Thanks to all who submitted to Microcosms 120. We had 13 entries this time.
There was also yet another late entry – almost 24 hours after the deadline… At various times, I’ve change the contest information to add that (a) it’s a 24 hour contest, (b) that it runs on a FRIDAY (New York time), (c) the actual date of the Friday that the current contest is on, and (d) remind people to READ THE INSTRUCTIONS CAREFULLY… Still it seems that that is not enough. If anyone has any suggestions as to how I can make it any clearer, I’d love to hear them.
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 119 Judge’s Pick, Geoff Le Pard, kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what he had to say:
This week’s entries were a good range of both length and themes. The titles drew most people towards humour but, for me, the best stories were the ones that eschewed the funny in favour of the thoughtful and chilling. That said, there were several laugh-out-loud moments and all those who attempted humour – which I think is the hardest form of flash to nail – should be congratulated.
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Geoff Holme – “Oops!” said the FGM, “In the rush, I took your wish literally.”
Steve Lodge – “Poppadom Preach”. Further up the road but the wrong direction.
Justin J. – “No, you are human,” the ship’s AI chimed in. “We seem to be out of cake.”
Bill Engleson – Truth is, I have always depended on the catnip of strangers.
Ted Young – Shock waves and creatively-embellished rumours spread through the grease-painted profession like plagiarism.
Arthur Unk – The once clapping king stared at me with the fury of a thousand suns.
Helen Buckroyd – He continued, resurrecting a smile.
Tim Hayes – Time stood still as I tried to figure out what to do. In space no one can hear you scream, unless of course they’re on the bridge with you.
Rey Alicea – And one loud voice, saying, “Clean this up, leave nothing and take these two to Area 51!”
Angelique Pacheco – Jane’s face, cold and still, stared back at him. He threw up.
Gabe – “Thanks for invading my personal space,” said the cat.
Pauline Emmylou Florsch – “But it could be a solution! Finally, we could forget Planet G–”
Kate Giffin – “No stiffs tonight!” he yelled.
Steve Lodge – One Small Step for a Naan
I loved the ‘songs as curry houses’ idea – can there be too many good things in a single flash? Whatever, the verbal indigestion was worth it!
Arthur Unk – Minstrel Cramps
The last line is a corker; great way to kill a character.
Kate Giffin – Abracadaver!
A neat little tale, that provided good character development in the narrator, and a nasty sticky end at the hands of aliens. What’s not to like?
Angelique Pacheco – Abracadaver!
Gruesome and chilling as well as a dash of humour. We knew Jane had gone, we pretty much guessed what would happen but nonetheless the ending was perfectly drawn.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 120.
(insert drumroll here)
Ted Young – Abracadaver!
Early in my attempts at being a writer, I set myself boundaries, past which I would not tread; the maxim I threaten here is: ‘nobody dies in my stories’.
Marvo the magician, was the ‘go-to’ speciality act for any show. He was slick, risqué, funny and always working.
He liked to work on cruise liners; he called those his ‘holiday jobs’.
News reached planet Show Biz, that Marvo had drowned.
Shock waves and creatively-embellished rumours spread through the grease-painted profession like plagiarism. There was drink, we drank and drunk people wept, memories were shared. Marvo was dead.
And so he remained for quite some time.
Until one day, a door swung open in a West London agent’s office.
“Who are you?” growled the agent.
“It’s me! … Marvo.”
“Rumours of my death have been grossly exaggerated, to quote somebody who said it before,” replied the visitor.
“You sound a bit like Marvo, but you’re thinner. He was pale, you’re tanned. He had black hair, yours is … green!!?
OK, maybe sometimes … somebody dyes in my stories.
Bill Engleson – A Street Cat Named Desiree
This week’s winner was a standout. The character of the narrator cat was beautifully created. And the description of the demise of the diner as it tried and failed to change itself, leading to a change in the protagonist was quite an achievement in 300 words. Some great lines in there too – ‘The writing’s on the menu’. Loved it.
I was often up on the roof of Bert’s Bistro. I liked it up there, especially in spring. A feline could stretch out on the asphalt roof, still warm from a fine warm day, and feel long, sleek and stunning. I’d sit on the edge, hang my head over and watch the action of the humans on the street below.
Bert’s Bistro used to be Bert’s Diner, but Bert got ideas. Fancy ideas, I guess. The whole neighbourhood had been going to rat shit for years. The homeless were everywhere. And they all seemed to have dogs. Hungry, nasty dogs.
I started spending more time topside. Bert and Bonnie had always been good to me. They’d leave food out for all the alley cats of course, but I sensed they favoured me.
Maybe I got too close. Too dependent. I would often hear Bert and Bonnie argue about their future. “We gotta invest in the business, Bert. We need a better class of clientele. People who don’t eat at diners.”
Maybe it was a good idea. But it didn’t work. For one thing, the food in the Bistro got spicier. I coulda told them: “Cats don’t like spicy…”
But they didn’t ask me. Anyways, the writings on the menu. The Bistro’s gone belly up. Bonnie’s already packed her bags.
“This isn’t working, Bert,” I heard her say. “I’m gonna go stay with Sal.”
Sal’s her sister. Lives in Seattle.
Besides getting too close, I guess I got just a little too comfortable.
It was time for me to move on, time to find another doorway, another street, another diner with good old-fashioned food that doesn’t burn your tongue.
“Desiree,” I need to remind myself, “don’t get so damn content. Truth is, I have always depended on the catnip of strangers.”
Congratulations, Bill. 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!