Round 35: Winners

Posted: September 16, 2014 in Winners
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It’s Tuesday again, time for winners!

A great big THANK YOU  to Jacki Donnellan for judging this week.

Before we get to her comments, just a quick shout-out to Karl, Shakes, and Mark for taking the #flashdogs and running with it. It’s very cool, and I wish I had more time to contribute. In case you missed it (who am I kidding, none of you missed it) here is the website. If you aren’t already, follow @FlashDogs on Twitter.

Now, on to Judge Jacki’s comments!

Wow. Just, wow. Who knew it would be possible to serve up the same plate of oysters in so many wonderfully different and original ways?

Oysters were the component of many a meal in this serving of stories, and I thoroughly enjoyed them all. Oysters were the quivering new territory for the odd couple in Stella’s “Nice Bowl of Soup” (I’m rather hoping banoffee pie and bread an butter pudding are on the menu!) and oysters were “lumps of snot on a shell” (possibly my favourite Oyster description!) in Beth Deitchman’s skilful portrayal of a relationship’s dying moments, “Oysters on the Half Shell”.

Oysters were the carefully planned if somewhat gross ring bearers in Casey Rose Frank’s charming story “Presentation.” Oysters were the slimy, living taste of things to come in David Shakes’ excellent “The Only Way to Serve Them”-great title, and exquisitely gruesome twist – and oysters were the last supper of a deeply disturbingly serial killer in Amy Wood’s “Loyalty”.

Oysters were the breakup meal for the couple in both “Table for One” by Ranee Parker and Tinika’s “The Breakup”: in Ranee’s tale they are part of an artfully depicted scene (I adored the line “The oysters appear sadly unaware”) while in Tinika’s story oysters are the agents of karma.

A single oyster is enough to cause a Mexican wave of vomit in Zevonesque’s “as-told-to-the-barman” tale “William’s Oyster Nemesis and the Mexican Wave”, and is enough to end Jessi’s attempts to dine as the other half dine in Carlos Orozco’s gently funny yet touching story, “Huitres.”

And then, there were all the stories of what an oyster is not, or was not. Not anything like a Chocster or Cheester from Sal Page’s “Happy Yampy Foods”. Not what lay under the big silver dome in Karl Russell’s brilliantly comic “The Codfather”. Not all that they seem to be in Catherine Connolly’s intriguing story “The Invitation”, and not quite as they should have been in Emily June Street’s “Fresh”…

And there were stories that jumped off the plate, at all angles and tangents. Craig Sinclair’s “Fruit of the Foam,” in which Dr Chubb slices away at creature with a mocking fibreglass shell. Mark King’s personified London, or “Caer Troia”, with probably my favourite opening line: “They flow through my veins with their Oyster cards.”

Chris Mortimer’s “Shit Nights” with an offstage plate of oysters which have brought a piece of Jenna’s past right into the middle of her new and unsavoury present. A Pearl being slowly prised from her shell by her therapist, in Josh Bertetta’s “On the Couch”. A seriously funny school’s admission process in Rebekah Postupak’s “Schooled” (genius one-word last line!) and a mysterious, irresistible call from the deep in Voima Oy’s “Alive, Alive Oh.”

This was an AMAZING collection of stories, and I am fully aware that the short mentions above do not begin to do them justice. So many lovely phrases, admirably original ideas and just fantastically good storytelling. I have picked my winners, but I really do want to thank each and every writer who allowed me the honour and privilege of reading and judging their stories this week.

2nd Runner Up- Sal Page, Happy Yampy Foods.
I just could not help giggling at this each time I read it. Even despite myself, I would snigger. When I read it again to be sure, I would find something else to snigger at. It left me feeling really happi and confidant.

1st Runner Up-Emily June Street, Fresh.
What I loved about this story wasn’t just the delightfully disgusting image of the oyster crawling back up Vince’s oesophagus, but the subtle buildup of suspense. The opening line of the story is almost banal, but small seeds of unease are sown almost immediately, so that eventually even the word “Fresh” is sounding oddly sinister. And the ending, with Vince left clawing at his throat, doesn’t disappoint!

And our Week 35 FLASH MASTER is…


Voima Oy

Alive, Alive Oh!

I was utterly mesmerized by this story. I have to confess that I have a thing about all things underwater. I’m simultaneously enthralled and terrified by the underwater world of the sea in particular (think nervous avid snorkeler). No wonder, then, that this story was calling to me so loudly with its haunting, plaintive tones. Wave after wave of gorgeous phrasing dragged me quickly and easily way beyond the oysters and my ordinary life “rounded as it is with sleep and death”, into a place “where the light… doesn’t reach” and where there are “the skeletons of fallen whales,” and “the bright fluid of electrons moving.” I was entranced, and I absolutely loved the way the shanty, nursery-rhyme title of the story was drenched with other meanings by the time I’d reached the end.

Congratulations, Voima! Your story will be featured at tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie!

That’s it for this week, flashdogs. Keep up the good work and we’ll see you all again on Saturday when Round 31 Flash Master, Image Ronin, will be sitting in the judge’s seat.


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