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WRiTE CLUB 2015 - Bout #10

What is WRiTE CLUB?  It started off as a modest writing competition, inspiration loosely derived from the movie FIGHT CLUB, and it has since grown into a writing community sensation that is now sponsored by the DFWWriters Conference.  There are numerous versions of this concept floating around the internet, but nothing like we do it here.  Its essence embodies simple, good-natured competition, with lots and lots of fun sprinkled on top. 

Over the course of ten weeks I’ll be holding daily bouts (M-F) between Anonymous 500 word writing samples, submitted under a pen name.   The writing can be any genre, any style (even poetry) with the word count being the only restriction. Today is Bout #10.  Read each sample carefully and then leave a vote in the comment section for the one that resonates with you the most.  Anyone can vote... but only once per bout. Don’t forget to leave with a brief critique of both submissions as well.

Voting for each bout will remain open for one week. The winner of each will be posted HERE, at the WRiTE CLUB scoreboard.  Are you ready?

Here are the first two randomly selected WRiTER's.

Standing in this corner, representing the historical genre and weighing in at 500 words, please welcome to the ring……..Blythe

I wept bitter tears the day Mervyn Brimble’s cologne vanished from my sleeve. I wept not because he was handsome-he looked every bit a toad with his muddy eyes and sallow skin-but because he had acknowledged, with a solitary brush of his rubbery lips, that I was indeed human, a girl crafted of flesh and bone rather than the sullen second half of the phenomenon known as the Wellingsley sisters, the girls who defied nature, the freakish twins ensconced in billowing striped walls, standing in plain view for all the world to gawk at.

My heart battered my ribs as I inconspicuously swept a hand beneath my nose, seeking the cologne’s heady fragrance. A cry tangled in my throat when the musty tang of mothballs clouded my senses, wreathed in the acrid stench of the cigarette my sister Phoebe accepted this morning from a doting gentleman. My tears hobbled down my cheeks, carving floundering ribbons through the rouge that our manager insists Phoebe and I wear at all times. I dabbed fiercely at my tears, reprimanding them with my stained lace handkerchief, yet they only continued, drawing stares from the side show’s patrons.

 A ragged sob bubbled in my throat, rousing Phoebe’s attention. Her gaze swept over my tears, her eyes narrowing. “You really mustn’t do that,” she hissed through gritted teeth. Her gaze flickered to our hands, entwined between us in a tapestry of emaciated fingers, all for the show’s cruel spectacle. “It makes us appear weaker than we are.”

Another watery sound splintered in my throat, causing a lady in lavender to start.

Phoebe’s nails plunged into the clammy flesh of my palm. “Hush, Emma,” she whispered, her voice gentle this time. “You mustn’t startle our visitors. After all, it is their hard earned wages that put meat on our plates and tea in our cups.”

Fury kindled in my chest. “You mean I had best not startle our visitors more than I already do?” I glared down at our intertwined fingers. “More than we already do?”
A gentleman in a waistcoat of shimmering silver threads paused before our pedestal, a frown knitting his brows. Phoebe offered him a seraphic smile that warmed the obsidian of her eyes. When the man reciprocated, she fluttered her silken butterfly lashes in a gesture of coquettishness that made my insides churn. It wasn’t that I never flirted; it wasn’t uncharacteristic of me to smile warmly at a handsome stranger or utter a word of cloying gratitude to the waiter with the glimmering pearl smile. It was the fact that my sister could be so hasty to conceal her emotions, donning a mask of sunny placidity while leaving me to grapple with the emotions scurrying across my face, heralding my private thoughts to the world.

Raucous laughter swallowed Phoebe’s response to my question, freezing the breath in my lungs.

A pair of leering boys strolled towards us, their gazes fastened upon the place where Phoebe’s left hip connected with my right one.

And in the other corner, representing the horror genre with 482 words let me introduce to you……….Kingfisher

Pastor Kenny didn’t want to stop for slushies. All that sugar, it would make the kids hyperactive and the parents would blame him.  He didn’t want to blow his chance at a promotion to Assistant Director of Youth Outreach. The barely pubescent “Team Flamingo” members finally wore him down with their incessant mewing.

“Please! We’ll get smalls!”

The weekend had already been a disaster, Kenny reasoned. They’d lost every single activity over the “Jump for Jesus!” weekend retreat. Two kids had been sent home early with poison oak. One girl’s bleary-eyed parents had picked her up the first night after a tearful phone call about homesickness and bed wetting issues.  Another couple had been discovered fornicating in the equipment shed and summarily ejected from the program, which was a shame, because they were only athletic members of Team Flamingo.

Kenny cruised into the mini mart parking lot at dusk, scraping the curb. He winced, anticipating Pastor Dan’s “disappointed, not mad” face when he eventually saw the paint smear.

“Five minutes, guys,” he called out as the kids scampered out the side door.

A heavily tattooed man in biker gear held the door for them. Kenny tucked his polo shirt, emblazoned with the church logo, into the waistband of his khakis and strode inside the store. The biker pulled a six pack of beer out of the cooler on the far wall, oblivious to the kids squealing as they mixed blue and cherry slushie mix together in thirty-two ounce cups.

“You said small, guys,” Kenny scolded, eyeing the biker.

The biker paid for his beer and left, holding the door open for a couple in their early twenties, both barefoot.

“You have to wear shoes in the store,” the clerk said, peeking up over an issue of TV Guide.

“Do you sell flip flops?” the man asked.

The clerk pointed to a display rack.

“Let’s go guys,” Kenny said.

As they stood behind the couple at the register, Kenny saw something in the man’s waistband. He watched as the man drew his hand out and leveled a pistol.

“Open the register.”

“Jesus!” the clerk yelped.

“You heard him, open it up,” the woman shouted.  Yellow, decayed teeth littered her mouth.

“We only keep a hundred in the register. I don’t have access to the safe,” the clerk whimpered.

“That’s too bad,” the man said.

The kids shrieked at the first shot, which missed the surveillance camera.  After firing off a second round, the man turned around.

“Everyone on the floor,” he said.

One of the girls started crying.

“Please, let the kids go,” Kenny stuttered, remembering that robbery etiquette dictated that he, the adult in charge, request the children’s immediate release.

The clerk thrust a wad of money from the register toward the man.

“This ain’t shit,” the man said.

“Please, it’s all I got,” the clerk sputtered.

The man spun toward Kenny.

Enjoying two talented writers at work is only part of the price of admission, now it’s up to you to decide who moves forward to the playoffs.  In the comments below leave your vote for the winner.  Which one tickled your fancy?  After you vote please tell all of your friends to stop by and make a selection as well (but no coaching about who to vote for).  Yes, it’s subjective, but so is the entire publishing world.  It’s as much about the readers as it is about the writers. 

This is WRiTE CLUB – the contest where the audience gets clobbered!


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