Not much time tonight folks, so we’re gonna get right to the results…

MATCH A

1 – Erik Dikken

0101010001101000011011110111001101100101001000000110100101100
1000110100101101111011101000111001100100000011100110111010001
1010010110110001101100001000000111010001101000011010010110111
0011010110010000001110100011010000110000101110100001000000111
0100011010000110010101111001001000000110001101101111011011100
1110100011100100110111101101100001000000111010101110011001011
1000100000010011110110111001101100011110010010000001101110011
0100101101110011001010111010001100101011001010110111000100000
0110110101101111011100100110010100100000011001000110000101111
0010111001100100000011101010110111001110100011010010110110000
1000000111011101100101001000000111010001100001011010110110010
1001000000110111101110110011001010111001000101110001011100010
1110

 

2 – David Larson

“Hey!  Which way is the courthouse?”

Pedro looked up and saw the suited man, but Carson answered, “Pedro doesn’t speak English.  Courthouse is three blocks that way.”

“Stupid spic!” the suit uttered as he walked away.

“He understands it though,” Carson mumbled, giving Pedro the universal sign for “jerk off”, to which Pedro signed back, “big time jerk off.”

 

MATTHEW: I’m feelin’ ya, Pedro. Stupid privileged suit and his subtle, vulgar racism. It’s a nifty little story, but oh man. Story 2, you had the misfortune of being paired against Story 1, which is clever in the right ways. Not just a gimmick, a nice little piece of tidy science fiction. Well done. WINNER: #1

ANDY: Very clever, #2. A great concept and it’s executed pretty well. However… INSTANT WIN for #1. Don’t know if this was done for my benefit, as I’ve already admitted my computer-nerdness, but I totally dig it. And yes, I speak ASCII very well, thank you.

Novak – There’s just far too many typos for me to consider #1 seriously, but I love what they’re going for here.  Seriously though, no typos, I know… I wondered if I’d be having to use translators a lot.  Didn’t anticipate this one.  #2 is a solid exchange – very realistic, and I like the approach on difference between speaking/hearing.  I wish there were a little more at stake in the story though.  Ultimately, though solid, #2 can’t compete with #1’s big risk taking.  #1 wins.

WINNER: Erik Dikken

 

MATCH B

1 – Will Young

After years studying and preparing for brief moments of incredible importance, Rupprecht had sprung into action today.  Thankfully, he had performed ably.  Now, his tired muscles quivered as he found a spot by the fire to warm himself.

Brother Jerome began patted his neck.  “Guter Hund,” Jerome said, “Der Reisende gestorben wäre, wenn du nicht da warst haben.”

 

2 – Erik S

Non-Submit

 

MATTHEW: Nice little twist there, Story 1, and I would have liked to see how you’d match up against a submission. WINNER: #1

ANDY: No need for a lengthy discussion here, but I actually enjoyed your story very much, #1, and I’m sure it would have won against many others here tonight.

Novak – Obviously #1 wins, but I enjoyed the story here too, and this would have been tough to beat.  A not-too-wide-open-but-not-too-narrow account of the events.  Good job.

WINNER: Will Young

 

MATCH C 

1 – Dean Carlson

After fruitlessly crisscrossing the city streets for 20 minutes and listening to his wife harangue him with “just ask for directions already,” Steve finally swallowed his pride, stopped the car and sought out a local who knew where they were.  “Goddamn fucking mime!” muttered Steve as he piled back in the car.  “Let’s just drive, I’ll find it.”

 

2 – Christina Pepper

“Tirez! Tirez!” yelled Grandfather.

“What’s he saying?”

“He’s not talking to us,” my grandmother whispered.

“But there’s no one else here.”

“He think he’s back in France during the war.”

I reached for his hand but he jerked it away.

“Attention aux espions!”

“We need to sing,” said Grandma. “It’s the only thing that helps him now.”

 

MATTHEW: I liked both of these. The mime humor made me laugh, but the situation the characters in Story 2 found themselves in struck a deeper chord with me. It’s an effectively distressing take, and the final line drives the family’s circumstances home. Well done. WINNER: #2

ANDY: I liked both. I have slight quibbles with both. I liked the concept of #2, and the emotion is sincere. I actually feel like I need a little more imagery or style to really pull me in. #1 begins with a sentence that maybe stretched a bit too long. But I was definitely right there with you for the punchline, which I really liked. Winner: #2.

Novak – I don’t laugh out loud a lot when I’m reading, but I did for #1.  It’s hard to suggest much, given that the desired effect was achieved, but I’d think maybe if we’d have seen him trying to talk to the mime or something, it might have been punched up a little more.  #2 is a really interesting story.  It certainly hits an emotional cord.  I feel like the pacing take away a little something from the effect – just a little too dry.  There’s still enough there for #2 to win my “Close Call” of the week though.

WINNER: Christina Pepper

 

MATCH D

1 – Pete Bruzek

Twenty coins was a low bribe. Kirlia would have been suspicious, but she knew how Arnaldo treated his servants.

Arnaldo was where Kirlia knew he would be. He spotted her and froze. Kirlia opened her mouth to show the lost tongue, removed for a minor offense since forgotten. She drew her blade as Arnaldo’s face contorted in horrified recognition.

 

2 – Beau

Mandi gave it her best, moaning and writhing at the appropriate moments.  She was nervous.  It was her first porn scene, and without a good performance in Sweden, she’d never make big money in L.A.  Her partner was a veteran, but she took the lead.  “Talk dirty to me!” Mandi panted.

“Yorn desh born de umn bork! bork! bork!”

 

MATTHEW: Oh man, story 2. Nice little set-up there. I didn’t see any of it coming, no pun intended. Story 1 had some interesting tension and a nice interpretation of the concept of not “speaking” English. There’s a lot there that went unstated, and that felt a little problematic to me. I wasn’t blown away by either story, but #1 had more interesting stuff going for it. WINNER: #1

ANDY: Nice job, you two. I really enjoyed both. This is going to be another tough one. I mean really, how do compare drama and comedy. I was going to give the win to #1, who really painted a nice scene and gave us a neat, compact story. But I can’t stop laughing at the Swedish Chef in a porno. Sorry. Winner: #2.

Novak – #1 is colorful, great word choices, and a really captivating idea.  That said, I feel like things are all out of order, and somehow the plot doesn’t develop in the right way.  I think those middle two sentences throw things out of whack somehow… and is the bribe to help her find him?  It’s close, but no cigar.  #2 got me laughing pretty  Playing to me with the Muppets there… I even read it out loud to my wife (who can resist a chance to do the Swedish Chef voice?).  It’s solid comedy.  #2 wins.

WINNER: Beau

 

MATCH E

1 – Ian Pratt

Non-Submit

 

2 – Kelly Wells

After six excruciating weeks, Ben returned home with a personalized letter.

Mrs. Davis,

Thank you for entrusting your toddler to the Forsythe Accelerated Speech Institute.  Unfortunately, due to a paperwork snafu, Ben – 

“Մայրիկ, ես կարող եմ խոսել. Չեք հպարտ?” Ben interrupted.

was instructed in Armenian.  We have refunded 10% of the cost of your enrollment.

Cheers,

Jeremiah Forsythe

 

MATTHEW: Ha! Nice little story there, #2. Probably would have won if up against a submission too. WINNER: #2

ANDY: Funny. I translated it. I chuckled. Well done. And you win!!

Novak – Oh wow, another really funny entry.  You guys are hitting some strong humor cords this week.  #2 is a winner, and would have been anyway.

WINNER: Kelly Wells

 

MATCH F

1 – AMR

Non-Submit

 

2 – Eric Schapp

I slowly asked Geoff the next question from the script, “How would you rate your car insurance company?”

“Ich habe Käse in meine Lederhosen.” It was said with a sneer, so I tore open my copy of German Slang for Technically Proficient Speakers looking for any clues to what it means.

He couldn’t have cheese in his pants?

“Sheisse…”

 

MATTHEW: I have to agree with the fellow in story 2. Pants are not the right place to store dairy. WINNER: #2.

ANDY: I really don’t get it, #2, sorry. I’m slow tonight I guess. You can explain it to me in the comments as you celebrate your victory!

Novak – #2 wins, obviously, but I’m thinking about making this my “Close Call”… just to be a jerk, really.

WINNER: Eric Schapp

 

MATCH G

1 – Colin Woolston

“You pay now. Fifteen dollar”

“No. You don’t – that’s my-”

“YOU PAY!”

“No. I don’t-”

“YES YOU PAY NOW. FIFTEEN DOLLAR SUCKY!”

“NO! That’s my-”

“Pay or leave!”

The men lounging about began to surround the doorway menacingly. Matt had nowhere to go. The old woman leaned in.

“You pay.”

“No. I no pay. We go. That my mom.”

 

2 – Sarah Johnson

I called the dentist to my desk.

“Dr. Moreno? A woman says her husband’s teeth are green and… burning. I can barely understand her. They’re swollen, too. It sounds serious.”

“Please hand me the headset.”

They spoke in rapid Spanish.

“Cathy, please transfer her to medical. Her husband doesn’t have a toothache – he has gonorrhea. Let them handle it.”

 

MATTHEW: Oh man. Both these stories are more than a little unsettling. I think I give the edge to Story 1, which treads the unsavory line a bit more fruitfully than Story 2, although green and burning teeth does sound scary as hell. WINNER: #1

ANDY: Both went for the humor and succeeded. This is going to come down to my personal preference, I’m afraid. I enjoyed #1 a bit better, so that’s my winner.

Novak – #1 confuses me a little.  There’s too much of the “saying something but doesn’t understand” bit, but it’s not entirely clear to me who is saying what, etc.  Then we get to the end and there’s the reveal, but we don’t have any identifiers to these characters before that, which made the whole experience a little uneven.  #2 is pretty darn funny.  I can definitely see someone accidentally making their way to a dentist’s office seeking a different professional (either medical or marital) in such a situation.  Good clear plot, a tight story.  #2 wins.

WINNER: Colin Woolston

 

MATCH H

1 – Zack Sauvageau

Aazar went to grab the yellow canister peeking out of the brush. “Alemwad alegheda’eyh!”

Squad B were sent to investigate the explosion. They found a local boy crawling towards them. He cried out “sa’edeny, sa’edeny!”

Doyle raised his rifle, “What’s he saying? I don’t speak no A-rab!”

He calmly squeezed the trigger.

“Heh, don’t matter now. Insurgent down!”

 

2 – Melissa D

The cat climbed into the litter box, looked both ways.  No one coming.  All going according to plan.  She sniffed, closed her eyes, and pawed at the litter.  Scratch.  Scratch.  Scratch.

POOF!

She opened her eyes.

Success!

A different box.  A different house.

After a purr of triumph, she said, “Meow.”

The litter box transport system was a go.

 

MATTHEW: The idea behind Story 2 has some nice potential to it, but it’s not a simple one to get across in a super-short story like this. You’ve got the disadvantage of a lack of language, and the third-person narration necessitated some exposition that I’d rather was shown-not-told. But that’s the limits of a 59 word story, I guess. Story 1, meanwhile, was just vicious and taut, very well crafted. In a week of mostly light-hearted entries, this one stood out. WINNER: #1

ANDY: Thanks for that, #1. We can all have a nice, warm fuzzy to end on. Wait, what’s this? Litter box transport system? Oh, I feel much better now, thank you. I really want to like yours, #2. It’s an original idea, but… I’m going to sound really stupid saying this… the cat needs more character. We basically only get short descriptions of her actions. I need more. #1, I feel like you went a little too far with the shock value, it feels a little forced. But, it’s written well enough to be my winner tonight. Congrats.

Novak – I figured we’d get some animal stories.  I did NOT figure we’d get a sci-fi animal story.  Well done #2.  I really wish I could give it the win.  #1 though, hits on a really strong emotional note.  It’s a scene we’ve all seen before, but it’s got quite the push and it’s written really well here.  I wish I didn’t have to give it the win.  Wait.  I’m the judge.  I don’t.  And for as expertly done as these two were – they’re probably my two favorites – #2 is just so inventive, and, like I said, we’ve all seen #1 before.  So #2 wins for me.

WINNER: Zack Sauvageau

Lots of funny stuff here this week, and a few pretty nicely done serious entries as well. We’re getting down to the wire now, folks, with just three regular season matchups remaining. So plan your abduction of best selling authors carefully! For next time, your assignment is to write a story that in some way involves firing a gun. You all are clever and talented enough to know how much room for interpretation there is in that requirement, so I’m looking forward to seeing where you take it. Good luck, y’all.

MATCHUPS:

Beau vs. Erik S

Pete Bruzek vs. Sarah Johnson

DPWY vs. Kelly Wells

Colin Woolston vs. Eric Schapp

Ian Pratt vs. Christina Pepper

AMR vs. Melissa D

Dean Carlson vs David Larson

Zack Sauvageau vs Erik Dikken