Hello Prosers. As I already mentioned, a strong week for you guys thanks to my open-ended ambiguous prompt. Except for the five of you who non-subbed.

Ian Pratt

“You guys hear that?” asked Benjamin. There was a dull whine coming from somewhere above.

Paul craned his neck to the sky, then jolted upright and scrambled inside. He came out a moment later with binoculars.

“Eh, just a surveillance UAV,” he shrugged. The rest of them, Benjamin, Scotty, and Dirk, the whole gang, sitting on Paul’s mom’s Evanston porch planning Scotty’s birthday party at Six Flags the next weekend, squinted up at a little black smudge.

“Wait, I think those are Hellfires!” Paul said excitedly. “That’s a Reaper!”

Scotty stood up and took the binoculars from Paul.

“See?” said Paul.

“Sweet,” said Scotty. “I’d give my left nut to see one of those Hellfires go off.”

They watched the drone fly around for a while, circling the clouds in big lazy loops, annoyingly not firing any of its missiles.

“Maybe it’ll blow up Dirk’s house,” said Benjamin.

“Shut up,” said Dirk.

“I hope it blows up Ms. O’Hara’s house,” said Paul.

“Ms. O’Hara isn’t a terrorist,” said Scotty. “She’s just a bitch.”

“Dirk’s brother’s a terrorist,” said Benjamin.

“Shut the fuck up!” yelled Dirk. “He’s not!”

“Oh yeah then why’d he get arrested if he’s not a terrorist?” asked Benjamin.

B: This back and forth made me smile. It sounds like a genuine conversation between Stand By Me age kids. The Evanston line is a huge run-on sentence (six commas!) that threw me at first, but it ends strong. Well, there isn’t much of an ending, but it’s a fun moment in time. BRONZE

BD: I’ve always been fond of Stand-By-Me-like boyhood stories such as this, and for the most part this hits the right notes. Still, there’s not a lot of heft here, and that run-on sentence in the third paragraph really breaks the atmosphere. Nice dialogue, though. BRONZE

Gilman: When people talk about a slice of life, this should be the sort of thing they mean. Normal people in abnormal circumstances responding like they would once they got used to it. By definition, it’s a little less exciting than a story tends to be, but there’s admirable restraint in its goals and a very realistic voice to it all. GOLD

RZ: The good dialog draws the reader into the story.  The only quibble I have is there is a lot of “character says”, which gets a bit repetitive.

Brendan Bonham

“That’s time! Gentlemen, move to the next table.”

Desperate men rose, took a wide stride to their left, and sat back down. The women, lusted after, made notes on their cards.

He glanced back at the last one, the right choice. She spent their two minutes mumbling and staring at her paper—no eye contact with friends or other suitors.

“Hi, I’m Janelle,” the woman across from him quipped, “you must be, uh—Does that say Ross?”

“Uh-huh, Ross,” he muttered.

She giggled nervously, trying to maintain eye contact, “I’ve…”

He found his mind wandering, found himself eyeing the last one—she still stared down.

“Ross?”

He snapped back to attention.

“Yeah?”

“I—I said I’ve never done anything like this before, have you?”

“Couple’a times,” he groused.

The last one—the mousy one –arrived alone. Her flats suggested she’d walked to the VFW. She’d leave alone. Perfect.

“Oh yeah, here?” her smile waned as she watched him rub his hands.

“Never the same place twice,” he whispered, breathless. “Unnngh,” a low moan, the thought of impending ecstasy.

“Time’s up again, folks! Guys, next table!” the curator announced.

Janelle looked on, worried, subtly marking the paper in front of her.

B: That Ross is a rapist is revealed too early to have shock value, and goes through the motions too much to carry a lot of emotional weight. The story here would do well to be about Janelle; it looks like the author tried that at the end, but telling us that Janelle was worried (instead of showing it or implying it) takes the air out of the balloon.

BD: Goddamn, this is sharply written. The prose and pacing are almost perfect, except for the ‘Unnnngh’ line, which is entirely out of place. We all know that a story like this is a dime-a-dozen at the CdL, but I simply cannot say no to writing this powerful. GOLD

Gilman: I think you sort of gave away the game in that “same place twice” line; up to that point there was a sort of elegance in what you left unstated and what you chose to reveal. I like that the creep wasn’t over-creepy, and I think you could have avoided laying stuff out too much toward the end, and benefited the story. BRONZE

RZ: this is a very well written story.  There is great detail to the characters and environment, even though the detail makes me find the protagonist loathsome. SILVER

Abby Stansel

My paws smack the ground. The pack runs around me, tails up. Afraid. We hear them coming, feet tearing over the soil.

“They are coming” Silver rasps. ” You know what will happen if they get you.”

I nod, paws scrapping gashes in the earth. Then, they are upon us.

His feet strike the earth next to me. “Get away.” I snarl. My paw strikes his face, twisted, to not draw blood. With a sharp nod, he is off. Moon cries out. A big male has her between two stones, trying to grab her as she squirms. I slam into him, forcing a reaction and, as he spins to face me, moon shoots off.

I scan the surrounding area. The males are grabbing at my friends, my family, who I live with and fight for on a daily basis. But my eyes don’t see them. They catch onto Smoke’s, and I shake myself to break free. I slip towards the entrance to my home. Then, he has me. I  act as though I am hurt.

The den is warm. He drops me, and I lean my head against his shoulder.

“What happens in the hunt stays in it.” I breathe.

B: I appreciate the setting quite a bit. I’m not always sure what’s going on. Is Moon a name? If so, why isn’t it capitalized always? Is it the actual moon? Then I’m not sure why the moon is crying. Also, I think the word ‘scrapping’ doesn’t mean what you think it means. This does a good job of keeping the animal’s actions short and to the point. The last line, unfortunately, reminds of the famous Vegas quote.

BD: There’s an awful lot to like here, but I have to say the similarities to ‘Watership Down’ are perhaps a bit too strong. Also, the prose seems to be attempting a certain literary feel but falls just short. For instance, that last line would be very powerful if it were written as ‘stays in the hunt’. Regardless, the atmosphere is very engaging. BRONZE

Gilman: It’s hard for me to feel anything visceral or immediate about this story, since it feels too non-animal to be just wolves or beasts or whatever, but also too removed to feel allegorical. The responses of the main character are so very human, the emotions are not what I’d expect from an animal. Especially that last line. That and the smattering of unproofed errors keeps this one from hitting home.

RZ: I like a lot about this story. The point of view of an animal is an interesting take on the cue.  Present tense storytelling is difficult, but it is done well in this story, with a few minor missteps (the into is somewhat repetitive with the narrator telling you they are coming and silver saying the same thing immediately after). BRONZE

Sama Smith

Among the Huns. I cannot find thee. So I follow the blood.

You hide in time; that cannot last forever. You tug on time’s fabric. I stitch it back up.

You hang on every last breath. That is your vice, which helps me gain speed. I travel toward you, fueled by your greed.

1775-1783

I sift through the bodied battlefield. Redcoats and ruffians alike. You were here. Living inside fear, bullets, and bayonets.

1861-1865

Gore drips down into a bed of weeds. Your outline fades in gunpowder among the witness trees. I ride your wake. I’m not far behind.

1955-1975

I smell your sweat in the weedy jungle. Agent orange and rotten decay lay close behind. You are still not done.

2001

You are dust in the rubble among crunching metal and bones. I fear where you’re heading, but still hope I can prevail in the unknown.

2016

You are the ghost in the machine. A living mind disease; embedded in an ever shrinking web. I am too late. You are no longer one thing to stop. You are a part of everything. How can I keep you from killing when you exist in everything we touch?

I end my hunt.

B: This is one of my favorites stories of this young season. “You tug on time’s fabric. I stitch it back up,” is a great line. And I love that you essentially wrote about the devil without needing to say it. The defeatist statement at the end seals it for me. GOLD

BD: Okay, I find the narrative framework to be clumsy, but this idea is so ambitious that I cannot help but love it. This is so handicapped by the short word count that it makes my heart ache. I want to read this concept in an entire, 500 page novel. Or perhaps three novels. SILVER

Gilman: I appreciate the attempted poetry and grandiosity of this, but it flits way too far above me to be anything but precious and pompous in its execution. Starting off with “thee” sort of set the tone at the outset, and not in a good way. BRONZE

RZ: I really like this story.  The break over time gives a feel for the hunt and the ambiguity of the characters gives an impression of timelessness as well. GOLD

Shelbi Sarver

They say that the devil is an angel fallen from heaven. I say that the devil is a man.

Tonight he is on a hunt and I am his target, only I don’t know it. To me, he is just the kind man who stopped when he saw my car was broken down.

Only, this image shatters the moment he tells me I’m beautiful and moves closer behind the hood, as a hunter in the woods to his prey. I am weak. I am vulnerable. I am exactly what he’s been looking for.

“Don’t lie, baby. You’ve wanted this from the moment I walked up. I can tell by your eyes. The way you’re dressed. You’re ready for me,” he says as if I have some choice.

A pair of jeans and a t-shirt and this is somehow my fault. Before I know it, he is ravishing my body freely and I just keep fighting and saying “no,” but at this point, he covers my mouth and assures me that nobody can hear me. Every thrust and word spoken feels like the teeth of a tiger biting into my brain and my heart.

I am left bruised, broken, and unclean.

B: Another rape story. I like this one better as it’s written in such a flat tone of voice, as if the victim’s only way to cope telling their story is to keep it factual and dry. It doesn’t break any new territory, but I appreciate it. BRONZE

BD: Ouch, this is brutal. For the first half of this story I was convinced the narrator would end up being the killer, drawing in men just to slaughter them. No twist, though. Instead, this turned out to be a straightforward telling of an awful crime, and it’s all the more powerful for it. Tough to read, but good. SILVER

Gilman: Tragic circumstances, to be sure, but also a very familiar approach to this subject, and the use of a “hunt” as a metaphor for the act of rape isn’t exactly fresh. Unfortunately, all the metaphors and similes in this piece feel cliched.

RZ: The present tense of the story and the pace of the story don’t give the impression of a hunt, as much as the capture.

Quinn Meyers

Michael met her on the avenue. It was everything he could do to continue merely walking, his loneliness pulling at his feet like inescapable black muck in a putrid lake. Then his eyes met hers, her auburn hair dancing and faltering above her tawny eyes. He was hypnotized, floating above her in a dream as everything slowed to a standstill. A beam of light descended upon the girl, while blues and greens and pinks fell from the sky around them both. Michael reached out to touch her face in a moment of eternity before she disintegrated into the light surrounding them.

So, he ran. He ran so far away. He just ran, he ran all night and day.

He couldn’t get away.

B: At first I thought the purple prose was satirizing the craziness of high school adoration, but then the ending seems so serious (but with rhymes?) that I’m left confused.

BD: This song is going to be stuck in my head for a few days now, so thanks for that. In fact, I had to load it up on YouTube after reading this, and it is currently lifting my spirits. In all seriousness, this is a surprisingly good entry for being based on a silly joke, and you won me over by the end. Unfortunately, I can’t reward it with a medal.

Gilman: This was the kind of clever that really swings my inner cleveromiter. Not to mention the first paragraph had some genuinely evocative descriptions and actions in it. Props to you, motherflocker. GOLD

RZ:  The writing is good here, but I can’t tell what the climax is supposed to be.  Is this about the loneliness of a man who is reduced to daydreams or is there a sinister ethereal being?

Matt Novak

He shivered in the cold air. The sun’s rising had never seemed so slow. There was enough light to shoot by, but not enough to create warmth. Every year he subjected himself to this ritual, every year he questioned why.

A stick broke over his shoulder. It was certainly the squirrel, but he felt compelled to look. Scanning the grove, he saw a flick of movement.

A bird. Flitting restlessly between the trees. There, too, was the squirrel, which had taunted him with the magnified sounds of its presence.

A shot rang out, too far away to be from his party, and he sunk back into himself, and the little warmth offered from such action.

He guessed at the time. Guessed that it would be at least three more hours. Again he surveyed his surroundings. They were still.

He shivered in the cold air.

B: The only story this week to talk about actual animal hunting. It’s a moment in time that’s foreign to me, yet I’m brought there by effective atmosphere. The bookends could be seen as a cheap writing trick, but in this case I think it helps drive home the whole point of the story. SILVER

BD: The prose on display this week has been noticeably exceptional, and I get the feeling that a lof of you are starting to hit your stride as far as style is concerned. This is great writing, but unfortunately I have absolutely no clue what is going on here. Is this about hunting? I don’t know. As a result, there’s no emotional attachment.

Gilman: I’ve never been hunting in my life, and probably never will. But this is pretty much what I imagine the event to be like. Unnatural human silence, chilly motionlessness, and the occasional blast at some beast. I have a feeling in this case, the lack of progression is the point. BRONZE

RZ:  This is an interesting take on the prompt.  Instead of the hunt being thrilling and full of action, it’s pretty boring.  It’s well written and captures the scene nicely. BRONZE

Shawn Ashley

“Good morning, Gladys.” One woman approached the back of the line.

“Myrna,” the woman’s response, barely taking her eyes from the locked, glass doors.

“I see Carole got here early,” Myrna muttered.

Both women turned their white-haired heads towards Carole.

“Must be for that honey-baked ham,” Gladys mused.

“Goddammit,” Myrna grumbled. “Those hams are in limited supply!”

Manager Byron peered out at the growing line outside the store, wiped the sweat from his brow.

“It’s gonna be a tough one, Kathy,” he said to the cashier as he unlocked the door. “Let’s keep our heads in the game.”

Carole grabbed the first cart in her path and bee-lined for the butcher’s counter.

Gladys tried to scoot around Pastor Gordan, but he was just too darn slow.

Myrna grabbed a handheld cart so she could move throughout the crowd with ease. She looked behind her only once- seeing Gladys get swallowed up in the tide.

But this was war. A war for the honey-baked, limited supply, butcher’s ham on special this week for $8.99!

Myrna rounded the corner and saw Butcher Mark hand Carole her ham with a smile. In the case was only one ham left!

“Myrna.”

Her heart sunk. “Gladys.”

B: Supermarket competition is almost always funny, though I can’t tell if this is a game-show or just a random store where these three local ladies duke it out whenever there’s a sale. I wish the ending was less vague. BRONZE

BD: Again, the writing here is excellent, and I was really expecting something special  up until we hit that first honey-baked ham line. It’s a shame, really. You could have taken this in a really strange and wonderful direction, but instead cashed in on a one-note joke.

Gilman: A clever idea that probably would’ve benefitted from more space to really puff up the hunting and chasing parallels. Putting most of the focus on the pre-game was a good decision, and it might’ve been funny to leave the proceedings just as the store was opened. Still, it’s a great idea and an assured execution. SILVER

RZ: Ah, the hunt!  Having spent a lot of time with my grandparents growing up, this story really amuses me.  I can imagine the tone of voice of the old women at various points.  Great, entertaining read! GOLD

Margaret Martin

They pressed ahead, faster and faster now, a great current propelling them from behind.

Terrilynn timidly opened the dressing room door and stepped out.

It was the tenth dress that week.

“Well, you’ll need a bra,” her mother drawled.

Terrilynn looked down at the satin cradling her doughy boobs, making a mental note to get a tan.

Their numbers dwindled as they navigated up the canal. It was dark, but those who remained shoved furiously toward the prize.

“It’s kind of expensive, Ma.”

“Let me check the back. We are NOT doing a corset. Whoever thought of that was a damn idiot.”

Terrilynn spun slowly, watching herself in the mirrors, a porcelain ballerina twirling atop a jewelry box, layers of tulle and satin and glass beads sweeping her heavenward.

“It’s beautiful, baby.” Her mother choked a little, and Terrilynn stopped spinning. “I never got a wedding dress.” Scrubbing a sleeve across her nose, she inhaled sharply. “Let’s get it.”

“Today? But the wedding’s six months away. How do we know it’ll still fit?”

Deep inside Terrilynn, they found their target. They pounded against its surface until one finally broke through and exploded in life-bringing completion.

“Oh it’ll still fit.”

 

B: It took me a few times to figure out what was going on here. Using italics for the sperm’s perspective would have helped, but I eventually got it. Normally such a story would make me groan, but it’s joint telling with an emotional moment between mother and daughter is almost life affirming. SILVER

BD: The ‘pounded against’ line is a bit on the nose, but nonetheless I still love this. As with most of the other entries this week, the prose is excellent (although I have to admit that using all caps for any reason drives me nuts). However, in this case the sentiment feels so genuine that this really stands out. GOLD

Gilman: Magnificent! Absolutely nothing was given away in this story until the absolute last moment. Essentially a double-reveal, but engaging and interesting before it hit that twist-point. I really loved the feeling of reading this one through and having everything fall together at the end. GOLD

RZ: Nice parallel structure with the two hunts.  On the first read, having the two stories overlaid without any indication was a little disorienting, but it worked very nicely on the second read. SILVER

Joshua Longman

287961-Nothing.    

           Seth sighed and walked to the fridge for a refill.   The door slammed shut and he saw the picture, a pallid shadow of himself.

           Nefertiti

           Unbidden as usual. Why?  What was it?  Not a star – he’d checked every one with a name.

Seth plopped back down.

329671-Nothing.

 

He blinked through the snowy gales – flakes big as quarters – the old feeling of infirmity pulsing inside.  Head smooth as an egg in the rearview.  Seth leaned forward, squinting, trying to stay on the road.  Something was coming.     

What was it again?

There, a glowing sphere materializing in the field! They didn’t take that; he remembered the glow and that word.  Paramedics found his car wrapped around a tree, but he was already fixed.  Everything.  He couldn’t recall what happened, but knew.

Things faded to a white as always – a milky bath of healing.

Nefertiti.

 

Seth woke, drool on the desk.  He wiped his mouth and wiggled his mouse.  A new message?

@Queen_of_Egypt87: Hi, @Dazed&Inspired, I’ve heard about you.  Most active SETI@home user ever!  Your dedication to the search is a real inspiration.  I’m just an amateur, but I found something unique.  Check these coordinates and tell me what you think?

B: I’ve been reading stories on this site for years, and I tell you it’s really hard for internet speak to land well in story form. I wish the middle portion hadn’t been a dream sequence (or was it?), as exploring the mystery of Nefertiti is way more interesting than on-line chatting. BRONZE

BD: Hunting for alien life using SET@home is a great take on the prompt, but unfortunately I can’t make sense of anything else here. It’s all just a little too incoherent.

Gilman: In the interest of making this dreamlike, unmoored narrative mimic the lack of certainty that some supposed abductees feel, it winds up confusing me a bit too much and leaving more to conjecture than I would have liked. So, I get what’s being attempted here…I just don’t think enough stuck.

RZ:  Nice, imaginative story.  Good job of capturing both the hunt and the reason for the obsession. SILVER

Annette Barron

At the kitchen table, he opened his laptop and selected Chicago Teen Chat.  He logged in as ethanBB2002 as one socked foot scratched the other.  He was also wearing boxers, but that was all and his skinny back was covered in goose pimples.

He wiggled in his chair when he saw that carlyyeah! was already logged on.

“Hey Carly,” he typed in the private chat bar after saying “hi” in the main chat.

“Hi Ethan!” she typed back.  “I thought you weren’t comin.” Frowny face.

He opened another window, went into his profile and selected “friends.” Scrolling through, he double-clicked on carlyyeah!.  Carly’s pretty face filled his screen; the duck-lips failed to ruin her freshness.

He switched back to the chat, “practice ran later than usual.  Coach says he might change me to point guard.”

“Oh wow, Ethan!  That’s super exciting!”

Her exclamation points were turning him on.  Idly, he reached into his boxers to give himself a reassuring squeeze. Slow and easy wins the race, he whispered.

“Yeah.  So, come to a game sometime?”

He stood and grinned down at his tented shorts.  He fetched a frosty Abrasive Ale from the fridge and sat back down.

“Sure!”

B: Speaking of on-line chatting! This reminds me of some of my high-school sessions with AOL Instant Messenger minus the beer and creepily grinning at my erection…and well pictures too I suppose. So not much like it. 

BD: Alright, you succeeded in making me feel extremely uncomfortable, which is the whole point, I suppose. This is a solid entry that is really only diminished by the fact that it reveals its intentions way too early. BRONZE

Gilman: All too familiar in this day and age, when we can check out Lifetime Movie Channel whenever we want to. Yep, there are creeps and liars online. And they masturbate.

RZ: Not a bad story, though it lacks some of the intensity or draw that you may expect for a hunt.  Also, though it’s a minor quibble, the way the text is structured around the end is somewhat disjointed.  The issue I have is that when Ethan stood in the second to last text blurb, the comment “sure” is an odd thing to end on, as it doesn’t really close the story.

Bret Highum

Dogs barked, one loud, one a fainter echo, only audible for the sudden hush in the valley leading to the Rhine.

Torben shivered in his thin thrall’s tunic.  He wished he’d stolen a coat, but it had already been two days since Inge had ran away.  He pulled his sleeves tighter and trudged onward.

The rider was unnaturally still, nearly hidden in the gloom. Torben was nearly past him when the man spoke.

“How far to the Marksburg, boy?”  The man’s voice was rough, old branches scraping in the depths of his throat.  A wide-brimmed hat shaded his features, but an eye glinted in the fading light.

Torben nearly fled, but managed to hold his ground.

“It’s another three rests, sir.  No time at all on a steed as fine as yours.”  Torben tried to still his shaking.

“Ah, good,” The man rumbled.  “I weary of travel.  Here, with my thanks”

A package, wrapped in cloth, landed in front of Torben.  He eagerly ripped it open, expecting bread or cheese.

It was Inge’s foot.  Torben flung it down, sobbing and cursing.

The rider turned to ride away.  He gave a whistle, and hound-shaped shadows flowed out of the woods after him.

B: I’m a sucker for stories about old Europe and this one’s no different. Dark, mysterious, chilling. All that. “The rider turned to ride away,” is the one flaw, but it still rescued itself with the final line. GOLD

BD: This is another story that desperately needs more space. The reveal here is excellent and really punched me in the gut, but the rest of the plot is just not filled out enough. If I had any idea who Inge was, then this would work a lot better. Also, how could Torben immediately tell that it was Inge’s foot? Was there a birthmark or something? BRONZE

Gilman: That one unexpected image was quite chilling, and the fact that the rider’s supernatural nature was just barely revealed at the end was a good choice, I thought. SILVER

RZ: Really great story.  The writing is excellent, and draws the reader in.  We have a bit of the backstory here, and the details provided make me wish there was more to read to answer some of the raised questions. GOLD

 

Christina Pepper

“Mother! Mother!”

Yuki, Motoko, and I had been playing school on the hillside behind my house. As usual, Motoko was the teacher.

“Help me, Mother!”

Even before I understood where I was, I heard their voices.

I could see nothing. I felt as though I was choking, and I realized my mouth was full of dirt. Mother would know what to do.

Just then, strong hands grabbed my waist and pulled.

Familiar eyes met mine—Akira, our neighbor. Blood ran from a cut on his forehead.

I began to cough, and he hit me on the back—hard.

The ground felt hot beneath my feet, and I wondered where my shoes had gone.

I tugged Akira’s ripped sleeve, “Mother?”

“You must go,” he replied. “Fire is coming. Walk toward the mountains and look for her there.”

“My friends,” I said. “They were with me.” I couldn’t hear them calling anymore.

“Go,” he said, pushing my back gently.

I followed a stream of people walking toward the mountains. No one seemed to notice me.

Twisted, bleeding bodies lay on the ground, some of them calling, “Help, please.” I forced myself to look at each one, but none was my mother.

B: I’m also a sucker for Japanese stories. I’m not entirely sure what is happening (samurai bloodbath? fallout from the atomic bomb?) but what matters more to me is how the protagonist feeling and her (I assume it’s a girl) desperation and loneliness comes through very well. GOLD

BD: This is really powerful writing, and I wish I had a clearer indication of what is going on here. I’m imagining that this is about the dropping of the atomic bomb, and if that is the case then I really love this. If not, it’s still wonderfully well written. GOLD

Gilman: Nagasaki? One of the nuclear drop sites anyway. It’s communicated with a good amount of respect for the reader’s intelligence, which I do like. And that last line is a bruiser. SILVER

RZ: The story here is very good, but the chronology, especially at the beginning, makes it somewhat difficult to read.  It’s clear there is some kind of disaster here, but it’s not clear why or how the main character got separated from them, or how (s)he fell down.  In this case, those missing details distracted a bit from the overall story. BRONZE

Erik Sunshine

A wrinkled script of The Hunter Becomes The Hunted hit the makeup table with a quiet thud. “This movie sure is gonna suck, isn’t it, Helen?”

“You got that right, Holly.”

B: A cute joke that could have medaled had it been taken further.

BD: I don’t get it.

Gilman: What is this, Robert Altman’s “The Player” via Reader’s Digest?

RZ:  I got nothing.

Roxanne Lewis

Jakob hesitated as he settled on the uncomfortable bar stool, does anyone even like these places, does that music really need to be so obnoxious? Fuck it, he hadn’t been laid in a little over a month and he didn’t plan to go another night alone with the Internet.

The redhead at the end of the room was his best bet for the night, no doubt; no ring, she was on her third appletini, and she was alone. Bullseye.

He headed her way taking notice of her red cocktail dress that hugged her in all the right places. “Can I get you another one of those?” he said as he slid into the empty spot beside her. She turned towards him with a sly smile hand on his knee now and said, “I would.”

B: Most of these sentences aren’t even sentences, just strings of fragments joined by random commas. More than that, it’s not much of a story. Just a guy meeting a girl in the normal way.

BD: I feel like the writer didn’t set aside enough time to flesh out this story. The idea is good, but this needs several more edits and some kind of resolution before I can reward it with a medal.

Gilman: A nicely evoked scene, but the dramatic arc is pressed flatter than a panini.

RZ: This could really use more commas, and the last paragraph really ran together.

Melissa Diamond

The sun shone hot and dry.  Diana felt sweat trickle down her neck, between her breasts.  She’d been perched for hours, waiting.  Her stomach grumbled, but dinner was many hours away at this pace.

She swiped left.  Left again.

Then she saw him.  A picture of him standing on a mountain trail, smiling, shoulder muscles gleaming in the light.  A physical therapist with strong ties to his faith community.

She took a deep breath, narrowed her eyes.

Swipe right.

A match.

She closed her eyes, breathed a sigh of relief.

She texted.  You nearby?  Let’s meet up at Antonio’s.

He texted back.  Sure.  Why not?  There in an hour.

Thank god.  Finally.

There’d be dinner upon her table tonight.

B: My favorite of the on-line dating stories as it focuses more on the motivations of the protagonist and less on the vagaries of the medium. That this woman goes hungry until she finds a guy to buy her dinner is a good story. That she has standards on top of that (hey, not just any guy is going to feed me) makes it even more intriguing. I wish there was more of the atmosphere we got in the first paragraph, but I’ll take it. SILVER

BD: Oooh, this is really good idea. I’m imagining that his is about a cannibal using Tinder to get their next meal, which is fantastically clever. If not, well, good job on getting a medal out of me for misinterpreting things. SILVER

Gilman: I like the idea of someone hooking up just for food. The direness of Diana’s situation isn’t revealed too much, though, and it would have been a nice means to communicate her own specific sort of desperation here. BRONZE

RZ: I like the direction this is heading, but the writing style detracts slightly.  The detail provided at the beginning doesn’t really move the story forward, though it isn’t bad.  However, it would be nice to give a bit more meat to the story in other places.  This story could be really excellent with a bit more polish that gave us more insight into Diana. BRONZE

———————————–

Another week, another quad-gold opportunity missed. However, Margaret  comes close, nabbing 16 medal points. A three-way tie for second with 14 medal points were Christina, Bret, and Sama.

Non-subs go to Kelly (who used the lame excuse of uprooting his entire life), Brooks (who submitted 50 minutes after the deadline), David Lauer (his first non-sub), Colin (his third), and Zack (his amazing streak of five).

Spreadsheet updated!. Prompt tomorrow night hopefully.

 

 

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