Monday, December 05, 2022

12/4 flash fiction contest results (finally!)



Thanks to everyone who took the time to write and post entries. It was such a pleasure to see your work. I've missed these contests!


Herewith the entries that caught my eye.





“For the love of Mike, Doug, he can’t fly!” said Les Nessman Jr.


The yellow-helicopter blades pulsed.


“He’s fine,” came from above. “He’s got feathers. Sister’s Imaginarium paid for his stunt.”


“He’s going to buy the farm if he jumps.” Les peered up. “My dad tried this. It didn’t work.”


“It’s okay. He bought a customized insurance policy from Liberty Mutual.”


“Which is?” asked Les.


“Accidental death, and I'm the beneficiary." Doug kicked Kevin Emu from the chopper. “Next time, don’t object to LiMu’s marriage!” Cupping his mouth and shouting, “Watch out, Les!”


On the ground, Les exclaimed, “Oh, the humanity!”


Still one of the greatest episodes of all time!




Karen McCoy


The canoeing trips with my family are a more frequent occurrence. My sister, the daring one, is reluctant to steer today; says her hair is falling out. Little brother is at the helm instead, and my paddle swings fruitless while he drives the canoe into shore. I lunge, ready to thwack him with my oar but stop when father pulls me back with love. Mother says, “Chill. Johnny takes it far more hard.” My oar is now lighter than a feather, family frozen like mosquitoes emulsified in amber, showing me what life could have been. If only I’d shown up.



ohhh! I'm not sure I quite understand what's going on, but if this was the first part of a query, I'd surely want to read more.




Steve Forti


While other clutches wasted their days in what she called the Outback Imaginarium, Mom made us ready. Trained us for the day the Aussies would return. “This time we can’t merely resist. Eradication is the only way.”


Still, the day came too soon. Even with the knife at her long, feathered throat, Mom remained defiant. Her last command, drilled like the familiar tone of her zuffalo: vengeance. There may be far more of them, but this is our land. The human who killed Mom would be the first to die in the Second Emu War, but far from the last.





Love learning new words!




Colin Smith


I touch the dry blood on the feather scarf. It’s all I have of my sister after they took her. I can hear her voice: "Emu feathers." Still don't know what that is. Or where she got this thing. Black market no doubt.


When darkness falls, I slip out the back. After miles of farmland, I reach the government building. I can taste my fear, but my sister’s love is with me.


I take out my only weapon. The paint runs down the wall, but the words are clear:


bù zìyóu wúnìng sǐ


Give me liberty or give me death.


I'm a dunderhead; I don't get this. Can someone explain "as if to a young child or a golden retriever*."

from one of my all-time favorite movies Margin Call.




Michael Seese


The life of an emu is nothing to flight home about.


That's a little joke I tell myself to ease the sting of having feathers, but only vestigial wings. Even Henrietta, that annoying little clucker, sometimes takes off and alights on the roof, just to show she can.


My sister Ostrid tries to lend a sympathetic ear. But she's so tall, it's not like I can whisper into it.


How I'd love to soar, a far more glorious existence than scavenging for scraps, earthbound and ashamed.


At least I don't taste like chicken, I thought as they led Henrietta away.



As always, Michael Seese makes me laugh out loud.

This is not really a story, but I don't care.



Here are the three entries that really stood out for me. Each one produced an emotional reaction. Either laughter or gasps! Either way they reached off the page and grabbed me.





Wish List


Farmer’s Daughter

5’ 2” frame - featherweight

Sister Act

Two big cups

Black underwear


Pert (but demure)

Blender- but flashy




“Jason, about your Christmas List.”




“They don’t make Pert Shampoo anymore.”




“And 'black underwear' - do you want boxers or briefs?”


“Mom, you woke me up.”


“You need to be specific if you expect to get what you want, love.”


“I want a MacBook.”


“That’s not even on your list. “Farmer’s Daughter” - DVD? The wine? And stiletto- is that a knife? Is the featherweight frame for your bike?”


“Whoa - wrong list. Erase that. I’ll resend.”



This is wonderful.







Bethany Joy


Friends, rivals, comparing notes. Sipping cocktails sweet as nectar from stemmed glasses.


"He swept me off my feet. Literally!" He waved a token from our ex-lover. “Isn’t it divine?”


"A feather?" She laughed. "Not impressed. He showered me with gold."


"I win," said L. "Our precious daughters." One sister outshone the other, but still L had a point.


All three looked at me. Far meaner, my experience. "I don't kiss and tell."


They booed. I blushed.


Hell, I couldn't even admit to myself I fell for Zeus disguised as an emu.


What a lovely off-beat look at that notorious cad Zeus!






Sister opens the door. I hop out.

“Can’t you sleep in a bed like a normal kid?”

“It’s cozy in there.”


I get skittles on my Captain Crunch.

“Tell me again, how’d we defeat her?”


“I defeated her. You…didn’t do anything.”

“And then we ran?”


“As fast as we could?”

“Wasn’t far. Maybe a mile.”


We have some music and we bake cupcakes.

I can’t eat cookies anymore.


Late at night I go back.

The house is mostly gone now ‘cuz mice and foxes and stuff.

The old coal oven is cold.


I didn’t always have gumdrop eyes.




And this entry just took my breath away! A lovely twist on an old story.

This one takes the cake (sorry) this week! Luralee, if you'll let me know your preferred mailing address and what kind of book appeals to you, I'll send you a prize!




Karen McCoy said...

Luralee's was my favorite as well! Congrats!

Karen K. said...

Luralee, wonderful creative story! Congrats!

Bethany Joy said...

I had lots of fun reading all the entries and I got a chill from the last line of Luralee's! Thanks so much for the kind comment on my story, Janet. It made my day

Steve Forti said...

Congrats Luralee!
Also kudos to SD for making me laugh.
Good to see these back on.

Colin Smith said...

Congratulations, Luralee! And thanks for the shout-out, Janet, even though you didn't get what was going on--I take that as a compliment.

I read that Chinese students were spray-painting 不自由毋寧死 ("Give me liberty or give me death") on the walls of universities in solidarity with the freedom protests currently going on in that country. That was my inspiration for my little tale of a brother's act of defiance in memory of his sister.

The contest spreadsheet is up to date in the Treasure Chest.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Wow, loved Luralee's. Congrats. These were fun. Add an emu and things get interesting.

NLiu said...

Congrats, Luralee! Gumdrop eyes!!

Really enjoyed all these entries. I don't know how Your Sharkliness manages to choose just one.

Luralee said...

Thank you Janet! And everyone who commented.
S.D. King’s entry made me laugh.
Karen McCoy’s sounds like the beginning of a ghost story. I would read more too.

I love these contests.
The prompt words really stretch my creativity. I seem to need them,
though I struggled a bit with this one. It was going to be much darker.

S.D.King said...

A big congratulations to Luralee! It took me a minute to figure out and then a big smile!
And thank you Janet, for the mention. In the solitary world of writing, every bit of feedback is cherished!

Kregger said...

Congratulations Luralee,
Ms. Reid's last three entries were also my favorite.
I'll include Michael Seese's in the group as a personal favorite.

Timothy Lowe said...

Forgot how talented y'all were! Great entries, and congrats Luralee. I knew your entry was the winner when I read it on Sunday!

Just Jan said...

Congratulations, Luralee! I loved your story.
My other favorites are from Michael Seese and S.D King.
Enjoyed reading all the entries.

Beth Carpenter said...

Great story, Luralee! Congratulations!

Cecilia Ortiz Luna said...

Congrats Luralee!

Theresa said...

Great entries and congratulations to Luralee!

Amanda Capper said...

Congrats Luralee, so good!

John Davis Frain said...

Wait, what?! Grrrrr, I hate this busy season in my day job.

Congratulations, Luralee. Wonderful job!

Shah Kou said...

I really enjoyed reading all of these entries. I've always found flash-fiction challenging myself, and admire you all for nailing it.
Well done everyone.