CONTEST EXTENDED!! November 15 – December 5, 2018 Flash Fiction Contest “Sports”

Theme: Sports.

Expound, satirically perhaps, on your favorite sport.

Word Count: 1,200




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  • To leave feedback/Comments directly relating to a particular story – click “reply” to the story comment.
  • Specific critiques, comments, and feedback are encouraged. If you do not want honest professional feedback do not post a story.
  • Keep feedback and critiques to a civil and constructive level, please. Please critique stories for construction, style, flow, grammar, punctuation, and so on. The moderator has the right to delete any comments that appear racist, inflammatory or bullying.

Please Note: Comments may be considered “published” in regards to other contest requirements.

All stories are fall under general copyright laws. No part may be reproduced without the express consent of the respective author.

Story Submission Rules:
  1. One story per author. You may post more than one but only the first story will qualify for voting.
  2. Stories must be in English, unpublished and your own work.
  3. Stories must fit into a single comment box and must stay within the word limit set for each contest.

Voting starts Wednesday morning at 9:00am PDT / 12:00pm EST / 10:30pm IST / 5:00pm WET/GMT/ 4:00am AEDT (Thursday) and ends the same time on Thursday / 4:00am AEDT (Friday).

  • You may vote only once.
  • You cannot vote for yourself.

***the next writing prompt will be chosen by Ilana Leeds per the Writing Prompt Roster.

To be included in the “writing prompt roster”, you must have submitted two stories in the last sixty days. The roster is alphabetical and can be found here.

See How to Participate for complete rules and disclaimers.


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124 thoughts on “CONTEST EXTENDED!! November 15 – December 5, 2018 Flash Fiction Contest “Sports”

  • November 15, 2018 at 3:40 pm
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    HEY WRITERS!!!

    THE CONTEST HAS BEEN EXTENDED AN EXTRA WEEK.

    Reply
    • November 30, 2018 at 12:07 pm
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      Thanks for the extension! I’ll try to get a story written!

      Reply
    • November 23, 2018 at 10:38 am
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      It is obvious to me, Miss Carrie, that the picture above was posted by an unabashed Packer Fan, and I would just like to point out (for the first time in God knows how long) that the little kid who is crying is all smiles now, and the other, well, he’s just hoping that he will be able to smile again. Pretty sure it won’t be this year, and hopefully not in what remaining years I have left. But, like all Bear fans, I’ll keep an eye out for those pesky GBPs.

      Reply
  • November 15, 2018 at 4:17 pm
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    Hockey 101
    by Robt. Emmett ©2018

    I noticed the three SUVs desperately trying to squeeze into four parking places. The car’s plates were from out of state, way out of state – California. They unloaded half a dozen young teenage boys, who promptly went to check out the swimming pool and the teenage girls lounging thereby. The moms headed to the rear of their vehicles to unload the luggage. The SUVs were so over-loaded that when the hatch audibly popped open, things spilled onto the grass-studded gravel parking lot. The desperate moms called down to their boys for help hauling the large over-stuffed bags up the stairs to their rooms.

    It seems the sight of the bikinied girls had caused the boys to lose their hearing. The moms, therefore or therefive actually, had to lug the bags of hockey stuff up a flight of stairs without the help of their sons.

    And just how, you ask, did I know the large bags held hockey stuff? Simple, the bags said Hockey Stuff. No, actually, I’d overheard the two bellboys (yes, real boys) talking. They knew the hockey kids were coming and made plans to be anywhere but around to help. When I discerned the large leather bags and the nine or ten hockey sticks, my mind leaped to the obvious conclusion.

    Before supper, the previous evening, I’d been sitting behind the dead plant in the lobby and learned there was a large, 200 plus, contingent of young hockey players in town for a clinic. There would be two days of seminars, practices, and instruction. Teams would then be formed. They then would spend the rest of the week competing against each other. Generally speaking, it would be the left-coasters against the yuppers; The kids from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and central Canada, eh.

    overheard the hockey mom in the room next to mine. She is from Utah (Mormon, I would guess). She was talking to the collegiate kid behind the check-in counter extolling the wonders of her sons. Later in the evening the hockey-moms, Mormon, Sue-1, and Sue-2 were outside my room. Sue-1, aka Loudmouth, was bragging about the skills of her two talented hockey sons. She assured all within earshot, that the left-coasters and her sons in particular, would be opening a very large can of whoop-ass on these no talent mid-westerners and show them what hockey was all about. If the young yuppers knew what was in store for them they would have been trembling, not in fear but with laughter.
    ~*~

    It is another sweltering day here in the Zenith City. Yesterday, the temperature reached 78. The major appliance store sold both air conditioning units they stocked for just such an emergency as the city is experiencing. Today’s high temperature was predicted to be 79-1/2. There is not a weatherman in town who will publicly utter the dreaded number – eighty. Yet, the hockey season is in full swing in this part of the country. Yes, it is sports fans. I know you believe winter is the proper time to play Hockey up here in da Nort-lahnt. (I learnt dat verd from the linguist at lunch the odder day. U betcha, fur sure, eh.) Technically, it is a winter sport. However, summer is the time for hockey CLINICS. Point of fact, up here there are four seasons. Spring, whenever the temperature stays above zero for more than a week. Road Construction season is the time of year for family vacations far, far away. Fall is Road Construction on steroids because of the month-long union strike that annually starts just before the July 4th holiday. Winter, or Vinter, as the locals say, is whenever there are more than two hundred inches of snow on the ground (about Halloween). Really, measuring snow in inches is a joke, a sick one. Snow is depressing enough, unless you own a large hill, like the Indians who own Spirit Mountain.

    Hockey is not limited to the freeze-your-ass-off-cuz-you-didn’t-head-to-Gulf-Shores-when-you-had-the-chance-season-of-the-year. No, it can be played year round.

    How did this happen? One (or two) might ask. Like duh, the Valley girls had eh, like well, a change of mind. They stopped dating the blond-haired melanoma seeking, surfboard riding Dudes and decided to get bread. No, not bred, bread – money. You know, Moolah, Shekels, filthy lucre. They stopped doing the beach thing and attended the Univ of So Cal, and found themselves nerdy dweebs that ah, like well, did not say “ah like well,” but rather spoke in a cryptic, pre-computer, dialect. The young college lads hadn’t read the rules, so they didn’t follow them and bit by byte they became millionaires. Or billionaires, ah, like well, whatever.

    Okay, anyway, the Valley girls are now grandmothers with grandchildren. (I so dislike stating the obvious) These grandchildren need something to occupy their time, keep them off drugs, and out of jail. Enter – Taa-Daa – Hockey Moms. Yes, I know there is no snow in So Cal, but there are rich grandfathers. They need to please the rich grandmothers by a win, win, and win deal. Grandpa gets to have his name on a building in neon lights. Grandma can brag about her name, on a building in neon lights. And the mothers (daughters of parents whose name is on a building in neon lights) have a place to hang out with their kids at three a.m. and not have to pay a cover charge or tip the valet parking guys. They get to spend thousands of dollars on hundreds of pounds of hockey equipment that they carry up two flights of stairs while their macho little darlings carry two, one-pound hockey sticks.

    A note on hockey sticks, the cheap sticks cost less than a sawbuck. The expensive ones, made with the same exotic material as an F-22. They will set you back two hundred smackers, or more. They are made in Tijuana, Mexico. Yes, folks, the really good sticks are made south of the border. Jeezs eh, who’d thunk it!

    The last win is the kids. These grandsons … and granddaughters … have a place to play where the sun never shines. The hockey moms have additional, very important, roles to play: chauffeur, trainer, first aid, cheerleader, and fight promoter/stopper.

    What, exactly, is a Hockey Mom? From my observation, they are a subset of the human female species. Imagine, if you will, a cross between those tall Amazon women of legend, and an operatic soprano in a Wagnerian Norse tragedy wearing a white tank top that could be mistaken for a ‘56 Caddie Coupe DeVille with its Dagmarish bumper guards. Okay, they don’t wear a tin cap with cow horns. Then neither do the Minnesota Vikings football team.

    Also, they all wear a foot-long blond ponytail. Some are, obviously, of the bottle variety, while others are not. It takes an expert to be able to tell the difference. In the main, they are rather nice boisterous people.

    So what happened when West met Midwest on the ice at the Marshall High School field house? The yuppers opened a large can of whoop-ass on So Cal’s and taught them what the side boards are used for. Namely, injuring and maiming the unenlightened players.
    — Ԙ —

    I place this story here for your edification and elucidation, but not as an entry in the contest

    Reply
    • November 15, 2018 at 4:17 pm
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      I place this story here for your edification and elucidation, but not as an entry in the contest.

      Reply
      • December 1, 2018 at 9:01 am
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        I consider myself elucidated and edified after reading this. Nicely done, Robt. BTW. you have my email address. Contact me if you care to.

        Reply
    • November 19, 2018 at 4:54 pm
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      Man, I had a weird experience with this story. I’m reading a fictional book called “The Target: Love, Death and Airline Deregulation.” It’s about the personal travails of an airline pilot during the 1980’s. In the book, there’s a plane crash and the MC happens to be on the scene and rushes to help the injured survivors. He keeps seeing young people with letter jackets and young gals in quilted skirts, and I thought, yeah, that’s that group of kids and their moms in town for a hockey clinic.

      Upon further reading, I realized that the contingent of hockey players who died in the novel’s fictional plane crash, are actually introduced in your short story. They were never mentioned prior to the crash in the book I’m reading.

      Pretty weird, eh?

      Your story made an interesting point, hockey is more than just a sport in the northern states. It’s a part of the culture. It’s ingrained.

      Reply
    • December 1, 2018 at 9:03 am
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      An entertaining dissection of the behind-the-scenes of amateur ice-hockey. You have great turn of phrase, Robert, which makes everything you write a pleasurable journey. This particular journey doesn’t appear to head anywhere specifically, but it’s fun all the same.

      (For what it’s worth, I don’t get ice-hockey at all, at least the televised version. The puck always seems to be virtually invisible, so that you only know a goal’s scored when the net ripples, or the crowd roar, or the commentator tells us. And then they fight.)

      Why is this not an entry?

      Reply
      • December 5, 2018 at 6:07 am
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        Phil, the reason you seldom see the puck is because the camera is to far away or to close. The interesting play usually takes where the puck just was – at the sideboards. Or the puck drop.
        Also, the off-side calls are hard to figure out.

        Why is this not an entry?
        After I’d restored my classic car, I entered it in a local car show. However, there were only enough trophies for all the members of the sponsoring club only. When our club put on a show, our club’s our cars were DISPLAY ONLY.
        P.S. Why pay $10 for a 1 in 6 or 7 chance to win a $15 dust collector?

        Reply
  • November 16, 2018 at 7:48 am
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    Robt., That was very funny and enlightening. Since I’m originally from South Florida, hockey has never been a sport I needed to know about or was familiar with. Great way to start the new topic!!

    Reply
  • November 16, 2018 at 10:37 am
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    Dear Carrie,
    I’m going to be busy for the next two weeks, checking Annual Papers. Hence the haste in handing in the story. Plz let me know if it fulfills the requirements or not.
    Love.

    Gentleman’s Game

    Did you hear the story of Tony Centuryker? The last I heard of him is, he in the Bahamas, holidaying with a very attractive movie diva. He is said to have made a deal with the government there for buying the island.
    But to begin with the beginning we may have to go back to the day when Lunatique Centuryker, a hopeful, might have-been cricketer, was talking to me in his drawing room.
    “My son will be the greatest batsman in the history of the game. You just have to keep a few things in mind. Number one, he isn’t very tall and in this game, short is better. Think about two great batters ‘the glorious game of uncertainties’ has ever seen, Don Bradman and Sachin Tendukkar. Both were not even 5’5”. Are you getting my point?”
    I kept gaping at Lunatique open- mouthed. But he didn’t need any affirmation or confirmation from me. He continued unhindered.
    “The second thing I’ve to do is to create some kind of media-hype surrounding my son from very early on. When he plays school cricket, rest assured that he will get selected for the school team. The school coach is my bro-in-law. I can even tell you how much my son will score in the first match. He will score 300 at the end of the day and remain not out. Don’t look at me like that. Don’t tell me that living in the 21st century world, you haven’t heard of match fixing or rigging. I just want you to do a small favour. The Sports Page of your newspaper should be full of my son’s exploits the next day. Have your best cricket reporter describe him as ‘the greatest teen sensation’ since Sachin made his debut against Abdul Quadir and hammered him three sixes in one over in that epic abandoned match. The point is you should create the right kind of hoopla about my son to have him called for the National A side. Don’t worry about him not playing a single first-class match. They play their first match against Afghanistan. You can take it from me that after his marathon innings, he will be straight away called for the National side. The media and the public will see to it. By the way, on the 25th when Tony gets selected in the playing eleven, I’m throwing a small party at Taj Hotel. I extend an invitation to you right now as the editor of your newspaper. See you there then. Wish my Tony luck..”
    As I left Lunatique still remunerating, I couldn’t but chuckle to myself. He thinks Cricket is a funny game of predictability. Let’s wait and watch for the school match first. I’m sure, Kendriya Vidyalaya may not even bat first.
    But bat first they did and when Tony remained unbeaten on 300, the local newspapers the next day went gaga over his heroics When you are playing to the gallery, some shots will land near the fielders. Catches will be dropped. But the important thing is how you keep your cool and go on accumulating those runs. It seemed that Tony accumulated the runs riding his luck. How what should have been a dolly catch, was pushed over the boundaries for a six, is something that will bother the handful of spectators including Lunatique and the KV coach. Anyway, one journalist even went to the extent of calling him ‘the child prodigy’. Someone even predicted that Tony will rescue India from the ignominy of being thrashed. sorry, in crickeging parlance, from being whitewashed in England for three consecutive away series!
    What had to happen, happened. He was picked up for the National A squad, with the selectors trying to inject some new faces to revive India’s glorious past, especially after her dismal performance against England. When Tony scored a double century in that match, the cricket-crazy country went berserk. Consequently, he was selected for the National Squad for the upcoming test series against Australia.
    He was called for the coaching camp at Patiala.
    When Tony came back home just before the Australian tour, he looked pale. After dinner, when the son confronted father in the quiet of the living room, when only the hooting of an owl could be heard from a nearby garden, the tension in the room was palpable.
    “ Why did you force me to play this anything but a gentleman’s game, when there were so many other options? I could have been the World Ludo Champion or a member of the Champion Kabaddi team. Why did you ask me to play cricket?”
    “I know why you’re worried, sonny. You’ve heard of their first bowler, Terrorwood. Leave that to me. You will be a sensation in Australia.”
    “How? This is not your country India, dad, where money rules. We were shown a video of Terrorwood making mincement of the English batters, on their home soil. England played a record 34 players in the series. 25 of them were retired hurt. Three of their top-notch batsmen have taken voluntary retirement from the game and reported reading ‘The Monk Who Sold Ferrari’, with the sole purpose of spending their lives with the monks at Shavana in the Himalayas. Why dad, why? Would you be happy arranging your son’s funeral before the tour is even over?”
    “Don’t talk like that, my son,” Lunatique quipped. ”You’re going to be the next star in the horizon. Have faith in me, sonny,” he quirked. But the vibrancy in his voice was gone and he looked hard-hit after his son had retired to his room. Lunatique made a long-distance call to someone in the hotel at Adelaide where the players were to stay for the first test. How Terrorwood withdrew moments before was the test was to start due to severe dysentery, shouldn’t be such a mystery when you learn what happened the next day after Lunatique had made the call.
    The broad-shouldered man opened the attachee and put the blank cheque forward. Lunatique could write out any amount, provided Tony got the golden duck in both the innings of the first two tests. He would be out clean bowled by the fifteen-year-old Australian pacer, Ride Luck. The grin on Lunatique’s face broadened after the visitor was gone. For the records, Tony got the golden ducks in the first two tests and was subsequently dropped from the national side and sent home.
    While seeing him off at the airport for his Bahama tour, Lunatique hugged him before whispering into his ear:
    “This is why I wanted you to be a cricketer, sonny. In this glorious game, you can have the cake and eat it too without toiling too hard. You played four balls and had forty millions deposited in your Swiss Bank account. That’s why I call this game – A Gentleman’s Game.”
    Lunatique was still waving as the flight took off.
    The end

    Reply
    • November 17, 2018 at 3:55 pm
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      Hi Rathin!
      Yes it definitely does meet the requirements perfectly and I must say I enjoyed it very much!

      Reply
      • November 17, 2018 at 4:13 pm
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        Thanks, Carrie, for being my friend. I’ve always been a selfish guy, I guess. That’s why I was so full of my own problems in my reply to your heartening comments. I forgot to tell you what a good writer you are, how very lucky is the one who has you as a friend, what a fantastic human being you are. Love you, dear friend. Take care. Stay blessed forever. Have a blissful day.

        Reply
        • November 26, 2018 at 8:33 pm
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          Rathin, Enjoyed reading your cricket story and the term ‘world ludo champion’. …Loved it. My world is crazy here right now
          .. don’t think I will be able to write this time. Take care. Happy holidays.

          Reply
          • November 27, 2018 at 2:37 am
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            Thank you, Anindita. I like writing when I am overcome with an insatiable. urge to write. Most of the times, I do the editing after I have cornered my story within the Comments Box. Naturally, mistakes in them are a part of my lot (does it make sense?).
            I am happy that you have liked my story. That means one thing – there aren’t too many mistakes. Otherwise, a purist like you, wouldn’t have let it go just like that.
            I’s hoping for another smasher from you, especially after the last one. Keep writing to fill our world with love, laughter and life.
            Take care. All the best.

          • November 27, 2018 at 5:23 pm
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            Dear Rathin, I am not so spontaneous in writing stories like you are. You are a born story teller. Then writing in English is another thing..I had been researching what bilingual writers have to say on this topic.I believe there are many many superb writers whose first language is not English…yet they have to follow the rules of the game, I mean grammar game…I didn’t say your story had no mistakes… editing and polishing is part of the process. Each time it shine a little bit more. But after reading a story if it brings a smile, a tear, I consider it is a pretty good story…in that sense yes I liked your cricket story.On the other hand a grammaticlly perfect story may not touch me at all and I may not give a damn. Lots of bokbok…do you write in Bengali, by the way? Take care. Anindita.

          • November 28, 2018 at 6:11 am
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            Daer Anindita,
            You touched a cord somewhere with your nice letter. Thank you for considering me to be a ‘born writer’, dear. To tell you truthfully, I would always tell stories to my nieces and nephews from very early on. I remember telling a story that I had modelled after ‘Thumbelina’ to my nephew. Come to think of it, he is a doctor settled in Washington today. I had enjoyed telling that story of a ‘One-Inch-Girl’ all made up in the spur of the moment.
            So, you may be right, but my problem has always been English. Even when I was working for a bilingual magazine published from Kolkata. The proprietor, a distant relative of mine, thought that I had a great future there. I enjoyed translating Ruskin Bond’s ‘Love Is A Sad Tale’ ( I may be wrong about the title here. Thirty years is a long time, dear friend) in Bengali running over thirty pages for the Puja Special.
            The fact is I have always enjoyed reading, writing and telling stories, not in that order though. I want to be remembered, Anindita, by posterity. I do hope that it is not asking much. What’s the point, purpose of someone so very little-known like me being sent to this world then? That some years. down the line someone, somewhere, while going through my story, will wipe away her tears with the back of her hand and a smile on her lips ( I can’t help thinking of Oscar Wild’s ‘The Nightingale and the Rose’ here)- is a dream that drives me on and on.
            Don’t take me for a big show-off, my friend. For I am not. I am a very emotional man. Talking about which reminds me of something you have written about yourself, that you are not a ‘spontaneous’ author. I beg to differ, Anindita. I have read some of your stories and I feel that they are straight from the heart. Such authors if I am not mistaken, are called spontaneous writers, aren’t they? You are a far better writer than I can ever aspire to be. Keep writing, dear, habitually, ritualistically.
            Take care and there is a lot of love to share.

    • November 19, 2018 at 4:27 pm
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      Hooo boy, I don’t know a damned thing about cricket, and I found all the terminology perfectly opaque and mystifying. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) I got the gist of the story, but not much more than that I’m afraid.

      Reply
    • December 1, 2018 at 9:09 am
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      So, the game wasn’t rigged, but the player was. It reminds me of the football (American) player who rose to stardom in the high school and college ranks and become a Top Ten pick of the NFL draft following his senior year in college. His name was Ryan Leaf and he was almost picked over Peyton Manning who went on to become what some consider to be the best quarterback of all time. Leaf was a total bust, in more ways than one. Signed to a huge contract he was a total failure. Nice story Rathin. By the way, Lunatique Centuryker may be the most original name ever used on a story on this site. Good touch.

      Reply
    • December 3, 2018 at 1:09 pm
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      I had to read this twice because I don’t understand the game so some of the terminology was confusing. I like the name Lunatique and the father’s flippant responses to the son. “The Monk Who Sold Ferrari” was a nice humorous touch. A very enjoyable read.

      Reply
  • November 18, 2018 at 10:35 am
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    TKO

    .
    (Seconds out – Round One)

    – I’m not sure if this is love at first sight. Does such a thing exist? Well, if it isn’t that, it’s something monumental. Instant intense infatuation or something. There she is, across the crowded room, and our eyes have met. And my heart has dropped to the pit of my stomach, hopped around there a bit, leapt into my throat, returned to its rightful place, and now it’s thumping away like a big bass drum. If I looked at it objectively, I’d say it’s bloody painful, but at the same time it’s an exquisite pain and a signal for action. So here goes.

    ~~~~~

    I don’t know what my groin is doing. Dancing? Just with a glance. How did I spot him here, in the dark, with all the commotion and flashing lights? It was meant to be? Do I really believe that? But why am I thinking so much? Get a grip, girl! Stop all this thinking. Do, for a change. Do! Hang on, though. He’s coming over. A tarantella down there now! Be still, my beating heart.

    .
    (Seconds out – Round Two)

    – “HI!”
    “WHAT? YOU’LL HAVE TO SPEAK UP! THE MUSIC!”
    – “WHAT?”
    “THE MUSIC!”
    – “I CAN’T HEAR YOU. THE MUSIC!”
    “LET’S GO OVER THERE.”

    […]

    “That’s better.”
    – “WHAT?”
    “I SAID THAT’S–“
    – “Just kidding. I’m Sean.”
    “Funny. Nice to meet you, Sean. I’m Marie.”
    – “Marie? French?”
    “My grandmother. And you’re Irish?”
    – “To be sure … no.”
    “Ha! You know, I couldn’t help …”
    – “Me neither. You have beautiful eyes.”
    “Thanks. But how did you know from across the room, and in the dark?”
    – “My eye radar.”
    “You have an eye radar?”
    – “Super-powerful. Top of the range.”
    “What are you? Some kind of android?”
    – “Only parts of me. More of a cyborg really.”
    “Which parts? If I may ask.”
    – “You may not … for now. Fancy a drink?”
    “Yeah could be. Do you want to go somewhere quieter?”
    – “Okay. There’s a wine bar down the street.”
    “I was thinking of somewhere quieter still.”
    – “Like where, for example?”
    “Like my place, for example?”
    – “Well, you’re not backward in coming forward, are you?”
    “Faint heart ne’er won fair … bloke with a nice face.”
    – “Oui, c’est moi, belle Marie.”
    “Is that French?”
    – “ ’O’ Level, Grade C, mademoiselle. So … your place then?”
    “Unless you–“
    – “No, no. Lead on, Macduff!”
    “I’ll just get my coat.”

    .
    (Seconds out – Round Three)

    That was … well. It’s like he knew every spot. Mmmm. I’m all aglow – from the tips of my toes to the tips of my split ends. How can two people, two strangers, work so perfectly together? At least … it was perfect for me. I wonder what he thinks. I can feel his heart pumping against my ear. Still rapid. And the rise and fall of his chest, like I’m floating on a gentle ocean. Bliss is what I’m feeling right now. But then the doubt. What next? What does this warm human being want of me? Just this? I hope not. I want to see him again. And do this again. And again. And again. Touch wood. Speaking of which …

    ~~~~~

    – Is it still here, the Earth? ‘Cos I thought it’d moved. I’m seeing little birdies, like in a Tom & Jerry film. This frail person, with her head on my chest … pure power. That thing about love at first sight … well, if it didn’t exist for me before, it does now. And that song, how does it go? “Marie Marie, oh with your eyes so blue, Marie Marie, I’ve got a crush on you, Marie Marie, I’m so …”. It could be the soundtrack for tonight. But now the doubt. What does she want? And what do I want? I’d like to stay here, warm, wanted momentarily. But this isn’t the real world. This is a kind of paradise. A kind of make-believe land of gentle valleys and silver rivers, and … hang on. Her hand. Again? Yes. Avec plaisir, ma petite.

    .
    (Seconds out – Round Four)

    “That was a good night, Sean, wasn’t it?”
    – “It was okay.”
    “Okay?!”
    – “Nah, just kidding. It was very good. Great. Fantastic, actually.”
    “I thought so– oh! Here comes my bus!”
    – “I’m going to take the tube.”
    “So …”
    – “So …”
    “I’ll see you around?”
    – “Not unless I see you first.”
    “Sean, seriously for a moment. I–”
    – “Me too.”
    “You do?!”
    – “Yes.”
    “Okay! So … you have my number.”
    – “I do. I’ll call, don’t worry.”
    “How do I know?”
    – “Because … how can I put it …? Well, it’s like this.”
    “Yes?”
    – “You, Marie … You. Knock. Me. Out.”

    .

    Reply
    • December 1, 2018 at 9:11 am
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      I have to agree with Ken. Smashingly good. As always. There are times, Phil, You. Knock. Me. Out. This is one of them.

      Reply
      • December 1, 2018 at 10:06 am
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        Thanks, Roy!

        Reply
    • December 3, 2018 at 12:46 pm
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      What a great story! I like how you have double meanings and took “Sports” to a personal level. The dialogue is so well written and real. That last line left me grinning like a romantic idiot. Simply loved it.

      Reply
      • December 4, 2018 at 3:41 pm
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        Thanks, swm! (we need to know your name! 😉 )

        Reply
    • December 3, 2018 at 11:29 pm
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      What an interesting way of dealing the topic of sport and I always like your lucid flow. But I am confused with the Second’s out round….thing. May be I am missing something. Also TKO ..I didn’t get it..I am really horrible with abbreviations.

      Overall I enjoyed reading it.

      Reply
      • December 4, 2018 at 3:06 pm
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        Got it. Total knock out…your story!!!

        Reply
        • December 4, 2018 at 3:13 pm
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          Technical Knock Out. Lots of reasons, but not from kitting him hard enough to knock him out, but maybe the referee thought he was in trouble and called the fight to prevent serious injury. That would be a TKO.

          Reply
          • December 4, 2018 at 3:19 pm
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            Anindita, I think Phil was being metaphorical in his writing. Using boxing as the analogy. My wife wouldn’t know either. It’s mostly a guy thing, and mostly, as far as I’m concerned about on par with Gladiators for as much sense as it makes. Boxing is simply stupid, along with MMA and don’t even get me started on Pro Wrestling and the idiocy that accompanies that.

        • December 4, 2018 at 3:40 pm
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          I’m glad, Anindita, and thanks (thanks to Roy, too, for stepping in).

          While I was reading your story, Anindita, I came across this definition for sport, which I found interesting … and it kind of relates to my story: “must involve physical exertion, competitiveness and show good camaraderie.” 😉

          Reply
          • December 4, 2018 at 4:35 pm
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            Yes! It qualifies indeed:)

  • November 19, 2018 at 4:22 pm
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    Smashingly good story Phil. Nifty composition, great, natural and clever dialogue, sex, double entendres, a happy ending. My question is, who finds out later on that they have an STD?

    Reply
    • December 1, 2018 at 10:08 am
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      Thanks, Ken. And in answer to your question – passion doesn’t mean irresponsibility … they were careful! 😉

      Reply
      • December 2, 2018 at 12:02 pm
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        I like that!

        Reply
  • November 20, 2018 at 8:09 am
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    Hi,
    Poetic Justice:
    Suneil came to our school in the ninth standard. Short, sturdy, with the face of a boxer – small eyes, sqare-jawed,you know all that, right? The only striking feature in his face was his sharp nose, which stood regally on the otherwise forgettable face.
    He spoke hesitantly and friends found him funny. But Deepak learnt it the hard way, not to mess around with him.
    We were playing football on the corridor of IX Block with a tennis ball. Deepak was standing near the closed door as the gollie at the other end. It was a fast paced match and dribbling past the last defender, someone passed the ball to Suneill. Suneil couldn’t get to the ball and collided with the onrushing keeper. Deepak in the pretext of clearing the ball, kicked Suneil on his abdomen. Suneil kept himself from falling by putting his arms around Deepak, straightened up and turned his head in a flash towards Deepak’s nose. The next moment we all were crowding round Deepak as blood came gushing out and down his white shirt.
    People at school started looking at Suneil a lot more respectfully from then on. Later, he caught the eye of a boxing coach and the rest, they say, is history. I met him a few years later in the market.
    “Suneil, yaar, we’re good friends, right?” I asked him, after we had ordered tea from a roadside stall. Suneil let out his familiar throaty groan, nodding.
    “Why don’t you teach me a few tricks of the trade so I learn about self-defense?” I remarked in a lighter vein.
    That day he told me two basic things about boxing. Now, I was never the observant type. Having sipped his tea, Suneil pointed to my nose.
    “You know, Ron, in boxing the first thing you have to sacrifice is your nose. I had mine broken by a pro, when we were practising.”
    It was only then that I looked at his nose, once the only prominent feature of his face. Gone was his regal nose, and in place there was a thickened, blunt nose.
    The next thing he talked about that day hovered around tactics.
    “You’ve heard of Cassius Clay, Ron? You know what made him special? His ability to roll his body on his feet. You know what I’m talking about? Okay, come to YMC this Saturday,. you may learn a thing or two about boxing…” said he flinging the empty mud cup in the nearby bin.
    Learn more than a thing or two I did that Saturday when Suneil made mockery of another state level boxer. Now, I detest this bloodcurdling, mercenary sports, where breaking bones brings sheer ecstacy to a lot of frenzied people. But as I saw Suneil in the third round, I knew why he was going to win the contest. His aged opponent was tiring as he sat at his corner of the ring with sweat dripping out his forehead.
    As the gong went, Suneil was there inside the ring.His opponent was a wee bit late getting on his feet. Suneil was brilliant. When his opponent came charging at him to narrow the points, Suneil didn’t even buck up. He stood his ground, dodged his head and blocked the upper cut with his joined gloves, blocking the punches and blows with incredible dexterity. The man mistaking Suneil’s eagerness to keep out of harm, came out with all guns blazing. He targeted Suneil’s face! The spectators, mostly supporting the oppoent, went wild. Suneil defty moved his head sideways, taking the man off guard. He came out with the counter as the punch landed on the nose. There was a disquiting sikence as the man stood on his legs swaying for a second or two before fallingl face forward. As the referee bending over the inert body, started counting till ten, Suneil removed his helmet to acknowledge the cheering crowd.

    Well, to cut a long story short, Suneil started making the headlines regularly from then on. He used the same tactics to win many more bouts and matches. He graduated from the SAF Games to the Asian Games in Tokyo to the Commonwealth Games in London to the Olympics in Russia. His tactics of not moving after or away from the opponent and holding his grounds, always paid him rich dividends. He entered the pre-quarter finals with ease and aplomb. His opponent in the pre-quarters was a hefty boxer from Cuba, known as the breeding ground of the best boxers of the world.
    The match was scheduked at 2.35 a.m. (IST). After the penultimate round the score was 9-7 in favour of the Cuban boxer. Though I must say that glued to my TV, I wasn’t the only viewer disappointed with the scores. Suneil was the one doing it all, jabbing, punching, cutting, hooking, and his opponent seemed to be having a torrid time blocking and trying to keep himself in one piece. As the gong was sounded, Suneil tried to tighten the straps of his helmet under his chin. He had to go all out, otherwise India’s hope of winning her first-ever Olympic boxing medal, would end in smoke. In the early hours of the morning, I found Suneil doing something I had never seen him doing before. Surprisingly, it was his Cuban opponent who was using the same tactics against Suneil. As Suneil went like a mad bull, his eyes bloodthirsty, his body withstanding the continuous pelting from his higher ranked opponent, the boxer just kept rolling his body in a circle, something I had seen Suneil do so many times earlier. Suneil’s ferocious side-cut, meanwhile, landed on the helmet. The Indians in the crowd, were chanting ‘Suneil’, ‘Suneil’ trying to egg him on. Like me, they were expecting Suneil to end the contest with a knockout punch.
    A knockout punch it turned out to be! As Suneil kept on hammering his rival with all those non-stop body blows, the Cuban looked deadly still as the referee tried to separate them. There were just 9 seconds left for the final round to be over. No sooner had the match resumed when Suneil went all out. His head completely uncovered, his right hand directed at the Cuban’s face. It was like watching a replay of one of those one-sided matches. Only this time the man employing the same tactics was the Cuban. He dodged away from the punch as Suneil came at him with a lethal left cut. The Cuban just backed his head, putting Suneil temporarily off balance. Then he aimed his punch to perfection as it hit Suneil hard on the mouth. A section of the stadium stood still as Suneil’s body reeled under the terrible contact against the ropes. He bent holding the rope to keep himself from going down. Then the Cuban came across to the ropes to finish the fight with one last punch aimed at his prized nose. Blood was gnashing out as the groggy Suneil fell flat on his belly. Someone lifted the Cuban boxer and threw the national flag around him. The Cuban supporters in the northern stand were dancing, crying hoarse in jubilation.

    Reply
    • November 27, 2018 at 2:35 am
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      That was a riveting story, Raff. Fabulous. It really drew me into it. Very entertaining and nicely done. You filled out your main character pretty well, but it didn’t translate into a lot of empathy. More empathy would be a good thing. Still, that’s really just a notion, it’s really quite good as it is. (Except for a few typos.)

      Okay, Now that I got that out of the way, can I make jokes now? There’s a lesson here. (Don’t fight Cubans.) And…. you can change your nose, or you can let others change your nose, but you should never let anything change your style. Unless your style is to lose. Then it’s okay.)

      I like your idea for the mind-reading story, absolutely. I have an idea that involves a beach ball and 80,000 people. (Actually, it’s a strange dream of mine, to conduct this huge psychic experiment.) BUT… and it’s a big but, I was thinking of writing a pep talk, a real one. (Without ‘The Gipper.’) Not corny, but real.

      On the other hand, a story about the Aztecs or the Inca’s, didn’t they engage in some crazy-assed life or death sport at the height of their empire? Written from the point of view of a reluctant participant perhaps, and his nemesis?

      It must be getting late cause I have my best ideas when I’m sleeping.

      Reply
      • November 27, 2018 at 5:54 am
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        Thanks, Ken. You gotcha all right, man. Never ever change your style. I am a huge fan of your writing style. Your inimitable, innovative style of writing is what defines you, gives you a distinct aura of your own.
        I like your story idea of the beach ball and 80,000 people. I have already started visualising those players, scantily-clad, bare-chested blondes. What is this sea of 80,000 (only?) people doing, by the way? You don’t mean to tell us that they are all involved in the game, do you? Anyway, hats off to you for such a novel idea. I can guarantee the smashing success of such a story right now. But the idea of the Ajtecs sounds even better. I had the good fortune of watching such a movie starring Salma Hayek or Something. And how do I tell you about the impact the ravishing beauty had on me? Every time I went out and chanced upon a lanky, slim, sledgy lady, I was fated to take her as the Ajtecan queen. It is really a wonder that I am still moving around in one piece!
        I have no time for the movies these days. I can’t even tell you the name of the last movie I watched.
        I am always taking a chance while writing to you, pal. This is my way of gaining confidence and staking a claim to fame, and perhaps, immorality.
        Happy that you liked my story. Is yours on the way?
        Love you, Ken. Take care.

        Reply
        • November 28, 2018 at 6:33 pm
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          Raff,
          You crack me up. ‘…scantily-clad, bare-chested blondes.’ Nice imagery which, for good or bad, I can’t seem to stop imagining. (I was thinking more of bundled up Wisconsonians in fur-lined caps and boots. But screw that, I like your idea better. If I add some oil and sweat to those blondes,,,, wow! What was my story about? Shit. Who cares.

          Clearly, you and I are the only ones using this site anymore. I don’t know where everyone else went. That’s because nobody tells me anything. So there’s no one else around, except Roy. Roy’s around. I can feel him. I can feel the power of The York. (May the York be with you.) Ever see a totem pole, Raff? All those faces piled one on top of the other? See that face at the bottom of the totem? The squashed face? That’s me, Raff. Bottom-of-the-totem-face. Anyway, since we’re the only two users, (except Roy, and Nam, and possibly Robt.) maybe you can help me with my story, Raff.

          Was it about football you ask? No, a psychic plastic surgeon that falls in love with a beach ball shaped Buddhist named Monksworth, Merle.
          “Merle’s the name ma’am. Merle Monksworth, at your slavic service, Miss Malisha.” Miss Malicia Moneyhunger. (Nope. I don’t like it. It’s too, weird.)
          How ‘bout this:

          She wrapped her sinuous arms around his leathery neck and (a nod to Nam here,) and squoze. (Past tense of squeeze.) She squoze till Merle started to see the darkness in his own prose. But before he pulled down the shade and turned out the light, he remembered her pretty face, her beautiful piercing eyes, her exquisitely sculptured jaw—and subsequently took his thumb and stuck it in one of her baby blue eyes until she screamed and released her hold on his neck. At which time he took a step back, heaving, staring in disbelief.

          Her pearly white smirk was alarmingly disarming.

          “Are you trying to kill me?” He gasped, taking another step backward.

          “Of course not,” she said, wide-eyed. “I missed you. I missed you somethin’ awful.”

          “I’ll bet,” Merle mumbled, fumbling around for a stick or a large rock.

          “What are you looking for?”

          He stopped in mid-search, staring in her direction. “A weapon.” Then she watched, faintly amused, as he resumed his clumsy and haphazard search.

          See now, what you don’t know yet, what I’m not telling you Raff, is that Malisha is a dragon. Now, I realize that this has nothing to do with sports, unless the dragon is trying out for the Olympics. The fire breathing competition. Okay, I can work with that. So, we have a dragon who’s trying to qualify for the Olympics. Merle’s her trainer? Maybe Merle is short for Merlin. I suppose if you were a dragon, you’d want a wizard for a trainer, wouldn’t you? Or am I jumping to conclusions?

          All this thinking is making me hungry.
          I’ll talk to you later, Raff.

          Reply
          • November 28, 2018 at 7:21 pm
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            I’m here!

            ….but it’s hunting season.
            🤷🦌

          • November 29, 2018 at 2:49 am
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            So first he (Merle) does an assessment. By tapping the dragon (in certain unmentionable places) this induces her to belch forth in three main ways. One long, straight ferocious blast of hell-fire fury, the second is an upward mushroom blast, and the third is a kind of side to side spray of total destruction. Merlin contemplated her pyrotechnic display at length, as did Ken, until Raffin interrupted him saying, “What’s the point, Ken? Why bother telling a story that we’ve all heard? We all know?”

            It’s true. We all knew the story, about the dragon that goes through an excruciating training program only to lose at the last minute to an electric eel. A dishonest electric eel at that. One that cheats… and we were all shocked.

            “But it doesn’t have to be that way, Raffin.” I countered. “Maybe the dragon roasts the eel this time, and she gets a medal for doing it. Hell, nobody likes that frickin’ eel anyway.”

            Meanwhile, Merlin, or Merle, as his friends call him, has chosen to ignore both Ken and Raffin, as they are ignoring him. Which wasn’t easy because he’s wearing a deep purple colored velvet robe that appeared to have real stars adorning its voluminous folds. They flicker and twinkle and occasionally one will shoot across his entire back or front and he has no idea it happened, but he’s smart enough to realize that regardless of some author’s whim or will, entering a dragon into the Olympics is a stupid idea. “I have a much more practical use for a dragon like you, Malisha.” He says.

            And she, Malisha Swann, replies. “Lie-kuh what?)

            ( Fill In The Blank.)

          • November 29, 2018 at 8:36 am
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            Okay, okay, Ken, I agree. Even if I am to be reborn for the next one hundred thousand years, I can never master your kind of imagination. There was a dragon and Merle or whatever his name might be, now from where did Raffin and Ken turn up? You mean to tell me they were there from the beginning of the story, sorry, history, sorry, the creation of the universe?
            Whatever it may be, pardner, you are a genius. I seriously mean it, buddy. Where do you get all your ideas from? I think you are wasting your time, writing for a two-penny, nonentity like me. What enormous genius! What revolutionary ideas. And not to forget your language, buddy. I can never praise your language adequately. Whether it’s a story, a piece of friendly advice, or an excerpt from a book, which most probably, will never see the light of the day ( which is very sad because each of the excerpts that I have read so far, is sheer masterclass).
            Anyway, Ken, I am not competent enough to comment on your story for the time being. I have already read them twice over two jugs of black coffee. Will read them a couple of times more before heaving a sigh of relief that I don’t need to read anything more tonight to improve my English.
            I sincerely hope that you are writing a story based on the current prompt. Anything from you is a good read.
            Take care. I won’t fail to comment on Melisa once I’ve taken a better grip on her. Till then, forgive my naivety and the defeatist mentality. My love for you keeps growing, buddy. Lucky, my wife is miles away from me.
            P.S: By the way, I’m thinking of giving up writing. What say you, Boss?

          • December 1, 2018 at 9:24 am
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            I kinda liked that ‘May the York be with you’ thing. It has a nice ring to it. And, yes, Ken, until they pry my keyboard out of my cold, dead hands, I will be around. Like a bad penny. This site is a pleasure for me to be involved in, and you, old buddy, are part of the reason i like writing on it and reading what you, and others like you write. Good bunch of writers on here, so let’s have a story from you. We already have Phil, RNB and Nam. i’m hoping for one from Alice and Carrie and Ilana and Adrienne and Robt. and some of the other writers we see occasionally. And, I hope Andy comes back soon. Now, I have some Christmas things to do this first day of December which involves going out into the freezing cold and possibly rain storm heading our way. Maybe the lights can wait … yeah, maybe they can. Think I’ll just stay inside and write some more.

    • December 1, 2018 at 9:17 am
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      (Hi, Rathin – I’m taking it that this is the story you’re going with?)

      I really like this. The description of the boxing match itself is really exciting – I was gunning for Suneil, but sadly, it was not to be. It was good how you introduced him at the start of the story and described how he got his reputation (two sports for the price of one!). I think that maybe there should be some kind of coda, showing how the result affects either Suneil or the narrator (their meeting is great, as is this line: “You know, Ron, in boxing the first thing you have to sacrifice is your nose.”) But it’s a good read all the same.

      Reply
    • December 4, 2018 at 9:52 pm
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      Beautiful Rathin.

      Great plot and character skeches..Your description of the match is vivid and engaging. Suneil’s picture is crisp and the story flowed.

      Break the nose, hmm!

      Couple of things I learned that I want to pass on to you, my fellow writer bhai..try to use active voice more than passive.. watch out for the word ‘was’ -I was told to improve writing.

      For example, instead of ‘as the gong was sounded’ try to rephrase it. Couple of typos like “scheduked’ need to be checked. Once I heard that a good writing must have any or all of the following three qualities: It should entertain the reader, educate and inspire. Your story definitely did the first two to me.

      .. Over all it tured out to be a very good story. Impressed:)

      Reply
      • December 4, 2018 at 10:26 pm
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        Dear Anindita,
        Thanks for all the advice. Problem is despite all our best intentions and endeavors, sometimes mistakes happen. I try correcting my students every time I find them making mistakes. So, you can imagine very well how alert I have to be always. There are exceptionally good students. A single mistake as the language teacher on your part, will make the world they have built around you, come crumbling down.
        Thanks for asking me to use the passive constructions less. I’ll try to keep that in mind.
        Recently I did a course on Script Writing and the Resource Teacher was very helpful with story writing and characterization.
        Anyway, I like your addressing me as ‘bhai’. Only a sister will have the best interests of her bhai at the back of her mind, always. Thank you again.
        Take care and try to take writing far more seriously than you seem to have done it so far. With love and best wishes.

        Reply
  • November 20, 2018 at 8:11 am
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    Dear Carrie,
    I don’t know if it is all right to try to write second story but as the topic is after my heart, I couldn’t resist the temptation.
    Love.

    Reply
    • November 20, 2018 at 8:47 am
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      That is absolutely fine, but the rules are the first story submitted is the one to be included in voting.
      If you would like the new one to be your submission I can delete the first story.
      Just let me know!

      Reply
      • November 20, 2018 at 10:46 am
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        Carrie,
        It’s very difficult for me to decide which of the two stories to keep and which one to be deleted. Truth is, despite the hastiness with which I write my stories generally, despite the innumerable mistakes I make – I try to write them with my heart. So each story occupies a place in my heart. I am sure that you understand the sentiment as a writer.
        So, will it be asking such a big favour if I leave the choice to you? You see, Carrie, I don’t expect to win until I get very serious about my writing. That will take donkey’s years. So, you delete one of the two stories, preferably the first one, as Ken couldn’t make much of the terminologies. And if Ken doesn’t, most others won’t (no offence meant to any of the contributors to this site).
        Sorry for the trouble. Take care and keep smiling, my friend.

        Reply
        • November 26, 2018 at 1:25 am
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          Raff,

          Most likely, only American’s will have difficulty understanding your story. American’s tend to be suspicious of tea and crickett. (Perhaps crumpets as well.) My favorite sport is football, and I seriously considered writing about it. I’ve been an avid fan of one team for over 50 years (one team) and some of the terminology is confusing to those who don’t follow it, (they don’t know their nose-guards from their tight-ends) and worse yet, many self-appointed aficionado’s have changed the terminology over the years.

          The secondary has become ‘the second level’,
          ‘isolating a defensive back’ is now ‘leaving him out on an island,’
          and ‘an open field tackle’ has become ‘tackling in space.’
          ‘Audibles’ have become ‘automatics.’ Or, ‘changing the play at the line of scrimmage.’ (It’s an audible!) Whereas: The quarterback has always ‘lined up under center.’ (Yes, under center. That means ‘above and behind the guy in front of him.) Under center. (Dudes.) When it starts out wrong, they never change it.
          Sometimes I sit there and wonder what kind of idiots they hire to cover these games.

          They show me close-ups of the Head Coach picking his nose while the two teams are trying to read each other’s formations and make adjustments before the play clock runs out. Then, when there’s a fight on the field, they point the camera at the fans as they don’t want to perpetuate the myth that football players lose their tempers and occasionally try to rip each others heads off. People are too delicate to see things like that, especially Americans. (Now, if they gave the football player’s guns… that would probably be acceptable to a small but clear majority.)

          Reply
          • November 26, 2018 at 5:13 am
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            Dear Ken,
            I had two more answerscripts to be evaluated before I thought of preparing for tomorrow. I am the ToSD (Teacher on Special Duty) tomorrow and as such, I’ve to conduct the Morning Assembly in that capacity. As the ToSD, I’m supposed to enlighten the gathering of the teachers and the taught. The fact is, our students are worried sick about the upcoming Board Exam and no one is going to care two hoots about my yawning talk (a case of transferred epithet).
            Anyway, as I was about to start checking the first paper, the mobile beeped. Your name cropped up on the screen. On clicking, I could also see ‘Raff’ a few lines below. I don’t know why I’ve come to like this new name so much. Gives me some kind of rough and tough image, something I could never be in life.
            I thought about writing a story on football based on the famous (infamous?) ‘Hand of God’ incident. But by then I’d already posted my second story. A third might have been a criminal offence for many. Besides, I was undecided whether to go for football or write a story on ‘Mind Game’, where the protagonist can read the minds of his close competitors amazingly well and makes all calculations and predictions wrong by casting his vote at the last moment,in favour of the one, who was sure to be relegated to the bottom by all and sundry. (I don’t know if I’m making sense but my mind is always full of such crap).
            I earnestly request you to finish writing your story by today itself and post it by tomorrow, if possible. I don’t know about others but I can tell you, buddy, judging from the terminologies you have used in your comment, it will be a marvel of some sort. I for one, will get to learn a templeful of terminologies. Ken, I read through yours twice and didn’t know what had hit me! If Americans are coining up with all these new terms every second day, what will happen to people like me? And to think, once I’d this overpowering desire to be a football commentator!
            By the way, I’ve just one friendly request, pardner. If you are serious about your story, please POST it as soon as it is ready.
            Keep reforming me and broadening my horizon. I wish I’d met you in the Stone Age, man. No one would have complained about my English by now!
            Take care. Love and best wishes.

          • November 29, 2018 at 1:08 pm
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            I have been fortunate to have visited both England and Australia, both of which play in the Cricket circuit with India and several other countries, such as New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and a few others. I had a chance to watch the ‘Tests’ as the call them. And, yes, Ken, they are confusing. I don’t fully understand it, and I really can’t give you details. I just know they have a pitcher (called a bowler – more on this in a minute) and he is the guy who throws the ball, and you have a batter and the same guy can stay and bat like friggin’ forever. They can score hundreds of runs before they get out (all kinds of complicated things happen here), but the important part is, a true Test is five days. And hundreds and hundreds of runs can be scored. And it can still end in a tie. Really.

            I found that I really had more fun watching soccer (OK OK football) players fall down and writhe in pain when accidentally grazed by a player’s jersey from the opposing team than watching cricket. Seeing the same guy day after day is rather boring, also.

            Anyway, the reason I mention all this is how I learned a lot about ‘sportsmanship’ from my Australian friends, and the way Cricket’s played in, as they put it, the Civilised World (spelled with an s on purpose). It seems in a Test of Cricket between the Aussies and the All Black (New Zealand) a few years back the test had gotten to the last day and the last inning and the Aussies were ahead by a few runs. It was the last at bat for the Aussies and all they needed to do was get an catch out to end the game. It’s a little used, and as I found out, a little known rule that you don’t have to throw the ball overhand. Normally, the ball is bounced in trying to get the batter to miss and then hit one or both of the wickets (those two sticks behind the batter). BUT, you don’t have to. If you bowl it in, the batter cannot possible hit it in the air and get enough points to end the game on the last out. So, the coach of the Aussies told his pitcher to bowl it. And he did. And New Zealand lost and Australia won.

            In a cry of “That isn’t cricket, old man”. the Australian fans went nuts and said the All Blacks lost because their own team didn’t give the All Blacks a chance to win. That their own team didn’t play fair. The Aussie coach ended up getting fired over it and the Aussie player was blackballed for doing it. After they told me the story I was pretty impressed, because I know that over here, if the rules state you can do something to determine the outcome, that’s exactly what will happen, good sportsmanship be hanged. Win at all costs. I’ve thought about this a lot and think maybe they are right. That we don’t play well with others and perhaps, we really aren’t part of the Civilised World as much as we think. Still, I can’t help but think, Go Bears! Go Fight Win

        • November 26, 2018 at 9:38 am
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          My apologies for seeing this so late my friend I’ve been on vacation all week!
          I will happily choose the one I like the best if you still want me to. 🙂

          Reply
          • November 26, 2018 at 10:54 am
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            Thanks, Carrie. I have the utmost confidence in you, your choice, your decision.. I am waiting with all eagerness to see which one of the two, gets your approval.
            Love you for being who you are. Take care and stay connected. Nothing but the very best for YOU.

          • November 27, 2018 at 5:51 am
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            Is it a coincident that you vacationed during deer season?

          • November 28, 2018 at 7:22 pm
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            I don’t believe in coincidences 🤣

  • November 22, 2018 at 10:26 pm
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    Generation Gap
    by Nam Raj Khatri
    Words: 1103)

    Mr. Khale made a partition in his own mind to make two people to be able to talk within the self. This was an easy way to live the elderly life. He was pondering and being involved in dialogue within the self.
    ‘Why there is the generation gap between parents and child? A child develops their mind with parents and the common environment with parents. I do not know where it goes wrong and becomes gap and children starts to say that thinking does not match, need does not match”
    “You may not have discerned. You are not with your children all the time. They obviously make a circle of their like-minded of their age. They have the chance to think differently than yours. Using your world as the base, they dissuade their way of thinking and move towards the new world. Gradually there develops a crack and eventually becomes a gap”
    “Yes, it is right. There has been a generation gap between your children and their children too. This is the natural process in the open society”
    “But I do not know why my grandchildren are close to me. He wants to remain with me, listen to me. There should have been more gap. Do the generation repeated in the third generation?”
    “It is matching of interest. Your children do not have time to listen to you and your children do not have time to satisfy the curiosity of your grandchildren. You have time and interest to satisfy them. Your brain cells are dying and their growing. It is the meeting point and there is matching somehow. It does not mean the generation gap. They also have their own world. ”

    As Mr. Ghale was engaged in discourse within self his grandson came back home after playing with friends. Mr. Ghale asked where you are from my boy.”
    “Play”
    “What play?”
    “Cricket”

    Sonu (name of grandson) continued, “Do you know grandfather, my friend Kale threw the cricket ball at very high. It collided with window glass of a house on the second floor. We were afraid. Hence we left the ground.”
    Mr. Gkale did not react anything. Mr. Ghale never reacts to Sonu negatively he waits for the situation for the answer that is why Sonu feels comfort and remains in touch with to his grandfather.
    Sonu continued, “What type of game you used to play when you were child like me, grandfather?”
    “There were many games. I will explain you one. First, you go to the kitchen and have some drinks. You may be tired. ”
    “Ok grandfather, I will come quickly”
    Mr. Ghale started to recall and did a rehearsal of the story to be able to explain to Sonu fluently and interestingly. There was confusion in some points, but he manipulated to make it complete and understandable.
    Sonu came back and said, “I am ready, grandfather,”
    “Ok, I will explain a game for you. It is called-Dandi Biyo”
    “There used to be two stick one long and one short. The long one is ‘Dandi’ that is about two feet long and half an inch round. The short one is ‘Biyo’ similar diameter but only six inches long. ‘Biyo’ is made sharp towards its two ends so that when it is placed on the plane land both tips remain above the ground. When we strike tips of ‘Biyo’ with tips of ‘Dandi’ in either side it jumps to the height. Depending upon its position and the way we strike it can take any height and any direction. The idea is when it jumps and fall back we need to lift it again by ‘Dandi’ before it falls on the ground. We can lift as many times, we can and each lift counts one score. If we fail to lift or touch while it is on the air, we quit our turn. However, if we are able to lift at least once and then it falls we can lift from the ground, striking on its tips as we do from the original point. Once one player quits his turn next player starts from the origin. Overall game quits when one of us make 100 points. Some time we fixed the game in terms of number turns. We never played in terms of time frame because we did not have a watch that time.

    One time what happened: I just touched the ‘Biyo’ and it fell. My friend Mr. Gore did not hear the sound and could not see the touch in the reflection of light. I started to continue ‘Biyo’ but he said that it was fall. I said no it was touch. He became angry and left the game.
    Sonu asked grandfather who was wrong.
    “Nobody was wrong. I was ok, and he was ok. It is called a misunderstanding. One of us could give up but none of us did so.
    What happened to your friendship?
    “Next day we became normal. We were very close friends.”

    I will tell you one more event. One day we decided to play with a different rule. In this rule, we need to send ‘Biyo’ as far as possible. Here, the score is counted in terms of distance traveled by ‘Biyo’ in terms of length of ‘Dandi’. Some children measure it so fast and make more count than actual. This shows the intention of a child. Some time with the intention of sending ‘Biyo’ to the large distance, we miss. Hence, there is a tradeoff between risk and opportunity. I made almost 100 ‘Dandi’ in my turn. When it was the turn of my friend, he wanted to throw the ‘Biyo’ to a more distance in a single turn. He struck the ‘Biyo’ with force and it went far away from the ground and fell below. I run in the direction and saw from the edge of the ground. I saw below a foot trail and a boy weeping with his hands on his face. I assumed that ‘Biyo’ collides to his face. With fear, I came back quickly and gestured to my friend to leave the ground. After then, I never played the ‘Dandi Biyo’
    Grandfather, you did a mistake. Why you left that boy in the bad situation to save yourself. What would happen if that were I?
    Mr. Ghale said ” I am sorry my boy”
    By the way, what would you do if that were your house, Mr. Ghale questioned.
    Sonu smiled with shame and his face turned innocent guilty. He did not answer anything.
    Mr. Ghale understood and smiled back.

    Reply
    • December 1, 2018 at 9:49 am
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      A very good story, Nam. The first section – when the grandfather has a dialogue with himself – is clever (maybe we could learn that it’s a dialogue with himself a little more subtly than in the first line, though?) The description of Dandi Biyo is clear … and it seems like a really fun game. And then at the end, there’s a nice little moral conundrum and play between grandfather and grandson. There are some issues of language (grammar and vocabulary), but they didn’t detract too much from the story – at least from my enjoyment of it.

      Reply
    • December 1, 2018 at 10:08 am
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      As Mr. Ghale was engaged in discourse within self his grandson came back home after playing with friends. Mr. Ghale asked where you are from my boy.”
      “Play”
      “What play?”
      “Cricket”

      If I understand this correctly, what you are saying is:
      Mr. Ghale asked “Where were you, my boy?”
      “Playing”
      “Playing what?”
      “Cricket.”

      Where you are from is generally used for asking origin, not where someone has been.

      Just trying to help out Nam. Nice story anyway, of turnabout and fairplay and all that. And, a learning lesson for both grandfather and grandson. Good imagination.

      Reply
    • December 3, 2018 at 11:46 pm
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      Nice! the way you explained generation gap and the reason why grandparents are closer than parents. The introduction of the game of dandi and biyo is also unique. Some places I had hard time understanding what your were trying to mean and felt the piece needs some editing work. One suggestion is using grammarly or similar softwares… It may take care of some basic ones. Anyway, enjoyed reading your piece. Thank you Nam.

      Reply
  • November 23, 2018 at 10:32 am
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    Just checking in to get comments when I realized I hadn’t seen any. Hope everyone who celebrates that sort of thing had a happy Thanksgiving. And for those of you that don’t, well. I hope you had a great day and are giving thanks anyway. Life is short, live it to the fullest.

    Reply
  • November 29, 2018 at 12:15 pm
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    Carrie and Alice, Thanks ladies for extending the contest for an extra week. Not that Thanksgiving and hunting season had anything to do with it, just sayin’ … Now, i can get a story in.

    Reply
    • November 29, 2018 at 1:32 pm
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      Of course not Roy 🙂 Glad the extension will give you time to get a story in.

      Reply
  • November 30, 2018 at 3:28 pm
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    Roy York, I had a lot of fun reading your Aussie vs All Blacks cricket stuff…it was hilarious the way you described and I know how the cricket fanatics would jump up and down. To tease my husband I read it to him….you can’t argue with them who think it ‘the Royal game’…the civiliSed people!

    Reply
    • November 30, 2018 at 9:26 pm
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      Thanks Anindita, I think this is the second thing you’ve read to your husband that i’ve done. Maybe he’ll like the one I’m about to post called The Shot. I’ll bet on it. It’s about sportsmanship, too. Sort of.

      Reply
      • November 30, 2018 at 11:30 pm
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        Ha ha…did I? Looking forward for your next one then.

        Reply
  • November 30, 2018 at 9:02 pm
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    Additional story: reward for the time extension

    Carrie left home with two children with a caretaker. She became engaged for thanksgiving festival for one week. The children remained with caretakers. The caretaker found a way to engage them in their own way with some toys. While children were engaged she started to watch her favorite sports Cricket on the television. Children were behind her in some corner. While she was fully absorbed in the match children exhausted with their interest with toys. They tried to find something else. Their eyes fall on television. Every time the there would be batting one child, Gina would think that ball is coming to her and would become scared and start weeping. Another child Cynthia would enjoy with the same. There were some differences in their development process that resulted in different perception and reactions. Combination of two voices ( weeping and laughing) would create the third voice that sounds like children playing in their own way to the caretaker. Hence, the caretaker was confident that kids are enjoying. (To be continued when Carrie comes back)

    Note: No need to vote for this story because the characters of this story have been already announced as the winner on the top of this page.

    Reply
  • November 30, 2018 at 9:31 pm
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    The Shot

    I was outside playing basketball with my son and some fathers and kids in the neighborhood when someone said, “Let’s play shirts and skins.” So we divided into equal teams and half of us removed our shirts to identify teammates as we played. As we were choosing up sides, my thoughts drifted to a game played many years before.

    I was 15, and it was hot and humid. There was Johnny Petrie, and me, along with Darrell Magnusson, and Richie Nelson. As we played several girls showed up.

    Rosemary Hayes was one of them and I’d had an eye on her since seventh grade. In fact, she was the first girl I ever kissed. It happened innocently enough about a year ago in a party game of ‘spin the bottle’, and to this day I think it was rigged, because she had her eye on me, too, as it turned out.

    She pointed at me as she spun the bottle and said, “Pucker up, sweet lips, ‘cause you’re mine”. Sure enough, the bottle stopped directly on me. I didn’t wince, but had misgivings about it, because I didn’t have the slightest idea how to kiss a girl on the lips. I quickly discovered it’s not like kissing your sister at all- not even close.

    I digress. We were taking a break, doing the usual, strutting around for the benefit of the girls, and talking a little louder, just to make sure they could hear the things we said that we truly believed were witty and clever. I eventually learned in biology that sort of behavior is in our genetic code. Just like birds that puff up and do their little mating dances; males of the human species exhibit the same rituals in their attempt to attract the opposite sex.

    Sally Farnsworth suggested that we all play a game of basketball. “You know.” she said. “We pick teams and just see what happens.”

    I thought Darrell was going to hurt himself laughing. He was doubled over, pointing at the girls, and trying to talk between giggles. “Yeah, right.” he said, “Like you know how to play basketball.”

    Sally got all indignant and crossed her arms and sniffed her disdain in general toward us, but Nancy Wunderlich stared at Darrell steely-eyed and said, “Play you a game of Horse – If I win, you gotta let us play – if you win, we’ll sit and watch you make fools out of yourselves trying to prove how good you are.”

    Darrell could play some mean basketball. He was a starter on the varsity team and the only sophomore playing on the team. The rest of us were on Junior Varsity, but Darrell had some skills. Everyone gasped at what Nancy had said, but Darrell just laughed. “There isn’t a chance on God’s green earth you can beat me in a game of basketball.”

    “I’m not gonna play you one on one,” she said. “I know I can’t beat you, but I can outshoot you. You’re just tall. The only shot you can make is a layup.”

    Man, you could have heard a pin drop. I swear to this day that Darrell’s jaw made a noise as it dropped in astonishment. “No,” he said. “I’m not gonna take advantage of a girl.”

    “That’s what I figured. You’re all mouth. I wouldn’t do it either if I was you. Tell you what, let’s make it easy. I’ll take one shot, if I don’t make it, game over. If I make it, you gotta shoot the same shot and make it. If you don’t, we all get to play.” Nancy smiled a sweet, innocent flash of teeth, and with a daring stare waited Darrell out, knowing he was about to break. It’s the old rule: first one to talk loses.

    Richie said, “C’mon Darrell, just take care of this so we can finish our game. You don’t think she can really beat you, do you?”

    Darrell didn’t say anything. He just threw the ball over to Nancy on one bounce. “Let’s see what you got.”

    Nancy caught the ball, tucked it under her arm and said, “Let me talk to my team mates.” She walked over and gathered the other girls around her. I wondered what she was telling them, because, every now and then, one of them would look over at us and laugh, then get back in their huddle. What could they do? This was all on Nancy.

    “Tell you what,” she said, “If I win, it will be boys against the girls. If you win, you guys can go back to your game. Deal?”

    Darrell looked at us looking for help. Johnny Petrie finally spoke up. “C’mon, get it on, I’d like to play some basketball. All this talking is wearing me out. Play or I’ll take the ball and go home.”

    Nancy walked over to the free throw line and stood there for a minute, bouncing the ball in a measured manner. It was obvious to everyone there she had picked up a basketball before. “Gimme a practice shot?”

    “No deal. Just shoot the friggin’ ball so we can get back to our game,” sighed an exasperated Darrell.

    Then Nancy flashed her famous smile and walked to the top of the free throw key. She stood there for a minute bouncing the ball, and you could see it was getting on Darrell’s nerves. Then, to our amazement, she turned around with her back to the goal and with a quick, two handed motion, threw the ball over her head toward the basket.

    Nothin’ but net as it went through the hoop. The swish of the cords in the net lingered in the air for a moment, and then we all cheered. “Wow,” said somebody – I think it was Darrell – but he denied it later.

    I picked up the basketball after it hit the ground and tossed it to Darrell. “Your shot,” I said. Darrell took the ball, and walked over to top of the key,

    “Just a second, Darrell. After you miss this shot, I want to make sure you know who you’re playing with. You guys can be ‘shirts’ and we’ll be ‘skins’.” And with that, she took off her top and unfastened her bra dropping them to the ground. She was nothing but ‘skin’ from the waist up. “It’s your shot,” she said.

    He stood there for a moment, like the rest of us, eyes locked on Nancy’s ample breasts; but everyone of us, especially Darrell, knew the game was over. He didn’t stand a chance. To our best recollection, Darrell’s ball didn’t even hit the backboard.

    None of us can swear to that, as none of us watched the shot. We tried to, but we just … couldn’t, if you know what I mean. No one took their eyes off Nancy. Jeez, she was healthy. We never did play the girls. We all just went home.

    Nancy Wunderlich probably made the best shot ever taken in a pick-up basketball game, and I was there to see it. I can’t even see a basketball without thinking about that shot. If you would have been there, you wouldn’t either.

    Reply
    • December 1, 2018 at 5:42 am
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      What a story, Roy! I am finally done with the corrections with all the answer scripts rolled and taped, marks entered and converted to the required percentage, ready to be handed over to the concerned class teachers. I thought I had earned myself a break. I have a book called ‘And the Mountains Echoed’ on a plastic chair beside my conjoined wooden cots. For some reason, I didn’t feel like reading it (though, let me tell you here, I am being increasingly fond of this Afgan-born-American-bred writer). What to do? What will bring some kinda peace to my restless soul? What about F2C? Despite the strenuous task of paper checking, I made it a point to go through ‘Hockey 101’, ‘TKO’ and ‘Generation Gap’. I found something missing in those stories. Even in Phil’s, to tell you honestly. So what do I do? How do I start my weekend on a happy, chillaxing note?
      Then I saw your post to Anindita telling her about what you felt would be another story worth reading to her husband too. And scrolling down, I came across your story almost immediately. I liked the look of the title ( though on second thought, I feel ‘The Show’ would have been a more appropriate title). I started reading casually at first. As the story progressed, I was brought back to those days when Sidney Seldom had just taken a hold on me with his ‘The Other Side of Midnight’. I found the book unputdownabke and unthrowoutable (?). You showed me once again the difference between a thinking writer and a plain writer. Your language is unbelievable. Your characterization of Darrel, Nancy and the company, simply outstanding. The ending is as perfect as it can be. In short, ‘The Shot’ has – what I found missing in the other stories including mine – the soul, the pull, the vibrant, bursting energy that takes a story a few notches above the mediocre stories, to make it a memorable one. (You know what I’m talking about here, right?)
      I liked the climax that you, as the author, wanted us to like. Nancy turning out to be the greatest distraction thereby ensuring that Darrel will fail to keep his eyes on any other target at that moment, and for a long time to come as well.
      Amazing, man. I won’t be wrong in commenting that you are writing some of the best stories of your life at present. Make hay, buddy, for you are going to leave something truly commendable for posterity.
      P.S: I wanted to thank you on the day of the Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, my knowledge about the subject is nil. So, I changed my mind. But in case you thought that you weren’t in my thought at that time, let me tell you, buddy, that you are always there 24×365. Thank you, buddy, for bring the best mentor I have ever had. I am not sure if I love or revere you more. Take care and keep penning such beauties for as long as you can.
      By the way, for how long can one cast one’s vote for the same author for the top place? What is the rule or whatever?

      Reply
      • December 1, 2018 at 8:58 am
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        Well, Rathin, you leave me breathless. Thank you for your more than kind words. My goal, of course, was to elicit exactly the response I received from you, so I guess I didn’t fall short.

        I went back through and saw a couple of things I could change, but all in all, I liked the story, too. All kinds of plot twists and dialogue filled my mind when writing this, but I tried to let each character behave as they will, kinda leave them in control. Even though I know I am the writer and they are but figments of my imagination. Or are they?

        I’m sure the girls will back me up on this, but you can vote for a single author as the winner as many times in a row as he/she is worthy of receiving such an honor. Ken, your old buddy, won it five times in a row once. There are people who drop out of competitions because they seldom win. On my end, those are the competitions I want to be in. I strive to learn what it is I need to do to become better at whatever it is. And, no matter what it is, I play to win, write to win, live to win. If I don’t win, I can live with myself knowing I gave it my best shot.

        I saw you recently tell Ken in a response a few days back that you were considering dropping out of writing altogether. I cannot advise you one way or the other, but to offer this: Why do you write? If it’s because you feel you have something that needs to be written, then by all means do so. Whether anyone else ever reads it should really not be your goal, but the fact you put it on paper or left it for posterity somehow. The artist Van Gogh never sold a painting in his lifetime, yet his paintings are some of the most revered in the world of art. The beauty in writing is in the eye of the beholder, and behold your own work. If it isn’t up to your standards, then rewrite it. Again, and again, and again, if necessary. That, my dear friend is how you become a better writer. Listen to people when they tell you how to improve it, (if you ask for that). You, and only you, have the ability to take or reject the advice. Write because you love it, write because you believe what you write is worthy of being written, and most of all, write for yourself. Please don’t write for me. Write for you.

        Reply
        • December 1, 2018 at 10:08 am
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          Thank you, Roy. Each of your posts/letters comes straight from the heart. I like them because of the pearls of wisdom they contain.
          I meant that, giving up writing, as a joke, Roy. Ken’s mastery of the language is so good that I am left ruing my English at times. But then Ken is not the only one, there are six or seven more contributing to this site itself? How do I ever outshine establish myself as a notable writer?
          Don’t you worry, buddy. I’ll keep on writing the way I’ve been doing it till now. Then one fine morning, things will change and the world will see the emergence of a great writer (Let me believe this even if others don’t).
          Take care and enjoy yourself.

          Reply
    • December 1, 2018 at 10:02 am
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      Terrific story, Roy. The opening is a perfect introduction to the story – the present day match a realistic trigger for those memories. I like the use of full names. The build-up to ‘that’ moment is very carefully established, providing suspense and anticipation. Then the ensuing action after the ‘reveal’ is quick and inevitable. This line had me lol-ing: “To our best recollection, Darrell’s ball didn’t even hit the backboard.” Great stuff!

      Reply
    • December 2, 2018 at 10:51 pm
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      Well I quite like your story, Roy. It’s damned clever and (as the English used to say) a little naughty. Personally, I would’ve (based on my memory of the good old days) I would’ve had the girl simply strip to her bra, (you must have run with a wild crowd because I grew up in the 60’s! Oh that’s right, I don’t remember any of it.) As it’s written, her actions are so startling, especially to the other characters, that they all go home instead of playing basketball. I’m not sure that that is realistic. (But since I don’t remember anything, as it turns out, I suppose this is all perfectly plausible.)

      That having been said, it’s still a great story, wonderfully creative with impeccably smooth and polished prose, flawless dialogue, a great ending and just all around brilliant writing, Roy (Nice job. I’m jealous.)

      Reply
      • December 3, 2018 at 11:39 am
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        Thanks, Ken. I felt it had to be all skin, as even in those days, or today for that matter, one can see girls in public in nothing more than a tube top, bikini top and so on. I felt it had to be startling (and we all really did play ‘shirts’ and ‘skins’ except the girls never played) to cause the reaction it got. I’ve got a back story about this that I’ll talk about in a future comment. Thanks for your continued support. Jealousy is such a nice word when used properly. Fits right in there with envy, as when I read almost every story entered on this site. ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’ is my most common thought.

        Reply
    • December 3, 2018 at 12:50 pm
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      Hilarious! I like the use of full names. When I first read “shirts and skins” it popped into my mind “what would happen if a girl wanted to play?” I like where you took it. It moved quickly and with the right amount of detail. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

      Reply
    • December 4, 2018 at 4:50 pm
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      What a story..gripping, sweet and naughty! Well done.

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    • December 4, 2018 at 5:09 pm
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      Quite a story… gripping, deliciously naughty and sweet. Well done.

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      • December 4, 2018 at 5:13 pm
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        Sorry, I was not sure if my first comment for SPORT by RM York was posted. So I repeated the same comment.

        Reply
  • December 1, 2018 at 9:56 am
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    Hey everybody! It’s Alice’s birthday today. Happy Birthday, Alice!! And many, many more. Enjoy the day.

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    • December 1, 2018 at 10:25 am
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      Hey, Alice. Happy Birthday to you. You have to be very close to me because you share your birthday with someone I adore, admire, and admonish at the slightest opportunity. She is none other than my sister.
      Have fun, enjoy the day to the fullest and stay blessed.
      P.S: Thanks to Roy too for the timely reminder.

      Reply
      • December 1, 2018 at 3:14 pm
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        Thank you so much Rathin! Happy birthday to your sister, she must be a wonderful person too 🙂

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    • December 2, 2018 at 12:05 pm
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      Happy birthday Alice.

      Reply
  • December 1, 2018 at 8:57 pm
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    The Coach – 1196 word count
    I felt the judgement burning a hole in my back. The fans were not happy. Join the club. This team sucks. The were stinking up the field more than usual. I didn’t make eye contact with the people in the stands I looked at the board as if the score would change by me glaring at it. Nope still three zip. The other team was kicking our asses.
    I took a deep breath and grabbed chalkboard to draw the next play. I wondered if I should even bother. They didn’t have the damn capacity to follow even the simplest plays. I paced back and forth as I yelled out instructions.
    “Tom, tighten up! Keep close to your man. Pick it up! Dennis, pass it!” I could see Dennis was looking to pass to Ryan who didn’t appear ready to receive. Dammit. He was too busy barreling through the other players, getting them out the way so Dennis could go for a goal. Dennis was in trouble and needed to pass. The man covering him was too good.
    It was this moment that the ape from The Warriors stole the ball. He moved like freaking Pele the way he swooped in. I didn’t see him coming. The silence from the crowd behind me told me they were holding their breath like me. The collective groan as the ball flew toward our goal was accurate. The ball floated through the air in slow motion. The ball defied our goalie and bashed into the back netting of the goal.
    “Dammit coach, what the hell are you doing out there?” I heard behind me. I chanted in my head, don’t turn around, don’t engage. The scoreboard displayed my shortcoming as a coach, four to zero. The ref finally blew his whistle. Time out. I knew my red face and bulging veins displayed my frame of mind; pissed.
    “Get over here you goddamn losers!” I yelled. I pointed to the chalkboard where I sketched the next play. The guys were tired and getting dejected. “Don’t let them in your heads. Ryan, you have got to pay attention to ball. Be ready to receive and take down the field at any time. Dennis, you are letting your man run you down. Come on, men! Get it together!” I knew I was supposed to encourage them as well as guide them, but damn. It’s like they didn’t care. My job was on the line! Ryan nodded and had the decency to acknowledge his mistake. Dennis looked clueless. If this were American football instead of soccer, I would wonder if he’d played too often without a helmet.
    The sun was setting and the autumn chill was making the wind feel like vaporized ice. Good, wake em up and keep them on alert. I looked over at the Warrior’s coach Kevin. Smug bastard. If it weren’t for his two top players that scoreboard would look different. He was praying they didn’t get injured. But an injury or two is exactly what I needed. I needed a break. Nothing life threatening, just large enough to take them out.
    “Go Ryan!” I heard someone yell. Yes!!! I watching Ryan moving the ball down the field, weaving in and out of the other players. I need this. He looked to his right and made a move to pass to Tim who was keeping pace and directly in line to receive. Just when he looked ready to pass, Ryan kicked the ball toward their goal going for a low aim to the left. I ran toward the other team’s goal as if I could help with my momentum. Their goalie dived for the ball his face a mask of determination. He missed the ball by mere inches. Score. Finally. The whistle sounded, and the guys came over. My smile sending the message of good job.
    I saw Kevin across the field yelling at his top player. I tried not to take joy in that. He was losing it.
    “Okay, Wildcats! Good job. We can still win this. We’re on the board now. Ryan good job with that fake. Tim great keeping pace with the ball.”
    “Sure coach, I’m feeling good. I can score this next period, I know it.”
    “Wait for your shot. You’ll know when it’s right. Keep doing what you’re doing.” I debated drawing another play on the chalkboard but decided not to. I could hear some grumbling behind me but I refused to pay attention. I knew that this game would make or break me. They were looking to replace me. I needed to prove I could take this team all the way. Our practices were brutal but proving effective. I was giving them team skills that would take them through life. You must be able to trust your fellow teammates, know they had your back like you had theirs. Use the strengths and recognize the weaknesses and adjust. I was confident that my guidance would win games and the decision makers.
    They ran back onto the field, energized and pumped up. Ryan stole the ball from their second-best player to the shock of everyone. He scored within a minute. The roar of the crowd was deafening. They were chanting now. This is what we needed. What every team needs. The roar of the crowd. I saw Tim subtlety shove a Warrior as he positioned himself near their goal. Ryan faked to his right and passed to Tim who smoothly scored another goal. The crowd was on their feet now. I could barely hear myself as I screamed out directions to Ryan and Dennis. I snuck a glance over my shoulder and saw smiles and cheering. Two more goals and my job would be secure.
    Both teams were playing like their very lives depended on winning this game. The ball seemed to fly from one end of the field to the other, passing between teams with no score. I glanced at the scoreboard timer. Only three minutes left in the game and we were still down by one. I looked behind me and saw Robert. He was there to watch me. I had not noticed him before.
    I heard a “noooo” and looked on the field. The top Warrior had the ball and was heading at top speed toward our goal. He took the shot and Ryan intercepted! My ears rang as the crowd yelled and Ryan raced down the field. His kick took him off his feet and he landed on his back, the ball flying in the air. We could tie it. The buzzer sounded as the ball flew over the goal and landed outside. We lost. Again.
    I kept my head up as my team walked off the field. They were happy it was over. Me too. They raced to grab water and orange slices as their parents congratulated them on a good game. Sure, everyone is a winner these days. I say whether you’re six or twenty six, you play to win. Maybe I’d be chosen as parent coach next season, maybe not. But my seven-year-old will be ready.
    “Dennis, grab the gear and let’s go. We practice this weekend.”

    Reply
    • December 1, 2018 at 11:02 pm
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      Nice story. I don’t know if football in America is called soccer or they are basically two different games altogether. Whatever it may be, I like this fast-paced, action-packed story. The sentences are short with the descriptions brisk and to the point.
      The characters of the Coach and Ryan are drawn as pragmatically as are the scores at the end. The story would have lost much of its charm if the scores were levelled or the match ended in a tie. The Coach looks real, life-like with his tension and the language used. Some sentences were just beyond me like: Nope, still three zip ( Does that mean three nil, like we say in football? Similarly, the first sentence of the next paragraph beginning with: I took a deep breath, grabbed chalkboard to draw the next play, was a bit ambiguous for me.
      I like the ending of the story with the coach asking his son to get ready for practice. That’s how it is with life. That’s how it should be. In spite of the all-consuming desire to win, the thing to remember is that we win some and lose some in the greatest game of all called, LIFE. It always pays if we learn to play it fair and square till the end (sorry, if I sound to be a bit philosophical here, mate). One last thing, I know the coach was frustrated, but when I came across the sentence that ‘the ape from the Warriors’, initially I got confused. Naming one or two opponent players might not have been a bad idea, Mr…( Sorry, what’s the name?)
      Welcome to our midst and all the best.

      Reply
      • December 2, 2018 at 10:10 am
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        Thank you very much for your feedback. I did indeed struggle with the exact lines and ideas you pointed out. Football and soccer are two completely different sports in America, and I wondered if that sentence was clear. I agree “three to zero” would have been more clear. This is the very first time I’ve posted any of my writing online as I thought it was time to stop forcing only my family to read it. I don’t know much about any sport since I don’t watch or play any, but I thought I’d give this a try when I stumbled onto this site. Coaches may not use chalkboards anymore. I should research a bit. After reading the winning entry for “Strange Things” (which I LOVED) I was inspired to try my hand at flash fiction. I like the different styles I see here as well as the constructive and respectful feedback posted. This is a good way for me to improve. I’m also glad you agree with my philosophical ideas behind this story. Much appreciated. Now I just need to figure out to vote for the other stories and characters I like…

        Reply
    • December 2, 2018 at 10:56 pm
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      Well, Mr. Wright. (If that’s your real name.) Excellent story. Quite a few typos. There’s one in the second sentence, for instance. (I hate it when that happens.)

      All kidding aside, this is a really wonderful tale. I hate soccer but was completely absorbed in your story, you provide a high level of excitement and I was drawn into the plot by my sympathy for the Coach, the main character. And when you realize he’s coaching six year-olds, the story is hilarious. “Get over here you goddamn losers!” I yelled. “Come on men! Get it together!”
      I mean honestly, this is brilliant.

      I’m not sure that the average reader will realize that fact though, even after they finish the story. (I didn’t. And I’m pretty average.) Perhaps you should introduce this circumstance gradually, or in three small bites, or don’t be so subtle with your reveal, because I missed it and only realized it when I read your follow up comment. That fact is the key to this story and the thing that makes it so special. So that information has to be successfully conveyed. (I’m not sure about this, and would hate to cause you to screw up a great story. So, you know, feel free to get a second opinion.)

      The writing is excellent though, in my opinion. (Except for the typos.) I would keep the line, ‘Nope still three zip.’ It’s very natural. Colloquial American.

      The use of the word ‘ape’ doesn’t work very well. Too vague. It made me wonder what you meant. Was the guy hairy? A hairy six-year-old? (Might I suggest wrecking ball? goon? hulk? nightmare? horse?) I would go for a word that conveys reckless connotations.

      All in all, a very enjoyable and creative story, man. Welcome to the group.

      Reply
      • December 3, 2018 at 12:16 pm
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        Thank you Ken. I like your comments and appreciate the feedback. You’re pretty funny. I have to agree that typos are unacceptable and I apologize. I rarely catch them when I reread (my mind just doesn’t see them) and I rely too heavily on auto-correct. Yeah, the “ape” just doesn’t work, you’re completely correct. maybe “show-off”? I did debate giving hints to the players’ age earlier but decided to try and save it for the last possible moment. Maybe it was too hidden and too close to the end. I don’t like soccer either. Or any sport really, so this was difficult. It’s actually Mrs. Wright 😉

        Reply
    • December 4, 2018 at 12:00 pm
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      Vivid description and nice ending. Enjoyed reading your story. Welcome to the group.

      Reply
      • December 4, 2018 at 3:50 pm
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        I love your story. I identify with Mrs. Sens completely (I took my doll playing very serious)! I like how the children playing with dolls is defined as sports and used in comparison with the men watching the game. Very nice! flow.

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      • December 4, 2018 at 4:00 pm
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        I enjoyed your story Anindita. I seem to be having a problem posting, so apologies if this is a repeat. I identify with Mrs. Sen completely. I took my doll playing very seriously. I like how you defined “sports” (I agree!) and how the children playing with the doll kinda mimicked the men watching football. Nice flow.

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    • December 4, 2018 at 2:53 pm
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      Hi, swm (?). You’ve written about a subject very close to my heart; unlike Ken, I’m passionate about football (your soccer), and this does a very good job of reproducing the excitement of a high-scoring game. They can be very low-scoring, of course (my team lost 1-0 at the weekend, the winning goal scored in added time, i.e. the 95th minute …). The hectic pace of your game in the story is very like the Japanese manga cartoon ‘Captain Tsubasa’, and it’s exciting for that. I’m very glad you didn’t have the narrator’s side winning with some miraculous last minute move – it’s good for the story that they lost. And the twist at the end is a delight. I’m not sure what causes the reversal of the result halfway through – perhaps there could have been a clearer trigger for that. And I’m not really sure how they talk about the game (‘soccer’) in the US; you say you’re not a fan of sport, and I feel that you’ve probably mixed up some terminology with other sports. But that doesn’t really matter; it’s a very enjoyable read.

      (Oh … and welcome!)

      Reply
      • December 4, 2018 at 3:33 pm
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        Thank you Phil. I’m sure I used terminology incorrectly. I need to improve my research when I no little to nothing on the subject! swm or Susan WM or just Susan is fine. Appreciate the feedback!

        Reply
    • December 4, 2018 at 3:21 pm
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      Hello SWright, my name is Alice and I’m one of the moderators here. How should I list your name on the voting page? SWright, Mac Wright, what name do you want to go by?

      Reply
      • December 4, 2018 at 3:28 pm
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        Hi Alice (and Happy belated birthday!). Susan WM is fine.

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        • December 5, 2018 at 7:27 pm
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          Thank you Susan, glad to have you here in our fine little group!

          Reply
  • December 2, 2018 at 11:08 am
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    swrightmac – Welcome to the site. Hope you stick around. Here’s what I liked about your story, It had a very crucial writing aspect nailed down very well. Misdirection that doesn’t seem like misdirection. You never at any moment gave away your ending. Maybe others figured it out before I did, but I don’t know how. It had the feel of a big time game with adults, or at least almost adults (high school – college) and the way the characters and the coach were portrayed was well done. There are some things that you could tighten up, but you’ll find out what they are as various people critique your work. It’s a very good story that could be written better which would make it excellent. Overall, a very good job for a first time and I encourage you to continue. A well written story will hold interest even if the plot is a bit weak. An excellent plot will suffer if the writing is a bit weak. While yours isn’t weak, I think it could be even better.

    Reply
    • December 2, 2018 at 12:31 pm
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      Thank you! I found it tricky not to give away the fact that these were six year olds and I’m sure it could be tightened a bit. I greatly appreciate the feedback.

      Reply
  • December 2, 2018 at 1:05 pm
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    I hope no one is offended by my lack of response to comments directed at me on the thread. In both cases, there was no reply arrow to post a response to the specific comments so I thought I’d just post my replies here, further down in the thread.

    To Raffin,

    I’m glad to hear that you’re not giving up on writing. I didn’t believe it for a second anyway. My inane comments and story ideas were as much designed to entertain as they were to provoke responses from the all too silent masses. (‘All mimsy were the borogroves’…I couldn’t help but ‘outgrabe.’)

    I’m sorry to say that I’ve forgone the idea of a sweaty, naked, battle of the psychic masses. Too boring. (Kind of like Cricket.) (Oops, did I say that out loud?)

    To Roy,

    The story of the Australian response to gamesmanship is refreshing. American’s are notoriously obsessed with winning, and keeping track of whose losing. When I was a kid, I was sometimes ostracized for excessive honesty on the field of play. I never forgot that it was just a game and wanted to win ‘fair and square.’ While my teammates invariably lied to get extra points, if the ball was out, I called it out. (The CIA and the Secret Service both rejected my application for just this reason! Along with my irredeemable stupidity, I suppose.)

    “Whose side are you on, Ken?”

    “Well, if you’re my teammate, I must be on the loser’s side…asshole.”

    Obviously I was also rude and obnoxious. (Some things never change.)

    Speaking of honesty, I only won four times in a row, Roy. Not five.

    Reply
    • December 2, 2018 at 2:42 pm
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      You probably should have won 5 in a row. I’m sure after awhile, no matter how good a story is, there will be those who vote for someone else just to see a different winner. That’s too bad, but I do understand human nature.

      Yeah, I was a lot like that, too. The only reason I wasn’t selected by the secret service is I don’t look good in sunglasses. Just one of those little things, I guess.

      I’ll be interested in your take on my story. I’ll be reading yours in a little while. I’m preoccupied with another project and want to devote my full attention to it.

      Reply
    • December 2, 2018 at 4:09 pm
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      Very believable story Mr. Cartisano. I am assuming it’s a true memory (or reasonably true – knowing your penchant for stretching the truth), because if it isn’t, you had me all the way. Well done, mate, well done. I got no critiques: nada, zip, nil, zilch, zero, cypher.

      Reply
  • December 2, 2018 at 1:16 pm
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    Twenty-nine Seconds.
    By Ken Cartisano
    WC – 1157

    Started in 1869 as a type of rugby between two rival schools, by the time I discovered College Football in 1962, it was already 94 years old. Colleges and universities were playing football for 50 years before the first professional league was created in its most rudimentary form.

    I will never forget my introduction to the sport, and how it came about.

    *******

    Home alone one Saturday afternoon, I turned on the TV out of boredom. A bunch of guys with numbers on their uniforms, smeared with mud and grass, stood facing each other on a churned up field at the center of a stadium filled with thousands of cheering spectators.

    As I watched and adjusted the volume, I learned that the score was tied, and there were only twenty-nine seconds left in the game, as indicated by a timer on the scoreboard.

    Twenty-nine seconds? What could happen in twenty-nine seconds? I pulled up a chair and sat down. I was ten years old and had never seen a football game before. Two announcers described the action as it happened on the field. “Both teams are lining up for what may be the last play of the game, Jim.”

    His colleague concurred. “Yep. It pretty much comes down to this last play, doesn’t it Bob?”

    A moment later the ball was ‘hiked’ and from a distant camera we could see one player defy the laws of nature and separate himself from the chaos; drifting backwards a few yards, he set his feet and threw this big, fat, oblong ball about 40 yards in the air. Which, incredibly, landed right in the arms of his teammate who was all alone on a dead run for the opponent’s goal. When he crossed the line he touched the ball to the ground before tossing it to the referee. The crowd erupted into near pandemonium as the scoreboard tacked on a six point lead for the home team.

    But the game wasn’t over yet. The clock still showed 20 seconds left, and after every touchdown, the scoring team is required to do a ‘point-after-touchdown-try.’ That’s what it’s called, or PAT for short. One guy holds the ball on the ground with his finger, while a teammate runs up and kicks the ball over everyone’s heads and thru the goal posts, while their opponents try to block the attempt and the kickers teammates try to block the blockers. A recipe for chaos, but the kick was good and the home team had a seven point advantage.

    After every touchdown, and this strange point-after-touchdown ritual, the announcer explained that the scoring team had to kick the ball off to their opponents, and proceeded to describe the action. “Myers puts his foot into the ball, sending Hopkins back to his own goal line. He fields the ball at the one—slips a tackle, then another. He’s got blockers, he’s going up the sideline, he’s got one man to beat! It’s Myers, the kicker. Myers’ll catch him. He’s got the angle. No, he missed! Hopkins is gone! He’s going all the way! He’s at the forty, the thirty, the twenty, the ten! Touchdown!”

    After several minutes of wild celebration from the visiting team’s players and fans, they were also required to do a point-after-touchdown-try, which turned out to be very important because even though they’d scored a touchdown worth six points, they were still one point behind. The jubilation paused and the crowd seemed to hold its breath as the ball was hiked, held, and the kick was made. The game was tied again.

    After yet another brief period of celebration, the two teams formed themselves into opposing lines on a field that was equal parts mud, clay and grass. They looked like weary survivors of a tremendous battle, most of which I had missed. Only ten seconds showed on the game clock as fans on both sides were chanting and shouting in an effort to drown each other out, and from some unseen section of the stadium the sounds of drums and music added to the cacophony. The scene was so deafening that the commentators had to yell at each other to be heard above the din.

    “Both teams are set for the kick-off, Jim. Remember, even if time runs out, the play is live until the ball is blown dead.”

    The crowd noise built to a crescendo as the kicker hit the ball with such force it sailed 65 yards and sent the receiver five yards deep into his own end zone to catch it. He tucked the ball under one arm, and then miraculously side-stepped, hopped, spun and ultimately raced 105 yards, the entire length of the football field, for the final winning touchdown. Time ran out with yet twenty yards to go, and as the player crossed the goal line he was engulfed by the crowd that was already streaming out of the stands and onto the field, surrounding the players of both teams.

    “Three touchdowns in twenty-nine seconds,” the announcers took turns shouting. “Three touchdowns in twenty-nine seconds! I just don’t believe it, Jim. Do you?”

    With my mouth open, I rose from my chair, took a step toward the TV, and dropped to one knee to be eye level with the TV screen as I watched groups of delirious fans tear the goal posts out of the ground and try to carry them up into the stands while the police stood nearby and did nothing.

    I don’t remember who those teams were, but that isn’t the point. The point is that, after that, every other sport seemed pretty tame by comparison.

    *******

    I told my best friend about it and his father, an avid fan, invited me to my first college football game a few weeks later. It was a mediocre team having an uninspiring season. My parents, neither of whom was interested in sports, gave me their blessing, and it was one of the most exciting evenings in my young life.

    I forgot to bring any money, and unable or unwilling to pay for my ticket, my friend’s father essentially lied about my age and conned our way past the ticket takers. It was an inauspicious but appropriate start to a life-long devotion to what became one of the game’s most notorious and arrogant teams. The Miami Hurricanes. The U.

    Suffice it to say that I’ve been an avid fan of college football now for 56 years. I love the sport. There’s nothing quite like it. The roar of the crowd, the bright team colors, the precision bands, the fireworks, the flags, the cheerleaders, the cannons, the smell of the grass, the shaking of the stands, the clash of the two teams on that opening kick…

    One might imagine how differently my life would have turned out if I hadn’t witnessed the last twenty-nine seconds of that first game.

    I can’t. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

    Reply
    • December 3, 2018 at 12:32 pm
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      Your story was more interesting and thrilling to me than any real football game I’ve watched on TV. Plus I understood the game more with your brief explanations. I could picture those plays and the language used painted it perfectly. After the 29 second game though, the story slowed down and I was waiting for another build up or big revelation. pretty funny how that guy refused to pay for you! It was a tidy wrap-up but maybe you could start by telling THAT you love the game with the roar of the crowd and bright team colors, and then the WHY. Just my thought. I really enjoyed this story and the way you write. it almost makes me want to watch a football game. I’m about to go back and look for your past stories purely for my entertainment.

      Reply
    • December 3, 2018 at 7:13 pm
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      Wonderful, Ken. Your Twenty Seconds kept me alert all along. Like they say..the moments are more crucial that the years. This childhood experience showed how it impacted you all your life. And more, you took the reader along in that ride. I enjoyed reading your piece. Description of the boy glued to the little black and white T.V., coming as close as possible..crisp, vivid imagery.

      Reply
    • December 4, 2018 at 3:14 pm
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      Hi, Ken … In my comment to swm (?), I mentioned that he/she had written about a subject close to my heart, and that you didn’t like it – football (your soccer). In fact, I don’t like the sport you’ve described (American football) because of its interruptions and brute force (although I admit it can be beautiful if a long pass from the quarterback finds its target). But this is to lead me up to saying that despite that, I loved the premise of your story: that 29 seconds of a game watched when you were 10 (is this true?) formed a passion that has lasted until today. I have a similar beginning for my passion for football (your soccer) – mine when I was six. You describe those 29 seconds so well (Did that actually happen? If so, I’m sure google would throw up who the teams were), and bring the story neatly to the conclusion and a very lovely last line. We have a famous quote by a club manager (coach) in England called Bill Shankly, who trained Liverpool FC in the 1960s. He said something along the lines of: “Some people think football [your soccer] is a matter of life and death. They’re wrong. It’s more important than that.” Our respective footballs seem to be, if not to such an extreme extent, something along those lines for us.

      I thoroughly enjoyed your story.

      Reply
  • December 3, 2018 at 1:07 am
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    Twenty Nine Seconds. What a way to start! What an apt title for a story that has class stamped all over it! It was a kinda hook that drew me straight away into the story. And I am commenting, mind you, buddy, after the third reading.
    What do/can I say about your language? ( Who am I to say anything on your language, by the way?) Where most people would have started with: ‘I was alone at home..’, you being who you are, show us what it means to be different. “Home alone one Saturday..”. Great way to begin a story with, mate.
    Goes without saying that I enjoyed every bit of it, despite my poor knowledge of soccer. Given a chance, I would have started the story in the reverse order though. Venturing a personal opinion. As the soccer match is the corner stone of the story and more interesting, I would have started with my introduction to college football first and proceeded to put forward the reason that implanted the fondness for the game for over 50 years – the devilish, delirious game watched in the last twenty seconds by a 10-year-old on what had been a thoroughly boring day till that moment of turning on the TV.
    I know most of the friends will not agree with me. So, don’t bother about my opinion, mate. What counts is what we have in the end – a rollicking, rocking and riveting story. You are a winner, partner, every time you put pen to paper. Good luck with your story. Happy days are here again.

    Reply
  • December 3, 2018 at 6:44 pm
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    Here is my story FAVORITE SPORT and now I am going to read all the amazing stories you posted.

    Favorite Sport 1047 words.

    Mr. Sen burst into a guffaw at the response of his newlywed bride.  He had asked what was her favorite sport and she answered, “Playing with dolls.”

    “Playing with dolls!” Mr. Sen after forty some years still can’t get over with it and often pulls her leg.  Like today, in front of a roomful of guests who have come to watch the Super Bowl game in their house, he brings it again.  

    The guests enjoy his humor.  Ruffalo takes out his smartphone and says, ” Let’s see what Google has to say.  Here, the definition of a sport is a game that must involve physical exertion, competitiveness and show good camaraderie. “

    Embarrassed, Mrs. Sen brings a tray full of buffalo chickens to change the subject. She found the recipe in the Sunday paper and like a typical American hostess wants to serve it instead of her usual samosas.

    Mrs. Sen is aware that American wives do take advantage of this Sunday to go out shopping. But she hates aimless shopping for things she doesn’t need. She rather enjoys the little stories that go around during the breaks.

    Mrs. Sen doesn’t understand this game of American football at all.  It is not the same football that she knew from her childhood.  They call that game soccer, here. But she can relate when Mr.Bose explains to Marco, their Brazilian neighbor, how passionate Bengalis are about football (not the American one), that his nephew is named after Pele.  People of Calcutta went crazy when Pele visited them in 1977.

    Mr. Sen adds that he read recently that a Bengali guy, a serious supporter of Massie just committed suicide when Massie lost this time.

    “Suicide?  Really?” Ruffalo becomes emotional.  He clucks touching his heart,
    “ Oh Massie!”

    “That’s called loyalty, the loyalty of fans.  Without them, you can’t have great players.” Mr.Sen comments passing and tossing another round of beers.

    Mrs. Sen feels the American football game confusing though her husband made several attempts to teach her.  He was quite an athlete in his salad days. The trophies on the mantel can vouch for that. Now resembling more Santa Claus he has taken the position of a self-appointed connoisseur and does not shy out in giving his opinions.  He tries to explain to her that this game is one of the most intelligent game in the universe and a quarterback, some Joe Montana or so might be one of most intelligent men in the whole world acquiring an amazing IQ. But Mrs. Sen can’t get it. What is so big about chasing a ball that looks not at all like a ball, is conical, rather comical.  The players chase each other until one pushes and knocks the opponent so hard that a stretcher has to come to rescue the injured fellow out of the playground. The players wear helmets with cages and paint their faces. Black marks smear their cheeks. Ugh!

    Right that very minute the familiar tune of the NFL Football match chimes.  The audience in the Sen resident find their respective spots on the sofas and are glued to the sixty-inch television.  Two sets of players arrive dramatically, some wearing red and gold. They are the 49ers and the other group wearing black and silver- the Raiders. Mr. Sen is a staunch 49 er supporter and expects his guests to be loyal like him too.

    Just then the doorbell rings.  Mr. Dishehara with his four-year-old son and a tray ful of sushi has come.  Mrs. Sen greets them with a big grin. Mr. Sen’s brows knit. The little boy is carrying a stuffed toy bear with Raider’s coat.  

    “The bad apple” he murmurs. Mrs. Sen. shushes him. She had pointed out earlier that no matter who they support it would be very impolite not inviting their Japanese neighbor, the Disheharas.

    Mr. Sen in his deep baritone voice hollers, “ Monica, your friend is here!”  and directs the little boy, Yolo to go upstairs to his granddaughter.

    The men stand up from their chairs exclaiming “ Touch down!”  and Mrs. Sen wonders what does the word ‘busted’ means that the commentators use so much.  Players gather every now and then and their coach gives them the strategy. ‘Conspiracy’ Mrs. Sen murmurs to herself.

    49ers are losing and the men are sighing like deflating balloons.  Ruffalo whispers to Dishehara, “ I think I’ll go for the Raiders from now on.”  Mr.Sen did hear it and gives him a dirty look.
    Dishehara brings the sushi tray, -“My wife made.”

    Ruffalo takes a bite and gives him a thumb up.

    “ You guys are amazing.  You, Japanese showed the world how to be a good sport. After losing against Belgium this time you wiped tears at the same time cleaned up the stadium, the locker room. Left ‘thank you’ notes!.”

    “ We’d have messed it up in anger.” Mr. Bose agrees.
    ***

    A huge commotion stirs up.  The two four-year-olds start running up and down. Monica chases Yolo trying to snatch his Raider bear. Yolo clutches it tightly to his bosom. “Mine” he cries.

    Yolo climbs up the sofa and leaps from there. The girl doesn’t let go. She does the same too. Their faces are beet red.  Monica screams, ” It’s mine now, That’s the rule. You played with my toys.”

    Yolo, in tears, sobs, “ But Raider bear is always mine. It’s my baby.”

    To ease the tension, Mr. Sen hands his grand daughter a similar bear wearing a 49er coat.  Monica throws it on the ground. “ I want the Raiders!”

    Dishehara feels confused and inadequate. His son darts and like a slippery eel manages to escape every time he tries to grab him.  In his unique accent, he breaks out:

    “Yolo, she is right. That’s the ru o doo playing.  You bring your tow from home, you share. Be a good spo.  Now go clean up.” The boy stood still looking at his father. Dishehara kneels down and whispers something in his ear in Japanese.  The boy hands the Raider bear to Monica. Ruffalo claps in excitement. 

    “ Bravo, Dishehara.  And Mrs. Sen, playing dolls should qualify as a sport from now on. We saw how much physical exertion and competitiveness it involves and how much sportsmanship too.”

    Reply
    • December 3, 2018 at 9:50 pm
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      Beautifully written, Anindita. You are going to change all my calculations, predictions again. More than the character of Mrs. Sen, I like the characters of Yolo and Monica.
      I have heard of soccer, but didn’t know a thing about the game. You have briefly given me an idea. Thanks for that.
      I like your idea of the ‘Playing Dolls’ very much. You may be surprised to hear that I spent my childhood, a lot of it playing dolls with my cousin sisters and all. Doesn’t mean that I didn’t play other sports and games though. I was so much into playing dolls that for a while I thought of writing a story called the Dark Room. It’s a game where the others have to hide at safe places from the one searching them. The excitement, fear, fun was unbelievable. That’s how I turned out to be, unbeknownst to most others, the naughty one.
      Anyway, I enjoyed your story a lot. Also reminded me of the days when I was the only one crying hoarse for Mohon Began, while the rest of my family would stand shocked, shaking their heads at the black sheep. Every single one of them was a staunch, die-hard East Bengal supporter!
      Those were the best days of my life.
      Keep writing, friend, for you write both beautifully and gracefully as well. Time for me to wind up as I have already used a lot of the school Wi-Fi connection.

      Reply
      • December 4, 2018 at 5:22 pm
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        Thank you, Rathin…Glad you liked it. You kind of inspired me this time to write. I thought I didn’t have enough time to cook up a story…but the extension and your nudge helped. Your sharing of Mohun Bagan and East Bengal bring back memories too. Now which story are you finally going by this time. I am still confused and the time for jugding is coming soon.

        Reply
        • December 4, 2018 at 9:27 pm
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          Does it really, my friend? I have always been a failure. So, it matters little to me if I am in the 4th or 5th place based on my story. A very ordinary person like me shouldn’t be crazy about awards and rewards. But you will be, among the Top-3. I spent a lot of time last night twisting and turning on bed making up my mind for the top-5.
          I am sad that I could have written at least two more stories in the time extended for the contest. But something was holding me back. The slow pace of everything around me was killing me. I need to find an outlet soon to vent out my frustration, if you know what I mean.
          Take care. You are one friend I wouldn’t like to lose for life. Good luck.

          Reply
          • December 4, 2018 at 10:12 pm
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            It does. Your second story is much better. I just sent the comment on that story, Rathin, while you were writing to me probably. You are a story teller but you hurry too much. Take time and edit your work before submitting. Write for the sake of good writing, not who judges what…and I know you have so many stories to tell the world. And you’ll make it.

            You know my father was a pretty well known Bengali writer, penned 140 books, several into movies… Narayan Sanyal. He told me one day- “You probably have one pixie dust of the blessing from the muse (ma Swaraswati), but that is only 1%, the rest of the 99% is hard work. DARN HARD work if you want to be known as a writer.” I am passing that to you. I believe that you have that tiny speck of bliss too but you got to work hard…we all do.

          • December 5, 2018 at 3:07 am
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            Dear Anindita,
            Earlier I tried sending a reply. It somehow got deleted. Anyway, I find it really hard to believe that you are the daughter of the creator of the great, Bengali fictional character, Tenida. Tenida along with Kiriti and Feluda, was my staple diet during the childhood days.

          • December 5, 2018 at 3:12 am
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            Sorry, something is wrong with my connection and the replies do not get posted the way I want them to be. I am also lucky to have your blessings. The words: You will make it, will act as a great boost and help me on. Take care. Stay blessed and all the best with your story.

          • December 5, 2018 at 3:32 am
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            Dear Anindita,
            Please forgive me. I have just come to find out my mistake. I got mixed up between your father ( I looked at his photo along with the details of his spouse and three children including you on Google. I must say he was an extremely handsome man) and the creator of Tenida, Narayan Gongopadhdhya. Sorry, please DON”T MIND. This is so like me. I am always in a hurry. I have this feeling that the world is moving ahead and I am being left behind. That there is so very little time left for me to do the catching up, to establish myself as a man of some worth. Forgive me, Didi. OK? Love you and regards.

          • December 5, 2018 at 10:39 am
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            You goofed again. That was Narayan Gangopadhya..the creater of Tenida indeed. My father was Narayan Sanyal. Aparupa Ajanta, Bishwas Ghatak, the Hindi movie Satyakam were his.

          • December 5, 2018 at 11:40 am
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            I am genuinely sorry, Anindita. I have heard about your late father. I think my late Ma was in the habit of asking me to borrow from our local library some of the books authored by him. The point is he is a familiar figure in most of the Bengali households even today.
            So, you see, you have it in your blood, genes, my dear Didi. All you need to do is to establish yourself a fairly competent writer (which you already are) as a prabasi bangali. I do not have the slightest doubt that you will keep on the family flag flying and try your level best to do justice to the memory of your father.
            I feel proud to have you as a sister cum well wisher in my life.
            Love and best wishes.

    • December 4, 2018 at 3:32 pm
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      That’s a lovely story, Anindita. I like how you’ve placed the characters in a milieu which really isn’t theirs, but they’re working hard to integrate. The dynamics of the room and the tensions in it are well described. The choice of using the present tense works well (with just a couple of lapses). There’s a nice closing of the circle – dolls > bears – and a nice moral with the way sport can bring people together (in theory!)

      Reply
    • December 5, 2018 at 7:05 pm
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      Anindita,

      This is a brilliant goddamned story.

      It demonstrates a keen understanding of human nature and interpersonal relations. And the ability to depict them with charm and brevity.

      In that respect your story is engaging and complex. There are numerous relationships at play here. Mr. Sen and his long-time, and pleasantly suffering spouse. Mr. Sen and his guests, Ruffalo, Marco and Mr. Bose. Then Mr. Dishehara arrives with his son, Yolo, who introduces us to Monica, the grandchild.

      There is tension between Mr. Sen and his wife, Mr. Sen and his guests, and between the two children. The concept of loyalty is broached and discussed by the participants even as the narrator/author defines the practical aspects of loyalty as demonstrated by her characters. (I think my brain just exploded.)

      Mr. Sen’s assumption that his guests will root for the ‘Niners’ is another level of detail that highlights the complexity of relationships, as well as the fact that they all do not, for clearly, Yolo’s toy bear indicates that Mr. Dishehara is a Raiders fan.

      On top of that, you have a Japanese man, a Bengali, a Brazilian and whatever the Sen’s are. This is a multi-national Super Bowl party.

      And I think my favorite aspect is that the narrator doesn’t know anything about American football, which makes it all that much more amusing as she makes various humorous observations, like: ‘The players wear helmets with cages and paint their faces.’

      All this and a moral, too.

      This is an impressive story because, without even knowing anything about football, you’ve created a scene full of rich and varied characters with conflicting feelings, emotions and beliefs, all swirling around and taking a back seat to something so obviously inane and superficial as a Super Bowl game. This is Brilliant!

      There are some minor errors.

      “Playing with dolls!” After forty some years Mr. Sen still can’t get over it, and often pulls her leg. Like today, in front of a roomful of guests who have come to watch the Super Bowl game, he brings it up again.

      ‘Buffalo chickens’ should be ‘buffalo wings.’

      She rather enjoys the little stories that go around during the commercials. (or commercial breaks.)

      ‘The audience in the Sen residence find their respective spots…’

      Amazing story, Anindita. The more I look at this story, the more I see.

      Reply
    • December 5, 2018 at 8:43 pm
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      Entertaining story, Anandita, VERY entertaining. I think a lot of American wives would have trouble telling the story as well as you told it. You threw in some neighborly stuff and sportsmanship as well. All in all, a well told story. I love the comment about bringing the buffalo chickens. I love malaprops and that was unintentionally excellent. Thank you for that. As Ken already explained, it’s buffalo wings (chicken wings). but you never say the chicken part. Although it is a chicken part – a wing. That was totally unintentional, too. Good job. But what is ru o doo playing? That was confusing. Or are there some typos there, such as bring your tow from home and be a good spo?

      Reply
  • December 5, 2018 at 3:22 pm
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    Hey writers, this story thread is now closed and it’s time to vote. Remember, you must vote in order for your story to qualify, and you can NOT vote for yourself. Thank you all for participating.

    Here’s the Voting Link: http://fiction.wwocz.net/blog/votingsports2018/

    Reply
  • December 5, 2018 at 5:02 pm
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    I must be honest with you guys and gals that commented on my story. ‘Twenty-nine Seconds.’ I wasn’t that happy with it. I was going to delete it but I’m glad I didn’t.

    Two readers, Raffin and Susan, suggested that the order of the story was backwards.
    I agree. The story is presented backwards. (Or the one section should have been cut altogether.) I’m not sure I would have figured that out without your feedback.

    Also, the ‘prologue’ is completely unnecessary and sterile. While the information is useful, it’s not crucial, (not to mention the tortured diction I used to deliver it.) It would have been better to have folded that info into the story somewhere along the way, or (better yet) deleted it altogether.

    The other problem was that I told the story from the point of view of an old man, now knowledgeable about the sport, recalling the moment. I wanted to tell the story from the point of view of a ten year old boy, but I didn’t realize this until 24 hours after I posted it.

    To Phil and Roy, (especially):
    Yes, the story is true, to the best of my recollection. I was indeed alone, so there’s no one to compare notes with, which is probably just as well.

    I did try to determine who these teams were, and to confirm the accuracy of my memory several times now, and haven’t been able to do so. It’s possible that this game simply hasn’t been digitized, or uploaded. or my memory is causing me to use the wrong search terms. While I remember certain critical aspects of that day, and that game, and the lasting effect it made—many of the details of that day had to be imagined, since they could not be truthfully recalled with any degree of accuracy. (My memory is pretty good, it really is, but it ain’t THAT good.)

    A year or two ago, I was reminiscing with my best friend about our halcyon days as young bachelor biker guys living a life of vice down in Miami, Florida. (I’m talking like, forty years ago.) I reminded him of the time he wrecked his red, 650 Kawasaki on the blind corner near my apartment in Ojus, and broke his tailbone. (I was not with him, but he got a ride back to my place afterwards.)

    He recalled the incident, but insisted that the bike he wrecked was a brown 750 Honda, he gashed his thumb, then rode back to HIS apartment, where I bandaged his thumb.

    I have three simple words to explain this phenomenon. ‘He, is wrong.’ He admitted he was wrong about the motorcycle, eventually. (Yes, he owned a brown Honda, at some point in time. I remember it.) And I would’ve remembered bandaging his thumb, instead, I distinctly remember that he was, to all outward appearances, fine. He just couldn’t sit down.

    Still, memories are subject to alteration over the years. I think presenting this with a more childlike narrative would’ve worked better, too. eliminating the hubris and gravity I seem to be imparting to the event. (Things that should be implied, if evident at all.)

    Anyway, I sure appreciate the feedback from you guys and gals. (You too, Anindita.) I can’t consider this story much of a contender for the contest, but it’s been a great learning experience.

    Reply
  • December 6, 2018 at 10:31 am
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    Just waiting on Robert’s votes. You have half an hour Mr. Emmett, or we move forward without you 🙂

    Reply

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