Posts Tagged ‘drmagoo’

**SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT**

As you may have heard, the Flash Dogs are putting together another anthology! Many of you may already possess a Golden Ticket, but for those of you who don’t, I will be giving away one admission next week. There will still be regular judging for the glory of Flash Master, but in addition, one story will be awarded a Flash Dogs Anthology Golden Ticket. Instructions for entry and winning will be posted along with the photo prompt next Saturday, so spread the news and tell your friends, opportunity awaits!

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Happy Saturday, friends. I hope you had a lovely week and you’re ready to write some more flash. This weekend drmagoo is back in the judge’s seat, and I’ve selected a photo from flash dog extraordinaire, David Shakes.

Before we get started, here’s a brief reminder of the rules.

Deadline: Sunday at 6:00pm MST. You all have 36 hours to create your best work of up to 360 words (exclusive of title) and post it into the comments below. Please include your word count (required) and Twitter handle if applicable. For complete rules, click here. 

The winning author and their story will be featured as Wednesday’s Hump-Day Quickie, receive a winner’s page, and be crowned Flash Master of the Week.

Here is your prompt.

photo courtesy David Shakes

photo courtesy David Shakes

Hello, again! I was briefly concerned that the unconventional photo I chose for this round might scare folks away, but I should have known better. Many thanks to Sal Page for her time and comments on the stories this week. You’ll find her comments below, but before we get to that, I have one quick piece of info for our pack of flash dogs. Grey Matter Press’s Flashmasters  flash fiction contest is back this month and begins tomorrow. I know some of you have done quite well over there in the past, and based on what I see here on a regular basis, I believe everyone should check it out. Okay – ON TO THE WINNERS!

Lots of very different takes on a great picture prompt. I found something to like in each one and apologize now for anything I’ve misunderstood or interpreted wrongly.

Passengers – Lulls the reader into thinking it’s a ‘shaggy dog story’ told in a ‘sticky carpeted pub’ (nice!) then gradually turns into something more sinister as the storyteller shows the realness of her tale by her behaviour, using repetition to chilling effect at the end.

Returned to Ash – A strong female character emerging/erupting from the earth. This is powerful, densely written and very dramatic. The ending says it all.

Fly Day the Thirteenth (Back To The Drawing Board) – Fearless attempts to create a flying car. ‘Second-hand DeLoreans are rarer than rocking horse shit’ is a great line and the irony of the ending made me chuckle.

Best. Advert. Ever. – Packed full of ideas, appropriately fast paced and culminating in the stunt that created the advert. Wasn’t sure whether there was someone in the car that no one was concerned about at the end. ‘stunt doubles’ or the young couple that were supposed to walk away,  But. Great. Title.

The Last Car in Salford – Such a fantastic concept – the cars being sucked back into the earth, the ground ‘reclaiming its metals’ I love ‘Henry spread his arms to the world – in a ‘all this could be yours’ gesture.

The Sisterhood – A fearful-of-everything nun sees the buried car as a sign and kills everyone to save them but it turns out to be a student art installation. Could be shocking but not when it’s told in as casual and comical a style as this.

One Day the Muse Spoke to Him – The simple but effective tale of Marvin, told by ‘a piece of garden statuary’ to bury the car his wife died in in the garden. I like the statue/muse having the last word. Feels nice and complete. Closure.

A Eulogy for Chuck – Strong narrative voice. Chuck’s a great character especially that he ‘didn’t read the labels others slapped on you.’ A touch of sadness in the regrets of the last paragraph.

STRANGER THINGS – Shows the reader a moment, as two people literally come together and realize they each have a family member ‘who disappeared that day’. Nothing is explained and it doesn’t matter. She sees a connection but he appears indifferent.

Separation – Poetic. The lull before a massive war. Intrigued by the concept of the top-dwellers and Underdwellers.

Average – The average angel is a fantastic idea. ‘Low maintenance stuff’ it may be but we probably all need one. She/he ‘took care of his wheels’ but I felt I wanted to know more.

My Seven Year Old Self – Growing a car is a wonderful idea and a great take on the prompt. I love the child’s-eye view of the importance of the loss of the car.

No Parking – Eva the artist gets her revenge on her drive-blocking neighbour by cutting the car in half and turning it into art. And I don’t blame her. Cliff’s a ….

The Curators – Things are missing. Not just things. Body parts. The hyphenated text echoes this. I like the formal but sinister concept of taking samples and the irony of ‘minimal disruption’ (yeah right!) and feel the resident’s fear as they hear of the puzzling ‘phase two’.

Someone Else’s Garden – Other people’s gardens are clearly strange places, maybe more so if you’ve chosen smokes over chocolate. Strong, vivid images and I liked the affectionate name calling between the friends.

The Space Between – Full of great descriptions, I was especially taken with ‘Bees the size of dinner plates’ and that this is a place ‘where you can smell your grandmother’s perfume in a whiff, here and then gone.’ (Ah!) Slipping into second person narrative just past halfway through, it becomes urgent and the much shortened sentences heighten the effect.

Porta-Ball – Told completely in dialogue but without seeming like they’re explaining things to each other. I like the moment of realization about the baby seat in the car and the comical subject change at the end.

Free Sleep for Dogman – This took several read-throughs for me, which paid off. A very unusual world, featuring a dog and a badger who are as much people as animals. And most intriguing, the badger is a ‘sleep dealer’.

One Day Geeks Will Rule The World, But Not Today – This made me laugh. Who knew time traveling would be so slow motion? Like quicksand. Don’t give up and better luck next time, boys!

L&F – A very original take on the prompt. I love the idea of Lost and Found for the world of the ‘magic-makers’ and the car turning out to be really a mouse that’s been practiced on by a fairy godmother.

So. I’ve picked four. Couldn’t leave anymore out.

Honourable mention. My Seven Year Old Self – F.E. Clark. For all of the above and for the hints at the mother’s deteriorating health and the sweet little twist at the end.

Second Runner-Up. The Space Between – Alicia VanNoy Call. For everything I said earlier and for ‘Follow me’ being a super way to end a flash.

First Runner-Up. The Last Car in Salford – A.J. Walker. For being one of my favourite takes on the prompt, for the title (not ‘cos it has the judge’s name in it!) and because yes, maybe this would be a good thing and maybe it could happen!

And our Round 60 FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

Brian S. Creek

with STRANGER THINGS

For what isn’t explained. For leaving the reader wanting to know more and wanting to find out what happens next.

Congratulations, Brian! Your story will be featured as tomorrow’s HumpDay Quickie! And that’s it for this week, folks. Many thanks to Sal Page for judging this past weekend. Up next is drmagoo; we both hope to see you on Saturday. Cheers!

Untitled

by drmagoo

“Gervin played here, back in the day. Iceman, Pearl, even Magic – though he was in disguise. I’d come out here every Saturday night around ten, ten-thirty and watch the best ball you’ve ever seen.”

“You saw The Condor, too, Grandpa? Momma said you took her once.”

“That I did, Tevin. The best of all of them. Could shoot from anywhere. One handed dunks you wouldn’t believe. He woulda set all the records – distance, defense, rebounding. All of em.”

“If it wasn’t for the Ants?”

“Yeah. If it wasn’t for them. Mind your mouth, though, boy – your momma would skin me alive if she knew I let you talk bad about them.”

“I’d never tell! Cross my heart, hope to spawn!”

“I know you wouldn’t. You’re a good kid. You’d make something of yourself – a doctor, lawyer, teacher – something like that, if you still could. But they have ways, and you’re still a kid. Don’t let them know.”

“Billy says he’s gonna sign up with the rebellion. As soon as he’s thirteen – he can pass for fifteen now, but they check papers.”

“He says that, does he? That kid’s got a big damned mouth.”

“He’s serious! And I’m gonna –“

“Don’t tell me what you’re gonna do, boy! I told you, they have ways. Keep your mouth shut about that.”

“I ain’t no coward!”

“Ain’t about coward or brave, Tevin. About smart. About fighting the battle that needs fighting, not the one you want to fight. Look – kid like you, smart, strong, good heart – you get these hormones running in you, telling you it’s time to be a man, and all that smarts and heart goes out the window. You’ll have your day – if you let it be. Get it?”

“I get it. I think.”

“Ah, hell, Tevin. I wish sure as hell we could be at the game now, ‘stead of sitting here looking at cracked blacktop and broken backboards. C’mon. I brought you down here for a reason. Look in that bag.”

“A ball? Where’d you find it?”

“Never you mind. Let’s go down there, and I’ll show you some moves even the Condor didn’t have.”

I thought the basketball hoop prompt might be a bit premature, considering it’s only February, but it’s been in the 50’s all week, and the forecast calls for 60’s by the end of the week. It seems winter isn’t coming to my neck of the woods, regardless of what that rodent in Punxsutawney has to say. So it was game on, flash dogs and you all delivered. Slam dunks from you all. Now it’s time to reveal our winners! Bart Van Goethem was our guest judge you’ll find his comments below.

(While whistling the Harlem Globetrotters tune)

A close-up of a basketball rim. That turned out deceptively simple, didn’t it? So thank you for all the entries. I, again, judged the idea and the tone. Catherine Connolly (strong character, but not basketball) and necwrites (good tone and structure, but I just had to think a little too hard to figure it out) were in my short list, but didn’t make it.

Second runner-up: ‘Tag’ by Jaime Burchardt. Nice idea, and I especially like the story changing in mid action, as the player is hanging in the air. This is just so easy to picture, so it sticks.

First runner-up: ‘That’s What Friends Are For’ by Carlos. You’re going to say I am a sucker for dark tales and you’re right. But this one has a clear voice, coming from a spooky point of view.

 

And our Round 53 FLASH MASTER is

 FLASH MASTER

drmagoo with ‘Untitled’

I was halfway reading the first sentence when my mind was still considering to disqualify this story. Because stories need a title. They just do. But anyway, I kept reading and I fell for the voice of the main character. Also, I love free life lessons like ‘Ain’t about coward or brave, Tevin. About smart.’ The nostalgia and the science fiction take this story a step or two further than the others. I’m going to let that missing title slip. Ain’t about sticking to the rules too much, right? About emotion.

Congratulations, drmagoo! Your story will be featured as Wednesday’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.

Many thanks writers, and many thanks Bart for your comments. Next weekend, Brian Creek will be stepping up to try his hand at judging. Hope to see you all there.

Hello again, Friends!

Wow. Just. Wow.

It was great going back and re-reading all these winning stories. Personally, I was hard pressed to pick a favorite, but fortunately I was allowed to vote more than once, so that eased my conscience somewhat. 🙂 The readers have spoken, but before we get to that, I’d just like to say thank you so much to everyone—judges, photographers, readers, and of course, the writers—for making The Angry Hourglass such a success. Without your efforts, it would be just a sad, lifeless, little blog.

Time for the main event!!!

We have two runners up: drmagoo for his round 10 winning story  untitled and  Voima Oy for her round 22 winning story “The Lady Grey

Both runners up have won a $25.00 Amazon gift card. Well done!

And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for…

The winner of the Flash Master Face Off, $50.00 Amazon gift card, and ultimate bragging rights is Round 14 (and rounds 16 and 24)  champion:

BETH DEITCHMAN

for her story “Le Moulin”

*****CONGRATULATIONS!!*****

Winners, please use the contact tab and send me your preferred email addresses to collect your prizes.

Thank you once again to everybody who participated and voted, and thank you for showing up every week and contributing your talents to the Flash Frenzy Family. You guys rock. Can’t wait to see you all again this Saturday for a brand new photo prompt and a brand new round of Flash Frenzy to be judged by none other than Flash Master Face Off winner herself, Beth! 😀

And just in case you missed it, here is Beth’s winning story again.

Cheers! ~R

Photo by TheShakes72

Photo by TheShakes72

Le Moulin

by Beth Deitchman

“I don’t remember this one,” Doris said.

Betty leaned over to see which picture Doris held. “Le Moulin,” she whispered. The blush surprised her. At least fifty years had passed, yet Betty could still feel the heat of that day.

“What was that?” Doris brayed.

“The mill,” Betty replied. “I took it that summer I spent in Rouen.”

“I never was good with languages like you,” Doris said, her voice clipped. “I never got the chance to travel.”

Betty shrugged, letting Doris have her sulk. She picked up the discarded picture—faded after all these years—and studied it. Around her the cold dining room shifted, faded; the picture fell from her hands.

She stood at the edge of that lazy river, warmed by the June sun, inhaling the scent of water and summer and something else—the rich, loamy earth near the old mill. Le moulin. Despite the day’s warmth, Betty shivered, the sensation radiating through her body. She held up a hand and gave a little cry. Her skin was smooth, taut, and clear, her fingers straight and free from pain. She touched her face, marveling at the softness, glanced down at her body, stunned by the firmness. “But how?” she whispered.

From behind her came a rich voice, familiar though she hadn’t heard it in more than fifty years. “Bonjour, mademoiselle.”

Betty closed her eyes, gave a silent prayer, and turned around. When she opened her eyes, she smiled. “Jean,” she said.

He held out his arms. “I have been waiting.”

Betty rushed into his embrace, remembering the sweetness of his arms wrapped around her, the earthiness of his smell, the heat of his body. For a perfect moment Jean held her.

“What about this one?”

“What?” Betty said, looking up at Jean. He smiled at her then kissed her forehead.

“Betty?”

A cold hand grasped her arm, and Betty’s heart fell.

“What about this one?” Doris said.

“I’m not sure,” Betty replied. The winter chill settled again into her bones though the faint scent of summer, sun, and Jean clung to her skin.

 

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Six months and twenty-six rounds of Flash Frenzy? Where does the time go? You have all been amazing participants and I think it’s time to celebrate your awesomeness.

So, this week I’m launching the first Flash Master Face Off. 

What’s a Flash Master Face Off? I’m glad you asked. Each of the winning stories from the past 26 weeks will go head-to-head in a battle of popularity with the best story to be decided upon by readers. The winner will receive (in addition to ultimate bragging rights) a $50 Amazon gift card.

Voting will be open until Tuesday evening. You (and your friends) can vote once every 12 hours. So return and enjoy your favorite stories again and stay tuned for the winners. 😀

GOOD LUCK!

 

Untitled

by: drmagoo

This is where Jurgen had been killed, his bullet-ridden body left as a reminder to anyone with dreams of escaping to the West that communism might be a failure when it came to bringing food and medicine to the people of the state, but it was efficient at killing those it couldn’t feed. He’d laid there a full week before the soldiers didn’t want to put up with the stink and the flies, and because the wall was on the approved route I took to the factory each day, I was forced to witness the decay of my only son in real time.

What would he have thought, I wondered often, of the changes which took place only months later. Every war starts with someone being killed, and there’s always some last life sacrificed to the capriciousness of fate, a death that doesn’t change anything but the last digit in history’s book of casualties. Jurgen had dreamed often of impossible things, but the future had failed him.

I ran my fingers over the rough stone, the concrete and rebar covered with graffiti instead of blood, and thought of the walls which still stood, replacing the physical barrier with many more that lived in our minds. The world was more divided now than it had been in those grey days, the hope of a better life a chimera, staying ever out of our grasp, taunting us with impossible dreams. I didn’t know what Jurgen would have thought of the fall of the wall, but his heart would have broken watching history repeat itself.

Mine had been broken a quarter-century ago, and no matter what I tried, there was nothing for it. I’d pretended for so long that I was living for him, living for his hope, living to realize his dreams, that there was nothing left. Nothing of him. Nothing of me. There was no faceless 20 year old holding a rifle, shouting at me to stop, but my end would come here, in the same spot as his. My hand didn’t tremble as I drew the gun from my pocket. There was no point. No regret. No future.

Hello, friends! Once again we had an amazing group of stories. I’m continually amazed at the quality of writing you all produce on a weekly basis in such a short period of time. This week Jacki Donnellan was gracious enough to donate her time to judge your stories, and here is what she had to say.

What a privilege, a treat and a challenge to be asked to judge this week’s round of Flash Frenzy, and to have the “task” of reading and savouring the eight fantastic entries. Each story took the prompt in a completely different direction- there was introspection, revenge, romance, fantasy and even self-improvement! I really enjoyed reading them all. Every story contained at least one line, device or idea that I really loved.

Realizing now how hard it is to write judge’s comments without sounding clichéd and insincere (sorry if the former, but definitely NOT the latter!) I will swiftly move on:

HM-Karl Russell -“Tag” I was hooked from the very first paragraph of this story-what had he guessed?-and was certainly not prepared for the answer! I enjoyed the slow, almost tortuously engaging pace leading to the reveal, during which I even had time to chuckle at “she thinks she’s something special, with her paint pens from Amazon.”  Then we’re hit with the fantastic image of a tag “crawl(ing) around the lip of the concrete”, before the ominously clever final line. Great stuff.

Runner-up- Kristen Falso-Capaldi ”Last Tag” Reading this story was like unwrapping something layer by layer, convinced with each layer that I’d guessed what it was. “It’s about some kids about to spray a wall,” I thought. “Oh-wait.” Then, “So Ronnie’s just a ghost. Oh, wait…” What I eventually held in my hands was a brilliantly creative and imaginative way to tell the story of a young person’s struggle to leave their mark on the world; the story behind the legacy created by a tag.

And this week’s FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

Dr Magoo

Untitled

This was a massive amount of story told in just 358 words. I was drawn in immediately to the scene of an execution up against a wall in an oppressive regime, and then knocked immediately off my feet by that line at the end of the first paragraph, “forced to witness the decay of my only son in real time.”

What followed was a tight yet wonderfully prosaic description of the narrator’s world- of our world, where the killing of one individual means nothing, and yet means everything; of a world where walls come down but remain standing in our minds and where history stubbornly repeats itself.

And then finally, I found myself not looking at the world at large any more but at that one man, whose story was not universal after all, but deeply personal. I found myself standing and watching the tragic end of a quiet, private story, “the last digit in history’s book of casualties.”

Awesome.

Congratulations, drmagoo! Your story will be featured tomorrow as the 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 for participating. This weekend David Shakes will be returning to judge. Hope to see you there.

Round 6: Winners

Posted: February 11, 2014 in Winners
Tags: , , , ,

Great stories for one of my favorite photos. Thanks so much for taking the time to share you work with me. Round 4 winner, Image Ronin was the judge this week and this is what he had to say:

Well this was a tough task, the only silver lining being that judging this week meant I couldn’t enter, as the tales of remorse, redemption and revenge were far beyond anything I could have come up with. To pick three from the submitted entries was harder than I envisioned it would be, yet in the end one had to win, so here goes:

 Runner Up: Dr Magoo ‘Untitled’

The Doc’s tale of alien migrants, the lamentation of opportunity for indigenous folk, rituals and traditions, was richly caught in the dialogue of our unknown narrator. The little interplays of perspective and dialogue, ‘hick goombah’ being a particular favorite, allowed me to dwell in the unspoken views and fears of our confidant. I found myself worrying about about her future and what had happened to the rest of the Waxman clan. An evocative exercise in world building that left me wanting to know just a little bit more … 

Runner Up: Stella ‘Feathers & Beads’

Stella’s lament to the graceless nature of consumerism and fame drew me into this tale, and I’m the first to admit that I adore a twisted ending, I found myself clapping with delight as the fat chicken waddled with poison daubed on the inside of her mask. A wonderfully public demise for someone who we are informed is determined to be the centre of attention. From avian noses to recruiting someone with “no sewing skills” we also gained an insight into the Machiavellian role of our narrator, whose biased perspective distorted our view of her nemesis. At the end of the tale I still couldn’t decide if the narration was that of a marginalized and exploited worker, or the paranoid rage of a sociopath.

This week’s winner and FLASH MASTER is…

FLASH MASTER

Karl A Russell

Pride

 I have a soft spot for dystopian tales, primarily due to being a working class kid raised in the shadows of Thatcherism. From the outset of this tale, I was intrigued. The conflict between pageantry and bullet proof glass evoked a reality too close to our own. I found myself wanting to know more, who was the stranger, what was the girl about to do? Assassin? Suicide bomber? The deft shift into themes of discrimination and alienation to motivate our narrator got the X-Men fan boy in me clapping. With parallels to the recent events in Russia, over sexuality and the Olympics, also coming to the fore. Yet it was the final line, emboldened with defiance, beauty and hope, that is still stuck in my mind as I write this entry. An elegant inversion of the Phoenix mythology, offering not resurrection but creation, a moment in which the actions of an individual today can, hopefully, lead to a better world tomorrow.

Thanks everybody for participating this week.  Make sure to check in tomorrow for the HumpDay Quickie and on Saturday when four-time Flash Master, Karl A Russel will be acting as our guest judge.

Wow! Money usually makes people happy, I was surprised at all of the dark (although I like dark) stories that were generated this week. Thank you everybody who participated, the success of this venture depends entirely on you and once again you delivered.

Our judge has chosen two runners-up this week: drmagoo and Tinman.

Drmagoo’s entry, Untitled, was a story of a woman pushed to the edge who finally decides to push back. The cash reward may have been small, but as many women can attest: fortunes aren’t always measured in dollars and cents.

Then again, sometimes fortunes are measured in dollars and cents, and in A Pocket Full of Rye, Tinman shows us an alternative version of a woman pushed to far. More lighthearted than our previous entry, this story gives us a glimpse into an alternate nursery rhyme reality.

And finally, with great pleasure I present to you this week’s winning entry and Flash Master

FLASH MASTER FOR THE THIRD WEEK IN A ROW

KARL A RUSSELL

Michael’s Birthday

I’m not going to even pretend I didn’t almost cry at the end of this one. This was another story of a woman pushed to her limits, but in this case it is for all the right, heartbreaking reasons. As Judge Jaime said:  It’s the kind of story that paints a picture so vividly that you’ll swear it hits close to home, even if you haven’t been in that same situation.

Beautiful story, Karl, and much congratulations on your third consecutive win!

For Round 4, I, LadyHazmat, will be judging your entries. I hope you’ll all check in this weekend (and invite your friends!) for more photo prompts and wonderful flash fiction from around the globe. You guys rock!