Finalists for the March Writing Contest


Sorry for this post coming in late today.  I’ve had a migraine that has been beating me down, but didn’t want to delay any further.  So please forgive me for making you wait so long.  The finalists for the March writing contest have been selected.  As always, the entries were great and I enjoyed them all!  Unfortunately, only three could be chosen, but I want to thank everyone who submitted an entry.  Anyone who has not read them yet can see all of them here.  The following contestant’s are the ones who are up for voting.  Please do congratulate them!

*Charity Parkerson
*Lynn Hallbrooks
*Ray Blowers

Below will be a review of the contest stipulations, followed by the three finalist’s stories. At the bottom will be the instructions and poll for voting. Anyone may vote for the tale they believe is best, but you should take the time to read all three before making your decision. Remember, you may vote only once.  Contestants, also note that you cannot use blogs, twitter, Facebook, or any other site to ask for votes.  You are allowed to announce you are a finalist on those sites and link this page, but you should only tell people to vote for the best story, not yours specifically.

Stipulations:

1) The story should take place on St. Patrick’s Day and have drinking* involved.

2) There must be an evil leprechaun as one of the main characters.

3) Someone should get pinched.

4) The color “green” must be mentioned at least three times.

5) The length requirements are 400-800 words (this is one of the shorter contests).

*I didn’t say what kind of drinking!

——————————————————————————

Services Rendered

by Charity Parkerson

Glowing green shamrock shaped lanterns hung from the ceiling of the overcrowded bar, making Liz want to puke. She hated St. Patrick’s Day. A person with her dark complexion and light-colored hair did not need to wear green. Not that she should have bothered, she thought bitterly, after the third drunken reveler pinched her butt. With her patience at an end, she desperately sought the exit, and didn’t draw another easy breath until the cool night air brushed her face. Her ears rang after the extended exposure to loud music, and that’s why it took her a minute to hear the tiny cries for help. Following the sound, she spotted a silver trashcan right inside the alleyway with two tiny legs sticking out. They kicked out in every direction as the person attached struggled to escape.

“Oh, my. Are you okay?” Liz cried, as she rushed to help.

The kicking stopped and tiny voice sounded from inside. “Would you mind terribly helping me out?”

“Of course,” Liz answered, feeling a bit embarrassed that she had not immediately done so.

Grabbing the tiny legs, she braced her legs apart, and pulled with all her strength.

At first, she thought it was a child, but after setting him on his feet, she realized it was a tiny man dressed all in green.

“Why were you in the trashcan?” she asked, trying desperately to focus on the reason they were there and not her shock.

His eyes were almost the same shade as his clothes, and even the dark they twinkled. A bright smile lit his face as he answered. “It’s a tall tale, of that you can be sure. It is wicked and twisted definitely not for the pure, but if you wish to know how it is that I came to be here, then lean closer to me and I shall whisper it in your ear.”

Despite the odd circumstances, curiosity drove her to do as he bade. With her ear close to his mouth, he continued. “Temptation and greed will drive men to be cold, but the secret is they shall never get my gold!”

Before Liz could absorb his words, he kissed her soundly on the mouth, and tweaked her breast. With a cackling “tee-hee” he scampered away. Stunned, she watched him race down the alley as fast as his tiny legs would carry him. He leapt in to the air, clicking his heels together in glee as he ran, and singing all the way. “I’m the very first Leprechaun. That’s who I be, and so long as I live they shall never catch me. If they think to try, then they will surely die, exactly like the man I stuffed in a pie.”

By the time Liz arrived home, she’d almost convinced herself that the excessive consumption of green beer caused her illusion, but as she removed her clothes to prepare for bed, a gold coin fell from inside her bra, and she swore she heard his tiny voice singing in her ear.

——————————————————————————

Leapin’ Leprechauns

by Lynn Hallbrooks

“You may not believe me but I tell you it is true.” Rose O’Malley wrinkled her nose. “I saw it with my own eyes.”

Patrick O’Malley shook his head. “I don’t believe for one moment that you saw a flying Leprechaun.”

“I did not say he was flying, I said he was leaping. Do I have to repeat myself?”

“Yes, leaping or flying, I still find it hard to believe a grown woman would be telling her husband about wee people. Maybe, if we were in the old country but here in Texas…I don’t think so.”

“This is the last time I’ll be telling you this so you best be listening to me. I was in the meadow picking berries for our supper. I heard some music but I did not see anyone or anything at first. Then I saw something pop up through the flowers. It was green. I thought it was a grasshopper at first.”

“Aye, are you sure it wasn’t?”

“Hush, let me finish…please.”

Patrick nodded.

“I went back to picking berries then I heard an evil laugh. I looked up and saw him about a foot away. He was dressed in Kelly green from pointed cap to curly-toed shoes. He was about 6 inches tall. He stared at me.”

“My name is Thomas O’Grady and if you give me a kiss, I’ll turn into a handsome prince.”

“I already have a husband, why would I be kissing the likes of you?”

“So you are married, where is the unlucky guy?”

“So much for the handsome prince routine, what is your real story?”

“I’d tell you but then I’d have to pinch you.”

“Really, why is that?”

“You are a glutton for punishment…I think I like that about you.”

“You hardly know me.”

“I’ve been watching you.”

“Have you now? Why pray tell, would you be doing that?”

“Truth be told, I don’t know maybe I’m just into ugly women.”

“Let me guess, an evil witch cast a spell on you and made you say evil things to everyone.”

“If only…no I’m afraid I was born this way. I have a subtle kind of madness that comes from first cousins having children together. At least they said they were cousins…I suspect it was a much closer relationship than that.”

“You don’t mean…”

“Yes but I have no proof. Anyway, they had me and I was evil from the very start. Instead of the doctor slapping my bum, I slapped his face.”

“You didn’t…”

“Yes I did. He’d been drinking at a St. Patty’s Day celebration and he nearly dropped me on my head.”

“So today’s your birthday?”

“Yes, that’s why we have the music over there.”

“I thought I heard something but I could not see a thing except a grasshopper jumping.”

“That wasn’t a grasshopper…that was me.”

“You…since when do ‘wee people’ fly?”

“I wasn’t exactly flying, I was leaping. I wanted to get a better look to see if any more of my friends were coming. Then I spotted you picking berries. I come to see if you wanted to have a drink with us.”

“I best not, my husband will be looking for me.”

Thomas reached over and pinched Rose’s ear. “Ouch,” she yelped, “why did you do that?”

“First of all, you aren’t wearing green. Second, you got my story. Third, I’m just pure evil. I told you that.”

“Oh, I think the real reasons are because you love me, you are jealous that I am married, but mostly because you are mad I will not drink with you and your friends.”

“That could be true…if you weren’t so ugly.”

“So why would I come run off with you then.”

“Who said I wanted you to run off with me?”

“The way you were talking and the tiny green suitcase behind your back, gave you away.”

“That’s not a suitcase, it’s my fiddle.”

“He began playing it and all his friends came over sloshing drinks everywhere. I swear Patrick, that’s what all that noise was and why I smell like a brewery. I told you he was an Evil Leapin’ Leprechaun.”

“Woman, that still doesn’t explain the suitcase behind you?”

“Aye, well that’s what I’m going to put the wee people in. They’ve passed out from all that partying. When they wake up, I’ll be getting them to tell us where that pot of gold is.”

Patrick shook his head, followed his wife. To his surprise, she went into the meadow and 6 wee people were lying in sweet repose. He leaned over, kissed his wife, and patted her bum. “Well done, my darling Rose.”

——————————————————————————

O’Malley and the Wee One

by Ray Blowers

“All I know ‘bout bein’ Irish” he complained to the unfortunate stranger on the next bar stool “is people expectin’ me to wear green … gah! I hate green! That, an’ all the crap I take ‘cause my name is ‘Sean O’Malley’. Yeah, I get lotscha crap – ‘speshelly now, on Schaint Paddeesh day.”

Sean turned unsteadily to survey the room, then his gaze froze at the back corner booth. His eyes grew large and he pinched the stranger’s arm, motioning toward a diminutive older man quietly occupying a booth in the shadows. “Lookee who’s inna back boof! Issa Leprechaun! Y’know if ya grab a Leprechaun heesch gotta give ya wassin his pot ‘o gold!”

“Dude, I think you’ve had too many” the stranger muttered, and turned away.

The fellow in question wore a threadbare emerald wool jacket and a dog-eared bow tie to match. His skin was pocked and ruddy, and his face was framed by thick curly snow white hair and a bushy beard. His feet dangled well off the floor. His most captivating feature, though, was his eyes – they glowed the color of carefully tended grass on a summer morning. He stood and exited through the back door. He measured less than a meter tall.

Sean rasped “ I gotta get him!” to no one in particular as he stumbled out the door in pursuit.

In the alley behind the bar Sean grabbed the little man’s arm. A brief scuffle ensued but the outsized quarry relented when trapped in a very dark corner with Sean gripping both lapels. Here the emerald glow from the stranger’s eyes seemed stronger than before, more un-natural.

Sean sneered “I know what ya are, Mishter Leprechaun, an’ you know ezzakly what you gotta do for me!”

Calmly the tiny man spoke in a creaking, weak voice: “Aye, ye’ve caught me haven’t ye? Me name’s Dubhan. I suppose you want what’s in me pot ‘o gold.”

Sean nodded vigorously “‘Zackly!”

Dubhan looked up to meet Sean’s hostile glare: “Ye’ve heard a legend. But th’ legend, ya see laddie…”

Suddenly the air became piercingly cold. Sean’s flesh crawled as Dubhan’s voice changed from a feeble tenor to a resonant clear bass devoid of its previous Celtic lilt. The glowing eyes changed color from emerald to hell-fire red.

“… is incomplete.”

Sean’s grip on the lapels held, but he found himself instantly preacher sober.

“You have been taught that while you hold me I cannot lie?”

Sean silently nodded.

“It is fact. Captive I can speak no untruth, do no harm, play no tricks. You also know that I can do magic?”

A shiver ran through Sean’s body as he again nodded.

“With a mere thought I can kill you” then a chilling pause, “… or worse.” another pause, “Now we negotiate for my release. We will both be blood-bound to our agreement. You can indeed take the contents of my overflowing pot of gold if you choose. If so, you agree to take it all – leave nothing behind. This leaves me room for more in the future. If you choose not to take, simply release me. All will be forgotten and no harm will come. Do you understand?”

Sean the suddenly sober nodded his understanding.

“Your decision is binding. Renege and you will die … or worse”

Somber, sober, shivering Sean nodded again.

“You must now choose. Will you take, or not?”

Sean answered incredulously “That’s the ‘catch’? Take it ALL? OF COURSE I’ll take it!”

“By your own choice, so it shall be.”

An unsettling peal of thunder rumbled out of the clear starry night.

Suddenly the air warmed, Dubhan’s voice again became a feeble brogue, and his eyes returned to their emerald color. “Loose me, Laddie. We’ll take ye to me overflowin’ pot ‘o gold.”

Sean released his grip. Instantly they stood not in the alley, but in Dubhan’s home. Dubhan opened a nearby door, motioned Sean through, and followed him in.

Unfortunately this was not Dubhan’s treasure vault – it was his bathroom. The familiar fixtures were all there in reduced scale, but not made of porcelain – they were made of gold. Cheerfully Dubhan indicated the fixtures one at a time. “There’s me bathtub ‘o gold! and there’s me sink ‘o gold! “

Without warning the chill air, sepulchral voice, and terrifying red eyes returned. “And there” Dubhan intoned, indicating the grossly overflowing toilet, “is my POT OF GOLD!” The Leprechaun’s evil laugh pierced Sean’s very soul as Dubhan vanished.

An indescribable putrid stench emanated from the forsaken repository. Gagging, eyes watering, Sean glanced at the vile overflowing “pot” to consider the contents that he was blood-obligated to take. As the vomit rose in his throat he involuntarily choked out the words: “Oh my GOD! It’s GREEN!”

————————————————————————————————————————————

Congratulations to the three finalists.  You all did a wonderful job and I wish each of you the best of luck during voting.   The poll will stay open until midnight (EDT) Sunday, April 1st.  I’ve moved it back a day since this post came out so late today. That allows approximately three days for voting.  On Monday, April 2nd, I will announce the winner and runner-up.  They will both receive their Amazon gift cards that day.

Once again, the contestants are welcome to announce their story being up for vote on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc. but I require you DO NOT tell people to vote for you specifically.  Ask others to simply visit and select the story they think is best.  Please make this a fair contest.  I really do not want to disqualify anyone.

 

~ by Suzie on March 29, 2012.

9 Responses to “Finalists for the March Writing Contest”

  1. Stiff Competition for sure. To be honest, I’ll be happy no matter who wins. :)

  2. Good luck all!

  3. Sorry to hear you’re not 100% Susan. Hope you feel better soon…

    It was another great competition. I really enjoy getting to see so many different writers’ imaginations on display and it was, as always, a tough choice. Well done to all the finalists!

  4. Good luck everyone!

  5. Excellent competition! Well done you three… some exceptional talent (as always).

    Hope you get better soon honey.

  6. Susan, I’m sorry to hear you’re under the weather.
    I voted – but in honesty, it was a hard choice, and I congratulate the winner, no matter who it is.
    Totally fun! Thanks for sharing.

  7. [...] of the other contestant’s entries can be viewed here.  I am truly pleased to see so many people were inspired to contribute their stories.  The next [...]

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