The fifth installment of What Will You Write? has come to a close, and Tara Southwell has chosen her winner. With only two entries, I’m sure it wasn’t easy.
Here you can read the original post and check out what the prompt was. I was able to read them as they were posted, since I wasn’t judging. I had no responsibility for that, so I could sit back and relax. So, here is what Tara had to say about our winner and runner-up (smileys intact):
The fifth edition of What Will You Write? has come to a close. Thank you Tracey Lynn Tobin and Peggy for your entries, they were both fun reads, and I was pleasantly surprised with your interpretations (I was expecting someone to make the object a bomb, lol).
I chose Peggy for the winner of this challenge. Her story, with its retro theme and sweet twist, made me feel all warm and fuzzy 🙂 So congratulations Peggy!
Here you can read Peggy’s entry (original is here):
The West Wing of the sprawling Bartley Mansion sat nestled on a rocky outcropping above the beach. The sunset was obscured by clouds from a fast moving Pacific storm. Surf was beginning to pound the rocks and spray was flung high. The smell of sea air permeated the grounds.
Elvis Presley’s singing echoed in the courtyard as Carl Bartley surveyed the ballroom from his quarters above the garage. When he heard the smattering of applause signaling the end of the film “Fun in Acapulco,” he stood and rocked his head side to side to loosen up.
“Not bad,” he said, “Not bad at all,” checking himself in the mirror. He straightened his bow tie, patted his vest pocket, and dabbed at his trim mustache. The forty-one year old heir of the Bartley shipping fortune was strikingly handsome and in great physical shape. Wavy black hair with a trace of silver at the temples framed his dark eyes.
He made his way down the steps, crossed to the ballroom and entered through the backstage door. People were taking advantage of the intermission to move around and visit. He searched the crowd for Julie.
They had been seeing each other for the better part of a year, and he was deeply in love with her. He spotted her in the middle of a group of elderly women. She was absolutely radiant. She always looked pretty in her nurse’s uniform, but tonight she took his breath away. She was wearing a tight silver lame gown, on loan no doubt from his Aunt Marian’s collection. Her long red hair was brushed back and held with a clip. He chuckled. She was wearing pink flip flops. So Julie.
He caught his elderly Aunt Marian’s eye, and nodded a “Hello.” Fondly known as “the Duchess,” she had worked with him to convert Bartley Mansion into an upscale retirement home. The Duchess held court every second Saturday of the month at this predictable but swank affair. It included dinner, entertainment, and the “Resident of the Month” award.
Emceeing the award presentation was Carl’s duty, but it had become a deep pleasure. Many of the elderly living here, while well off enough to afford these accommodations, had little if any contact with their busy families. Most had outlived friends and acquaintances, and Bartley was home to them. The Duchess had scouted the residents to find entertainers for her galas, and two of her regular performers were Louis, a retired jazz pianist and drummer, and Kelly, a retired screen actor. Carl took center stage, and Louis, who loved to punctuate Carl’s jokes with percussion, took his place at the drum set.
Alan, a retired physician, stood up from his seat in the front row and yelled, “Hey, let’s get this show on the road!” Carl had developed an impressionist act, and in his best John Wayne voice he drawled, “Well, hold on there just a minute, pard’ner. You’ve got to give a feller a chance.” Immediately the audience exploded in cheers and applause. “You tell him, Duke!” rang out, along with a woman’s voice telling Alan, “Sit down and shut up, you old fart.”
Carl looked at the audience and saw the Duchess dramatically stifling a yawn. “Well, little lady, I’m right sorry if I am keeping you up past your bedtime,” and as he winked, Louis hit the cymbal. The audience again erupted in laughter.
Switching characters, Milton Berle twirled the end of his mustache and loudly announced, “Good Evening Ladies and Germs, please take a seat. Any seat. But remember,” he admonished, “You must return the seat at the end of the evening.”
He knew it didn’t matter how corny his act was because they loved him, and they in turn gave him more joy than he had ever anticipated. As Elvis, he continued, “And thank you, thank you very much, Kelly. Loved that film tonight.” Their laughter reminded him of how important this event was in their lives, as he smiled in appreciation.
Reaching into his pocket, he took out a small object, and palmed it. In his own voice he announced, “Well, I think it’s time to shake things up a bit.” Louis added a drum roll. “Julie, would you please come join me on stage?”
Startled, Julie remained where she was for an instant, then stood up and made her way to the stage. “Julie… Julie… Julie…” he prompted, and the audience picked up the chant. When she reached center stage he said “Let’s give her a big round of applause, folks!”
Julie joined in the game and curtsied, her bare leg showing at the V split in the gown. Catcalls rang out immediately.
Just then lights in the ballroom blinked out. Before a spotlight leapt to life, Alan yelled, “Power failure. Storm’s hit us. Stay where you are!”
Carl peered out into the bright light, shading his eyes, and said, “You’re the man, Alan!”
Turning back to Julie, he knelt down on one knee and took her hand in his. The room was still as he continued seriously, “Julie Eileen Williams, you are the love of my life. Will you marry me?”
Startled and unprepared, Julie exclaimed, “Oh, my!”
“What the hell does ‘Oh my!’ mean?” exploded Alan, “Does that mean Yes, or does that mean No?” The Duchess, sitting next to him, “ssshusshed” him loudly. The room erupted in echoed “ssshusshed’s” and laughter.
The room quieted down quickly. Julie, blinking back tears, hoarsely whispered, “Yes. Yes.” And then clearly in a louder voice, “Definitely. Yes.” As Carl slipped the ring onto Julie’s finger, Louis hit the cymbal with perfect timing and the crowd cheered as the couple embraced and kissed.
As soon as the house lights came back up the residents crowded the stage to snap pictures and congratulate the couple. Julie turned to Carl and exclaimed, “You mean everyone else knew?” Carl grinned and nodded, then kissed her again.
Alan sputtered to the Duchess standing next to him, “But who wins this month’s award?”
She replied, “Julie and Carl did, you idiot.”
“Oh, that’s good then,” Alan sniffed, and shuffled off to congratulate the couple.
Tracey Lynn Tobin’s entry was a funny twist on the prompt, and I enjoyed the fact that she let’s us, the readers, imagine the effects of “shaking things up a bit.”
So, there we go. The winner of #5 is Peggy! She has the choice of writing the prompt and judging when #8 comes around. In fact, since she won #4 as well, she can do the prompt and judging for #7. The next round, #6, will begin tonight. I gave Tara the choice of writing this one as well, since she won two in a row, but she gave me that job. So, I will once again be writing the prompt and judging. That allows Tara to join in this time. Thanks to everyone who joined.