Phew! I made it! I battled through technical difficulties, children on spring break, and a desire to sleep all day to bring you the judge's decisions - and it's not even noon! I've even showered! Wow, I might even get a chance to write this afternoon! Anyway, I hope you're overcoming your own battles today. If you missed any of the stories, go check them out here. Otherwise, keep reading for what the judge had to say:
Thank you, Alissa, for hosting and trusting me with the judge’s gavel. (I only smashed a few things with it.) Thanks also to everyone who shared - I loved the ways you all found to incorporate the special challenge. That said, on to the #JoyfulResults!
Not Ready Yet by RealMommaRamblings
Wow, this guy is stellar! Though she’s not ready yet, I hope she doesn’t give up on him and herself completely. The fact he went to the trouble to get “a new plastic cover” on the seat and “a bottle of hand sanitizer in the cup holder” tells me that he doesn’t mind the fact she’s compelled to count or can’t stand crowded spaces. I came to the end thinking, please, please be ready eventually.
Coup Détente by Rebekah Postupak
This needs to be a children's series. Seriously. The description of Asher “going all grumpy toast” and the MC’s eyes as looking “like Taylor Swift’s might be if she bought her makeup at CVS” were perfect! The special challenge took on a pleasantly uplifting hue with “hopeful steeples” and that happy coincidence of surreptitious dragon defenders. Much enjoyed. :)
Served Cold by Susan OReilly
Though this entry was late, I wanted to include it in the comments at least. Talk about a frustrating job! Anyone who could ask “to speak to the organ grinder not the monkey” is horrible! I chuckled at her form of revenge - “photographs of the most unforgiving outfits of his that he thinks have been destroyed...will accidentally find a way into my last column a printing error” - seems so fitting.
Special Challenge Runner Up
What Maisie said next… by Geoff LePard
The interaction between these three felt like watching not reading. Little hints dropped give us keen insight into how their marriage is coming along (from Duncan) “'I wondered when you'd ask. It's been like this for three days” (to Martha) ''Thank you, Maisie but I think it's your father's turn” as if he is a child, too. I was happy they kissed in the end. The cheeky nod to the special challenge hidden in the mother’s words “surprisingly emotional inanimate objects” made me laugh and earned this story SC Runner Up! “Angry knife” sounds like a perfectly normal description to me.
Special Challenge Champion
The Last Straw by Lauren Greene
I loved so many of the lines in this tale and the special challenge combos embedded in it. Here are a few of my favorites: “Kids flitted around like anxious butterflies,” “My daughter sat in the glum corner,” “He wove tales with a dishonest thread.” We learn so much from details “like he had the cracked window in our lonely bedroom”. I cheered when she walked away at last. Great job inspiring emotion and working in so many combos!
When someone asks if you are a god, you say- by Michael Simko
This was so much fun to read! I could get lost in a series with this MC’s voice. From the twist on the prompt, to the name meanings slipped in (Ehtisham was ill-named at birth, methinks), this bit of flash hooked me. I would love to sit down with these gentlemen and hear which is the worst death they’ve lived through (I have burning to death down in my biggest fears book). That “optimistic meat grinder” sounds terrifying.
‘For Everything there is a Season’ by Clive Tern
I absolutely loved this! And not just because I saw my husband and myself (though the roles might be reversed). When I read “in forty-eight years it hasn’t changed” my insides melted. Paul has it in perspective in my opinion. When you get to that age, the inevitability of your own death looms closer and suddenly you realize, why not laugh at a funeral or make your move while your “blue tab” is in effect. Beautifully human story.