Dear all, many thanks for your patience with the delay in posting the results for Microcosms 20. At present we are only able to post the results from our judge Geoff Holme and also our Community Pick. Unfortunately, we are not able to include Kristen’s own choices on this occasion but hope to post them as an ‘addition’ at some point in the near future. Life has been difficult for Kristen of late, but we hope that putting these results out there eases the pressure somewhat.
A HUGE thanks to this week’s judge, Geoff Holme
Here’s what he had to say.
I’m glad I opted to judge this week; I found myself lacking inspiration for this one. Maybe more options on the “one-armed bandit” of plot elements might have produced a winning spin for me, but you guys all pulled something out of the bag – as usual. I’m sure I don’t need to say that judging a contest like this is totally subjective – if you didn’t get a mention this week, there’s always another chance next time.
And remember, we could really use some additional volunteers to help run the contest. Please let me know if you can help. I’ll try to make it as painless as possible.
All right, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…
Voima Oy – American Dream
This sounds like the synopsis of another Godfather sequel; a lot of backstory hinted at in such a short space. Well done, Voima.
A.J. Walker – Getting Serious
The games people play, eh? You certainly have a GSOH, AJ; but that goes without saying – you’re a Liverpool supporter! 🙂
Stella Kate – Politics v Godliness
If only Ronnie Barker were still with us – he might have written another classic sketch about “sick scandals”; you came up with a wonderful story on the same lines, Stella. And was ‘tomfoolery’ a hark back to the Cockney rhyming slang prompt of Microcosms 14 – another Steph Ellis contest?
Dave James Ashton – Starting Over
A great relocation of the Irish diaspora across the pond to an alien world, implied by just a few words here and there. The inter-generational sparring being amicably and affectionately resolved is a lovely ending.
Before we get to our winners, here are my favorite/favourite lines from this week.
“So, you wanna hear about the time I was pretending to be a nun?” grunted the dwarf. – Daisy Warwick.
“Nobody ever called me that, Agent. Not to my face.” – Bill Engleson
“I sold newspapers, right off the truck.” – Voima Oy
Barney laughed. It sounded like boulders grating. – A.J. Walker
Once you’re in “The Family,” there’s few ways out that don’t involve a funeral. – Leara Morris-Clark
‘It’s gin o’clock and still we’re sitting…’ – Steph Ellis.
“You trying to sell me something?” …“That depends. What are you trying to buy?” – Patrick Stahl
…she had mentioned God in Chapters 1, 4, 7 and 16 and He hadn’t requested to read it. – Stella Kate
“Mark my words, work never gets any easier, lad.” – Dave James Ashton
And now, without further ado, I present to you the winners of Microcosms 20.
(insert drumroll here)
There was a three-way tie this week, with A.J. Walker, Stella Kate and Steph Ellis all gaining equal votes.
A.J. Walker – Getting Serious
Barney was cubic; all straight lines and right angles. With his brick-dust hair and freckles he looked like he was hewn from Old Red Sandstone.
Then there was Elena. Half his height and constructed with curves – all in the right places. Even her auburn hair was wavy.
You wouldn’t put them together, but you didn’t need to; fates’ had.
‘A pint of that reclaimed acid you call scrumpy,’ said Barney, to Paul. ‘And a Lambrini.’
’‘Who’s the scrumpy for?’ said Paul.
Barney laughed. It sounded like boulders grating.
‘The Lambrini is for the lady.’
Paul had seen them together four times now. A long-term relationship for Barney.
Barney chinked his pint carefully against the slender wine glass.
‘To the next month!’ he said, furtively looking around.
‘Cheers! Everything okay?’
‘Erm, well… I think now we’re kinda serious I need to confess something.’
‘Okay. Go on.’
‘Well, I’m not a doorman. I’m really a barista.’
Elena placed her glass down.
‘A barrister, really?’
‘Yes, I make coffee all day.’
‘Ah! A barista.’ said Elena, lengthening the “aaa” to fade.
‘Thank fuck for that, Barn. I’ve got a confession. I’m not a PA. I’m a fixer with the Banucci’s.’
With all their cards on the table they became even happier.
Stella Kate – Politics v Godliness
Politician / Memoirs of a Nun / Comedy
When her letter arrived he was surprised she hadn’t written ‘confidential’ all over it. His private secretary and aide had both read it, twice, before he had. It was a simple note saying she was having her memoirs published by a top house and hoped he didn’t mind she had fleetingly mentioned him in Chapters 5, 8 and 15 and he figured heavily in the epilogue. It took a few days before he realised that Sister Augustine from the Convent of Lesser Saints was Aggie Smith, the girl with legs up to her armpits, cascading red hair, the greenest eyes this side of the Irish Sea and an amazing penchant for tomfoolery.
He begged to see a copy before publication but Sister Augustine said that would be inappropriate she had mentioned God in Chapters 1, 4, 7 and 16 and He hadn’t requested to read it.
Breathing a sigh of relief he was the new Prime Minister. No hint of scandal or whiff of corruption had reached the tabloids.
Sipping a huge glass of the finest red wine Aggie smiled. He’d always been easy to dupe, the large cheque safely deposited. Why would he think she could ever write a book when a note to the milkman was beyond her!
Steph Ellis – Le(s) Miserable(s)
Elements: politician, Les Miserables, poem
It was just a moment of pure madness
Getting my name on that voting slip
And now I find the late night sittings
Are enough to drive a man to drink
And don’t get me started on the speeches
Never heard such utter tosh
The relic spouting on the floor
Is from the land that time forgot
The benches, they are bloody hard
Play havoc for a man with piles
No longer regular, my daily motion
Has become another bleedin’ trial
Point of order, Mr Speaker
Our Honourable Friend has a darker side
A slave to the whip, I’ve seen the pics
Not a pretty sight, I think you’ll find
Oh God, now you’ve called a cutie
I recognise her … oh … oh yes
Took offense at some piffling comment
Slapped me hard when I ‘brushed’ her dress
It’s gin o’clock and still we’re sitting
My tie is tight and my throat is dry
The weekend has already started
And now’s the time to do or die
The Speaker’s called me, I’ll make it brief
Rise swiftly to my benumbed feet
Plead ill-health, demand my freedom
Hope not to see you all next week.
Leara Morris-Clark – Contingency Plan
A number of mafioso stories this week: for me this was the stand-out one. I found the voice of the MC most convincing, and the divergent choice of priest or mobster as a career path in an Italian neighbourhood was subtly implied. Plus, there were three lines that I had to choose from for my favourite.
A great piece of storytelling, Leara – you definitely made the most of the extra word count.
I stopped at Sacred Heart again on my way to Ma’s for dinner. I felt the need to confess more often lately.
I kinda had a thing for Ma’s hairdresser, Lorraine. She was sweet as pie and could be feisty as a wet cat. She made me think all domestically, ya know, like settling down and such. Currently, my job wasn’t good for that kinda future.
Father O’Malley knew me since I was a kid. I felt his condescension heavy in the confessional. “Father, forgive me for I have sinned. It has been one week since my last confession.”
It seemed a conflict of interest to tell my sins to a priest whose brother was the mob boss that happened to be my employer, but he said he is bound to no man, only to God.
Once you’re in “The Family,” there’s few ways out that don’t involve a funeral. So, he likes to remind me that I shoulda made better choices in my youth, and doing the right thing is a hard path.
Since getting out required a funeral, I was glad O’Malley wasn’t bound to any man as I confessed my latest sin. I felt kinda guilty telling him that his brother was now swimming with the fishes.
- A winner’s badge on the site
- An invitation for inclusion in the anthology (with a note that your story was selected as a winner)
- A Kindle copy of Flashdogs: An Anthology. If you already have the book or don’t have a Kindle, etc., you are free to choose another book of similar value or donate the cost of the book to World Reader, The Book Bus, or another literacy-related charity. Please contact me with the country you live in and the e-mail address you’d like me to send the Kindle book to.
Additionally, you are each invited to judge the next round of Microcosms. Please let me know if you are interested!