November Writing Contest (food theme)


I made a compromise after reviewing the poll results from last weekend’s post.  This contest is starting a few days earlier than usual, but will go back to the standard last ten days of the month after the holiday season is over.  The guidelines this time around are meant to inspire comical stories, so hopefully your muse gets flowing after reading the stipulations.

You will notice this is somewhat of a Thanksgiving theme, but for those who don’t celebrate the holiday, you need not mention it.  I am excited to see how this one turns out, as this month marks the sixth month for the blog’s writing contests.  They have all gone very well and there have been some great entries.  I hope those of you who have participated before join in this time and those of you who have been reluctant give it a shot.

The stipulations and rules will be listed below.  For further information, stop by the Monthly Writing Contest page to see the complete listing of rules (new ones have been added) and other information that you should know.  You will have until November 28th at midnight (EST) to submit your entry.  That is approximately twelve days from now.  On November 29th, I will announce the finalists for the contest and open up voting.  There are typically three finalists, but if more than ten entries are submitted, I may select four instead.  It will remain my right to use assistance from outside sources in the selection process, if I cannot decide easily. Those who judge will have no stake in this contest or its outcome.

This month marks a change to previous competitions.  It will be the first time the second place winner will receive a prize.  First place will still receive their $20 Amazon giftcard, but now the runner-up will also get a $10 Amazon giftcard.  Both will be announced after voting is over on December 3rd.  Only first place will have their story re-posted, though, and have their name listed on the trophy picture.

Now, here are the stipulations and rules.  Follow them closely or you will be disqualified!

Stipulations:

1) The setting should be a family/friend gathering (doesn’t matter where) centered around food.  There are no requirements as to the species of the characters, but there must be at least three of them.  You can choose to call it Thanksgiving or not.

2) Word-count must be between 450-750 words.  I will allow no more than a five word variance from this. Titles are required, though they do not count toward the total.

3) The word “cranberry” should be mentioned at least eight times but never in the same sentence.  Part of the judging will be based on how well you integrate the word so it doesn’t seem overused.

4) At least one of the following must happen in the story:

a) A food item is burned or ruined.

b) An argument occurs due to an unexpected guest.

c) A food fight breaks out.

d) The turkey turns out to be not quite dead (interpret that how you will).

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General Rules:

1) No extreme language. There are people here who do not want to see it and I prefer we not have anything that might be too offensive to the average reader. Light profanity is acceptable.

2) Making me laugh will gain you favor in my selection, though it isn’t a requirement. All genres of writing are welcome (if you are erotica, try to keep it mild please).

3) Post your story in the comments section of the Contest post for that month. Do not email it to me and do not post it here on this page.

4) Ensure you include your name (even if it is only a first name or nickname) and a title for the story. Neither of these go toward word-count.

5) Anyone who has won any of the last three contests is not eligible for a finalist position. They can submit a story if they wish, just for fun, but they cannot win.

6) Any story submission posted here can be posted elsewhere after the competition is over. The only thing I ask is that you put a disclaimer saying that it was written for a contest on this blog (a link back here would be nice).

7) Must be your original writing that has never been published before.  ***New Rule***

8)Anyone may enter the contest (regardless of country of origin) but must be able to receive an Amazon giftcard (they are not transferable).  I will convert US currency to the currency of the Amazon country site requested, based on current exchange rates.  ***New Rule***

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That is everything you need to know.  Come back on Tuesday (November 29th) to see who the finalists are and vote in the poll for your favorite candidate (or maybe even yourself).   The poll will stay open until midnight (EST) Friday, December 2nd.  That is approximately three days for voting.  On Saturday, the 3rd, I will announce the winner and runner-up.  They will both receive their Amazon gift cards at that time.   Good luck!

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~ by Suzie on November 17, 2011.

32 Responses to “November Writing Contest (food theme)”

  1. A Turkey Dinner – by Rosen Trevithick

    “Are we having human?” asked Turk.
    “Oh I do hope so,” exclaimed Bernard, “I do love to gobble a bit of human.”
    “Will we be having cranberry sauce with our human?” asked Ankara.
    Turk went white as a sheet and became covered from beak to foot in goose bumps. Bernard shot Ankara an angry glance.
    “What?” pleaded Ankara, staring wide-eyed, across her amble beak.
    “You mustn’t mention those words!”
    “What words? Cranberry sauce?”
    Turk’s wobbling became faster and more extreme, until suddenly he toppled sideways onto the floor. Bernard ran to his best friend’s aid.
    “He’s petrified!” snarled Bernard.
    “He’s not cranberry-phonic is he?” asked Ankara, with a haughty chuckle.
    “Don’t be judgemental. It’s very common. At least five percent of turkeys suffer from it. I don’t want to hear that word used again today!” ordered Bernard.
    “No need to get your wattle in a twist!”
    Turk lay flat on his tail, grunting in an alarming fashion. Just as Bernard was wondering what to do, Turk leapt up. “The human!” he cried. “It was supposed to come out ten minutes ago!”
    The three turkeys rushed to the oven. As soon as Turk opened the door, a cloud of smoke blinded them. Bernard tried to stifle his coughing fit whilst Ankara fanned her beak in an overdramatic fashion.
    “It’s ruined!” cried Turk.
    Ankara felt that a crispy skin was nothing that couldn’t be fixed with a thick smothering of cranberry sauce. She decided it was best to keep her views to herself.
    “I’m sure it’s not ruined,” Bernard said reassuringly.
    “Of course it’s ruined!” snapped Turk. “What are we going to do?”
    Before anyone could reply there was a deep, purposeful knock at the door.
    “Are we expecting another guest?” asked Ankara.
    “Not that I know of,” said Turk, looking glum.
    “Who could it be?” thought Bernard, aloud.
    Timidly, Turk opened the door a little and peered through a crack. His worst fears were confirmed.
    “I’m here!” chirped a hen’s voice. With that, the most magnificent-looking turkey any of them had ever seen, barged her way into the house. She had long, well-groomed feathers and a neck that was redder than blood. “Did you miss me?” she asked Turk, giving him a sloppy peck on the beak.
    Ankara gulped. “Who is she?” she whispered to Bernard.
    “That’s the bird Turk went on a date with.”
    “Her?” exclaimed Ankara. “Wow.”
    Turk didn’t look wowed. In fact, he looked irritated and slightly afraid.
    “You forgot to give me you number,” explained the gorgeous hen, “so I looked you up on Chookbook.”
    Turk bashed his head against his wing. He knew he shouldn’t have put his home address online.
    “Lovely place you have here!” she clucked. “That’s a gorgeous bowl, is it cranberry glass?”
    Turk looked more annoyed than ever, but thankfully didn’t faint.
    “You mustn’t mention cranberries. Turk is phobic,” explained Ankara.
    “And who, may I ask, are you?”
    “I’m Ankara, Turk’s friend.”
    “Well, I’m here now, so you can cluck off.”
    Bernard intervened. “Mind your language!”
    “Well!” squawked Ankara. “Are you going to let them talk to me like that?”
    A shrug of Turk’s wings said it all.
    “Well!” she cried, tossing her feathers. She was silent for some time. She paced back and forth and opened her beak a few times, but no sound came out. Eventually, she had something to say. “Cranberry sauce!”
    The other three turkeys watched her in disbelief, as she repeated the words “cranberry sauce”. Turk left the room, covering his ears with his wings.
    “I think it’s time for you to leave!” demanded Bernard. He opened the door and when the hen didn’t leave of her own accord, he pushed her out.
    The friends went into the kitchen where Turk was perched on the floor, rocking backward and forward.
    “Come on,” smiled Bernard. “Let’s put on some music, have a drink and try and put that foul creature behind us.”
    The three friends retired to Turk’s sofa, where Ankara found the remote control for the radio.
    The speakers started to blare. “Do you have to – do you have to – do you have to let it linger?”
    “This is a great song!” cried Turk, “Who sings it?”
    “It’s The Cr…” began Ankara. “Do you know what? I have no idea.”

  2. Also, if anybody’s interested we’re having a Whimsical Winter short story competition over at InBoBo.

    http://www.indie-books-board.co.uk/

    Among the rules: “Stories much contain the words ‘rabid robin’.”

  3. In Australia we don’t celebrate thanksgiving, but that doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy a good roast turkey dinner party now and again 🙂

    Here is my entry. It’s 747 words and called: Who Invited The Turkey

    Sarah was late.

    Michael had no idea where she was. He’d tried calling her, texting, emailing, everything, to no avail.
    It was as if she’d disappeared from the face of the earth.

    Sarah was supposed to be bringing the cranberries for cranberry sauce to go with the turkey. He’d always felt homemade cranberry sauce was better than the store bought stuff, so he didn’t have a fall back option.

    Michael scoured his pantry for an alternative ingredient. The only thing that came close was purple gummy bears. In the end he gave up. He didn’t think anyone would appreciate roast turkey with gummy bear sauce.

    The other guests had arrived. It was almost time to begin the meal. Michael didn’t like the idea of starting without Sarah, but he’d spent hours on the roast. He didn’t want to serve it cold.

    Earlier that week, when Michael was shopping for ingredients, he’d stumbled across a Chinese grocery he hadn’t noticed before. Michael explained what he was cooking, and the elderly shopkeeper sold him a blend of herbs and spices for use in the stuffing.

    At least, that’s what Michael assumed it was for. The old man’s English wasn’t good and Michael’s Chinese was non-existent.

    Now, apart from his missing sister, everything was ready.

    I’ll call her one more time.

    Michael dialled her number. Just as the phone started ringing there was a knock on the door. With the phone to his ear, he walked across the room to answer it.

    He could hear the chirp, chirp, of Sarah’s phone on the other side.

    It’s about time. He hung up and opened the door.

    “I’ve been trying to call you all –” It wasn’t her.

    A man Michael had never seen before stood in the doorway. It took several seconds to notice the gun levelled at his chest.

    “Act like you know me, and invite me in,” the stranger said.

    “Who are you?”

    “If you ever want to see your sister again, you’ll ask me to stay for dinner.”

    Michael stood there, dumbfounded. What was happening?

    “I believe these are for you.” The newcomer raised his other hand, and offered Michael a punnet of cranberries.

    Michael took the fruit, then stepped aside to allow the stranger in.

    “You can call me Jonas.” He tucked the gun away, and patted his pocket as he stepped past. “Remember I have this, and act like nothing’s wrong.”

    Michael closed the door, and followed Jonas to the dining room.

    The others looked up when the pair entered.

    “Guys, this is Jonas. He’s –” His mouth was suddenly dry.

    “I’m a friend of Sarah’s.” Jonas finished for him. “She’s been unavoidably detained, and asked me to pass on her apologies.”

    Michael swallowed. “We’re just about to have dinner. Since Sarah’s not coming there’s an extra place.” He took a deep breath, trying hard to remain calm. “Please stay. Eat with us.”

    “I don’t want to be a burden.”

    “It’s no trouble at all,” Michael said. “I’ll just take these cranberries in the kitchen. I’m sorry there’s no time for me to make a proper cranberry sauce, so I’ll just put them around the bird, if that’s ok.”

    “You do what you have to do.” Jonas sat down, and started making small talk with the other guests.

    Michael returned to the kitchen. He glanced at the knife block on the kitchen bench. Its array of kitchen knives beckoned, but he pushed the thought aside. He was no killer, and Jonas had a gun. He couldn’t risk the lives of his other guests on a foolish act of bravery.

    The timer on the oven dinged. The turkey was ready.

    He removed the roast from the oven and placed it on the bench. He then fished around for a serving dish, and transferred the well-seasoned bird onto it. He drizzled the cranberries over the top, then spent a few minutes arranging them for best aesthetic impact.

    Just as he was about to return to the dining room, he heard a knock on the door.

    What should I do? His hands began to sweat.

    The conversation in the other room told him that nobody else had heard it. Maybe I could get help.

    Michael cautiously made his way to the front door. He placed an eye to the viewport, but couldn’t see anyone. He thought he’d misheard when the knock came again.

    Quickly, he thrust the door open.

    “Gotcha!” Sarah stood there, a huge grin on her face.

  4. […] topic.  First is a reminder that there is about eight days left to submit your entry for the November writing contest.  There are two entries so far that you all can check out if you’re curious to see what […]

  5. “A Pilgrim Makes Some Progress” or “Why Mr. O’Shans Left the Civil Service”
    by Scott Nagele (author of A Smile Through a Tear: Stories)

    “Please pass the cranberry sauce,” Squanto asked in the direction of the head of the table.

    Governor Bradford and Captain Standish stared at each other. “Do what now?” Bradford asked Squanto.

    “Cranberry sauce,” Squanto reiterated. “Could you pass it please?”

    “Well, I could, if I knew what it was,” Bradford replied. “What-berry sauce is this?”

    “Cran. Cranberry sauce.” Squanto made sure to enunciate carefully.

    Bradford shrugged toward Captain Standish to show his opinion of such crazy talk. “Never heard of it. What’s it look like?”

    Squanto quickly rolled his eyes at Massasoit, sitting next to him. Ever the diplomat, he did not allow impatience with his hosts to be heard in his words. “Well, it’s red, or rather maroon-ish. And although it’s commonly referred to as sauce, it is oftentimes more of jelly, taking on the shape of the gourd it is packed in. Surely, you’ve seen it before.”

    Bradford shook his head. “And it’s made from a berry?”

    “The cranberry. Hence, cranberry sauce.”

    “Nope. Never heard of it,” Bradford assured him. “But it’s very interesting. We do appreciate berries around here. Hell, we practically lived off them for about a year. Tell us more of this wonderful fruit that has the power to make a gelatin into a sauce.”

    Since it was clear that he was not to have cranberry sauce with his dinner, Squanto would have been content to let the topic drop. But he prided himself upon being a gracious guest. “They’re little, red berries that grow in the wetlands. They’re super good for you, and they have just the right blend of tart and sweet in the taste.”

    Bradford nodded profusely as he leaned over toward Standish. “Are you buying any of this ‘magical berry’ nonsense?” he whispered into the captain’s ear.

    “Sounds a lot like that snipe they had us hunting all last winter,” Standish whispered back. “I’m sure he’s pulling your leg. Who invited these guys, anyway?”

    “They just sort of showed up,” Bradford whispered before turning his attention to his assistant, Mr. O’Shans, seated on the other side of himself. “Mr. O’Shans, pray have the turkey served,” he commanded. Then he smiled broadly at Squanto. “This cranberry sounds like a marvelous ingredient for sauce.”

    “The sauce is good, but the juice is better,” said Squanto.

    “Oh indeed,” bubbled the governor, exchanging a quick, knowing look with Standish, “there’s juice too! Do tell!”

    “Well,” Squanto began, as he served himself some turkey from the tray just now set down before him, “we like to blend it with other things to make juice cocktails.”

    “Splendid!” The governor clapped his hands together with glee while sharing a private wink with Standish. “I want to hear all about it!”

    “For instance,” Squanto explained, “one of the more popular drinks we make is cran-maize cocktail. Another one is cran-beetroot cocktail. There are a lot of really great combinations you can do. In fact, Massasoit here has been mixing some wonderful cran-cod concoctions lately.”

    “Wonderful! Wonderful!” the governor beamed at Squanto as he tapped his foot playfully against Standish’s shin under the table. He turned again to his assistant. “Mr. O’Shans, pray make a list of these wonderful elixirs so that we may reproduce them at our leisure.”

    While the governor was addressing his assistant, Squanto took the opportunity to have a bite of turkey. He struggled to hide a grimace. “This turkey is dry as a bone,” he whispered to Massasoit.

    “I can handle dry,” Massasoit whispered back, “but this bird is burnt crispy.”

    “Just keep smiling and try to choke down some squash,” Squanto advised. “We’ll pick a deer up on the way home.”

    A short time later Squanto announced that they had to run. Everyone shook hands and the groups separated, whereupon everybody felt more at ease. The governor addressed his assistant. “Mr. O’Shans, pray venture into the wetlands and collect a sample of this cranberry.”

    When the assistant had gone, Governor Bradford jiggled with mirth. “That ought to keep the little fool out of my business for a while,” he told Captain Standish. “He’ll be wandering around the woods for days, searching for this mythical cranberry. Meantime, I’ll be free to tweak the colony’s finances, if you know what I mean.”

    “What if he gets lost out there, with no sustenance?”

    The governor cupped his hands around his mouth as if he were calling after his long-gone assistant. “Mr. O’Shans, pray make yourself some cranberry juice cocktail! See how long that sustains you!” he giggled.

  6. Great entries! I am in awe that people can write such great stories with so few words!

  7. A FEAST WAS HAD BY NONE

    “Remind me again why I have to go with you to this obscene get-together?”

    Looking down at her rather pissed-off companion, Laura gave a slightly wry twist of her lips.

    “Because YOU were the one they really wanted to see. Me? I’m just your chauffeur.”

    Not even bothering to acknowledge the truth of this statement, Ms. Demeanor led the way through the nearby opening.

    She had to admit (even if only to herself) that having a feast held in her honor was a bit flattering.

    Well – a little bit, at least. Although, if she were to be completely honest about it, they should have given her a somewhat more elaborate ceremony.

    In her most humble opinion.

    Ah, well. As long as no one tried to force her to eat any of the cranberry sauce.

    Ghastly stuff, that. She shuddered, remembering the days when they’d forced the cranberry drops down her throat. Claiming that it was for her own good. When all she’d really needed was a few shots.

    Honestly – people could be so very stupid. Even Laura, sometimes.

    Entering the banquet hall, they were greeted with cheers and whistles. The noise level became so painful, that Ms. Demeanor reacted instinctively.

    Suddenly dashing ahead, the leash attached to her halter slipped through Laura’s fingers.

    Consternation ensued as the beautiful seal point Siamese leapt onto the table, somehow managing to land right into the punch bowl.

    It toppled as the cat continued on her headlong rush to escape the overly-noisy humans which surrounded her. Finally, she found her way to an unoccupied room – the door having been left slightly ajar. Darting about, she spotted a tall bookcase.

    “Purrrfect. Bluidy heck, there goes the accent again.”

    She chastised herself for the momentary slip, then dismissed it as she gathered herself for the tall leap.

    Luckily, this time she accomplished an absolutely flawless landing. Especially fortunate, seeing as how Laura had chased her through the crowd and was now standing before the bookcase.

    Hands on her hips, scowling at one of her best friends, she spoke.

    “Great…not five minutes after we get here, you ruined the cranberry-cherry punch. That was the only non-alcoholic beverage that they had ready. Well – other than the coffee. And the tea.

    But I can’t touch any of those because they’re probably not organic. And, almost certainly were not part of the Fair Trade market. You know how stingy these organizers can be. Not the least bit of conscience among them.”

    Ms. Demeanor had not deigned to follow any of Laura’s rambling diatribe, having – early on – heard the one word that she really didn’t want to hear tonight.

    “Cranberry punch??”

    “Well,” said Laura, “actually it’s Cranberry-cherry.”

    She stopped speaking, because the Siamese had leapt down from the bookcase, running toward the open patio door.

    “What on EARTH do you think that you’re doing, now?” she yelled at the fast-disappearing feline.

    Ms. Demeanor had noticed both the door, and the stone water fountain (Made into a likeness of Hermes. You really don’t need me to tell you where the water was flowing from…do you?) located nearby, but had not chosen to go outside, at first. God only knew what sort of creatures she might encounter out there.

    Leaping into the fountain, she shivered at the contact of the cold water on her sensitive fur. “Oh, well. It’s all in a good cause. No WAY was I going to lick the punch off my feet. Really – I think that this whole thing must have been a plot to get me to ingest more of that foul-tasting cranberry juice. And I do NOT have another UTI. I’d know it if I did!!”

    She noticed that Laura seemed to be taking her time about approaching her. As well she should!

    But, there was something rather strange about the expression on her face. She wasn’t even looking toward the cat, but instead was staring with a dawning wonder on her face at a point past the fountain. Ms. Demeanor turned to look, and found herself staring into the most penetrating set of pale blue eyes that she had ever seen.

    And that was saying something.

    The white wolf came forward slowly, not even bothering to glance at the Siamese now quickly exiting the impromptu bath.

    He and Laura only had eyes for each other, something which was beginning to greatly displease the feline in their midst.

    “I knew that you were nearby, but I never expected to see you here today…” Her words trailing off, Laura went quickly to the wolf. He, turned his head, giving a most-unbecoming smirk to the cat. Then turned back to Laura and said, “It’s time for you to come with me. I’ve waited long enough for you to settle things here.”

    Hearing that, Ms. Demeanor arched her back and hissed. Suddenly, all three were surrounded by an assortment of other animals. Leading the pack was Mrs. Tom.

    “Where’s my husband?!”

    Meanwhile, the humans, having finally found out where their guest of honor (and her human companion) had gotten to, watched the scene taking place in the garden with dropped jaws. And more than a few hastily placed wagers going on, as well.

    “Uh oh. This is NOT going to end well,” said one balding fellow. The sweat started pouring down his face, and he brought forth a handkerchief with which to mop his brow.

    Seeing as how the hotel (and everything in it) was his responsibility, Mr. Grappling moved forward.

    “Ms. Demeanor, may I request that you and Laura return to the banquet hall? I’m so sorry that the cranberry-cherry punch bowl was in your way as you left the room, by the way. We’ve cleaned up the mess, and there is plenty of fresh tea and coffee to be had for those guests who do not – shall we say – can to partake of any stronger libations.”

    Upon hearing this, Laura broke the gaze of her wolfish admirer, and turned to Mr. Grappling.

    “Is the coffee derived from Fair Trade beans?”

    “Please, rest assured, my hotel purchases only the finest coffee beans to be had. Now, can we all
    – well, some of us, at least – go back indoors?”

    A loud squawk was heard inside, and curiosity compelled the onlookers to follow the sounds.

    As they entered the banquet hall, a very large tom turkey (Mr. Henry Turkey Tom, in actuality) was racing from the direction of the kitchen. Following him was an extremely irate chef, and several minions.

    “Stop that turkey!!”

    Mr. Tom had gotten a fairly large lead, however – and might would have made it to safety, had he not slipped in some overlooked cranberry-cherry punch which was still on the floor.

    As the turkey hit the floor, his wife came up to him, crying. “It wasn’t me. I swear it. They paid the money to Adella. She was the one who gave you up to them.”

    Looking at his wife, he decided to not question her statement. After all, if she had taken the bounty, who could really have blamed her? He never had been a very good provider for her. Probably standing outside in the sun too long had fried his brains.

    “I believe you, dearest.”

    They were having a wonderfully tender reunion when the chef caught up with them.

    At this point, Laura decided that she had had more than enough of this entire ridiculous affair. Grabbing a nearby banana cream pie, she aimed it directly in the face of the chef. It landed smack dab in the middle of his face, just as he was about to strike a killing blow to Mr. Tom.

    Others soon joined in. Food flying everywhere, Ms. Demeanor was still able to spot Laura leaving with her white wolf.

    “Oh, well. I guess I’ll just have to find another human to train.”

    • I know that this is too long for the contest, Mistress. Frankly, I’d forgotten all about the contest until I noticed your mention of it on the Corner. This story just started tumbling out. Hope folks enjoy reading it. I definitely enjoyed writing it. 😀

    • LOL, Mary. It took me a minute to figure out who was the boss. Of course it was the cat!

    • I definitely enjoyed it, Mary, even if it was too long. I’m glad you let your muse flow. Always feel free to submit something even if it can’t count. I enjoy reading what people come up with!

  8. I know I have already submitted an entry but my daughter asked if she could submit one too. So here it is as written by my 10 year old daughter… the only edits I made were to correct the spelling.

    I should also add that we have a television program called “Master Chef” and “Junior Master Chef” which are very popular here in Australia.

    http://www.masterchef.com.au/home.htm

    Kira is a big fan of these shows which is why she really wanted to write a story about a dinner party. 🙂

    So without any further ado…

    “Where’s The Fish?” by Kira Zidar

    It was a fine day, I was preparing for the guests to come. I had a list of things I needed fish, butter, bread, plus cranberries, and loads of other ingredients, I was getting ready for a fine dining dinner party many things had to be done. I raced into the car and I was off to the local market. I walked quickly into the market to buy all the things I needed.

    When I was finished I had a shopping trolley and a shopping basket swaying side to side on my arm, full of ingredients, as I was driving home to prepare the cranberry sauce with dipping bread and a big roast for all the guests plus a beautiful cooked fish I realised I forgot the cranberries. The key ingredients for cranberry sauce but I had no time to go back and buy them.

    I was very flustered by the time I got home I had to prepare everything. I was trying to find another ingredient instead of cranberry but there was no use. Then I looked in the back of the cupboard I found a mysterious unlabelled jar it looked like cranberry sauce!!!! I decided to use it in my dinner.

    I still had heaps to do I was so busy I hadn’t noticed a cat jumped in from the kitchen window. I didn’t notice that the cat was there when I put the cloche on top of the fish cat while it was eating the fish! What a disaster.

    When cars started turning up I still had to put out the “cranberry sauce” and put out all the food so I rushed around the house to put everything in its place. When I picked up the fish cloche it was surprisingly heavy but I had no time to see why. I carefully put it on the big dining table when there was a knock on the door. I walked across the room to the front door thinking to myself my cranberry sauce should be alright. I let my guests in. I was really excited they stared to talk each other.

    When everyone arrived they started to eat the food I was so happy that I finally hosted a dinner party. Other times it was a big failure, and everyone left.

    When everyone gathered around the dinner table, it fell quiet as I took of the lids off all the cloches. When I took the cloche off the fish, all that was left was the fish bones, it looked very uninviting everyone started staring at me. The cat had eaten all of the fish and it was lying there looking quite satisfied.

    An unexpected guest!

    But my disastrous party went on.

    I plated up the roast and I put a tablespoon of the cranberry sauce on the plates hoping that everything will be alright. I sat down and everyone started eating a few seconds later I saw everyone reaching for their glasses. What was happening?

    Then I thought maybe it was the cranberry sauce!

    So I decided to try the sauce hoping it was just them. IT BLEW MY HEAD OFF!! It was so spicy the dinner was ruined!! What will I do? When my guest where able to talk some wanted to go to the hospital but some just wanted to get home

    Couple of minutes later I was left to clean the house.

    What a messed up party!!

    575 Words

  9. Strange White Meat By Edwin Stark, author of “Cuentos”

    Charlie Miller was pretty excited tonight. His girlfriend, Lorena Dumont had invited him for Thanksgiving dinner in her parent’s house, and he was eagerly looking towards it. Especially since she told him that her mom’s forte was cranberry sauce. Charlie’s weakness since he was a kid was cranberry sauce; he could literally eat anything, as long as it was slathered with that delightful sweet-sour stuff. Curiously, this was the main reason over which he felt attracted to Lorena, when he first saw her at the Cranberry Nightclub, the one that was located in Nosfort’s Main Street. She looked really pale then and her lips were the color of a rich cranberry sauce, and sometimes, when she pouted, they certainly resembled the fruit. Later, he found out that was their natural coloration; she didn’t need to use lipstick to achieve that look. Tonight, she was going to introduce him to her parents.
    “Come along, Chuck!” she said playfully as she pulled his arm. They were walking toward the front porch of the Dumont’s residence, and he was glad to realize that the smell of thick cranberry sauce was pervading the entire air around it. Charlie felt his stomach grumble in eager anticipation.
    Oddly, Lorena rang to the bell. After a short while the main door opened and a tall, gaunt looking showed up. Lorena practically jumped into the older man’s arm.
    “Daddy” she cried. Then, she turned towards Charlie and introduced him to her dad. He was also very pale, and shared with his daughter the same curious cranberry-colored lips.
    Nevertheless, there was an odd burnt odor underlying the tasty cranberry sauce smell. Charlie heard a disgusted female shout coming from beyond the living hall, and he worriedly looked into that direction.
    “Never mind, Charlie,” Lorena’s dad reassured him. “Nothing to worry about; it’s just that the missus was temporarily woolgathering, and the mailman burned a little while in the oven. Dinner is almost ready, anyhow.”
    Mailman? thought Charlie, a little nonplused. Did he her right? He merely nodded dumbly, while smiling.
    Lorena’s dad led them to the dining room, and there he introduced Charlie to a rebellious looking, teenaged kids; this boy also had the same cranberry-like lips, and the same odd paleness. He was staring back, quite intently, at Charles.
    “Charlie, do you mind to sit next to Donny?” Lorena’s dad asked. Charlie didn’t mind.
    The door that led to the kitchen swung open, and the rich smell of cranberry sauce wafted in. A stout looking but pale woman walked in, carrying an enormous lidded tray.
    “Uh-hello, there,” the middle-aged woman said, a bit startled by Charlie’s presence. He was promptly introduced to Lorena’s mom. She walked towards the enormous dining table, and placed the serving tray upon it. Man, it was huge!
    “I’m a bit ashamed, Charlie… I was on the phone; cousin Fred and the rest of the family are stuck with a flat tire in the Pinewood Mall…” the woman said, softly placing her right hand on Charlie’s shoulder as she led him to his seat. “And I got so distracted by the call that the food in the oven got a bit burned. I hope you don’t mind your mailman a little crisp around the edges.” Again, that disturbingly misplaced word.
    The matron turned towards her husband. “Fred said we can start without him, as long as we keep for him some brains and the right tight.” Her husband nodded in assent.
    The woman slowly removed the big lid from the serving tray, and the sweet sour-sweet smell of cranberry sauce filled the dining room. Charlie’s eyes nearly popped out from their sockets when he finally saw what emerged from beneath that lid.
    Hot and steaming, there was the cooked torso of a man. Charlie immediately recognized him as Frank Vasquez, the mailman who had so mysteriously disappeared a few days ago.
    Noting Charlie’s troubled looks, Mrs. Dumont said, “Didn’t Lorie tell you that we’re ghouls?” She turned to her daughter, frowning. “Naughty girl, Lorie!” She was cutting a big chunk from Frank’s upper arm and serving it in a china dish with a generous dose of cranberry sauce. Charlie looked around and realized that everyone was looking at him with eager expectation.
    Well, he liked Lorena a lot… and this was going to eventually be his family… so he just shrugged and started to dig in with hearty appetite.
    It was covered with cranberry sauce, after all.

    Word Count: 744

  10. […] a final reminder, the November writing contest period for submitting entries will be ending Tuesday night.  If you were considering joining in on […]

  11. Cranberry Coup
    By J.E. Lowder (Tears of Min Brock) 729 words

    Revolution paves the road with blood.
    Or in the case of my family’s Thanksgiving dinner, it was drizzled with cranberry juice.

    I was home from college, and like most forward thinking young scholars, I had come to the following conclusions:
    1) My family is phony.
    2) I must have been adopted.

    We celebrate Thanksgiving with much tradition, pomp, and flare. Lavishly prepared dishes are set upon a tablecloth of white, plastic smiles are extended to relatives one detests, and false promises to join the gym arise while devouring mountainous calories. Maybe it was my travels to impoverished regions, or maybe it was the fact that my family is pretentious, but whatever the reason, I vowed to instigate a Cranberry Coup for authenticity!

    Now don’t panic, I wasn’t about to grab a turkey leg and clobber Uncle Stu, although he deserves it for teasing me about my earring and calling me gay, which I’m not. Nor will I shove mashed potatoes down my sister’s throat when she bemoans her country club lifestyle. And I most certainly won’t cram cranberries into Aunt Edna’s orifices when she unleashes her cackle, which is aroused by one-to-many glasses of chardonnay. What I needed was to create a moment that would draw them into a revolution of change.

    Gathering at the long table, we went to our seats. Although not assigned, we each knew where to sit, and more importantly, where NOT to sit, for there was indeed a seating order that could never be breached. I considered sitting in another spot, using this to press out the cranberry juice of revolt, but I knew this would not bring about genuine uprising and could be squashed with a flippant wave of the hand. No, I needed to wait; I needed their full cooperation in my coup d’état.

    Upon sitting, Mother brought in the turkey. Steam whisked off the golden bird and a collective “Ahhh!” rose from the group. Except for me. I was steadying my nerves, waiting for the perfect moment to launch my attack.

    Dad tapped reverently upon his crystal wine goblet, the pings announcing his traditional Thanksgiving speech. And before the bell-like tings faded, I launched up from my seat.

    “Posers!” I boldly declared. “Everyone is as phony as the cranberry sauce!”

    Shocked by my outburst, all eyes stared at Aunt Edna’s wiggling concoction. Surrounded by the opulent display of silver, china and succulent dishes, the blob of red was truly out of its league, displaying its can lines like a trailer tramp would stretch marks.

    Mother righted her shoulders in a genteel manner and was no doubt preparing a rebuttal. But before she could open her mouth, Uncle Stu muttered, “Little queer!”

    Dad’s face turned cranberry red. His brow furrowed then relaxed; eyes sharpened then became placid. I feared my revolution would die beneath his resolve to maintain social etiquette.

    And then victory! Years of suppressed emotions for Uncle Stu spewed out of my father. Vulgarities and gestures he hadn’t used since college were revived with gusto. Uncle Stu returned fire, spraying expletives like machine gun fire, declaring Dad was the reason America was in decline.

    Mother tried comforting Aunt Edna, but my retort about her cranberry sauce had sobered her up. She began listing Mom’s failures over the years, equating these to my liberalism and obvious “gender confusion.” Mother’s smile faded and her head turned like the turret of a tank. Unleashing a volley of pure fury, she declared she too would be a drunk if married to a tyrant like Stu. My sister, who hated confrontation, donned her country club smile as her head nodded this way and that, following the war of accusations, curses, and threats.

    Suddenly, Mom shouted above the din, “You call THIS cranberry sauce?” She held the plate up for all to behold and for a moment, there was a truce. And then, with eyes blazing mad, she declared, “This looks more like your cellulite!”

    With that, she launched the shimmering gelatin at Auntie. But Mother was never one for athleticism, so I watched the crimson orb soar past my ear and splatter on our wallpaper. Juice dripped like blood upon the chair rail, christening it with my Cranberry Coup.

    And as they continued to fight, I quietly sat and wiped some of the juice off with my finger. Cranberry sauce had never tasted so good!

  12. […] 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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