I always forget in between times how really hard it is to judge this thing. If you weren’t all such excellent writers it wouldn’t be like this, now would it? Inconsiderate, that’s what it is. 😉
So, having worked my butt off over this, here are the five finalists:
Now, give them some writerly love and give their entries a read and a vote for the best one. Poll’s at the bottom. Be back tomorrow morning at 9:00 EST to find out who WINS!
Look, I know you’ll think I’m crazy when I tell you this but my neighbors, the Petersen’s, are cannibals.
There. I said it.
We’ve gone through twelve mailmen since I moved here a year ago. Twelve. This is not a normal turnover rate.
Then there were the guys working on the Petersen’s house. Started out with ten workmen. Then it was five. One day, I heard a loud crash, a scream and then silence. The next day Mr. Petersen was finishing the work himself.
Still think I’m nuts?
The old lady, Mrs. Tyson, who lived on the other side of the Petersen’s disappeared one day. How many eighty-something-year-olds just disappear?
The cops looked for weeks and never found the old bat. Now her house is for sale.
When my mom was sick last week, the Petersen’s stopped by to wish her well. They brought meatloaf.
Mom, dad and my stupid sister loved it. I almost gagged and had to leave the room.
Now I’m told that I’ll be cutting the Petersen’s lawn this summer for ‘college money.’ I’m leaving this note on my Facebook page in case you never hear from me again.
And Mr. and Mrs. Petersen? If you’re reading this, I hear sixteen-year-old boys are tough and chewy. My sister, however, eats nothing but ice cream all day and I’ll bet she’d go nice with a crisp white wine.
“Crash ‘em in,” Jacob says with a smile. “Time’s up.”
“Crash? I think you mean CASH them in,” I correct. I always do that.
“I meant what I said. You in or what?”
I pass Jacob my tally sheet. The crisp paper nearly slices my finger off in the exchange. Gambling, it’s a real hazard. Jacob eyes my sheet for a second.
“You serious?” he grumbles.
“This ain’t a sheet. You barely got any kills.”
“Two kills,” I correct. I always do that.
“Two kills ain’t goin’ to win you shit.”
“Who says I’m done?” I pull out my .38 and press it to Jacob’s oblong skull.
“Who the fuck do you think you are?” The words are loud, thunderous even. Jacob wants to catch everyone’s attention. It works.
“I’m going to prove I’m the best killer here,” I whisper. The ends of my lips curl into a impish grin. I pull the trigger – down goes Jacob, down goes Kyle, down goes than presumptious fuck in the corner… What’s his name?
Doesn’t matter now.
The game’s over. I win.
Gambling. It’s a real hazard.
Air whirring past my ears,
falling fast, I heard no warnings,
I cared not for forecasts,
only his voice.
Such a searing sun on my skin,
kissing every inch,
seeking to know each crevice,
seeping into my darkness.
Flying, soaring, swooping,,
”hold my hand” I’d say,
he’d take it as we flew vertical
to the sun, the moon,
the stars our playground.
The crash carnage deep,
inevitable given the heights we’d flown.
Shattered limbs, splattered ruby patterns,
smeared in our own emotional viscera,
I see, know, love
& would crash eternally.
I had crashed the wedding, I know, but I hadn’t been able to help myself. The way his hazel eyes had meet mine, daring me to following him in to the room, the whole situation just seemed surreal. An out-of-body experience and I was walked up to stand behind him, waiting for a chance to introduce myself. He turned, raising a hand.
“Ah, here she is, my lovely date for the evening.” He said with a glimmer of amusement in his eye.
Startled, I remember blushing; I met his eyes before introducing myself to his friends.
“Hi, I’m Carolyn. Sorry, I know I’m not dressed right, I’m afraid the airline lost my luggage.”
It’s been three years now, and my husband’s friends still ask if I ever got my luggage back.
“This could happen to anyone,” I say as I struggle to hold the needle straight. “It doesn’t matter how poor or rich you are. Your skin color doesn’t matter. Addiction can grab anyone.”
The knock at the door grabs my attention. I’m crashing too hard. The sweat is building up on my forehead like a rock-slide.
“Yes?” I say. My hands won’t stop shaking.
The door opens. The well groomed lady seems more nervous than me. “They wanted you to know it starts in a few more minutes.”
“Thank you,” I say as the tip of the needle hovers above my vein. I glance up as the sleeve of her five hundred dollar business suit exits the room. I don’t need to be ashamed. I’m not alone, right?
I want to stand up. I want to throw this syringe out the window of my top floor penthouse. I can’t. Not because I don’t want to get rid of it. I lack the will. I’m a slave to this liquid. I don’t know how it happened. Wait, that’s not true. I do remember, it’s just a blurry memory.
This is the last time. It’s what I always tell myself, but this time I mean it. I just need it to get through this speech. No one understands my stress. No one is capable of grasping my responsibility. Well, except for my formers. We are on the brink of war. No one will deny me the help I need. Yes, that’s it. This is help. My help. One of my many advisors. I need advisors.
I feel the tip of the needle against my skin. I clinch my teeth. The tip presses down until it breaks the surface. I slide the needle deep into my vein. It doesn’t hurt anymore. I just don’t like watch it. I lower the plunger. Clarity is returning. I can do this now. Someone’s knocking at the door. The syringe is empty.
A man leans into my room. “We’re ready for you now, Mr. President.”