Round 12: Winners

Posted: March 25, 2014 in Winners
Tags: , , , ,

Hello Flash Frenzy Friends!

Another tough prompt this week, but as expected, you all rose to the challenge, creating some wonderful pieces of art. Karl has comments for every tale this week, so I’ll stop blathering and let you get to them. 🙂

 

One of the most satisfying aspects of flash fiction for me is the myriad ways in which authors can interpret the same prompt. The very talented folk at The Angry Hourglass not only told me what that was in Shakes’ photo, they knew where it came from, how it was made and what it was meant to represent. It would be remiss of me to jump straight in to HM, Runner Up and Winner without recognizing the sterling work of all our authors, so in no particular order, here are my thoughts on the stories this week.

Happiness by Jacki Donnellan skirts around the question of what the structure might be by placing it, matter-of-factly, as something it so clearly isn’t. The sales pitch does a great job of combining high-end art gallery talk with the obscurely aspirational yearnings of an Apple advert. Questions abound – Who (or what?) are the father and daughter, and what sort of world is this where happiness can be commoditised in such a way? – but most of all though, I just wonder where I can buy some.

Drones by Shakes is a dark, troubling tale which suggests a more sinister use for the insect’s eye viewer, allowing Dave’s larval offspring to see, at least temporarily, the truly horrifying nature of existence. The fact that Shakes actually saw this structure in the steely flesh makes me worry for him, and for all of us who follow him.

Yoghurt by Stella. Once again, we are reminded not to underestimate Stella, or any of her protagonists. The title skillfully misdirects the reader to expect some pro-biotic resolution, when in fact our narrator builds her strength and her secret life off-page. So easily dismissed by her offhandedly cruel husband, she hangs around the park until a “chance” collision leaves her free to start over with her new man, dog and all.

The Boy With A Thorn in His Side by Image Ronin This leads off with a witty reframing of friendly, familiar banter as a primate shit flinging match, before taking an abrupt swerve into more uncertain territory. Glossing over the night itself with just enough detail, Image Ronin captures a morning of cotton wool distance, with one last childish game warding off the inevitable confrontation with adulthood and mortality.

Mortality also plays a part in What It Means To Make Something by CaseyCaseRose, but here we see the flip-side, with the nameless artist creating that deeply surreal structure as the only possible representation of a life full of the usual contradictions and gaps. In concentrating on the dreamlike act of creation, Casey turns a mirror on all of our attempts to interpret the prompt, and throws in some pure poetry for good measure.

Birdie Attempt is another classic off-beat tale by Tinman, here channelling Douglas Adams at his most playful and surreal. From the spot on approximation of David Attenborough’s halting intonation to the gleeful “wheeee!” and the troubling mention of Dalek sex, Tinman fills his stories with so many jokes, puns and comedic images that I’m convinced he’s somehow doubled or tripled the word count without anyone noticing.

In All Seeing Eye, James Brinsford gives us the most tangential appearance of the prompt, concentrating instead on a family’s breakup, as overheard by a young girl’s soft toy. There is no explanation of how a normally inanimate object is able to narrate for us, but that’s one of the delights of flash fiction, and what we have instead is a sweetly sketched relationship, with the narrator’s love for his young charge shining through.

Lady Hazmat – Our exalted leader weighs in with an out-of-competition guest appearance that reminds us that she too has serious form as an author. Her untitled piece is a well-reasoned tale of eco apocalypse, torn from today’s Neonicotinoid – soaked newspapers. The girls’ trip to the greenhouse seems like a dream come true, with the final reveal that it is just too good to be true.

With Rx, Tinika gives us a cautionary tale of drugs and sunshine, with the age old adage of be careful what you wish for. The mid point of the tale is so swollen with flowery, psychedelic language that it comes closer than any other this week to replicating the saturated hues of Shakes’ source photo.

No Ordinary Morning by RA Smith gives us another sculptor, but our protagonist here is a jaded, cynical success, presumably in some non-creative field, in it for the money long after the original impetus is gone. The sculpture both taunts and admonishes him, reminding him of what might have been, and in a brief spark of hope, what might still be.

So, my winners then:

HM – Casey, for the image of a shed dress like an oil stain on the floor.

Runner Up – Shakes, for his unsettlingly mundane psychopath.

And this week’s winner and FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

Tinman

with Birdie Attempt

for hitting it out of the park (or off the green) once again.

Much thanks, Karl for your thoughts and congratulations for your second win, Tinman! Your story will be posted tomorrow as the HumpDay Quickie and you winner’s page will be updated to reflect your shiny new triumph!  Next week, for lucky round #13, I, moi, LadyHazmat, will be acting as judge. Tell your friends and we’ll see you all back here next weekend!

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