RESULTS – Microcosms 153

Thanks to all who submitted to Microcosms 153. We had just 15 entries this time, but I suppose that’s reasonable for this busy time of year. A warm welcome to first-time entrants, Kevin Curtis and Ellen Grace.

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 152 Judge’s Pick, Muskan Dhiman, kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what she had to say:

I must apologize for the delay in judging. I, for one, eagerly wait for the results post every Monday. I have my exams going on and I thought that the judging wouldn’t take up much of my time, but it turns out that the entries were too good for that.

Muskan

 
[GH] Muskan got the results back to me on Tuesday, but that threw out my schedule. Apologies for even more delay with the posting.

 

Favourite / Favorite Lines

Bill Engleson – Man, they cranked them out like counterfeit bills back then.
Alva Holland – Did he ever think he’d miss routine?
Steve Lodge – He suggests which soups go with which juggling act and the precise etiquette regarding post-dinner dancing and wife-swapping.
Deanna Salser – Plus he’d needed to get away from all the paparazzi, shoving their mics in his face every time he went outside, as if he were really going to explain to them, on camera, about his career, or lack thereof.
Tim Hayes – Unless I succumb to the wiles of one of my many fans I could imagine myself becoming a permanent fixture on the cruise circuit.
Johanna – Your name was Sven and you were blond, but my eyes aren’t that bad yet!”
Leslie Turrell – ‘Words keep nagging until I write them down. That is unless they really are brilliant, in which case they slither away and disappear into the darkest recesses, rarely to be dragged back onto the page.’
Kevin Curtis – He rested his hand on his left wheel, rolling his chair back and forth minutely, his version of pacing.
Ted Young – Between roles, resting… call it what you like, our hero hadn’t worked since his last job: a flat-lining patient in a hospital drama, which mirrored his career.
Ellen Grace – She pressed her lips to the cold ones and wept.
Emaly M Hart – She touched his shoulder, gripping it with the harsh reality of the war invading the ship’s peaceful atmosphere.
Flora Mack – His mind shriveled and shrank under the pressure of being a star.
Alysia Ascovani – They’ll be back next year anyway.
Geoff Le Pard – I’m not surprised he’s had a lot of ‘encounters’ as he calls them – me, I only had Reggie, and that was every last Sunday, unless it preceded the Bank Holidays and not at all after the hernia.
David Lewis Pogson – Each Mediterranean cruise provided a new romance until the cruise ended and he moved on to the next one.

 

Special Mentions

Alva Holland – Two of Three Chairs

For the best dialogues. Love the wit here!

 
Deanna Salser – One To Tell The Grandkids

I really like how the author has perfectly described everything that’s going on in Nick’s mind throughout the story.

 

Honorable/Honourable Mentions

Johanna – Fernando

The image that this story builds, of three elderly women throwing a young man off the deck of a cruise ship, is just hilarious!

 
Ellen Grace – Lost At Sea

I really liked this story — it might have been a potential winner — although I feel that it could have made use of more words, and could have been expanded into a longer story.

 

Second Runner-up

Alysia Ascovani – Raison d’Etre

I found this story very enjoyable. It’s well written and very well paced.

 

First Runner-up

Kevin Curtis – Amazon Woman

What made me like this entry is that it is very hopeful. Also, I feel that it could be the start of a long, beautiful story.

 

And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 153.

 

(insert drumroll here)

 

Community Pick

Alva Holland – Two of Three Chairs

300 words
Washed-up Actor; Mediterranean Cruise; Romance

‘Is this deckchair taken?’

‘No, it’s still there.’ Her eyes smarted as she shielded them from the hot Mediterranean sun.

‘Oh, very funny,’ he said, between two minds as to whether he’d move on to the next trio of chairs or take a chance on this comedian.

He sat down. She searched her bag for her shades which covered half her face when she donned them.

‘Please don’t feel you have to talk to me,’ he said.

‘Don’t worry, I feel no obligation whatsoever,’ she sighed as she returned to her book.

He glanced around at the half-empty deck, visualising a scene from his latest flop, where questionable dialogue was written by half-baked writers and poorly directed by a wannabe mogul.

‘I could write a scene for this, for you, if you’re interested?’

‘I could make a scene, right here, for you, if you even try,’ she said with a scowl.

Clearly, he’d have to change tack. ‘You look vaguely familiar,’ he said, with a nod towards her book.

‘I don’t do vague, and I’m trying to read. Do you mind?’

‘Sorry.’

Two power walkers rushed by, creating a welcome breeze. He watched the coordinated movement of their legs and hips as they negotiated the round of the deck. They reminded him of a time when his life was more structured, when he was part of a neighbourhood, not a permanently shifting stage, when mornings were filled with routine. Did he ever think he’d miss routine?

‘I’m finished with acting,’ he said with a slow nod.

‘Doesn’t seem like it to me,’ she said as she pulled her towel over her legs.

‘Aren’t you hot?’ he asked.

‘Aren’t you annoying?’ she barbed.

He stood up.

She lowered her glasses.

‘See you later, perhaps,’ she said.

‘Maybe,’ he said, acting again.

 

Judge’s Pick

David Lewis Pogson – The Nostalgia Industry

I’m a sucker for jaw-dropping moments at the end of a story, and the little twist here definitely made me go ‘Oh. Damn.’

297 words
Washed-up Actor; Mediterranean Cruise; Romance

There was always one. He was expert at picking them. She looked familiar. He was confident that they hadn’t met before although, honestly, he couldn’t remember. There’d been so many of them. He’d forgotten them all — names, faces, bodies. This one followed the pattern: young, attractive, available. Each Mediterranean cruise provided a new romance until the cruise ended and he moved on to the next one.

She sat down next to him.

***

It was part of his daily routine: breakfast, exercise, reading; lunch, laze on deck, sleep; evening meal, performance, chat to the fans. Then bed… and rarely alone. He’d accepted that the starring roles were behind him. He could still find ‘mature’ parts — the father of the starlet bride, the boss of the leading man — and also he could make a decent living in the nostalgia industry. An hour each evening in the ship’s theatre talking to the passengers about his film career, showing excerpts from his old movies, telling anecdotes about his co-stars: well-paid with free board and lodging. The cruise-ship audience were his generation. They’d created the nostalgia industry. The bonus was that his lasting looks and continuing celebrity still attracted their daughters; young women who enjoyed money, liked being on the arm of a celebrity, wanted a little shipboard romance. It provided an adventure to tell their friends about back home, with the photos to support it.

***

She would be the next to share his bed if he handled it with his usual charm. Still, he couldn’t help checking, just in case.

‘Have we met before? You look a little familiar, but I can’t put my finger on it.’

‘No, we definitely haven’t met before. But you met my mother twenty-five years ago. She says that I share your looks… Dad.’

 

Congratulations, David. As Judge’s Pick, you are invited to judge the next Microcosms contest – round 156 on the first Friday of 2019. Please click HERE to let us know whether or not you are interested!

RESULTS - Microcosms 156
RESULTS - Microcosms 152

Leave a Reply

8 comments for “RESULTS – Microcosms 153

  1. 19 December 2018 at 9:21 am

    Thanks for the judgement Muskan. Well done everyone else. I’m surprised but very pleased to be picked out from a field comprising such quality entries.

    5+
  2. 19 December 2018 at 10:36 am

    Some excellent choices…and best of the season to all of you and your loved ones (and especially to washed up actors wherever you are), whether you celebrate this seasonal time or simply manage to make your way through as sanely as possible.

    5+
  3. Deanna Salser
    19 December 2018 at 2:33 pm

    Thank you, Muskan, it’s not an easy job but you pulled it off, admirably. Kudos to the rest, especially Alva and David, well done everyone. Thank you, Bill, and right back atcha! And my best to the microcosm world during the holiday season.

    4+
  4. Kevin Curtis
    19 December 2018 at 4:04 pm

    Nice! Didn’t expect that on my first try. Thanks!

    3+
  5. Alva Holland
    19 December 2018 at 5:01 pm

    Wishing everyone at Microcosms Fiction peace and joy this Christmas. See you all back here in 2019 and thank you to everyone who voted for my story this week. Delighted with Community Pick and Special Mention.

    4+
  6. Steve Lodge
    20 December 2018 at 10:18 am

    Seasons greetings, dear friends. Love and best wishes to you all for 2019. Keep well and keep smiling.

    2+
  7. Arianna Hammond
    20 December 2018 at 12:15 pm

    Wonderful reads, everyone. 🙂 Great choices and great judging, Muskan. Congratulations on everybody’s wins, you all are such talented writers. 🙂
    Happy holidays, and read you all in 2019!

    0

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