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Spring, 2010
24-Hour Short Story Contest
2nd Place Winner!

TOPIC OF THIS CONTEST WAS:

He'd had a lifelong weakness for football, golf, and younger women but none of that mattered anymore. The vultures were just outside, already fighting over the best morsels. He hadn't moved or spoken in weeks but, as she reached over to touch the thin vein slowly pulsating in his hand, his eyes flashed open and he said...

Entries must touch on the topic in some way to qualify.


The Best Game Of His Life
by Marlan Smith, Mountain View, CA

It would have been clear that he had a weakness for golf if she had known what that was.

There were many things she did not know. Among them were his name, his age, his favorite color. She did not know where he lived. She did not care what car he drove, even though it was the only one in the parking lot that morning.

All those things that made him a person did not matter now. Now he was becoming a non-person. Now he was becoming something new.

He had a weakness for women. This would have mattered to anyone else. His wallet now closed to the world, revealed pictures of a family. It was a lie. He had many families, not one aware of any other. None of them were aware of where he was now, on the sixth hole of the course. He had been about to make par.

None of that mattered now.

He had come here alone, seduced by the off chance he might get a round in before his buddies showed up. Maybe he would have improved his game this time, balanced on his left leg better. He might have gotten the spin just right.

They had canceled.

Nobody showed up to the course that day, except for him. He alone was the king and master of the green. He had putted the best in his life that day. He had made a chip shot that would have impressed Woods or Michelson.

Nobody was present to bear witness that day. Nobody but her.

Onward he progressed through the grass, cheering himself on as he went. He had never even noticed the slight shortness of breath on the fifth hole. Walking toward the green, all he thought of was that he might make the first eagle of his life. He was much too excited to think about the tingling in his arm.

That was just nerves.

She saw all this from a distance. She alone watched him play. Watched every step as he played the best game of his life. She watched with interest as he staggered in front of the bunker.

He fell, quite unremarkably, like a man lying down for a nap. At first the golf club fell from his hand, then he simply bent at the knees. He was like a leaf, floating to the ground. He had not even bothered to clutch his chest like so many men she had seen. He simply looked tired.

She was the first to arrive.

She walked up to him, a skip in her step. She caressed the vein on his hand as it pulsed with the faint hint of life. His eyes rolled as he looked up at her.

"I'm not done yet," came the whisper. "I'm playing the best game of my life."

Oh, you're done all right, she thought to herself. You're plenty done.

She had time. He would not last much longer as the sun rose in the east, lifting the dim fog from the golf course. She caressed his other hand, the one with the high school football ring. His team had won that year, so long ago.

He had been a champion.

She could smell the death on him. It was close. Her beak prodded and pulled.

Her brothers and sisters would be arriving soon as well. Fights would break out. The hierarchy would be respected. Arguments were inevitable, but she was first on the scene and that gave her all the authority she needed.

She would get the best morsels.


What Marlan won:

$250 Cash Prize
Publication of winning story on the WritersWeekly.com website
1 - Freelance Income Kit Includes:
-- 1-year subscription to the Write Markets Report
-- How to Write, Publish and $ell Ebooks
-- How to Publish a Profitable Emag
-- How to Be a Syndicated Newspaper Columnist Special (includes the book; database of 6000+ newspapers; and database of 100+ syndicates)

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