Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Contest results!-FINAL

As usual there was entirely too much talent on display here. Picking a winner is no longer about picking the best entry cause there are TOO MANY GOOD ONES! Really youse guyz! Dangle a participle or two, will ya??

Also, thank you all for slaying my spell Czech. After this post, he stormed into my office, threw his red pen on my desk, and resigned effective immediately.

Herewith the results. Spelling not verified!

Just when I think I've got him confounded, Steve Forti stymies me again!
Woo hoo! I found him. He's dynamic. I typically scout pitchers, but this catcher was a magician.”
“Yeah? What's his name?”
“Yogi Berra.”
“Yogi? That's funny. So can Yogi be a good fit?”
He smirked. “He can be r-”
“Rare talent level good?”
“For real - ie, worth the first pick. Don't hem and haw. Keep his name on top of your draft board.”
“Just tell me he doesn't joke he's smarter than the average bear.”
Another smirk. “I didn't make the obvious word play here, and trust me, he never will, either.”

This isn't quite a story, but it's outstanding in several ways:
1. It's about my subway
2. I had to look up three words (want to guess which ones?) and
3. It's about my subway.
Also: Canberra!
Alina Sergachov
Sudoriparous straphangers stink. But boisterous bucket
beaters are even worse. They call themselves “drummers”. Ambitious, huh. A
kwela it’s not.
Subterranean preachers. A special level of hell I endure daily.
La Cucaracha ya no puede caminar
porque no tiene, porque le falta
una pata de atrás.
Woo... Hootenanny about a cockroach that has lost one of its legs should be
Ya murió la cucaracha
ya la llevan a ente—

Can be—


—defined as “atrocity” for sure.
In short, all was well on the Brooklyn bound L train till a man got on at Union
Square station.

Not quite a story, but outstanding
Dan Castro 
Imitating Homer Simpson, I yelled: "Woo hoo. I won Sam Hawke's 'City of Lies.'"
"Not good enough," Janet said.
"D'oh! Give me direction. What if I break the words up? Say Homer likes 'Hee Haw,' kestrels, amaretto--"
"What about interruptions? Like, I want, I w-- Ooh! Oolong tea."
"What if I use Latin abbreviations?"
"You won't!"
"I will! I.e.--"
"Et al., e.g., op. cit., ya know?"
"Woo hoo?"
"World...Organization...Of... ...Holistic--"
"Better off with oolong tea."
"So you're giving me direction? Go for interrupted--"
"I'm not giving you anything. Especially 'City of Lies.'"

Here are the entries that were real standouts for me.

Dear Sire or Madam:

I am applying for the position of tying instructor at your city office.
My qualifications are impeachable. I have eyes like a hawke.

I would very much lie to be part of your company and would appreciate
the chance to woo hoo in person.

Very Truly Yours,

Sam I. M. Keene


Dear Sam:

Thank you for your delightful application. Regretfully, this posting has
already been filled.

We are, however, searching for someone to coordinate our breakfast buffet.
Suffice it to say the job is yours if you want it.


Canberra Typing Services
None of you mentioned the sheer brilliance of this entry so I'm going to inquire if you got the joke.
If you note the missing letters (you realized there were missing letters, right?)  they spell out PUNK. It took me three passes to get it, but I knew there was something hidden so I went searching.  My guess after looking yet again, is that I still didn't get the whole joke.

Still, this is funny and clever, and I loved it.

East India Trading Company,
4 Getta Way,
London, England.

Dear Sirs,
My felicity is forever destroyed.
Your Captain Hawkeye has besmirched the fairest and most pure-minded of
maidens: namely, my fiancé, Miss Hymenoptera A. Bandond, who in June sailed on
the Fancy Lass bound for Australia. She joined his cutthroat band the day she
boarded the ship and has since quit her missionary position entirely. What will
happen to the undeserving of Canberra now, I ask you?
Your guarantee of a safe passage is a lie.

Sincerely, a litigious American customer,

W.O. O’Hooligan III
Boston , Massachusetts
This just cracked me up. From "Miss Hymenoptera" to "quit her missionaary position" this was clever clever clever.

Madeline Mora-Summonte
Deer Momma

I shouldn't open the door when your working, but Mister Sam
said it was an emrgenz. The city is full of flew bugs!

We're going someplace safe, sekret. He'll keep a hawk eye on
me until you come. He's a nabor, not a stranger so it's okay. And I scarred of

Missus Woo came, yelled NO GO! ALL LIES! Missus Woo hooked
her fingers into claws, scratched Mister Sam's face! They fighted until she
fell down asleep.

Mister Sam screamed HURRY! so I am.

Don't be scarred, Momma. See you soon!

Your sun Marty
This made me gasp out loud.  The story is icy, but what elevates this is that it's written in a vernacular of sorts, but you still understand every word. That's not as easy as it looks.

Timothy Lowe
They let him lie until the thaw. Kept the dowry themselves.

Moved on to Tucson. Wealthy city, no snow. An army of suitors to woo.
Hoofprints in the sand, harder to follow.

Same plan, different circumstances. But Molly was getting edgy.

“I’m sick of poison.”

“It’s the easiest.”

“Why can’t we just hit them with a shovel? More fun.”

“You’re impossible.” They needed the shovel. No use denting it.

“And why do I always have to be the sister? Always a bridesmaid.”

“Shut up.”

After Tucson, Canberra. Softer ground, little snow. Molly hated Australia, but
she was past complaining.

My new favorite sentence:  “Why can’t we just hit them with a shovel? More fun.”
And of course, that little twist at the end makes this delightful. 

Marie McKay
Samson Hawkens had been a ghost for a year. He'd tried to find his place in the city. He'd let out a 'wwwoohooo' to scare passers-by but he gained no pleasure from it. On buses, he'd lie across passengers' laps until their spines tingled. That only served to make them feel more alive, and he more dead. He'd rattle sticks on school fences. The kids would cry. Often he'd cry too.
Some days, he'd visit himself in the hospital, kiss his wife, touch his daughter's hand, not sure whether he was ready for them to pull the plug or not.

I had to read this twice to fully grasp the story.
Brilliant work. 

Let me know what you think!
Final results when I recover my wits.
(ok ok, we all know THAT's a lost cause!)

After another pass (or three) at the standout list, Madeline Mora-Summonte is the winner.

Congrats Madeline! Send me your mailing address and your prize will soon be winging its way to you.

Thanks to all of you who took the time to write and post entries. It was a great pleasure to read your work! 


Sharyn Ekbergh said...

I really like Marie's. Pretty spooky and a nice twist to it. And a great use of the contest words in the story.

Sam Hawke said...

Ooooh, so many great options! I can't choose between Madeline's and Marie's... too good! And you were all so clever, I can't believe how many of you got Canberra in without even using it as a city. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much, Janet! English is my third language, so it's nice to know that native speakers have to look words up, too. Makes me feel a bit better.

Donnaeve said...

Mission impossible, picking the winners here. Twisting my own arm, I'd have to go with Marie's and Tim's as a close second.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

These are all amazing. I am almost glad I did not have time to enter this weekend. Also, I already have Sam’s book which is freaking amazing. City of Lies is flat-out brilliant.

I could not manage the time to create an entry because my daughter was visiting me from New York. My southern little girl has become one of those New Yorkers who after a couple of days finds it hard to breathe when she is not in New York.

I had hoped she would move home after a time. Nope. I do not know how this happened. I questioned my daughter and she assured me she was not that sort of New Yorker. She tells me:

“Mom, it’s not like I make fun of the people in New Jersey. I mean, I wouldn’t go there…”

She is never moving home. I’ve lost her.

Anyhow, looking forward to whom the shark chooses to win this spectacular prize.

Aphra Pell said...

I'd vote for Marie's because it hits all the buttons - funny, sad and touching.

But I'd also wave a flag for Brenda's because it made me laugh.

Theresa said...

Madeline's is the one I keep coming back to.

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

OMG...the Shark needs to RECOVER HER WITS.
What happened to them? Too much sun, bottle contents, or whipped cream.
Are they in I-see-you?
Maybe her wits have to be recovered like computers. Is it a virus? Have your wits been hacked?
Alas, "THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING!" (no politics, cute movie, the Russians are already here)
Anyway, I am sorry I couldn't join in the fun. I was vaca-ing with family. Talk about recovery...
Congrats talented writers. As always I bow to your amazing abilities.

Amy Johnson said...

Congratulations to all the finalists, mentions, and all who wrote a story! I'm now blowing up balloons for the winner's party.

Brenda said...

I thought Marie had us cold.
3 words. Hmmm. Sudo... whatever, strap...whatever, and Cucaracha? I love how I think I’m William friggin’ Shakespeare when I enter these contests. It lasts until I start reading the others. Well done to all, I say.

Unknown said...

I liked Just Jan's a lot, but as always they are all great. Another couple I really liked not mentioned were shtrum's and rkeelan's.

Great job everyone. I'd been in a down period for writing/reading and I think this helped set me straight!

Nate Wilson said...

First, I need to bow down to Steve Forti in further recognition of his masterful Canberra misdirection. Well done, sir.

But since his isn't technically a story, I'll pick Marie's entry, barely edging those from Tim and Madeline.

Richelle Elberg said...

Madeline Mora-Summonte's story gave me goosebumps in a bad way--I loved it. :)

Claire Bobrow said...

Kudos to all the mentions and finalists! There were some truly stellar entries, and it's ridiculously hard to try and pick "the one." That said, Alina's first two words were spectacular, so I'm leaning in her direction.

Congrats, all! I loved reading every entry and was blown away by the phenomenal creativity on display.

Katja said...

Congrats Madeline, well done!

Alina, I'd like to say congrats to you, too. I admire what you can do when English is your third language! It's only my second, since French is my third, and I couldn't do this in French.

I'm not the usual writer or reader and if I told everyone that I have only recently read my third book in English, they'd ask me what the hell I am 'wandering' around here on Janet's blog between all these professionals. Yeah, I ask myself that question, too, and am annoyed that I keep trying these contests (well, posting them). I wanted to delete my entry when it wasn't possible anymore.
I still encounter so many English words that I don't know, it's never ending cause English is so rich.

So, I don't know why you only feel "better", because you should feel EXCELLENT, given you made Janet look up words AND got a mention here :)!
Pat yourself on your back, otherwise I'll do it ;).

Steve Forti said...

@Nate - Thanks! It was the first thing that popped into my head, and I had to run with it. Glad someone not just picked up on it, but enjoyed it :)

And on my first read through, I remembered Madeline's (child abductions always kick me in the gut), so I'm not at all surprised to see her in the finalists.

Marie McKay said...

Congratulations Madeline. That play on son/sun was just brilliant. Brilliant end to a brilliant story.
Thanks everyone for all the encouraging comments. Always delighted to get a mention.

Jennifer R. Donohue said...

Great entries, everybody!

I know my contest entries have been spotty (lately, nonexistent) but this time I had a good excuse, I swear. (and I apologize for the off-topic nature of this, I just wanted the Reef and Reiders to know)

Elka went into congestive heart failure and we had to put her to sleep on Monday, July 16. Some of you on Twitter know this already, and thank you for your kind words <3

We were devastated. 9 is and isn't old for a Doberman and really, really wasn't enough time. And the house was too empty, too quiet. We kept reaching for what wasn't there.

Sunday, we picked up an 11 week old black and rust Doberman puppy who we've named Ulrike. It felt really really fast, and also like the right decision.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Thank you, Janet! I am beyond thrilled! And thank you to everyone for the "votes" and the congratulations.

The encouragement and support - and talent! - here at the Reef is amazing, and I am honored to be a part of it.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Great job Madeline! Wonderful entries all

Amy Johnson said...

Congratulations, Madeline! I could picture it all happening in your story. Mrs. Woo yelling. Everything. Chilling. Nice job! Look up, here come the balloons!

Since we're also celebrating Sam, her book, and the shout-out, I decided to go even bigger and got us (of course!) a marching band! Here it comes!

Timothy Lowe said...

Just ordered a copy of Sam's book as a celebration of all the stellar work here. Can't wait to read it. Congrats Madeline on a great entry!

Theresa said...

Great entry, Madeline, congratulations!

Jennifer, condolences on the loss of Elka and a big welcome to Ulrike. You always know when the time is right.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Madeline!

And I can't wait to read your book, Sam. It sounds amazing. By the way, what an incredible first line!!

And thank you very much, Claire and K OCD. That was very kind of you. Your words mean a lot to me. :)

Amy Johnson said...

Jennifer, I'm so sorry about Elka.

Claire Bobrow said...

Congrats, Madeline! That was a wonderful story - and terrifying! A well-deserved win.

Colin Smith said...

Congratulations, Madeline! And well done all the mentioneds!!

I have updated the Contest Spreadsheet in the Treasure Chest.

Linda Strader said...

Congrats to you, Madeline!

Cecilia Ortiz Luna said...


Congrats! Awesome piece!

Just Jan said...

Congratulations, Madeline! Great entry.

Janet, thank you for saying my entry was brilliant, but I'm not sure it was deserved. Glad you enjoyed it anyway.

Gypmar said...

Every time I read these entries I have to give myself a little pep talk that goes something like "flash fiction is a very specific skill, and just because you could never approach this level of genius doesn't mean you should give up writing altogether." Especially this week. Well done, all, and congrats to the well-deserving mentions, finalists, and winner!

Anonymous said...

No fair, these are making me cry.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Congrats Madeline! So spooky. And congrats to all the others mentioned.

John Davis Frain said...

Had to be tough to pick a winner from this lot. Not sure you could have gone wrong between a few of them.

Congrats, MMS, well done.

I have read Just Jan's a number of times now. I do see there are missing letters, but there appear to be added letters as well. If there's a hidden message there, it's still hidden from me. But I'm not giving up yet. If there's a hidden message, I'm determined to find it. Otherwise, I'll have to make up my own.

Any hint, Jan, will not be turned down. <<<--That's a hint, btw.

Craig F said...

Congrats Madeline, all the rest that caught the Queen's eye, all of those who entered and all the ships at sea.

A special congrats to Sam for getting published.

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

Glad I get to marvel at everyone's brilliance.

I miss being able to enter the contests, but life has me too busy. I'm working full-time at the day job to be able to have the money to send my daughter to Canberra on a school trip. (Canberra is the only reason I'm even commenting today.)

Everything else gets shoved into the weekend, including the writing career I refuse to give up.

I wish it brought in more money.

Alas, you cannot serve God and Mammon.

Just Jan said...

John Davis Frain: Your search is over...no hidden message...not sure it deserves to be called brilliant...unless the brilliance is in making people THINK there's a hidden message??