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WRiTE CLUB 2013 Play-offs - Round One / Bout 2

As forewarned...the play-off rounds will come at a rapid fire pace.  I will be posting one contest per day this week (Mon-Fri) and four next week (Mon-Thur).  The voting for all nine bouts will remain open until noon on Sunday, September 22nd. 

Your task remains simple…read the submission from each WRiTER carefully and leave your vote for the sample that resonates with you the most.  Whether you've been following along from the beginning and have a familiarity with each of them, or this is your first time's just a matter of choosing the one you feel deserves to move forward. If you haven’t already done so in the previous rounds, please offer some critique if you have time.  Anyone reading this can vote (after signing up on this LinkyList) so blog/tweet/facebook/text/smoke signal everyone you know and get them to take part in the fun.  Vote on as many bouts as you can get around to.  Whether that is one bout, or all nine, how much you participate is up to you. 

Here’s something else to keep in mind for this round...every vote counts. That’s because the contestant who doesn't win their bout but garners the most votes amongst all of the other losers, will become a wildcard winner and still advance to round 2. 

The winners will be posted late in the afternoon on September 22nd and then round 2 will kick off the following Monday with all new 500 word submissions from the nine advancing contestants.

Good luck to all of the WRiTER’s!

And now…..

In this corner welcome back to the ring for a second time.....Dinah Annella.

He taught English 271: Themes in Shakespeare. It was a small class, and he bantered with us, often using me as an example. “If Miss Dawson were to enter the scene and, with her beauty and wit, draw Iago’s focus to her, how would this play be different?”
After class that day, the girl next to me said she thought he had a crush on me.

“He’s kind of old,” I said. But I wondered.

I began to stay to talk with him after the other students left, while he packed up his books and notes. I had questions about papers; he wanted to know my plans after graduation. I liked talking about my future, about who I could be. Who he thought I could be.

“He’s married,” I told myself. “He has a little bald spot.”

The first time he asked me to walk with him to his office, we stood just inside the door for a few minutes. The second time we talked for twenty minutes behind his closed door.

“I don’t see you in a corporate environment,” he said. “What about publishing? I see you interacting with people, being creative. You have a spark and a spirit about you, Patty. It’s irresistible.” He held my gaze, then leaned back in his chair and with a small smile, raised one eyebrow.

“Well, thanks,” I said slowly. I smiled a little awkwardly. Irresistible?

“You don’t believe me.

I shifted in my seat and leaned back. I realized that I was mirroring his body language. I looked past him, saw the beginnings of buds on the big maple outside the window.

“We can talk about it some more,” he said. “If you’d like.” He sat up and leaned toward me. “Patty, you must realize that I’ve taken quite an interest in you.” He paused. His voice dropped. “‘... speak/Of one that lov’d not wisely, but too well ...’”

“Othello,” I murmured.

He reached both arms across his desk, palms up. His wedding band gleamed. “Some evening, maybe?”

I knew what this was. I waited only a moment. I leaned forward, touched my middle finger to his index finger, slid it gently toward the tip, and in that one-half inch, leapt the chasm. “Yes. Where?”

Two nights later, I walked up a flight of stairs and down the dim hallway to his office.

“I’ve been going mad waiting for you,” he whispered. With the lights out and the door locked, there were no witnesses. Outside our door, the cleaning crew moved silently, sweeping clear the dirt of the day, scrubbing and flushing the waste.

When I emerged from his office, I found the ladies room to be spotless and fresh and shocking in its fluorescent, buzzing glare. There were no balled-up paper towels on the floor, no hairs on the sink, no smears to distort the starkness of my face in the mirror.

I had told my boyfriend I was studying with a friend.  ************************************************************************************

And taking the spot on the other side of the ring for their second go-around...Joy Stique.

Douglas laid down the axe and stepped back.  He wiped his brow with the sleeve of his flannel shirt and sat down on the crude bench made from two short logs and a longer log.  His stump was aching where it met the foam of his home-made prosthetic.  He needed to find a car soon, so he could scavenge some newer foam from one of the seats.

He sensed someone, and he glanced to his right and saw Petal.  The pre-teen was staring at him and holding something between her hands.

“You want something?”

Petal approached him cautiously as if he was a big dog she had never met.  When she was three paces away, she lifted her hands.

“Whatcha got?”

“Cigarettes.  They’re for saving me from those two men.”

She handed the small box to Douglas.  Curious, he turned the box this way and that as he examined the package.  He had seen cigarettes before, usually half smoked, and he had seen the packages, but he had never seen or held one that was not opened.

“You’re giving me this package of cigarette?  You know a lot of people would give you some good stuff for this package.”

“Susanna says only bad people smoke cigarettes.”

Douglas paused his inspection.  “Susanna says only bad people smoke cigarettes?”

Petal nodded.

“So you’re giving them to me.”

Petal nodded again.  Douglas shook his head with amused disgust.

“How about you?  Are you good or bad?”

Petal frowned.  She sat down next to Douglas, leaned forward, put her elbow on her knee and grasped her chin.  She thought about the question, her little brow furrowed.

“I’m not sure.”

“Well, I suppose there is one way to find out.”

“What’s that?”

“We could each smoke one of these cigarettes.”

Petal lifted her head and looked at him.  “Really?” Her voice was full of eagerness.

“Sure.  If we like it, we’ll know we’re bad.”

Petal was tempted, very tempted.  She looked around in a surreptitious manner.  She knew Susanna would lecture her if she was caught smoking a cigarette.  Susanna was the only mother-like person she knew.  She didn’t want to disappoint Susanna, but still…

“We can’t tell anybody.”

“It’s our secret,” Douglas assured the girl.


Petal gave up any pretense of reluctance and watched fascinated as Douglas tore off the plastic wrapper.  Using his fingers he tried to pull out one of the cigarettes, but it stubbornly resisted.  Emitting an incoherent sound of frustration, he found a sliver of oak and managed to force one of the cigarettes far enough out of the package to where he could pull it the rest of the way.  He handed that cigarette to Petal and took another for himself.  Then he took a small device from his pocket.

“What’s that?”

“It’s a cigarette lighter.  They used to have a lot of them back in the old world.”

A few minutes later, the man and girl were coughing violently from the smoke in their lungs.

Leave your vote and we'll see you back here tomorrow for the next exciting match-up!

Remember the WRiTE CLUB motto, it’s not about the last man/woman standing, it’s about who knocks the audience out!


  1. Wow. Tough choice today -- I like both of these and voted for them in round 1, and they're very close. Congratulations to both writers for submitting such solid writing. I really do enjoy them both!

    But since I have to choose, I think I'll go with Dinah today. While I'm still at a loss to understand the MC's motivation, I think the writing in this piece is just slightly better and overall it's constructed a little tighter than the piece by Joy.

  2. Dinah- this is one of my favorites.

  3. Both are so good! I wouldn't know which way to vote even if I could. Congrats to both writers for getting into the play-offs.

  4. Dinah Annella! She was one of my favs from the first round

  5. It's been Dinah for me since the very beginning, and Dinah it will be today!

  6. I love both pieces. This is a toughie!
    I'll go with Joy Stique.

  7. I really liked both of these in the first round, but I'm going with Dinah--Great job to both

  8. Tough, tough. Both these authors are good. I'm voting for Dinah for story intrigue.


  9. Wow....hard. I love both of these. They're such different styles it's so hard to compare and just choose one. I really enjoy Joy's piece and the subtlety and how much you get from such a short entry.

    I do have to vote for Dinah though I think because it is just a little cleaner. There's a few tweaks I'd make to Joy's to make it as clean. I think in this pair, Dinah has the more polished entry.

  10. This is a tough one. I give Dinah the edge for being more polished but I'd be more interested in reading Joy Stique's.

    Going with Joy's piece as it resonated more with me.

    1. Same here - as a standalone, Dinah's got the edge for sure, but Joy's would easily get me turning pages for me. One more vote for Joy Stique.

  11. Close one for me...I'm voting for Joy Stique. These characters just came to life for me more.

  12. I remember both of these! Voting for Dinah




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