Help me to congratulate Dirch McGurken as the 4th preliminary round winner.
Here’s an interesting question, how much does reading the other comments/votes influence your choice? Do you read what others have to say before you cast your own vote? When you go to the movies, do you read the reviews beforehand? How about when you buy a book? Do you ever wonder how much of our opinion is truly ours, and how much is simply the regurgitation of the popular view? Do you fear becoming a pariah by expressing an opinion contrary to the norm? Not a fan of the Hunger Games (I’m not – kids killing kids for sport – really?), or do you think that The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo needed some serious editing (Yes!), but afraid to say so? Although the anonymity of the writers helps protect against favoritism, it still takes internal fortitude to stand your ground and make a choice that may not appear as popular if you’re reading other comments. All we ask at WRiTE CLUB is that you vote with your heart and mind, not someone else’s.
Without further ado....
Here are this round's randomly selected WRiTER's.
Standing in the far corner, representing the Dystopia genre and weighing in at 498 words, please welcome to the ring……..Gordon Holmes.
I ran. Faster than I ever thought possible. The one season I ran track in eighth grade I took every first place medal there was, and in the State Competition I took home several trophies. My top speed was a mile in 4.35.
I thundered past dead aliens and humans. I didn’t look down to see how much blood, brains, and guts I splashed through, or what color it was. I’d count the victims by the splotches of red vs orange on my shoes when I cleaned them later. This was the last pair of running shoes my mom bought me before the invasion two years ago, and as luck would have it, I didn’t outgrow them before she got her eighty bucks worth of wear and tear as she feared.
I own the road between Titus High and Check Point 12. No scouts have ever caught me, motion sensors are useless against my speed – and a home built EMP - and if all that fails I have a fully charged disrupter stolen from one of the alien generals about a year ago.
Some call it luck I survived as relay this long. But I’m Gordon fucking Holmes. Flash Gordon to my long lost coaches; Homey to my new gang of resistance misfits; JohnSon to the only girl that mattered to me before, and now. Inside joke, never mind.
I dash past Indiana mile marker 42 and the thrown together edifice of check point 12 looms ahead. “Titus 12, Titus 12,” I scream as I break into the perimeter.
Fifty yards in an no shots are fired. Relays are expected, and each outpost has its unique signature. Not original you think? Trust me, the aliens haven’t figured out something so simple yet.
The metal door rolls up and I throw myself spread eagle against the sensor wall. I don’t even want to know how the military obtained that bit of technology. It identifies my disrupter and in seconds I’m prodded by a similar disrupter to give it up.
I turn to face my captors, and they shake their masked heads and motion with heavily gloved hands to an entrance on my left. They know me by sight, the wall has confirmed my identity.
General Guff always meets runners in the same storage room. I give my report as I load up my backpack with as much canned and boxed goods as I can carry. We’ve a bit of a garden in the quad, and a pig and lamb housed in the former gym, so I only take what we can’t grow. The rule is you only cart out what fits in the backpack, but my eyes consistently roam to the three natty army blankets next to the salt packets.
At last the General is satisfied, and he leaves with all the guards. I snatch the blankets, tuck them protectively against my chest, and start my run back to Titus High. I’m Gordon fucking Holmes, and I always deliver.
And in the other corner, weighing in with a 495 word sample in the Narrative Non-fiction genre, let me introduce to you ……..Liva Humoir.
When the patient transporter lead us to the elevator, two nurses jumped on and hit the button for the OB floor. We lurched up, then bounced to a stop. I placed a protective hand on my swollen belly and glanced at the other occupants to gauge their reactions.
My husband Rick appeared a little green. But he’d looked like that ever since hearing I was in labor, so I didn’t think his pallor had anything to do with the elevator situation.
One of the nurses sighed as she jabbed the button for our floor. “When are they going to figure out what the heck is wrong with this stupid elevator?”
Okay, good to know this was a regular occurrence. I figured we’d be going again in a minute and everything would be fine. Besides, I had been shocked when my doctor sent me to the hospital after a routine check-up. Since I wasn’t feeling any contractions, I had the illusion there was still plenty of time.
A minute, then another, then several more went by.
I started to get a little nervous. Although the curriculum in our Lamaze class did cover alternate delivery options such as home births, they strongly promoted having your baby at the hospital. I assumed that would mean a traditional birth with me in a bed on the maternity unit and my doctor there to catch the kid. While I allowed for some flexibility in my birth plan, I hadn’t accounted for the possibility of delivering in a crowded elevator.
At least I was lucky enough to have two OB nurses trapped in there with me. Sure, I would’ve preferred my doctor, who had attended medical school. But I took comfort in the fact that two full-time nurses probably assisted at three or four times the number of births an average OB delivered in a given year. I could be in worse shape. Right?
And that’s exactly what I told the nurses when one chuckled and said, “Well, at least you’re not in labor.”
When I got to the part about coming from my doctor’s office already five centimeters dilated, I realized I was in worse shape than I’d thought. By the look on the nurse’s face as she fixated on my protruding belly, you’d have thought she was confined in an elevator with a suicide bomber whose unborn baby threatened to explode from her body at any second, like a miniature weapon of mass destruction.
“We’re not OB-Gyn nurses. We work in Oncology,” the taller of the two said. “We’re just going up there to visit a friend who had a baby.”
Then the shorter one grabbed the transporter and shrieked, “Do something!”
My already faltering sense of calm took an irreversible nosedive. I think Rick’s did too because as I instinctively started my Lamaze breathing, I heard him doing the same. I wondered how long it would be before all five of us were panting in unison.
Nope, it doesn't get any easier! Leave your vote for who you believe should win this bout, along with any sort of critique you would like to offer, in the comments below. Please remind your friends to make a selection as well. The voting will remain open until noon next Wednesday (July 31).
Remember, here in WRiTE CLUB, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!