Thanks to all who submitted to Microcosms 115. We had 16 minuscule masterpieces this time — plus yet another entry on the wrong day! If you are considering entering Microcosms for the first time, please, please, please read the rules – especially that it is a 24-HOUR ONLY contest on FRIDAY (New York time) each week.
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) — until midnight Sunday (New York time), i.e. 48 hours after the close of the contest — 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 114 Judge’s Pick, Thom Connors, kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what he had to say:
Thank you to everyone who submitted. What a wonderful collection of stories. Thank you to Geoff for the chance to judge, this has been an experience. Judging was difficult, I didn’t expect so many stories to be different from the original prompt. As it turned out, I was sent through a multitude of genres and time frames, and I thoroughly enjoyed the trip.
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Bill Engleson – It’s a cushion of comfort.
Geoff Le Pard – Dignitaries were there, a lot of pomp, to inspect the workers and glory the fatherland.
Holly Kilmister – I scanned my playing field through the glass of the elevator as it rose.
Nikky Olivier – Melanie was definitely not looking forward to her supervisor’s reaction when she eventually got free from the tin death-trap.
Eloise – I took my leg, threw it over the wall and scurried after it.
Tim Hayes – Nobody could tell whether it was Ossis or Wessis, or if it was just a sign of the times, but there was a lot of crime on the street.
Geoff Holme – Twenty-three friends have ‘liked’ my status…
Ted Young – Research consisted merely of looking around for things to get upset about, and perfecting his ‘tutting’ and tight-lipped frowns.
Angelique Pacheco – The tormentors and tormented live together waiting for release by allies or release by death.
Nancy Beach – He looked like he’d stepped out of a magazine with a wave in his black hair.
Marsha Adams – Finding love, however potential or temporary, was always a good omen.
Stella Turner – He became obsessed by the death process.
Harrietbelle – So, was this some cruel joke that had landed him in the elevator of Jackson’s department store, pulling a handle and reaching the dizzy heights of level 5?
Stephen Shirres – Each a reminder of home in a foreign country.
Caleb Echterling – Have the War Department order you more garters.
Steve Lodge – I now know how to order your favourite coffee and I’m not embarrassed to ask for extra “yum”.
Eloise – Unlikely Conscript
A fantastic story that built tension quickly and held it when it needed.
Bill Engleson – The Ups & Downs of a Removal Contractor
The main character in this sprang to life very quickly. A lot of fast, seemingly effortless, characterisation that made the ending such a true character moment.
Steve Lodge – Dancing the Tango in an Elevator
Fantastic imagery and a laugh-out-loud moment for me, mid-way through the first paragraph.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 115.
(insert drumroll here)
Nikki Olivier – Love in an Elevator
Secretary; Elevator; Romance
“Dammit!” Melanie exclaimed in disgust.
This was the third time this week that the elevator had stuck.
“One day this whole building is just going to collapse,” she muttered as she pushed the intercom button for the maintenance office.
“Hello?” the familiar voice replied over the intercom.
“Lift’s stuck… Again…”
“Mel?” He couldn’t hold in the laughter in his voice as he asked, “How is it that you always end up stuck on my shifts?”
“Oh, I don’t know… Bad luck?” she replied pertly.
“Just hold on and I’ll get you out in a while. You know the drill by now. Want me to send a message to the dragon-lady while I’m at it?”
“Please. Just tell her that I’m stuck, and I’ll be there as soon as I can.”
Melanie was definitely not looking forward to her supervisor’s reaction when she eventually got free from the tin death-trap. Mrs Walinowski – aka Dragon-lady – would just have to deal. It wasn’t exactly like she did this on purpose.
With a sigh, she sat down, rather ungracefully, in the corner closest to the intercom and waited for William, her maintenance hero, to keep her company as he had on all the other occasions she had gotten stuck.
True to form, within minutes the speaker crackled to life. “Repairmen are on their way, and Walinowski was breathing fire when I left. All ok in there?”
Mel stood with a smile. She knew he wouldn’t let her down.
They passed the time with their usual banter and jokes until the repairmen arrived to prise the doors open.
As she stepped out into the hallway she found her hero and pulled him into her arms.
“Let’s go home, love. The kids are probably wondering why we’re late again.”
Caleb Echterling – We Expect the French Attack Will Come from That Crusty Bit of Toothpaste Dried to the Floor
I knew the prompt, I saw the style, and yet this one still knocked it out of the park. I laughed out loud multiple times, and the ending hit me in a way I should have seen coming but didn’t. I have since read this story an extra four or five times, purely because I enjoyed it so much. Fantastic work.
Secretary; Battle of Waterloo; Comedy
Wellington stomped about a walk-in shower. His red coat had more braids than a girls’ tennis camp. “Jennings, take a letter for those bean counters at the War Department.”
“You got it, Artie.”
“Dammit, Jennings, call me Duke of Wellington. Or Field Marshall. Or Your Excellency of the Order of the Garter.”
Jennings scribbled in a notebook, its pages warped from the steamy haze that enveloped the British Army headquarters. “Have the War Department order you more garters. Got it.”
Wellington boxed Jennings’ ears. “After you finish this letter, I’m transferring you to the Mule Waste Collection Brigade. Write exactly what I say. The Anglo-Allied army under my command is positioned along the entrance to the walk-in shower. The Prussian army is behind fortified breastworks next to the washbasin. The French are advancing on both positions simultaneously from a bivouac near the commode. We expect the Battle of the Toilet will be the decisive engagement of Napoleon’s invasion of the Netherlands.”
Lieutenant Colonel Carmichael-Smythe sucked on his pipe. His walrus moustache quivered. “Begging your pardon, Field Marshall, but ‘toilet’ is such a common word. Might I suggest Battle of the Water Closet?”
“Oooh, aren’t we a posh Eton lad?” Captain Harris poked Carmichael-Smythe in his flabby midsection. “Toilet’s not good enough for you? How about Battle of the Loo?”
Carmichael-Smythe ashed his pipe on the captain’s head. “I don’t take orders from someone who’s not a member of the landed gentry.” He stood and swiveled his head. “Will one of you peasants check the British Army Field Manual? I do believe that counts as a sick burn.”
Wellington slapped everyone within reach. “You ninnies. We’ll call it the Battle of Waterloo. Happy now? We have more pressing matters, like how I can get a column instead of that layabout Nelson.”
Congratulations, Caleb. 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!