Well, that was a lovely way to wet the new website’s head. As you’ll recall, this week’s prompt was this poor little creature:
As always, we asked for 250 word stories about him. And as always, you came up with all kinds of wonderful and ridiculous ways to do just that. We love you guys.
But pick a winner we must, and here those winners are:
RUNNER-UP: Ann Fielding
Furry Standard of Ur
Toddler likes toys he can run with or throw. Toddler will tolerate one mile in pram before he wants to get out. One mile if I walk briskly.
There are nine playgroups within one mile. Monday through Thursday have two each. Friday has the Children’s Centre. The Children’s Centre like parents (which means mothers) to interact with their children. They don’t like it if mothers text, or read, or huddle. I don’t much like the Children’s Centre, but it is Friday and the only other option is staying home and that isn’t an option.
There is a pink hobbyhorse at the Children’s Centre. Toddler can run with it. It is important that children learn to share. It is important that they do protodeclarative pointing (not just pointing because they want something) that they do not walk on tiptoes and that they are not afraid of the noises hand-driers make. Toddler passes the tests, but if one day he doesn’t it will be my fault and if it isn’t it will still be my sentence. Toddler won’t let go of the hobbyhorse today. He will cry if he has to leave it, but he should learn to share and anyway it isn’t ours.
I stand up and walk to the door. ‘Come on darling. Let’s go home.’ Toddler sits in pram holding the hobbyhorse like a standard until he has to point out a train. I slip it into the nearest bin and walk on.
‘Yes darling. Trains!’
WINNER: Dan Carpenter
He wouldn’t leave. It should have been obvious early on, when he hung the sign on the door: ‘No Hawkers, Trespassers, or Council Gits’.
The neighbours watched with increased curiosity as he barricaded his doors and windows, blockading them with wooden planks. They all talked about it, in the shops and pubs; “Have you seen what he did today? Only went and disconnected the doorbell. Took the knocker down too.” But for all of this, they saw him only as a quirk in the neighbourhood, something fun to talk about.
None of them expected him to amass an army.
The first troops showed up a week into the standoff. Neighbours awoke to find a perfect formation of garden gnomes standing on the trim grass, staring ahead, protecting the house. Each one equidistant from the other. If you were to walk by, their eyes would follow you. People passed by the house less often after that.
When the man from the council showed up, a few days later he was greeted by the knights; four bins, hobbyhorses sticking out from the opening, stood in the four corners of the front garden. The man from the council didn’t even deliver his letter.
He added castles made from the remnants of sheds, artillery from hacked up garden hoses, and then, one day a throne appeared.
A worn, teastained armchair sat on the porch. The army stood staring out at the neighbours who crept closer.
They all waited for their king.
Congratulations, Ann and Dan! Book-type prizes winging their way to you.
See you next Friday morning for a brand new prompt. Take care of your unicorns, y’all.
If it’s more writing competitions you’re after, and you can’t wait until Friday, you could also check out our Wednesday writing exercise for a bit of practice and productivity.