Thanks to all who submitted to Microcosms 171. We had 10 entries this time.
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 170 Judge’s Pick, Dana Faletti, kindly agreed to act as judge for this contest. Here’s what they had to say:
What a fun week to judge. I got to read mostly about characters who were stoned- haha. These were some fun, silly stories. Very voicey, very character heavy – which I enjoy. I had a blast reading all of these. Thanks for the opportunity to become acquainted with your work!
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Tim Hayes – Silently they crept down the stairs only to find a fat balding man dressed up in a sheet going, “Woo… woo…”
Bill Engleson – Bazooka hookahs, man!
Geoff – ‘I must be passive smoking your product. Did you just talk to a bone?’
Angelique Pacheco -When I came down
We were back in Cape Town
I found myself at the pool
Standing starkers like a fool
AJ Walker – Always eating; yet as thin as a rake that had been split in two–his acquaintances assumed he was looking after some tape worms.
joem18b – More wormholes, more dank. Infinitely more Oscars, steetched.
Diego Piselli – “Marijuana enthusiasts are like children,” he said to himself “they believe anything”.
Stephen Shirres – “Space cakes.” Her hand becomes a rocket which follows the same trajectory as her imagined fly.
Eden Solera – Flames flickered in the oppressive darkness, solitary among thousand
Lindsey Pittenger – Here, they use canaries as a warning system for noxious gases to keep people from dying, but this whole time we’ve been here, I haven’t seen a single one.”
Angelique Pacheco – Green Boo-ty
I’m a sucker for poetry. This was funny and irreverent and a little silly. I liked the rhyming pattern and especially loved when the character came to at the end and discovered all the “natural” things she’d misinterpreted when she was high. Great job.
joem18b – Oscar
I liked the sci-fi aspect of this mixed with the comic voice. I had to go back and reread at first to understand that the character was actually encountering different versions of himself in different dimensions. Very clever! And the weed references were great. Dude…
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 171.
(insert drumroll here)
Diego Piselli – THE BARGE
Stoner, Ghost Ship, Comedy
The rumor had spread with lightning speed, fuelled by media coverage.
A mahogany barge, loaded with Lebanese weed was floating somewhere in Amsterdam canals, unattended
Smokers in coffee shops hotly debated the matter. Abe swore he saw it moored near Singel canal; Alwine claimed to be certain that the ship was far in the harbor; Rastafarian waiters fabled about an Iranian merchant, owner of the barge tugged along his princely yacht, vanished with a Circassian beauty.
Eventually, on a warm summer Saturday night, the Quest had its beginning.
Hordes of stoners, old hippies and weirdos of all kinds gathered in Dam square and started scouring all the canals, walking on the banks, boating or paddling in muddy waters: braver and youngsters went so far as to swim in the smelly current.
The Quest was unsuccessful, but Saturday phantom barge hunting became a fixed meeting. If interest decreased, the press reported a new sighting and people got back to the endless hunting. Hunters set up groups and association named by famous weed smokers of the past. Each group had a leader, a hymn, a flag.
And every Saturday evening Mr. Janssen, managing editor of “Amsterdam Today”, savored happily the silence of his flat in Central Amsterdam, a little nest in a medieval alley crowded with coffee shops. No more yelling, no more stoners’ noise. No more frantic strolling of excited people along the cobblestone street.
All the smokers had gone away, searching for the barge.
His little article full of question marks and drop hints about a mysterious barge had proved useful, and he could eventually savor domestic pleasures in peace. “Marijuana enthusiasts are like children,” he said to himself “they believe anything”.
AJ Walker – One More Sausage
Funny from the very beginning. Totally reminded me of Shaggy and Scooby Doo, traipsing around, high as kites, looking for the next Scooby Snack. The story was light, and the voice was really great. I enjoyed reading it!
Fred was hungry. It was his semi-permanent state. Always eating; yet as thin as a rake that had been split in two–his acquaintances assumed he was looking after some tape worms. His best buddy, Havant, had just as voracious an appetite. Being a dog it was expected.
Their holiday to France wasn’t going well. The language was unfamiliar and the food was not as good as anticipated. It was four days before Fred discovered that they were in Hamburg. And, whilst it was just two letters shy of his favourite word, it wasn’t in France.
Things began to look up when they went for a couple of currywurst after a big breakfast. They got chatting to a groovy guy by the wurst-stand about all things sausage related ,which had got them a) excited and b) hungry again. Being at the wurst-stand that had been easy to deal with. There was always room for one more sausage.
They shared a funny cigarette with Groovyman, which made them giggle. He said he’d never seen a dog smoke before. Fred said it happened regularly, usually when he’d spilt cooking oil on Havant.
Groovyman enquired why he was called Havant. Fred explained that it was short for Havant A. which left him none the wiser. He then told them about the sausage barge, where the price for a four hour trip includes an ‘All That You Can Eat’ buffet. They weren’t going to miss this opportunity, so they heading down to the docks with big loping strides and stupid grins.
At the docks everything was a bit blurry. Clearly they were in danger of fainting from hunger. So they got onboard the SS Hamburger with expectant bellies and an aim to make the buffet their home. Havant A. realised something was amiss when their boat passed through a series of locks without the gates opening. The lack of taste to the buffet wasn’t an issue, but the lack of substance was. When the captain turned up minus his head even Fred thought something was amiss.
Then they smelled the Sausage Cruise pass in the other direction. It was a good job Havant could swim and Fred could float.
Congratulations, AJ. 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! (We also have some judging guidelines we recommend all of our judges review.)