Thanks to all who submitted to Microcosms 110. We were back to a more customary number of 19 entries – plus one late submission.
Please keep returning to Microcosms, and retweet / spread the word about this contest among your followers and friends.
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.
We encourage everyone to reply with a positive comment to any and all of the entries AT ANY TIME: It’s good to have feedback.
MC 109 Judge’s Pick, Dana Faletti, kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what she had to say:
Hello, fellow flash writers! Thanks for the opportunity to judge this week’s competition, and as always, thanks to Geoff for organizing Microcosms. What a great way to unite a community of writers! Even on the weeks I don’t participate – due to lack of time, usually – I get a kick out of hopping over on a Saturday and reading the entries.
This week’s entries, as usual, were difficult to judge! There were so many great stories and such variety. I love seeing how the same prompt/prompts can take writers in such different directions. Congratulations to everyone who entered!
Favourite / Favorite Lines
David Creighton – Like puking in a preacher’s daughter’s lap and leaving a burning, poop-filled shoe on the Dean’s front step.
Minhee H. – I landed, hard, on the train tracks. With a heavy thud. The gravel scraped my cheeks.
Nikky Olivier – When he did, the coarse timber of his voice led me to think he’d been a pack-a-day man for years.
Carin Marais – I heard screams, felt my body being moved, saw myself from the corner of the ceiling of the operating theatre, and heard a priest pray next to my bed while I lay trapped within a flesh prison.
Nthato Morakabi – You would think the blood spatter, taste of copper, and underlying stench of faecal matter would ward me and the others off 17 Mahogany Drive that hot July afternoon.
Eloise – There you have it, viewers. The alleged murder weapon is the honey. Friends of Mrs Whitaker make sure you don’t eat her honey.
Marsha Adams – As a kid, my father taught me a simple rule: never pick fights with people smaller and weaker than me, because that’s bullying; or anyone drunker than me, because the Creators protect drunkards; or Arturans, because I’d get my ass kicked.
Vicente L Ruiz – A picture here, a selfie there. They don’t mind. They do it themselves, all the time.
Ted Young – The Mario Gonzales philosophy was to approach every assignment with “thoughts as pure as a vegan’s fart”, but he wondered why this ‘Zed-list’ celebrity would wear so much gold at a function with no security.
Geoff Le Pard – ‘Of course I’m making the prints. You are too. They’re our prints. It’s just us, me, we, I who’s here. If you… bloody hell, that hurt.’
Arthur Unk – The one factor they did not count on was that a human body without a soul is just a shell driven by the most basic need: the need to feed.
Tim Hayes – It’s always the same: ‘That’s a really big violin you’ve got!’ or ‘I bet you wish you played the flute!’ or my favourite – not! – ‘How do you get that under your chin?’.
Steve Lodge – “Her real name has 42 letters, no vowels and is unpronounceable…”
Andrea Allison – “Molly? Your head is gone. Don’t worry. I’ll find it.”
Bill Engleson – Children, lovers, and mushroom pickers, traipsing in the forest, often find bits and pieces of craggy old body parts instead of flowers…
Angelique Pacheco – She gave me a sprig of lavender which she stuffed into my pants and then she opened a bottle of something so vile, it would make your hair curl. And Japanese hair doesn’t curl.
Steph Ellis – The engine’s drone becomes a scream / An echo from my past / As ghosts of countless victims / Sense justice near at last
Paul Nevin – Me and Mac and the Case of the Drowned Producer A tall thin blonde man is sitting on a lounger at the side of the pool, transfixed by Swain twirling slowly in the water, his dressing gown trailing behind him like a superhero’s cape.
Michael Pickard – I just had to go about my business discreetly, hiding in plain sight, in the shadows of the strobes lighting up every room in the house like it was Mardi Gras.
‘Quirkiest Piece’: Eloise – The Oleander Massacre
This was a really fun read. Dark humor at its best. I loved the “there you have it, folks” aspect of the story. I could picture Mrs. Whitaker, an evil grin on her face, after taking her revenge. Quite interesting!
Geoff Le Pard – Following in My Footsteps
“Trippy” is the word I would use to describe this piece. I admired how the writer concocted a story from the fractured mind of a psychopath that was literally having a conversation with himself. I have a fondness for writing from different points of view, and this piece grabbed me, because it was written from two points of view that belonged to the same person. Kudos.
Bill Engleson – Jumper
As a reader and writer, I love distinct voice, and this piece was very “voicey.” From the character’s speech style to word choice in dialogue, the characterization was totally clear. Very dark piece, but very evocative. Reminded me a little of “Girl Interrupted” meets “Good Will Hunting”. Great job!
Carin Marais – First Blood
Great sense of place here! I loved the dystopian feel of this piece. It made me wish for the whole story. The mood was clear, especially when she was in the operating room. I really dug into this piece and thought about it for a time after I read it, wondering what happened before and after the scene I got to read.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 110.
(insert drumroll here)
David Creighton – Gathers No Moss
(Gonzo) Journalist; House Party; Crime
I always wanted to be Hunter S. Thompson.
Sure, a university newspaper is no Rolling Stone; a guy has to start somewhere.
I had a plan. One of the popular girls was slumming at the paper to get extra credit to scrape her English mark to a B. I figured if I tutored her, I could finagle my way into one of the parties the popular people gravitated towards like mosquitos to a bug zapper. Then I could expose all the debauchery that went on there.
It worked. I dressed the best I could and headed to a frat house.
Her name got me in. That was the biggest hurdle. Next came blending in. Everyone was drinking, that was no surprise, and hardly a scandal, even if at least half of them were south of twenty-one. I accepted the offer of a beer and nursed it as I looked around. I was tense. Nervous. I felt like an international spy.
The beer eased my nerves, so I decided to try the punch.
Six hours later, I found myself on a park bench serenading a Coke can. My memory was a bit fuzzy. I remembered a long conversation with a winged, pink elephant who, for some reason, had a Norwegian accent. The vomit on my clothing made it clear I drank more than one beer. Also, my left shoe was missing.
Still, it didn’t seem bad. It wasn’t until later I learned just how many misadventures I’d packed into that six-hour period. Like puking in a preacher’s daughter’s lap and leaving a burning, poop-filled shoe on the Dean’s front step.
Remember that popular girl who needed a B? She wrote up the entire story. I ended up a laughingstock, a drunken idiot.
Maybe I will be Hunter S. Thompson.
Marsha Adams – Set Your Sights High
There was so much I loved about this piece. The writer definitely set up the style and genre right away. The mood was clear. I loved that the character was both frustrated with and attracted to the alien woman. I loved the line about the advice his father gave him, and also the image of the character having pancakes with this tough lady the morning after. Really great story. I wanted more! I wish this was a short story. I would buy it and read it.
Mercenary; House Party; Sci-Fi
She spilled my drink. I won’t say I hadn’t noticed her before that – you could hardly miss the only Arturan in the room, her crest scraping the ceiling, proclaiming her sex and her availability as much as her homeworld – but I hadn’t dared pay her any attention, not until she turned as I passed her and the blaster slung across her back bumped my glass.
As a kid, my father taught me a simple rule: never pick fights with people smaller and weaker than me, because that’s bullying; or anyone drunker than me, because the Creators protect drunkards; or Arturans, because I’d get my ass kicked.
I should have just gone back to the kitchen and got a refill: she was an Arturan, which meant she was taller, stronger and definitely not drunker, but she was an Arturan, which meant ‘stay polite and steer clear’. Still, it had been a long, hellish week, I’d had my drink spilled more often than I’d had my ass kicked by a beautiful woman and I wasn’t in the right place to make the right choices.
“Watch it, Blue, ya clumsy bigger. Why ya carrying that weapon anyway? D’ya even know how to use it?”
She turned round. Looked down at me. Looked further down. Arranged all her features into a single, unspoken reply: ‘Right back at ya, buddy’.
One of the Creators must have been watching. Maybe more than one: she made pancakes in the morning. But they were watching me, not her. She found an employer the next day; joined a crew headed for Ocasta. Met her Creators a week later, same as all the rebels. Left me with a story, a bad case of Blue balls and a new rule: if you want it, fight for it.
Congratulations, Marsha. As Judge’s Pick, you are invited to judge the next round of Microcosms this coming weekend. Please click HERE to let us know whether or not you are interested!