Thank you all for your entries! I had fun reading them! Goodness gracious, cranberry sauce and zebras are an odd combination! :) Here's what the judge had to say:
Thank you, to all the entrants. I enjoyed reading the many different takes this week on cranberry sauce. Just for fun, and because I am rather addicted to writing, here is my take on the prompt.
His Lucky Apron
“Is cranberry sauce supposed to taste like this?”
John reached over and stuck his finger in the sauce and brought it up to his mouth. “Yep, you nailed it. That is exactly what cranberry sauce is supposed to taste like.”
“Really?” Joe took note that she sounded surprised.
“Don’t you know what cranberries taste like?” He glanced sideways at her and noticed she was wearing her lucky apron, the one with the zebra pattern.
“No, they don’t have those in France.”
“Then why did you want to make it?”
“Because it’s part of the tradition. It’s why we are making turkey and stuffing and yams. This is what you Americans eat at Thanksgiving.”
“I don’t like cranberry sauce.”
There was a period of silence.
“I tasted it. I don’t think I like it very much either.” After a moment or two she perked up and said, “But I got it right?”
“Well, yea, mostly.” He purposely looked away for a second to hide a smile.
“Mostly?” Her shoulders sagged forward a bit.
“Well what did I do wrong?” He voice trailed off.
“Well, I know that French sauces are cooked down with wine, but I have never had cranberry sauce that couldn’t be served to minors before.”
“And what else is wrong with the way I cook?” He shoulders were coming back up again, as were her hands as they found position on her hips. Even her voice was raised a few steps.
John pretended not to notice. “Well I have been meaning to tell you the large confectioner’s shaker has powdered sugar. The little shaker is full of salt. It doesn’t go so well when you mix the two up.”
“I am a pastry chef!” The volume and passion she spoke with was amazing. “I know full well the difference between salt and sugar!” John was not sure what else she said as he was busy backing away from her. She was pushing him and punching him in the gut with little closed fist jabs.
This assault continued until he was backed up against the bed. At the last minute before falling backwards he wrapped an arm around her waist and pinned her close to him. They fell down onto the bed together and he relished the embrace. She fought for a moment more, but then his bride embraced him back.
She whispered something in his ear in French. He was pretty sure she said something about him doing this on purpose and her falling for it. But he wasn’t positive, so he asked, “What does that mean?”
She giggled, kissed his ear in a most enticing way and whispered, “I said, ‘If you insult my cooking again, I will blend rat poison into your morning coffee.’”
Now on to the judging.
Special Challenge Runner Up: Patrick Stahl
A short piece proving that longer is not always better. A great title, followed by a portrayal of cruelty that made the zebras appear more like predators than I had previously pictured them. I am quite certain now that if I ever meet a zebra in a dark alley, I will not be turning my back on it.
Special Challenge Champion: LadyHazmat
This piece made me laugh out loud. I loved the whole commando, rip the roof off, bespectacled zebra thing. Just the right amount of the ludicrous can be a wonderful thing. The successful characterization of the lead character was largely why it worked for me. Loved the turn of the last line. Loved the names Lylae/Lyale and Gondii. Favorite line would have to be, “I believe the ambassador is being held captive inside this steel cell.”
Runner Up: Jackie Castle
This piece has a great feel to it, kind of a “Night at the Museum” approach to the zoo. Beyond that though, it gives a great portrayal of community, like maybe a large office or a church gathering. You wouldn’t miss the event to save your life, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have some qualms about some of the other people there. “You have no room to criticize with your scratching yourselves at the table.” This sentence is good example of descriptive dialogue.
Grand Champion: Kate
The interactions between the snotty in-laws and the insecure bride is well portrayed. Especially like the grooms sister who tells her son not to be rude, but not in a disciplining kind of way. It’s more like don’t be rude, let the adults do it instead. “She glared at me and shoved her own cranberries aside.” I also notice the authors control of flow. “Eighteen people in our two bedroom apartment.” Not a verb in there, but who cares? While reading it comes across as another heavy bundle of straw thrown onto the camel’s back. A great example of when to break the rules in my opinion.
I award this piece because of the emotional reward given at the end of the piece to the reader. She turned the negative emotions around skillfully to leave us feeling victorious and proud of the young couple.
Thanks for the chance to Judge this week. You will notice that I did not pick a winner for Alissa’s special challenge, I will let her do that if she wishes.
Yes! I do wish!
The Host's Special Challenge Champion is: JM MacF
Thanks for the laugh!