Firstly, a HUGE thanks to everyone who entered QuickFic today. You’re always wonderful, but today you really excelled yourselves. As your stories come in, we mark our favourites with stars – so we can whittle them down to the winners after the deadline has passed – and today the inbox looked like a beautiful galaxy of excellence. Great stuff.
Anyway, we do have to choose a winner, much as we’d just like to send ALL OF THE BOOKS to all of you. So here those winners are.
RUNNER-UP: Sharon Telfer
Sure, we had a helluva lot of jumpers. Soon as the market crashes, they start tumbling like ticker tape on Broadway. It don’t ever finish like in the movies, though. Laid-out neat and clean, like a baby in its crib. No sir. And it’s New York’s Finest hosing down the sidewalk.
Way I see it, they were suckers from the first pitch. Borrowing what they didn’t have to make money they couldn’t touch.
Me, I never believe what no one tells me, and only half of what I see. So, when the call comes, some guy’s hollering how he’s going to take a leap off the roof of the bank, I ain’t so sure he will.
Thing I always remember is, Pop taking me to see Houdini that day. Houdini trussed up like a turkey at Thanksgiving, Mrs Houdini running in for one long, last kiss. Three minutes later, he’s free as a bird, crowd going wild. Son, whispers Pop, all that wrigglin’ and twistin’, that’s just show. That kiss, that’s his wife slipping him the key.
The real jumpers, they don’t fuss. They don’t want no one to see. They’re too ashamed they fell for the trick.
So while everyone else is yelling at this guy, don’t jump, and secretly hoping he will, I’m looking down the alley. And that’s when I catch ‘em, sneaking out the back with bags full of honest people’s hard-earned cash.
Me, I’m a cop, see. New York’s Finest. I ain’t nobody’s fall guy.
RUNNER-UP: Judith Higgins
We train for this. I didn’t tell the wife the time I jumped from six storeys up. They had ten of them down there holding the Browder net – big guys, like me. Landed okay, although the tarp nearly touched the concrete. Afterwards, my insides were all shook-up for days even though Jimmy sneaked me a shot of moonshine before and a bottle to take home.
So I know what it’s like to be there staring down with all those faces looking up. Everyone silent, everyone hoping. She’s at seven storeys this one – but she’s a little thing, that big belly hanging out in front of her. Nobody says the word out loud, but there’s a whisper that travels like a wave through the crowd – pregnant, she’s pregnant.
Today, Jimmy gets the job of shouting up to her. His voice carries the best, makes the women feel safe. And we haven’t lost many, not this year.
“You can do it baby, you can do it sweetheart, you can do it, darling.’ He sounds as if he’s her fella. It often works.
She’ll have to jump soon – smoke’s pouring out around her. I can just make out the high treble of her scream through the crack and hiss of the flames. She shifts towards the edge. Knees bent, braced ready, I will myself not to close my eyes. It’s a reflex. Everybody does it.
But we have to look, we all have to see them, falling, falling.
WINNER: Catherine O’Sullivan
Tuesday 6th March
I’m in love!
It’s very exciting. I wonder if people can tell? I feel like there’s bits of light streaming out of me, party-popper style. I’m surprised dad hasn’t noticed anything. I want to say her name all the time. I keep just saying “Oh this girl at school” or “Someone I know”. Her name sounds like magic.
Mr. Devlin is out today so we have a free period. I’m supposed to be revising. I’m writing this instead. I’m trying to frown and look serious like I’m writing down facts about glacial erosion, but this silly smile keeps escaping.
There’s about ten minutes til the end of the school day and then I’m going to tell her.
Is that mad?!
I’m going to.
(It might be mad.)
If I decide to get some chips on the way home from school then I can walk with her down towards town. I’ll tell her then. I’ll say it. I’ll say “Beth, I love you.”
I overheard Sarah say that she heard that Beth has a crush on someone in our class.
It’s loads of effort to not just keep looking at her right now. That’s why I’m writing so much. I can sense her though. If I unfocus my eye a little bit I can see her ponytail out of the corner of my eye. Beth! I love that ponytail.
There’s the bell.
Congratulations Sharon, Judith and Catherine! And thanks to all the rest of you brilliant lot.
See you next week!