Poll

Use your 3 votes to determine the winner in this contest with 10 stories

1 Late is Late
7 (14.6%)
2 LATE
7 (14.6%)
3 UNTITLED #1
2 (4.2%)
4 UNTITLED #2
4 (8.3%)
5 Conscientious
2 (4.2%)
6 Late (2)
9 (18.8%)
7 Soon my Love
4 (8.3%)
8 Late for an Important Date
4 (8.3%)
9 Late For Work
8 (16.7%)
10 Untitled #3
1 (2.1%)

Total Members Voted: 15

Voting closed: January 26, 2013, 12:08:57 PM

Author Topic: Winner of Voting Flash Fiction #59 -- is Max WWP  (Read 2526 times)

Offline 510bhan

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Winner of Voting Flash Fiction #59 -- is Max WWP
« on: January 16, 2013, 12:08:57 PM »
Congratulations Max WWP who authored Late (2) -- what a closely fought campaign, but a winner was returned after the 18th voter indicated their preference.

Special mention also to the authors of Late is Late and LATE at joint third and Late For Work, in second place, only one vote behind!



Thank you everyone for entering . . . now it's time to read and vote. You have 3 votes, please use them all. As there are 10 stories, they'll stay up for 10 days to give people timeto mull over them. A good tip is to copy and paste them to a document and then you can read them at your leisure.

There are two boxes containing the stories [1 box can't cope!] so do read past the first one. There are 10 stories in all for your consideration.
;)

1 Late is Late

“C’mon, get a move on!” I had my bags ready and tried to keep urgency out of my voice as I prodded the others to move faster. “Quit sorting things you know you can’t take. You know the rule. Only essentials.”

“Essential to whom?” Marty held our photo album and put a sneered emphasis on the last word.

“To everyone, kiddo.” I tried to put my hand on her shoulder, but she shrugged away.

“Go frag yourself,” her voice was little more than a hiss. “Damn you and the aliens right to hell.”

“Marty…”

“Go frag yourself,” she repeated.

“Leave her alone,” Mitchell said. “The little bitch deserves time for herself.” He looked out the window at the agency truck idling at the curb. “They’ll throw out anything she brings they don’t think belongs anyway.”

“Let her be,” Addie added, “she’ll get it done.”

“Yeah,” Marty snapped, ignoring Mitchell’s slur, “leave me alone.”

“Suit yourself,” I sighed. “Just watch the signal. If it goes from green to blue you’re almost out of time. If it turns red…”

“Yeah,” Marty said, “We all know. If it turns red we’re too late.”

I had no intention of waiting around for her, if it came to that. They could all putter around in denial if they wanted to, but I’d made up my mind. I intended to be on my way to the rendezvous long before the warning signal. I was going to survive. “Long as you know.” I looked into her eyes and hesitated. They were a pretty blue, when they weren’t so full of fear.

The other rooms in the house were alive with activity. Rachel and Tom had their shit together, and were already hauling boxes out to the waiting truck. Donnie and Anne were just about finished, too.

“Good work, guys.” They all looked at me without comment.

I went to the kitchen to check on Ramona and William. “We’re set,” Bill said, hoisting boxes of packed foodstuff before I had a chance to ask. “We’re on our way right now.”

“Need a hand?”

“We’ll manage.”

“OK…meet you outside.”

I bumped into Mitchell and Addie on my way back. They were checking the lists they had been supplied and were carrying boxes to the transport cart.

“Good job,” I nodded. “Where’s Marty?”

They both pointed to where I had left her. Marty was sitting on the bed when I walked in. The bags she had been assigned were empty on the floor.

“Marty?” The light over the door went from green to blue. “We’ve got to go now.”

She looked up at me, her eyes red-rimmed and dark. “I’m staying,” she said.

“Marty…it’s time.”

“This is our home,” she said. “I don’t care what some voice in the sky said. I’m not leaving.”

The others filed out and boarded the truck. I heard them shout our names as the driver laid on his horn. “I’ll stay with you,” I whispered.

I held her hand as the light turned red.


2 LATE

Sarah woke covered in sweat, tangled in damp sheets, panting like she had run a 440. The remnants of the dream evaporated in her mind, leaving behind a misty feeling of mingled terror and joy.

She was in her apartment. After breaking up with her long-time boyfriend last year, she had slept alone. Small wonder, she thought, that she would have an erotic dream. No sex for a long time equals wet dream.

Even so, it was disturbing. The male in her dream had been a monster. A real monster, with fur and claws and stuff. But, as dreams do, it seemed perfectly logical that she would be making passionate love to a beast, thrashing and achieving positions and feelings not possible in reality.

She shook her head to clear it, got up and somewhat shakily showered and dressed for work. Life goes on even if you have a pleasurable horrifying nightmare.

Sarah was a nurse, working the day shift at the local hospital. She wanted to tell her friend Peggy of the dream but she knew Peg would want details, details that she did not much want to recall.

After a few weeks, the dream faded from her mind. There was no recurrence, and she slept peacefully. Then she missed her period. Her cycle was as regular as a metronome. Each day for a week, it filled her thoughts: how could this be? No sex for ten months.

She worried her way through the long days. Perhaps she was experiencing some kind of hormone imbalance. Whatever the reason, she was late. At the edge of her consciousness, an unacceptable thought tried to intrude.


3 UNTITLED #1

Jabo wasn’t the brightest kid in class, but got along well enough. He had been selling ecstasy at the high school for most of senior year, having put back over ten grand by spring break. His spending never caught the attention of the faculty nor the cops, but his fat pockets did some crazy things to his mind.

He and Emily had been dating for several weeks but hadn’t seen each other outside of school. They had resolved to get together at his house, and had told some elaborate lies to her mother in preparation for that afternoon.

His hand in his pocket, he felt the packet of tabs and quickly calculated what a few taken that night would cost him. He had already lost money because rumor had it, his E was “bunk.” People were supposedly getting sick off it, but he’d never had a problem. He had over a thousand doses at home, and needed to get rid of them quickly. He walked over to Emily after school. They stood at the corner where the smokers congregated, at least as long as the cops would let them.

“Hey girl, we have the rest of the day to ourselves. What do you want to do?”

“Whatever.” She laid on the grass and twirled her hair absently. She shifted to her side, looking at him. “When should we go to your house? I’m sorry we can’t go to mine, my mom just doesn’t like you.”

“She doesn’t like my brown ass, I bet that’s it.” He took a drag off his cigarette, hawked, and spat on the sidewalk.
“Well, she’s going to be home from work in less than an hour, so we couldn’t stay long. How about I run home, grab my things, and we stay at your house tonight?”

“Hard to say no to that.” He adjusted his hat, a flat-billed red cap with a blue bandana underneath. “Meet me at my house at six. Here, take this now, and we’ll be both feeling good by the time you get there.” He tossed her two ecstasy tabs, which she smiled and placed on the end of her tongue. She kissed him, swallowed the tablets, and walked toward her car.

She arrived at home, and just as predicted, her mother’s Honda wasn’t in the driveway. As she walked through the front door, she felt a shift in her sensory perception. Her heart started thumping and the floor became slick, unnatural, and looked wet.

She felt her temples pulsing, and looked in the bathroom mirror. Staring back at her was a reptilian creature approximately her height, its eyes no more than evil slits. The skin buckled on her neck and her arms were covered in purple streaks. She dropped to the floor and curled into the fetal position, where her mother found her, catatonic.

Jabo took another bite of his sandwich and looked at his watch at a quarter past six. "Where is that girl?"

4 UNTITLED #2

Gathered around a table, smothered by merriment, nobody heard the polite taps. Only when Frog belched loudly causing a pause did Rabbit’s keen ears catch the next more insistent raps.

“T-Turtle probably,” stammered Hedgehog, his coal-black eyes glittered from one too many candles on display. Rabbit had a weakness for beeswax.

“I’ll get it.” Rabbit bounced up from the table and excused herself. The others continued their enjoyment.

She smoothed out her appearance in the mirror. It would be unbecoming to appear in disarray, especially to Turtle as he was well off. Satisfied, Rabbit reached for the handle and pushed.

Thump!

“Oh dear.” She peeked past the door to see Turtle on his back, short legs wiggling in the air.

“Dammit Rabbit!” he cursed, attempting one way and then the other to right. Rabbit only stared. “Well? Don’t just stand there. Give me a paw.”

She extended one delicately and then with a mighty thrust of her back legs drew Turtle and herself inside.

“Hurray!” the others cheered.

“Back again?” snorted Owl unwisely. He often goaded Turtle relentlessly with false high airs. Owl liked to brag, ‘Life taught me more than a thing or two then you’.

Most at the table had heard this enough to engage in eye-rolling contests.

“I didn’t know poultry was on the menu,” Turtle retorted. Owl exposed his middle feather.

“Now, now, remember it’s my birthday so be nice.”

Both tried harder to behave.

In the dining room a basket piled high with brightly coloured gifts sat. Hedgehog moved his more to the front allowing room for Turtle’s in the back. Transfixed by Rabbit’s beauty; he was rarely seen without her company, or a picture of her likeness.

“Here’s an open spot,” he offered.

“Ah yes, Rabbit’s gift.” Turtle disappeared inside his shell. “Just a moment.”

Owl beat his wings hard.

“Tsk tsk,” chided Rabbit as she stopped the shell’s sway.

“You’re no fun,” Owl hooted and gulped down another radish sautéed in fine herbs.

Moments passed.

“Erhm. Everything okay in there?” Rabbit rapped nervously on the shell. There was no answer.

“D-Do you think he’s sleeping?” Hedgehog asked hopefully.”

“Probably. The old fart!” Owl muttered.

Rabbit rapped harder. Still no answer.

“Let’s have a look, shall we?” Robin fluttered over Frog sleeping in his bowl of pea soup and peered in. “Hmmm.”

“Well?” Rabbit inquired. She had planned this party to perfection with no room for error.

“How to put this?” Robin fluffed. “Straight forward or . . . .”

“Just spit it out you muttering jay,” Owl complained.

“Fine. Turtle’s dead.”

“What? Are you sure?” Rabbit shook.

“Yup.” A pause. “You know, he’d make a fine table once picked out.”

“I’ll help,” volunteered Owl.

Hedgehog moaned weakly.

“No-one asked you, squirt.”

“Late, never again,” Frog slurred.

“True.”

Rabbit didn’t let it dampen her spirit, besides Turtle’s finely painted bottom would look lovely in her garden.

“Thank you, Turtle,” she said politely, then smiled. “Okay, who’s for dessert?”

“Me! Me!” they cheered.


5 Conscientious

When Joe Smith arrived at the Royal Mail sorting office the manager looked at his watch in over-acted astonishment.

"You're early. Only twenty minutes, but even so. This will ruin your reputation."

Joe just smiled and passed through the main hall to his sorting frame. Over the last twenty years he'd acquired a reputation for always being late, anything between five and twenty minutes. But he was a fast worker once he arrived and always left for his delivery on time.

His managers didn't like it, but conscientious workers are worth keeping so his freestyle flex-time became a matter of legend and wry amusement, rather than a cause for termination. The newest manager was a bit sarky and referred to him as The Late Mister Smith, but Joe just grinned and did his job, always finishing on time no matter how bad the weather, or how heavy the mail load.

He sat on his stool by the sorting frame and reached for the first bundle of mail. He didn't feel quite right and couldn't quite get a grip on things. Maybe he'd wait a few minutes, get his head together.

Ten minutes later a policeman arrived and asked to see the manager.

"Do you have a member of staff called Joe Smith?"

"We do. What's he done? What can I do for you?"

"We'd like his home address, Sir. He was killed in a car crash on his way in to work this morning, about half an hour ago."
« Last Edit: January 26, 2013, 01:10:53 PM by 510bhan »

Offline 510bhan

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Re: Voting Flash Fiction #59 -- 3 votes allowed
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2013, 12:13:34 PM »
6 Late (2)

The bell had barely rung out its first syllable before I was on my feet and sprinting for the door. Old Mr. Peacock had chanted more Russian history than I think existed in history, and now I had to make up time. With ten minutes until the interview I had never pedaled so hard. Never mind, I knew all the shortcuts – through McDonald’s parking lot, down Russell Street, and across the footbridge should get me to the bakery with time to grab a sample at the door before I had to see O’Neil.

Six months evening shift and a few weekends, and I’ll have enough for a car, was the only thought in my mind as I launched my bike over the curb at high speed, sending a small shower of dirt from the rear tire when it hit terra firma again in loose gravel. I smiled and pressed on down the sidewalk.

Car tires squealed as a BMW cornered wide, through a puddle on the side of the road, sending water spraying onto an old lady with a walking frame just ahead of me. She tumbled to the ground and her shopping scattered. She looked up with her fist waving, in time to see the driver giving her the finger out his window, gold watch glistening in the sunlight. The man swerved past a truck and disappeared down the road.

I yanked on the brakes and jumped from my bike, letting it crash onto the grass, then raced to the old lady and extended my hand. Her watery eyes quivered as I helped her to her feet. Steadying her with one hand, I bent to pick up her walking frame, then collected her shopping. She smiled as I jumped back on my bike. With just the footbridge to go, I might still make it.

My pulse raced as I entered the bakery. No time for a sample now, I thought as I headed for O’Neil’s office.

It was empty. I glanced down the hallway as a man in a suit strode up. He straightened his tie as he entered the room and threw some BMW keys on the desk. “Come on in, lad.” He glanced at his gold watch. “Hope you weren’t waiting long. Traffic’s crazy today.”

I remained standing by the door.

“You are the Benson boy, aren’t you?” O’Neil said. “I’ve heard good things about you. We’re flat out in here. When can you start?”

I glared at the man. “Um, no. I’m in the wrong place.” I turned and left the bakery, grabbing two fistfuls of samples on the way.



7 Soon my Love

He sat in his comfortable leather armchair in his study overlooking the patio and the lawns and he waited. How long till it's over, he thought. I truly hope I just close my eyes and drift off.

Glancing to his left on the little table sat her picture in the gilt frame they'd bought in London's Convent Garden. She looked so, so happy, they both did. Little did they know that a freight train was speeding inexorably towards them at eighty-five miles per hour, and nothing could stop it. Could it really be only six short months since she'd left him?

Left? Died wasn't leaving, he conjectured, but he still felt like he was left behind. He'd planned so assiduously, for this moment. Martha and the kids were off to the beach for the day, so no chance of an accidental discovery till it was too late, thank God! He'd hate to have to do this all over again. He shook the empty pill bottle to make sure he'd taken them all. This way they'll think I fell asleep in my comfy chair, so it won't be distressing for the kids if they come in by chance, Bless ’em, he thought. Wait for me Dianne, wait for me, my Love. I'm coming, we'll be together again.

Soon, he knew, soon, he'd be the "late David Lane."



8 Late for an Important Date

He put the CD back in its case. Surrealistic Pillow by Jefferson Airplane, what else? Even if he always had White Rabbit on repeat. Lewis was late, very late for a very important date, he mumbled to himself “In a Wonderland they lie, Dreaming as the days go by, Dreaming as the summers die:” and giggled. He opened the Whiskey, marked poison of course, took a deep draft and put on his hat, mad as a hatter he chuckled to himself and thought about the new Alice that was coming to see his Wonderland, he stroked his cat that grinned at him and seemed to disappear into thin air, only to emerge by its food bowl. He fed his cat, wolfed down a bowl of mock turtle soup, took out his watch and saw that indeed he was late, late, late for a very important date, he went down his hole into the cellar and checked that everything was ready for receiving the new Alice, he salivated at the thought and made sure the tools he needed were ready, lined up on the stainless steel table, he bowed to the Queen of Hearts, she looked so much like his mother, it brought tears to his eyes but he managed to stop laughing and ran up the steps and out of his house into the foggy night, a light drizzle didn’t bother him, this was his weather, ideal for the job in fact.


They were meeting in his favourite pub, “The March Hare”, he felt comfortable here and it was discrete, so much the better. That her name was Carol was fate he grinned, Lewis and Carol a perfect match. He entered the bar, smoky, almost as foggy as on the street, he looked round and saw her immediately, sat clutching a tattered copy of “Alice’s Adventures....” she was a fan like he was, well almost like he was he thought. He went over and introduced himself. “Hello I am Lewis and you must be Carol?”

“Yes”, she smiled. “This is a real coincidence isn’t it, Lewis?”

“Indeed it is, indeed,” he answered. “What would you like to drink my dear?”

“Oh I will get them,” Carol said, “I believe in equality Lewis”.

He was suddenly sweating and his speech was slurred, he said, “Could we go now and I will show you Wonderland, I need fresh air . . .”

“Lewis, is anything wrong?”

“Just a bit strange,” he said wiping his brow.

He remembered leaving the Pub and then when he came to he was strapped to the table and Carol was staring at him. “Who in the world am I? Ah that’s the great question.”

“No, no, no,” mumbled Lewis. “It’s not supposed to be like this.”

“Ah Lewis my dear, whatever is supposed to be like it is supposed to be.”

She picked up a tool and said, “Off with their heads!”

Under the gaze of all the other Alices, everything went black.




9 Late For Work

Cedric boarded the number nine bus without notice, found Bernice Massey in the third row, and removed his glove.

“What you starin at?”

Cedric froze.

“You . . . you can see me?”

“I’m old, but I ain’t blind, boy.”

Cedric scanned the faces of the passengers. No one paid him any attention, but some looked warily at Bernice.

“Well? You gonna sit down?“

He perched on the seat just across from her.

“You really see me?”

Bernice rolled her eyes. “Boy, I don’t know what you’re on but it ain’t sweet Jesus. You just keep to yourself and leave a poor old lady alone.”

“Amazing! Bernice? What do I look like?”

She frowned and clutched her bag. “I didn’t tell you my name.”

“No, but, what do you see? Describe me.”

“Skinny. Pale. Dressed like a teenage thug in that hoodie. You homeless, boy? You all covered up like that. you look like you up to something. Now. How’d you know my name?”

Cedric held a skeletal hand in front of his face. “So, I look like a boy to you. A regular kid?”

“Wouldn’t say regular.”

“It’s been so long. I did look like that once, like a regular kid. ”He smiled. “But that was before. Now, I have the job. I’m going to have to touch you, Bernice. It won’t hurt, but you’ll die.”

Bernice smacked his hand away.

“I’m sorry, but it’s 10:09. It’s your time.” He tapped his watch.

“It’s past eleven.”

“What?”

“Time change. Spring forward. Daylight savings.”

If Cedric had a heart it would have skipped a beat. He was late. He leaned over and poked Bernice. Nothing. She scowled at him, but she lived on.

By 11:30 Cedric had missed three appointments and decided to take the day off. What did it matter? He was powerless.

Bernice exited at the next stop and Cedric saw his boss waiting on the sidewalk. He tapped the old lady's shoulder as she passed and she dropped dead. Brain aneurism. The Boss maneuvered around the gathering crowd and boarded the bus.

Cedric cowered under his icy stare. “Sir, I’m sorry. I tried, but I’ve lost the touch. And she saw me.”

The Boss lit a cigarette and spent a full minute blowing smoke rings. “Only one way that could happen. What's rule number one, Cedric?”

“Be on time. Sir.”

“Pretty important rule, that one. We’re in the business of time.” He blew a smoke ring. “You miss it by one second, that time written on a soul when it first sparks - if you are late, then -” he shrugged.

“None of the others can see me.”

“They haven’t cheated their death.”

The Boss laid a bony hand on Cedric’s head and a surge of energy shot through his body.”

“Last chance, boy. Set your watch.”

His next appointment was two streets over.

Cedric ran the whole way.



10 Untitled #3

James James or Double J to his friends is a writer of some note among the flash fiction competition fraternity.

Sat at his computer, logged in to My Writers Circle, JJ was scanning the subject lines in Review My Work, none took his interest. He did notice the sticky: Please read first – so JJ did, he also read the sticky: Critiquing for the shy.

Although JJ is a talented writer he suffers from OCD, the form of OCD that JJ sufferers from is a compulsion to read every sticky on the notice board in order, every time he returns to his computer. So we arrive at 8:14pm Tuesday 15th January 2013. JJ sat at his computer at 8am and has got no further than Review My Work in over twelve hours.

Time – 10 pm

JJ opens Writing Games & Challenges and sees Flash Fiction #59.

‘Yet another Winner for Me.’ JJ thinks having won every flash fiction competition he has entered and he enters them all. He opens Flash Fiction #59 and is greeted with the competition rules:

In less than 500 words, please write a story about being late.

You have a week to get this completed – don't be late.

Closing: Tuesday midnight 15th January 2013

‘Here we go.’ JJ opens his word processor program ready to begin writing then glances down to the right hand corner of his monitor, the date reads 15th January 2013 and the time is 10:15pm. JJ realizes that he has only got one hour and forty-five minutes left before the close of the competition and not a single word rote yet.

“OH CRAP, Talk about don't be late, never,” JJ says and begins to write.


Offline Laura H

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Re: Winner of Voting Flash Fiction #59 -- is Max WWP
« Reply #2 on: January 26, 2013, 01:38:16 PM »
Congrats to Max!  Good story with a moral  :D

Take a bow.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou

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Re: Winner of Voting Flash Fiction #59 -- is Max WWP
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2013, 01:55:37 PM »
Congrats Max for the win.


Offline bri h

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Re: Winner of Voting Flash Fiction #59 -- is Max WWP
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2013, 02:27:43 PM »
Well done Max, well deserved win.
Fare thee well Skip. We're all 'Keening' now. xbx

Offline Vienna

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Re: Winner of Voting Flash Fiction #59 -- is Max WWP
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2013, 02:29:16 PM »
congrats Max! Well done!
Just a well-read punk peasant

Going to church makes you a christian as much as standing in a garage makes you a car!

Offline Gyppo

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Re: Winner of Voting Flash Fiction #59 -- is Max WWP
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2013, 05:05:12 PM »
Nice one, Max.

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My website is currently having a holiday, but will return like the $6,000,000 man.  Bigger, stronger, etc.

In the meantime, why not take pity on a starving author and visit my book sales page at http://stores.lulu.com/gyppo1

Offline Sasquatch

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Re: Winner of Voting Flash Fiction #59 -- is Max WWP
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2013, 05:38:57 PM »
A well deserved win, and got my vote. (one of them) :)

Now come up with something good for a prompt, preferably something involving narcolepsy.

Offline Laura H

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Re: Winner of Voting Flash Fiction #59 -- is Max WWP
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2013, 08:34:03 PM »
So, written any good narcolepsy flash stories lately, Sasquatch?  ::) ;D
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou

“Don't be like the rest of them, darling.” ― Eudora Welty

Offline Sasquatch

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Re: Winner of Voting Flash Fiction #59 -- is Max WWP
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2013, 08:40:49 PM »
So, written any good narcolepsy flash stories lately, Sasquatch?  ::) ;D

:) :) :)

"Good" is pretty optimistic.

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Re: Winner of Voting Flash Fiction #59 -- is Max WWP
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2013, 11:39:31 AM »
Thanks everyone,
I plan to post the next #60 after the Olymp-inks.