Hello everyone and welcome to the fifty-fifth month of this competition. There were 50 entries from 24 authors for the theme of ‘since sliced bread’. NB You can all send in three stories for a better chance of being picked.
A massive eleven stories were disqualified this month, several for only being 99 words: one had a row of dashes which did count on Word as being a word but isn’t, it’s purely punctuation. Sorry. (Ditto another story which had three so was actually 97 words – it’s in the rules!) Another had a closed speech marks separate from the word which, when reattached, downgraded the story by a word. A third had a number that wasn’t hyphenated (twenty eighth), one for ‘part time’, an ‘under the table’, and another for a ‘pitch black’, where they all came before nouns. Another, a clever dialogue-only piece was 101 words for no reason other than having one word too many, which was a shame.
The winning stories are ones that I reacted most favourably to. They were clever, surprising, eek-making (in a good way), or gave me a warm fuzzy feeling (without being sickly). Sometimes a story beats another because it has a stronger link to the theme so it’s worth writing a story to the theme rather than tweaking a story you already have to loosely fit it. Alternatively there may have been several stories on with same topic so I chose my favourite of those. With any competition, much rests upon the judge’s preference.
You may have chosen a different order or indeed not placed one or more of them so if you entered and didn’t find your story / stories here, don’t lose heart. You probably only just missed out so do enter new stories this month*, next month, whenever you like (but not in advance!). It’s an ongoing competition and free, so you could win at any time. There were new and familiar names this month so anyone could win… it’s all dependent upon whether your story grabs me, for whatever reason (whether it be clever, funny, unusual, quirky, or sweet).
Apart from the top three and highly commended, there are some ‘Honourable Mentions’. They don’t win anything but they were so close to being Highly Commended that I wanted them to know how close they came. It’s still something for them to put on their CVs.
*The theme for April is ’20:20 vision’ and you can submit your entries (and do send three) at any time up to midnight (UK time) on Thursday 30th April. Details and entry forms on https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/100-word-free-monthly-competition. So without further ado, below are the successful entries this month.
First place (winning free access to three of my online creative writing courses (currently worth £60 / $60) or a free edit and critique of up to 2,000 words (worth £14 / $18):
Katie Jones with ‘The Last Supper’
Past: His hands squeezing her neck.
Present: His hands clutching his throat.
Past: Her eyes wide, pleading for air.
Present: His face crimson, gasping to breathe.
Past: Pressure released, her lungs fill with oxygen.
Present: Life extinguished, he exhales his last.
Eventually, his drunken abuse became too much. He should’ve been more careful with his culinary choices, especially when intoxicated.
His final meal, a satay chicken sandwich. An unfortunate mix-up, given his nut allergy. His last words? That he could murder something to eat.
She smiles. Cruel irony. He always did think he was the best thing since sliced bread.
Second place (winning free access to two of my online creative writing courses (currently worth £40 / $40) or a free edit and critique of up to 1,500 words (worth £11 / $14):
Alan Barker with ‘My Little Miracle’
They said it wouldn’t happen.
My doctor. Two fertility specialists. And any number of relatives and so-called friends.
What do they know?
I lean over the cot and gaze at you. Is that a cheeky grin I detect? I’m sure my eyes are reflected in yours. We are so bonded, aren’t we, my darling?
I long to pick you up and hug you. Reaching down, I whisper, “Truly, you are the best thing since sliced…”
The final word sticks like a lump in my throat.
My breath stalls; tears are already forming.
Apart from your toys, the cot is empty.
Third place (winning free access to one of my online creative writing courses (currently worth £20 / $20) or a free edit and critique of up to 1,000 words (worth £7 / $9):
Jane Broughton with ‘Easy as Pie’
When Frank met Gloria he thought she was the bee’s knees, the best thing since sliced bread. He took her on a cruise and planned for their future.
Then he caught her canoodling with the captain, bold as brass. He was sick as a parrot. He realised he’d been green as grass and blind as a bat. He was mad as a hatter but he bided his time. He’d always been cunning as a fox.
When the ship docked, Gloria was missing, presumed brown bread. Frank walked off cool as a cucumber and got away as clean as a whistle.
Lestie Mulholland with ‘Where’s Mine?’
Certainly it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. You just had to see it in action.
Some argued that it had been around since before sliced bread but that didn’t matter.
It kept time very well, was able to perform multiple tasks accurately and efficiently. It could communicate, take responsibility, plan, organise, produce, sort and tidy. It used initiative and needed minimal management.
Amazing they thought.
What’s more it seemed tireless; things just got done: tea made, papers filed, Elastoplast offered. Nobody had invented it, it had just evolved and honed its skills.
Everyone wanted one. Their own secretary.
Highly commended (winning my Entering Writing Competitions course worth £20 / $20) or a free edit and critique of up to 1,000 words (worth £7 / $9) – in alphabetical order:
- Ben Coco with ‘Her Kiss’
- Cath MacKenzie with ‘Sliced Bread and Mechanical Hearts’
- Jennie Gardner with ‘A Bread Slicer’
- Joyce Bingham with ‘In Times of Crisis’
- Taria Karillion with ‘The Essential Commodity’
Honourable mentions (not winning anything but only narrowly missing out and still looking good on their CV) – in alphabetical order:
- Clare Law with ‘The Testament of a Private Soldier in the Invisible Army’
- Jane Brown with ‘A Little Sting’
- Laura Besley with ‘Not Bowing to Convention’
- Mary T Bradford with ‘From Afar’
- Rebecca Schwenk with ‘Sheet Dancing’
- Sue Massey with ‘Feed the Ducks’
Congratulations, everyone. The entries for this month are already drifting in. Remember, you can send up to three per month so rather than miss out on a chance by sending one story, do submit more.
If you’ve enjoyed these stories and / or just want to leave a comment, please do so below and / or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org., although I won’t (can’t) discuss forthcoming entries unless it’s a general query.