Round 27: Winners

Posted: July 15, 2014 in Winners
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Happy Tuesday, Friends!

Another week, another round of awesome flash. Thanks much to Beth for wielding her powers for good and serving as judge this week. Here is what she had to say about the entries:

I’m so pleased to be back for another round of judging—well, pleased and daunted. The Angry Hourglass always draws such marvelous writers, which makes choosing a winner difficult. The red toenails and sandy beach of this week’s prompt inspired such a wide range of stories, featuring dystopias, cannibalism, survival of the fittest, the Talking Heads, and killer sand. So here we go:

Sal Page’s deliciously horrifying story of plane crash survivors, “Hot and Sweet,” tickled me even as it made me shudder. She maintains the tension between the narrator’s vacillating states of mind beautifully—we’re left wondering, with the narrator, if she is in control or careening toward madness.

In “Life” Casey Rose Frank paints with wonderful images—a toddler’s chubby legs, a cat’s white fur, a daughter’s blue-tinged skin—as she explores the extent of a mother’s ability to give life. I held my breath through the story, thinking that it would end in tragedy, but exhaled, relieved when Kelsey drew that breath.

Drmagoo’s story balances images of a dystopian future with a lovely memory of the past. I loved his take on the red toenails as mischief done by a beloved daughter. The juxtaposition between the lightness of the opening line and the horror of the final line is chilling and so effective.

Voima Oy also takes us to a future world—this time in which people are colonizing Mars. The imagery is so clearly drawn that I can see and smell the narrator’s beach, feel the sun on my back and the sand between my toes. I can also feel the narrator’s longing for what they left behind.

The best opening line goes to Stella in “Blood Red,” her story about a murderous manicurist. The story seethes with the narrator’s indignation, which lends it a very appealing dark comedy.

Patrick Stahl offers a humorous fantasy take on the prompt in his “I’d Rather Fight the Zombie.” I adore the idea that the CIA has an Anti-Warlock division and that Legos can be used to explain fighting magical sand. And then there’s the gorgeous understatement of lines like “Being attacked by a corpse is never a pleasant experience.”

I love how seamlessly David Shakes manages to connect the two incarnations of one narrator in his story “Symbiosis.” We move between their lives so easily and clearly. And their connection in the end is very satisfying.

There’s a quiet sadness to Bart Van Goethem’s story “Maybe Someday.” The ritual of his main character taking off his shoes and socks and then sitting to admire the sun on the red toenails is so lovingly drawn that it broke my heart.

Thanks to Karl A. Russell’s marvelous story, I’ve had the Talking Heads singing in my head all day. “Same As It Ever Was” combines the cinematic clarity typical of everything Karl writes with a surrealist narrative, woven through with the Talking Heads’ own lyrics. The story, like the song, stayed with me long after I finished reading it.

And so we come to the part where I have to declare winners:

Second Runner Up: David Shakes for the seamlessness of his movement between two narrators

First Runner Up: Sal Page for that glorious image of hot sauce as toenail polish

and this week’s Flash Master is…


Karl A. Russell 

Same as it Ever Was

for a story as lyrical and rhythmic as the song it echoes.

Congratulations, Karl! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie!  Tune in this Saturday for a new photo prompt and Jaime Burchardt taking on the role of judge.



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