Thanks to all who submitted to Microcosms 164. We had 15 entries this time. A warm welcome to first-time entrants, Kathryn Flannery, K J Watson, Jody Kish, April Cox and Dani Spencer.
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 163 Judge’s Pick, Deanna Salser, kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what she had to say:
I’m not going to lie, this was hard. I sat all morning with my computer on my lap, devouring all of your delicious concoctions, over and over. I saved this part for last, but as I sit here, (relieved that I’m done, by the way, #hugeresponsibility!), I am still floored by the variety of emotions I have been taken through this morning.
Thanks for letting me do this, you guys. I am truly honored to be so trusted.
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Steve Lodge – not only can you not taste or smell the food like on TV, but on radio, you can’t see it either. Don’t ask, listeners, just don’t ask.
Bill Engleson – When the sun goes down, all we have are the stars and the fickle moon.
Kathryn Flannery – Although the restaurant was full, it felt as though they were the only two in the room.
Tim Hayes – Somewhat at a Ioss, I signed the proffered clipboard and took possession of an unexpected package.
K J Watson – “We’ve let the office plant get a little out of control, haven’t we?”
David Lewis Pogson – You probably know a few without realising it.
Geoff Le Pard – ‘Come and sit down, Aaron,’ said the kettle. ‘Why don’t we have a little chat?’
Ted Young – and happy… more of a family than a cast.
Harrietbelle – ‘I think that commitment to one’s belief is the most important thing.’
Jody Kish – Big oaks branches stretched above them looking like gnarled fingers.
Alysia Ascovani – A haunting chuckle pierced the otherwise peaceful woods.
Kirsty Peto – “Hello. IT. Have you tried Googling the answer?”
April Cox – The dog bowl was on the ceiling, and that should have told me that something was awry…
Mpart – But there were other days when she didn’t know, and she could swear she saw a glimpse of emotion in their mechanical eyes.
Dani Spencer – Even sitting in front of her mirror across the room the scent wafted over.
Dani Spencer – Comedy of Errors?
Just for using the word ‘bumfuzzled’.
Kathryn Flannery – Hot in the Kitchen Tonight
This one was great, with the whole conspiracy theory thing going on, but something was missing that kept it from going all the way to the top.
Kirsty Peto – False Alarm
I adored this little set, as I have personally been in the situation. And I felt like it was a mature story, with a little advanced planning, or at least a bit of luck that it ended with such a perfect twist. It was with reluctance that I consigned this story to its current status.
Steve Lodge – French Quiching in the FFD
This one made me laugh out loud. I could clearly picture the poor journalist just giving up at the end and tossing his mike. It was only my preference to the dark that kept this one from moving up to number one.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 164.
(insert drumroll here)
Steve Lodge – French Quiching in the FFD
Cook; Dressing Room; Comedy
“….and here’s a darling little tip from Maudie, phoning in from Peramattoo. She says that if guests arrive unexpectedly at your home, relax them with a French Quiche before making them a coffee. Further, Maudie is prepared to travel anywhere in the region to demonstrate her “French” as she calls it. Listeners, you know what to do.
“Radio FFD. It’s noon o’clock. Now, I’m here in our green room for one of the heats of Cook The Cook, the new much-needed cookery show on Severance Channel 3 TV. The 27 heats around the region are traditionally done on radio, with the winners going into the Grand Final Steak-Off on TV. A cookery show on radio is even more interesting, because not only can you not taste or smell the food like on TV, but on radio, you can’t see it either. Don’t ask, listeners, just don’t ask.
“I’m judging this heat. Our contestants are Mike Rowave from Sparrowditch, Lilette Boneshaker from Blackwatch and Jimmy Legs, who lives in a caravan. So, Mike. What you cooking up for us today?”
“Well, Cynthia, my Mama taught me this when I was young. It’s soup-on-a-stick.”
“Oh my, Mike. That sounds messy. I’m glad I don’t have to clean the green room after all this. Now, Lilette, what foodoo extravaganza will you be delighting me with?”
“This ain’t a green room. It’s not green at all?”
“Haha, well spotted, Lilette. It’s our dressing room. It’s called the green room because it’s where we rest before and after the show. Now get on with it. Your dish, please?”
“A cake you can eat in the shower.”
“What? Oh, lovely. Looking forward to that, too. Jimmy? I’m scared to ask.”
“Traditional gypsy recipe, Cynthia. Broth of otter, badger and hedgehog.”
“Cut. Cut. Er…time for the news.”
David Lewis Pogson – When Paths Cross
I absolutely loved this one, it caught my attention first time around, it was just my style; a little dark and twisted. I had such a hard time deciding the winner, but I had to go with this one, even after reading the whole lot over twice more.
Computer Technician; Office; Crime
When Paths Cross
Not all psychopaths are the same. They’re not all axe-murderers. The condition varies with each case. Many hold down jobs, raise families and enjoy a seemingly normal life without anyone guessing that they’re different from other people. You probably know a few without realising it.
The new boss was one. Others in the office never realised. They thought that he was just a bad manager. He lied and cheated. He had favourites, especially amongst the young impressionable women whom he targeted. He identified enemies amongst those who challenged him and bullied them. He had no empathy for those struggling. He stole good ideas and blamed others for his bad ones. And there were lots of bad ones. As a typical psychopath, although towards the middle of the spectrum, he had a distorted view of reality, meaning that he was always right and everyone else was wrong.
Unfortunately, Head Office had no idea. He manipulated them. They thought that his promises to cut overheads, win new contracts, increase prices and profits were marvellous. They ignored experienced senior staff advising that such methods would eventually ruin the business. We lost clients. Good staff left. Existing staff had to double-up on their work. But he would never kill anyone.
I was just a computer technician, too low down to have an opinion. I’d been there a long time and I liked my job. I couldn’t watch him wreck it. I brought him his morning coffee. He assumed that one old hand supported him.
You can obtain most things on the dark web, including drugs that leave no trace in the bloodstream, if you know about computers. The Coroner ruled it as a sudden heart attack. Tragic for one so young.
I washed the cup. As I said, not all psychopaths are the same.
Congratulations, David. 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!