Monday, March 04, 2019

The Stymie Steve Forti Flash Fiction Contest RESULTS!

This flash fiction contest was the perfect diversion for this weirdly cold, then sunny, then snowy and sunny, then cold weekend.  Thanks to all of you who took the time to write and enter.

Words I had to look up: scry (Kregger)

Special recognition to Lennon Faris for a superb illustration of a reverse poem.

Special recognition to Cecilai Ortiz Luna for her hat-tip with a twist to The Godfather!

Special recognition to Cynthia Mc for her superb use of a prompt word:
"For tis sim...o shoot!"

Special recognition for CED, for an entry I didn't understand at all but I think is pretty
funny if you do.

The Duchess of Yowl award for good taste and acumen: Will McPhail

Special recognition to french sojourn for a great line
Florida, it’s not the heat, it’s the stupidity.

that I think is part of a story that holds more truth than we might realize

I'm fairly certain FlashFriday's entry is brilliant, but I didn't get it.
I think it's something about Snow White??

And the main event, the headline in tonight's Thunderdome of Words: Steve Forti

“I need to suck life’s marrow. A reason to exist beyond mere mimicry. There’s so much I haven’t done yet. I wanna build an igloo, see the northern lights. Develop custom AR. Zip a new cable across Viamala Gorge.”

“Sounds ambitious. I’m terrified to even switch a vocation.”

“Why not? Live a little. Let’s do G’s,, pull G’s, whatever, in a fighter jet. Tell me, where do you most want to explore? I say some ancient Roman fort.”

“ISS. I mos
tly dream of space.”

“Perfect! What’s stopping us?”

“Barbara’s staff meeting in ten minutes?”

“Oh. Yeah… Meet you in there?”

and I toss in the towel, tilt the king, surrender the fort, beaten so completely I don't have words to describe.

Timothy Lowe is clearly giving Mr. Forti a run for his money:

You call that a contest?

Horrible grammar!


d zero talent!

Poorly encrypted prompt words!

Complete havoc!

Some war! Hey, what do you call someone who creates her own personal Waterloo?

nt packing!


What’s his prize? You know, the winner? Forti?

SSI, mo
st likely.


You heard me.


Turns out, flash fiction doesn’t pay very well!


What about the shark?

You mean, the underdog?


You didn’t hear? She’s going on SSI, too.

How come?

She went blind reading entries!

*Statler and Waldorf slapping backs in the balcony*

*Cue Muppets Theme*

Here is the short list of standouts

Jennifer Delozier
Love, Jim Jones

November 18th, 1978

Cyanide tastes like marzipan, if you close your eyes. While you cry your last tears, the almond-scented confection wages war on your Temple, wreaks havoc on your lungs, and loosens your bowels. As rabid dogs foam at the mouth, so shall you. You’ll become one with God.

How do I know? Not by personal experience, of course. I’m preaching this lesson, after all, and not even a reverend survives Rapture by cyanide. A friend’s sacrifice showed me the way. So drink your Kool-Aid, my loves, and, eyes closed, tell me—was he right?

I don't think you can parse this out to what works/what doesn't. Or point to any one thing and say "this is a perfect sentence."

It lets the reader figure out what's going on and what it means.  
And in the end, it does the only thing a story needs to: it stays with you.
It's the kind of writing that Shirley Jackson did in The Lottery.
Very plain.
Very tidy.

And you're never the same.

Richelle Elberg
“The fuck was he doing out there? Shouldn’ta been out there!”
I stare at the dead coyotes, the dead man—the worst of the dogs.
I cry, convincingly I think.
“Hard ta say who hit him,” Billy says. “It was havoc.”
“Call the sheriff,” Jack says. “Hell, it’s just a hunting accident.”

Home, Sheila bounds out of the kitchen, three beers in hand, her long hair loose, gleaming.
“Where’s Dale?” she asks, looking past me.
I explain. My wife’s smile fades; she collapses. Wails.
I hold her through the unwarranted reaction.
“Hon, come with me to the next coyote hunt.”

 I love this cause it takes a minute to figure out what's going on.
I love that kind of subtlety.

The War of the Worlds started the day after I asked my girlfriend to marry me.

“Cathedral mass,” said one mother, crying.

“Backyard ceremony,” the other sniffed.

“Seven course meal.”

“Vegetarian pot luck!”

“Vegas?” I asked.

“Islands,” my fiancée corrected.

So we cut loose and made our vows, serenaded by a pack of stray dogs and a justice of the peace.

“Blissful.” I sighed.

“Magical,” my wife agreed.

Back home, havoc reigned. One father, an attorney, scrutinized the marriage license. The other, a dermatologist, bemoaned our tans.

Nine months after our planets collided?

Peace treaty. 

This just cracked me up.

No "Hello, Osen" today. Instead Father greeted me with, "The barn has scorch marks!"
I waited, face impassive. Marzipan wouldn't melt in my mouth.
He'd blame marauders. But if Father wanted guard dogs, I'd object. Not around Bertha. I scratched the cat's fur as she twined through my legs.
Then Father surprised me. "It wasn't marauders."
What did he know?
"Arson. It was arson," he said.
My unvoiced cry of fear dissolved. Father didn't suspect the true cause: Bertha vocalizing. Like all growing dragons, attempted fortissimos created flames.
Someday I'd tell Father the truth about my cat.
Just not today.

 Her Grace the Duchess of Yowl has decreed this entry to be one of the finalists.

The reasons we agree of course are different.
She's glad you realize cats are mighty creatures.

I think it's funny.

We both agree it's the winner.

K, if you'll email me with your preferred mailing address I'll get a prize to you.

And Steve Forti?? 
We shall meet again my friend!!!




Kitty said...

Congrats to K! As usual, the stories were great. I was especially bowled over by Lennon Faris's reverse poem.

KDJames said...

Congratulations, K! I loved that story too.

All the stories mentioned were fabulous. Well done, everyone. I especially admire how Steve Forti manages to flawlessly execute the word calisthenics AND tell an engaging story. That's talent. Imagine what he could do without the additional requirements.

Lennon, that was so impressive. I doubt I could ever manage one of those. Kudos.

I'm on my way to bed after a long night of writing (getting back into it is my excuse for not entering this time), but I had to stop in to say:

Hank, I am so sorry. I've seen the photos you shared on FB and just assumed you all were having a lovely, if somewhat subdued, family reunion. I didn't realize-- well, I just didn't realize, until I read your entry. My older sister has battled two different kinds of cancer in the past year, successfully so far, and my heart is breaking for you and your family. Virtual hugs and love to all of you.

Aphra Pell said...

I have no idea how Janet chooses - so much brilliance. Congratulations to K - I want a cat-dragon now.

Steph Ellis, Jennifer Delozier, and Mallory Love all did the gut punch for me, while 2Ns and Melanie Sue Bowles both made me sniffle.

And Kathy Joyce - "he added he reagents uniquely" is such a good line when you've worked in a university chemistry lab!

Hank - much love from down under.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Congrats on the win, K! Well done, everyone!

Nom de plume said...

Well done, K! So many wonderful stories all around. I adored FlashFriday's take on the Evil Queen.

Colin Smith said...

Well done, K!

I've updated the Contest Spreadsheet on the Treasure Chest.

Lennon Faris said...

Ah, these really gave me all the feels.

Congrats, K! Clever story and well-deserved! Congrats to all the mentions.

CED's cracked me up. I think the entry was peeking into the operating system (OS) inside Steve Forti's brain. It was possibly the most geeky entry I have ever seen. And to think it was written after Steve's, banking on the fact that Steve would post early.

And Madeline Mora-Summonte's from the unmentioned entries - the unknown was terrifying. Melanie's made me tear up. And so many others! They were just all so impressive I can't even list them all.

Thanks for the mention, Janet. And thank you, Kitty and KDJames (and Nicola!) for your encouraging words!

Hank - hugs from this part of the world, too.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Congrats K. Marvelous!

I was not able to even read entries until this morning. What a blissful (or blastful?) way to begin my week. Thank you all and thank you Janet for the contest. It moved my Monday onto a high note.

Kregger said...

Congrats to K. Cats rule!
As a transplanted Floridian, I'd like to echo Hank and say, "Well, Flori-duh!"

NLiu said...

Congrats everyone!

K, I LOVED the dragon-cat! (This may be for the uber-geeks, but if anyone else loves Totero, its name means “Dragon-Cat”. Probably not where you got your inspiration from but it made the entry even more fun for me.)

Steve Forti said...

Congrats K! Well done. I think I've figured out my mistake all these years. I haven't been targeting my woo attempts at the DoY. Gotta keep that in mind.

Timothy Lowe - that was awesome, and nice work with the prompts. I'm always flattered when people weave me into their stories. Seriously, brings me a smile every time. And CED, as I already told you, that was a riot.

Katja said...

Congrats, K!

I'd like to give Aphra Pell a shout out - I liked yours a lot; resonated with me!


Richelle Elberg said...

Congrats K, and thanks Janet for the mention! These contests are so fun.

Claire Bobrow said...

Congratulations, K! Excellent entry - loved the cat-dragon.

So much good stuff in this contest. Nice work, everyone!

Cecilia Ortiz Luna said...

Congrats, K! A well deserved win.

Among those that weren't mentioned, Madison's entry cracked me up and Kate Outhwaite's gave me chills.

Hank, sending virtual hugs you way.

Just Jan said...

Congratulations, K--what a fun entry! I also take my hat off to all those who managed to use fortissimos and marzipan in their entries. Thanks again for another great contest!

RosannaM said...

Congrats K! I loved the secret dragon. These were a fun lot to read this time around. The last contest I managed to write, but then was snowed in without power and missed the deadline. It has been a weird winter.

I wish I could have taken the harder challenge of including the extra stymie-Forti words, but there was no way I could work them into the story I was trying to tell.

It was a nod to the documentary that just won an Oscar. Free Solo. It has left me pretty gobsmacked with awe. Check out the trailer or an interview with the filmmakers or the TED talk by Alex Honnold. And the movie, of course!

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

So much good stuff. Congratulations K. Well deserved.

I loved so many of these entries. Timothy Lowe - Hilarious!

Hank... Hugs to you. Big hugs.

Leslie said...

Mucho congrats to K, and all the super creative people who entered!

CED said...

Congratulations to K and all the mentions! So much fun stuff. Who knew fortissimos would bring out the best in everyone? (Janet knew, that's who.)

Lennon I just might use your comment as a pull quote on my short bio: "possibly the most geeky entry I have ever seen". =)

french sojourn said...

Well done K, enjoy the win you definitely deserve it.

Lennon, yours took me over the moon, loved it.

Thank you all for thew kind thoughts, I couldn't really focus on anything else for the contest. Give those you love a smile, they already know you love them.

Cheers, Hank

Timothy Lowe said...

Congrats, K! Excellent work this week, everyone!

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

Congrats K.

Melanie Sue Bowles, I understand too well.

Hank, oh Hank, my God man. Saline on my lashes for you my friend.

Marie McKay said...

Congratulations,K. Well done to all the special mentions and finalists.What a talented bunch!

Jennifer Delozier said...

Congrats, K - I, too, loved your entry. And thank you, Janet. Making my first short list was heady enough, but then a comparison to Shirley Jackson? I swear I swooned with astonishment and delight.
So many great entries this time...

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Lennon - thank you!

K said...

Thank you all very much for your kind words!

Mallory Love said...

Congrats K! Excellent work. Kudos to Steve Forti too for being so great at these competitions that he gets a contest named after how to thwart him. Loved reading all the entries. The dying dog ones made me cry. Also, thanks Aphra Pell. I really enjoyed your entry too.

Craig F said...

Congratulation K.

Hank my condolences, even though you implied I was stupid because I love Florida.

Jennifer Mugrage said...

Sorry I'm late to the party.

These are amazing as always.

I am, of course, blown by away by both Steve's and Timothy's entries. When I saw those prompt words, I thought, "No one can work in marzipan or fortissimo except as themselves." Boy was I wrong!

I kinda feel sorry for you guys. You are so brilliant, you must be bored out of your minds most of the time.

But I've got a soft spot for N Liu's entry. Feeling sorry for the dogs because they had to eat Jezebel!