And once again, the winner of the Steve Forti Amazing Word Prompt Machinations is Steve Forti himeself. 10:25am
My parents called me Worm. Said I was the wriggliest baby they’ve ever seen. Dropped me so much it wasn’t worth the effort to pick me back up. Or do anything for me, really. A burden under heel even before I could crawl.
Spilled her chamomile tea on my arm, made me ride my bike to the burn unit. Burst my appendix, I even had to call the ambulance myself.
Never fathomed I’d amount to much. Maybe they were right. But at least now I’m not the one under heel.
Pops it in reverse. Bump. Bump.
Or rather, under wheel.
Special recognition for a great phrase
Marie McKay 10:28am
Home smells of cat pee and cheap perfume, and everything is the colour of used.
An exquisite pirouette of expectations
“What have we here?” Dixie’s thin-lipped warden inspected the bag. “Broccoli, seven-grain bread, fresh fruit.” A rare smile appeared. “Good to see you’re finally eating healthy, Mom.”
Megan Laughman 8:57am
Brady was a boy at eleven; now at seventeen he was just shy of becoming a woman.
This isn't quite a story yet, but it's the start of a fun one!
Rene Saenger 10:16pm
Fred the Dragon heard the child’s call. He turned and saw a small dog chasing butterflies.
Fred swooped down and caught the dog. He walked over to the little girl keeping his expression neutral. His smile often frightened humans.
The little girl reached out and Fred handed Dixie over.
“My name’s Breleven. Mom says dragons are mean, but you’re nice.”
“Will you walk me home?” she asked. “Can we be friends?”
“Someday – when humans aren’t afraid of dragons,” he said, breathing fire on a bundle of sticks to light her way home.
“I’m not afraid,” she said.
this isn't quite a story, but I love it very much
We must've looked like easy targets - three old ladies laughing, holding each other up as we headed down the deserted street after Homecoming at Southern Miss.
One moment we were swapping lies. The next we were looking at the guy with the gun pointed at us.
It was way after eleven and I was two hurricanes over the legal limit for dealing with this nonsense.
"On one," I said.
Three perfectly timed kicks to tender parts of his anatomy put him out of our misery.
We are Dixie Darlings - Rockettes of the Gridiron.
Still kicking after all these years.
Here are the finalists:
Jennifer R. Donohue 9:00am
First we were twelve, then eleven, bodies counting down like moments on the hour.
Every new place, new names. Lies are our sustenance. Our purpose varies, based on payment.
Clandestine drinks in airport bars, a nod on a city street. There is no home port.
Six. Five. Four.
Inscrutable messages from those who fell before. Disjointed sound clips, scratching through speakers in the blue hours of dawn.
I’m the last, left holding the puzzle pieces of our lives. No edges. No corners.
Too late, I know. The one who comes for us whistles Dixie.
When I talk about rhythm in a story, or in a sentence, this entry is what I mean.
I don't exactly understand this story, but I like it.
Linda Strader 9:02am
Who knew it would take eleven lies to make me run home to mom down in Dixie? The eleventh was the one that made my insides turn right-side-out, so what else could I do?
The bus ride was long, smelling of stale men and soiled babies. Perfume that had gone off hung like smoke around the woman next to me.
Home meant apple pies and deep red raspberries, warm hugs, and non-judgmental talks.
“I’m fine, hon,” mom said, offering me a pie slice.
Lie number twelve. I had much to do here.
Oh boy, how I love those twists that change the whole meaning of a story! In this case of course, I assumed the "eleven lies" were something the narrator had been told by a boyfriend/spouse.
And that second paragraph is as perfect a description as we've seen here in some time. It's brilliant.
And then the end. Oh boy. This is a perfect story.
times she said I warned her not to text while driving
minutes for her to bleed out
times I actually warned her not to text while driving
stitches to patch up the other driver
people told me they saw her with Dixie
characters in her unsent text – omw lo
lies she told me before going out
days since she said, “I’m gay,” and I said, “You’re sixteen.”
minutes from home when she ran the light
childless mom who’d let her marry Dixie if it brought her back.
Here's a box of tissue. I'll wait. No, wait, give it back, I need it too.
This uses rhythm to convey tone. Reading it is like being inside a bass drum, you're literally
vibrating with the beats of the sentences.
Mark Thurber 10:11am
Di Xieyan applies brush to paper. As a girl she loved landscape painting, but her mom pushed her into sports. She was good at them, and even better at flying.
There are no trees to paint here, but the ridge outside and lustrous orb above it are subjects enough.
Her companion looks on. “It is good, Colonel Di,” he says.
Di exits the lander of Jingpeng 8, China’s Apollo Eleven. She bounds to the ridge and plants the tripod holding her painting. Let the Americans leave golf balls. The first Chinese visitors would leave art.
“Let’s go home, Major Zhang.”
I can't tell you how much I love the idea of marking explorations with art. And of course, the clever use of the prompt word Dixie makes me very very happy.
Colin Smith 10:19am
"Home is where the heart lies," Mom always said.
I took her meaning from the way she ironed our clothes for school. The way she made sure we had a hot meal every night. The way she kissed and fussed over Dad when he came home from work. The way she made sure we brushed our teeth and rinsed our mouths with Dixie cups of water before bed.
Then she was gone.
She left a note. Said she’d had enough, said she was following her dream.
"Home is where the heart lies."
I guess I misunderstood her meaning.
The only thing I would edit here is leaving off the last sentence. Let the reader make that "aha!" realization of the other definition of "lies." Trust your reader to get it.
Rosanna M 12:04pm
I wanted to see the rabbits in kindergarten,
Dad explained we’d moved to Cedar Rapids.
I ran away to Dixieland at seven,
Dad flew me to see Mickey the next year.
I picked fruit flies from smuggled wine at a shleepover,
Dad dragged me home at eleven.
I drove my rust bucket to college,
Dad followed me Justin Case.
I married my soul mate in Maui,
Dad walked me down the isle.
I checked into the hospital, a patient,
Dad paced the hallway, impatient.
I placed my son in his arms,
Grandpa—the best mom a girl ever had.
This entry took me three reads to fully get it.
Cedar Rapids/rabbits didn't reveal itself till this morning!
At first I thought "shleepover" was a typo. Then I thought it might be on purpose: slurring
And "Dad walked me down the isle" instead of aisle, that I wondered about. Was it on purpose? I see a lot of these homonyms that aren't. I'm always tempted to see it as an error.
But, I love the whole idea of this story, and the punchline is perfect. I decided to trust the writer: these aren't typos, they're chosen for effect.
I think there is real bravery in taking risks like this. Bravery can't be taught or revised. You gotta do it on your own.
Aunt Dixie never had kids, a real job, or a skirt longer than eleven inches.
Mom’s twin. None of Mom’s executive suite polish.
Dixie? Babysit me? Other way 'round, I think.
“Sis’s in a pinch,” Dixie said squealing from my private school lot.
The Walmart run for Lucky Strikes was a Tilt-a-Whirl ride. Then instead of heading home, she hit the interstate.
“Tired of the lies, kid.”
“Me? Lie? I’m an honor student.”
She pulled over, unzipped her pants, pulled up her shirt.
“See that?” Stretch marks covered her wrinkly abdomen.
“Time for you to come home.”
That first line knocked my sox clean off.
I like the idea for this story a lot. And boy oh boy, do I wonder what happens next!
Since my brain has been affected by paint fumes this weekend, I'm just going to sit over here on the snot-green couch for a minute (or ten) and let y'all weigh in with your opinions.
Final results by the end of the day. Slinking in to the office should help to clear my head!
It took me a while to figure out the winner.
The entries were all amazing in their own right, and all together are an awesome display of talent. Quite a number of very good entries didn't even make this list too. Ya'll are just getting better and better at tormenting me.
This week's winner, chosen for both great writing, and taking big risks is Rosanna M.
Rosanna, if you'll email me with your preferred mailing address, I'll have our very own Donnaeve send you a PERSONALIZED copy of The Education of Dixie Dupree.
Thanks to all of you who took the time to write entries. It's a real pleasure to read your writing.