Thank you to all who waded through mud to find a signal for their mobiles in order to post their entry in Microcosms 35. The number of submissions increased yet again this week – let’s keep this momentum going, people! Please keep returning to Microcosms, and retweet / 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 A J Walker for both hosting AND judging MC 35 – the man’s a legend! Here’s what he had to say:
Hey, thanks guys and guyesses. Whilst I missed the wonderful EOTR Festival this weekend, I did get a full-on taste of festival magic from all of you. I was surprised to see so many of you not spinning and retaining the Undercover Cop and Memoir prompts (even I may have spun that one). Some budding crime writers or wannabe detectives amongst you – not sure which. That said, most of the cops were kinda a bit hapless once the festivals got to them.
There was ale. There was music. There was cider. Some drugs and even a little bit of sex. There was even a mystical turd pointing the way. You gave me everything a festival could possibly give me – without the need of lugging me tent and essentials down to the distant countryside. So, thank you for that and, without further ado, the bits you are waiting for.
Performing in the JazzMaster Tent, with support from GrandMaster Flash, are the ‘Favourite Lines’ brought to you by….
Josh Bertetta – Grown men who dress up like “My Little Pony” must be into some pretty weird shit.
Alva Holland – Sascha, the wily hoopla stall operator had witnessed the canoodling behind the rainbow tent each year but said nothing until Her Majesty’s silk scarf was found tucked into Mr. CC’s underwear.
Steve Lodge – …next time I saw him he was onstage with his shirt off, grabbed the mike and was shouting “Come on, Abbotts Field, let’s make some bloody noise” during Blind Tommy Pugh’s awesome sax solo.
Nthato Morakabi – I’m the only one who knows he has a human daughter – how he pulled that off is a mystery no one has been able to decipher.
Geoff Le Pard – I’m the only one who knows he has a human daughter – how he pulled that off is a mystery no one has been able to decipher.
Bill Engleson – Nobody wanted a gathering of drugged up dopesters whooping it up in bunches all over some innocent countryside…
Steph Ellis – Pulling festival duty was down to his sadistic sense of humour; he’d found out I played the violin in my spare time.
Sal Page – Flags flying, sunlight through the trees, warm evening breeze and that ungraspable smell of summer.
Stella Turner – I imagined my greatest fears would come true and I’d be found dead the next morning in this out of town warehouse.
Brian S. Creek – Job done, the scarecrow climbs off the pole and walks across the field, into the night.
Catherine Connolly – She might have had a couple of ales earlier to compensate for the trauma of pitching her tent imperfectly.
Stephen Shirres – Leg back inside properly, heel in heel and try again. This time only pain moves, the jolt of muscle pulling too far.
Paul Alex Gray – I let my pinkie slip inside the curl of hers and she pulls me in, kissing me quickly.
Richard Edenfield – I decide to mow my lawn at midnight. I want to create an odd crop circle on my lawn.
Brady Koch – I Tased that donkey to the point where he threw that wizard off and then relieved himself on that dopey pointy hat he had on.
… and a late entry, slipping past the bouncer in the early hours…
Geoff Holme – And that, kids, is how I met your Father!
Live on the Upcoming Stage is the ‘Honourable Mentions’ supported by ‘Geoff Holme and the Special Mentions’:
Geoff Le Pard – A Festival of Fun
Especially for seeing signs in mystic poos. Don’t we all from time to time?
Stephen Shirres – Squelch Pop
Oh this just took me to my first Glasto. The mud was horrendous (and wearing wellies without long socks has left me a permanent scar in the form of welly burn). I feel the pain (although ultimately I did not die in the mud – I think).
Honourable / Honorable Mentions
Alva Holland – Queen Fabiola’s Downfall
A great deal of story for so few words. Pity the poor undercover detective getting trumped by that darn dead body turning up.
Stella Turner – The Beat Goes on
Sad basis for a story showing how music and festivals in particular helped the protagonist deal with the loss of her son. Rock on.
On the Second Stage are the ‘Fabulous Runners-up’:
Nthato Morakabi – Memoir
It’s got sex, drugs, vampires and rock ’n’ roll in. Say no more.
Paul Alex Gray – And The Night Rings On
Sounds like a perfect festival day – apart from the inevitable loss of something as replaceable as a wallet. Perhaps it’s the start of a wonderful new chapter. Young love kindled in the beat of the music and a happy vibe. Perhaps they’ll forget it all in the morning and he’ll find his wallet in his welly.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 35.
(insert drumroll here)
Sal Page – This Is Us
Singer / Field / Romance
This is us at the end of the night.
This is us with a load of others.
This is him when he first landed in the field, still in his unicorn head. I was on stage later but was wandering around, soaking up the atmosphere and taking photos. And there he was.
The unicorn head was to blend in, he confided, but I knew you could blend in here with the most outlandish of heads so I encouraged him to remove it. He was delighted no one was at all alarmed at his appearance. I certainly wasn’t.
This is Glurgle. Such a gorgeous shade of purple, green beard and five incredible eyes. Perfect.
This is him tasting his first pint from the cider bus, like it’s the finest thing he’d ever tasted. Maybe it was. I left him slurping up his second while off I went to do my set.
This is me on stage. This is the band. This is Glurgle watching. The field was full of folk, everyone happy. Flags flying, sunlight through the trees, warm evening breeze and that ungraspable smell of summer.
This is us while I’m singing my final song; me on stage, him at the front. Lovely to see him look up at me. Sky darkening, silver stars, Glurgle’s ear tubes and mauve nose flapping to the beat. Folk dancing with him on the grass. Don’t think he’d ever heard music before that night.
This is us later. More cider. Happy. Love. Together.
This is Sky and Star, our twins. Such clever, funny, beautiful girls. Their Dad comes back every year. To see us, to taste the cider and listen to the music again.
This is us all together last year.
He’s not turned up yet. It’s the last night.
This is me waiting.
And finally, Headlining the Main Stage is ‘Microcosms Judge’s Pick’ (to be followed by fireworks, the last of the whisky and a long walk home)
Steve Lodge – Crapper in the Field
For me I just loved the way the festive antics took the two main characters to different places. Particularly liked Archie giving it some on the stage. Certainly rings a bell or two with me – though I’m not sure why. Come on flashers – give it some noise!!!
Undercover Cop / Field / Memoir
Well, of course, I did it for the wife, really. God rest her soul. “Max Crapper,” she said, “after a lifetime in the police, there’s a memoir in you somewhere. You are hopeless at golf and gardening. Bloody write your memoirs. Go on, bloody do something.” So I bloody did. Course, I never sent it for publishing, like and sadly, she never got to read it. Passed away last June, she did. So I made this pact with meself. I read the Bible every morning and I read out loud for her a page or 2 of my hand-written memoir in the evening.
Last night was when me and Archie (we’ll call him that, shall we?) were under cover out at Abbotts Field during the annual Sparrowditch Jazz festival, just keeping an eye out, like, for pushers, pickpockets, dodgy pie sellers, that kind of thing. For me it was routine, but I liked the music. Everything seemed to be cool. But Archie, he went off and next time I saw him he was onstage with his shirt off, grabbed the mike and was shouting “Come on, Abbotts Field, let’s make some bloody noise” during Blind Tommy Pugh’s awesome sax solo. He later tried to arrest one guy for possession of clammy feet and another for “arsing about in flip flops.”
Archie seemed to have a foot fetish, alright. Cos later he fell asleep in the toilet area and ended up suffering from “trench foot” – a disease usually only heard of in World War One. Well, I would have helped him out of the toilet area, you see, but unfortunately I’d passed out in the beer tent, honourably drunk.
Now pick up your litter, pack up your tent and head to the exit. See you next year. And safe journey home…
Congratulations, Steve. As the Judge’s Pick, you are invited to judge the next round of Microcosms. Please let me know if you are interested!