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tuzilla
Tuzilla  (Level: 133.9 - Posts: 3777)
Sat, 14th Mar '09 7:40 PM

SHORT STORY CONTEST -- VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE

SHORT STORY CONTEST #2

AND THUS I SERVED MY FRIEND

Story #1

My friend, think again when you send your nation’s sons into far-flung climes.
We four were all sons, adventurous souls in the brilliance of our youth.
A potential doctor, lawyer, writer and politician.
Proud to serve our new Queen and Empire prior to our university careers.

But now, my friend, we were in a sweltering desert port, amid a stinking clamour totally alien to our youthful suburban lives, arbitrarily attached to a force of men destined to travel far into the empty quarters.

And thus we came, they told us, to a border. But there was no line in the sands. No proud buildings, flags nor glorious presence of Empire.
Just our holes in the sand. On a patch of sand required, apparently, by others.

And so the others came.

Tribesmen, nomads, Bedu, shepherds, souk traders, patriots, revolutionaries, call them what you will.
But they came with guns and with hate in their hearts, for reasons of which we and they probably knew little.
Yet those reasons became ample for mutual slaughter.

My friend, do not read on if you cannot live with the images of screams, agony, blood, smashed limbs, torn heads, or simply the silent bodies now beside you. Do not continue if you cannot feel the tearing of smashed rock shrapnel through your legs, or the initial shocked nothingness of a bullet in your body.

But we had to continue, through the attacks and long after the attackers had fled. It was we who buried our dead.
And me, my friend, it was who buried my three good companions whose brilliant futures were suddenly no more.

My friend, we knew not those we had killed. We knew not who had killed ours.
That patch of sand was all. Apparently worthy of scores of anonymous lives on that day.
That patch of sand on a border still unmarked other than by blood. Between two desert states now long freely discarded by the Empire that previously demanded so much of its sons in its defence.
The doctor, lawyer and politician would never now serve in their careers. Others have unknowingly filled their places.
But this writer survived, and thus I served.

My friend, fifty years on to this very day, what are those three graves now worth?
A patch of sand now long lost to the winds?

Now fifty years on, do please think again when you send your nation’s sons into far-flung climes.
And, fifty years hence when I too will be gone, tell others this story.

Story #2
“As has already been said, we are all gathered here, today, thousands of miles from home, to honor the life and memory of our friend and co-worker Raymond J. Johnson Jr.,” I began the final segment of the eulogies with a sigh and a bowed head. “I knew Ray longer than most of us. He was one of the first people I met at Eunu-Vas after being hired. He was my boss, mentor and friend for over twenty-five years. Some of you have also known him as a boss or co-worker. Most of you probably met him for the first time nine months ago.

Ray was one of those rare individuals who never had a bad word to say about anyone. His comments, even when you screwed up big time, were constructive and well-intentioned. It is hard to imagine being able to put up with the pressures and stress of the many projects our department conceived, developed and managed without Ray at the helm.

It has been said about many that they would give you the shirt off their back, an arm or a leg, or a kidney if you needed one and they were a match. Ray would be embarrassed if that was the best he could do. He was one for always going the extra mile. He was a natural to be our leader over these past few months, and lead us well he did.

And now, in death, it goes without saying that Ray’s most fervent desire would be to keep on giving. Lord bless him for that. We should all be grateful to Ray by respecting that spirit of ultimate altruism. Now, it is getting late, and we have a beautiful meal prepared to honor the memory of Ray. So, let us sit down and enjoy our repast with stories and good memories. Amen.”

With that, everyone sat down at the makeshift table assembled from deck chairs and a table made from salvaged flotsam.

And thus, I served my friend.

Story #3

As my soon to be ex-wife sat down at what was to be our last meal together, I felt a little remorseful at what was about to unfold. Years ago, as no more than children, we had been inseparable. When friends joked that we were so close that we were beginning to resemble each other, we shared our secret smile to one another. “Well”, we laughed, “when you’re so hard-up you have to share clothes, what do you expect?”
Now, affluent and satisfied, our interests no longer married as they once had. As my love of cooking had grown (to match my waistline), so had her pursuit of a long ago youth. Invariably this resulted in the actual pursuit and seduction of the neighbourhood’s young bucks: her deserved nom de plume at the local bars was ‘Mrs. Robinson’.

I opened the oven door and resumed my basting. The rich aroma wafted from the kitchen in toward my wife. Smiling nervously, she asked if there were any chance of reconciliation. I shook my head and attempted an answering grin that fell just short. “There are some things that are unforgivable” I sighed, carrying the food through to the table. Starting to carve, I took great care not to slice into the divorce papers that I had placed inside. There would no point in such an operatic gesture if the things were scarred and unreadable. I noticed my face in the sheen of the knife.
“I could forgive you all those boys, pretty and pitiful as they are” I began, “But Nick…” My voice dwindled. She stared blankly up at me. “You must have known about Nick and I,” she countered, falteringly. “And anyway”, she continued with more than a trace of acidity, “Nick has gone”.

“But Nick”, I resumed, “to have been with Nick for all those years is unforgivable. You and Nick were my oldest and dearest friends. And your betrayal will not go unpunished.” The knife glinted suddenly in the late afternoon sun, obscuring my reflection and dazzling my vision.
I slid the dish across the table to her, the edge of the documents just noticeable. “What’s this?” she asked, pulling at the corner of the paper and mildly burning her fingers in the process.
“That my darling is our dissolution”, I intoned coldly, “yours, mine and Nick’s.”

I served my wife her last meal and the divorce papers; and thus I served my friend.


tuzilla
Tuzilla  (Level: 133.9 - Posts: 3777)
Sat, 14th Mar '09 7:41 PM

Story #4

My buddy and I were just waking to the second day of our vacation. We had sprung for a week at a resort in the Dominican Republic during our Christmas break. It promised to be a week of sun, sun and more sun with temperatures in the eighties. This was a great change from the single digits and mountains of snow we had left behind in Buffalo.
Each morning we planned to go down to the ocean for a morning dip and run on the beach. We had a standing tee time for 18 holes of golf at 9:30am. Then, we had use of a tennis court for an hour and a half at 5:00. Following dinner, we could party or whatever until time to hit the rack. Sailing, snorkeling, etc. could be worked in as well.
We hit the beach at 7:30am. After a refreshing swim, we started jogging down the beach. It was nearly deserted, except for a couple of old guys with metal detectors and a lady who was jogging with her dog.
We were just about to the turn around point when I spotted something poking up out of the sand. I stopped, thinking it was a conch shell, which would make a great souvenir, After a few quick scoops of the hand, I discovered it was not a shell, but an ornate, old bottle.
“Cool bottle,” I said to my friend.
“Ya, maybe it has a genie inside,” he snickered.
I spun it around a couple times and shook it. Then I pulled the stopper out of it, and I’ll be d***ed if a genie didn’t appear. He was all decked out like something out of a cartoon. I was scared, but wanted to laugh at the same time.
“I am the genie of the Caribbean,” he said. “You may have all your wishes for the rest of this week.”
“Right!” I snorted. “Then give me a million dollars.”
“POOF!” A million dollar appeared in front of me. My friend and I nearly passed out.
“Your wish is my command,” said the genie with a deep bow. “But you must know, these wishes only last the week. They will disappear when you leave.”
My buddy and I looked at each other like a couple of fools who had just fallen into a gold mine.
“I can live with that,” I said.
With that, the genie disappeared into the bottle. My Friend and I headed back to the resort for breakfast, too stunned for any real conversation, and not yet cognizant that we could have simply had the genie whip up a breakfast of our dreams.
The rest of the morning went pretty well as we adjusted to life with our own genie. We both scored 4 holes-in-one, and shot record book scores. We met a couple girls who were way out of our normal league, and we all shared lobster, scallops and jumbo shrimp accompanied by a bottomless bottle of 1959 Dom Perignon Rose.
Finally, we decided to have a little break from the hocus pocus and enjoy some tennis with our newfound girlfriends. After a quick set of mixed doubles, we decided to play guys against girls. I served up the first serve of the set. Brigitte returned it up the middle. My friend and I both moved to get it, and I ended up stroking him a pretty good lick in the back.
“D***!” he hollered at me, giving me an ‘I’d like to kick your butt’ look. “Do I look like a freaking tennis?”
“I wish you were a tennis ball”…POOF! “Oops,” I said.
I picked up my friend. The girls were too stunned to move.
And thus, I served my friend.

Story #5

I'm a chef. I don't have time to run a Michelin two-star restaurant and look after my wife and kids. Somerthing has to give -- recently my family has been complaining about my not being home.
When my friend Dick promised to look in on my wife I was happy; when I looked in through the window and saw them doing the spread eagle I was less happy. They did not see me; so I had a chance to plan my revenge --Voltaire says that is a dish best eaten cold; I'm not so sure.
I promised my wife a treat -- Lamb Amirstan. And thus I served my friend to my wife. And serve her right.

Story #6

I reached in and grabbed the yellow fuzzball, yanked him out, and put him in my lap. His adoring face beamed up at me, just like it always did when I was holding him. I began telling him all the events of the past day, all my thoughts, feelings, and fears. He didn't say anything in response; somewhere deep down, I knew he couldn't talk, but something inside me was just as confident that he understood like no one else could.

Finally, there was nothing more to say. I held him in my lap for a moment more, then stood up, grabbed my makeshift tennis racquet, and tossed my little confidant in the air.

And thus I served my friend.

(In later drafts of the "Cast Away" script, Wilson became a volleyball.)

Story #7

I had a deep, gnawing hunger. I hadn't fulfilled my most basic epigastric need in two and a half years. The need was all-encompassing and pervasive. I told my friend she needed to assist me in obtaining the food I had been craving for months now. The sweet, delectable morsel was one I could taste just by closing my eyes. And thus, I served my friend on a silver platter with fava beans and a nice Chianti and my epicurean dreams came true.

Story #8

"Nothings Sacred"

We started with soup and salad.
Then I served my friend, a cow named Molly, who had big brown eyes.
Her visa to India had been denied.


tuzilla
Tuzilla  (Level: 133.9 - Posts: 3777)
Sat, 14th Mar '09 7:41 PM

Story #9

“He lied to me AGAIN! If I ever talk to that lying, cheating skunk again, EVER, let alone give him another chance, lock me up and throw away the key!”

And thus, I served my friend.

As I listen to her scream and pound on the door, I wish I had asked for how long.

Story #10

Which ‘friend’?

“And, thus, I served, my friend."

I spoke the words furtively as I took the man’s money. We had made a deal and I eagerly took my payment for services I would provide later that day.

I placed the money into a small leather pouch and wrapped its tie around my belt. It would be safe there from any pickpockets or thieves who might be envious of the bag’s contents.

I slipped out the side door and scurried away from the city’s crowds who were excited from events of the past few days and rumors of more excitement to come.

“What foolish people they are,” I said aloud derisively.

How could they be so easily duped? Were they just followers, like sheep?

I should not judge them so harshly, though, for there was a time when I was like them. I, too, had followed. Not only followed, but held an office of importance in the following.

I wish I could say just when I began to see things differently. I guess I first sensed it when the others began questioning me about the way I was doing my job.

How dare they question me? Had I not proven my loyalty?

Maybe it was their distrust that led me to make the arrangements I did today.
Who knows what leads one to do what they do?

Perhaps it is the evil that lurks within each of us that gains control of our souls when we are not vigilant.

I reached our campsite at dusk. Everyone was silent as I approached. I turned to our leader, preparing to speak, but at that moment soldiers came marching in, entering the circle of my startled comrades.

Avoiding my leader’s gaze, I quickly kissed him on the cheek.

I turned and ran from the campsite, only looking back briefly to see the soldiers take our leader away.

I ran and ran into the darkness.

“Oh my God, what have I done?” I cried out into the night as the full impact of my actions overwhelmed me.

Consumed with guilt and anguish, I knew I could not live with this pain another moment.

A noose tight against my throat, I scornfully uttered similar words to those I had said earlier in the day, “Thus I have served my ‘friend’ – the evil one."

As I slid off the tree branch, 30 pieces of silver tumbled from my pouch to the ground.

Story #11

It was Papa Enzo who brought us together. We arrived at his restaurant, one by one, seeking employment, and in a sense, shelter.
Jeff was a sullen young man, displaying the forced bravado of one who had been repeatedly beat down and had finally had enough. Chloe resembled a young foal, all eyes and awkward gangly limbs, with the skittish nature of a creature constantly expecting reprimand from an angry hand. As for myself, my father had hung himself when I was a young boy, abandoning me to tend to my mother, a woman forever plagued by paranoid delusions. This had left me crippled by shyness, ignorant of the intricacies of normal social interaction.
We three were inseparable, sharing the bond of those well versed in the vernacular of life’s cruelties. Then Time and his callous helpmeet Circumstance stepped in. After graduation, Jeff and Chloe shook off the dust of small town life and escaped the demons of their youth, leaving me behind, still shackled to mine. Every night, the same plaintive query. “You won’t leave me, will you Danny?” Every night, the same response. “No Mother.”
It was Papa Enzo who brought us together. It was Papa Enzo who, in his passing, reunited us. I was touched and surprised when he bequeathed his restaurant to us in his will, even more so when Jeff and Chloe returned to accept his legacy.
The years away had been kind to them. An easy self assuredness had replaced the feigned confidence of Jeff’s youth. Chloe’s eyes, once rippled with anxiety, now reflected an unexpected serenity. Those eyes. They had crept into my dreams night after night. I had missed them both, of course, but Chloe’s absence filled me with a hollow longing I hadn’t anticipated.
It was only last night that I was again faced with the possibility of losing them both forever. Jeff had approached me long after the rest of the staff had left. It was then that he showed me the ring. Where did I fit into this new turn of events? Would there still be a place for me in their lives, more specifically, in Chloe’s? Two’s a crowd, but…
“As always, it smells like Heaven back here.”
“As always, you’re too kind.”
As always, the mere sight of Chloe makes my heart ache as if pierced by a hundred thorny barbs. I finger the ring box in my apron pocket. I will have to give her time, time to adjust to Jeff’s sudden disappearance, time to come to terms with the fact that he isn’t ever coming back. She is still so fragile. This tragedy will shatter her, but I will be there to gather the shards, and ever so carefully, piece them back together.
“Taste this. Tell me what you think.”
“What is it?”
“Tonight’s special, paella with house made sausage.”
“Danny, this sausage is brilliant. I’ve never tasted anything like it.”
And thus I served my friend.


tuzilla
Tuzilla  (Level: 133.9 - Posts: 3777)
Sat, 14th Mar '09 8:45 PM

VOTE BY POSTING TO THIS THREAD WITH THE NUMBER OF YOUR FAVORITE!! Thank you.

smoke
Smoke  (Level: 96.7 - Posts: 12009)
Sat, 14th Mar '09 8:51 PM

#1

sandracam
Sandracam  (Level: 149.3 - Posts: 4190)
Sat, 14th Mar '09 8:57 PM

#1 (copycat)

knerd
Knerd  (Level: 99.0 - Posts: 1141)
Sat, 14th Mar '09 9:34 PM

I am so impressed by the writing talents of my fellow Sploofusers - you all deserve recognition and praise for your wonderful efforts.

I am going to vote for #1 - it moved me.

crazy4games
Crazy4games  (Level: 123.0 - Posts: 1020)
Sat, 14th Mar '09 10:02 PM

Once again, all are terrific!

# 1

naomi4195
Naomi4195  (Level: 51.7 - Posts: 184)
Sat, 14th Mar '09 11:29 PM

All of these stories were great, and I can't believe I have to pick just one!!! I liked #1 for the feelings it brought on, but I am going to cast my vote for #3. I have to say I also enjoyed #4 because it made me laugh, but I am going to stick with #3.

luvnmexsun
Luvnmexsun  (Level: 147.4 - Posts: 711)
Sun, 15th Mar '09 12:08 AM

I was touched by #1 as well...and #4 was delightful.

My vote is for #8. I loved it.




cujgie
Cujgie  (Level: 173.4 - Posts: 754)
Sun, 15th Mar '09 1:26 AM

I thoroughly enjoyed reading each one. All were well-done, well-thought-out.

#1 has my vote, especially with a standing ovation for how he/she cleverly slipped in the required phrase:

"But this writer survived, and thus I served.

My friend, fifty years on to this very day, what are those three graves now worth? "

larefamiliaris
Larefamiliaris  (Level: 135.2 - Posts: 877)
Sun, 15th Mar '09 3:44 AM

1 was truly exceptional and will most likely be a deserved winner, but I'm voting for 8. Tickled me pink, so it did!

kimoira
Kimoira  (Level: 201.5 - Posts: 1190)
Sun, 15th Mar '09 7:13 AM

#2

pennwoman
Pennwoman  (Level: 154.7 - Posts: 2478)
Sun, 15th Mar '09 8:28 AM

Nicely done, all.

1

bbear
Bbear  (Level: 161.0 - Posts: 2301)
Sun, 15th Mar '09 10:18 AM

Loved them all - silly to heart-wrenching.

#1

foogs
Foogs  (Level: 267.4 - Posts: 848)
Sun, 15th Mar '09 12:23 PM

#3, with an additional bow to #1.

cjar855
Cjar855  (Level: 133.4 - Posts: 838)
Sun, 15th Mar '09 12:36 PM

All were great, but # 1. If I had a second choice it would be # 11

goddess28
Goddess28  (Level: 92.6 - Posts: 5236)
Sun, 15th Mar '09 12:59 PM

#3 is my first choice. Can I vote twice? If so, I choose #1 as well.

haydn
Haydn  (Level: 198.4 - Posts: 254)
Sun, 15th Mar '09 8:58 PM

Tough choice, but I really liked #1. Kudos to all!

tuzilla
Tuzilla  (Level: 133.9 - Posts: 3777)
Sun, 15th Mar '09 10:29 PM

Surreyman is running off with this one. While I recommend reading and enjoying all of them, I am declaring this over and him the winner.

Alan, send me the new theme line for contest #3.

Congrats!

chrondo
Chrondo  (Level: 90.9 - Posts: 31)
Mon, 16th Mar '09 1:11 AM

Three way tie: #1 #4 and #10

chickfbref1
Chickfbref1  (Level: 120.7 - Posts: 2012)
Mon, 16th Mar '09 2:55 AM

4


surreyman
Surreyman  (Level: 260.5 - Posts: 2770)
Mon, 16th Mar '09 6:30 AM

Ooooh oooooooh!
Thanks, voters.

OK.
The following words in the same order, however punctuated:

the flat mountain rose down to the sky

justsomeone
Justsomeone  (Level: 122.2 - Posts: 39)
Mon, 16th Mar '09 9:14 AM

Well done Surreyman. It was a good read.

I didn't get round to voting though. Was leaving it to enjoy reading through them all again.

It did remind me of Wilfred Owen which was maybe why I liked it so much.

A very evocative short story and a deserved winner - but with tough competition too.

surreyman
Surreyman  (Level: 260.5 - Posts: 2770)
Tue, 17th Mar '09 6:25 AM

OK, it's been suggested by a couple of PMs that my first suggestion for the next comp:

"the flat mountain rose down to the sky"

was a bit wacky! I just thought it might have set the literary juices flowing!

Here's another suggestion below. Tuz as Supremo to decide which to use ...

red, yellow and silver thus triumphed

sandracam
Sandracam  (Level: 149.3 - Posts: 4190)
Tue, 17th Mar '09 6:32 AM

not another thus

justsomeone
Justsomeone  (Level: 122.2 - Posts: 39)
Tue, 17th Mar '09 7:04 AM

I think the flat mountain one was ...interesting and challenging ...... rather than whacky


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