Sunday, October 25, 2020

Results from No One Moves to NY for the Weather flash fiction contest.

Results for No One Moves to NY for the weather contest.

You'll be forgiven for thinking I'd been kidnapped by aliens this past week.

I wasn't feeling 100%, one of those weird things where you're suddenly exhausted and have to go back to bed for 10 hours. I've had this before, I have no idea what it is, and it's a real pain in the planner.


Here are the notables again to refresh your memory.

Steve Forti

“Don’t be so xenophobic. Turn off Fox. Not everyone has to be like you.” 
“I get that, but there are some things you just cannot accept. Things that are morally wrong. We need a good cultural abluent to cleanse these people from our country.”

“Calm down, Earl. They’re not committing some official protocol deviation.”

“They are! And they’re spreading, like some mindless hive response. It’s sickening. This isn’t the toilet paper direction debate, or pronouncing bah-gle, or leaving one second on the microwave. No, I will not accept it. This goes too far. Nobody should bite string cheese like that!”

 We just don't use the word abluent often enough!

french sojourn

A cold wind blew through the galley as Jake closed the roof hatch. He shivered and checked the weather radar again, “Goodbye blue skies.”

Pounding on the bulkhead, he yelled, “Sammy, I’m gonna need help reefin’ the main.” He heard movement below and drew a filleting knife from a drawer.

The Pacific crossing had taken its toll aboard the Carbon Foxhole, tempers flared daily.

Sammy appeared, wearing his blue Yankee’s hat, and said, “C'mon Masshole!” as he headed out to the cockpit.

Jake followed and drew up behind him, sliced his throat, then pushed him overboard. “Now…How bout’ them Sox?”

Why a respectable Yankees fan would get on a boat with a Sox fan is of course asking me to suspend too much disbelief.

Timothy Lowe
So much depends upon the
Shivering shadows

So much depends upon
Oxazepam in the morning
Clozapine at night
Beds unmade
In the evening shade
My mother’s
Shivering smile

So much depends upon
That fucking word
The not-heard
Memory lost,
Years spent
By gutless words

(You never heard) like


So much depends upon
My father
His oxygen taken
Stolen like breath
From a


This is extraordianary, and all the more so for evoking William Carlos Williams.

Ash Complin
She entered the party, and the room went dysoxic. Her cold, somber expression froze each guest as she stalked past them like a fox pursuing a hen.

The victim stood wordlessly in the back of the hall, watching her approach. The once-blaring televisions on the wall seemed to quiet.

When she reached him, he felt a shiver go down his spine, and his blue tie seemed to tighten itself. At that moment, he would rather have stared Death in the face. Death's words would have been more pleasant.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Biden," she lamented. "We've lost."

Well, this is just plain old horror.
But that phrase "his blue tie seemed to tighten itself" is masterful.

Brent Salish

Another jolt to Alison’s hypothalamus. Muscles contracted. Tendons twitched.

And again, her head clamped, eyes fixed on the fox.

Sweet, loving silver fox. Luxuriant fur, two white paws.

Alison shouted, screamed blue murder, cried, peed.

The hard-eyed man set the animal in a carrier, fingered a switch.

Alison braced, but the apparatus released. She turned, vomited.

Her mind reached for dear Sox, her gold-eyed familiar - and she doubled over, retched, drooled bile onto the kitchen floor.

"Shiversion therapy." Stepdaddy as scold, his demonic voice and Jameson breath in Alison's ear. "Ain't gonna be no witchin' in my house."

I have a feeling this is really good, but I don't quite get it.

Madeline Mora-Summonte
She is his oxygen. His passion. His obsession. She just doesn't know it. Yet.

He is the shiver down her spine. The shadow sliding behind her on the sidewalk. The sly fox slinking in the woods near her house. The presence she senses but does not see.

He daydreams. His knife traces the cold blue roadmap of her veins. He licks the hot red river it leaves behind.

She pays attention now. Looks over her shoulder. Watches out her window.

He has gotten sloppy. She has gotten ready.

He just doesn't know it. Yet.

Utterly brilliant.

It's not quite a story, but this is stunning writing.

The car roared as it sped off. It had a foxy sound, she had to give him that, deep enough to give her shivers unrelated to the cold. And that turn radius was so...xyresic. Still, the neon blue muscle car made him look like he was compensating for something. He probably wasn't taking her rejection well. If he could just trust her, he'd see they'd all be happier this way.

Sighing, she shifted into the highest gear.

This is a very clever twist!

Tess Rook
Returning is easy, the blood-scent of the copper plated doorknob pulling me back to the cold chasm. Out of the blue-fir copse.

At the crest of the hill I stop. There is a light in the house. I didn’t leave one on when I left. The shadow of a fox skirts around me. A wide berth given.

Halloween adrenaline junkies inside, probably. Shivering teenagers, pushed to bravery by dares and desoxy chemical courage. But it’s a fool’s errand. I have never seen a ghost in the house, and I have lived there for over 300 years.
I love this!
What a great ending line!

Marie McKay
I've to feed the fish. Twice a day as instructed- the instructions are specific and numerous. I head next door, shivering, nauseous, oxygen overload, overbreathing. I should never have agreed to this. The fish needs a certain light, certain temperature, certain .... I open the bag.Throw the fox in the tank. The blue, cold water blushes with frenzy. But it's the speed that's unnerving. I stand back. Wait.

The fish nods. I've done well this time. But his planet-sized eyes say more. More.

This line is perfect: The blue, cold water blushes with frenzy. 


Faux fur sox and fox fur stoles held October chills at bay. Oh, not outside under skies blued with unshed sleet, but in Gabrielle’s beloved rent-controlled studio. But barely. Her nose never got warm until the heat came on mid-November.

Shivering substituted for gym workouts, fasciculating muscles generating a slight thermal bump, from freezing to merely cold.

But 2020, an anomaly, pushed Gabrielle to act. No more. You hear that everyone? No more.

Home, working furiously. Fueled by an inner kerosene lantern. Fingers flashing, fashioning.

Flannel, fleece, folded three-ply, bilateral ear straps.

Not Covid mask. Nose mask.

Not rebellion.


this is brilliant: Faux fur sox and fox fur stoles
So is this: under skies blued with unshed sleet

I don't quite the get the story though...



And RosannaM's appears to concern creating a solution to a cold nose (a nose mask! LIKE!) But I may be incorrect.



NLiu was right about my character's cold nose. Also wanted to convey that the no heat apartment was about the last straw for 2020 and she was taking back control. Wrote it in a hotel room in between kisses and hugs. (G-rated version!)

Colin Smith

I thought Bob was the perfect guest to take to the party. Smart, funny, friendly—never cruel or harsh. I’ve reconsidered my opinion. He was so xenophobic. Cold to everyone. Just sat in the corner, Bluetooth earphones in, staring shell-shocked like a cornered fox.

“Bob?” I said, when I finally got his attention.

“SHSHHSH!” he said. “Don’t let them see me!”

I started to object, but he glared at me.

His plan seemed to work. All night I tried to introduce people to him. They would look at Bob, look at me, and smile. As if there was nothing there.

ohhh, this is brilliant.
Love love love that twist.


-It is cold for octobre, he says.

-Yeah, I say, tugging my ice-blue scarf tighter. Perfect for pie-baking.

-Pas pour moi, he says. Without my gym, I must avoid the carbs.

-Sorry, I say, checking my ID for the hundredth time and scooting forward.

-I still walk, he says. The mask cannot stop me.

-Stops me sometimes, I say.

-Not today, he says.

-Not today, I agree.

Time passes comfortably, despite the toes numbing in my fuzzy orange fox sox.

-It is cold, he says, shivering.

Ahead the doorway yawns; something sparks.

-Only outside, I say, and we step in.

Given who wrote this, I'm sure it's brilliant but I don't quite get it.
I thought maybe they were going to vote, but the French threw me off.

Jennifer Rand

She shivers, not from the cold, but from the life-affirming moment. Everest's icy blue summit. She takes a cheeky thumbs-up photo and dances a jig.

Upon her descent she stops short. The queue down is a hundred climbers deep. Her guide's panicked words sink in. He'd turned back 800 feet before the top. "We can't continue-the wait's too long!"

She'd refused to turn back. Now she's trapped in the death zone running out of oxygen. SHIT!

She pens a note:

...forgive me, my darlings. OXOX

While she's wedged in line, her life and note drift away unnoticed.



"Cold blue shiver, please."

The barman raised an eyebrow. "Okay."
She watched him pour blue curacao and… mint syrup?? into a pint glass.
She sighed.
So, this was Oxford.
She liked the lectures but the rest? Disappointing. She'd been here seven months and not discovered one magic portal.
No wonder everyone drank.
The cocktail arrived: looked exciting. Tasted of fox piss.
But when the barman turned aside, she saw it, behind him: the door.
Ancient wood, rimed with ice. Carved with mysterious figures.
She leapt the bar, brimming with electric certainty--
It was a freezer.

brilliant line: brimming with electric certainty-- 




I re-read this again, a week later, and last week's choice still stands.

A lot of you thought so too: Timothy Lowe.

 Absolutely stunning entry.

Thanks to all of you who took the time to write and post entries.

I really love seeing your work.

 Tim, drop me a line and tell me what your reading inclinations are these days, and I'll get your prize in the mail.


Cecilia Ortiz Luna said...

Yay! Congrats, Tim!

Kudos also to all the other shortlisters. Very cool entries.

Tess Rook said...

Congratulations Tim! Well deserved!

Brigid said...

Congratulations, Tim!

Brenda said...

Well done, All. Hope you feel perky soon, Janet.

Timothy Lowe said...

Thanks all, and thanks Janet for the much-needed distraction.

In college, a professor informed our class that Williams was a country doctor. He had just finished a house visit in which a ten-year-old succumbed to sickness. He looked out the window at that precise moment and saw the red wheelbarrow, glazed with rainwater, beside those white chickens.

So much depends indeed. We lost my mother the night before Janet announced the contest, and once I saw the prompt words, that poem started talking to me loudly. Thanks so much for all your kinds words about the entry. Writing it was a necessary thing that morning.

Fearless Reider said...

Timothy Lowe, congratulations on your beautiful, honeest piece, and I'm sorry for the loss of your mother.

Colin Smith said...

Well done, Timothy! And congrats to the other finalists.

Thanks, Janet, for the shout-out! 😁

I have updated the Contest Spreadsheet in the Treasure Chest. Of course, there will be another update when this weekend's contest results go up.

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Congrats on the win, Timothy! And so sorry about the loss of your mum.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Tim, your entry was truly extraordinary. Well-done.

Just Jan said...

Congratulations on the well-deserved win, Tim. And many condolences over the loss of your mother.

KDJames said...

Tim, it feels weird to congratulate you for the win and at the same time offer condolences for your loss. You have both. I'm glad you listened to that voice. Such a powerful, authentic piece. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Jennifer Rand said...

Congratulations, Timothy! Your entry was truly moving. I'm sorry for your loss!

french sojourn said...

Timothy, my deepest condolences for you and your family. Your writing was so piercing and tender at the same time, beautifully done. Again my deepest condolences, stay strong and know you are family here.


NLiu said...

Congratulations, Tim. That was a great poem. And also, I'm so sorry about your mother. The absence of someone so close is just horrible. Grief is hard. Sending you hugs.

Ash Complin said...

Congratulations, Timothy! I'm sorry for you loss.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Timothy, congratulations on your win. Thank you for sharing your words with us while in the middle of all you were going through.

Janet, thank you for your wonderful comments on my story. They gave me a much needed boost.

Theresa said...

Great entries over these last two weeks. So fun to read. Congratulations to everyone!

Mallory Love said...

Congrats, Tim! Such a beautiful entry. I'm so sorry about your mother.