! And count me among those who needed every clue in today's comment section to help me figure out sdbullard's entry. Incredible writing! But it was Craig's that made me gasp. I loved loved loved it, from the very first sentence.

Awesome work, everyone!

Where There's A Quill said...

Congratulations, Scott. I'm really glad you won; I fell in love with your entry as soon as I read it.

The gun debate is upsetting me, so I won't say anything regarding that. I'll save my spiels for my roommate.

I'd rather take a moment to think about the victims. It's hard to find safe places when you're a member of the LGBTQ community. Pulse was supposed to be one of them. I'm reminded, again, that the only way a rainbow flag can deflect bullets is if you wear it under your clothes.

I'm going to spend today writing and writing and writing until I've forgotten which world I live in.

AJ Blythe - I'm not a religious person at all, but I love what you said. I think that's a great sentiment.

Lucie Witt said...

Wonderful entries as usual. As usual I didn't get some of them, but they were still beautifully crafted.

What can one person do to impact gun violence. Hmm.

It's interesting most people are focused on "outside" forces when the majority of mass shootings in our country are committed by us. By neighbors and coworkers and colleagues. By sons and fathers and brothers. We could magically end all "islamic terrorism" tomorrow and we would still have mass shootings here. Charleston, Sandy Hook, Aurora, these are holding a mirror up to us and us alone. It's easy to point at other cultures and all the ways they should change. Much harder to answer what exactly it is we need to change about our own.

I am in agreement that tougher gun laws are not a cure all, since it's more of a problem with our hearts and minds. However, if common sense laws (basic background checks, no gun show loopholes, not letting people on terrorists watch lists buy guns like they currently can) l would decrease shootings by even 2%, would it not be worth it? Are we really only going to pass laws criminals will obey, because I'm seeing a major flaw in that plan.

Michael Seese said...

It's hard (if not impossible) to argue with Janet's choice. Great concept and execution, Scott G.

Craig F said...

Kae Ridwyn: You are much too kind. Thank you.

Kae Bell said...

Congrats to all mentions and winners. I still don't quite get it, these contests. Should I be funny/serious/add twists? I feel a bit like Matt Damon in Ocean's 12. All good, though.

On guns, I wait for someone with political power to act on the fact that there is NO RIGHT to access ammunition. No right to bear LOADED arms. Just 'arms'. Accessing ammo should be like filling a prescription. Or tougher.

Beth Carpenter said...

I’ve only recently begun following, and have to say my first contest was great fun. Loved all the original ideas and wordplay.

As for one person’s stand against violence, there are no easy answers. People with evil intent will eventually find a way to hurt and kill. We have to balance our desire to do whatever we can to stop them with the knowledge that making more rules in order to stop the people who refuse to play by the rules can only find limited success.

But individually, we can treat the people we come in contact with each day with respect and good humor, and help one another. From what I’ve seen in the comments, that happens here. Well done, people.

Just Jan said...

Congratulations, Scott G! Very well done. After a difficult day, I am finally enjoying all the entries and comments. It is a nice treat. Thank you, Janet!

julieweathers said...


What gun show loophole are you talking about?

The facts about guns shows.

This video might explain it better. Politicians should know what they're talking about, but they seldom do.

The Orlando shooter worked for G4S, which is a security firm hired by DHS that provides security for federal buildings, international transport, nuclear facilities among other things. He'd had several complaints filed against him by co-workers and was on an FBI watch list and they still PASSED his background check even while authorities are confiscating guns from veterans who have done nothing.

I think we have a bigger problem than gun show loopholes that don't exist.