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Winter, 2007
24-Hour Short Story Contest
3rd Place Winner!

TOPIC OF THIS CONTEST WAS:
It always happened when the room was too quiet. Random phrases were once again racing in and out of her mind. Black forest, red velvet, white wine, blue cheese, hash browns... Her hands tightened into fists and she furiously shook her head, trying to dispel the obsessive thoughts that assailed her daily.

She wiped her hands across her apron as she turned to the pot that was now boiling over. When she was putting the hot pan in the sink, she noticed a movement in the reflection of the window. She turned quickly, but her guests were still sitting motionless, right where she'd left them...

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


All This Food is Going to Waste
By Christine Tate, Hudson, NH

It always happened when the room was too quiet. Random phrases were once again racing in and out of her mind. Black forest, red velvet, white wine, blue cheese, hash browns... Her hands tightened into fists and she furiously shook her head, trying to dispel the obsessive thoughts that assailed her daily. She wiped her hands across her apron as she turned to the pot that was now boiling over. When she was putting the hot pan in the sink, she noticed a movement in the reflection of the window. She turned quickly, but her guests were still sitting motionless, right where she'd left them...

Of course they were. What was she? Crazy? No, just hungry. They were motionless and would continue to be so. Pretty hard for the dead to move.

Hours earlier they had been full of movement, full of life, and full of opinions. Calling her fatty boombalattie - what were they thinking? That was unkind. Laughing at her thighs rubbing together as she walked through the parking lot. What had they said? "Two hogs fighting for her ass." That was it. That was what they had said. They also said her ass looked like a giant orange, all pitted and wrinkly. Well, no matter. They weren't saying anything now. They were quiet.

She had been upset in the parking lot as she loaded her groceries in her van. But not overly upset. She'd heard it all before. Lard ass, thunder butt, rolly polly, fat ass. All names that were not new to her. She got over their jeers quickly. Best not to dwell on such things she told herself.

But what luck! What luck when she found them two miles up the road, broken down. No name calling now. Only appreciative smiles and words of gratitude. She'd been so kind to stop, and on such a hot summer's day. They eagerly left the hot sun for the cool air conditioning of her van. Come in, come in, plenty of room for you both, she told them. They didn't even complain when she told them she needed to bring her groceries home before bringing them to the garage. Didn't want her food to spoil - "what with prices being what they are" she told them with a smile. Told them to wait in the van while she brought the groceries into the house. No need to make a fuss. She could do it herself - had many times before. Besides, it would only take her a second.

Boy did their expressions change when she shut off the van and locked it from the outside as she stepped out. She smiled, waved, and turned towards the house, one grocery bag in each hand.

Sure is hot she thought as the sweat trickled down and found a home in various rolls on her body. Half an hour and they'll be ready to come in. Hot wings, mozzarella sticks, a cheese omelet. Her hands tightened into fists and she shook her head. Damn, her nutritionist had said that those thoughts would stop as she learned to control her appetite. Just cook enough for yourself and stop when you're full, she had said. You'll lose weight.

Cecil had to admit, it was getting easier. Her anger on the other hand, well, that was another story. Anyhow, not to worry about that now. She had guests to cook for. She had to get busy. She had half an hour to get dinner set and on the table.

As she worked in the kitchen, she hummed to herself. Didn't want the room to get too quiet. Her guests certainly weren't making a sound. The two teenagers just sat on the couch, heads lolled back. The boy had a bit of grass stuck to his jeans. He had proved to be heavier than she thought.

But she'd gotten him in the house. Damn determined woman she was, she thought to herself. Smart, too. She had been right. Half an hour in the hot sun and the van heated up sufficiently to take care of her two mockers.

How kind the sun was, making life so easy for her. No struggle, no mess, no worries. Just had to get the two buggers into the house. The girl had been easy enough. Skinny little thing. Cecil almost felt bad for her. She probably had never tasted a Twinkie in her skinny little life. Well, no matter, Cecil would take care of that. Dessert for everybody! she thought as she set the food on the table and called to her guests that it was ready.

"What? You two aren't hungry? Look at this wonderful meal I slaved over. Didn't your mothers ever teach you not to waste?" Cecil said as she reached for the chicken wings. Grease and spittle dripped from her mouth as she hungrily tore into the chicken. Until, until... "Shit", she thought as she beat her fist into her chest. Her eyes bulged and watered as she pounded relentlessy on her chest to no avail. "Shit, all this food is going to waste...


What Christine won:

$200 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)

ENTER THE NEXT 24-HOUR SHORT STORY CONTEST HERE!
Contest guidelines are HERE.


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