The results are in...Sue Johnson and I have waded through all the entries, decided on a shortlist and re-read those... It was difficult to choose between the top ones and we had to get picky, but in the end, after copious cups of tea and several packets of biscuits, we came to a decision.
1st. A Night To Remember, by Keith Gillison
Many congratulations, Keith!
2nd. The Meeting, by Margaret Evans
3rd. Untitled, by Sarah Williams
Two runners-up prizes of Sue Johnson's Creative Alchemy go to Calvin Hedley and Brianne Hall.
Congratulations to all the prize winners and well done to all who entered. Give yourselves a pat on the back for trying! We hope to run another competition later in the summer, so watch this space!
Keep on reading, as below is the winning entry, A Night To Remember.
A night to remember
She did not need a looking glass to know she must look a fright. Nevertheless Judy couldn’t resist having another peek at the abomination on top of her head. It was her sister’s fault. Always going on about Karen and how well she was doing at Hairdressing College.
What had she been thinking? Here she was just a few hours away from a first date with Mike and she looked like she’d just cut her own hair blindfolded with a pair of rusty shears. She only agreed to it to save money. The bills were piling up, the car was in dire need of a service and Charlie was eating her out of house and home. The sooner he finished his A-Levels and got a job the better.
What could she do about tonight? Cancelling wasn’t an option. It had taken months of bugging her friend Carol to fix her up with Mike. A large hat perhaps? An excellent idea if she actually owned any hats. Judy frowned in thought. An idea presented itself. She picked up the phone and dialled Mike’s number.
Judy checked her make-up in the rear-view mirror and adjusted her hair. It was obviously a wig but it still looked better than what was underneath. A mop head would have been an improvement on her real hair. Mike hadn’t been thrilled at her proposed change of plans for the evening. He was a quiet dinner kind of guy. Attending a party full of strangers wearing fancy dress for a first date was the exact opposite of the kind of guy he was. Reluctantly he agreed to meet Judy at the party, on the proviso he could wear his uniform.
The car chugged into life as Judy turned the key in the ignition.
‘Just get me there you rust bucket.’
The party was on the other side of town. Judy’s plan was to leave the car there and get the train back the next day to pick it up. At least that was plan B. Plan A involved Mike being so overcome with lust they ended up back at his place. Her outfit was chosen with the express aim of seeing plan A reach a successful conclusion.
It was about two miles into the journey when things started to go wrong. As the car was passing the notorious Treadwell Estate Judy noticed the lights on the dashboard started to dim. A few seconds later the engine joined in on the act and the car crawled to a standstill at the side of the road. Just for the sake of pointlessly going through the motions she turned the key in the ignition. Nothing. It was deader than progressive rock.
Judy picked up her mobile phone and dialled a taxi firm. At least that’s what she would have done if her phone was actually receiving a signal. With as much fury as she could muster she slammed the car door shut and stormed off down the road, angrily holding her phone in the air. She stopped to consider her options. A pay phone, that’s what she needed. They used to be quite popular years ago. A quick glance around revealed a possible location for such an old-fangled device.
On the opposite side of the road was a pub. Judy crossed the road and glanced up at the pub sign before entering. The Whippet’s Ankle. An estate pub. She took a deep breath, pushed the pub door open and marched towards the bar. She was halfway there before her brain finished interpreting the information her eyes were attempting to relay to it with a strong sense of urgency.
‘Excuse me love,’ said the landlord, ‘we’re not open to the public tonight. Private party.’
‘Wahey,’ shouted a man dressed as Superman. ‘The stripper’s here.’
Judy quickly scanned the interior of the pub. It contained a pool table, a jukebox, a number of tables and chairs and about thirty men dressed as superheroes drinking lager. Then she caught sight of her reflection in the mirror behind the bar. In her rage against the ineptitude of her technological possessions to perform their basic functions, Judy had completely forgotten that she was dressed as Wonder Woman.
Deciding this wasn’t an ideal place to spend any time at all; Judy turned and walked towards the exit. It was blocked by a combination of The Incredible Hulk and Captain Marvel.
‘Now then lads, play nice. Anyone touches the lady and you’ll have me to deal with,’ shouted the landlord.
As if to strengthen his point the landlord reached behind the bar and retrieved a baseball bat decorated with numerous bloody nails. The occupants of the Whippet’s Ankle realised that despite being dressed as superheroes they were in fact not in possession of any powers that could outwit a baseball bat.
‘Sorry about them,’ said Spiderman, as he stepped forward with his hand outstretched to greet Judy. ‘We’re having a stag do for Brian over there,’ he said pointing at Batman. ‘I'm Daniel, the best man. What’s your name love?’
‘What’s with the outfit?’
Judy explained about her date with Mike, the bad haircut, the car breaking down and her mobile refusing to work.
‘Yeah, it’s a nightmare round here if you’re not on the right network. There’s a phone out back you can use to call a cab.’
Judy sighed with relief.
‘Thanks,’ she said to Daniel. ‘I was worried there for a minute.’
Daniel removed his mask and smiled warmly.
‘We’re a harmless bunch really. I’m actually a solicitor. I’m staying sober tonight to keep this lot in order. Would you like to join us for a drink before your taxi arrives?’
Judy smiled back at Daniel.
‘Well, maybe just a quick one,’ she said, looking at her watch.
‘What’s your poison?’
‘Quadruple gin,’ replied Judy. ‘Just to take the edge off.’
An hour and three quadruple gins later, Judy decided that perhaps it was now time to call a cab. She’d thrashed Thor and Captain America at pool, beaten The Incredible Hulk in an arm wrestle and had started a conga that was still in full flow.
‘One quick piggy back race and I’ll be on my way. You,’ she slurred loudly at Flash Gordon, ‘get Batman and Robin and meet me in the beer garden.’
The superheroes lined the perimeter of the beer garden, raucously cheering encouragement and obscenities at the competitors.
‘On your marks. Get set. Go,’ shouted Wolverine.
Batman and Robin stormed into the lead and were almost across the winning line when a combination of the fresh air and a full days drinking caught up with Batman’s central nervous system. He staggered backwards, lurched into Judy astride Flash Gordon’s shoulders and the four of them came crashing to earth. Judy landed on her head. She was out cold.
‘Is she dead?’ asked Thor. ‘Can I give her the kiss of life?’
Groggily, Judy opened her eyes, sat up and looked around.
‘Where am I?’
It was two hours of checks and scans in A&E before Judy was given the all-clear. As a head injury victim she was given the highest priority. Daniel drove her to the hospital and waited patiently for the news.
‘Plenty of rest and her memory should return soon. Bring her back in a few days if there’s no improvement,’ was the consultant’s verdict.
Daniel had just escorted Judy out of the ward when her phone rang. The name Charlie appeared on the screen.
‘Mum, it’s me. I’m in trouble. I went to this student party and, well, I’ve been arrested for impersonating a police officer.’
Sergeant Peterson walked purposefully towards the interview room. Another Saturday night, another hilarious student jape. He was supposed to be enjoying a quiet dinner in a nice restaurant with an attractive lady. Instead, his date had cancelled his dinner, invited him to a fancy dress party and then stood him up. He was actually relieved to get the call to come to the station at once. A group of drunks dressed as superheroes had started a riot in town. On his way to the station he had no choice but to arrest an inebriated student in police uniform who thought it was a good idea to stand in the middle of a busy junction and direct traffic whilst performing the dance moves to the song YMCA.
Peterson entered the interview room and sat down. After a few seconds he pinched himself a couple of times to check he wasn’t hallucinating. This confirmed that he really was sat across a desk from Spiderman, a bedraggled looking Wonder Woman, and a swaying teenager dressed as a policeman.
‘I’m the boy’s lawyer,’ said Spiderman, ‘and this is his mother.’
Peterson leaned forward and stared in concentration at Wonder Woman.
‘What the blazes?’ he bellowed, suddenly recognising her.
Judy stared back at Mike, a confused look on her face.
‘Have we met before?’ she asked. ‘You look awfully familiar.’