The winner of this year's contest was Molly Ringle of Seattle. She wrote: "For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity's affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss - a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity's mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he was the world's thirstiest gerbil."
My friend Julie and I have taken this contest's concept one step further. We create "tandem stories", where one of us will write the first paragraph of a short story, and then hand it off to the other person. We keep writing paragraphs and handing it back and forth, and the fun is twisting the story in directions the other person wasn't expecting and seeing what they do with it.
Here's a tandem story from the "vaults" -- started almost 10 years ago. We didn't get very far. Does anyone want to jump in and write the next paragraph? Feel free to do so in the "comments" section. Let's see where Elliot, Martha, and Jeff end up!
In a Pickle
Elliot and Martha Rothchild were in a pickle. And later, in separate interrogation rooms at the Adamsville Hamlet police station, they would blame each other for their embarrassing predicament. It had begun hours earlier, when the duo pulled their RV into the parking lot of “Lefty’s Kwik Mart.” Elliot and Martha quickly picked up the provisions they needed and made their way to the checkout. “That’ll be $12.89, folks,” burped the cashier as she wrapped the remains of her salami hero in a piece of greasy wax paper and tossed it into the overflowing bin under the counter. “Oh darn,” said Elliot, turning and giving a knowing wink to his wife. “My wallet’s in the truck. Would you be a lamb and go fetch it?” Martha nodded and made her way to the parking lot. When she returned, she carried a small package wrapped in brown paper and placed it gently on the counter.
Martha’s hand had shaken badly when she set the package down and she fixed her eyes to the grimy linoleum for what seemed like hours. When she finally looked at Elliot, she noticed deep red splotches spreading along the loose chicken-skin of his neck. Beads of sweat began to collect on his forehead and glisten within the reddish bristles of his quivering mustache. She seemed to see him for the very first time. “What a repugnant little man,” she said out loud, surprising everyone. The package lay there on the counter, untouched by all three. Elliot stared, dumbfounded, at Martha, the one person he thought he could count on no matter what. Martha stared, disgusted, at Elliot, wondering how in the world she had ever had sex with him. The cashier stared at the package, then at Martha, then at Elliot. Finally, she poked the package with a greasy fingertip and said, “That don’t look like no wallet to me.”
Jeff Grandacre carefully backed his Yugo into the handicapped parking space in front of Lefty’s Kwik Mart. His parents had surprised him with the Yugo, complete with a hitch for the trailer for his motorized wheelchair, for his birthday luau just last week. Since then, Jeff had put nearly 800 miles on the tiny car, shuttling his friends back and forth to school, the local shopping mall, and racing from one end of the Adamsville Hamlet Scotty H. Icarus Tramway to the other. Jeff cut the motor, grabbed his 96-ounce coffee mug (“49 cent refills with every $10.00 purchase!”), and slowly limped around the Rothchild’s RV to the entrance of Lefty’s. As soon as he entered the store, Jeff knew something was amiss – in fact, he could smell trouble in the air. Suddenly, a burst of commotion erupted at the cash register. “Help!” screamed the tubby cashier. “Help me, please!”
OK, it's your turn! Please continue the story in the "Comments" section.