Cliffside Rose Flash Fiction Contest — Vote Now!

By Piper Bayard

Last week, I challenged readers to a contest telling us how a rose would end up atop a desert cliff in the middle of nowhere. Their stories had to include the words “Dixie,” “witness protection,” and “cheese grater.”

See The Cliffside Rose–Flash Fiction Contest

The Cliffside Valentine

The Cliffside Valentine

This week, we ask you to vote on these outstanding entries. Voting will take place here and at our sister site, Bayard & Holmes, and we will combine the totals. The top three will receive copies of USA Today Bestseller Vicki Hinze‘s clever tale of death and romance, Down and Dead in Dixie.

Down and Dead in Dixie Cover

And the entries are . . .

Olympic Romance image from Ebay.com

Olympic Ring Espionage
image from Ebay.com

BrickHouseChick:

Dixie was conflicted about being on The Bachelor, but she wanted the chance to meet her Prince. And that she did. Thor was very CALIENTE and had cheese-grater abs. The problem was, that he was a spy in Russia during the Olympics and they were ‘on’ to him. Putin blamed Thor for the 5th ring not lighting up during the opening ceremonies and was not happy. Thor was about to give Dixie the FINAL ROSE. If she accepted the rose, she would enter the program with him (no TVs allowed in the witness protection program), if she didn’t, she would have to let him go, forever. After much pondering, Dixie decided that she could NOT miss the Oscars, and opted for the RED CARPET rather than the RED ROSE. She kissed him goodbye and ran home to watch the E channel. Thor was devastated and jumped off the cliff.

Death by Margarita image by Zalmac, wikimedia commons

Death by Margarita
image by Zalmac, wikimedia commons

Shawna Coronado:

Naked, bleeding, trembling, and frightened-out-of-her mind; Dixie teetered at the cliff’s edge with a pitcher of margaritas in one hand and a single red rose in the other. Behind her stands 350 pounds of hate, the stranger who had been stalking her for the last 9 years and who dragged her out of witness protection to bring her here. He says, “One last drink, my sweet, before we fly over this cliff together and crash like cheese grater at the bottom.” As he lunges for her throat she swings the margarita pitcher smacking him hard on his temple. Arms wheeling, he falls screaming over the side, landing with a deafening crunch. She drops the rose and falls to her knees, happy to be alive and rid of her torment. Death by margarita.

Motorcycle or Death image from Canstock

Motorcycle or Death?
image from Canstock

Gry Ranfelt:

“You said it didn’t matter.”
Tom flexed his jaw and refused to look away.
“The court cares. Think of our daughter. What life will she lead if you refuse witness protection?”
Dixie swallowed the dry mountain air. Had he brought her to these uncomfortable heights just to tell her to do what she’d refused four times?
She slammed the roses into his chest. They fell to the ground, petals still intact.
“The entire evening was an act so I’d warm up and give in.”
“No, I –“
She turned away. “Take us home.” She hated the thought of wrapping her arms around him on his motorcycle.
His sigh trickled her neck. She stiffened.
“I can’t.”
He grabbed and pulled her towards a waiting car. “Sorry. I’m not letting you get the fucking mafia on us.”
She screamed. She struggled. The cliffs scraped her skin bloody like a cheese grater.

Tire Iron Freedom Maneuver image from ebay.com

Tire Iron Freedom Maneuver
image from ebay.com

Melissa Borgioli:

THE TIRE IRON FREEDOM MANEUVER

“Shut up, Carol Ann!”
She kept talking. “I can’t believe you got us lost and broken down in the desert! ”
“Shut up, Carol Ann!”
Still talking. “What did you say was busted? MacGyver could have fixed it with a cheese grater!”
“Shut up, Carol Ann!”
“My Mama said not to go to the desert on vacation. She said we’d be all alone out here like we were in the witness protection program. And I said, ” You ain’t just whistling Dixie, Mama! ”
“Shut up, Carol Ann!”
Of course, she didn’t shut up. She never did. A nice whack with the tire iron would do the trick, he thought. He’d bring a rose to this very spot every year on the anniversary of the tire iron freedom manuever.
“Well? Is it fixed? ” Carol Ann screeched in his ear.
His fingers tightened around the tire iron, then relaxed.
“Yes! Now get in the damn car, and for God’s sake, shut up, Carol Ann!”

Valentine Cheese Grater image from houzz.com

Valentine Cheese Grater Surprise
image from houzz.com

MrMeanGenes:

O Cliffside Rose,
My Valentine
Stands here before me:
Hear her whine ?

She dreamt of roses-
But not much later
Wound up with a used
Cheese grater.

Ol’ Dixie made a poor selection:
Orlando’s not a happ’ning Dude-
He’s just a Witness in Protection–
A Baby Daddy-truly crude.

Our Cliffside Rose
Thinks he might shtup her:
Instead, he merely wants
His supper.

Desert Dejection image via Canstock

Desert Dejection
image via Canstock

Kathleenjanzanderson:

The morning sun crept over the distant mountains as Dixie sat next to a tent sipping coffee & dabbing her swollen eyes. Beyond the fire a lizard poked its head over a paper plate and nibbled on a stale cheese grater. A vase of red Valentine roses looked out of place next to the cactus and endless grays & browns of sand & rocks: the only green was on its leaves & the body of her jeep. Ever since she’d entered the witness protection program this was Tim’s & her favorite spot, where they had planned to wed.

“Damn you Timothy Boon for not showing up!”

She leaned and yanked the flowers from the vase, bolted to her feet and to the cliff, stems dropping all the way. Raising her arm she was ready to heave what was left when she noticed a black car winding up the narrow road.

Victim No. 6 image via Canstock

Victim No. 6
image via Canstock

Kay:
Looking over the edge of the cliff at victim number 6, Detective Bayard thought to himself “I have no choice now! I must convince Dixie to go into witness protection before she is the next victim.” His partner, Detective Holmes was busy scaling down the cliff to get what little evidence was on the ledge. Seriously? Another cheese grater? What is the significance of a cheese grater? Just like the last 5, all Holmes finds is a single red rose, a dead female and a cheese grater.
You want to WHAT? image via Canstock

You Want To WHAT?
image via Canstock

Michelle Morrison:

After six years in witness protection, Diane was free. She moved home and reconnected with loved ones. She rescued a dog and named her Dixie, and they had lovely walks by the cliff near her house.

Diane met Peter. It was love. Peter seemed smitten also. “You’re special,” he told her.

She smiled. “So are you.”

Diane and Peter went for walks by the cliff. They watched the sun go down and threw sticks for Dixie. Peter gave Diane a rose each month.

At the fourth month, Peter gave Diane four roses and said, “I’m sorry, I’ve met someone else.”

“What is this?” Diane asked. “You’re unhappy?”

“It’s not you, it’s me; we can still be friends.” Peter said.

Diane beat Peter to death with the cheese grater she always carried. She left the roses by the body. The judge ruled justifiable homicide and she got probation.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

A huge THANK YOU to all of our participants!

The choice is a tough one. I’m so glad it’s yours, readers, and not mine. Please show your appreciation for these creative powerhouses and vote between now and midnight on Tuesday, March 11. All votes will be tallied at that time, and winners will be announced next Wednesday.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR VOTE!

MyPhotos Dixie watching sunset in desert Feb 15, 2014

Breaking News: US Government WMD Scandal!

By Piper Bayard & Jay Holmes

Sadly, as the world focused on WMD threats from North Korea, Bayard & Holmes uncovered information about a shocking WMD program right here in the US. On April 1, 2013, unnamed sources tipped us off to a brewing scandal in Washington D.C. that will make Watergate seem like a playground squabble. With hints at the program airing in the media, we feel it is now ethically acceptable to share the story with you.

image public domain

image public domain

In 2009, when North Korea successfully detonated a nuclear weapon in violation of aid agreements with the US and the international community, US President Barack Obama summoned the DOE, DOD, and CIA to the White House for a secret meeting to discuss strategies to remove North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Il from power. Within weeks, those agencies agreed to a new WMD program to be funded and developed under DOE management and deployed against North Korea.

You may have noticed a seemingly unrelated, but surprisingly critical, news story developing in New Jersey this past week. Yes, New Jersey. That state so famous for organized crime and illegal toxic waste activities. As the Rutgers University basketball coach disgrace unfolds, the general public is expressing the opinion that something smells rotten in Newark. For those of you who have not followed the story, Rutgers University fired Basketball Coach Mike Rice last week after video footage of him repeatedly abusing Rutgers student athletes went viral.

Some of the drama at Rutgers can’t be explained by the information that has thus far come out of university administrators. For one thing, Rice was hired in . . . you guessed it . . . 2010, just as the DOE and DOD were ramping up development of the newly authorized WMD system.

On the surface, we could dismiss this as meaningless coincidence. But the biggest problem with university administrators’ statements is the fact that we now have confirmation that they knew about Rice’s anger issues for two years. No renowned institution of learning could possibly accept and cover up a continuing series of felonies committed against their students for two years, right? If only the tragedy were that limited in scope.

Unfortunately, a deeper, more terrifying explanation is surfacing. In 2009, President Obama requested from the CIA a detailed personality analysis of then North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Il. Within an hour, that agency delivered a report explaining that Kim Jong Il had too few functioning brain cells to warrant a personality profile.

That bit of information struck a chord with President Obama. When he thought back to his carefree high school days in Hawaii, he remembered his basketball games. He recalled how his athletically challenged pal, Wally Waltzenzanger, seemed to lose more and more brain cells each time he suffered another “basketball to the head” injury on the court. By the end of the summer, in spite of Wally’s passion for basketball, Obama and his friends refused to allow Wally in any more of their games for fear that he would lose his life with one more blow to the head. As conciliation, they insisted that Wally play the role of “journalist” and write up the games for the high school newspaper. Wally’s pieces lacked any realism or accuracy, so they never made it to the high school press. Eventually, Wally pursued a brilliant career with the Washington Post, but that’s a catastrophic story for another day.

Thanks to the president’s creative thinking, Wally’s pain and humiliation were not wasted. Obama reasoned that, given Kim Jong Il’s scarcity of functioning brain cells and his obvious state of delusion, one good, old-fashioned American “basketball to the head” attack might finish him off, opening the way to a younger, less delusional North Korean leader. Given the president’s reasonable intentions, we can understand why he authorized the development of the Weapon of Mass Delusion program.

When the DOE brought its $13 million cost estimate to the president it seemed like a dream come true. Obama did the mental math and calculated that even with the routine 300% cost over-runs, the DOE could deliver a highly lethal Weapon of Mass Delusion for the staggeringly low cost of $39 million dollars. What other WMD could the US produce in two years at that price?

When Kim Jong Il died in December of 2011, everyone involved in the new WMD project agreed that it should go forward. By then, a promising agent was training to deliver expert, close range head shots with a basketball. And here is where the story gets dirtier still. To ensure a high enough level of rage and recklessness, project directors increased the dosages in the cocaine and meth injections they were secretly administering a particular agent-in-training.

When former NBA bad boy Dennis Rodman popped up in North Korea, sage intelligence analysts and journalists wondered what could possibly be afoot. How could anyone reasonably explain such strange birds flocking together in the middle of a brewing international nuclear crisis?

Dennis Rodman, WMD Projectimage by Tuomas Venhola, wikimedia commons

Dennis Rodman, WMD Project
image by Tuomas Venhola, wikimedia commons

Random lunacy? No, indeed. Our sources tell us Dennis was on a scouting mission, laying the ground work for the CIA to get a certain volatile college basketball coach close enough to Kim Jong Un for one last good shot to Un’s massive, low-functioning head.

So far, the White House, the CIA, the DOD and the DEA have all refused to respond to our questions about this developing scandal. The DHS, with its typical over-reaching style, even claimed that we are the mad ones, and that we should seek psychiatric help. In our experience, we can safely interpret such outright denials from multiple government agencies as confirmation that the rumors in question are true. Remember the old Soviet “mental hospital” trick for silencing voices of dissent? Be aware, America!

Now that the project is coming to light, it is doubtful that any branch of the US military will obtain funding from Congress for this horrific weapon. Some on Capitol Hill are rightfully worried that the DHS will hoard large numbers of this WMD if development continues. As to that, DHS Director Janet Napolitano thus far has not commented. Will Congress muster the sense and courage to call her in to committee to testify? We hope so. We can’t imagine any other way to force her to show a modicum of respect for our democratic process.

The dreadful moral and ethical implications of such a lethal WMD program are obvious. We will do our best to remain at large and keep you informed about this crisis.