Writer’s Life would like to again thank all who submitted to last month’s contest: Can you write a novel in 48 hours? We loved reading them all, except for Dan Meyer’s “Doin’ it on my Couch” which we found bland and derivative. It also wasn’t long enough, and the novel was short (ZING!).
We thought we’d continue in the theme of speed writing for this month’s contest: can you write a short story in five minutes? Our judges had many difficult selections to make but we settled on three that stood out from the rest.
First place. “The Block” by Annabeth Lawton
Bethany was under a crushing deadline and couldn’t figure out what to write so she snorted some blow her friend, Gail, left the night before she ran off with that producer from Little Tickle Records. What to write about? GOT IT! Bethany would write about all the pressures facing women – men, fashion, work, other men, which bagels are best, childbirth, mansplaining, fat shaming, dating women if that’s your thing no judgement, social media with its clickety clickety clickety CLACK CLACK CLACK all day long. There was never any time to read or stop or look at Tik Tok; is that a badger riding a squirrel? No, it’s not. Tik Tok is stupid, but tick tick tick the time was running as fast as she was that time in high school when the cops came to Millicent’s party and she’d told Millie not to invite the Johnson boys, but nooooo, she had to go and do it and they made a mess of the place and then Bobby Johnson tried to get Bethany drunk and Barry Johnson put his dick in a porcelain duck which was kinda funny until it got stuck and he was angry and looking for a hammer and “ATTENTION THIS IS THE COPS. DO NOT RUN!” But run she did, out the side door the cops didn’t know about, over the hedge, through the Wilson’s back yard and all the way home before she realized that she left her Mazda Miata and, shit, Bethany forgot that her current car, which is no longer a Mazda Miata but something else, was waaaaaaay overdue for an oil change but when did she have the time tick tick tick she barely had time to eat the tofu and brie platter her boyfriend had left in the fridge but the little cubes all looked the same and she didn’t know which one was she biting into which was worse than the time Jennifer told her to use wasabi sauce re-grout her tub. OH THE BURNING! The tub leaked into the basement and ruined several loofa sponges which was almost as bad as the time time time FUUUUUCK!!!!!!!!!!
Second place. “A Farewell in the Breeze” by Mitch Aragret
Scarlett O’Hara was not beautiful, but men seldom realized it when caught by her charm as the Tarleton twins were. In her face were too sharply blended the delicate features of her mother, a Coast aristocrat of French descent, and the heavy ones of her florid Irish father. But it was an arresting face, pointed of chin, square of jaw…eyes…brows…lashes…magnolia-white skin so prized by Southern women…bonnets, veils, mittens…against hot Georgia suns.
Scarlett pines for Ashley, but it doesn’t work out. She marries Rhett, but there’s a war, and babies are birthed. Their daughter dies and suddenly Rhett doesn’t give a damn.
Third place. “Davenport Confessional” by John Simpson
How had it come to this? An entire weekend, shades drawn; un-showered, Joe thought the woman he would never love, out there, turning to look over her shoulder, shimmering brown curls gently bouncing on her cheek.
He thought of all the people he hadn’t noticed. Too busy out there, with earbuds installed, walling himself off from the lady on the bus who could have used a five-minute conversation about her day, or the old friend from high school who saw him at the grocery store but didn’t approach.
They were all out there, living, while he sat alone reading Dan Meyer’s “Doin’ it on my Couch” cover to cover. He kinda like it.
Thanks for reading. Next month’s contest will feature your choice of one-minute haikus or 30-second acrostics.