This was a challenge that almost didn’t get submitted by the deadline. We were tasked with writing a story that took place in a restaurant (300 words or fewer).
|Private Kohassek strolled into the dining hall, loaded up a tray of…stew? (it smelled good, at least) and sauntered over to a solitary spot at one of the vacant tables. As usual, he only had a short time to eat chow and get back to his security detail. While he ate, his eyes wandered around the large room, and they rested on a solder two tables up from him. The soldier’s uniform had begun taking on a glowing, sparkling sheen. The camo took on prismatic, multicolored hues, shifting back and forth through the visual spectrum. Kohassek jumped when they exploded into a shower of beautiful sparks.
Across the hall, Specialist Hassler had halted mid-bite (“What the hell??”) admiring the golden stalactites emerging from the ceiling. He slowly put down his utensils and climbed up onto the table, groping for the just-out-of-reach glittering treasure. He then began the futile effort of stacking the unstackable chairs to gain the necessary height.
Meanwhile, PFC Kochanski had risen slowly from her seat, transfixed by the stream of marching silver praying mantises which were spreading from the table onto the floor around it. She jerked as she bumped into Private Stodgers behind her, who was avoiding stepping into the small bottomless cavities which had appeared between the floor tiles. They then both noticed that all sorts of unusual activity had broken out around them.
After making his grand entrance, the sight in front Staff Sergeant Yaro caused him to stop short, wide-eyed and slack jawed. After quickly surveying the large room, he bellowed, “JUDAS PRIEST ON A PONY, GET ME A MEDIC, PRONTO!” at the nearest soldier, then crashed through the kitchen door like a crazed bull. “DAMMIT COOKIE! YOU’VE BEEN PICKING YOUR OWN MUSHROOMS AGAIN, HAVEN’T YOU?!”
King of Bronze — RESULTS
The judges’ comments:
K: I saw the drug angle coming within a handful of words, but it was still a lot of fun, given the writer’s commitment to calmly explaining the impossible scene. A more subtle ending, to fit with the tone, probably would’ve been funnier, but it’s nitpick week here at CdL so whatever. The use of “Kochanski” is a nod to Red Dwarf, right? BRONZE
P: Ah, mushrooms, is there any dull situation they can’t liven up? I’ve got a soft spot for the imagery of the hallucinogenically inclined, and this doesn’t disappoint. The gag at the end is basically just a confirmation of what the reader is already thinking, but it’s funny, anyway BRONZE
Ladies and gentlemen, your STANDINGS
- I had warned Spooks that it would be dicey getting my submission in, since I was in Omaha for the last two days. I finished this off at the Omaha airport but didn’t get it sent as I had lost my internet connection and the lines were queuing before I had gotten it reestablished. When we landed in St. Louis, we sat outside the gate for an extra 25 minutes waiting for the plane in front of us to leave. When the shuttle finally dropped me off, I had less than a half hour to get home, so I had the laptop powered up beforehand so that I could make a final run-through and email it with three minutes to spare.
- Yes, Private First Class Kochanski is a nod to Red Dwarf.
Now’s a good time to begin thinking more animalistically…