Ta-dah!! A slap on the back and high five to our tenth winner, I Am Not Shakespeare! His/her opponent, Lilith Trueblood, will have her piece returned to the pool for a chance at re-selection in a future bout. Unsuccessful combatants need to remember that you are free to submit a different writing sample, if you desire to do so. Everyone can check my WRiTE CLUB 2012 results page for a breakdown of all the winners along with links to all of the writing samples.
I have to say I'm a bit jealous of my wife in all this. She has been carrying on a running dialogue with a few of the submitters and has grown quite fond of some of you.
"Did you receive my entry?"
"You didn't consider the title in the word count, did you?"
"If I came in second, can I re-submit?"
"I'm just going to close my eyes and hit the send button."
"I know I'm a pain-in-the-rear writer."
"I've been on pins and needles, hoping I get the call."
"Are you SURE you received my entry?"
Those are just a sampling of the comments she's received. She watches over my shoulder when the random number generator does its thing, secretly rooting for you. Win or lose, she's always your biggest fan!
Here are this week's randomly selected WRiTER's.
Standing in the far corner, weighing in at 408 words (we’ll let that extra word slip), please welcome to the ring……..Tangled Words.
I’m sitting in a pile of mud, surrounded by strangers laughing and pointing. Not that I blame them, I do look like an idiot.
Today started out normal as I jogged downstairs this morning to the lovely sound of my twin sisters fighting over who got more cereal. Grabbing a granola bar, I hopped on my bike and rode to work.
For the summer, my uncle hired me to help out at his nursery. Hard work, good pay.
When I got there, a man and his daughter were checking out a crape myrtle with my uncle.
“I really need it today.”
“I’m sorry, I’m booked. Can’t do it until next week.”
“But we’re going on vacation. It’s for my wife’s birthday. I’ll pay double!”
The girl was cute, long brown hair, thin with just the right amount of curves. She caught me staring and gave me smile.
I felt my cheeks burn and hustled inside.
“Hey Griffin! Come out here!”
Great. I went back out. The cute girl covered her mouth to keep from laughing, I’m sure.
“Yeah, Uncle Phil?”
“When Todd gets back, you will go with him to deliver and plant this Crape myrtle.”
When we got to the house, we heard a party going on. The cute girl came outside with her father.
After planting the tree, Todd went in to do the paperwork. The cute girl stayed outside while I watered the tree. I was smelling ripe, but since she was there, I attempted to talk to her.
“What’s the occasion?”
“My mom’s 40th birthday.” Mental head slap. I knew that.
“You’re Griffin, right? My name’s Elly.”
“Yeah. Hi.” My mind went blank. As I looked up to think of something cool to say, I saw a balloon drift our way and get stuck in the tree.
A little girl ran after it. Her face scrunched up, lip quivering. I knew what was coming.
“I’ll get it for you.” I ran and got a ladder from the truck and untangled the balloon.
Now I looked like a hero. After she thanked me, I turned back to Elly with something to talk about and almost slammed into her. Taking a step back, I slipped on the hose and landed in the mud under the tree, right as her dad brought the guests out to present it to his wife.
That’s one way to make a lasting impression. At least I made Elly laugh.
And in the other corner, weighing in at 249 words, let me introduce to you ……..Dinah Annella.
Kat leaned her head against the bus window and watched the lights along the edge of the highway flash by like strobes: dark, then light, then dark again.
How was it possible that her father was dead? It didn’t feel real, even after all the scares and false alarms. The bus hit some rough pavement and her head bumped hard against the glass. She slipped her hand between her temple and the window and closed her eyes. She missed him so much, right here in her stomach and her throat.
She remembered going downstairs to talk to her father one night when she was around fourteen, after she’d finished her homework. Her brother had gone into the Army, and the evenings upstairs with her mother were so quiet. Her father was working in his rubber apron, softly humming to himself.
He looked up and smiled when he heard the door open. “Hey, honey.”
“Can I come in?”
She sat on a high stool over by the desk where he did his state paperwork. She looked at the partially filled-out form in front of her. “Margaret Blackmun.”
“Yes. I was just wondering if she was a Maggie or a Peggy,” he said as he coiled up a long plastic tube and hung it on a hook on the wall.
“Peggy when she was little,” Kat decided. “Marge when she was grown up.”
“I hope she was the Peg o’ someone’s heart. I hope she was happy and loved.” He gazed for a moment at the woman’s still face. “I like to think that what I do is love, Kat. You know, this is the last kindness anyone will do for her. It’s an honor, really. I hope someone takes good care of me when it’s my turn.”
Kat left the stool and walked over to the table where her father was gently washing Margaret’s arms and hands. She looked at the face above the sheet, pinked up and a little puffy now with dad’s chemicals in her veins. “She looks so old.
“Yes, well, she was 87. But to me, she looks young, too. I can see the little girl she was, the teenager, the young mother. It’s all there.” He smoothed her thin white hair. “Peggy.”
“I can’t imagine ever being that old, dad,” Kat said.
“None of us can.” He washed Margaret’s face, then reached for the thread and curved needle to close up her mouth. Kat couldn’t stand to watch this part--she could almost feel the stitches in her own lips--so she went back upstairs, letting her father finish with the prepping and dressing.
The next morning the hairdresser and beautician came by to get Margaret ready for the open casket, and later that afternoon, Kat watched out her window as the few old friends still alive came by to look and touch one last time, to say goodbye and to tell her children and grandchildren what she meant to them.
Anyone can vote, so leave yours for the WRiTER that swayed you the most in the comments below, along with any sort of critique you would like to offer. Please remind your friends to make a selection as well. The voting will remain open until noon next Tuesday.
Here in WRiTE CLUB, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!