Thanks to all who submitted to Microcosms 138. We had 11 entries this time. A warm welcome to first-time entrants, Kevin Phyland and Alistair Kingsbury.
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 137Judge’s Pick, Nikki Olivier, kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what she had to say:
I’m always interested to see what can be conjured up in 300 words, especially when the prompts are just a tiny bit ‘out there’… The challenge in coming up with a piece that can strike a chord with readers is made a smidgen harder when the elements take you out of your comfort zone.
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Kevin Phyland – …never had it hosted such a complete failure of comprehension as this evening.
Bill Engleson – Come closer, lovey. I won’t bite. Look, here are my teeth…They’re detachable.
Steve Lodge – The scaring claimed the odd victim each year and added a bit of flavour to the event.
Johanna – They called me a violinist and put me in a chamber orchestra.
Geoff Le Pard – ‘…And so far as dolls go, I think the Lady Tiberius is more voodoo than velvetine.’
Tim Hayes – You try eating a lavish four course meal whilst staring into the eyes of your loved one.
Deanna Salser – And then she kissed me, and my instrument fell to the floor as I lost myself in her embrace.
Arianna Hammond – No one has power without being first influenced.
Alistair Kingsbury – I hoped he would pull through, but I couldn’t be sure.
Angelique Pacheco – After searching high and low for me, they found me in the lowest: a chicken coop.
Ted Young – You’ve just learned the difference between fiddle and violin.
Special Mention – Best Use of Humour
Geoff Le Pard – Aunts, Ankles and The Irrefutable Logic Of The Premature Proposal
I loved the dry wit and humor throughout this piece. The dialogue was a bit difficult to follow, as it felt that there was quite a bit left in the authors imagination that could have been translated to the page.
Angelique Pacheco – Fiddler in the Room
This piece, while hitting all the elements perfectly, was missing that little bit of ‘spark’ that could have taken it from a good romance to a great romance.
Johanna – Liberté
Well written and executed story line that included all the elements seamlessly, I found it to be a bit off the romance mark, but otherwise a clear flowing piece that drew me in.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 138.
(insert drumroll here)
Johanna – Liberté
Fiddler; Ballroom; Romance
The princess’ beauty takes me by surprise. I’d heard that she’s beautiful. But I thought that was something people just said about princesses, no matter the truth. Like they said that kings were wise.
Yet here she is. A vision, smiling at every guest entering the ballroom. I never dreamed to see such grace. I’m a simple man.
Only a few days ago, they called me a fiddler and I played my instrument for the common people. Until one night, in a shoddy pub, I met some men. Important men. They called me a violinist and put me in a chamber orchestra. And now I’m so close to the royals, I can almost touch them.
I can’t help but stare at the princess. When she suddenly looks up and catches my eye, I ain’t quick enough to look away. However, the princess doesn’t frown. Instead, she smiles at me. My knees get weak and my stomach light.
Without another thought, I raise my instrument and start playing. Not the well-arranged notes I’ve been given but the music I used to play for the people in the streets. Loud. Wild. Fast. One note chasing the other, faster and faster, up to unimaginable heights.
When I finally stop, all eyes in the room rest on me. As the last note fades away, the doors to the ballroom burst open. The mob has arrived.
“Mort à la tyrannie!” they shout. “Vive la révolution!”
My infernal playing has covered the sounds of them making their way through the palace. I’ve fulfilled my part of the contract. In return, I’ve been promised a safe escape.
I reach over to the princess.
“Your majesty,” I shout over the cacophony of noises. “If you want to live, come with me!”
Without hesitation, she takes my hand.
Ted Young – A Different Tune
This story had me hooked from the first line. I loved the way all the elements were combined into a really quirky story and appreciated the tiny glimpse into the future that tells the reader this was a true love-story.
Fiddler; Ballroom; Romance
Timmy Rawlings made and mended Gaelic musical instruments, uillean pipes, bodhrans and his own speciality: the flat-top fiddle which he played like a dream.
Timmy liked a joke and so did his clientele, so when one of his ‘pals’ saw a notice in the local paper urgently requesting ‘A professional quartet’ to play at the Masonic dinner the following Saturday, lies were told, false CDs were sent, the fee was agreed… and the gig was set.
“There’s only me, Sandy and Sean… A quartet is four people, everybody knows that.” Timmy sensed a wind-up… but a £100?
“Ah but you’ll make enough noise for five,” explained the black-hearted villain who devised the plan.
The lads turned up early, all freshly-laundered and wearing suits reserved for weddings and funerals. This was a proper gig.
The guests began to arrive, black-tied and newly-frocked.
The little band had never played better and were well into their third ballad — Timmy on the pipes, Sandy on his banjo and Sean beating a sympathetic rhythm on the bodhran — when the realisation occurred.
No words were necessary but some would have been spoken by the host had not his beautiful daughter gently prevented him.
“Come on, lads,” said Timmy, embarrassment apparent in face and voice. “Let’s get out of here.”
Timmy knew the pub that would have spawned such a deed and the rascals that perpetrated it. He marched in to gales of laughter.
“Nice craic, lads.” Timmy’s mock frown turned to smiles.
“What happened there?” asked Sandy.
“You’ve just learned the difference between fiddle and violin.”
Two hours later the host’s daughter found Timmy and pressed the £100 into his hand.
Six years later, they’re on the houseboat West of Chiswick, with two lovely kids to show for it.
Congratulations, Ted. 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!