Thanks to everyone who submitted a story to Microcosms 102.
There were 14 entries this week, plus one very late submission.
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 101 Judge’s Pick, Jane Lomas kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what she had to say:
There were so many great stories this week – both prose and poetry. I’ve enjoyed reading them all, and it was interesting to see your individual responses to common prompts. I’ve been gripped by drama, carried away with fantasy, moved by poetry and guffawed at the comedy. With so many well-crafted pieces it has been difficult to choose the winners, but I went with the ones whose stories stayed with me after reading them. It’s certainly been entertaining. Thank you, all.
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Steve Lodge – There were a number of cases on my desk at Scotland Yard, and they weren’t briefcases.
Kelly Griffiths – If he could afford sustenance to maintain nether regions the size of Russia, he could afford a first-class seat that would contain them.
Geoff Le Pard – The war was ending and he was dying for a cause he didn’t understand.
Bill Engleson – “Oh, one can almost become immune to this…how shall I say…this sea of humanity.”
Vicente L Ruiz – Flying alone by night under the stars, the engine roar my only company
Dave Allen – In order to succeed these are the practices you need: 1. Validate the system, 2. Blaspheme the Pilgrims, 3. Shorune the downser.
Angelique Pacheco – The odd comfort cackle rose into the air.
Alva Holland – They bundled fingerless Fingers and his digits into the truck.
Stephanie Ellis – Name faded to numbers
Susi Smith – Six minutes ago it was five maxed out credit cards and a seat between two screaming toddlers.
Arthur Unk – Death laughed and opened his arms for a sweet embrace.
Stephen Shirres – They’d rather focus on my brief conversation with the sweet fragranced lady.
Noel Trimm – At first, the rains had drove him mad, drip dripping against the panes of glass like incessant whispers.
Caleb Echterling – She stretched out the words like a 45 playing at 33 ⅓.
Honourable / Honorable Mentions
Noel Trimm – UNTITLED
A frightening, claustrophobic tale that tightens as it unfolds. I’d love to find out what happens to Gat’im.
Vicente L Ruiz – UNTITLED
I could taste the desperation and the unwilling acceptance in this story. Yet at the end, there was hope. A lovely read.
Steve Lodge – Steelogian Codex No 17
A witty tale that made me laugh. I really liked the play on names and the fun of this story. It is told in a very matter-of-fact way but the ‘facts’ are hilarious.
Steph Ellis – I Vanished Once
The sadness of this poem has stayed with me. I wanted a different ending (and beginning) but this poem speaks of the truth. It is beautifully written with a heart-breaking starkness, facts laid bare.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 102.
(insert drumroll here)
Kelly Griffiths – Tight Flight
Someone Who Vanishes; Airplane; Humor
I pressed the call button. Pinned to my window seat by the slumped behemoth of a man, it was the only thing I could do. His flesh oozed beyond the arm rest, assaulting my left thigh with an intimate, maddening pressure. His body heat passed through his polyester pants, through my jeans and ignited a wick of claustrophobia. Wasn’t there a weight restriction on standard seats? If he could afford sustenance to maintain nether regions the size of Russia, he could afford a first-class seat that would contain them.
First-class’s seat tray could not be put down, for obvious reasons, so First-class had the plastic cup wedged between his legs, which he spread well into my section, as defined by the invisible, but no less real and authoritative line that extended from the end of his seat into the seats in front of us. First-class let out an animal grunt, snapped his gargantuan legs closed, cracking the plastic cup and spilling soda all over the seat and floor. His head lolled, unfortunately toward me, and there remained. Eyes closed. Mouth open.
The seat belt sign was on, so I guessed that explained the absence of the blue-clad flight angel who should appear instantaneously, lean over the seat and ask in hushed, soothing tones, “Can I help you?”
Not like I hadn’t tried to rouse the sleeping leviathan myself. When that didn’t work I pressed the button. Seven times. It was moderately aerobic because I’m short and the ceiling buttons were just beyond my reach. Weren’t flight attendants handsomely paid to defy turbulence and saunter the tiny, lurching aisles like runway models?
Ten minutes later, still, no attendant.
First-class roused and swung the arm rest up, unleashing the full scope of his girth. I all but vanished.
Alva Holland – Fish Fingers
This piece had me guffawing at the sheer madness of it, and the names of the members of the gang were brilliant. I felt exhausted after this railroad of farcical thuggery, and was relieved that the ‘vic’ got away and ‘Fingers’ got what was coming to him! Brilliant writing!
Kidnap Victim; Ocean; Crime
‘Deadline’s gone. They haven’t paid up. It’s concrete shoes time.’
‘Oy! Fingers! Get your sorry ass over here. This one’s history.’
‘Clogs, you’re in charge of the blocks – do the job properly. Don’t want this one floating back up.’
‘Radar, get the boat.’
‘Snake, when we get there, uncoil the rope.’
‘Hawk-Eye, keep a watch out for those patrol boats. Clutch has their turnaround times worked out – you’ll have 20 minutes max to dump the vic five miles out in the Specific. Got it?’
‘Got it, Boss.’
Four heavies filed into the warehouse after The Legbreaker left, knowing if they slipped up this time, it’d be their feet in slabs kicking up the coral reef.’
‘Psst! Did you clock her though? Bit of alright, aint she?
‘Shut-up Snake. Better not let the Boss hear you. Why didn’t they pay up?’
‘How do I know? I’d have paid for her, no sweat.’
‘With what? Your welfare slips. Get a grip man. Let’s do the job, collect and get outta here.’
‘Got a bad feeling about this one.’
‘Radar, you’ve always got a bad feeling. Boss’ll chop your antenna off it you don’t get a move on.’
Radar walked with his legs closer together.
‘Clogs! Got the blocks?’
‘Yea, where’s the vic?’
‘She’s with Fingers. Where did he go? Oy! Fingers, didn’t Boss tell you get your sorry ass over here?’
Eight chopped fingers and two thumbs lay scattered on the floor of the lockup, alongside their mate’s body.
The heavies knew they were toast, burnt toast, hanged, drawn and quartered toast, if the boss got wind of this.
The vic had escaped. There was only one thing to do.
They bundled fingerless Fingers and his digits into the truck. They would finish the job – concrete shoes, different size.
Congratulations, Alva. As Judge’s Pick, you are invited to judge the next contest round of Microcosms which will be on the first Friday in 2018. Please click HERE to let us know whether or not you are interested!
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