Round 106: Winners

Posted: May 10, 2016 in Winners
Tags: , , , , ,

Happy Tuesday, and welcome to the Round 106 Winners post. Thanks to everybody who wrote stories last weekend and to Rob Knipe who did an admirable job as a first time judge. You’ll find his comments below.

This is the first time I’ve ever judged anything, more or less. I’ve inspected things and made sure that they’re all done to a certain standard, but this was far harder than pointing out a build up of carbon and telling someone to bring it back when it’s clean. Two things you should know, I use smiley’s way too often, and sometimes I write a joke in a story then have to delete the smiley at the end of it. I smile too much, and I put them everywhere. Apologies in advance.

Some great stuff here. I was going to do some HMs and 1st and 2nd, but thought they all deserved something.

So thanks for submitting and making my life more difficult that I usually find it!

Judged blind, I’ve matched up the names afterwards.

Take This Cup From Me by Julia Handel: Is it going to be a happy and joyous time for Michael, or is everything about to go wrong? I want to know! I’m not surprised he’s looking forward to a return to the peaceful world of food, drink and pleasant company – sounds ideal!

Favourite Line: “Arthritic hands clawed toward the Candidate, grabbing at salvation.” – An excellent visual, really like this line. Also, was Sinister, Dexter a reference to the 2000AD stories by Dan Abnett and co?

The Eiffle Tower in my French Roast at Starbucks with Thoreau by Richard Edenfield: Very poetic piece this. Some nice description and visualisation in here, and it feels almost dream-like when you’re reading it… or dreaming it?

Favourite line:  “Things don’t change, we change. If the world is getting warmer… it is because we are becoming colder.” – Very thought provoking like that too, you could imagine Socrates or someone saying that.

The Haunted Man by Stephellis2013: Sinister! I thought this was along the lines of someone suffering from PTSD, so only clicked that he’s a killer towards the end! Bravo! I liked the dark moodiness of this piece, and the fact that it did catch me off guard.

Favourite Line: “At night it was easier, the streets were empty and he could take his ghosts and drown them in the dark; alcohol subdued most but not all of his demons.” – I know this feeling so well…

Fortunes by AV Laidlaw: It feels like there’s an inevitable outcome incoming from the very start, and I like how the Sight gives the narrator a premonition in such a discreet and minor way. Something minor for something major. Pretty sure this story could be used when telling people to slow down and enjoy life a little. 

Favourite Line: “He’s an English graduate working here until he finishes his novel.” – Even when finished, the struggle is relentless. So long as she never tells him that!

We Demand Frothy Coffee by Sal Page: I loved the plays on words – something I really do adore – and they made me laugh out loud. The consistent crazy in the writing is like a textualised Les Dawson piano tune – Marvellous!

“We want our bacon cooked correctly. The fat should be brown and crispy, not white and flappy.” – Amen, this a thousand times over!! If the bacon bends when you pick it up by one end, it’s not cooked yet.

About Last Night by Steve Lodge I’ve had nights like this, with less soiling, but similar embarrassments! I think Ellie is a catch! I think this is something most people can relate to in some way or another, have drink to steady nerves before meeting someone,  realise too late that you’re mashed. The bit about soda water, not cola made me laugh out loud.

Favourite Line: “Well, you know me. I was a bit nervous, so while I was getting ready I poured a largish drink as a livener to steady my nerves. On an empty stomach, big mistake.” – I can totally relate to this…

Excitable by Jeff Rowlands: Oh wow, the end of happiness goes with the end of the dream? I found this quite moving, and I like the idea that while he’s following his dreams, the Excitables are having a great time. Then he takes a bank job with spreadsheets, and projects and goals, and the Excitables leave one by one, until the final one does itself in. Gutting.

Favourite Line: “The last evidence that they had ever existed nothing more than a tear shaped indent in the foam on top of his coffee.” – Ouch!

The Harbinger by David Shakes: Death moves in mysterious ways… and in pubs. I like the thought of Death just wandering in, looking gaunt and not being too out of place. Kind of gives a good lesson too, don’t judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. Death could have been ill, naturally (or unnaturally?) skinny (like me 20 years ago…) when the narrator poked fun at him. Turns out he was death. Who got the last laugh? There’s a moral in there. I like it!

Favourite Line: “You wonder why I am telling you all this? Take a closer look at your coffee and try not to panic.” – Creeeeeepy last line. *note to self: don’t look at the foam on a coffee ever again.

Pocket Demon by Mariemk1:  Interesting idea that makes me want my own pocket demon, so that even when I’m alone, I wouldn’t truly be alone. That said, if the treacherous little swine ditched me, I think I’d want to crush his skeletal head between thumb and finger too!

Favourite Line: “And now, all that’s left for me is a pang where a red mark used to be.” Another gutting ending! The pangs are always worse!


I really like the idea of new beginnings and starting afresh and this story reminded me why. Everyone has some grim times, and sometimes the future can look terrifying, then some little things just fall into place and make anything seem possible again.

The Half-Life of Caffeine by A.J. Walker – I like that it starts off quite sad, and, like the breakdown of any relationship, it’s a bit gutting. Then, as it goes on, there’s hope, and there’s good in the world again. I was so glad it ended on a happy note! Bravo!
Favourite Line:  “The froth on the last coffee had been a pair of sunglasses. Just like Deborah’s. It was clear. A new chapter was beginning, much quicker than anticipated.” – It’s an ending with hope, because there’s ALWAYS a silver lining.


I chose this one because of my favourite line in it, and the build up to it. It could have ended right after ‘room’, because that line was so hideous. I could imagine the eyes of this fellow squinting in through the window while she’s there unsuspecting. SO CREEPY! Well played!

Our Round 106 FLASH MASTER is…


Mark A. King

with Loyalty Scheme

I read this as a sinister stalker type, and it made me more and more uncomfortable as it went on. It’s not too sinister, just a guy noticing things (a little creepily at times) about a girl he likes, until that one outstanding line… that just freaks me out! *shuts the curtains* 

Favourite Line:  “I know she likes to eat by herself and the glow of the TV screen makes her look like an angel in the dark abyss of her lonely room.” – Mein Gott! Why would you write this?! Brilliant and terrifying.

Well played everyone, and thanks for letting me judge!

Rob K

Congratulations, Mark! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie. Next weekend, Marie McKay returns to the judge’s seat. See you all there.

  1. JuliaHandel says:

    Congratulations to Mark A. King and fellow writers for your excellent stories. Thank you for your kind comments and for introducing “Sinister Dexter.” My knowledge of comic books and video games is woefully thin.

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