Vote for the Best Story

Poll closed Jan 13, 2014.
  1. A Day in the Life

    9 vote(s)
  2. Outskirt

    3 vote(s)
  1. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Mar 3, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Ralph's side of the island.

    Closed Voting Short Story Contest (147) - Theme: "Pomposity"

    Discussion in 'Monthly Short Story Contest Archives' started by GingerCoffee, Dec 30, 2013.

    Voting for Short Story Contest (147) Theme: "Pomposity"

    We have two excellent entries in this contest. No excuses, everyone should be voting in this one!
    The winner will be revealed in two weeks and the winner thread will be stickied until the next contest's winner is crowned. No more entries are allowed in this contest.

    Entries are listed in the poll in the order I received them.

    Voting will end Sunday the 12th of January 2014 ~1745 (5:45pm) Pacific Time to give everyone a chance to read the stories.

    I encourage authors to vote. It is acceptable to vote for yourself, but I encourage you to vote honestly. In the name of good sportsmanship only vote for yourself if you have read all the other stories and given them your honest evaluation.

    Consider how the author has responded to the theme, as well as the quality of the writing and overall impression of the story in making your decision.


    A Day in the Life
    [1,753 words]

    Ernie Barker closed the car door and leaned over to look in the side mirror. He raked a comb through his hair and sang, “Hey, good lookin’, whatcha got cookin’?”

    His girlfriend, Cristi Hintze, sat in the passenger seat, not moving a muscle, fuming. “Well, ain’t ya’ gonna help me outta da car?”

    “Ya’ got arms and legs, ain’t ya’, babe?”

    “Dammit,” she said, grabbing her purse. She opened the door, her hairdo catching on the top of the door panel. She planted her high heels on the pavement, her rosy, close-fitting dress riding up, revealing long, slender legs.

    Ernie stepped onto the sidewalk and took a smooth, silver case from his breast pocket. He turned away from the car and lit a cigarette. “Come on, come on, we ain’t got all night.”

    Cristi took quick, small steps around the car. “Oh, you…!” She grabbed his arm. “Prick!”

    “Bitch, I told ya’ not ta wear dat tight skirt.”

    “It’s not tight.”

    “Ya’ so fat, ya’ can barely walk. When ya’ gonna lose weight?”

    “Whataya mean, lose weight? I’m 110 pounds, for crisake!”

    “Yeah, right, oink, oink. Let’s go inside, people are lookin’ at me.”

    “It’s all about you, again, ain’ it, Ernie?”

    “Of course, babe.”

    As they walk toward the door, a man called out, “Hey, you can’t park here. You’re blocking the driveway!”

    Without turning around, Ernie acknowledged him with a one-finger salute.

    Together, they walked toward the tavern entrance. Pushing back a lock of hair, she stumbled on her heels. He flicked his smoldering butt into the shrubbery.

    A bystander stopped and gawked at the pair.

    Ernie scowled. “What da hell ya’ lookin’ at?”

    The onlooker turned away.

    “Yeah, dat’s right, makin’ eyes at my girl, I oughta smack ya’.”

    As they entered the saloon, Ernie, with Cristi in tow, sashayed toward the bar area. “Hey, beautiful, what ya’ doin’? Why didn’t ya’ call me?”

    “Hi, Ernie, who’s the chick?”

    “Oh, ya’ mean her. She’s my main squeeze. Ya’ still goin’ with dat jerk, Ron?”

    “Oh, yeah, him and me, we’re tight.”

    “Too bad for you. Maybe we’ll dance later.”

    Cristi jabbed him. “Hey, asshole, I’m standin’ right here.”

    “Yeah, whatever, an’ watch those elbows unless ya’ wanna lose one.”

    Holding Cristi’s hand, Ernie pushed through the people at the bar. “Yeah, dat’s right, step aside, Ernie Barker is here. Hey, Martha, how’s it hangin’?” He grinned. “Pretty good, I see. How ‘bout sendin’ two whiskeys an’ soda ta table t’ree? ” He grabbed Cristi. “Come on, doll.”

    He shoved his way to his usual spot. “All right, ya’ people, dis is Ernie’s table. Yeah, dat’s right, move along.”

    “We were here first,” said a young man.”

    “Oh, really? How old are ya’?”

    “I’m twenty-one.”

    “Yeah, prove it.”

    “I don’t have ta prove nothin’ to ya’.”

    Ernie turned towards the bar, “Hey, Martha, we got some underage drinkers over here!”

    The wannabe grown-up and his troop quietly stood up and disappeared into the crowd.

    “See, doll, dat’s how ta handle these assholes.”

    While Ernie and Cristi nursed their drinks, an acquain’tance approached the table. “Hey, Ernie, I saw ya’ car outside. Ya’ got a ticket on ya’ windshield.” He sniggered.

    “Bah, I don’t care! Hey, Jack, ya’ still drivin’ that piece o’ shit, what was it – a Ford somethin’ or other?”

    “Don’t be knockin’ my baby. I just installed two four-barrels under da hood. She’s smokin’ now.”

    Ernie laughed. “Ain’t nobody gonna beat my car. Be at da strip Friday night and bring five hundred dollaz. We’ll see who’s got da best car.” He waited until Jack was out of earshot. “Whatta goddam, stupid idiot, him an’ his whole family.”

    Cristi waved to a friend. “Hello, Gabriela!”

    “Boa noite, Cristi como você está?”

    “Eu estou bem, Gabriella, obrigado. Espero que você e sua família estão bem.”

    “Você é bem-vindo, até logo, meu amigo.”

    When Gabriella walked away, Ernie, looked at Cristi, puzzled and angry. What da hell was dat all about?”

    “Dat’s my friend, Gabriella. She’s from Argentina.”

    “Who taught ya’ ta speak dat garbage?”

    “Gabriella’s been teachin’ me, and it’s not garbage; it’s culture.”

    “It’s a bunch o’ shit, that’s what it is. I don’t want ya’ hangin’ around dat low-class whore no more.”

    “Ya’ prick, don’t ya’ call my friend a whore! She’s got more class in her little finger than …

    Before Cristi could finish, Ernie reached over the table and slapped her face, causing her to almost fall over. Injured and humiliated, she ran to the girls’ lavatory, clutching her cheek.

    One of the men at the bar banged his beer mug on the counter, walked towards Ernie and drew his arm back, ready to take a swing, but two of his friends held him back.

    “Lemme just get one good punch on dat bastard, just one!”

    “No, Roger, he ain’t worth it.”

    “Yeah, dat’s right, ya’ guys hold him back,” said Ernie. “if ya’ don’t wan’ him hurt.” He smiled. “Goddam bozo.”

    Momentarily, Cristi ran out of the bathroom, holding a wet paper towel to her face. “You’d better start learnin’ howda treat me, Ernie. Ya’ can’t just slap me around. I'm not ya’ personal punchin’ bag. I'm sick an’ tired of it. I'm supposed ta be ya’ girl. I’m nice ta ya’, and I don't wanna be treated like a piece o’ shit. If ya’ wanna keep me around, this can’t go on.”

    Roger said, “That’s tellin’ him, honey, stand up for ya’self.”

    Ernie stood and threw his chair down. He removed his jacket and approached him. “I oughta knock ya’ head off!”

    “Yeah, go ahead an’ try.”

    Cristi cried, “No, Ernie don’t!” She grabbed his arm and pulled.

    Ernie scowled. “Ya’ lucky I’m wit’ my girl.” He stepped back.

    “Take me home, Ernie, now.”

    “Yeah, let’s go, I’m sick o’ this place.” He took his jacket and threw a ten dollar bill on the table.”

    As they walked toward the door, Roger called out, “Ya’ nothin’ but a pussy!”

    The men surrounding him chortled and hooted.

    Ernie grabbed Cristi’s free elbow and just about dragged her to the door. As they departed, bystanders stepped out of the way, laughing and talking with another. From Ernie’s viewpoint, they were snickering and giggling about him.

    When they got to his car, he pulled the parking ticket from the windshield, crumpled it, and threw it into the street.

    * * *

    They rode home, not speaking a word. When they arrived at the apartment, Cristi ran into the bedroom and locked the door.

    “Fine,” yelled Ernie, “I don’t need ya’! I don’t need nobody.” He took a beer can from the fridge and popped the lid. Then, he propped his feet on a chair and lit a cigarette.

    From the bedroom, Cristi called, “Ya’ betta not be smokin’ out there. Ya’ know I got bronchitis.”

    “I can smoke if I wanna; dis is my home. I’m king o’ dis castle.”

    Cristi opened the door and walked toward Ernie, holding a wet towel to her face, frowning, waving away Ernie’s smoke. She sat at the table facing him. “Ernie, we gotta talk.”

    “Sure, babe, I’m listenin’.”

    She held his hand. “When we first met, I thought ya’ were very sexy, lovin’, an’ funny. At da time, me and Darin were datin’ for t’ree years. I ended it wit’ him just so I could be wit’ ya’.”

    “Ever since ya’ been here, I keep hearin’ ‘Darin was not like ya’; he was so nice – Darin dis, Darin dat’. Well, ya’ did da smart thing, dumpin’ that creep.”

    “See? There ya’ go again, draggin’ everybody down so ya’ can boost ya’self up. Ya’ gotta learn dat the world don’t revolve around ya’. Since we been together, I had ta put up wit’ one outburst after another, one fight after another. Well, I can’t put up wit’ ya’ shenanigans no more.”

    “Shenanigans, dat’s a big word for ya’, doll.”

    “Ya’ jus’ don’t know when ta quit, do ya’? Look, Ernie, one day ya’ happy wit’ me, da next day, you’re as hateful as ya’ can be. Ya’ talk nice ta my face, but den ya’ say bad things ‘bout me behind my back. I tried ta be ya’ girl, but ya’ don’t really want me.”

    Ernie put his feet down. “Hey, babe, dere’s nothin’ wrong wit’ me; you’re the problem.”

    “Shit! Ya’ refuse ta see ya’ own defects. I tried ta be understandin’. I didn’t judge ya’. Otherwise, da way I see the world would be as bad as yours. I went outta my way ta be kind ta ya’, ta show that I have feelin’s for ya’. I tried ta reach out ta find dat spark o’ good deep inside. What’s wrong, Ernie? Are ya’ hidin’ fears? Are ya’ coverin’ up pain? Ya’ dealin’ wit’ fear and pain in wrong, hurtful ways. I can’t take it no more, Ernie. Ya’ don’t own me, and I can’t let ya’ hurt me again.”

    “Are ya’ finished? Do ya’ have anythin’ else ta say? No? Good, now it’s my turn. Ever since I took ya’ in, my life has turned ta shit. Everything dat I have, everything dat is good – all gone ta Hell. Dat’s what happened. If anyone needs ta change, it’s you, ya’ bimbo!” He grabbed her arm.

    Cristi, frightened, tried to pull away, but he was too strong.

    He cuffed her, and she fell to the floor. She wiped her lip on her sleeve, leaving a red stain.

    “Yeah, dat’s right, ya’ whore. Now, ya’ understan’ who’s in charge here.”

    Cristi ran to the bedroom.

    “Sure,” he yelled. “Dat’s da way ta handle pain!” He sat down and guzzled more of his beer. He smirked, gloating over his triumph.

    Unexpectedly, Ernie smelled smoke. He quickly stood, checking to see if his trousers had caught fire. No, that wasn’t it. He looked toward the bedroom. Smoke billowed out from under the door.

    * * *

    That evening, the fire commissioner reported that an engine company had responded to fire in an apartment building. Someone had set fire to a pile of clothing in a bathtub. Paramedics had treated two adults at the scene, a male and a female. Neither was hospitalized. However, the commissioner strongly suspected arson, so he called law enforcement.

    The officer who responded to the incident arrested Ernie Barker for assault and harassment. Cristi Hintze was charged with first-degree arson. Both are serving time in the county jail.

    The End

    Outskirt [855 words]

    The sun is still far from sunset when my brother and I exit the “Outskirt” presentation event. After having sniffed it we made self explaining grimaces. To me it smells like the perfume of a cheap whore. And it is blatant that it is homemade, not just by the shabby packaging. To him... I do not know. I have never been able to decode his facial expressions. Anyway we both had to put a good face on a bad game since Sarah is very touchy about her work. Nobody outside this suburb haunts her do-it-yourself perfume shop, but she is nonetheless convinced she is the most appreciated professional in the scene of mixing essences. Well, the fact that this is the sixteenth edition of the perfume, and still nobody buys it should mean something to her. Well...
    «Hannah, do you really think someone buys those whore’s perfumes that Sarah does?» my brother asks me rubbing his wrists on his waistcoat to tear the smell off.
    «What a language, Leroy! The profession of sex is just like any other profession!»
    «Do you think I could do that, too?»
    I stare at him sideways, and the smile he sketched on his face vanishes instantly.
    «I was kidding.» he then adds.
    «Did you appreciate the party?»
    He thinks about it for a while before answering:
    «Furniture, and curtains was really too gorgeous for me. With all these embroidered things! And how they sparkled!»
    He weaves the fingers in the air jutting the head forward while saying that.
    «They are called “laces”, and they was made with silver wire. They are not easy to be done! You know, I tried, and made them many times, without any success!»
    «Silver even! Is not it too tough to embroider?»
    I widen my eyes. I should already be used to my brother’s ignorance, but then I relax, and I smile to him. He scratches his head then adds:
    «From your face I understand that it is not silver for real.»
    «It is silver colored wire. Cotton, I think.»
    «And, listen sister, who was the guy that was courting you?»
    «Maurice you say? Do you think he was courting me for real?»
    «You two could have been a lovely couple. Both with the same clothes. And with all those glittering buttons. You looked like a couple at a costume party!»
    I square him from head to toe. And then again from toe to head. I stare at him squinting, and I tighten my lips.
    «Yes! OK! You are right: We are dressed the same way, too,» he says tightening the collar «but it’s only because you really love these pompous clothes!»
    «Even Maurice praised the way I dress, and my bearing.» I say while I perform a pirouette. My arms above my head. My hands opened with the palms facing outwards.
    «Me, I do not like all these things that sparkle and flutter. They are too hard to wear.»
    «You are only a little rough, and you are not used wearing them. Can you see me as I maneuver skillfully in all this splendor?» I ask him while I continue to vault on the road. I annoy other pedestrians. I can understand that they consider me clumsy by the way they stare at me, but that is their problem. My brother’s gaze is immediately captured by the silver laces, and by the brass buttons, by stitching, and fringes. Even the ticking of the boots, decorated in fake gold, makes him smile while he stares at them.
    «I envy you for all those clothes that look good on you that are so slim. Look here! I am big.» he says rattling his hands on his belly. «Not that chubby. Only big. Next time I will rent a larger waistcoat. This pulls me a little aside when it is closed.
    «Look at those shoes! They are gorgeous!» she screams leaning hands, and forehead on a window of the shop that one of her friends owns.
    «You cannot afford them, not even by rental. And you know that.»
    «Sure! What do you think? I perfectly realize that. The fact is that I just love to let my fantasy wonder a bit from time to time, you know!»
    «Oh, yes, I know that! I see all those furniture magazines that you cut out to dream a better house.»
    «Oh, man, for now this one bedroom apartment is the best we can afford. But one day luck will turn, and we will have a real home, one that deserves that name!»
    «What will we eat this evening?»
    «Think about something.»
    «I got it: Hot dog!»
    «We don’t have the meat, and we don’t have the sauces, too. We have only the bread.»
    «Don’t worry, darling, we have our imagination!» he says while he hugs her.
    «Will you warm the beans on the camp stove in the kitchen while I take off my clothes, please?»
    «Of course I will.»
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2014
  2. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Mar 3, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    One more day to vote. :)
  3. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Mar 3, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    One more hour to vote! :)
  4. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Mar 3, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Ralph's side of the island.
    "A Day in the Life" was written by Joe309 (winner). "Outskirt" was written by marco.buschini (runner up).

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