Lean and Mean Challenge- 10/21/19 "Fall Festival"

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Thread: Lean and Mean Challenge- 10/21/19 "Fall Festival"

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    Lean and Mean Challenge- 10/21/19 "Fall Festival"

    *Please read this post entirely before submitting a story to the challenge*

    This week’s contest opens as soon as the clock turns to Monday, US Central Standard Time (12:01 a.m.)

    It closes at the very end of the next Sunday, US Central Standard Time (11:59 p.m.)

    This week’s prompt: Fall Festival
    - This can be taken to mean Halloween or other Autumn celebration.


    Each week’s winner will receive a $5 Amazon gift voucher, upon providing their email address to Ma'am by (PM) Private Message.

    Prizes are not transferable and can only be awarded in locations that are served by Amazon.


    Contests will run weekly for one year, providing there’s enough interest to keep them going.

    Stories can be up to 1,000 words, not including the title. Any that go over that will be disqualified.


    One entry per person.

    In the interests of fairness, this is an anonymous challenge.

    Your entry must be submitted anonymously and therefore should be PMed to me, Ma'am, so that I may post it for you. Please be sure to indicate in your PM on which board you prefer your work posted, PUBLIC or SECURE. I am responsible for linking all entries posted on the secure board to public board.

    Kindly make sure your entry is properly formatted and error free before you PM it to me as you will be unable to edit your work once I have posted it. If your work requires a disclaimer, please inform me in your submission PM.


    Do not post comments in this thread

    If you would like to retain your first publication rights remember to request your entry be posted on the dedicated secure challenge board “Lean and Mean' Prize Flash Fiction.”

    Likes and comments are not allowed on the contest threads until the challenge has closed. However, comments, chit-chat and general banter IS allowed in the Challenge Café. Please include the appropriate “warnings” with your story title, if appropriate, for language, sex, violence, etc. Erotica, sexually explicit stories (pornography), or fanfic is not allowed.

    As per WF rules:

    Plagiarism: All work entered in the challenge must be your own.

    Obscene Material and Gratuitous Violence: Such material is not allowed. What is considered overtly pornographic or otherwise obscene is decided by the staff and is not open to debate. It will be removed immediately. Any description or depiction of child sexual abuse is not only considered obscene, it is a reportable crime in many jurisdictions. Repeat offenders will be permanently banned.

    Strong or explicit language, Mature themes Disclaimers: Infrequent and context-appropriate strong language and mature themes are allowed and a warning must be included with the entry.

    Post Titles: Post titles must be G rated, which means strong language or descriptions of violence or sexual activities are not permitted.Stories must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. US Central Time on the Sunday night that the week’s contest ends. Entries submitted after this time will disqualified.


    As soon as a weekly contest closes to entries, a poll will be posted and voting begins.

    Voting is open to all WF members.

    Voting for your own story is NOT allowed. Doing so will result in disqualification.

    In the event of a tie, a second vote will be held to determine the winner.


    Please refer to the
    prompt thread for the full list of prompts.
    Last edited by Ma'am; October 28th, 2019 at 06:24 AM.

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    The Smells of Fall (1,000 words)

    I laid in bed looking up. I had been working so long on Fall arrangements; knitted scarves, mittens, and leafy decorations, that they were all I could see drifting across the white expanse of my bedroom ceiling. On the floor were the left-over scraps of makings. Each one had, at one time, a high purpose but was now nothing more than garbage. I'd clean it all up later, after coffee, after shower, I thought, when I felt more inclined. I got up and headed toward the kitchen.

    Fall has a smell; it's not the same for everyone. My childhood self knew the fall of raked leaves, burning on the curb in front of the apartment building where my family lived. Afterward, real hot chocolate waited inside, where we stood in the kitchen to brush off any stray leaf fragments that remained on our clothes, and mom swept them up off the vinyl floor. We had been jumping into the piles for hours before the burn. The janitors all over the neighborhood were working hard to clean the small yards with big trees, and had to shoo us away when it was time to rake the huge piles that we had tried to destroy, to the curb. The smoke begun, we knew our fun was over for that season of Fall.

    My adult self had a more sophisticated aromatic association with Fall. It was potpourri of cinnamon sticks and apples. Candles that bordered on the smell of Christmas, but not quite, and of course pumpkin spice everything. We still had Thanksgiving to get through and the ever up-coming Fall festival.

    I began as a young mother with small children, and had helped out at the church Fall festival every year since then, garnering me a status of sorts among the other volunteers. In the first year, I was proud of a sign I had made for a group of started wandering Jew plants that had been donated, selling for a dollar. The sign I made read, "Be ecumenical! Take home a wandering Jew." I wasn't sure anyone else got the joke, but I felt I had never been more creative - before or since my first step into the Fall festival hierarchy.

    My house remained a messy, chaotic place throughout the duration of the festival preparations, and my family learned patience. Dinners were thrown-together affairs, where "Susie's surprise" had usually been a once-in-awhile meal, it was almost every night during the Fall. There were strips of this and that in the house where ever you looked. Even though every year I would start out organized and tidy, something always came up that sent the whole works into a free fall of crepe paper, ribbons and yarn, and sometimes cake flour. This year, that something was Mavis Riley.

    Mavis Riley. A lovely woman with no sense of urgency in any cell of her body. She'd volunteer with a smile as wide as her face and her conviction was so strong that, initially, you'd think she'd hung the moon and would continue to do so long after harvest. Fall festival was in her blood, she'd say, and we all hung on every word, convinced in a crunch she would be our "go-to" girl.

    The festival would be held on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving, so the Wednesday before was our only real chance to get everything set up. My team and I had scheduled a meeting at my house the Sunday before Thanksgiving, to go over any last minute issues. Seven women showed up at basically the same time, parking their cars anywhere they could find a spot. My house, remarkably, looked presentable in the rooms they would see. They brought fresh doughnuts, coffee cake and good will. A happy group of women.

    Mavis was missing. After insisting, she had been given the job of getting the flour from the grocers at half price, and we were expecting her to come with a car load to distribute. The grocer was the same one we used every year; he and his family attended the church, too, and we relied on him to help us with the cost of making the cakes. The women and I sat around chatting for half an hour before someone said, "Where's Mavis? I haven't received any flour from her yet."

    A murmur went around the room; apparently no one had their flour. I picked up my cell phone and went into the kitchen to call her. It rang and rang; no answer. I went back into the family room, where everyone looked at me expectantly.

    "She's not answering. Maybe she got held up and is one her way."

    We continued with pleasantries, but after another fifteen minutes went by and still no Mavis, we were becoming concerned.

    "Has anyone even seen Mavis lately?"

    "I saw her last week. She was in her van with Bob, the grocer, I think, and heading toward the highway. I didn't think anything of it, but I didn't see her in church this morning either." This came from Fran, my next door neighbor.

    "I have Bob's home number. I'll call him." The phone rang and eventually, Bob's wife Mary came on the line.


    "Hi Mary. This is Pat. Could I speak to Bob please? We were wondering about the flour for the Fall festival."

    There was silence on the other end, then "Bob's not here. He and Mavis left together last week and I don't know where he is. Can't talk right now." The line went dead.

    I turned to the group. "The cake walk will not be held this year after all, ladies. There's been a snag in the flour delivery. The baker, the grocer, and the flour too, I think, have gone down the highway."

    The Fall festival was held, sans cake walk. The baking ladies made candies instead; homemade gumdrops and five-minute fudge. New Fall smells added to the memory odors of burning leaves, cinnamon sticks and pumpkin everything.

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    This week's challenge is now closed.

    Please vote for your favorite story here.


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