“During your weekly housecleaning you find and unfamiliar cell phone in the cushions of your couch—but can’t recall having had any recent visitors. It rings.”
That was the Writer’s Digest short story contest prompt that I tackled this month. I had to wait a full two weeks to experience the head shake that followed the manic clicks through the the semi-finalist list. Out of 670+ entries, I ended up in the bottom 666. It was statistically interesting, but not quite the professional validation I was looking for.
I read through all of the chosen entries to see what they had that I didn’t, and then spent a little time wondering if an electronic glitch had diverted my entry before it arrived, gleaming, in the Writer’s Digest inbox. That devolved into me staring out the window and contemplating what level of illegal it would be to naturally brine my computer. I eventually leaned back in my squeaky office chair, my fingers interlaced on my forehead as if trying to trap any remaining confidence from evaporating into the salty sea air.
I unlaced my fingers, scratched my hair more than I needed to, and went back to reread my contest entry. Of course, it wasn’t nearly as good as I remembered. I wanted to rearrange and tighten up a lot of what I thought was already arranged and tight, but working on it further felt like searching for the perfect rebuttal while lying in bed alone.
Below is my submission. Comments, suggestions, and cleverly combined swear words are welcome.