I entered an online competition that had 3 judges and 30 entries. I did it more for practice than anything else. I had to write 650 words about a real life event (non-fiction). I really didn’t think anything of it, because it wasn’t anything spectacular. But I got second place. The below is the short story and the judge comments.

It was a non-fiction theme that was given to me. “A moment that changed your life.”

I chose the birth of my Daughter. Cliche – but who cares.

My screen name is DaBlaRR below.

_____________________________________________________

3:33 AM (Warning – Explicit Language) – 650 words

Cry! For the love of God, just cry!

Those seconds, felt like hours.

About an hour before, we sat in our living room that was only lit by the television. She leaned back with her feet up, while I sat up straight, timer in hand.

Her pain, begot my own. The male instinct is to protect his woman. That pride was sabotaged by hopelessness. She still smiled; even sometimes laughed. How? That was the day I learned which of the two sexes were the stronger of the species.

“Ow, ow, ow…ok, ok, ok…It’s done.” Breathing heavy and holding on to her beach ball of a belly, she peered over at me, “how long was that one?”

“Dammit I screwed up. I hit reset, instead of the stop button again.”

“That’s the second time you did that.”

“Sorry,” I said, “I think we should go.”

“They said to call first.”

“Fine, where’s my phone?”

I searched my pants and then between the cushions. I turned, scanning the room with my hands patting my back pockets. “Where the hell’s my phone!”

“Calm down love, just use mine.”

The nurse seemed overly pragmatic. I explained everything. She didn’t seem concerned and that concerned me more.

“So, what did she say?”

Perplexed, I said “She said you should have a bath.”

“A bath? I don’t like baths.”

I made a meal out of my fingers nails while she soaked in that lukewarm water. My gut was telling me something wasn’t right.

“Richard! Bring my jacket!”

I rushed from the living room to the washroom “What’s wrong?”

Lori, now clothed said, “What do you think?”

“Did your water break?”

“I dunno.”

“Well did you feel like you peed?”

“It doesn’t feel like peeing!”

We walked quickly down the hallway, and I paused for a brief second. “I always assumed it felt like peeing.”

Her eyes widened and she nudged me forward, “Can we just go!”

I sped along the streets, being 2:40 in the morning they were empty. Lori’s breathing was abrupt and rhythmic.

“If that light changes I’m running it.” Nothing was going to stop me.

The light changed to amber; bracing myself firmly against the steering wheel, I pushed on the gas for one second. “Fuck!”
I slammed on the brakes and the car jerked violently forward. “Sorry.”

When I eventually parked, I had no idea where we were. We rushed around the building aimlessly. Lori stopped and leaned up against the wall, where I instructed her to stay.
I sprinted around the building and got the attention of a security guard who was on his cellphone.

“Hold on,” he said, as I approached.

I looked like a hoodlum, with my backwards hat and hoodie. While I was catching my breath I pointed in Lori’s direction. He stood there with his head cocked to the side and a smug look on his face.
“My…wife… she’s in labour.”

He quickly stood up straight and his pompous look quickly became earnest. He radioed for a wheelchair.

The doctor had no time to get there. The staff scrambled and I was given right leg duty. I held it up and Lori yelled, “Richard, come up here!”

“I can’t, I’m on right leg duty!”

Another nurse came in and took over my post. I was able to comfort Lori the best I could, stroking her hair.

“Fuck, shit, fuck, shit, fuck shit!” She yelled, “I’m sorry…fuck, shit!”

I glanced up at the clock. The second hand looked to be moving anti-clockwise. Then it appeared.

Her head popped out. It seemed transparent and grey.

“She’s not crying!” I said.

My heart stopped. Time was frozen.

When I heard the little cry and saw the colour flush through her face, bringing her to life; my heartbeat resumed.

What time is it? No one is calling the time. I looked at the clock and yelled, “Time of birth–3:33 AM!”

 

 

Results

Scores NFLM Sept 2015 A Moment or Event That Changed Your Life

Judges rcallaci EmmaSohan Olly
Buckle
Score
totals
Lewdog
No Place Like Home
17.4 19 14 16.8
Astroannie
Leaving
17.8 No Score 14 15.9
Olly Buckle
Bomb Blast, bomb burn
NA NA NA
Scarygothgirl
That Day
18.8 20 9 15.93
AaronR316
The Connection
16.3 17 14 15.76
Saeria
The Business of Kind Lies
18.7 18.5 15 17.4
Sleepwriter
Grounded
16.4 19 12 15.8
Kbsmith
Friday the 13th 2014
17 18 16 17
SummerPanda
Teenage Delinquency
15.6 18.5 13 15.7
Bethelor
Spiders
15.5 16 12 14.5
DablaRR
3.33 AM
18.9 19 16 17.96
Kapharel
What has gone before
17.4 19 11 15.8
Allysan
Impulsive Decision
17.6 17 14 16.2
ismith
What Does Not Kill Me
16.8 12 12 13.6
Harpercole
Phoenix Day
18.8 18 17 17.93
phil istine
The Darkest Hole
19.2 17 15 17.06
MidnightPoet
You Have Cancer
19.5 18 14 17,16
Atleanwordsmith
East Wind VIII – Beyond the Flash
17.1 16 13 15.36
Boofy
A Hard Fought Personal Revelation
18.7 17 15 16.9
Teb
no title
DQ 19.5 DQ
over length
DQ Coulda
been a
contender
Ibb
Confused on your own turf
18.6 No Score 13 15.8
Winston
Contra-Dictions
18.7 16 17.35
Ian877
Compulsory Drug Test
19.4 18 14 17.13
Pluralized
Change comes in waves of pain
19.7 17 15 17.23
Escorial
Ye Old Crac Club
16.8 15 12 14.6
Rayever
Don’t Ask
15.3 16 14 15.1
TMarie
Til Death Do Us Part
18.9 19.5 18 18.8

 

In First Place
TMarie with her story Till Death Do Us Part

In Second Place
DablaRR with his story 3:33AM

In Third place
Harper Cole with his story Phoenix Day

 

Critiques

  1. By rcallaci:

Dablarr-3:33 AM (Warning – Explicit Language) – 650 words

Spelling/Grammar: (5) 4.9
Tone/Voice: (5) 4.8
Effect: (10) 9.2
Overall (20) 18.9

Comments: There is not much to say about this flash but ‘bravo, cheers and all that stuff’. This piece had me smiling from the first sentence to the last. It was funny, exciting, and heartwarming. You gave a familiar and clichéd story a refreshing reface. The miracle of birth and the frantic and nervous father never gets old. And when told well it makes it all the more fun and joyful. A great piece of writing… Loved the title.

Kapharel- What has gone before

Spelling/Grammar: (5) 4.1
Tone/Voice: (5) 4.4
Effect: (10) 8.9
Overall (20) 17.4

 

  1. By emmasohan

 

3:33 AM
DaBlaRR
19

Well, you picked a nice event to describe. You did not say how it changed you, but I will assume the obvious for that.

Mood — GREAT!!! I felt your urgency. The uncertainty. Trying to get everything right and then so many things go wrong. Having to be two places at once. That was really well done.

Your clarity could be better. That’s something you can fix. To tell the truth, some things are tough calls. But I had no idea why you stopped for the light.

The first two sentences couldn’t possibly make sense when I first read them. You knew that. I think it is a style, though one I am not fond of. Actually, I never did figure them out. And having intentionally been unclear, then I think you have an extra obligation to be clear from then on.

I rushed from the living room to the washroom “What’s wrong?”
Lori, now clothed said, “What do you think?”
“Did your water break?”
“I dunno.”

At first, I thought she was being sarcastic — it was supposed to be obvious to you what was wrong. Then when she doesn’t know if her water broke or not, it sounded like she didn’t know what was wrong and was asking you.

I liked the title! Of course, how it tied in with the end, but also the exact minute your life changes.

 

  1. By olly buckle

 

  1. 5. You make my life easy. There is the repeat of ‘quickly’, passengers, not cars, jerk forward when you brake hard, and there is a tense shift here:- What time is it? No one is calling the time. I looked at the clock and yelled, but I think you re relating your thoughts, how about a single inverted comma?
    ‘What time is it? No one is calling the time.’ I looked at the clock and yelled…4.5
    8
    Total 16

Copyright © 2016 Richard L. Ross
All Rights Reserved.  No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or in any means – by electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise – without prior written permission.

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