Writing competitions. I took a break from them earlier this year. Something felt wrong about writing simply to win.
There is the joy of seeing a story pull together and the satisfaction that comes with admiring the fully formed thing.
However, I took the bait for the Etisalat Prize for Flash Fiction.
I think it was the thrill of telling a story in less than 300 words or maybe the prospect of an addition to my travel fund.
Anyway, at close to midnight of deadline day, I wrote.
If you are like me and wallow in trepidation that your piece is not acceptable until another pair of eyes has read it, I understand.
I don’t know how Alice Munro does it. I heard no one gets to read her stories before they are sent off to be published. Oh! To be that pen-confident.
At midnight, I submitted my entry without any external editing. (Cringe)
The next morning. a friend commented on my emailed draft, with, wait for this, Perfection!
You know that moment you see all the correct answers to the questions you missed during an important exam? That’s how I felt.
What I love about this re-write is the universality it brought to the original piece. I have permission to share, so I will 🙂
Don’t forget, your ideas are sorely needed for a story in the works. Thanks to everyone who dropped a line already.
Without much ado, I present A Conversation with Death- The Rewrite.
It is hard not to be biased when interviewing an enemy.
I had been a talk show host for over 2 decades. Seated across was my most notorious guest yet.
When they give out statistics for a boxer prior to a fight they say, 20 professional fights, 16 wins, 12 by way of a knockout. My guest was 68 victims, all dead, by way of rape, torture, and painful death.
Considering the provenance I should have skipped the niceties.
“How do you like your tea?”
“In a cup” he replies.
As I pour, my hands are shaking. This man with his deep blue piercing eyes, chiseled good looks and Olympian body had seduced all his victims to willingly submit to him. He reached across to steady my hand, it was a firm but seductive touch. Soft hands. As I looked at him I could feel his power over women, over me.
I snapped out of it as a sharp pain hit my brain’s cortex. I felt the growing lump on my breast as I re-positioned my clip-on microphone. He had seen and started to pen a note, sliding it across the table
“Cancer? Death comes to all, just life span and cause that differs, Ms. 69”
I stared at him for a second, shivers of fear traveled through my body. With a tingle of arousal, he smiled. He knew.
“Counting in, 3, 2, 1, on 1.”
I smiled briefly at him; eyes locked for a second, and then turned to the camera.
“This is Stephanie Smith for the Channel 69 news, and today I am exclusively interviewing Jack Cortez, the mass murderer who claimed he gave his victims only what they wanted.”
I had 20 minutes before they took him back to death row….