Have you been biting your nails in anticipation of this post?
We received some great entries for our one-year blogiversary contest.
As a reminder, second place wins ebook copies of Devil on a Sparrow's Wing by Calista Taylor and The Watchtower by Darke Conteur. First place wins print copies of Sophie Perinot's The Sister Queens and Spring Fevers anthology edited by Matt Sinclair. All winners will also receive a special bonus prize (more info at the end of the post).
I won't torture you by drawing out the tension longer than the last pause on the American Idol finale, so let's get to it. (Any typos or minor errors in each submission have been edited. You're welcome. :-))
We had a tie for second place, so you both win! Congratulations to Martina Cote-Kunz and Ty Unglebower. Let's take a look at their flash.
Disturbed, by Martina Cote-Kunz
She sat in the park, novel in hand, enjoying the solitude. The
twittering of the birds did not disturb her. The rippling of the creek
meandering by did not disturb her. So caught up in the words on the
pages, that not even the occasional screech from a nearby playground
could break her concentration or cause her to tear her eyes from the
words she loved. She licked her finger, readied to turn the page, when a
sudden ‘shuff clomp, shuff clomp’ caused her head shoot up.
A man, dressed as though he belonged to the group of guys doing
construction on the other side of the park, the crew she’d made sure she
was far away from, shuffled toward the only bench beside the creek –
the one beside the seat she currently occupied. She frowned, hoping
he’d realize that he was annoying her. But, he smiled, tipped his head
in her direction and walked past her to sit down a few feet away. He
was quite good looking, she realized. And, he looked strong as an ox.
She slipped her sunglasses on and tilted her head at the perfect angle
to watch him without him seeing her.
He took the newspaper he had tucked under his arm – a well toned and
tanned arm, she admitted – and to her surprise, hidden inside the folds
was a copy of Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities. All thoughts of his
perfectly chiseled face instantly dissolved. This man had a mind! He
must have to be reading such a glorious book. It was one of her
personal favorites. She longed to discuss it with him, but the nerd in
her was shy – much too shy to talk to this god who reminded her of
Alcide from True Blood. She was entirely shocked when she heard his
voice speaking to her first.
“What are you reading?”
She held up her worn copy of Jane Eyre to show him.
“One of my favorites,” he replied.
“Mine, too,” she answered back. She nodded toward his book. “That one, too. I love it.”
“It’s my first time reading it,” he acknowledged. And then continued,
“I’m sorry if I bugged you by coming over here. But, the guys.. well
you know. They’d bust my chops if they caught me reading a book without
pictures of…. Well, you know,” he repeated himself.
She laughed. “I understand. I don’t mind,” she lied. Well, it was a lie up until about thirty seconds ago.
He nodded and began to read, an easy silence falling between them. The
beeping of his watch roused them both from the stories they read and he
“Time for me to get back to work. Maybe I’ll see you again?”
“I’d like that.”
He wrapped his book back in the paper and shuffled away again. This
time she was free to look at his especially callipygian backside. “Good
indeed,” she whispered before becoming lost in the words once again.
He'd learned from his days on a film crew how to negotiate his
surroundings and insinuate himself into virtually any space without
being obtrusive, or even so much as detected. He knew just how useful
this set of skills would become as soon as he'd read the article in the
"'It’s a little embarrassing, but I always write
completely in the nude,' the statuesque 24 year old author confessed
with a giggle. 'I just can't concentrate wearing clothes.'
Now that she has completed her move into the old Belmar
Mansion, Miss Walsh can finally put that concentration to use again,
writing her highly anticipated third novel."
Every night for two weeks he had observed Stacy Walsh's routine. From
down the street at first. Then across from it. The last two afternoons,
from her back yard. He memorized her movements down to the minute she
began writing. (When she pulled the curtains in her study shut at 3:00
At 2:15 he entered the Walsh home by jimmying a basement window open. He
glided up the stairs into the house, and up to the second floor to her
There were boxes of stationery up to the ceiling. After a few easy
contortions he situated himself and his cell phone at such an angle that
he had a clear shot of her writing desk through a slat in the closet
When he heard the front door open, he knew it was ten minutes to 3:00.
That was when she had always come back from lunch. He pressed record,
Walsh sauntered into the room and into his frame, and walked over to the
window opposite where he lie, to pull the curtains shut. The author
then pulled off her t-shirt and tossed it to the floor. No brassiere.
Next she wriggled her way out of a set of blue jeans two sizes too small
for her. After some struggle, her callipygian form, unencumbered by
panties, oozed out of her Levi's, which dropped to her ankles. She
stepped out of them and crossed to the writing desk.
For half an hour his only movement was blinking. Yet he even tried not
to do that, unwilling for even an instant to tear himself away from the
bouncing, naked form of the sexy young author as she pecked away without
pause at the keys on her laptop.
His shoulder had only just started to cramp, when she rose and walked
out of the room with a sigh. This, he knew, was when she took her
Once he heard the water come on, he opened the closet slowly, and
extricated himself from the boxes. Rushing to the laptop, he punched a
key to wake it from sleep mode.
Blood left his hands, as upon scrolling down he realized she had typed
the same sentence over and over again for ten solid pages.
"I know you're in here."
He heard the cocking of a pistol behind him.
First place - Joan Cusick
The copy desk chief knew, without having to glance from his first-edition paper, as soon as the shapely intern walked into the newsroom. Suddenly, the night crew wasn't the least bit interested in writing anything -- a headline, a cutline, or even the great American novel. Their brains had downshifted into a much lower gear.
Then the muttering started.
"Legs all the way up to her ass."
"Look at that, will ya? It's down-right..."
The veteran editor couldn't resist. "Callipygian," he growled.
"Say what, chief?"
"Callipygian." His voice sounded like smoke and scotch -- two
longstanding newsroom essentials. "I've got a twenty for the first
person to use that word in a headline."
"Come on, chief. That's a fifty-dollar word if I ever heard one."
The chief refolded his first edition and looked up at the young editor. "You've got the right angle, kid. But my finances aren't nearly as plump and well-rounded as my ass."
Congratulations again to our winners, Joan, Ty, and Martina! As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, in addition to the listed prizes, each of you will also be getting a bonus prize: a copy of Pete Morin's Diary of a Small Fish, in your choice of ebook or paperback. We'll be in touch with you this weekend to work out the logistics of delivery.
Thanks to all who submitted. We hope you had as much fun writing your flash fiction as we had reading it. Last but not least, a huge thank you to ALL of you - all of our readers and supporters who have helped us come this far in our first year. We hope you'll stick around and continue reading.
As always, we welcome your feedback and questions/suggestions for posts you'd like to see in the future, so don't hesitate to email us. We're happy to give you the write angle on all things writing and publishing related.