A large short list last week gave us plenty of savour, kick off eoth Jeanette Stampone who is fast becoming a fan favourite around NiTH. Her story this week, The Con Fusion, shows that Jeanette has what it takes to mix it with the best of them.
“Jeez, you’re pretty,” I said, handing her ten bucks. “Aren’t you that chick from Australia’s Next Top Model?”
“Who me?” she said giggling. “I think you have me mixed up with someone else.”
“You should apply. You’re stunning… Oh sorry, I hope I haven’t overstepped the mark.”
“Not at all,” she said smiling, as she handed me my change.
Meanwhile, Cam Dang’s protagonist for The Wheels Go Round is a wandering lothario with issues,,, Deep issues.
You’re probably thinking that’s why I’m always running. Free sex is awesome, and husbands are scary, yes, but that’s just half the reason. Here’s the other half.
Remember when I said people think I have daddy-left-me issues?
Perennial wanderer and this month’s feature author Lydia Trethewey took us to a post anthropocene future, with a unique take on the wandering hero in Mould, Dust, Corn:
She checks the contents of her rucksack. Small white boxes with meaningless words stamped on them, relics from the past. Linn sourced them near the place that used to be called Fremantle, from the salt-crusted carcass of an ocean freighter. Its iron belly open, the beach littered with the useless items; microwaves, televisions, lifeless lumps of metal and circuitry without the lifeblood of electricity to animate them. But she’d found the white boxes, deep in the cavernous hull.
Nick Lachmund makes a welcome return to the short list with the time shifting, place hoping Drifter:
I awake with a start. No sheet. Old brown doona cover that smells like bleach. White walls with yellow stains. I must be in Brisbane. I arise and my day begins.
While Elise Oliver wandered in on début only to grab everyone’s attention with the mesmerising By The Light Of The Milky Way:
I’m at the bottom of a very long list of people Andy. My job isn’t easy and mostly it’s pretty damn depressing.
“Don’t say damn, it’s rude.” His tiny blue eyes looked across the walk way at me.
“So, can I come?”
I paused. On one hand, if I took a child that I wasn’t supposed to, I would be in serious trouble.
Finally, Sean Crawley joined us with Movin’ On Up, a tale that combined the wandering bard with Sean’s own trademark quest for freedom from social pressure. We wondered if Nick And Sean’s protagonists may have run into one another on their wanderings:
When Mum rings next Tuesday she’ll find out I’m in Queensland and complain that I didn’t stop off for a visit. I’ll explain that I passed 30,000 feet overhead, but she won’t hear that. She hears nothing but her own voice. Mum’s sick. She’s got a personality disorder or five, but who hasn’t these days.
What’s great about an award brief like Evacuation Infatuation is the range of interpretations that make in onto the short list. As well as picaresque tales of journeymen, lotharios and drifters we saw future flung post apocalyptic climate fiction and dark fables that would make Niel Gaiman blush.
Elise Oliver may be new to NiTH, but her take on the award won the favour of our judges. By The Light Of The Milky Way is a great story, creative, dark, well paced and perhaps most importantly of all, this week’s winner!
Congratulations to Elise and well done to everyone on the short list. It certainly was a well contested competition full of great stories. And speaking of great stories, the short list for the Waiting For Starman is up now. Check it out here.