‘Order’ Random Word Competition – Shortlist

Here’s the shortlist of 5 stories (listed in alphabetical order by title) for the latest Random Word competition (and chosen anonymously by our judge Sally Zigmond):

• Indulgence
• The Apprentice Dwarf
• The Caretaker
• The Exuberant Miss Kettle
• What did I do?

Well done if your story’s on there! And ‘if you’ve just joined us’, the 5 words that had to be used in the 100 word story challenge, were: order, naughty, eight, kettle and exuberant.

The final results (winner + runner-up) and the judge’s report will be on here in the next few days. Feel free to give a ‘shout out’ to your favourite in the comments!

1. Indulgence
‘Kettle Chips, brother?’ Father Ambrose homed in on a fine dusting of crumbs on Brother Gregory’s habit. Not everyone was cut out for the self-denial of Holy Orders.
‘Only eight, father. Naughty, but nice.’
Was that a flicker of guilt, or was he … smiling? Guidance was required, thought Ambrose. But then, they’d had no new postulants for five years. Surely, to err was human, and to forgive …
Deciding that God must surely have a place for the exuberant, Father Ambrose rested his hand gently on Brother Gregory’s head.
The smile broadened. ‘Bless me, father, for I have binged.’

2. The Apprentice Dwarf
The kettle boiled. Snow White put eight mugs out in order. One lump for Doc and Sleepy. Two for Sneezy, Dopey, Bashful and Happy. Three for Grumpy. None for the new guy.
Meanwhile in the bathroom…
“Mirror, mirror, on the wall. Who is the naughtiest of them all?”
“Why, you are, oh mischievous one.”
Naughty smiled. The magic mirror, stolen from the wicked queen, always told the truth.
“You may want to get out though,” the mirror continued. “After you’ve laced the sugar, there’ll be a rush to get in soon.”
“That’ll stop all their exuberant singing. Hi ho.”

3. The Caretaker
Every night, he’d saunter into my classroom. Whistling.
“Kettle’s on,” he’d say.
“No thanks,” I’d say. Always.
Tonight he threw down his keys.
“Put me on the naughty step, Miss?” he leaned forward.
I moved back; carried on with my display.
“Alphabetical order: E,” he read. “Exuberant, exciting…See me.” He breathed.
I stapled an elephant. Bang.
“Over there please.” I passed him a box.
He winked. “Yes Miss!”
He strolled into my stockroom. Whistling.
Simple. I grabbed his keys, slammed the door, locked him in.
I’d be back eight o’clock, Monday morning.
Lights off, alarms set. I left.
Whistling.

4. The Exuberant Miss Kettle
Amongst the congregation, was Polly the green-winged Macaw, beloved companion of the late Miss Kettle.
The vicar strived to deliver the order of service in a dignified manner, hindered by interjections each time Polly heard mention of her dearly departed mistress.
‘Miss Kettle was a great supporter of our church’
‘Polly put the kettle on!’
‘A colourful character, loved by all’
‘Pieces of eight, pieces of eight!’
‘A wicked sense of humour’
‘Who’s a naughty boy?’
‘And a generous bequeathal to church funds.’
The condition of the windfall had the vicar ruffled. Reluctantly, he resigned himself to parrot keeping.

5. What did I do?
Emily flew into the kitchen.
‘Stop being so exuberant. It hurts,’ groaned Jane to her teenage daughter, ‘Oh, I wish we hadn’t ordered that eighth tequila shot last night.’
‘Eight! Wow, my mum’s been naughty on a girl’s night out. I’ll put the kettle on.’
Jane lifted her head from the table and glared at her daughter.
‘I’m a single mum, I need to let go sometimes. We did share the eight tequilas’
‘Did you meet anyone?’
‘Can’t remember.’
‘Can’t remember what?’ said the blonde Adonis from the kitchen door.
Jane’s jaw dropped.
‘Don’t worry mum, he’s mine.’ Emily laughed.

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6 Responses to ‘Order’ Random Word Competition – Shortlist

  1. Patsy says:

    I have a favourite, but they’re all good.

  2. juliathorley says:

    Very clever. I couldn’t get started this time and didn’t enter. One is definitely my favourite – but I’m not saying which.

  3. philippabowe says:

    Always fascinating to see the varieties of stories springing from the same words…I think my fave is Indulgence.

  4. christine gray says:

    1 is very clever and original but 3 made me laugh

  5. Rosemary Reader and Writer says:

    They’re all brilliant, but I think, on balance, my favourite is the first… or the fourth. (I’d have killed that caretaker long ago!)

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