It was REALLY difficult to narrow the field to five.
High in the Hollywood Hills, billionaires are a dime a dozen. Many earned their money through perfectly acceptable means, such as going all Elon then price gouging the world. Others profited through more shadowy endeavors.
The bottle blonde—peroxide and whiskey—dropped on me a bombshell of an offer.
"My richer-than-god dumber-than-dirt husband is testing his home-built airplane Saturday. Make it look like an accident, and you'll get a cut."
Pity that the signature on her ill-advised "miscellaneous expenses" check was carboned to two other documents.
And a power of attorney.
Life is good here in the Hills.
I like how the story curls back on itself.
It's a nice twist.
And Michael Seese is a deft word wrangler of course!
Blonde curls. Pressed khaki uniform. 127 Badges. 21,566 boxes of cookies sold. That’s billionaire equivalent for Junior Russian Girl Scouts. Her prize? Present cookies to the President.
Marching Bands. Bunting fluttering. Shadowy bodyguards forming a perfect semi-circle on the podium.
She stepped up. Smiling, she held out a box of home baked cookies. He took two and patted her on the head while cameras flashed. No one noticed her ruffled blue and yellow anklets.
It would be almost 12 hours until the bombshell hit. She would be high in the Ural Mountains by then, practicing wilderness life badges 26-54.
I'm not a big fan of Girl Scout cookies, but that's a soapbox topic for another day.
This is nicely subtle.
Dad was right; Evvie should've been a copyeditor. Marketing influencer was all dreary sponcon and shadowy TikTok contests for creepy billionaires.
This promised world-changing bombshell turned out to be a slogan contest for 'the perfect blond roast', which the world needs like another indie hole in the head. Still, $1000 and a tropical vacation was worth it. Evvie only grumbled a little that 2019 marketers got salaries.
It was the surprise of her life when she showed up to collect her prize. It was 'the perfect blonde roast', and she should never have accepted that free dye job from L'Oreal.
Ah yes, the perils of peroxide.
Shadowy TikTok is a nice unexpected turn of phrase.
Meeting of the Banished, Craig F’s bar, 10am
Present: Colin, JDF, NLiu, Dena, Craig F.
Colin: JDF is right, I have a clever escape route out of here.
(Excited chatter from group)
Colin: Janet has her eagle eye on character cliches. Let’s mix it up, slip out when she’s chomping elsewhere. Take a cliché and re-pair.
NLiu and Craig F.: We’re shadowy and blonde.
(They side-step a renegade cop and flee)
Dena and JDF: We’re a bombshell life.
(They abscond past a beautiful female)
Colin: That leaves me with billionaire and…
(Realises he’s alone)
Colin: ...an almost perfect plan.
The only thing wrong with this otherwise perfect entry is that if you aren't in the know about Carkoon and the players here, you wouldn't understand what's going on.
The day Jenny turned ten, M.A.S.H. dreamed up her perfect man. Blonde. A billionaire. (He had to be a billionaire on account of the mansion they’d live in).
She’d be an architect, busy drawing up plans. He’d be Bruce Wayne, minus that whole shadowy alter-ego. (Bats were definitely not her thing).
The day she turned twenty, Jenny married him lakeside at the country club. (Too good to be true).
His fist dropped the bombshell a week later. (Followed by his boot).
Suddenly, Jenny realized she’d never had a reason to pick up a bat before. (Now, she had a billion).
I like the two meanings of bat being a key element of the story.
There were a lot of terrific entries that weren't quite stories.
I had to gnaw on this for a good long while, but the prize goes to S.D. King this week.
S.D., if you'll drop me a line with your mailing address and what kinds of books you like, I'll get a prize in the mail to you.
Thanks to all of you who took the time to write and enter the contest.
It's always a pleasure reading your work.