The first prize

I have won the first of the prizes (a book) that Velvet Verbosity now gives away in the 100 Word Challenge - which, by the way, has been running (almost) weekly for EXACTLY 11 months. The first one was on February 8, 2008, with the challenge itself having been issued during the previous week. This book is to be read and then "passed along" - left somewhere where someone else will pick it up and read it.

I did some checking in my archives, and although I missed a few of them, recently, I actually have published more than 30 of these 100 Word Challenge responses. That's a lot of writing.

What I would like to do today is repost one of those challenges - but this one was special. Jennifer suggested I should continue the story I started with that 100 Words. And so I did. And over the next two days I published a series of 100 Word segments that all tied together into one story - and yet each 100 words was a stand alone story in and of itself. Take a look - the word that started all of this was "City" and it happened in July of last year.

part 1

He walked into the cool dark of the corner bar, a refugee from the sapping heat and the Sun.
"What'll ya have?"
"Two Fifty"
He closed his eyes and let the cold beer wash down his throat.
"You out lookin'?"
"Yeah. Been poundin' the pavement for weeks. It's brutal."
"Want another?"
"Hot out there, huh?"
"Shit ya! 'Specially when you're out in it all day. Last few days I've been in every store, factory and office building within ten blocks of here. I'm done."
"Nah, don't say that. You'll find somethin'. Just keep lookin'. It's a big city."

part 2

"Yeah, it's big city, alright. Big and hard."
"Sure, it's hard. Brick and stone, concrete and asphalt, the Sun and the heat - they make it hard. But there's a soft part to the city, too. The people. There's good people here, and they make a difference. That's why I know you'll find somethin'."
"Yeah, from your mouth to God's ear."
He finished his beer.
"Well, I gotta get goin', I guess. I'm not gonna find nuthin' sittin' here."
"Good luck."
"Thanks, man. Thanks."
"Here, have some mints. Big city or no, better not have beer on your breath."
"Yeah. Thanks."

part 3

It was as if time had compressed, somehow; like the last couple of hours happened in minutes. Details lost, images blurred, phrases came to him out of sequence, out of context. But one. "Be here Monday", she had said. "Eight thirty, sharp", she had said.
"A job. I've got a job."
He fought back the tightness in his chest. He took a deep breath and let it out slow.
He walked for a while. He really didn't know where he was walking to - he just walked. And then he stopped. He smelled something. Familiar. He looked up. The bar.

part 4

He walked into the cool dark of the corner bar; in from the heat, and the Sun.
"Hey, you're back. What'll ya have?"
"Here ya go. On the house."
"So, did ya find somethin'?"
"Yeah. Yeah, I did."
And he told him; about seeing the sign, about walking in and asking for an application, about how he got an interview right away, about how he seemed to hit it off with the lady in the interview.
"So what did it for ya? How'd ya get the job?"
"You know? I think she liked the smell of my breath."


He sat at the small kitchen table, nursing the last beer from the fridge.
He heard the rattle of her keys in the hall, and then the lock.
She walked in the door, a small bag of groceries in her arms.
"Oh, you're home. How'd it go?"
"Okay, I guess. What's in the bag?"
"Okay? What's OKAY?"
"A surprise. I got a job."
"A job? YOU. GOT. A. JOB??"
"Yes. I start Monday morning."
"Well ... I have a surprise, too."
"Yeah? What?"
She slowly crossed the room and pulled down the Murphy bed, turned around and said, "Me on top."



Shadow said...

i remember these. well done with winning the book!!!

Bama Cheryl said...

Excellent. I can see it and feel the emotions. Great work.

nicole said...

I remember these, except for the last one :D!
Congrats on the book!

(I really love your new Layout, so wow!)

Eric S. said...

Well written, I suppose one of these days I should go through your archives to see what other treasures you have hidden there. I believe these were from before I found your site.

Your knack for dialogue shines through once again.

Kim said...

Thank you for posting these, as I have not seen some of those.. they are wonderful. They seem effortless to read, though I cannot even imagine trying to create such beautiful pieces like those..

Congrats on winning the book!

Honeybell said...

I love these, I'm glad you reposted, as they are "BL" (Before Lou) for me!

Indigo said...

It seems I'm the only one who hasn't previously read these, so on that note...Thank You! It was a delight to read. Wonderful timing as well, with a few friends out of work and searching for jobs. It offers hope, with a bit of the humanity we all need to keep a grasp on. (Hugs)Indigo

Michael said...

brings memories back that beer drinking only I could never stop at one, jobs yes they are hard to get now, in the uk theres huge waiting lists just to work in supermarkets.
Well another day comes to a close and i feel better than ive done for ages.
Friday fish & chips day tommorow!

maggie's mind said...

Oh, Lou, I totally remember those! I loved those segments and enjoyed reading them again just now. This all clicks so much in our situation with Tom and the Tulsa thing after so many months of unemployment. And here we are. And here that story is. This touches something inside my core. Beautifully written. And congrats to you on the prize!

Joyce-Anne said...

I never read the first posting. This is a great job! You know, I've always loved your writing. I could easily picture the scenes as if I was there.

Jientje said...

This reminded me of the story of the Kid. I love how you can paint a scene with words and dialogue.
It was almost like watching a movie, I could see it. Especially the epilogue. ;-)

Cat said...

Congrats on winning!!!

And yes - I would very much like to make new friends - Can we plan for this month sometime, maybe during a weekend? If not I can figure out a day of the week I just need to take the time once I know.

Looking forward to it!


Tara R. said...

I remember that one! I loved it then too. Congrats!

LceeL said...

Shadow: Thank you, V. I am glad you liked these then - and now.

Bama Cheryl: Thank you, Cheryl. It was fun writing it.

Nicole: I love it, too. Honeybell did a wonderful job for me.

Eric S: Yes - this was just before the Past Lives thing started.

Kim: Thank you. I LOVE writing these 100 Word Challenges.

Honeybell: "BL"? That is so flattering - and so cool.

Indigo: I am SO glad you liked it - I hadn't thought of this story in terms of timeliness - but yeah, I guess so, huh?

Michael: Now, NOW I'm jealous, mate. I'd LOVE me some fish & chips about now.

Maggie's Mind: Thank you, Maggie. And you can say nothing more exhilarating to an author than that his words touched you somehow.

Joyce_Anne: Thank you, Joyce-Anne. I am SO glad you've read and enjoyed this.

Jientje: So? You liked the epilogue, eh?

Cat: We will talk, soon.

Tara R: Thank you, Tara. It is my favorite 100 Word Challenge, so far. I guess because it eveolved into a whole story.

Loraine said...

Very nice. I tried to think of something more inspiring and verbose to respond with, but I'm just too tired. Love your work.

Holly at Tropic of Mom said...

What a great exercise! 100 words -- just about anyone could sit down and commit to 100 words. But you do it with style!