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Sunday, March 25, 2012

And the winner is...

To recapitulamatize, we've been experiencing some severe problems with Disqus this week, so we'll assume the paucity of comments is due to that, and not to any more likely and reasonable cause. For the 3/16/12 Friday Challenge, "My Favorite St. Patrick's Day Story," we ended up with but two entries, which we now reproduce in their full glory.

"Cupcakes," by M
The setting was College, Round II. The time was early morning, St. Patrick's Day 199(8 or 9?).

At the student union where I spent most of my waking — and a good chunk of everyone else's sleeping — hours, an energetic young coed had just brought in a special treat: green velvet cupcakes. There were plenty to share; she'd made at least three boxes worth.

They were beautiful. Of course, to get such an impressive shamrock green she'd also used five or six bottles worth of green food coloring.

We each had one. Some folks had more than one.

Every urinal in the building was stained green, for a week.

"Spring Break," by Scott Bartlett
Everyone in their right mind went to Daytona Beach for Spring Break. I drove from Boston to York, Pennsylvania to visit a friend. There was a party in the middle of a nowhere. There is always a party in the middle of nowhere when you are 20. I was a celebrity. It wasn’t out of merit, it was because I had a Boston accent.

A girl called me by a different name all night, pretending I was someone else. Her boyfriend. I let her do that. You go to hell for things like that. My friend vanished from the party and left me all alone. It was the only time in my life that the girl to guy ratio was 4 to 1.

I woke up in a clouded haze from the night before. Someone had drawn shamrocks on my face with eyeliner or mascara. I could not wash it off. My friend was gone and no one knew who I was. I was asked to leave. I got in my car and followed any sign that said north. I found the highway and drove back to Boston and went to my grandmother’s house for my family’s annual corned beef and cabbage tradition. My cousin washed the mascara off my face with cold cream. I never spoke to my friend again.

M's story is a beautiful, self-contained, perfectly paced comical anecdote. There's just enough initial detail to frame the story, a gentle three-beat setup, and then he nails it with a deadpan one-line spike. Score!

Scott Bartlett's story, on the other hand, is a fully developed tale. By the time I was done reading this one, I was ready to begin casting the movie. (Seriously. Films have been greenlighted on shorter pitches than this.)

Therefore, by the powers invested in me, I decree Scott Bartlett to be the winner of the 3/16/12 Friday Challenge, with all rights and smugnesses appertaining thereto.

And now on with the 3/23/12 Friday Challenge, "The First Voices of Spring," which is already in progress.
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