Oct 192014
Photo Credit: shira gal via CC

Photo Credit: shira gal via CC

What’s the collective noun for excellent stories? A stupendium? Okay, a stupendium of excellent stories this week. Last week I gave feedback on all seventeen entries. I’m still recovering. This week, before I hand over to judge Ed Broom, I’d just like to pick out a handful of entries that didn’t quite make it into the winner’s circle.

The Art of Expression by Marie McKay started with face, ended with lift, was about a facelift but never mentioned the word. WAR IN EARTH by Holly Geely was about the age-old battle between beetle and ant (Antoinetta and Antony were leading the charge for the ants). The Lift by Mark A. King captures the brutality of the fight, the determination of the warrior, and ends with a great reveal – Clay will become Ali. Away by Casey Rose Frank contains some beautiful imagery – “graveyard of potential”, “a household that embraces half-living”. Letters of Love by Stella Turner captures beautifully the recovering alcoholic and his or her desire to return to what they love – writing – with a little bit of vengeance for good measure. Face Your Fears by Simon Williams builds up wonderfully to a killer (literally) conclusion. Little Thith by Jacki Donnellan is a sweet, funny story with excellently crafted dialogue and a clever missing punchline to set up the closing bookend. Thtairth. Untitled II by Geoff Holme delves into the mind of a depressive. The clever structure shows the well-meaning advice given by the outsider and the despair within.

Okay, that’s more than a handful. Here’s what judge Ed Broom had to say about it all:

Micro Bookends 1.02 was a football pitch with 22 players and only one referee to keep order. Here are the thoughts of the man in black.

This was always going to be a tough game. You had to kick off with “face” and let the last touch be “lift”. A handful of writers, in my humble opinion, started strongly but faded as the game went on.

And then there’s that photo. Not only a typewriter but one with half the keys missing! Sure glad I wasn’t entering this week. Some entrants were a lot more faithful to this than others. Would a passing reference to a keyboard be enough?

Big pat on the back to all players for providing such an entertaining game!

Highly Commended

The Lift by Mark A. King

Little Thith by Jacki Donnellan

3rd Place

Rogue by Karl A Russell

I started reading this and was already enjoying the action, those custom facial features fabricating, when the story jumped off the page and took me (and the protagonist) somewhere completely unexpected. Another male fantasy meets its just deserts. I very much like that “morphological circuitry” phrase. I’m terrified of those teeth. Highly original.

2nd Place

TRAPPED by Brian S Creek

That symmetrical layout, adding a word at a time then progressively working backwards again all the way from “face” to “lift”? Wow. Kudos to this writer. Some serious work must have gone into this piece. Of course, this could have been a mere gimmick were it not for the words themselves which tell a strange tale. Something bad has happened, something very bad indeed, and presumably something related to the Hebrew (did you spot them?) letters. I like the matter of factness here and yet the senses are also involved. Quality writing in self-imposed super tight constraints.


Lucky by Carlos Orozco

This is a peach of a story and chock-full of humanity. Doesn’t your heart go out to the child? Aren’t you willing him to get lucky just this once? Did that eagle coin (love that use of “perch”) really come down heads? In what I presume is some kind of hostile landscape, this still manages to be a feel-good tale. Clever and perfectly plausible use of “face”, too, avoiding the obvious, plus natural use of “lift”. Can I be really honest and add in the smallest font size available that I’d have liked a title? {MB: Carlos has since added a title.} Otherwise, in all other aspects, this story is an absolute joy.


by Carlos Orozco


“You mean heads.”

“Yes, heads,” he says. We both stare at the silver eagle perched atop my thumb. I look at him just before I flip the coin. He is small for an eight-year-old, but his eyes show the anguish of an old man. He’s had a hard life.

I flip the coin sending it up with a metallic ring and hear it perch on my palm.

“It’s heads,” I say and pocket the silver eagle. His eyes go wide and he giggles. This is probably the luckiest thing to ever happen to him. He hugs the old, worthless typewriter. The corners of my mouth lift.

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