Monday, January 9, 2017

Winners of the Flash Fiction Contest

That was just as fun as I expected! I loved all the flash fiction examples. You all let your imagination cut loose and came up with some fantastic creations that were all different and unique. Congrats to all for some brilliant work!  

Keeping in mind that this is subjective, my winner is:

“As you know Bob, the world is coming to an end tomorrow.”
“Yes,” said Bob. “Yes.”
“And as you know Bob, it's my fault entirely.”
Bob slowly nodded.
“Similarly... similarly? I always have trouble pronouncing that word. Well, likewise, as you know Bob-”
“Are you going to begin everything you say to me with as you know Bob?” Bob asked. 
I cleared my throat and continued. “As you know Bob... oh for heaven's sake, Bob, hand me a mirror.”
Bob pulled a door off a nearby car, reached inside and broke off the rear view mirror. This, he handed to me.
“Thank you,” I said. “Couldn't have found something a little bigger? I can hardly see myself in this.”
Just my eyes, which were bloodshot from lack of sleep but otherwise a beautiful solid yellow. I had to pan the little mirror up and down. My teeth were growing back in nicely.
“As you know Bob, I'm going to need you to take this bandage off my cheek. Yow! I didn't mean now!”
“Well what was I to think?”
“I meant at some point! Argh! It burns!”
“Merry Christmas,” Bob muttered.
I rubbed my stinging cheek.
“As you know Bob,” I whimpered. “There’s only one person who can stop me.”
“Indeed,” said Bob.
“And he’s dead now.”
Bob reached down and picked up the limp and fully lifeless body of Anderson Cooper. “Who knew?” said Bob with a sigh.
“It was the hair, Bob. Always was. Always will be. The hair.”
“What now, then?” asked Bob.
“Bob. You don’t ask me questions. Just…”
“I’m only…”
“No. Not now. You don’t. As I was saying. As you know Bob, there is only one other planet left worth annihilating. Taking into account the time value of money with compound interest. And that’s Pluto.”
“Pluto’s not a planet,” said Bob.
“You’re testing me.”
“Just saying.”
“No, you’re really testing me Bob. Bob. Put down that candy cane. You’re getting sticky colors all over you face like a buffoon.”
Bob angrily tosses the candy cane away. And now we are in present tense.
Amidst the rubble that as recently as yesterday was Jacksonville, a tapping calls for my attention. Less than fifty yards away from where Bob and I stand. Fascinating, since all life on this planet is comatose, I, having inhaled it all.
“As you know Bob, if by some miracle I were to die, all the life that I inhaled would return to the trillions of life forms from whence it came. Or is it they came?”
“Singular, I believe,” says Bob. “Life. So whence it came.”
“Yes but, the life forms are plural… oh for heaven’s sakes, Bob! See what it is.”
Bob kicks a car out of his way. It flips and smashes into a building. He swings his fist, breaking off the back of a pickup truck.
“Well, well,” he says, squatting down.
“Who is it, Bob?” I call. “Who was able to resist?”
“Not a who,” he says.
Bob rises, holding what looks like a pink rope in his hand. A snarling ball of gray fur bounces around at the end of it.
“For heaven’s sake! What is that?” I shout, taking a step back.
“I believe it is known as a possum,” Bob muses.
“How vile! Rid us of it, Bob!”
Bob shrugs, loads back his arm and launches the creature into space.
“How strange that a small, pointless beast like that had the power to resist,” I think aloud. “At any rate, as you know – yow!”
Something like two small daggers pierce my calf. I look down in horror. A ferocious, gray ball of tailless fury is gnawing my kneecap off!
“Bob, you fiend! You have failed! You swung to hard and only tore off and threw away the tail!”
I grab at the thing. It rushes up my arms. Heavens! Its eyes are yellower than mine! Dagger teeth slit my throat and off the thing scampers. Blood and life ooze out my throat. Anderson Cooper jumps up.
“Reporting live from the apocalypse,” he says.
“It was the hair, Bob,” I wheeze. “Gray.”
Bob puts his hands in his pockets and looks down. “Oops,” he says.

I liked the humor in this piece. It spoke to me and my tastes as I'm a big fan of Anderson Cooper--it's the hair. I got an immediate sense of personality from the characters in spite of the lack of description of their physical features. There were a few typos, but this sample created an entire story in just 700 words. Good triumphed over evil and Anderson Cooper lives another day. Fantastic! 

And Laura's pick for her winner is:

I prefer my first meeting with a client to take place in my conference room with the fantastic view of both ocean and mountain. I pay an obscene amount of money for the space, and it pays me back by distracting people long enough for me to pitch them before they can tell me exactly what they want. The convolutions and permutations that cause people to desire something simply because they saw it presented a particular way, at a particular time, or in a particular place is like alchemy, and if I can prevent my clients from giving me the formula for lead, I can usually turn their products to gold.

Unfortunately, Gloriana Llewellyn (her real name; I checked) had insisted our introduction take place at a coffee shop in a rundown part of the city. I’d have passed on the invitation, but I couldn’t let such a big – and interesting – fish get away. Whether she hired me or not, meeting her would be a win in my book. For someone who had rocked the fashion and business worlds simultaneously, she was incredibly reclusive. No one outside of her staff had ever met her in person.

The scent of perfectly roasted coffee reminded me that my own complex brew system had sputtered and failed. The aroma of cinnamon and sugar made me crave whatever contained them, though I’m not usually a sweets guy. My twin desires pulled me to the counter before I even looked around for my potential client. 

“Happy Yule!” The barista had her back to me, red and white ribbons turning her curlicue braid into a candy cane. She pulled shots with glee, gestured to the lucky recipients, then approached me with a smile that would have made a younger man’s knees weak.

Oh, who am I kidding? Despite the reindeer antler headband and Christmas moose sweater, she was a knockout. I was instantly smitten. That hadn’t happened in a long time. Seemed like a gift in and of itself, albeit one she would never realize she’d given.

“What do you want today?” she asked.

For some reason, everything I truly wanted tried to escape my mouth at once, resulting in me stammering the way I had as a kid. She didn’t rush me, and her smile never wavered. 

I took a breath, smiled back at her, and said “Espresso, please.” I glanced at her nametag and burst out laughing, certain her name was not really Possum.

“Find a table. I’ll bring it over to you.” Her voice was smooth and dark, the way melted chocolate felt.

I shook my head, wondering when my inner poet had escaped, and turned to find a spot that would be relatively quiet so I could go over my notes on the mysterious Ms. Llewellyn. In an age of instant fame and digital surveillance, it seemed impossible that she could have remained anonymous. It was also the best marketing gimmick imaginable.

Possum brought me coffee and the cinnamon roll I’d forgotten to order. She put a tiny candy cane on the edge of the saucer. “That’s for later, for memories and dreams.”

Her words opened a flood in my mind – all the dreams I’d set aside to climb to the top of my career, all the memories of loves who had left because my focus was elsewhere. I choked on my coffee.

Possum patted my back, soothing my turmoil.

What have you done to me? I blushed when I realized I’d spoken aloud.

She sat down across from me.

“I’m expecting someone. A business meeting.”

“I know. As for what I’ve done, I must apologize. I needed to see what sort of man you were before I decided whether your words would be worth hearing.”

I blinked owlishly. “You’re Gloriana Llewellyn.”

She inclined her head as a queen might. “Indeed. I was only playing Possum.”

I groaned at the pun, causing her to laugh – like tiny bells ringing – which caused me to laugh, too.

When we managed to get ahold of ourselves, she wiped the tears from her eyes and said, “I think you’ll do nicely, Mr. Farenthold.”

For the first time in ages, I wanted to be nice, as well.

In her words "The voice pulled me in instantly. I liked the crime noir feel, and I felt like I was sitting in the coffee shop with the characters (I like coffee). Bonus points for creative interpretation of the prompt and the twist at the end.

We'll be in touch with the winners for their prizes and hope to hold another contest in a few weeks! Maybe this time with an agent as judge!

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