I wanted to start off by thanking everyone for the kind comments in the last round of voting. It really means a lot. :)
Back to business…another round is in the books and we now have a eighth WRiTER moving into the next phase of this little contest. A job well done to both WRiTER's, but Silver will move on to the playoff’s! His/her opponent, Perdida, will have his/her piece returned to the pool for a chance at re-selection for a future bout, and as always writers who have battled once are welcome to submit a different piece if they so wish. You can check my WRiTE CLUB 2012 results page for a breakdown of all the winners along with links to all of the writing samples.
There were a couple comments this week regarding the “random” selection process, as a couple of the contestants who recently squared off against one another were extremely similar. I know most of those remarks were made in jest, but just to alleviate any fears let me explain how our combatants are chosen. When my wife receives a submission she saves a word file with the writing sample under the pen name of the author and then logs the entry into a spreadsheet, giving it a number at the same time. I use random number generator app on my iPhone to select two numbers within the specified range, and those are the two files that are put in the ring together. I promise you, there is no hidden agenda here. Any similarities are purely coincidental.
Also, I ran across a couple more submissions with a word count greater than 500 words. Anything greater than 500 will not be selected, so please check what you sent in and if its above the limit, edit and re-submit.
Here are this week's randomly selected WRiTER's.
Standing in the far corner, weighing in at 497 words, please welcome to the ring……..Dragons R Us.
For a ghost, lying is like a verbal tango. For the length of the dance, they become lovers, concentrating only on their partners, ready to improvise. Swerve. Dip. Graceful to the max.
And then slide the knife home.
Marv, the recently deceased, had his moves down pat. His elegant lies interwove through my prodding like sensual dance steps.
But time was running out and this apparition was pissing me off.
Ghosts look as real to me as my living, breathing colleague, Thorne, a transplant from Australia. He stirred and uttered a low curse. Marv’s smile brightened.
“Smallest violin, Di,” Marv said rubbing his thumb and forefinger together. “Compel me, make promises. Come on, you can’t do nothing to me. Not anymore.”
He gestured. “Won’t that mess up your nail polish?”
I forced my hands to relax.
Marv laughed outright and gave an elaborate bow. His green and red plaid vest hugged his trim waist. “Oh, wow,” he deadpanned. “Next you’ll threaten me with ‘you’re a dead man’.”
Thorne gave in and snarled something unintelligible then glanced at a slim woman caught in the act of giving him the eye. With his blond hair and svelte physique, Thorne turned many a gal’s head. But this time, his face made her quicken her steps.
I leveled a stare at Thorne. “Postal.” I sang. “You’re lookin’ a little bit Crazy Town, buddy. Don’t wanna attract attention here.” I flicked my hand at the nearby hamburger joint.
“Ratbag piece of…”
I turned back to the ghost. “Geez, Marv. You’re a regular fashionista,” I said. “Look. Here’s the deal. No more games. She needs those papers.”
Marv’s grin dimmed. He picked at his ebony-black tie clip, biting his lower lip.
“My daughter you say.”
Finally. A chink in the armor.
I nodded. “Yes. And you kept her safe. They never found out about the connection.”
“They killed me.”
Marv’s suit had turned into a polo shirt and tan slacks, a style more like what he’d worn when he was alive. A logo, Rainaire Industries, decorated the left side of the shirt.
I patted his shoulder. “They didn’t get what they wanted though did they?”
He barked a short laugh. “For sure they didn’t. No papers. I wasn’t gonna sign the company over to ‘em. I mean, what the hell. It was my life, my work. And Mickey…he wants the easy way. Always did. Thought it was his. All that time, he thought I’d roll over, give in. Well, by George, he sure got the shock of his life when I croaked on him, right there in the office.” After looking down, he huffed irritably and changed to a black muscle shirt and tan shorts. “I always wanted to wear something like this,” Marv muttered.
“Quite a turn of events, huh, Marv? Mickey trying to shake you down in your office,” I said.
“You should’ve seen his face when the gun went off. I don’t know who was more surprised, him or me.”
And in the other corner, weighing in at 491 words, let me introduce to you ……..Avery Normandy.
The curtain goes up and I stare back at a hundred pairs of eyes. Men, women, children, the young, and the old occupy every seat under the red tent this evening. I hear people passing outside the draped entry muttering about the hung posters promoting my show. Some are uninterested and keep walking, and others are intrigued. It’s the curious ones that support my family and me. The roar of the roller coaster sounds in the distance, followed by screams as it falls back to the ground. Inside the tent, the lights dim and the hum of a long single note begins, cutting the noise around me. The note grows louder and is joined by others, slowly building into a haunting rhythm. That’s my cue. I steal my attention from the audience and focus on the dead things surrounding me.
Three round tables are in front of me, each a platform for my lifeless subjects. I pick up the butterfly from the first table, and hold up the motionless insect by one of its delicate blue wings, and a soft powder coats my fingers. A few of my guests fidget in their seats, others are still, but all appear expectant and eager to see the phenomenon they paid their five bucks to witness. I imagine the banner that drew them here flashing in their minds: Inside: The Boy Who Awakens The Dead.
The anticipation in the room grows, and I sense their need to satisfy their morbid curiosities intensify with the music. In the front row, a plump woman eyes me with amusement. Her dress has risen and settled on her thighs, presenting me with a mortifying view of her thick calves stuffed into flesh colored socks. Hair dyed the color of dead leaves surrounds her fat, wrinkleless face, while new birth of white continues to creep out of her scalp. I watch a smirk unfold on her lips; an expression I’ve become used to. To her right, a boy about eight or nine sits as still as a cactus in the desert. His mouth hangs open as if I already performed my “trick.” The woman holds one of his hands in both of hers on her lap. She kneads her fingers over his, her movements animating the purple and yellow flowers on her dress.
It occurs to me the boy is the perfect assistant for tonight’s performance. “Youngman, may I please ask for your assistance?”
His mouth closes, and he points to his own chest, and mouths the word, “Me?”
“Yes. You, in the red shirt.”
He looks at his shirt, and then up to the fat woman. His head bounces up and down in quick bursts. A plea spreads over his freckled face, as if his dream to be a freak’s assistant has finally come true, and she’s the only one standing in his way.
Wordlessly, she gives him permission to accept my invitation, and hesitantly releases his hand.
For you newcomers out there...if you wish to vote you first must sign up on the Linky List you’ll find at the end of the link provided on the badge below. Please remind your friends to make a selection as well. The voting will remain open until noon Thursday.
Remember, here in WRiTE CLUB, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!