Here’s the last chance.
First, let’s congratulate the winner of another close battle. Karmann Ghia captures Bout #14 and will move onto the playoff rounds. The voting for Bout #15 remains open until noon on Sunday, August 10th.
Back on May 3rd we began taking submissions from WRiTER’s far and wide, spanning the globe, representing all ages and multiple styles of WRiTING. We received 167 entries in all! Those 500 word samples went under careful consideration by 11 judges and that panel narrowed the list down to 32…the last of which are pairing off in the ring today. For sure there are some disappointed writers out there that have been waiting to see their pen name in a bout every week, but came up empty. I’m sorry…but don’t let it discourage you. If we learn anything from competitions like this, it’s one thing…reader taste are subjective – fickle – and transient!
Today is the final preliminary bout, and as always, winners are decided by votes left in the comment section. Anyone can vote. The voting for this last bout will remain open until noon on Wednesday, August 13th. When you do vote, please let the contestants know what you liked and disliked.
A rundown of all the past and current matches, with their respective winners, can be found right HERE.
Here are this bout's two randomly selected WRiTER's.
Standing in this corner, representing the YA Urban Fantasy genre and weighing in at 493 words, please welcome to the ring……..Twilight Sparkle.
I fell ass-first onto the concrete, which sent a delightful sting up my spine, and the last few sparks disappeared into the closing rift above me. The ache in my arm faded since the crystal had finished its primary job.
In an alley between two tall buildings, rusted dumpsters straddled the narrow opening. The garbage hadn’t been emptied, and the sun baked the smell into a distinctive meld of leftover Chinese food and rotten fruit. It could be any city, looked American though.
I slid against the wall to the end of the alley. Pedestrians hurried down the sidewalks engrossed in their phones while drivers sped through a roundabout, hopefully not doing the same. Humans, that’s good. One jump to a world filled with lizard-people was more than enough for a lifetime.
A river of cars flowed around a familiar metal-work globe and concrete statue, Columbus Circle. So, good ol’ New York City after all, but the iconic skyline had reclaimed its missing crown…the towers. Nine-Eleven hadn’t happened here, or at least not yet.
On the sidewalk, the people passing by wore ordinary clothes; coats, scarves, and such. Not like some of the weirder realities that had spandex dress codes, my jeans and leather jacket wouldn’t stand out. To blend in, I joined a group and headed around the circle to the left till I reached the entrance to Central Park.
A young girl wearing a worn teal parka sat cross-legged, playing guitar for tips. Next to her an older woman peddled small bouquets of flowers, some mixes with lilies, but she had mostly roses. A twenty-something man with dusty hair and a trench coat bought one of the bundles of red roses. Some lucky woman would have a surprise tonight.
I passed by the girl playing guitar on my way into the park—not half bad. I bobbed my head to the music and then frowned. She grinned in return. She understood I didn’t have cash on me, not that I wasn’t sure my currency was good here. You never know who the right dead presidents are.
As I strolled down the pathway, footfalls scuffed behind me. I stopped.
The sound stopped.
I took a breath and walked forward, keeping a slow pace. If I ran, I’d lose my advantage; I knew they were there. Who would be following me anyway? I just got here.
The stalker gasped and muttered something. The tingle that precedes the adrenaline rush ran through me, pulling my stomach to my shoes and tickling my fingers. I took another careful step. Run in three, two—
He knew me? That’s impossible. I pivoted to see the young man with his bouquet of roses. He looked a few years older, but I’d know that face anywhere—Quin. Not my Quin…not my world. He shouldn’t know me.
“Oh my God…how is it possible?” The roses slipped from his grip and he bent to catch them.
And in the other corner, representing the Memoir genre with 495 words, let me introduce to you……….Wrinkled Suit.
My “Birthday suit” may be wrinkled, but my lining still feels young.
Change snuck up on me without consent. I glance in the mirror and there she is, my Mom. She didn’t stay long, but long enough for me to recognize her. She shows up frequently now, her hands, her voice, her mannerisms. When did she move in?
Aging is a process, and after its unannounced arrival, it takes years to interpret. I can wax philosophically or kvetch about this age old phenomenon. I take my fingers and pull my skin taut to give myself a quick face lift. Lines, spots, and roundness are not as easily remedied. Time has ushered in change.
“The Velveteen Rabbit,” a children’s book about a boy and his beloved toy, spins a telling tale. Once the boy’s constant companion, rabbit now sits on a shelf in the playroom questioning life. With one eye missing, whiskers pulled out and hair rubbed thin he ponders aloud what it would be like to be real. The nurseries sage skin horse suggests being real takes time, and involves wear and tear.
Unlike the rabbit I’ve maintained both eyes but pluck an occasional whisker, and have thinning hair. My “Birthday Suit” is wrinkled, my waistline reported missing, and whistles no longer accompany me down the street.
Seventy two candles will illuminate my next birthday cake. Hope I can huff and puff and blow the batch out. My battery pack runs out of juice earlier these days, my memory takes a skip, and words play hide and seek. The medicine cabinet holds more “stuff,” and my pill case has a waiting list. I have more dates with a man called doctor, and ten p.m. seems like a reasonable bedtime, with naps a plus.
The world feels more complicated, and technology has left me in the dust. Employees behind the counter look like they are truant from high school. Young people speak in tongues, and their underwear is outerwear.Teens hair comes in vibrant colors, earlobes look like port holes, and their skin a canvas. Jeans have shrunk and feature holes, wrinkles, and tears, all a pricy fashion statement. Their cell phone is embedded in their ear and their thumbs worn thin from texting. They are wired but suffer from disconnect.
Two contrasting worlds, we walk together, the young, and the not so young. Being the latter, I enjoy the sound of silence, and take comfort in solitude. Friends are savored, and time coveted. Family gatherings are a priority, laughter the fountain of youth, and great grandchildren icons on a calendar- turned by the passing of time. Age is a moving target, no road map provided, no G.P.S. to call the plays, no dress rehearsal. Life is more like a carnival ride, lots of ups and downs, with years dissolving like spun sugar on a stick. So step right up, get your ticket punched, and buckle up- for the ride of your life.
Enjoying the words of two talented writers is only part of the price of admission, now it’s up to you to decide who moves forward to the playoffs. In the comments below leave your vote for the winner of Bout #16. Which one tickled your fancy? After you vote please tell all of your friends to stop by and make a selection as well.
I’ll be back on Monday to let you know what happens next.
Remember, here in WRiTE CLUB it’s not about the last man/woman standing -- it’s the audience that gets clobbered!