Welcome back, friends. Hope you all had a wonderful week. Thanks to everyone who came out last weekend and wrote stories. Thanks also to Sal Page for reading and judging. You’ll find her comments below.
Holy Water and the Church of Greasy Hamburgers by Richard Edenfield. Great title. Family holiday/day out as religion. The characters of the parents are wonderfully drawn with mentions of their little ways. The mother only ever eating other people’s fries and the father’s obvious-to-all stinginess. The stick of chewing gum like the lake’s diving board and ‘The water felt like a good pair of worn jeans, instantaneously friendly and knowable’ are both ‘spot on’ similes. For all their quirky ways, they feel like a normal family. The idea of them ignoring each other and in silence at the end as their way of achieving togetherness feels very true to life.
Fishin’ in the Rivers of Time by AV Laidlaw. Another lovely title. Four adults briefly relive their childhood. The noticed details of how they have changed now they’re older give way to acting like children again. But things are not the same: the heat feels different, the planks are worm-eaten and the hut is mildewed. And then that last line shows the past is the past and their reliving has been a brief act. Nicely done.
Cliché for Lemmings by Steph Ellis cleverly uses the prompt in a metaphorical way. ‘Dip your toe in the water, they said, no need to dive straight in.’ The narrator, though, does dive right in, lemming-like, persuaded to be part of a medical trail because they’ve invested in the company. At the end the narrator is having an out-of-body experience …‘died and gone to heaven’ metaphorically or literally?
In Green and Gold by Casey Rose Frank, the narrator’s remembering the past details of her and her friend’s youth, through colours, characters and conversations. I love the concept of ‘At the day. At nothing and everything’ and the description of the water on the decking in ‘secret inkblot messages’. The penultimate line spells out baldly where they are now and the ultimate confirms that this is all memories.
Practice Makes Perfect by CR Smith. Do we really need water to learn how to swim? I love the swimming instructor’s unconventional methods, the implication that he’s not letting his pupils anywhere near water until their technique is perfect. They practice their strokes and dive onto mats and the only water is in buckets to practice holding their breath. And the idea of a boy sent home for not taking it seriously is very funny. The whole concept is appealing in its absurdity and the image of them diving into the lake at the end leaves the reader wondering whether all this practice will have worked.
The Lake by AJ Walker is from point of view of someone who believes god is telling them to kill trespassers to the lake that they will taint if they swim in it. It appears to be his lake, though we don’t know this for sure. He has made the lake ‘a place of god’, ‘drunk of the lake’, refers to the ‘power of the lake’ and uses religious language, such as worship, blessed and devout. This is chilling in that the narrator is utterly convinced others are wrong and he is right and yet the reader can see his victims are just people wanting to spend time by and in the lake, through what he is saying about them. There’s the implication that this is something he’s done before and will do again as he drags their bodies into the lake.
In Nothing and Always by Catherine Connolly, it gradually becomes clear the narrator is revisiting an event from the past, the moments before her death. She is with herself the whole time (‘My feet mock me’ and the pressing on together works well here), knowing what is about to happen as her sister, it seems, is encouraging her to jump into the lake. The sister who she never sees here, though I can’t help wondering whether if this happened it would help in some way – seeing it over and over & making the decision not to watch it ‘this time.’
Splash by Voima Oy. At first glance this is short and descriptive but on further reads we can see there’s a lot going on under the surface, just like the lake itself. The lake idyll of the past has been ruined by overuse and pollution but the narrator knows it’s more than that. There are powerful images of three eyed fish and the – possibly alien – silver rain from a cloudless sky – contrasting with the reflected clouds in the first paragraph – that doesn’t cause a splash. The narrator saw and the reader can only imagine what next for the mutant water plants (those innocent sounding green shoots are anything but that in context) and anyone ‘brave or foolish’ enough to attempt a swim.
Second Runner Up – Splash by Voima Oy
First Runner Up – The Lake by AJ Walker
And our Round 90 FLASH MASTER is…
with Practice Makes Perfect
Congratulations, CR! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie! Please contact me here with any bio information, publications, links to personal sites, or any other information you would like to appear on your winner’s page.
Thanks again to all who participated this week. Hope to see you all again this upcoming weekend.