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Spring Contest (Prose) – Static Change

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Old 01-19-2010, 11:16 AM
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Default Spring Contest (Prose) – Static Change

Spring is upon us, or will be soon, so it is time for another contest. This time round we have a bit of a puzzler for you, for the theme is, drum roll please, Static Change, make of it what you will. We certainly will.

* * *


Members are allowed one entry in the prose contest. (You are welcome to enter our poetry contest as well.) Prose entries should be submitted as posts to this thread. The competition is open to all members of Writer’s Beat, including staff.

Members are requested to refrain from commenting on entries in this posting thread. Please use the Static Change Contest Comment thread instead. That thread will remain open throughout the posting period and afterwards, and members are encouraged to let entrants know what they thought of their entries.

Word Limits:

Prose: 2,000 words Maximum


Once an entry has been submitted, it cannot be altered. Any work that is edited after it has been entered will be disqualified. If you feel you need to make a small alteration (a misplaced comma, a spelling error), contact a member of staff. If we feel your request is reasonable, we will make the correction on your behalf.

Close Date:

30th March 2010, 12 midnight GMT


Winners will be selected by means of a public poll, so you, the members of Writer’s Beat, will choose the winners.

After the closing date, a voting thread will be posted. Voting will commence on the 31st of March and close on the 7th of April 2010, 12 midnight GMT.

* * *


The winning entries will be considered for publication in Writer's Beat Quarterly, subject to the approval of the editors. To increase your chances of getting published (whether you win or not), make sure your document is as error-free as possible!

Also, the member (or tying members) with the most votes will get to suggest the next contest theme!

* * *

If you have any questions about the contest, contact a staff member and we will happily answer them for you. Now sharpen your pencils, fill up your inkwells and get writing. Good Luck!

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

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Last edited by HoiLei; 03-24-2010 at 06:26 PM.. Reason: whoops! fix close date
Old 02-02-2010, 12:39 PM
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Roaming through the city, asking myself what’s there to be done in this place, I run into a group of students heading towards a club, yelling loudly about it and making senseless jokes on complete different subjects meanwhile. I decided to check it out. 3 RON entry tax on Fridays and Saturdays. In my honest opinion, not very much since the rest of the clubs require entry taxes four to ten times higher. Not to mention I had to show them my ID card. Really? I don’t look 18? Never mind.
So, I get stamped on my forearm with a logo saying “Remember the pub” and I am let in. I find it confusing actually that the logo says one thing but the guys in the street called it “Fire”, but I later found out the club recently changed its name, but it’s still well known by its former name.
From the blistering mid-January cold outside I am swept into the club and overwhelmed by a wave of heat, cigarette smoke, loud music and smell of tequila, orange and cinnamon. A girl rushes up the stairs and throws up all over the bathroom door. Too bad…she was almost there. A friend of hers holds her hair. The bartender nods understandingly and continues to serve the never-ending line o customers. To the right, I see the non-smokers room…filled with people smoking. Funny. I guess the non-smokers don’t find it funny though. Oh well….I turn back and I head towards the other room. From there I can see two more rooms. This place is a true dungeon in all the senses of the word. Long-haired human specimens acting like primordial animals, getting high on legal drugs, hiding their stashes with the friends they spend it with anyway(because, as they say: “It’s never fun to smoke alone”), falling off their feet, head-banging their hearts out on the sweet sound of heavy metal. Well, there are also the punkers who go “pogo-style”. That is one of the things you really want to stay away from unless you are some sort of masochistic freak of course. All the people “dancing” this are acting like mad dogs, pretending to fight, thrusting themselves against one another, pushing each other back at the crowd, slipping on the other’s sweaty skin and meddling in the sweat-dripping curly hair. I know the image description seems awful, but I must admit, the view from afar is incredible, and I can say it’s one of the most beautiful things I have seen in a while. Both beautiful and interesting. Amazing actually. Instant acceptance for all strangers, so long as they share the tiniest connection to them…music preferences is the most common, but also style, way of thinking, or anything for that matter. They all fit together perfectly in their own community. Outcasts in everyday society, heroes in their own. Same hearts, same souls, same thoughts in the whole place.
From the outside, they are utterly interesting to observe, I can only wonder what it feels like to be one of them, to be part of a common organism created by separated individuals, like drones in a hive.
A girl with dreadlocks, piercings in all unimaginable places and a neck tattoo saying “Youth gone wild” puts her newly opened beer in my hand smiling and makes a run for the bathroom through the crowd. New song comes on. Countless girls are screaming while jumping on the dance floor just to start head banging along with the rest. Dance revolution I would call it if that would be considered dancing whatsoever. I couldn’t say what song it was…some sort of black metal I suppose, but I can’t honestly say what I could hear among all those screams. I suppose you could easily kill somebody in that place and no one would ever notice.
A long, dark haired “dude” comes up to me and asks if he can get me a beer. I show him the beer the girl gave me, but I accept to go back to his table, where 3 more “dudes” and one “dudette” were laughing their hearts out over some senseless ordinary things. But they were utterly pleasant to look at and to listen to. People who don’t care about what other people believe about them, in a place where nobody judges. Brilliant. I made friends with them and stood there for a little while, talking trivialities, not even taking notice of the fact that it was past 5 AM.
Finally, a last song comes on and I was astonished that every single person got up, like responding to an ancient call, and started to get dressed. All at once. It was unbelievable. There was order after all in all that chaos. I asked John (the guy who offered me the beer) how come everyone knew it was time to leave and he answered as if he expected me to ask that…apparently, the last song before closing is always the same. Made sense. Except for the fact that all drunkards there abided to this generally known rule, and with no comments at all either.
Oh well, we finally left, I jumped in one of the cabs in front of the club and came home to write this. Yes, all this writing and only one simple, excruciatingly painfully unexpected thought: all I want is to go back there.
"Anger is a poison. You must purge it from your mind or else it will corrupt your better nature..."
Brisingr (Chrisopher Paolini)
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Old 02-05-2010, 09:36 AM
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On the evening of September eleventh, in Ingleside, Illinois, the cards of life were being dealt out in a most unusual way for a set of newborn twins.
It was a stormy evening, chilly and rainy, although not unusual for an early September evening in that particular climate, not a storm that anyone would exactly single out as special or different in any sort of way. The majority of people were safe and warm in their houses.
The wind whispered its hello to the newest members of the Ingleside community, it’s fingers caressing the leaves and branches of trees, tossing the hair of a few passersby as they scurried to find shelter from the pounding rain.
The rain pattered out its welcome on the window panes of everyone’s houses, as anxious faces peered out, wondering if their possessions were safe.
The thunder rumbled menacingly, daring anyone to argue that these children were special.
The lightning lit up the sky. People looked up nervously, hoping that it wouldn’t be their house that was struck by the ominous jolt of electricity that was flying through the sky like an arrow, it’s next target unidentifiable.
And, in another world, a pretty, dark haired teenager sat bolt upright in bed, sensing the difference, her face a mask of confusion and her mind tumbling with thoughts of revenge.
A blonde princess dressed in sparkling silver jumped with the electricity of the change, slicing her finger on the razor-sharp knife she was sharpening, looking up at the dark, clear, moonlit sky with a sense of trepidation, wondering how everything would change.
A raven-haired elven girl quietly sensed it with a slightly resigned, yet excited, nature about her as she sat in a small camp with two sleeping figures next to her.
If Mr. and Mrs. Bryan Snow had known that day in the hospital what would happen to their sweet newborn twins, perhaps they never would have let them leave the house after dark.
Had they known the day that strawberry blonde haired, blue eyed, sunny Mariah Alexia had brought home her first pretty rock, maybe they would have thrown it away and told her never to bring that sort of thing home again.
Or the first night that Bryan took little Seamus Daniel out to help him repair the slight hole in the chicken coop that a predator had made, to teach him how to do it himself, maybe he would have let him sleep.
Either way, that’s not the way it happened.
Old 03-19-2010, 10:41 AM
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Default Her Box

She slipped into the box. It was an easy thing for her to do, as she had done it many times before. She unwrapped the soiled scarf from her neck, folded it, and placed it lovingly in the corner. She grabbed the mangled remains of a sandwich out of her coat pocket, and began to eat, taking small bites, making it last as long as she could. She chewed each bite ten times, ignoring the pain that emanated from her teeth. Her mother had told her always to chew each bite ten times, and she was not going to forget that now.

A cold wind intruded, bringing with it a leaf. This was not right. This was bad. Everything had its space, and this was her space, not the leaf’s. “Shoo! Go back to where you belong. You have no right to be here.” She picked the leaf up, careful not to break its delicate, dry surface, and set it gently down outside the box. “Now get! I don’t want to see your disgusting face around here anymore.” That was better, but it was not good yet. The wind still danced around the inside of her box, molesting her hair, looking at her things. Her things! Not someone else’s; they were hers. “Get away from my stuff. Go find something productive to do,” she shouted at the wind. She then reached over and closed the entrance to her box, and the wind was gone. That was all she had to do; close the door, and it would go away. Eventually.

After she finished the sandwich, she again reached into her coat pocket, and brought out an empty Heineken bottle caked with mud. With the sleeve of her coat, she rubbed off the mud as best she could, then gently set it down next to two other beer bottles, and a wine bottle. She then laid down on the floor of the box, and tucked her head into her folded arms. She heard a siren wail in the distance. That was bad. Someone was being taken away.

She hadn’t always lived in her box. For a while, she slept in whatever doorway she was near when the sun went down. She stayed under the freeway once, but the cars kept her awake. She had slept on a park bench, and in the beginning, she even slept in the bus station. Before that, she had slept in a big room. It had a bed, closets that were full of clothes, and even a bathroom. She had been Laura, then. Laura was what her mother had called her, before her mother had had a heart attack, and was taken away in an ambulance, siren wailing. Laura was what her husband had called her, before that man had broken into the house. Before her husband had been shot because he had wanted a glass of milk before bed. Before they took him away, forever, sirens wailing. Laura was what the lawyers had called her when they told her that the business had gone bankrupt. When they took the house, the cars, the sailboat. The siren faded into the distance, and with it, Laura, too, faded.

She turned to her side, and noticed that a single tear was rolling down her dirty face. She wondered what she must have been thinking to make that happen. It didn’t matter. “Someone should lock you up, you crazy old dit,” she scolded the tear. She then gently wiped it from her face, and let it roll down her finger onto the wine bottle. After watching the tear for a moment, she laid back down on the floor of the box. Maybe tomorrow she would find a mattress. Outside, it began to rain.
Old 03-22-2010, 11:16 AM
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Default Static Solution

This is an old house. The kind with drafty windows and doors that howl and groan and complain like irritated bowels. It has high ceilings with abused crown molding which has been painted too many times to suit too many poor tastes. There must be five or six layers of linoleum in both the kitchen and bathroom, each more hideous than the last.

There are no electrical outlets in the bathroom. The tub is a giant, claw footed, cast iron dinosaur, except even an asteroid strike couldn’t take out this bastard. People think they have gone extinct these days, but in reality, almost every cast iron tub in existence has been relocated and recycled to build the Vice President’s bomb shelter. Have you ever tried moving a tub like this by yourself? It’s a heavy son of a bitch.

In the den rests a roll top cherry oak desk, and a matching bookshelf. Every book is hardcover, built to last, just like this house. On the opposite side of the room, across the single wooden rocking chair which sits dead center of the den is a small winged end table, with a dusty Hi-Fi and two bookshelf speakers on top. It hasn’t been used in years.

I remember the feeling clearly, the frictionless rolling of those heavy knobs on the brushed aluminum Hi-Fi tuner. Like ball bearings, they rolled with an elegance unmatched by instrument panels on any electronic device ever since. I could grab the tuner with all five of my fingers, and as I spun it, either clockwise or counter, the gliding knob seemed to absorb all the weight of the human experience. It was the enthusiastic middle man, which happily accepted my daily burdens and transformed them into the music I searched for on the other end.

It controlled a red needle which marched back and forth ever so patiently in obedience of the knob. Behind the needle, there was a glowing horizontal plane marked numerically between eighty-eight and one-o-eight, the alpha and the omega of the frequency universe.

I used to keep the volume higher than most people as I commanded the needle to march back and forth on the radio dial. I loved how the dull rustle of radio static was interrupted by defiant pops and crackles and squeals. They were like primitive indigenous tribes, living on the fringes of society, battling for existence in an unforgiving land. And usually, just beyond the static and the crackling, as the squealing reached its highest pitch, just over the last mountain of mere auditory noise, lived a booming metropolis, thriving with musical vibrations.

Finding that radio station made me feel like Christopher Columbus, sailing out on unknown waters and discovering a new world. My reward wasn’t Spanish gold, but musical ecstasy, worth the treacherous journey, or in this case, tedious manipulation. I basked in the acoustic fruits of my labor, oblivious to the fate I had bestowed upon this new land. For the smallpox blankets and plague riddled rats were already on their way.

Digital tuning was the trans-frequential railroad which destroyed the frontier. It made the radio waves over accessible and open like the legs of the neighborhood slut, so it came as no surprise when the venereal disease of modern radio music moved in like syphilis. This syphilis must have reached the brain, because one would have to be mad to consider even a fraction of this radio pollution to be music. It was the ease of station changing, provided by digital tuning, which spawned this epidemic of radio perversion. Now, just the touch of a button leaves my ears vulnerable to auditory transmitted disease.

There is no more reverence in finding a station. Gone are the wild pops and whistles of the static frontier, along with the wisdom they provided. For without them, we seem unable to differentiate music from noise. We have squandered our natural radio resources and are left with nothing but degenerating urban sprawl. The same culture of instant gratification which demanded a McDonalds or convenience store on every street corner had now infiltrated and molested our last refuge of sensory escape.

Christ, my back hurts. I must have ruptured a god damned disc dragging that tub out of there. Not to mention, those victorian reptile claw feet dug up all but the oldest layer of linoleum in the bathroom, and left a pretty good sized gouge in the hardwood flooring of the den. It’s the old style drain, with the cork and chain plug, so it will hold water just about anywhere. It’s just a lot more convenient in the bathroom, since that’s where the plumbing is. Now my back is killing me from hauling bucket after bucket of hot water from the bathroom to the den. I didn’t have much choice though, there’s no electricity in the bathroom.

As I lower myself into the soapy water, thousands of little bubbles pop. They remind me of the sound of radio static, and I almost back out, but I won’t.

I reach over and fire up the old tube amp and tuner on the end table. As it powers up, I can hear the tubes warming and capacitors clicking. Then, from the paper cones on the two old bookshelf speakers comes that familiar sound. I adjust the tuning knob and feel alive again. Sure, most of the wilderness is gone, but there’s still some static in between 92.5 and 93.5, the area’s classic rock station.

As I creep up to 93.1, the static gives way to crackling, and then whistles. I lock in on 93.5 holding the amplifier just a few inches above the water, and wait for my request…

Ozzy Osbourne, Suicide Solution.
"If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are rotten, either write things worth reading or do things worth the writing." -Benjamin Franklin

Last edited by Firefly; 03-22-2010 at 11:29 AM.. Reason: Spacing
Old 03-24-2010, 10:24 AM
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I can hear them through the spotless double-paned glass. They're laughing like they need to be heard. They're loud because they're drunk, and they're drunk because they're here. They're here because I invited them, and I invited them because I'm lonely. It always comes back to that. Well, they're laughing because they're lonely, are they not? Lonely are the hearts who desire a love they have only witnessed. Or so I've been told.

In another life this may have been easier. Maybe not. Maybe this is the easy life. Maybe this is the only life. My mind is swerving from intoxication. I need another drink.

What I really need, is to stop letting this all-loathing voice, whoever it belongs to, park itself in the forefront of my thoughts whenever it pleases and go back inside my loft. I am the host, after all. Although, they are the kind of guests who attend out of a desire for their own fulfillment. What's mine is theirs. Just ask them, they'll tell you.

I need a vacation for their sakes. I need a woman to love, a recipient for what these knock-offs deserve least out of their lives. I need this, I need that, I need, I need, and I need.

Looking down into my glass, the cubes are shrinking and seem the loneliest of all. So I lied, it always comes back to that. Even the subtle flutter of the city lights below resemble my glass when its void is satisfied by a solid oak-aged bourbon.

Nobody likes the flavors of scotch. They like the taste. The most unaccomplished boner can rest on his glass of scotch as if it were the laurels he'd spent a lifetime picturing, never having once touched his brush to the paint. That's why I not only buy Red Label and poor it into the Green of the same name, but I spit in it before they get here.

A sea of “little black dresses” float through my living room. The twigs holding them up have thin branches that clasp even smaller flutes of beverage that mirror the hue of the spiraled foliage abound up top. Maples, I presume. They're begging to be tapped.

To cut them down would be grand. To clean the carpet would cost at least two.

Yes, maybe this is the easy life. The life that's easy is not the life worth living. Someone of importance once spilled that out next to a bottle of gin, I'm sure.

This is the life I have chosen for myself though. The marble, forming counters and rails. The art, hanging desperately on the walls, symbolizing nothing to me but a long-lost desire to impress. For what? A house full of people with heads full of greed and hearts filled with nothing.

My ice has melted. Loneliness has won. Fear not though, I have more soldiers on the inside.

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Last edited by midwestamp; 03-26-2010 at 08:29 PM.. Reason: I posted the wrong piece. Please forgive my stupidity.

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