The Christmas Short Story Challenge — Please Vote.

This post contains three Christmas short stories. Two are from twin brothers and one is from me but they are presented anonymously so as to not bias the readers. Sorry it’s up so late; it was supposed to go live at noon but stuff intervened.

As you might remember, we did this once before and we’re repeating the challenge. This time, with a Christmas theme.

Please encourage friends to read and vote (share the link to this post). Also, if you happen to recognize which story belongs to which writer, try with all your might to vote on merit only. We’re trying to avoid making this a popularity contest (says the guy who’s not very popular).

Whereas before we had a word limit, this is a bit less structured because . . . well, there’s no other way to say it; some people can’t follow rules.

What we ended up with is a short story/poem, a medium story, and a longer story.

By the way, I’ve had an earworm for a few days now and I hope if I can pass it on to my readers, it will finally leave me alone. So, here goes . . .

Anyway, to be as fair as possible, the names have been removed from the entries (they will be revealed at the end of the one week judging period, noon, January 1st). However, each story is copyrighted to its author and may not be reproduced — in part or whole — without written consent from the author.

The stories are presented in a predetermined order by mutual agreement.

Oh, one more thing; I’m presenting the stories exactly as presented to me. I decided against editing even if I saw an error only because I don’t know the intent. Perhaps it’s an intentional error.


Story One:


Copyright 2019 — all rights reserved

Twas just a week before Christmas, and all through the House,
All the swamp creatures were stirring, then one opened her mouth;

I with a cold bud, and my red MAGA cap,
Had just settled in, to watch this bull crap.

I  leaned in my seat, what would be her first sentence?
Hands shot to our hearts, ‘twas the Pledge of Allegiance.

“Indivisible,” she cried, then “Justice for all,”
“Now let’s impeach the bastard, for making that call!”

The Dems took the floor, they yakked for an hour;
They railed ‘gainst obstruction, and abuse of power.

They spoke of the disparaged, like old Uncle Joe;
Then they babbled in latin, Quid and Pro and Quo.

But that didn’t poll well, so said the advisory,
So they switched in midsentence, the charge was now bribery.

”Tis a clear case, Trump’s out to get Biden;
He held up the aid, Ukraine needs for fight’n.”

Then Naddler weighed in, with one of his rants;
Holding the gavel with one hand, the other, his pants.

“Unbecoming,” he wailed, “of the man YOU elected,”
“Time to change your dumb vote, it’s not too late to correct this.”

“We should have nailed him with taxes, Kaepernick, or collusion,
But unemployment dropped down, and the economy’s booming.”

“So now we’ve got you; judge, jury, and execution,
No more wiping your butt, with our Constitution.”

Then they relinquished the floor, to old man McConnell,
A proud son of Kentucky, and a friend to The Donald.

He spoke of the framers, and partisan passions,
He quoted Al Hamilton, then gave a tongue-lashing.

He renounced this as shoddy, due-process in tatters;
When up on the House top, there arose such a clatter.

When to what to our wondering eyes, we were stunned,
Twas the man of the hour, rappelling from Marine One.

They crashed the House party, whose eyes now were fixed,
On Donald J. and his crew, pardoned SEALS from team six.

More rapid than tax cuts, the POTUS exclaimed,
He tweeted, he reddened, then he called them by name:

“Now Nancy! Now Naddler,
Now Clinton, quit bitch’n,
On McConnell, on Collins,
Andy Johnson, Dick Nixon.”

“I told you Nancy boys, this swamp’s gonna drain,
If I can’t flush you like turds, I’ll resort to flames.”

Then he slid down the light string, yelled’ “Whistle-Blower!”
“It’s my turn to witch hunt, with my trusty flame-thrower.”

Trump burned down the House, and all that were in it,
Dems and Republicans, and even the Senate.

Then with a wink of his eye, and a smirk on his face,
He rose up through the roof, not a hair out of place.

But I heard him exclaim, as he choppered out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to all, even if you’re not white!”

The End


Story Two:

Christmas Eve

Copyright 2019 — all rights reserved

The Target cart rolled smoothly along the sidewalk of the strip mall. Nan liked this cart. Her last one was from Wal-Mart, and it was already in bad shape when she’d gotten it; it had been hard to push, had a wheel with a squeak, and it pulled to one side. This one was light, rolled with ease, and was quiet.

She stopped in front of the display window for a clothing store, looking at the shoes on display.

“How can anyone wear those?” she asked to no one in particular, barely aware of the people who walked around her. Most pretended not to notice her, all the while giving her a wide berth.

She resumed walking, looking in each window as she passed by. She wore a good pair of walking shoes, along with a coat and a hat, from the outreach charity that made the rounds checking on the homeless, so her curiosity was more about the displays than the items themselves.

She liked the holiday season; drab buildings and lampposts came to life with lights and wreaths and ribbons and . . .

. . . almost with a sixth sense for such things, she turned her head toward the far entrance of the long parking lot and the police car that drove in with the other cars.

Probably one of the stores had called them. Nan knew her rights, but didn’t want the confrontation; she might lose her cart in the process. Without hurrying, she turned into the closest service alley and headed to the large waste containers lining the back of the stores. It could be the cop might follow her, but likely not. Once out of sight, Nan was no longer a matter of concern. But, just in case, she made her way between two of the containers, pulled back the blanket from her cart and retrieved a small bucket that served as her portable chair. With effort and discomfort in her arthritic knees, she sat. She then pulled the carefully folded and frayed two sheets of paper, two letters, one from her fiancé, and one from his best friend, from her coat and was about to read one when she noticed the cigarette butts on the ground; this wasn’t a good place to sit.

“Well, it looks like we have company.”

Three young men stood in front of Nan. The speaker held a lit cigarette, and the other two were in the process of lighting theirs. Nan could no longer judge the age of kids, but she guessed high school age for these boys.

She didn’t answer, knowing full well it didn’t matter what she said. Instead, she labored to get up, hoping she could leave unharmed.

The boy who had spoken reached out and grabbed the letters from her hand before she could put them back in her coat.

“Let’s see what you got here,” he said, unfolding the top letter and turning from her as the other two boys blocked her attempts to get at the letters.

“Please, give it back,” Nan pleaded, her voice cracking with anguish.

One boy blocked her way as the other went to the cart with Nan’s worldly possessions, but she didn’t care about the cart because the letters were the world to her. Desperate, she pushed the boy blocking her and made a lunge for the letters. Too slow. Not only did the boy avoid her attempt to grab the letters, but she tripped on the leg of the boy she had pushed. She landed on her left knee and scraped her hands in trying to spare the right knee from suffering the same fate. Things might have gotten worse but just then, the cop car turned the corner, and the boys ran off.

“My letters!” Nan cried as she rolled to her side and reached a hand toward the fleeing boys.

“Are you alright?”

Nan looked at the concerned young cop through eyes veiled with tears.

“My letters . . .” she repeated in a soft voice as she looked toward the direction the boys had run.

“Are you hurt?” the cop asked again as he helped her up.

He held her arm even after she stood upright and looked at her hands.

“Let me get you to a clinic,” he said as he directed her toward the squad car.

Nan said nothing. Not a stranger to such encounters, this was by far the worst. Not because of the physical trauma, or the loss of her meager possessions, but emotionally. Her letters were gone. She had all the words memorized, but the physical connection to the past mattered just as much.

She barely spoke as the nurse cleaned her scrapes, applied antiseptic, and bandaged her hands. She softly answered the doctor’s questions as he moved her leg and determined from her responses that nothing was broken. He prescribed her pain killers, but knowing she wasn’t likely to fill the prescription, gave her enough pills for the week.

The social worker the cop had called wanted to drive her to the shelter but Nan refused. It took her an hour to get back to the strip mall and the scene of the encounter with the boys. Her cart and belongings were gone, and the hope the boy had dropped the letters extinguished after she searched the back lot and the service alley for over an hour.

It was getting late. Too late to return to her regular corner at the edge of the town’s park, Nan searched for a place to rest for the night. She just needed a sheltered from the slight breeze; her coat would suffice until she could replace her blanket and pillow.

She made her way to the evergreen thicket at the west end of the parking lot. It stood on the side of a warehouse and Nan walked along the warehouse’s wall to get behind and inside the trees. The shed needles would soften the contact with the ground and even provide a barrier from the grass and dirt’s coldness.

Lowering herself to the ground at a base of a tree, she leaned against the trunk , closed her eyes and allowed for tears to flow, her mind too numb to focus on any particular reason. She opened her eyes and looked up when the Christmas music from the mall stopped. The stores were closing, and soon the parking lot would empty of last-minute shoppers. The quiet was as comforting as the encroaching darkness.

And then, thousands of small Christmas lights turned on, transforming the thicket into a magical place. Some blinking, some twinkling, the lights seemed alive as the branches swayed with the breeze, the susurrus of the wind through the needles making gentle music of its own.

For a moment, Nan forgot her troubles and looked up in awe. Like colored stars and nearly as many, the lights seemed to promise calm and peace and . . .

Nan looked down. There were shapes moving in front of the thicket. Three people, one of them pushing a cart. Nan held her breath as one of the shapes made its way to the side and walked along the wall toward her. Most homeless people took care of each other, but they also posed a danger. Desperate people lived a lot closer to the edge of violence. She watched the person approach and realized the traitorous lights had revealed her position.

Her heart sank when she recognized one of the boys from earlier.

“I found her!” he called out.

Nan saw the others move to follow him to her location. Numbness, born of fear, kept her from moving.

The boy who had taken her letter was the last to come and stand around her and Nan closed her eyes and lowered her head.

“We’ve been looking for you,” the boy said.

Nan said nothing and waited.

“This is yours.”

She opened her eyes and saw the boys sitting cross-legged in front of her, the speaker holding out his hand and offering her letters back to her.

“We brought your cart back,” the other said as he pointed to the side and along the wall.

“And we brought some food and dessert,” the third said as he put a large takeout bag from McDonald’s and a box from Dunkin Donuts in the area between Nan and the boys.

Nan said nothing, still struggling to comprehend as she automatically reached for the letters, grabbing them, holding them to her chest as she let up a sob of relief, and tears flowed for a different reason than earlier.

The boys sat quietly as she slowly rocked and had her moment of joy and relief. After a minute, she wiped her eyes and looked at them. She was about to ask a question when the boy who’d taken her letter spoke.

“I read your letter,” he said. “I’m sorry you lost your fiancé in the Middle East, but it was good of his friends to let you know his last thoughts were for you.”

He looked down, paused, and then looked at her, seeing her, his eyes now red and tearing.

“I lost my dad there,” he said.

Nan reached over and touched his arm and they sat there, each finding comfort in the knowledge the other understood their pain.

It didn’t last long, but the moment was of great comfort to Nan.

“Shall we eat?” the boy asked as he tore the edges of the sack so that it opened into a place to set the food.

They talked as they ate and even laughed some, the first for Nan in a long time.

Later, wrapped in her blanket and looking up at the lights before drifting off to sleep, Nan thought this had been a great Christmas gift. Not the food or the returning of the letters, although both of those things were good. Not the promise the boys had made to visit again, although that gave her something to look forward to.

No, it was the connection to other human beings and being treated as a person. That would sustain her more than food, warm her more than clothes, and make her feel wealthier in ways money could not.

“Merry Christmas,” she said to no one in particular as she slipped into a peaceful sleep.

The End


Story Three:

Krampus vs. Klaus

Copyright 2019 — all rights reserved

“I can’t sleep, Vati,” Jeter said to his father. “It’s Weihnachten. Klaus is coming . . . and I’m worried. Because of the bad thing I did.”

Jeter’s father, Roth, considered snuffing the candle and retiring to his den, where warm gluhwein and a hot pipe awaited, but there was something desperate in his son’s voice, something dire.

“Could you stay with me, Vati? Could you”– the boy reached out from under the wolf pelt blanket and extended his small hand. Roth took it. How could he not? The boy – his only living child – was trembling.

“Yes, of course, Jeter; if you wish.” Roth sat upon the cold, empty bed next to Jeter’s, and held the child’s hand.

“A story,” Jeter suggested. “Do you know any stories, Vati? A Weihnachten story, perhaps?”

In the candlelight, the man’s countenance soured. “Not my sort of thing, fairytales and fables. I’m a woodsman. As my father was, and his fathers. We are a sensible sort, we Bavarians. We concern ourselves with sharp axes and hard timbers. Stories are for women and children.”

“But I am a child,” Jeter said.

The child’s small voice jolted the man. It occurred to him, just at that moment, the evident truth of the boy’s claim. He was only eight. Or was it nine? Roth couldn’t’ remember. He was no nurturer – that was his wife’s duty. But she’d gone . . . fled to the Valley after the accident . . . to be with her sisters and mother, to grieve in the company of the caring.

“I do have one story,” Roth offered. “Muddled and misremembered, to be sure. But I’d give it a go.”

The boy thrilled, “Tell it, Vati, tell it.”

It was the first trace of cheer he’d seen from the boy in a month – since the accident. Roth retrieved his vices from the den. With great reverence, he moved his daughter’s bisque doll to the nightstand. He pulled a draught from the wineskin and wiped his mouth with his hairy forearm.

Roth cleared his throat. “In times ago, when the Bavarian Forest was primeval and enchanted, there lived a family in a village – parents and two children. Twas tradition, even then, for Klaus to bring gifts to good children on Solstice Eve. The gifts were not as extravagant as today. No. There were no musical flutes, bisque dolls, and metal ice skates.”

The boy winced at the list of gifts. Roth saw this and glossed on.

“No, in times ago, Klaus brought treats – savory and sweet. Hazelnuts, figs, chocolates. And for the best behaved, occasional strips of boar’s jerky. Well received, was Klaus. The good children looked forward to his annual arrival. The bad children, however”–

“Bad children?” Jeter gasped, pulling the wolf hide to his chin.

Roth smiled, showing uneven teeth. “Klaus left the bad ones for Krampus.”


Lost in story-making, Roth now realized that his efforts to allay his son’s fears had careened into catastrophe. “Never ye mind, Jeter. Must get to sleep before Klaus comes ‘round.”

“Is Krampus a demon, Vati? Oskar, from Regen Valley, said as much. Said Krampus was as tall as a fir, black as a flue. Said Krampus was draped in belled chains, crowned with spiraled goat horns, shoed with hooves and claws, and was known to have a long, tapered tongue hung from its fanged snout.”

Roth took a gulp, followed by a swig and a sip. “Quite descriptive, is young Oskar from the Valley. Perhaps he should be telling it.”

“Oskar says Krampus carries a birch club and a black sack. That he beats children and spirits them away.”

“So it was said, even in my youth,” Roth conceded.

Jeter squeezed his father’s hand. “And, Vati, is it true that Krampus takes them to Hell and sells them to the devil as slaves?”

“Tis lore,” Roth said. “Besides, if children learn their scriptures and obey their parents, there’s no need of worry.”

“But I disobeyed, Vati,” the boy said. “You told me not to skate on the pond until the third freeze of the season. I disobeyed. And when Liesel cried to join me, I did not turn her away.”

A cold draft exhaled from mouth of the fireplace, extinguishing the candle.

“Vati, the boy gasped. “It’s Krampus, isn’t it?”

“No, lad. He’s not for you. You’re a good boy. Surely, it’s Klaus a’ comin’ . . . with sweets, treats, and knitted socks.”

There was a clattering on the roof of the cabin. Window casements rattled. Chimney stones shook. The cold air fouled and fell, becoming a crawling fog.

“The thing I did, Vati,” the boy wept, “the bad thing . . . does Krampus know?”

A cloud of soot billowed up from the stone fireplace. Within the miasma, was a figure, tall and broad, half-hidden upon the hearth.

Roth dashed to the closet and retrieved his double-bit broad axe.

“You aren’t bad,” he shouted to his son. “It was a bad thing that happened. A bad accident, Jeter. An accident!”

The figure on the hearth barked, coughing out great clouds of ashen dust, darkening the already dark room.

The boy leapt from his bed and declared, “I’ll go, Vati. Don’t fight the Krampus. I’ve killed enough family. Let the demon take me to Hell.”

“Not on my life,” Roth growled, and then attacked. He drew back the axe let it fly, aiming for the center of the amorphous figure. He was rewarded with a solid, satisfying report.

“Take that, demon!” Roth roared, his words drowned by howls.

The man and his son stood in their stocking feet and watched as the veil of dust dissipated. Revealed, by the moonlight through the cracked windows, was Krampus, the heinous demon described by Bavarian lore.

“Is this yours?” the monster keened, pulling the axe head from his birch cudgel. He flung the axe to the floor.

Roth shielded his son with his body. “Leave us, beast. We’ve had our share of sorrow. Peddle your misery elsewhere.”

Krampus sneered. Through jagged fangs, his red tapered tongue dangled. His saliva shimmered in the moonlight. “The boy,” he said, pointing to Jeter who was peeking around his father’s hip. “Naughty, is he. Disobedient. Twas he that brought misery.”

“It was an accident!” Roth shouted. “The ice broke and Liesel drowned!”

“Did she?” Krampus asked, casting his yellow eyes at the black sack on the cabin floor.

“Yes,” Roth replied. “Twas tragic. Now leave us be. Our grief is our penance.”

Draped in iron chains and bronze bells, Krampus bent toward the sack. He loosed the silver twine that cinched its neck. “Did you recover the body, woodsman?”

Roth bowed his head. “Twas impossible. The Spring will yield it.”

“Why wait?” Krampus said, reaching his clawed hand into the sack.

The man and the boy recoiled, pressing their backs to the log wall. From the bowels of the black bag, Krampus withdrew a child.

“Liesel!” Roth shouted.

Krampus hoisted the limp girl by her hair, her ice skates dangling midair. Her face was ghostly white; made whiter by the icy moonlight.

“You ghoul,” Roth growled, thinking to make a grab for the axe. “What benefits this act? Why persecute me with the body of my dead daughter?”

Krampus cocked his head. “Dead? Did you say dead?” He shook the child. In his hand, she was no bigger than the bisque doll on the nightstand.

Roth and Jeter gasped as the girl’s blue eyes opened. Her pale body shuddered as gouts of green water flowed from her nose and mouth. Krampus tossed her to the floor where she coughed and convulsed.

Her father and brother rushed to her, warming her with kisses. Roth cried: “You saved our darling Liesel.”

“Seemed a waste,” Krampus said in his reedy voice. “The devil pays handsomely for naughty children.” Krampus cast a chain onto the floor and expertly looped it around the girl’s ankle.

“What?” Roth shouted, shocked to see the creature drag his daughter back.

“However,” Krampus calculated, “the price of a hearty woodsman would rate a dozen striplings.”

“Me,” Roth said flatly, “for the girl.”

Krampus lifted the upended girl, swinging her like a pocket watch. “The fires of Hell require wood. And wood requires a woodsman. What say ye, Roth of Bavaria, feller of trees?”

“No, Vati,” Jeter cried.

“Ja,” Roth said, shushing Jeter with a raised finger. “I’ll go. But I’ll need my axe.”

Suspicious, Krampus stroked his lolling tongue. “Fetch it, woodsman. But if you raise it against me, I’ll take them both, the boy and the girl.”

Roth strode to the corner of the room. He lifted his trusty tool. It felt good in his hands, its weight and curves and beautiful utility.

“In you go,” Krampus said, shaking the sack.

“Not before you release the girl,” Roth said. “I need only to put her to bed, in care of her brother. To kiss her. To kiss them both.”

Krampus cackled. “Just one, woodsman. You may kiss the one most beloved . . . else the deal is dissolved.”

Roth nodded, knowing he was bested.

“Take her,” Krampus said, dangling Liesel like a putrid thing. “Take the stripling.”

Roth laid down his axe and reached for his daughter. Gently, he removed her skates and untangled the chains; he then carried her to her bed. He placed her bisque doll on her pillow and rubbed heat into her chilled hands.

“I’ve a busy night,” Krampus carped, jangling his belled chains impatiently. “Into the sack, woodsman.”

“One kiss,” Roth reminded, then bent to his children. He hugged them and whispered intimately to Jeter. “Son, when your sister is stable, secure the cottage, then fetch your mother in the Valley.”

“And you, Vati,” Jeter asked. “What will become of you?”

Krampus raged. “No more talk. No more dawdling.”

“One kiss,” Roth said. “Your word.”

“No,” Krampus screeched. “You’ll come now or the contract is void.”

Reluctantly, the woodsman complied. He picked up his axe and walked solemnly toward his slaver. “As you say.”

Krampus extended the black sack, spreading it wide and inviting. Within the belly of the bag, Roth saw untold wriggling children, all damned.

“You’re a big catch,” Krampus said, “but you’ll fit. They always fit.”

Roth put his stocking foot into the bag. He felt its sucking grip, like quicksand, drawing him inward. He looked back over his shoulder and called: “Remember my words. Your mother will come and all will be well. I love you.”

Little Liesel suddenly bolted upright and began thrashing her arms, as if swimming. Her face was panicked and porcelain. Her screams were squelched by the thaw of phlegm and pond water. Roth could not control himself. Reflexively, he turned back to comfort her.

“The contract is nullified,” Krampus declared, his voice petulant. He cast his chain across the room and lassoed both of the children. They cried as he tightened the links and dragged them across the floor, toward the pulsing bag.

“No,” Roth shouted, then swung his axe upon the chain. There was a spark and the chain separated.

“My chain!” Krampus hissed. “You’ve broken it!” The demon snatched the axe and wrenched it from the woodsman’s hands. With contempt, he flung it into the fireplace.

Roth pleaded: “I beg your pardon. I’m yours. Do not break our bargain.”

Roth leapt into the black sack and was instantly consumed. The children wept and wailed, begging Krampus to release their father. Humming a carol, Krampus cinched the bag, tying the silver twine into a festive bow.

“Now, children,” he said, tossing the sack over his shoulder, “I’ll be off.” He turned toward the fireplace then, unexpectedly, spun back around. “I’m parched. Perhaps a quick drink before I travel to Hell.” On crooked goat legs, he bounded toward the children. They shrunk into each other’s arms. Looming over them, his long, lolling tongue unfolded and probed their fear. Then, with relish, he licked their wet cheeks, savoring the salt of their tears.

“Damn you, Krampus!” Jeter shouted. “I wish you death!”

Krampus pitched his horned head back and cackled. His massive body shook, causing the bells on his chains to jangle. The noise was so raucous that he did not hear the scuttling sounds coming from the fireplace behind him.

“This has been the most delicious Christmas,” Krampus rejoiced. “One more taste and I’ll be off.” He licked the children’s faces once more. This time, however, he was disappointed. “Have you no more tears for your father?”

The children did not answer. Instead, they began to smile.

“What heartless imps you are,” Krampus scolded. “You’d make fine apprentices. Perhaps I should toss you into sack after all.”

The children began to giggle.

Krampus was bemused and confused. “Have I frightened you into gibbering idiocy? Have you lost your heads?”

“No,” Liesel said, laughing into her hands.

“It is you,” Jeter finished, “that has lost his head.”

Krampus growled and narrowed his yellow eyes. “Insolent little shits. I’ll teach you to be disrespectful to” – he broke off, noticing their darting eyes. They were not looking at him, but at something behind him. He spun around, ready for battle. But it was too late, the arc of the twin-bitted axe was already in motion. The swing was supernaturally strong and true. It struck the demon’s neck and did not halt until it exited the flesh. The monster’s head tumbled onto the hardwood floor as its body staggered about the room, finally crashing into a heap.

“Klaus!” the children sang. And so it was.

Without hesitation, Klaus loosened the silver string and upended the black sack. Roth fell out first. After him, a train of children disgorged.

Klaus clapped his blood-splattered mittens and called, “Up the chimney, children. My sleigh awaits. Tonight you sleep under your parents’ roof.”

When all the children had disappeared up the flue, Klaus turned to bid the family farewell.

“Thank you, Klaus,” Roth said. “We are poor, but appreciative. How can we ever repay you?”

Klaus dismissed the offer, heading toward the fireplace. Then, abruptly, he turned back. “Me? You offer me a gift?” He stroked his beard. “In all my years; in all my lives . . . never . . . never have I been offered a gift.”

Liesel, still shivering from her frozen slumber, rose and walked toward the man in the red coat. Her gate was unsteady, her voice hoarse. “Herr Klaus,” she whispered, raising her bisque doll. “A gift . . .  a gift for you.”

Klaus kneeled next to the beautiful child. His apple cheeks glistened with tears. He took the doll, kissed it, then handed it back to Liesel. He then cupped his mitten to her ear and whispered.

When Klaus had disappeared up the flue, Roth and Jeter asked the girl what Klaus had said. Liesel smiled, and then tossed her doll high into the air. When it crashed to the wooden floor, it broke open. The family stood in silence, amazed at what they saw. Among the treats of glazed figs, candied raspberries, and hazelnuts, was a treasure of silver and gold nuggets.

The End


And there you have it . . . and here’s the survey:

You have until January 1st, noon, to cast your vote.

Of course, you may also leave comments below.

As before, we have awards for the writers and it would be nice if we get more than 10 votes (what we had last time):

If I can swing it, I’ll call upon an outside judge to declare one of these stories overall winner based on some unfathomable professional assessment.

In that regard, if a reader with professional credentials relating to writing or literature happens to read this blog and feels the urge to be judge and jury for the professional award, get in touch with me (first come first serve).

If we land an outside judge, we’ll be vying for this award:

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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