Even Yet Still More Contest Entries

Will this madness ever end? Um… yeah, it will. On Friday. But today? More of your creative writing. And for those of you who missed it earlier, here’s yet another re-post from the vast (ie: sometime in the past three months) archives of noveldoctor.com, a handy little guide to What Your Editor Is Thinking.

And now, your stories.

Here’s PJ’s second entry (yes, I told her it was okay to submit two):

Somewhere between roof and the pavement, Sam remembered where he’d left his wallet.  When the elevator reached the bottom, Sam urgently jammed in his security card and pushed the button for the penthouse.  As the elevator went back up, he took a mental inventory.

In the gym bag that he carried was $20,000 in cash.  In his pocket were Cubano cigars – a token of appreciation for The Man; he had a feeling they might meet again.  Sam had done projects like this before and this was a record – three months from start to finish.  The final installment necessary to keep The Man on board was happening today.  Sam was anxious to get this deal finished and enjoy the fruits of his labors.  His lovely Sylvia and a bottle of cognac would be waiting for him this evening.

As the elevator doors opened, Sam walked through the living room, past the floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over the Hudson River and into the bathroom where he plucked his wallet from the counter.  As he returned to the waiting elevator and pushed the button, Sam slid the wallet into his back pocket. The elevator descended once again.

Forgetting his wallet would have been a deal-breaker.  It held the membership cards for the gym which were, inexplicably, critical incentives for The Man.  They had been the most difficult to arrange because of the potential for an incriminating paper trail.

Sam knew Vincent would be pleased with his work.  Vincent was short on details, but Sam knew two things for sure – his money was green and he was generous with benefits like the keys to his luxurious penthouse.  Sam also knew Vincent had something to do with the developer planning the project in the northwest section of town – 2,000 apartment units with retail space.

It was an easy job – partly because of The Man himself and partly because Sam’s competition was so inconsequential:  citizens circulating petitions, sending letters to the editor, talking to the press.  Plus, their issues were trivial – congestion, flooding and overcrowded schools didn’t matter to Sam.

As the elevator doors swept open, Sam strode across the lobby and through the outside door.  There was an elderly woman waiting to come in through the door – her arms full of grocery bags.  Sam glanced at the woman and kept walking, letting the door fall closed as the woman’s face reddened with indignation.  She yelled after him, “You can’t even hold the door open for a lady?  Men like you are monsters!  Monsters!”

Josh Poirier used the same first and last lines and came up with this story:

Somewhere between the roof and the pavement, Sam remembered where he’d left his wallet.  As he tumbled head over heels for what seemed an eternity his mind raced back to the reason he was in this predicament.

The day started like any other, he woke up, showered, shaved, ate a quick breakfast, kissed his wife, hugged his two sons, who giggled mischievously, and hurried off to work, a bit late, which was his normal routine.  It was the commute to work where his troubles began. Speeding down the freeway, he didn’t notice the state trooper until it pulled up behind him and with sirens blaring and lights flashing dizzily, motioned for him to pull over.  He complied with the request and turned the wheel slightly to begin moving to the shoulder, stopping on the overpass.

He opened the glove compartment door and pulled out his registration, ignoring the cold-steel pistol that lay beside it.  Reaching in his pocket he was surprised to not find his wallet sitting comfortably in its normal location.  He began searching frantically through the cabin of the car.  It was nowhere to be found.  He then thought about the two kilos of cocaine hidden in the backseat and realized that without his license the car was probably going to be searched.  He couldn’t afford to go to jail.  So he opened the car door and ran.

He paid no attention to the shouts behind him to stop as he vaulted over the guard rail and landed on the rooftop of one of the buildings situated under the overpass.  He knew that he must have looked guilty now and began jumping from rooftop to rooftop to escape.  He looked back to see if he was being followed and slipped off the edge and fell.

In the brief moments of clarity that is sometimes afforded while hurtling towards waiting, certain death.  Sam thought about where his wallet could be and remembered he had left it on the kitchen table.  A brief flash reminded him that through the window as he left his two sons seemed to be dividing money, probably stolen from his wallet.  His sons were growing up to be just like their old man.

He muttered under his breath, just before his head met his feet, “Those….Little….Monsters….”

Here’s Erika Frank’s story:

The sun didn’t rise on Thursday. The roar of the thunder and the bright lightning radiated off the cliffs outside. The jagged light washed over the walls of Diana’s bedroom, jarring her out of a deep sleep. She glanced at the dim red glow of her clock, which read 6:02 AM. She would have preferred to have slept in.

She wouldn’t be going into her office today. That was already planned. Not that she had to clear her schedule or anything. She’d been losing a steady stream of clients with each pound she put on. Not many people wanted to work with a chunky nutritionist.

She didn’t want to get out bed just yet, but she needed to use the bathroom. She gently pulled her feet up from the covers, trying not to disturb the pile of Persian kitty at the base of her bed. “Felicity will be just fine. She has at least two weeks worth of food and water in her jumbo sized feeders.”

The floor creaked with each step to the bathroom. A noisy reminder of the coastal dampness rotting anything made of wood. The night-light glowed with blue intensity making her reflection in the mirror even paler than normal. Very ethereal and ghost like. She stopped and stared. She liked her reflection like this. It was even better than being lit by candlelight. No lines showed around her eyes and no gray at her temples. Yes, this was a good picture to hold on to in her mind.

Into the kitchen she shuffled, keeping the lights off. She was enjoying the darkness and all the shadows of her house. She gathered a package of Oreo’s off the counter and the sapphire blue bottle of gin and headed back to her room. As she crawled back into bed she hit the play button on the controls. There is no way of truly knowing how many times she watched Titanic. It has lived in the dvd player since her divorce two years ago. This movie and anything Nabisco have been her companions since that nightmare. She hugged her bag of cookies to her chest and watched. She took an occasional drink from her blue bottle on the bedside table. There was also another bottle. A brown prescription bottle on the bedside table. The bottle was empty.

And the last of today’s entries (which uses all three last lines) is from Ellen Shahan:

The sun didn’t rise on Thursday. For Holly Graves, it didn’t rise on Friday or Saturday either. It wasn’t till Sunday that the young woman was able to drag her lumbering bones out of bed and part the shades that had so kindly cocooned her in darkness. She was thirsty and the taste in her mouth simply had to be addressed.

In the uncharitable light of the bathroom, Holly squinted at herself in the mirror — the makeup she hadn’t removed, the hair that might have made a proper nest for swallows. It took effort just to squeeze toothpaste out of the tube. Pressing the toothbrush to her teeth, she caught sight of her red fingernails, so recently done — a fresh affront, incongruous, the color of blood. Yet there was no blood. There was only ash. What came after.

She’d thought she could brave the world for an hour or two, maybe order in a pizza and some lemonade — she was so thirsty — but now she was unsure. Perhaps she’d overshot the mark, given herself more to do than could be managed. Maybe what she really wanted was to sink back into sleep, another long, dreamless sleep that blotted out all thought, all hope, all memory or yearning. A sleep borne of lovely pink pills, as harmless, as gentle, as roses bereft of thorns. She liked them ever so much better than the blue ones a friend had given her. The blue ones were monsters with prickly spines and a devilish afterlife.

Holly poured herself a glass of water.  Only minutes into the day, and already she was done with it. She went to her bedside for more of the balm that would ease her suffering, but the lovely pink darlings had vanished. She’d taken them all. The bottle was empty.

She chose the blue ones after all.

Monsters.

Tomorrow? Yup. A few more. And then the last ones on Friday (including mine, as promised).

Thanks for visiting. (And thanks again to all the folks who took the time to enter the contest.)

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