1. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Contest Winner! Congratulations Wayjor Frippery for "Acrostic" Contest #191

    Discussion in 'Bi-Weekly Short Story Contest Archives' started by Wreybies, Jun 24, 2016.

    Short Story Contest #191 "Acrostic"

    Congratulations to @Wayjor Frippery for this, his first win with his entry "Minghy and Moo and the Pleading Acrostic".
     
  2. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    Minghy and Moo and the Pleading Acrostic [1385 words]

    Minghy’s green little gnome fingers danced over the printing press. Words flowed like water from a broken dam, which was fine if you were thirsty but terrible if your house was in the valley.

    ‘I heard that!’ Minghy cried. ‘Keep your authorial voice out of this. I’m busy!’

    Fine, typed the author, but you won’t get far without me.

    Minghy ignored this and carried on setting letters on the press. She was enjoying herself. The sun was shining, the valley was lush, the words were good, and she secretly didn’t mind the author’s presence. Some of the other gnomes pretended the author didn’t exist, that all the words were their own, but Minghy didn’t. Really, she didn’t.

    Minghy raised an eyebrow, said nothing, fingers and type a blur.

    Moo, the foreman, lumbered into the story space. Sweat speckled his high green brow and fishy odours leaked from his armpits.

    Minghy mumbled, ‘Author, give me strength!’

    Now now, Minghy, none of that. Today you’ll work with Moo. You have clashing personalities. It’ll make good conflict. Trust me.

    Minghy pursed her lips and concentrated on the type. She took out an F and a U.

    Moo’s odour engulfed her.

    ‘’Ello Minghy, darlin’. How be you today?’ He didn’t wait for an answer. ‘There’s a new competition. Theme’s “Acrostic”. Sounds pretentious to me. Author’s gettin’ delusions of grandeur.’ He paused and looked at the sky. No thunderbolt came. Moo grinned open-mouthed. Smells of stale egg and bile mingled with the wafting fish.

    ‘Look it up in the dictionarium, eh, Minghy?’ Moo scratched his groin. ‘”Acrostic” Whatever next? It’s a writing forum not a bleedin’ university. Author’ll be tryin’ poetry next. Then where will we be? Eh?’

    Minghy thought poetry was nice. Some of it, anyway. She wasn’t sure about the existential stuff, but a good rhyme made her laugh.

    The dictionarium sat on its alter above the presses, vellum pages glossy from use. Minghy rifled the A’s until she found ‘Acrostic’.

    ‘It says an acrostic is a poem, word puzzle, or other composition in which certain letters in each line form a word or words.’

    ‘Well,’ said Moo. He scratched an armpit, smelled his fingers. ‘Best get on with it, s’pose.’

    ‘Structure?’ said Minghy, hopefully.

    ‘Same as always, Minghy girl. Author only knows one. That rubbish from Save the Cat – three acts, fifteen beats. It’s all we’ve got to work with, me darlin’’.

    Minghy wove her fingers together. Her fingertips were black with ink.

    ‘Opening image,’ said Moo, using his conference voice, ‘what’ll it be?’

    Minghy held her stubby hands above the letter cases, ready to feed the press.

    Ideas began form.

    (God, this is painful.)

    ‘Opening image,’ said Minghy, eyes squeezed shut. Her fingers began to fly. ‘It’s a man. A man reading a newspaper.’

    Moo belched. ‘Acrostic! Not crossword, girl!’ He wiped away the spittle with the back of his hand.

    ‘But the man is thinking about acrostics. He’s going to write one. Write one for… for… for his wife!’

    ‘Like it. Go on. Theme stated and set-up next, then catalyst.’

    ‘Theme is… lost love! Set-up is man alone, wife estranged. Catalyst is his idea to write to her, inspired by the crossword.’ Minghy bounced with happiness.

    ‘Debate?’

    ‘Can he do it… write it? Does he have it in him? Where will he put the hidden message?’

    Moo scowled. Deep thought ensued, and more smelling of fingers.

    ‘At the end,’ he said. ‘Last lines, first letter of each line. Keep it simple. Don’t want to stretch the author too much. Author’s got things to do beside write, you know?’

    ‘Things that aren’t writing?’ Minghy felt a tingle down her spine. ‘That doesn’t sound nice. How does it work?’

    ‘Never mind. I’ve got no idea. What’s next?’

    ‘Break into Two. Umm… the man looks at a photo of his wife. His feelings can’t be denied.’

    ‘Like it. Like it’

    ‘B Story…’

    ‘Cupcakes.’

    ‘Cupcakes?’

    Moo scraped something yellow from a molar at the back of his mouth, interrogated it under his fingernail. ‘That’s right, Minghy girl, a man and his cupcakes. You can’t beat a good love story.’

    Minghy let her eyebrows settle back from where they had fled. ‘Fine. Cupcakes. We’ll work on the B Story after.’

    Moo nodded his approval.

    ‘Fun and Games now,’ said Minghy.

    ‘Well, that’s easy, that is. Fun and Games is Mr Man making up the acrostic. Like I said, it should go at the end. Last fifteen lines sounds about right to me, first letter of each line. Can’t go wrong with the last fifteen lines, mark my words.’

    ‘You didn’t know what an acrostic was two minutes ago.’

    ‘What was that?’

    Minghy concentrated on the type. Ink was running down the backs of her hands. It felt good.

    ‘Nothing,’ she said, shyly. ‘Midpoint?’

    ‘Yeah. Midpoint next. We’re nailin’ this, my girl.’

    ‘False victory?’

    ‘Yeah. We don’t want to tax the author too much.’

    I heard that.

    Moo ducked and covered his head with calloused hands. Oddly, no thunderbolt came.

    Minghy stifled a giggle.

    ‘What happens next?’ she asked.

    Moo relaxed, let his hands fall onto the crest of his belly. ‘We ought to think about the cupcakes.’

    ‘Maybe,’ said Minghy, ‘or the man’s wife. We should give her a story too.’

    ‘Yeah. Probably should.’

    Minghy stopped moving the type. She stared at the glistening ink. ‘Oh no. We’ve got a problem, Moo. We’ve made a mistake.’

    ‘What problem?’

    Minghy put an inky finger to her lips and spoke against it: ‘The man is on his own. There’s no conflict. We need another character in the room with him.’

    Moo screwed up his face. ‘Ah, but that’ll mean all kinds of extra work.’

    ‘But we’ll have no story otherwise.’

    Moo folded his arms across his undulant chest. His green nipples, darker than his skin, stuck out like siege cannons ready to assault Minghy’s walls.

    ‘Bah! I give up. I’m goin’ for a cuppa. You finish up, Minghy. You’re good at this kind of thing.’

    Minghy watched Moo leave. Then she walked away from her press and sat on the grass. The sun was warm against her neck and the air was cheeky. She played with the grass, let it weave between her fingers, let the ink stain it black.

    ‘Author? You don’t know where you’re going with this, do you?’

    Silence.

    ‘Come on. You can tell me.’

    All right then. No, I don’t. I have no idea. What are you supposed to do with ‘Acrostic’?

    Minghy thought about this for a while.

    The author waited. Quietly. In a place where the sun wasn’t shining.

    ‘If I think of something,’ said Minghy, at length, ‘will you let me write more things. On my own, I mean?’

    Yes, if you like. It would certainly give me more time. For housework and things.

    ‘Shake on it?’

    Okay

    The sky split open and Minghy glimpsed the beyond. The author’s hand reached down. Minghy shook the tip of one of its a fingers.

    ‘Right,’ she said and marched back to her press. ‘Moo! Come over here, Moo!’

    Moo came shuffling out of the tea shed, a biscuit-crumb plague on his chin.

    ‘What? What’s it about? What be you wantin’?’

    ‘The author’s given me freedom.’

    ‘Is that so, my girl?’

    ‘It is.’

    Minghy coughed. It sounded like ‘Acrostic.’

    Very well,’ said Moo. ‘You got a plan?’

    Oh, a plan? It was more of a thought, really.’

    Tell me.’

    Erm…’ said Minghy, absently, lost in the enormity of future possibilities.

    For heaven’s sake! Thought or plan or passin’ notion, you need somethin’. Tell me!’

    Okay, Moo, calm yourself. You’ll blow a nodule if you’re not careful.’

    Really? Now you’re giving me advice? A press girl to the foreman?’

    Me? No.You know me, Moo. I wouldn’t do that. But I think you’re not my boss, Moo, not any more.’

    Every time! I knew it! Author gets tired and emancipates a gnome. A press girl an’ all! Gawd help me!’


    Perhaps Minghy threw off the yoke.

    Later, perhaps, she wrote about love and loss and all the sweet things that so really matter – even acrostics.

    Endings are hard. All writers know that.

    And Minghy was nothing if not a writer.

    So it was happy ever after when she got to the finish.

    Ending her story in an ink-blur of type.
     
    RachHP, I.A. By the Barn and rem like this.
  3. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Congratulations! I voted for you - loved the voice and it was a very entertaining read. Also... topical, shall we say.

    Special mention for @dbesim's story, too. I thought that was a good use of the prompt.
     
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  4. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    Thanks, @Tenderiser! I must say I'm shocked. I wrote this in a fit of... something. Never done comedy before. Thanks to all who voted. :)

    By the way, @Wreybies, am I right in thinking that @BruceA never got a winner's thread for competition 190? If so, it seems a rum deal for him.

    Also, @Wreybies, you've spelt my name wrong in this thread's title. I still love you though. Maybe Wayjay is better...
     
  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    All items noted and rectified, poppet. ;)
     
  6. dbesim
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    dbesim Contributing Member

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    Congratulations @Wayjor Frippery for Minghy and Moo and the Pleading Acrostic. I voted for this story because I thought it made good use of the theme, wrote an acrostic in the end and had a great engaging, warm fuzzy tone, which got me feeling like I was voting for a woman because you spoke really well from her voice.

    Thank you @Tenderiser for mentioning my story I was happy to get votes for it and wonder who chose it. :D
     
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  7. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    Thanks, @dbesim! I do try to maintain a healthy feminine side at all times (raised by women, you see).
     
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  8. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    :dead: I should have guessed that was yours. Well done! :agreed:
     
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  9. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    Thanks, @Lifeline!
     
  10. BruceA
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    BruceA Senior Member Supporter

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    Congratulations @Wayjor Frippery I voted for your story: it made me laugh each time I read it!

    I also want to thank @GingerCoffee, again, for her time running these contests, her encouragement for those who didn't win (especially when my stories didn't even get a vote!!) meant all the difference when it came to entering the next time.
     
  11. BruceA
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    BruceA Senior Member Supporter

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    Ah, bless! :)
     
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  12. I.A. By the Barn
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    I.A. By the Barn A very lost time traveller Contributor

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    Well done!
     
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  13. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    Thanks, @BruceA and @I.A. By the Barn! I'm glad it made you laugh, Bruce. :)
     
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  14. LinnyV
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    LinnyV Contributing Member

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    Oh congrats @Wayjor Frippery ! I didn't know you won something here! :cheerleader:
     
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  15. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    Thanks, @LinnyV! Though to be honest it's a fairly silly story... :)
     
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