Thanks to all who submitted to Microcosms 130. We had 16 entries this time — including one ‘Just for Fun’ from yours truly. A warm welcome to first-time entrant, Parastoo.T.
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 129 Judge’s Pick, Nikky Olivier, kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what she had to say:
Thank you for the opportunity to act as a judge this week.
I love a good story, no matter what it’s about – if I can relate to it and it has a good flow, I enjoy it.
I’ve discovered, over time, that I’m quite a stickler for using the given prompts, as opposed to the spinner, as it takes me out of my comfort zone time and time again. Given that, and the fact that there are no ‘spun’ prompts this week, it made my job just that tiny bit more difficult.
In the end, I had to give the most consideration to, firstly, which story carried across the best, and secondly, who incorporated their chosen line(s) in the best way.
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Bill Engleson – I didn’t feed him any condolences cookies.
Geoff Holme – I idly wonder how many forests were denuded to provide the charcoal that fuels these endless primeval feasts.
Vicente L Ruiz – It’s not every day that you get to watch two angels fighting.
Steve Lodge – They were talking of rug or buttocks? Who knew?
Angelique Pacheco – I would ride off into this sunset a married man.
Ted Young – …he was a ‘correct me if you’re wrong’ kind of guy, who used truth like a knuckleduster, and honesty as a tactic.
Geoff Le Pard – I am one of several bottoms, the subject of her ribaldry.
Tim Hayes – Occasionally, it’s all too easy to overlook that extra limb, or eye, or set of wings.
Steph Ellis – His design was living, breathing … a condition they shared, but only for a short while.
M. Levi – “You stab your brother, and somehow it’s my fault that he’s dying?”
Deana Salser – He screamed, a high, thin sound, like air being forced out of the narrowed neck of a balloon.
Camilla Johansson – There on the ledge was a man without even a leaf to cover him up, waving his arms and shouting incoherently.
Stephen Shirres – Someone over my shoulder turns the blinds, bringing dusk into the room.
Harrietbelle – She was scared… very scared, I know that.
Parastoo.T – My heart was almost exploding and the words were all tangled in my throat.
Arianna Hammond – You know what? I’m done being nice, I deserve better than the last eight.
Tim Hayes – Done Manifesting – for clever concept
I was really amused by the idea of the demon’s uncertainty when he had to manifest in human form.
Angelique Pacheco – Hold ’em Stakes and Wedded Bliss
For me, this story really encapsulated the old west. I felt that it could have been elaborated on a bit more, but was still a really enjoyable piece to read.
Vicente L Ruiz – A Difference Of Opinions
Well thought out and well written, this story grabbed me right from the start.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 130.
(insert drumroll here)
It’s a tie!
Tim Hayes – Done Manifesting
118 – Skin is weird.
127 – I turn around and notice a person standing on the opposite sidewalk, just…watching.
I turned around and noticed a person standing on the opposite sidewalk, just… watching. Watching what though? That was the question. Actually, that was the second question. It wasn’t clear from this distance whether it was a man or a woman who was staring in my direction or what exactly it was that was being stared at. I suspected that I was the subject of his or her interest. Things hadn’t been going that well of late. Sometimes it was the arms or legs that went wrong, I usually manifested the correct number but somehow they didn’t turn out quite right. I ran a quick inventory… Left leg? OK. Right leg? OK. Feet? Check, two, and they were even pointing in the correct direction, forward. Arms? Check, two, present and correct. Hands? Two, one on each arm.
Being a demon living in a human world can be difficult. Humans have such a restricted repertoire, they pretty much all look the same. Demons? Well, we’re a mixed bunch and come in an assortment of imaginative shapes. Occasionally it’s all too easy to overlook that extra limb, or eye, or set of wings. Oh God, it wasn’t the wings again? Nope, must be something smaller, less significant. I looked at my reflection in a nearby shop window. At first glance, everything looked fine. I was looking at the image of a regular human male, nothing seemed out of place. Then I realised. It’s happened to me before, skin is weird. At least I’d got the colour right, if not the shade. Although I have to say it worked out OK that St Patrick’s Day when I’d come out green. I always find shades of red difficult and have never understood this human affinity for fleshy pink. What was wrong with bright crimson?
Stephen Shirres – Burger Time
124 – That tea was mostly whisky; the woman had class.
“Did you find her?”
I bite into my burger. Whatever the hell burger sauce is, dripped between the patties and onto the plastic table top. Not her style at all. Her dinner was whisky; the woman had class. The burger joint didn’t, but I wanted this conversation to happen on my turf.
“Well?” Her paper cup is placed with precision next to my burger sauce stain. Someone over my shoulder turns the blinds, bringing dusk into the room.
I swallow my latest bite. “Sort of.”
“How do you sort of find someone?” She brushes red hair from in front of her face to behind her ear. The movement as smooth as her voice.
“Oh, I found her. Quite quickly. The issue is more who she is.” I paused, waiting for the confession which will never come. I have another two bites before filling in the gap.
“She isn’t your daughter. She was your lover, who left you for good reasons from what she told me. Not that I’m one to judge.”
My client doesn’t do or say anything. Everything is happening in her head, working out her next course of action. I put a fifty on her reaching for her dinner. A bite later, I keep my bet. Once the cup is back where it started, movement ceases again. She has until my burger is finished.
I wipe my mouth clean, scrunch the napkin into a ball and leave it to reform where my burger once sat. “Seems like our business is done. I’ll send through the final bill in the morning.”
“Final bill?” Her usual smoothness cracks.
“Aye. Unlike the movies, my life continues once I walk out of the door.”
Steve Lodge – Done Up Like A Kipper
The P.G. Wodehouse-esque style embodied in this story had me reading and re-reading it, chuckling softly at almost every dry, witty comment made. As well-written as it was, the way in which the chosen line was used endeared it to me even more.
121 – If you’re not there, you can’t put your foot in it.
Lady Agatha lounged on the sofa, staring intently at the butler’s buttocks as he stooped to retrieve an envelope that had slipped off her lap on to a quite beautiful rug.
“Exquisite,” she said, absentmindedly.
“I’ve always thought that, Agatha,” responded her friend, Lady Daphne.
They were talking of rug or buttocks? Who knew?
The butler, Goodbody, handed the envelope to her Ladyship, poured sherries for the ladies and left the room. Coming towards him down the corridor and breaking wind like a rhino was Lord Rodney Kipper. His Lordship popped into the room where his wife and Lady Daphne sat talking.
He nodded meekly at Daphne then turned to his wife. He couldn’t stand either woman. “Just off to the village. I–”
“It’s noon,” Agatha interrupted. “You’re going to The Haunted Poacher, like every lunchtime.”
“May just pop in for a livener, won’t be back for luncheon.”
Agatha passed him the envelope. “Happy Christmas. Open it at the pub, you’ll need a whisky.”
Rodney was taken aback. “Sorry, old girl. Didn’t get you anything. I say, are these tickets for that cruise you spoke of? Greek Islands? Crete, Rhodes and… er… Clitoris?”
The ladies roared. Agatha said, “If it were Clitoris, you’d never find it.”
Rodney stuffed it into a jacket pocket and left huffily, although his mood brightened the further he got away from that room. By the time he was halfway down the drive, there was a positive skip in his step and he began singing loudly:
“If you’re not there, you can’t put your foot in it,
Yes, if you’re not there, you can’t put your foot in it. Lalalala…”
Daphne looked over at Agatha. “He didn’t realise it is mid-May and, therefore, nowhere near Christmas, Aggie. You gifted him the divorce papers, didn’t you, dear?”
Congratulations, Steve. 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!