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WRiTE CLUB 2012 Play-offs - Round Four / Bout 2

Here is the second of three bouts where our contestants face different competitors. Everyone will have until noon Sunday (Nov. 18) to vote on all three of the bouts this week (M-W-F). Read the submission from each WRiTER below carefully and leave your vote for the sample that resonates with you the most.

Anyone reading this can vote (after signing up on this Linky List) so blog/tweet/facebook/text/smoke signal everyone you know and get them to take part in the fun.

Remember...every vote counts. The contestant who is not victorious in their bout but garners the most votes amongst the non-winners, will become a wildcard winner and advance to round 5.

The three winners + wildcard will be posted on the afternoon of Nov. 18th and round 5 will kick off the following Monday (with edited writing samples).

Good luck to all the WRiTER’s!

And now…..
In this corner welcome back to the ring .....Snivvy Crank.

For the white-haired school janitor, Mr. Jaspers, there were only three things in life that could truly be described as “irksome”: men who wore toupees; people who spoke of themselves in the plural; and condescending new school principals with egg-shaped heads and fake smiles, who used words like “peruse” and “inquiry” and “my dear man” while implying in the most befriending tones that you were as daft as a peach pit. There was a close fourth--street mimes--but that particular irk was forgotten as Mr. Jaspers, shuffling uncomfortably from one arthritic foot to the other, watched the new principal chat idly on the office phone and imagined throttling him.

Now Mr. Jaspers wasn‘t the type of man who normally daydreamed about throttling people. He was old--very old, kept a pet cat named Elmo in his janitorial office, and up to now his daydreams had been rather docile and well-mannered. Winning a lifetime supply of top-shelf scotch or someone inventing work boots that didn’t squeak on tile floors had been two of his favorites. But then came Mr. Heinik. Yes…even on the phone the short principal seemed to stick under Mr. Jaspers’ fingernails like sidewalk chalk, irritating the old Scotsman in a way he hadn‘t been irritated in a long, long time.

“Saturday?…Of course--I’ll bring my new clubs--and make sure they don’t make us tee off after the VFW team or we’ll be stuck waiting for them to limp from one hole to the other…great…thanks, Frank…eh-heh…bye.”

Had Mr. Heinik read Mr. Jaspers’ file, he would have known the Scotsman had been an Army sentry in both Korea and Vietnam. What the file didn’t say was that Mr. Jaspers also served as sentry in both World Wars, the Spanish-American War, the American Revolution and numerous highland conflicts and continued to march with the local VFW each Memorial Day in a kilt despite a limp from a saber wound in his left leg. Like I said, Mr. Jaspers was a very, very old man.

He was staring blank-faced at the principal, feeling the war-blood begin to circulate again through his veins and wondering whether someone could be beaten senseless from a telephone receiver, when he realized the offensive Mr. Heinik was addressing him.


“Er…sorry, sir, I was, eh, distracted.”

“Forget about it, my dear man,” said Mr. Heinik. “As we were saying, we did get a chance to peruse your file and, while it appears you have put in a few years of good service to Wickfield Prep--”

“Forty-one years, sir.”

“Yes,“ said Mr. Heinik, ignoring Mr. Jaspers completely, “the school board and I think you may find better employment opportunities elsewhere.“

Mr. Jaspers stopped shuffling. His face, a spiderweb of lines and wrinkles from which even the smallest of emotions couldn’t stir without causing a great disruption, didn’t move. Somewhere in his head he heard a voice growl, “Aye, methinks you can dent his head in with a telephone.”
  And in the other corner, also anxious to return to the ring, let me re-introduce.... Seaweed.

Biscuits were in the oven baking up golden as the evening sun.

I heard the familiar chugging as I set the supper table.

“Men’ll be in any minute... Potatoes, cabbage, corned beef. Biscuits almost ready... Butter. Salt.” I rubbed my hands down my faded floury apron.

The scrape of their boots trudging up the steps to the porch, the screen door slamming as they entered the mudroom and hung up gear - they were as comforting as any sounds I’d ever heard. Breathing came easier when I knew they were safely returned to shore.

Silently, they went off to wash up; husband to the kitchen sink, grandson to the upstairs bath.

“Coffee or tea, Cap?” I asked, bending to get the biscuits from the oven.


They sat at the table in silence as potatoes and biscuits were handed around, and the corned beef and cabbage were dished out.

“Set his traps in mine,” Cap’s words were low and released slowly. I barely caught them.

“What...who? Who’d do that? Not the new guy?” I could feel the life draining out of me. Cutting in on another lobsterman’s fishing territory was dangerous business.

“Ayuh. Macy.”

Lost in his stormy thoughts, our “dinner conversation” was ended; I knew there’d be no drawing him back.

Pushing his plate aside, Cap picked up the newspaper and went to the living room. Jess quietly excused himself and retreated upstairs to listen to music or read, or whatever he did up there when it was too quiet down here. I sighed and cleared the dishes.

In the soapy water, my fingers felt around on the sink bottom for forks or knives. There were no little buoys attached to tell you they were submerged down there. I laughed to myself and drained the sink.

I settled into my chair next to Cap’s, and studied his weary face. It had been a hard day added to hard years - good years though. I yearned to erase those worry lines and smooth the time wrinkles.

It was early, but Cap folded the paper, and pushed himself out of the chair, straightening slowly.

“Guess I’ll turn in.”

“I’m just going to sit up a bit,” I reached into the sewing basket by my chair.

“ ‘Night, “ he whispered, kissing my forehead.

The stairs creaked under his weight, and then I heard the bedroom door close. I waited until there were no more sounds from above, assured he was asleep.

Dropping my sewing back into the basket, I headed for the door. I grabbed my coat, and found his knife and flashlight in his gear. I silently slipped out into the darkness, heading for the boat.

A few cuts and Macy’s buoys would be gone, and his traps dead on the ocean floor.

“No little buoys to tell you where they are...” I laughed to myself.

Remember the WRiTE CLUB motto, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!

And for my USA followers out there….

See you Friday!


  1. Aw...this match-up makes me sad. I really wanted to see these two writers against each other in the final! From what I've seen so far, I think they've shown the most skill of anyone in the competition.
    That said, I think Snivvy's piece today is stronger, so I'll cast my vote that way.
    Whoever wins, I hope both of you know what amazing writers you are, and we're grateful to have read your work.

  2. This is hard because these are both fantastic. I've got to go with Snivvy though. In that brief excerpt, you can't help but care about Mr. Jaspers so much, and to echo the others, the voice is vibrant. Love them both, though!

  3. Between these two I must vote Snivvy.

  4. Snivvy Crank. Tougher and tougher to choose.

  5. I like both of these entries, but I think much of the appeal of Seaweed's is because of its relation to their first entry. Taken as an stand-alone piece, I think it is not quite as strong as Snivvy's stand-alone piece, so I have to go for Snivvy Crank in this round.

    And for those of us in the states: Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope your holidays are wonderful and filled with family, friends, and fabulous food!

  6. Agonizing choice since I voted for both before. I think I'll go with Seaweed. This time around I found Snivvy's to have too much backstory, even though the voice is strong.

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone (in the US) and especially to you, DL. I've been meaning to tell you, I really appreciate your blog not having a captcha code ("Please prove you are not a robot"). Can't imagine how annoying that would be when we are commenting so often here.

  7. Definitely Snivvy. Great voice and I want to keep reading!

  8. Two of my favourites in the same round *sigh*


  9. I like both of these pieces but as I can only pick one I'm going with Snivvy. Good luck to both writers and Happy Thanksgiving to those celebrating.

  10. In these rounds it's not really about skill in writing -- they're all great -- but personal preference, I think? Anyhow, I'm not letting myself overthink it or else I'll be come paralyzed by indecision, and this time I'm going with...Seaweed.




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