WRiTE CLUB 2015 - Elimination Bout #3


Over the past two weeks twenty writers have stepped into the WRiTE CLUB ring and ten emerged victorious. But before we call upon the next twenty writers to do battle, first we must whittle our winners down to five. This is called the elimination round because it’s the first time winners face off against one another. Our ten winners will again be shuffled and -- like the first bouts -- randomly matched to compete against one another with their same submission. A writer who emerges victorious from this round will earn a spot in the play-offs and will be asked to submit a new 500 sample to use in the next round. Let me remind you that our competitors are not only scuffling for notoriety…recognition…a $75 Amazon gift card…but also free admission to the 2016 DFW WritersConference, who helps sponsor this contest.  



This week I’ll be holding daily bouts (M-F) between the Anonymous 500 word writing samples, submitted under a pen name by the winners of our first 10 rounds.  The writing can be any genre, any style (even poetry) with the word count being the only restriction. Today is Elimination Bout #3.  Read each sample carefully and then leave a vote in the comment section for the one that resonates with you the most.  If you didn’t have a chance before, please leave with a brief critique of both submissions as well.

As it was with the early bouts, voting for each will remain open for one week. The winner of each will be posted at the WRiTECLUB scoreboard. 

Are you ready?


Here are today's randomly selected WRiTER's.

Standing in this corner, please welcome back to the ring……..Calliope's Doormat




“Heads, we get married; tails we break up,” blasted the neon-gilded jukebox from the corner. I rolled my eyes, this was the new girl under thirty mantra-song. The girl who’d picked it turned to the table full of her friends and danced her way back, singing along.

Zeke downed the rest of his beer, and slammed a meaty hand on the dull bar. Pretzels clattered to the floor. He glared accusingly at the wayward snacks then at me. “Another beer, Billy.” He looked across the bar at the group of women as if they were in cahoots with the pretzels. “That’s bull, ya’ know.” Zeke drew out the word, “bull” until he sounded like one of the animals himself.

“I’m Mike, man,” I slid another MGD in front of him. “What’s bull?”

Zeke gestured pointed at the jukebox so hard he almost toppled to the floor. “That song, Billy, she made millions on it, and it’s just about her leaving her boyfriend. He wanted to marry her.”

“Well, yeah, chicks love that song, it makes them feel empowered.”

“Em-what?”

I reminded myself for the five hundredth time that I had to get out of this town. “It makes them feel like they’re in charge.” Zeke glared at me and I faltered. He was a good ole boy who would pound me easily. “They say she grew up here in Waxahachie.”

Zeke shrugged and rubbed his hands through his unruly dark hair. “Yeah, she did, I guess.”

One of the girls at the table in the back, the friend of the girl who’d picked the song, came up to the bar. “We’ll have another round, please.” Between the dancing, the rum, and her spiked heels, she tottered like a newborn foal. She started to tumble and Zeke reached out with a large arm and caught her at the small of her back to keep her from falling over. She turned to Zeke, and gave him a feral smile while he removed his hand. “Well, hi there. Thanks for your help.”

Zeke looked at her like something that was stuck to the bottom of his boot. He sneered and turned away.

“Fine, be that way.” She stormed back to her table.

Zeke gestured to his empty bottle and I shook my head. “Zeke, you gotta give me your keys if you want another one.”

Zeke took the keys out and threw them at me. I opened another MGD for him. “She’s hot, why didn’t you go for it.”

Zeke squinted at me and cocked his head to the side. I’ve been doing this a while and I know he was deciding which one of me was real. “Billy...”

“I’m still Mike,” I said.

“Billy, I’m not goin’ there.”

“Why not? She looked okay to me.” “I’m not gonna tap the fangirl when I had the real thing. I came up with that whole stupid idea about the coin and had to flip fuckin’ tails.”
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And in the other corner, let me re-introduce to you……….Robin Hood




They say you can't drown yourself on purpose. I keep trying to prove them wrong. It's not that I want to end it all. I just want to understand.

From the depths of our neighbor's pond, I look through murky water to the fading sunset above. Not a soul knows I'm here. My fingers cling to a slimy rock at the bottom, and I wait. Wait for the images to float away, disappear. An icy lake. My little sister. A black hole.

I let out a few air bubbles and wait until my lungs burn, wondering at what point a person gives up and sucks water into their lungs, instead of surfacing. I have no idea, because I'm able to swim up too easily, unlike Polly.

At the last second, when I can't take it anymore, I push off of the muddy pond floor. Breaking into open air, I inhale and sputter it out. In and out. Sometimes breathing hurts. I wonder how it feels not to breathe, ever again. I don't want to think about it anymore, so I swim in a circle, making sure I'm alone, and dive down again. My long brown hair swirls like seaweed around me. Maybe it'll choke away the memories, the pain.

Nothing hurts more than to think of Polly. I'd give anything to go back to that day to save her, to reach out to her, or run faster. But my feet had felt like boulders slowing me down . . . pulling Polly down.

I squeeze my eyes tight against the pain. If only the warm water would seep into my pores and wash my guilt away, but it's no use. My mind won't turn off tonight. I swim to the bank, blowing water out of my way. My knee scrapes against a rock at the bottom, and, angry at the pain, and angry at myself, I slap my hand on the water's surface as I stand. The evening breeze chills me, dripping in my bra and underwear.

A sob fights its way out of my throat, but I force it back. I can't let the tears begin, so I pull my clothes on, and shove my feet into Pa's work boots and stomp home.

A candle glints on the windowsill. It means Ma isn't home yet, which is good. She's still at the Pritchett's house, cleaning up after dinner, and putting the little ones to sleep. I'm sure Pa is in bed already. I don't have to worry about anyone seeing me sneak in. There is no one else.

I turn the worn, wooden, door handle to our house. Pa snores and gurgles as I inch the door open and shut it without a sound. I don't want to wake him and have him wonder why I'm all wet. Plus, he needs his sleep. He's been sick for a while—exactly seven months and fourteen days. Since the day Polly died.
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Enjoying two talented writers at work is only part of the price of admission, now it’s up to you to decide who moves forward.  In the comments below leave your vote for the winner.  Which one tickled your fancy?  After you vote please tell all of your friends to stop by and make a selection as well.  Yes, it’s subjective, but so is the entire publishing world.  It’s as much about the readers as it is about the writers. 

This is WRiTE CLUB – the contest where the audience gets clobbered!

 


33 comments

  1. I vote for Robin Hood.

    Calliope's Doormat wrote a good short story with a unique POV. I enjoyed it very much and would but this if it were a book.

    Robin Hood, You have a gift. Keep it up.

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  2. My vote is Calliope's Doormat.

    Robin Hood, this is a great piece with a lot of emotional depth and truth in it, but I think it could be trimmed. I get that she's wallowing/mourning, but I think the thoughts go on too long. I'd probably cut about 3 sentences.

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  3. I'm going to go with Robin Hood today!

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  4. Calliope's Doormat all the way for me! I want this one fleshed out into a novel.

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  5. I'm voting for Robin Hood today.

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  6. I voted for Robin Hood the first time, and I stick by my original comments. I'm voting for it again today.

    Now after reading Calliope's for the second time during this competition, I get it. I like the humorous "I'm still not Billy". I like the little spin at the end. But the f-bomb at the end really throws me off. I don't feel like it was needed, and just turned me off there at the end.

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  7. Robin Hood again for me

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  8. Having a hard time at this point in the competition. Do you vote for best writing or best story you would continue reading after only 500 words. On this one I go for clean writing - Robin Hood gets my vote.

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  9. Robin Hood gets my vote.

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  10. I like both. But I'll go with Robin Hood today.

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  11. I vote for Robin Hood. I like the moody, dark tone and the character development.

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  12. Robin Hood. Better writing and formatting, despite the depressing emo vibe.

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  13. Although the requirements for entries did not specify the piece should be part of a longer work, I fear people are voting based on "Do I want to read more or this?", which hurts Calliope's short story. I thought Calliope's piece was very well written with subtle humor and a great ending. Robin Hood's piece was good but felt a little overdone. My vote goes to Calliope.

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  14. Although the requirements for entries did not specify the piece should be part of a longer work, I fear people are voting based on "Do I want to read more or this?", which hurts Calliope's short story. I thought Calliope's piece was very well written with subtle humor and a great ending. Robin Hood's piece was good but felt a little overdone. My vote goes to Calliope.

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  15. I'm voting for Robin Hood because I like the depth of feeling.

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  16. I'm voting for Robin Hood because I like the depth of feeling.

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  17. calliope's doormat

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