Kinda a rush, isn’t it?
I love seeing so many new people come to play. You guys make my Tuesdays!
Did you like the entries? I’m blown away, again, but so many of you. I’m not worthy. I’m not worthy.
Congrats to all of you! Now, did you see that Al has promised a free copy of In Memory of Greed to this week’s winner? Ain’t that great?
Al had this to say about his experience judging:
I’m composing this brief communique while sporting a splitting headache
I didn’t have at 1:30. Judging this competition was one of the most difficult
things I’ve done since formatting my book for the Kindle. I fought greed while
They were all excellent, but some went above and beyond, nailing the core
subject matter. Unfortunately, two stories were disqualified out of fairness to
all who participated…one for failure to use the actual word within the story, and
the other for coming in late. I’m totally impressed with the quality and diversity
of everyone’s writing, and though it was stressful to do so, I’m very glad Leah
gave me the opportunity to take part in this fabulous competition. Good luck
to the five finalists, and thank you all for taking part.
All the best, Al Boudreau
Get to reading the entries below, get to voting, send all your friends. Poll closes tomorrow morning at 8:55E and the winner is posted at 9:00. See you then!
His walls weren’t made of gold, and he didn’t have plush carpets on his floor, but I could feel the greed roll off him in sicknening waves. What he was greedy for went far beyond the realm of a deadly sin. And what made me angry is how he got away with it, until now. He could keep his greed hidden, at least to most normal people. Thankfully I wasn’t the least bit normal, and I could see the consequence of his greed floating around him. An aura of shadow, that moved like wisps of black smoke. They roiled around his head, wrapped around his arms and legs like cuddly creatures. That kind of thing only happened when you dabbled in things dark and dangerous. This guy was a poster child for it, but his reign of fame was over.
I leveled my crossbow over his chest, I had a great vantage point in the large tree over looking the back of his house. I just needed to wait for the right moment, I held my breath with my finger on the trigger. Finally he moved in just the right way and I took my shot. With a satisfying sound I watched the arrow break the glass of his window and hit his chest. I sat back in the tree and waited for the effect to start, it wasn’t a normal arrow mind you. It had been dipped in hellfire, and in just a moment the fat man with the taste for souls was going to be a pile of ash on his bedroom floor.
“He Slept On”
She dragged her fingers across the rough stubble of his cheek, greedy for the prickle against the grains of her fingerprints. She imagined the tiny, bending hairs were the tines of a kitchen scrub brush, souring out the crevasses between who she was, and who she wanted to be. She wanted his beard to make her vanish.
He slept on.
She wasn’t sure if she wanted him to wake, to grab her wrist and demand to know what she thought she was doing, to turn her over on the mattress and press his wet, angry mouth against hers. She wasn’t sure if she wanted him to sleep on, to be completely unaware, to be surprised when he woke in the morning to the empty sheets and the open window.
He slept on.
The breeze through the cracks in the frame called to her, enticing and fresh and free. Scented faintly with bread and streams and green. The ghosts of somewhere else. Where she could be someone else.
He slept on.
She looked at the tips of her fingers and yearned. The fingerprints were still there.
She was still who she was.
She lay back down and ignored the breeze, the promise, the cruelty. She ached for something new with every dead cell that sat on the surface of her skin, itching and white and cold.
Instead she closed her eyes and dreamt greedily of a better tomorrow.
He slept on.
There was not enough. Never enough.
An extra box of Pop Tarts became an extra case. A second pair of shoes at the same price became a stockroom in her closet. A second hammer, another set of spare tires, a set of guest towels became, over time, a mountain of stuff, rotting in piles across her lawn. Her home became a prison, so encumbered with THINGS that she could find no more room for herself. Or for Frank, who finally left when his pillow, his one sacrosanct spot of his own, disappeared beneath a down comforter, forever entombed in plastic wrap, a bargain so good she couldn’t pass it up.
She stood in front of the stove, boxes pushing at her from all sides, forgotten dusty bouquets of plastic flowers threatening to topple onto her at any moment.
She wrinkled her nose at the smell of the gas. She thought of last Sunday’s sermon, about greed, about the useless accumulation of things, about the better life that waited for her somewhere else.
She selected a matchbook from the overflowing ceramic bowl on what used to be her kitchen counter. “Antonio’s Pizza” read the matchbook cover. Frank took her there the night after he won a bowling trophy, a trophy that was now irretrievably buried in the detritus of her existence, in the neverending pile of goods she’d surrounded herself with.
Give away all you have. Give it away to the poor. She knew that’s what Jesus would want.
But that would be too hard.
She struck the match.
“Want to know what’s good?” Jill asked, sliding closer to me.
I sat my drink on the bar, paused for a beat, and said, “What?”
“More.” She turned to face me.
I faked a laugh and looked her in the eye. “You’re never satisfied are you?”
“Why be satisfied?” She waved two fingers and called over the guy behind the bar. She needed a refill.
“Because this is stupid.” I was watching the door in the reflection from the mirror behind the bar. I was expecting muscled-up company. We were sloppy. Working too fast. Doing this too often. Leaving too much behind. Creating a trail. The bell above the door rang as a pair of college girls giggled their way through.
She took a sip of her new drink and started talking again. “It’s not stupid. It’s profitable.” She tapped the front of my jacket and I felt the jewels in the inside pocket shift.
“Careful,” I said.
“Awww, you and careful.” She dropped from her stool and turned to face the door. “You need to loosen up, Thomas. You’ll have much more fun.”
“I’m not in this for fun. This is a job.”
“Not a legitimate one,” she said.
“Not in traditional terms,” I said. “But it’s not a game either.”
I kept and eye on the mirror and the front. Waiting. She was having fun and we were getting sloppy. It wouldn’t be long before the bell rang for us.
I sat down and sighed heavily while pulling out a journal. Today seemed a good a day as any to write. Before I could write anything, someone sat beside me.
I sighed. “Hey, John.”
John then frowned. “What’s going on?”
“It’s Dave. He’s…we had a fight.”
John frowned deeper. “Fight? About what? You guys have been fighting a lot lately.”
I looked down at my journal, not able to look at John.
He removed the journal from my hands so he could hold them. “What happened.”
“He’s just…John, he really doesn’t like you.”
Surprisingly, John didn’t looked shocked.
“Really. He doesn’t, John.”
“I know that,” John sighed. “What did you guys fight?”
“C’mon. Tell me.”
“He thinks there’s more going on between us.”
At this, John’s eyes opened slightly wider.
“John he thinks that us being so close, well…he thinks you feel more for me than just a friendship.”
John smiled slightly. “And, what do you think about that?”
I shrugged. “Well, we’re just friends. Always have been.”
“Yeah, we have, haven’t we?”
“And we’ll always be close.”
“That we will.”
“And, Dave just is seeing more than there really is. I mean, we’ll never-”
John leaned in quickly, and locked his lips to mine. He seemed to mold every inch of his body to mine, kissing me with more passion than I ever known from him. He seemed greedy, pulling me closer, not allowing me to push away.
Though, honestly, I was too shocked to do much of anything but…kiss him back.
When he finally pushed away, he said against my ear, “I’m absolutely crazy about you, Ash. Have never cared for any woman more. And, it’s killing me just being your friend. Killing me.”
“John,” my senses coming back, I tried to pull away.
“Ashley, please listen,” he tightened his hold. “Dave could never love you more. Could never appreciate you like I do. I’d give anything for just a chance to prove it to you.”
“John, we can’t.”
He huffed. “We can!” He grabbed my shoulders and shook me gently. “We can! Why aren’t we?”
“Because, I’m not free!”
“Then, free yourself.”
John looked down, anger vibrating through his body before his startling green eyes looked back at me. “What does Dave have that I don’t?”
I finally stood, since he wasn’t holding me anymore. “At the moment? Me.”
I left a shocked John to think of what I said, and to get a better grip on my own feelings.