Geoff back again – this time with my judge’s hat (wig?) on.
It seemed like a good idea for a contest when I first thought of it… but the requirement to keep the famous last lines short, in order to fit the Microcosms one-armed bandit of elements, meant that some of them weren’t quite as famous as I would have hoped. If you are still puzzling over which novels they came from, take a look at my late, just-for-fun entry in Microcosms 22.
I hope that the larger word count was to your liking; with a simple maximum limit, those of you who like the challenge of being restricted to 100 words, more or less, still had that option.
Once again, you guys proved that you are up for a challenge; you managed to make my task even harder than the last time I judged. But, after long deliberation, here is my adjudication …
AJ Walker – Hello, I Love You
I liked the fact that AJ interpreted Big Brother as the reality TV show; I thought that I might go down that route, if I were entering for real. And the fact that Mr Mojo Risin’ of The Doors is buried in Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris is subtly woven into the story and the title. The main character seems to be a stalker, but he finally meets the object of his desire by fluke – or is it destiny? Let’s hope things work out and he’ll “never walk alone”!
Caitlin Gramley – One Love, Foerever
The story is definitely set in a cemetery, but the fact that it is in Paris is neatly implied by the inscription on the grave only at the very end. The line “Why did it feel like an ending every time they were together” foreshadows the nature of their relationship revealed at the end. A true romance that transcends death.
2nd Runner Up
Stephanie Ellis – Black Heart
What more can I say? Another accomplished, dark offering from our resident horror hotshot! Nice use of vernacular dialogue too.
1st Runner Up
Meg Kovalik – Paris In The Springtime
Loved the creative introduction of the comma in the opening line to change the meaning, and there’s some great use of description to give the atmosphere of the cemetery. More understated references to fellow inmates at Pere Lachaise – Jim (Morrison) and Oscar (Wilde).
Holly Geely – What was the word for rich people who’d lost it? “…eccentric.”
Meg Kovalik – A churlish chattering of birds broke his trance
Bill Engleson – Here, take my flashlight and shine that baby right on it, Frankie. It’s a doozy.
Caitlin Gramley – Why did it feel like an ending every time they were together?
Steph Ellis – Insomnia, he said, sent him to many strange places. I didn’t think it was the insomnia but I kept my mouth shut.
Stella Turner – If I was lucky and Eve was behind the counter I’d get spotty dick or treacle tart for pudding.
A J Walker – ‘Met a guy who wants to wisk me to Paris! Get in!!’
Geoff Leppard – Why do newly metamorphosed zombies crack their fingers? He’s lucky that he only loses four. I hope he’s left handed.
Leara Morris-Clark – On his second tour, he met an IED.
Geoff Holme – The service is at one. Me ‘n’ Tommy are pallbearers.”
(OK, that last one’s a little self-indulgent maybe, but a guy can have a favourite line from his own work, can’t he?)
That leaves only the pleasurable task of presenting to you the winners of Microcosms 22.
(insert drumroll here)
Bill Engleson – Copper Bob Penny
Word Count: 300 on the job injuries
I carry a lot of scars. / Police station / Comedy
“I carry a lot of scars, Frankie. Goes with the job. Some you can see, one especially… if I tilt my head upwards. Yeah, this one, right under my chin. Here, take my flashlight and shine that baby right on it, Frankie. It’s a doozy.”
“I can’t see it, Grandpa.”
“See my finger? Follow my wrinkly old finger. There. I’m touching it.”
“Uh huh. Well, maybe I can. Sort of.”
“You still having trouble seeing it? Gotta get your eyes tested. You’re spending too much time in front of screens, boy. Gotta get out in the sun more. Not looking at it directly, mind. Fresh air’s good for the old eyeballs.”
“Dad’s gonna take me fishing…someday,” he says.
“I’m sure he will. Someday. So where was I…?”
“Scars, Gramps! Under your chin.”
“Right, well, it was a doozy. It’s maybe melted back into my evolving second chin.”
“So, how’d ya get it?”
“Getting to that. I was fresh out of the Academy. Green as grass. Beat cop. Third day on the job. A little more svelte then, I suppose. Back in those days, garbage cans were mostly metal. Hazards, every one of them. One day, this hoity-toity lady was getting out of her Rolls, her Chihuahua jumped out of her arms and scrambled down an alley. I went in hot pursuit, tripped over the damn dog and slammed my chin on a garbage can lid.”
“That caused the scar?”
“One of ‘em. While I was sprawled there, damn dog chewed my Achilles.”
“That why you limp, Gramps?”
“Yup. That scar got me permanently assigned to a desk job at Old Station House 37.”
“That’s sad, Gramps.”
“I’m a glass half-full guy, Frankie.”
“Never mind. Did I tell you about the time I sat on a box of thumb tacks…?
Stella Turner – Sausage or Die
I been there before. / Police station / Drama
Word Count: 284
“Spotty Dick” enhances the portrayal of a innocent ten-year-old with a tenuous grip on reality that we are given in the first part of the story. “That was in 1976 the police made their own rules.” seems, with retrospect, to have a double-edged meaning. The second part takes on a darker aspect, the main character now fully-grown and struggling with his demons. (For once Stella’s “hit and miss” punctuation did not jar with your pedantic judge in this monologue of a schizophrenic; in fact, it added to the feeling of agitation.)
I been there before. My mum said it was my second home. If she didn’t know where I was she’d ring up Sergeant Ben and ask if I was in their canteen. I’d be eating sausage and chips like my life depended on it. If I was lucky and Eve was behind the counter I’d get spotty dick or treacle tart for pudding. If Inspector Tranter was about I’d have to dip down under the table until he’d gone. Heard him say I was a nutter and shouldn’t be encouraged. The others would laugh and say I was harmless just a boy with ambitions to be a police officer. That was in 1976 the police made their own rules. Now you just get ignored if you ask to see the canteen something to do with security and health and safety my mum says.
She doesn’t know I sit in my bedroom and talk to others. We plan and plot and one day I’ll be Chief of Police when the revolution comes. Liam says I have to prove my worth, Rashid says he has a job for me to do. Luigi says it needs to be spectacular to make the world look up. George tells me how to prime the backpack. I’ve forgotten to buy half the ingredients but I don’t tell them that. I stuff the backpack with best Cumberland sausages and leave it at the side of the chairs in the reception.
When they come looking for me my Mum will explain about 1976 and how I wanted to be a policeman. They’ll see a fifty year old man and call me a nutter again. But I wont care I saved their lives.
Congratulations to this week’s winners. Additionally, you are both invited to judge the next round of Microcosms. Please let us know if you are interested!