Play With The Prose VI, Challenge 1

This is my third time playing in this writing contest. In my previous two attempts, I reached the semifinals and the finals. With 18 contestants this time, it’s going to be tough to get that far again.

In this contest, the moderator is providing us with a quote for inspiration, and then we just run with it.Once again, judges are awarding medals and after twelve challenges, the top three contestants in each division will make the playoffs. This week’s inspiration:

Let’s start at the very beginning
A very good place to start
When you read you begin with A-B-C
When you sing you begin with do-re-mi

Word Limit: 318

August, 1995

“Ready? Set? Go!”

His son was getting quicker, perhaps even a little smarter. But he had a long way to go. Gary deftly hopped over the jousting stick and on the way down landed a blow right behind the shoulder blades. His son collapsed off his platform.

“You okay, sport?”

“Yeah, Dad. Let’s go again. This time, I’m knocking you down!”

“Tell you what, let’s take a break from that and try the atlaspheres.”

His son’s eyes lit up. “Really?”

“Yep! I think you’re ready.” They walked to the backyard where Gary had set up the course as well as the two giant hamster balls. He opened up the door on the first one and urged his son inside.

“Um…”

He could tell his son was scared. “Look, I know you’re frightened. But I can assure you it’s completely safe. And if you’re ever going to be an American Gladiator–and I know you will be– you have to train early.”

His son beamed. Nothing made Gary more happy than knowing that his son shared his dream. A dream that ended six years ago when the producers chose the better looking Rico Constantino over him.

“Dinner time!” Mom’s voice shattered the shared moment.

“But Mom! Dad’s letting me use the atlasphere!”

She shot a glance at Gary before responding. “Now Force, remember what I said?”

“Yeah, Mom,” he groaned. “A true gladiator eats well and obeys his mother.”

“That’s right, Force,” Mom said. “Oh, and Gary, before you come in will you put the air cannon in the garage? I don’t want to scare the neighbors.”

K: Utilizing a pro wrestler? SOMEone knows me (Rico Constantino worked as a pro wrestler for some years after his stint on Gladiators). As a story, it’s certainly charming, and the gags work as intended, though I don’t feel like we got any kind of resolution at the end. It’s great for an anecdote and okay for a story.

CP: I don’t know what I was expecting from this prompt, but it definitely wasn’t this! I like the goofiness of the situation, but ultimately this feels more like a joke than an actual story–nothing really happens to our main characters. Some of the writing also feels cliched, such as the son’s eyes lighting up, or redundant, such as the sentence stating Gary could tell his son was scared, which isn’t necessary given the dialog that immediately follows it.

Don’t ask how the Sound of Music inspired me to write this. Anyway, no argument here about the judge’s comments. It was a very weak story, but at least I got some gags in.

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