Flash! Friday Vol 2 – 30: WINNERS!

WHAT a huge week this is, so huge I can hardly stand it. In prep for Tuesday, I’m not running a Flash Points tomorrow. But then…. hang on to your hats, because it’s the DOG DAYS OF SUMMER contest, hurtling into a fist-fighting, trouble-making, rabble-rousing existence Tuesday, July 8, at 7:30am Washington, DC time. Did I mention there’s prize money?? And bragging rights. Oh yes. Bragging to high heaven, and a chorus of cheering draggins all along the way. Don’t miss it!

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Judge Craig Anderson says: So I promise I will never again sit at my computer on a Sunday and excitedly proclaim, “Where are the results?” From the outside I always imagined the judges’ task to be a quick and simple one, something to be undertaken with a cup of coffee and a big smile on your face. One quick read through, maybe a second just to be sure, and then Bob’s your uncle, knock up a quick email with the winners and you’re done in time for breakfast. How very wrong I was!

Fast forward to my first stint as a judge and my deeply furrowed brow and ever growing stack of empty coffee mugs as I re-read all your entries for the umpteenth time while the deadline rapidly approached. I could honestly find things to love about every story: there was darkness, comedy, spaceships and time travel. You all did a fantastic job of making my task rather more difficult than I had imagined it. I’m not complaining, though; it was a very enlightening experience and has taught me a great deal about the subtleties of flash and just how much difference a few words can make. I also want to take a moment to thank all the previous judges for vanquishing a similarly challenging list of awesome stories.

So please find below my list of SM’s, HM’s, Runner ups and the Winner, and rest assured that I came up with them as fast as was Dragonly possible! 

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SPECIAL MENTIONS

JUDGE Phil Coltrane, “Conceived in Liberty.” Very clever personification of the countries, with America as the rebellious teen and England as the frustrated but ultimately powerless parent.

Evan Montegarde, “Her Majesty’s Independence Day.” I enjoyed the concept that the entire revolution was just a cunning ploy by the Queen to avoid the Kings amorous advances. Fifteen babies!

Charles W. Short, “Life Development Reports from the Gamma Zeta 12 Sector.” A fun and zany twist on the prompt, with a couple of ‘small’ oversights leading to hilarious consequences.

Ian Martyn, “It’s a Man’s World.” America could have been a very different place due to some second rate quills, although Bob would have been pleased. Thank goodness for Mildred!

William Goss, “She Served Wisdom.” I really liked the use of various smells to paint a picture of these powerful men. Also loved the title!

Charity Paschall, “Martha’s Declaration.” I loved Martha’s more direct approach and how she gets right to the heart of the issue in far less time than the men.

HONORABLE MENTIONS

Allison Garcia, “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Incorporating dialect into the dialogue was a great way to quickly establish the characters. This is always a tricky thing to do well, but here the balance is spot on. There were some really nice touches, comparing the ‘hardship’ of Thomas sleeping in his chair for a few days with the slaves’ straw beds really helped to provide some context to how difficult the slaves’ lives were in comparison. “You get underfoot and the missus gonna send you to another family” reinforced that same theme and reminds us that these people are not free or equal. This story deals with some dark and difficult themes, but then flips the tone with that last line, which was still funny after multiple read throughs.

Brian Creek, “America Can Wait.” The tone of this piece was great, playing with the reader by making them think it was going one way only to change directions at the end and turn into something much lighter. This contrast really worked and made the punchline that much stronger. There were lots of little touches throughout that gave each person character, with Benjamin pushing his glasses back up his nose or Thomas gazing out the window at the city with his part already done. To me it also helped to humanize these great men, they may have been working on one of the most important documents in history, but they still have to eat!

SECOND RUNNER UP

Pratibha Kelapure, “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness in the Big City.” I love how Pratibha effortlessly worked several of the themes from the declaration throughout this story. The first line set the scene and established the struggles this couple were going through and gave context to the wife’s frustrations. I also thought that, “When did the pursuit of happiness become the pursuit of money?” really spoke to how much times have changed since those men in the painting outlined a path to a better life. I could really picture this couple, working all kinds of hours to make ends meet and get a fresh start, thinking of the future and a better life for themselves, only for that ending to take it all away! I still get shivers thinking about it. I’m never working late again! {Editor’s Note: Not 5 minutes off the judges’ panel, and 2nd runner up?? WAY TO GO, Pratibha!}

FIRST RUNNER UP

Bart Van Goethem, “The Declaration of Independence.” This story really jumped out at me as a highly relatable scenario. We’ve all had those decisions that we’ve agonized over for days only to find out that the resolution is nowhere near the herculean endeavour we imagine it to be. The voice of the narrator stood out, those short sharp sentences perfectly capture the protagonists agitated mood and the build up to the big confrontation. I could feel her preparing herself for a fight, only to blurt out her demand to be met with an anti-climactic victory. I love that to her it is a major statement, the start of a new chapter, but to him it’s just dinner. The title was also a great fit for this piece and a nice way to tie it all back to the prompt.

And now: for his second time, it’s beloved & highly talented Flash! Friday

DRAGON WINNER

KARL RUSSELL!!!

for

“A Declaration”

This one really jumped out at me on my first read through with some powerful imagery. “An archaeological stratum of family life” painted a vivid picture of the basement in very few words, and naming the ship the Independent was a nice tie-back to the prompt. “She pinched hold of the mast and snapped it with a shocked giggle,” was a subtle way to show that destroying the boat wasn’t necessarily her original reason for venturing into the basement, but I could feel her surprise at the joy associated with that first piece breaking off. 

The more times I read it, the more I filled in the backstory. I found myself imagining a neglected wife upstairs, increasingly jealous of the object of her husband’s attention, until she’d had enough. The destruction of this fragile object perfectly represented the end of their marriage, and the celebration of the birth of the country was a nice parallel to her own personal celebration of her new beginnings. All in all, the various pieces worked really well together to create a very compelling story with a lot of depth for so few words. 

Congratulations and welcome back to the dais, Karl! Your rebellion-crushing winner’s badge awaits you below. Here is your freedom-ringing, updated winner’s page and your winning tale on the winners’ wall. Stand by so I can interview you for this week’s #SixtySeconds feature. And here is your winning story:

A Declaration

The basement was cool and dark, the music and fireworks a distant rumble. Cath pulled the light cord, blinking as the strips stuttered into life, revealing shelves of retired toys and forgotten hobbies, an archaeological stratum of family life. She was feeling tipsy and rarely came down here, and her eyes misted as she saw racquets and bicycles and happier days.

At the workbench where Mike spent his evenings, she peered intently at his handiwork. The ship was minutely detailed, a masterpiece of care and attention, down to the tiny name painted on the hull: The Independent.

With thoughtless ease, she pinched hold of the mast and snapped it with a shocked giggle. She thought of all they were celebrating upstairs, the new world born from so much destruction, and she swept the ship to the floor, stomping the balsa wood to shards.

Then she placed the divorce papers in the virgin space and went back upstairs for the fireworks.

 

FFwinner-Web

 

 

3 thoughts on “Flash! Friday Vol 2 – 30: WINNERS!

  1. My honorable mention was a great start to my day. Extremely grateful for the comment too.

    Great job judging, Craig. Do not envy you one bit.

    Also. congratulations to Karl for the win and well done to all the other authors; some great stories this week.

    Like

  2. Great job to everyone that took part, I had a lot of fun reading all of your stories. I haven’t always had the time to stop and read every entry each week, oftentimes I will read a dozen before getting distracted, but I’m going to try to find the time to do so from now on. I never realised how many great stories I was missing out on every week! 🙂

    Like

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