Short Story Contest

SHORT STORY CONTEST

Hi all! This week we’re doing something a bit different.

The challenge is a short story called “Blind Date”! Here are the rules:

  • Keep your word count between 700-1200
  • The story can be funny, dark, romantic, dramatic, or anything you want. Again, keep away from explicit pornography. No one has had any trouble with that so far, but you know… need to cover all the bases.
  • Please post on your blog and link back to it in the comments.
  • If you do not have a blog, you may post it in the comments.
  • Leave your Twitter handle at the end of the post so we can notify you via Twitter (and promote you) if you win.

Deadline is tomorrow night (10/4/2014) at midnight Central Time (Chicago, USA).

Prize is a $10 Amazon gift card!

Looking forward to reading your entries!

17 Comments

    • Because the theme is specific (entitled “Blind Date”), unless it’s already about that subject, it wouldn’t qualify for the competition. Previously self-pubbed entries shouldn’t be an issue, but they still need to fit within the theme.

  1. The call came just as I placed my one soapy dish on the draining rack. There had been similar calls before, but Larry was different. This time I didn’t interrupt, didn’t hang up. Larry had passion in his pitch. A bravado. I listened intently, not to the words so much, rather the rough edges of his voice, the pauses and intonations. Once he’d finished I waited, wanting more.
    ‘So what do you think?’ he said, and I pictured him smiling, baring his teeth to the office as his colleagues listened in, envious of his confidence.
    ‘Interesting,’ I said, leading him on. ‘How about we continue this over some linguine?’
    With the chance of a sale he couldn’t refuse, his ego wouldn’t let him.
    ‘Certainly, if I can get your card details then we can arrange all the details,’ he said.
    I admired his gall, but I wouldn’t go that easily, I wanted a decent meal out of him first.
    ‘Let’s not talk about money just yet,’ I said. ‘We can worry about that after the meal.’
    Luckily he only lived fifty miles down the river, a route I’d once attempted on my bike. So he took my contact details and we agreed on a time and place.
    ‘Thank you for your time. You’re not going to regret this,’ he said, before the line went dead.

    Two evenings later I sat at the back of Mario’s and watched the candle flame flicker and gripped an empty wine glass.
    ‘Hello,’ said that voice above me.
    I’d spent the most of my time since the call sculpting his face in my mind. The chiseled cheeks and rugged chin, set against those green eyes with cropped black hair and a hint of stubble. However, when I looked up the face above me was less granite and more putty. Not fat, but definitely lived in. Cute though.
    I stood as my glass was quickly filled by a passing waiter. Larry grinned, his teeth the size of pebbles, blue eyes sparkling. Kissing me on the cheek his long blonde hair tickled my nose.
    ‘You look nice,’ he said, removing the jacket of his dark grey two piece suit. I blushed as we sat down and studied the menu.
    ‘So where were we?’ he said, as the waiter poured him a glass of wine.
    ‘Tell me more about the payment plan,’ I said, knowing this would excite him.
    As he reeled off numbers and percentages I thought about his other conquests, how many other people had he swept up with his voice and promises of fixed fees. Had it just been over the phone before or maybe a bright alluring email. How far would he go?
    ‘Have you ever done this before?’ I said, once he had finished.
    ‘Take a client to dinner?’ he said. ‘Certainly not. You’re the first.’
    I didn’t know whether to believe him, but the dimples him in his cheeks convinced me.
    ‘Maybe I can be more than a client,’ I said, reaching out a hand across the table.
    He could smell blood and as he tried to seal the deal with a one time only offer our waiter arrived and I ate in silence as he explained the lucrative reward scheme. As we sucked down the last of our linguine, a man sat on his own two tables over began to cough and turn red. Larry leapt up to perform the Heimlich maneuver as the man started to turn a deep purple. Spitting the lump of steak across the table the man slumped back in his chair.
    ‘Thank you so much,’ the man said.
    ‘Anytime stranger,’ Larry said, smiling over at me.
    ‘You see how dangerous the world is,’ he said. ‘Everyday you go without insurance is another day you don’t put a value on your life.’ He was good. I knew I was going to struggle to behave myself and hold out.

    He walked me home and at my door he leant forward with the contract in one hand and a pen in the other. I turned away coyly, and instead just took his business card. We continued to see each other and he called most evenings, his soothing voice telling me of the latest offer. We had dinner at an indian restaurant where he sold a policy to middle aged woman who had an allergic reaction and afterwards I invited him in for coffee and he left the contract casually on my coffee table. Sometimes it felt wrong to lead him on, but I knew he wouldn’t give up and a part of him enjoyed the chase.
    After three months of courting we spent a weekend in Paris and he practised his French to me as we took the train from London. Our hotel balcony overlooked the Champs Elysees and on a stroll along the Seine he stopped a stranger from being hit by someone on a bike. At the top of the Eiffel Tower when I turned down the contract he instead offered me an engagement ring.

    After exchanging rings at the church ceremony he smiled as I signed the registration form, may be wondering if I would ever put my name on the contract. At the reception from the head table I could see the man who nearly choked and the woman from the indian restaurant, as Larry gave his speech.
    ‘When I first got that list of phone numbers I knew there was something special,’ he said, winking at his best man. ‘But despite fifteen grand of commission there’s still one that holds out. I’ve gone too far to give up now though. I’ll never stopping pitching!’’
    He looked over at me as he began his toasts and I could see an emptiness inside him. Later that night I finally put pen to paper, and on my death he’ll get a tidy sum.

    @jturner27

  2. I don’t have a blog so I am including my submission in this comment. Thanks! My twitter name is KipLarcen.

    Blind Date

    “One hit, dude, what do you say?” Said the Tattooed, sleeveless, younger, skinhead from nowhere.
    “Sorry, how’s that?” replied, the bearded older man, who was seated, head turned, hand still on beer mug.
    “Come on, tough guy! Right here!” said the standing skinhead pointing to his chin. Behind him, two skinhead buddies smiled.
    The bearded guy replied: “Sorry, man. I ain’t a fighter.”
    “Then what are ya, MAN?”
    There was a pause from beer drinker. Then he answered, “A lot of things. But not a fighter.”
    “A lot a things..like what?” asked the skinhead, still loud.
    The bearded guy with the beer paused another moment before answering, “A father, first of all. After that, a worker, I would say.”
    Now there was a pause from the skinhead. He looked away from beer man, and across bar. After nodding his bald head for a while in time to House Of Pain, he suddenly swung his fist at the beer man, stopping just short of the bearded chin. The beer man’s head remained steady. His hand let go of the beer and rose slowly, opening, signaling no resistance.
    “All right, dude. It’s cool,” said the skinhead. Then to bartender, “Yo! One for beer man!”
    The skinhead threw some money on the bar and his buddies smiled and moved on, through the noisy club, nodding as they walked.

    The next day, a Monday, the bearded man went for a trim. His hairdresser, the one he requested because she cut his hair the way he liked, was making small talk, as usual. They knew the basics of each other – that he was divorced, for example. “If your bangs get any longer you won’t be able to see where you’re going. So, how was your weekend?”
    “Oh boy,” he replied, and proceeded to tell her about his blind date. How he had been set up with a young lady by his friend. He explained that upon first meeting his date he was impressed by her good looks. He didn’t mention that his date was skinny, because the hairdresser, being plump, might think he was shallow. Perhaps he was, in that department. Anyway, he told the story of how he and his date went to this bar, how he said he was open to all kinds of music, how his date said she was open too but really was not.
    And then he told the story of the skinhead encounter. As he did, the hairdresser took one lock of his wet hair at a time between her index and middle finger, slide her hand until an inch or so of hair stuck out, then “snip.” He thought, even as he was telling his story, about how his hairdresser did this so efficiently, taking a lot off at once the way he liked, not pussy-footing around.
    “So that didn’t go so well then?” asked the hairdresser, meaning the blind date.
    No, replied the bearded man, there would not be a second date.
    “Well,” said the hairdresser, changing the subject, and sizing up her work by running her fingers through his hair first on one side, then another, “how about those Seahawks? You gonna watch the game tonight?”
    “I’ll DVR it. If it’s a good game I’ll watch it later without the commercials.”
    “Yeah, sometimes I do that too. Plus, tonight I work late so I’ll miss the start. My husband is watching it with friends, but I have chores to do, so I’ll just do them with the game on in the background.”
    As the hairdresser added her final touches with an electric clipper, the bearded man wondered if she had mentioned her husband strategically, to keep the conversation at a distance, as if to say “remember, I’m married.” Probably not. It was his imagination that drew such conclusions based upon his own emotions, even insecurities, perhaps. But he couldn’t help that, he thought. It was the same as when his blind date had made her comment after the skinhead incident, “Did you see the arms on that guy!”
    “What do you think of that?” the hairdresser asked, brushing the final clippings off the bearded man’s neck.”
    He knew the haircut was fine, but he always checked it to validate his approval. As he looked in the mirror, so did the hairdresser, and he couldn’t help glancing at her hazel eyes for a second. If using reflected light counts as looking into each others’ eyes, then that’s what they did, for a second.
    “Great as usual,” he said, standing up after she took the gown he had been wearing.

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