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WRiTE CLUB 2012 Play-offs - Round One / Bout 16

Today brings the last of the round one bouts that make up the initial round of the WRiTE CLUB play-offs, and just a reminder that everyone will have until Sunday to vote on bouts 10-18.  The submissions are posted here and two other blogs, and here's the links where they can be found.

DL Hammons @ Cruising Altitude 2.0
Julie Dao @ Silver Lining
 Your task is simple…read the submission from each WRiTER below carefully and leave your vote for the sample that resonates with you the most.  If you haven’t already done so in the preliminary rounds, offer some critique if you have time.  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.  You will have until noon on Sunday (Nov. 4th) to vote.  . 

Good luck to both WRiTER’s!

And now…..

In this corner welcome back to the ring.....RingGirl.

There’s a “one who got away” in every girl’s life.

You know who I’m talking about.

You doodled his name on your geometry notes. You sat behind him in study hall, where the only thing you studied was the way his hair curled at the nape of his neck.

For a lot of girls, this story is over on graduation day. The boy slides into a vintage Mercedes to spend the summer sailing in New England, never to be seen again. That’s where it usually ends.

But when you’re me, life pretends to continue on its merry way, then turns around and bitch slaps you, just for fun. And the “one who got away” becomes “the one who reappears just when you’re looking particularly gross and haven’t had time to shower.”

Because when my plane landed on Anchor Island, the first person I saw was the one I had obsessed over for four years. Garrett Patrick, he of the artfully tousled hair and crisp linen shorts embroidered with tiny seahorses. His eyes widened when he saw me stumbling down the stairs with my enormous carry-ons.

“Alex! What are you doing here?”

God, he was perfect. But why, oh why did I have to run into him with unwashed hair and my rattiest t-shirt? I pinned my arms to my sides to hide the yellowed armpits.

“Mom... new fiancé lives here,” I babbled. Where the hell was my vocabulary when I needed it? I killed AP English but still couldn’t talk to him? I tried again. “They invited me to stay for the summer.”

“My family’s here for the summer, too,” he said politely. “I’m waiting for Sally.”

My stomach lurched. Of course Sally McKenna would go wherever Garrett went. No doubt her family owned a sprawling hundred-room “cottage” right next to his.

Before I could respond, a flashy white limo pulled up and a window rolled down to reveal my mother, pretty, blond, and windblown. “Alex!”she shouted. “Over here, honey!”

I gawked at her. What was my mother doing in a limo? Where was her beat-up Chevy? When my eyes flickered to Garrett, I detected a look of dawning amusement on his face. He looked as though he knew something I didn’t…

“Come over and meet your new stepdad-to-be!”

The limo belonged to her new fiancé? She hadn’t ever mentioned that he was loaded.

As I reached for my bags, I saw a man appear in the window beside her. Only five words in the world could describe him: Richard Simmons in a suit. For one heart-stopping moment, I really thought it was Richard Simmons until I realized that he was much too young, though he had a similar halo of ginger hair. He gave me a fluttering wave bedecked with gaudy rings.

Garrett was watching me with a grin. “Well, I’m sure I’ll see you around, Alex.”


And in the other corner, also anxious to return to the ring, let me re-introduce.... Digigal.

I stared at the wall of toothpaste. How can there be eleven different kinds of Crest? If I chose whitening over tartar control, would I forsake cavity protection in favor of vanity? What's the difference between "tartar control" and "cavity control"? If "complete" is truly complete, why does one "complete" come with additional breath freshener while another "complete" doesn't?

Fighting rising anxiety over my commitment to dental hygiene, I recognized the Muzak-ified tones over the grocery store's speakers as "Rebel Yell." If she did, in fact, cry, "More! More! More!" with a rebel yell, why hadn't Billy Idol included an actual rebel yell in the lyric?

My palms began to sweat. Overwhelmed by questions, my attention drifted above the toothpaste. Ice chests crowded the top of the display shelves. There was only one size, big enough to hold a week's worth of groceries for a family of four. Two color options, red or blue. The cooler would fit perfectly in the back seat of my truck. The unstained majority of the king cab's upholstery was blue but I really liked red. If I needed a cooler, I would pick the red one. The world of ice chests seemed so simple.

But what I needed was toothpaste. And the Muzak DJ in the secret corner of the grocery store to find another song. And a vacation. And a dog sitter. And a million dollars. But did I need minty fresh breath or cinnamon spice?

Maybe I should ask for an objective opinion. I looked up and down the aisle. Too late. A lady with an overflowing purse escaped around the vitamins. The decision rested with me. With a shaking hand I picked up my environmentally responsible canvas bag from its resting place at my feet. Its only contents at the moment, a six-pack of beer, light, but imported. Having the earth's ecological future on my shoulders often required a Saturday afternoon buzz. Had I planned by weight, beer would have been the final item in the bag. Given that there is only one beer from Amsterdam carried by this grocery chain, though, it would be the easiest decision of this shopping excursion. I went for the quick win.

Hefting the bag's canvas straps, steeling my resolve to settle on a single toothpaste, terrified for my dental future, I noticed a penny on the floor. Maybe I should keep tossing it until I got the unwieldy choices down to two. I could start by narrowing it down between gel or paste. Then move on to the tougher yet no less important calls until I reached the pentultimate enamel- and gum-saving decision.

I picked up the penny. An unvoiced, blood curdling, accompanying yell echoing in my head, I flipped the penny. Heads, blue gel toothpaste. Tails, red ice chest. Time slowed down as Lincoln switched places repeatedly with his own memorial, end over end, moving as if through Jello. I held my breath until the penny hit the floor.



Don’t forget to visit the other two sites and vote for your favorite in those bouts as well!  Remember the WRiTE CLUB motto, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!




  1. I have to vote for Digigal's "frozen with indecision" and possibly OCD narrator just for the originality -- and possibly out of pity for her. (I think it's a her.)

    There's absolutely nothing wrong with Ring Girl's piece. Well written. But Digigirl makes me laugh.

  2. My vote is for RingGirl. Digigal was a little too rambly for me.

  3. RingGirl's was more engaging. My vote goes to her.

  4. RingGirl gets my vote. She named her character Alex!

  5. RingGirl gets my vote. I love the voice. Great job to both writers!!

  6. Digigal!

    I'd been waiting for her entry to come up again.

  7. Hmmm, another tough one for me. Both pieces have things to like, and both have some things that miss the mark for me.

    I dislike the author speaking directly to me in the beginning of RingGirl's piece. I'm only two lines in -- I have no idea who you're talking about. And I've never doodled "his" name in my geometry notes, thank you very much, and frankly it's a little presumptive of you to assume I have, don't you think? But once we get past that and actually get on with relaying the narrator's experiences, the story picks up and becomes entertaining and I enjoyed it.

    Digigals piece is amusing and I can identify with it, but it does get just a little over the top -- come on, it's just toothpaste. Pick a tube and get on with it. But the voice is entertaining and there are some very nice lines here (and as I said in my prelim comments -- there IS a rebel yell in the song, but I doubt if it would make it to the Muzak version, lol).

    Well, like I said -- this is a tough one, but I don't want to agonize too long over my choice like the reluctant toothpaste-picker, so I think I'm going with Digigal. The "things to like" in it are enough to tip the scale.

  8. RingGirl, but I really like both pieces. Good luck to both of you!

  9. I remember that toothpaste bit!

    Voting for RingGirl.

  10. I liked both pieces, but in Digigal's piece I can see myself and others, though it might be that new car or paint color, instead of toothpaste we are agonizing over. Wait till she(?) needs a toothbrush! I loved that she ends up with the ice chest...or maybe not. I'd like to read a book about the rest of her life. So Digigal today.

  11. I really liked both these pieces but my vote goes to Ringgirl I would have read on. But good luck to both of you I'm sure it will be a close one!

  12. I vote Digigal. Though Ringgirl's stands out as an especially fun one from the first round & I'd totally read more of it.

  13. I'm voting for Digigal.

  14. RingGirl this time around. I like Digigal, but the humor in the first piece wins for me.

  15. I liked both of these pieces the first time around, and I still like them now. But since I can only pick one of them, I'm going with RingGirl.




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