May 2018 - Literary Maneuvers - Upset The Apple Cart

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  1. #1
    Wɾ¡ʇ¡∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    May 2018 - Literary Maneuvers - Upset The Apple Cart


    Upset The Apple Cart

    Welcome to Literary Maneuvers, our monthly fictive showdown, where you write to a prompt chosen and voted on by our members, or in the event of an extreme tie, decided by hidden stochastic forces. The winner will receive a badge pinned to their profile and given a month’s access to FoWF where you’ll have access to hidden forums and use of the chat room.

    This is a fiction writing competition, and the prompt for this month in 'Upset The Apple Cart'. Pick your own title, write about whatever you want, in whatever prose style, as long as it's related in some way to the prompt. Maybe it's a literal apple cart or maybe it is a figurative one, a disruption of the status quo. You decide the best way in which to dazzle your readers.

    The Judges for this LM are published author and April LM winner SueC, comp winner -xXx-, inimitable Non-Fic and CoF compere H.Brown, and another published writer, moderan. Sign up for judging by PM or in the coffee shop. If you want to judge and I left you out, send me your scores by the deadline. If you're listed here and don't wish to judge, let me know at once (please).

    All entries that wish to retain their first rights should post in the LM Workshop Thread.

    All Judges scores will be PMed to bdcharles

    All anonymous entries will be PMed to bdcharles

    Lastly, why not check out this ancient text on how to best approach this task.


    • All forum rules apply. The LM competition is considered a creative area of the forum. If your story contains inappropriate language or content, do not forget add a disclaimer or it could result in disciplinary actions taken. Click here for the full list of rules and guidelines of the forum.
    • No Poetry! Nothing against you poets out there, but this isn’t a place for your poems. Head on over to the poetry challenges for good competition over there. Some of us fiction people wouldn’t be able to understand your work! Click here for the poetry challenges. Play the prose-poem game at your own risk.
    • No posts that are not entries into the competition are allowed. If you have any questions, concerns, or wish to take part in discussion please head over to the LM Coffee Shop. We’ll be glad to take care of your needs over there.
    • Editing your entry after posting isn’t allowed. You’ll be given a ten minute grace period, but after that your story may not be scored.
    • Only one entry per member.
    • The word limit is 650 words not including the title. If you go over - Your story will not be counted. Microsoft Word is the standard for checking this. If you are unsure of the word count and don't have Word, please send your story to me and I'll check it for you.

    There are a few ways to post your entry:

    1. If you aren't too concerned about your first rights, then you can simply post your entry here in this thread.
    2. You can opt to have your entry posted in the Workshop which is a special thread just for LM entries. You would put your story there if you wish to protect your first rights, in case you wish to have the story published one day. Note: If you do post it in the workshop thread, you must post a link to it here in this thread otherwise your story may not be counted.
    3. You may post your story anonymously. To do so, send your story to the host of the competition. If you wish to have us post it in the workshop thread then say so. Your name will be revealed upon the release of the score.

    Everyone is welcome to participate. A judge's entry will receive a review by their fellow judges, but it will not receive a score. Please refrain from 'like'-ing or 'lol'-ing an entry until the scores are posted.

    Judges: In the tradition of LM competitions of yore, if you could send the scores one week after deadline it will ensure a timely release of scores and minimize the overall implementation of porkforking. Please see the Judging Guidelines if you have questions. Following the suggested formatting will be much appreciated, too.

    This competition will close on:
    Thursday, the 19th May at 11:59 PM, GMT time.

    Scores would be appreciated by the last day of the current month, at the latest, pretty please, cherry on top, mmm?

    Click here for the current time.
    Last edited by bdcharles; May 30th, 2018 at 09:53 AM.

    Hidden Content Monthly Fiction Challenge

    Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror which we are barely able to endure, and are awed,
    because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.
    - Rainer Maria Rilke, "Elegy I"


    Is this fire, or is this mask?
    It's the Mantasy!
    - Anonymous


    C'mon everybody, don't need this crap.
    - Wham!

  2. #2
    The same task, different mission by Bob Brown 649 words

    I watch people for a living. It’s not my job title but it is what I do. I have a fancy uniform and meet daily with the wealthiest people in the city. I smile at them and they smile back. However, when asked what I do for a living I hang my head down with just a twinge of shame. I don’t know why, but I find some reason to look at my shoes, check the crease in my pants. My voice for some reason seems to fade.

    “I am a doorman.”

    Not the kind of thing you ever want to do when you’re a kid, but the kind of job you take when that’s all that’s out there.

    I do the best I can to make my job interesting. I try to figure out what’s going on with the people I hold the door for. I have my regulars who greet me by name; we are pretend friends for those few seconds at the beginning and end of each day. Others who come and go and don’t notice me anymore than a lamp post. There are those in the middle of a conversation or thought, they have things to do and places to go. They stare at me with blank eyes and blank expressions or they smile out of habit. I cannot tell which is worse, only that it hurts.

    I do have lots of time to kill when I am not interacting with the city's elite. Across from my building is a park bench. Lately it is occupied almost daily by the same man. In his mid-sixties, well dressed, with apparently no place to go. He reads, but puts down his book whenever he is joined by someone else on the bench. He comes alive as though a switch has been thrown. He speaks with his hands. His face radiates a glow, his eyes seem to shine.

    I have no idea what he is saying to his new bench mates, only that it is said with enthusiasm. What is remarkable is how those people react. Some lean in to hear more. Some pretend to not hear him or smile at him with that same fake smile that I see on my side of the street.

    Nothing seems to deter him, some stay and some go. Some leave with a smile and a laugh, some walk away and mutter stuff under their breath.

    I am fascinated by this man. What is he saying? Why is he here? Each day he is there. Each day he does the same thing. The people come and go, the reactions are seldom the same.

    The long and often boring hours of my job… only seem to fuel my desire to know what this guy is saying.

    I walk across the street and sit on the bench. He puts down his book and smiles and begins to talk.

    “I have a bullet in my head,” he just lets the words hang there.

    I do a double take, not sure what to say.

    “I am only kidding” he says it with a smile.

    “I watch you during the day, just as you watch me,” he adds

    My curiosity has gotten the best of me, “What are you saying to all those people?” I ask.

    A smile comes across his face as he explains, “A few months ago I had a heart attack, they did not expect me to live. I was just like those people that sit on the bench with me. Too busy to notice, just going through the paces. Upsetting the apple cart, that’s what my granddad called it. I say anything that will just wake them up and let them appreciate today, realize there may not be a tomorrow.

    As I walk back across the street I realize, I watch people for a living, he watches them, to help them.

    God hates a coward Revelation 21:8

    “Good writin' ain't necessarily good readin'.”

    Hidden Content ,

    To encourage and facilitate "me"

  3. #3

  4. #4
    Cheer Klutz, 643 words

    Shaking pom poms at hunky football players, cartwheeling on the school turf, and cheering on the sideline- it’s what I loved about cheerleading. Sure, I wasn’t like Mandy Gornick- perfect, popular, and beautiful. But when I jumped into the sidelines, I felt like none of that mattered. I loved cheering, especially for Jason Ringol, my Brad Pitt-esque linebacker.

    Ever since I got injured in a Middle School freak accident, I never made my way back to cheerleading. In seventh grade during lunch one day, I tripped on a banana peel. I was on crutches for weeks.

    I thought about trying out again in eighth grade, but things didn’t get better. During gym class, the boys were goofing around with a softball and they miss threw and hit me in the eye. I didn’t bother trying out for cheerleading. I’d be known as “the black-eyed girl.” The label was bad enough for me, but as a cheerleader? Forget about it.

    “Hey Smalls,” said Mandy as we met in the hall. “You ready for tonight?”

    Everyone called me Smalls because of my short height and light weight. It was just the nickname I received ever since Elementary School.

    “I’m kinda nervous,” I said. “It’s my first time since Middle School.”

    “Well, it’s not like it’s any different,” said Mandy.

    “Yeah it is,” I said. “I barely know anyone on the team. I’m not sure I trust any of them.”

    “Oh come on,” said Mandy. “The girls love you.”

    With Mandy’s approval, I had to at least try it, even if these girls take it way too seriously. Cheerleading is more than just a competitive sport, it’s a major social clique. If you were a cheerleader, you were cool. I've always tried to be cool, so this was big for me. Soon I was back on the team, ready to perform, but afraid of the pressure. That fear was in the back of all of our minds.

    Homecoming football night came, and we found ourselves cheering on the Lightning boys. I had my eyes on Jason. It was my day to impress him, especially since there were rumors about him liking me back.

    You got this Smalls,
    I said to myself.

    All I had to do was let them balance me. Easy enough. I ranked the highest for balance when I used to take gymnastics. And I’ve practiced this so many times. We’ve done it at several games already.

    Half time. The football players are way down the field discussing plays, but all eyes are on us. It’s our moment to shine. The music starts, which is a weird remix of Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance.” I immediately feel myself lifted into the top of the pyramid. They're depending on me, I thought to myself. We can do this.

    I’m lifted up high. We did it. I’m at the top.

    Ah choo! I sneeze and just the motion alone causes me to slip. No, not here. I feel like I’m almost catching my balance, but no. My feet slip. I fall, like an apple on the top of a cart. Britney, the cheerleader holding me up, reaches for me, but grabs my skirt instead.


    That’s the sound of the seam of my skirt splitting as Britney can’t hold me up and I crash to the ground. All the cheerleaders are around me as the pyramid we had formed fell apart. It was all my fault, they would never forgive me for this.

    “Way to go, Smalls,” said Britney as I sat there crying, wishing I could take it all back. I left the field that day and never thought about cheerleading again, or about Jason Ringol. It was bad enough humiliating myself and ruining our cheer, but ruining the spirit of the homecoming game for the football team? Jason wouldn't bother with me after this experience.


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