Thank you to all who braved the elements (see what I did there?) in Microcosms 31. We had a reasonable number of submissions once again this week, but we always welcome more. Please keep returning to Microcosms, and spread the word about this contest among your followers and friends.
Please don’t forget that Microcosms exists primarily to provide a platform for the flash fiction community to hone their skills, and secondarily to give entrants a chance of receiving an accolade from that week’s judge. We also have the vote button for anyone, not just fellow entrants, to register their favourite/favorite(s) and thus establish a Community Pick.
Remember, you can reply with a comment to any and all of the entries AT ANY TIME: It’s good to have feedback.
Many thanks to Steve Lodge for judging MC 31. Here’s what he had to say:
Many thanks, Sal, for such a great subject scope for the stories. Weather is so diverse, as witnessed by the stories submitted.
It is appropriate then, as I sit here in Singapore reading these stories armed only with a cup of coffee and a pen, that outside there is a familiar tropical rainstorm, bringing to mind my all-time favourite song, Bad Moon Rising. The sky is the colour of Uranus.
First job as Judge is to say that all the authors are Guilty… of submitting great, imaginative stories.
Favorite / Favourite Lines
What a tough job. There were so many. I was tripping over great lines. In the end, here are the winners of The Tranquility Of Solitude Award from each of the stories.
(Thank you all again for submitting such enjoyable stories.)
Geoff Le Pard – They allowed the cacophony of imbecilic demands to build to a crescendo.
Steph Ellis – A steady pulse vibrated through his body as unearthly drums started their terrible rhythm.
Holly Geely – He scowled when he saw her watching, and she smiled and lifted her middle finger in greeting.
Voima Oy – The tornado sucked them up like a hungry vacuum cleaner.
A V Laidlaw – They gave him expensive coffee and small expensive biscuits.
Sal Page – It’s easy to get jetstream sickness.
Bill Engleson – I have no suffocating hugs for them.
A J Walker – Those eyelashes constructed in Sheffield from weapons-grade steel.
Patrick Stahl – The Sky Octopi were doing their dirty work as the line began to form.
Meg Kovalik – It had snowed heavily that day but now the sky was clear and a full moon illuminated the ghostly scene.
Geoff Holme – Let’s go kick some weather-forecasting ass.
Sal Page – Round The World
Very nicely written. I did feel for Joan’s loneliness and her wish to share her experiences, but how could Patsy turn down Gerald’s offer that they go and live in Scunthorpe??
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 31.
(insert drumroll here)
Unless we count the aggregated votes for Geoff Holme’s comments (No? OK, worth a try) then…
Community Pick and Judge’s Pick are one and the same!
Geoff Le Pard – Arnold’s Raspberry Ripple
Thought this story was awesome. I found Arnold to be likeable, odious, inventive and scary in about equal measure, if that’s possible. Achieving a product that flies off the shelves these days is not easy without a USP/mystery ingredient, and Arnold sure found one.
Ice Cream Vendor / Heatwave / Horror
Arnold hated children, specifically whiny children, with their perleases and I wants and why nots? Maybe, he mused as he imagined forcing a ninety-nine flake up yet another little Jonny’s nose, it was the carers he detested. They allowed this cacophony of imbecilic demands to build to a crescendo. He knew the sort, well before they fumbled with their purses, as their charges suffocated him with their high-pitched expectations. The harassed and the hormonal, the fractious and the frantic, they sagged at the shoulders and waited, like the justly condemned for the release that came with the first mouthful: a slurping symphony of the serially spoiled.
The heat reflected back off the buildings and created an insatiable need for ice cream. Today, thought Arnold was perfect. He smiled at his regulars and poured smarmy blandishments into the ears of the unsure. He had waited for this moment. Six months before, Arnold’s mother had passed unexpectedly in circumstances that required Arnold to maintain a discreet silence on the subject. What was he to do with the corpse? Storage wasn’t hard; he had industrial-scale freezers, but disposal appeared to be an insurmountable obstacle.
Then inspiration. He de-sanguinated the body, flay-dried the skin, melted the adipose fat and rendered the bone crystalline. With imagination he created a whippy ice cream with the incontinent wobble of the terminally obese; a rippling raspberry that congealed nicely; and a crispy cone and wafer that had the taut pertness and translucence of the surgically enhanced.
The produce flew from his van. It might not last, but he knew he would savour the moment when his misbegotten customers realised just what he meant, in answer to the question: ‘Where did you get this ice cream?’ with ‘From mother’.
Congratulations, Geoff. As the Judge’s Pick, you are invited to judge the next round of Microcosms. Please let me know if you are interested!