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Author Topic: January 2013 Writing Contest  (Read 2688 times)

Offline Lor

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January 2013 Writing Contest
« on: January 06, 2013, 09:38:58 PM »
Apologies all for being so late this month, I'm blaming New Year celebrations!



Inspired by my recent reads, Ack-Ack Macaque by Gareth L. Powell on my own part, and the Redwall series that I've been reading to my little cousin, I hit upon this month's idea; anthropomorphic animals.

Your challenge this month is to write a story, on whatever theme you like, but at least the protagonist must be an anthropomorphic animal, and face the challenges such a character would in the world you throw them in.

Rules:
1. Must be prose
2. Must contain some element of fantasy (i.e. the protagonist ;) )
3.1,500 - 2,500 words

Entry will close on 31st January 2013, and voting will be open for the month thereafter. Good luck!
"Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye." - Miss Piggy

Offline blendyface

Re: January 2013 Writing Contest
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2013, 07:46:09 PM »
Lol omg this one was so hard.
But WAIT. Does this mean if I submit (albeit a tad late) that I'll win by prooooxxyyy?  8) Here goes:

PODGE
There once was a hedgehog called Podge. It was because every time he moved his little hedgehog feet he made a sound. A sound just like "podge": podge podge podge podge podge podge podge.

Podge was short on money, and even shorter on friends. Whilst he was generally nice, Podge was also poor with his finances and in somewhat of an impecunious position following a terrible choice of storkebroker, whose even poorer choices in stocks hit Podge's wallet like car-tyres to his second-cousin Rodge. Rodger the Dodger. In the end his title was something of a misnomer.

Podge tried to make friends, but his spikes didn't go down well at parties. Once, Tony Stork invited him to the marsh for his son's birthday. Unfortunately, Podge suffered an anxiety attack right after the balloon-art which resulted in several sore eardrums and the passing of Kakao the Clown from cardiac arrest. In his defence, the geriatric toad should've left the clown game before he croaked.

But the little hedgehog would not let a littany of annoyed neighbours, family members, ex-friends and busted balloons get in his way. Afterall, The Loan Shark employed some tough land-types Podge would rather avoid: the See-You-Later Alligators, and their boss, a Gucci-wearing Wild Crocodile who'd probably look forward to picking his teeth with Podge's little hedgehog spikes.

Podge sat on the porch of his homely-home, generally podge-podging about. He sat down in his wicker rocking chair with a glass of ice-cold iced-tea - doused with whisky - which he swirled in his little paws, contemplatively. Now, Podge was not much of a thinker either. He did know, however, that this was what cool dudes in the movies did when they came up with their cool dude plans. He took a couple of sips, dizzy from the heat and the generous application of alcohol. He pushed the chair forward as he sat, and let it rock for a minute or so. It didn't usually take this long for a cool dude to make his plan. What was the deal? Podge sipped his tea again. Ah! He thought, and ran to find his record player. As he was rifling through the hard tarmac-black LP collection on the bookshelf inside, he couldn't hear the rustling of the tall grass.

Podge leapt up. Perfect! And waddled over to his record player with a podge podge podge podge podge podge podge podge (he took very little steps, you see). And a final podge podge. The needle fell slowly to the surface of the record, like a spaceship landing on the moon, and suddenly the violent trumpeting jazz sound erupted from the speakers.

Yes, considered Podge, cool dudes always swirl their little drinks and listen to jazz when they come up with their cool dude plans, that's all.
The music shook the little, thin walls of Podge's house - not that he noticed. Podge also failed to notice some further rustling from the fields outside, and the wet slither of a heavy, swamp-green tail being dragged through the grass.

Podge podge podge: Podge returned to the porch rocking chair, with a slightly wobblier gait than usual. Oh yes. How they'd said he'd never dance. His little hedgehog cheeks burned at the thought. Those fools at the salsa club! Snakehips Bootskins the cobra was on Podge's little black list for that public humiliation.

After a while of gently rocking and gently drinking, our hero Podge completely forgot about trying to be like the cool dudes, and about the jazz and the stuck-up sinister Snakehips' sardonic sayings, and fell completely asleep.

*

A breeze moved through the hot air, and one of the See-You-Later alligators wiped his forehead.

"Barry, why's it so hot, Barry..."

Barry, the more corporeal brother of the alligator siblings, shuffled onward, ignoring Paul's droning voice. How he was related to someone so lacking in tonal quality was of great mystery.

"Baa-rrryyy!"

"What?" snapped Barry, turning around to see his idiotic brother slumped on the dry earth like a slab of meat on a barbeque. Speaking of..mm, I'm hungry.

There was a pause. "Did you...bring the sunscreen?"

"Sobek in the sky! PAUL WE ARE HERE TO DISPATCH SOMEONE. Not work on our tans," the alligator sighed heavily.

"Actually," said Paul, still immobile, "sunscreen's very important for scale health against-"

"DIS-PATCH," Barry hissed, and began to move forward again, circling the little house. He grinned. I wonder what hedgehog meat is like, maybe-

But the undeniable low, nasal, monotone voice of his brother interrupted Barry's thoughts.
"Dispatch? Liiiiike AmazonRiver-dot-com?"

There was a wet slap as Barry's scaly front hand met his face. How. How are we related.
"Let's just squash this schmuck for Mr. Shark, alright?" he said, through his gritted, numerous, teeth. "Or we'll be next on the menu."

*

Meanwhile, Podge, our unsuspecting hero, had been snoozing quite peacefully in his chair - that is, until he fell out of hit with a thump like butter hitting cement.

"Ah-- uh, what..," little Podge squirmed around on his back. Right above him were two big, sad watery eyes he knew well. Two big, sad and annoying watery eyes. Oh great.

Before he could catch his breath, two wings encircled his Podge's podgy body and clamped down on him. He tried to raise his spikes but couldn't - the vice grip causing him to loose a great deal of energy and oxygen. He beat his paws on the stork's chest, letting out little puffs of squeaky expiring breath.

"OH!" the stork dropped him immediately. "Oh! Oh-- oh, are you okay? Oh gosh! Dear! I'm so so sorry -- so so so sorry. Oh dear, oh dear."

This, dear readers, was the Storkbroker from before. Remember? The one who, technically, had landed Podge in his current predicament.
The predicament where two very hungry alligators are encircling both Podge and the stork as we speak.

The Storkbroker's name was Odette - the ugly duckling hadn't turned out to be a swan (or, for that matter, a female -- the other birds were not qualified vetenarians afterall). It was an accepted mess all around. He prefered Odie in casual company, but almost always went by his title to avoid embarassement at parties with girls. He was a nervous chap, and had a twitch in his right wing brought on by having to deal with...unsavoury sorts. In his line of work, not all the money you worked with was good money.

"Why are you here, Odie?"

Odie blanched, setting Podge upright and installing him back into the chair. He seemed a little upset, so Podge, weary and ultimately plan-less decided not to press the issue. He patted the chair next to him. Odie took a seat - realising that, of course, these were chairs made for the bottoms of little hedgehogs. His feathery backside pinched, but, seeing Podge's kind gesture, he resolved to stay perfectly still and smile through the pain.

"I w-w-wanted to talk to you. A-a-about the stocks."

Podge sighed. He couldn't stay mad at the guy. Not really. "Oh yeah?" he said, casually.

"W-w-well. There was a b-bit more to w-what happened y'see," Odie took a big gulp. His wing involuntarily flung out, knocking over the record player with an almighty crash. "OH!! Oh gosh gee-whizz--"

"Nevermind that for now. Good go'rd Odie, man!"

Odie nodded with simpering eyes. "Um, well. I'm sorry about the--. So...y-yes. The s-s-stocks, you s-see, I had to put them where I d-d-did."

Podge's eyes slimmed. He turned right round to face the feather-brained broker and glared. When he spoke, Podge spoke with deliberate slowness: "Tell me exactly what happened."

*

"Barry...psst Barry..."

"Shut up," whispered a seething Barry. He had lowered himself as close as possible to the ground. Something had happened he hadn't accounted for - a witness. He was told this chump was without friends or much by way of family. Wild Crocodile had told him so, as he grinned in his gold chair. Barry wasn't sure why Wild insisted on wearing an eyepatch - but Wild was one of the cool guys. He was a leader. And...Barry wasn't. Not yet, at least. But he'd show Mr. Shark...

"What're we gonna do 'bout that other guy?" Paul asked with heaving breath. The hot day was really taking it out of him.

Barry thought about Wild and his dumb eyepatch and even...dumb-er gold chair. What self-respecting reptile sits in a chair? He grated his sharp teeth together, and they flashed in the sun. "Guess we'll just disp-- get rid of - them both. Bird brain'll never see it coming."

Barry blinked one green eye at his brother: the signal to go. They stalked from their hiding place directly at the back of the house.

"You take the right side, " said Barry, envisioning himself a deep-red eyepatch. "And I'll take the left."

*

Podge had listened to the entirety of his 'friend's' sprawling, stuttering story. His little hedgehog heart pounded furiously.
"You're telling me Loan Shark is behind this?"

"Y-y-yuh-yuh," Odie gulped. "Yes."

Odie explained: since the Recession, Loan Shark had been taking a beating. The Riverbanks were being saved by the public purse and leaving guys like him in the deep end...so to speak. But the Loan Shark still had his fin-full of shell companies, real estate - for the Tax Porpoises, of course. He promised to pay off the storkbroker's debt in return for using his customer's money to purchase stocks and artificially raise the playing field in his favour. Then, Loan Shark was gonna use his other man-in-play to buy the inflated stocks and make a metaphorical killing before tanking the businesses and closing them down: get the suckers to buy into a condo that doesn't exist.
Except, this other man hadn't appeared. The stocks weren't being bought and anybody with half a brain could clock the con, turning them as toxic as an oil spill.

Loan Shark got busted by the Tax Porpoises, and now they were after Odie as a willing accomplice. Odie knew he didn't have much time left, and, feeling guilty, wanted Podge to know the truth before his feathery-behind got locked in a jail cell.

"Well", said Podge, hedgehog paws rested on his lap. The wheels in his head were slowly turning...if there was no Loan Shark to collect the loan--

Just then, there was a rapid, heavy, slithering sound: the See-You Later alligators. One, sickly-looking and thinner, was wheezing and wiping his forehead, the other, rotund and very, very scary.

"We're here for your money, Chump," and Barry grinned - a slow move to reveal his endless, jagged teeth.

Odie, with his face buried in his feathers said, "It's Podge, actually."

"Did I say you could speak, bird-brain?"

"I don't think you did, Barry," Paul said. He was trying to be helpful, but for some reason his brother simply shot him a dagger-sharp glare.

Podge found his glass of iced-tea and took a sip. He was going to try this, like a cool dude. The important thing was to be slow: no sudden movements. Be cool.

"So. You here for our mutual friend the Shark, I take it?"
Podge's wimpy storkbroker was still quivering, wings over his eyes. Probably for the best, Podge thought.

"Oh yeees. Paul and I are the Loan Shark's See-You-Later alligators, didn't you know."

Now, in Podge's mind there was the beginning of a cool dude plan: it involved a lot of cool talk. He'd talk to this one - the Barry? - and they'd exchange some barbed banter. And then, just like the movies, Podge's cool dude plan would become clear. He'd tell them about Loan Shark and possibly kick their scaled asses for good measure. Podge the Particularly Cool Dude. Yeah. That'd work.

Except it all got a bit odd.
For starters - Odie, who was not involved in Podge's sorta-plan at all, had stood straight up. He knocked his head on the porch roof.

"Ouch! Gee-whiz--"

Barry's jaws opened wide. "Whaddya think you're doing HUH?"

Podge's sorta-plan was unravelling. Odie stepped out to look at the alligator -- almost angrily? Podge stayed still. The other alligator looked about ready to pass out from the heat, and Podge wasn't entirely sure he hadn't already. His eyes locked on Odie and the other alligator.

"Did you say the other one's name was Paul," said Odie, slowly. "And you're Barry?"

"What of it, feathers?"

Odie smiled. "I know your mother. Mother Hen, right? You two aren't thugs. You're the Cluckle Brothers!"

Barry was about to clamp his iron jaw around the idiotic bird's spindly legs when he stopped abruptly.
If he weren't so green, you would probably be able to see a little - just a little - flush of red about his scaly cheeks. The alligator took a few slow steps back, and looked more carefully at the speaker. He did look familiar...

As it happened, the ducklings - who had teased Odette from an early age - were reprimanded by a tall, forceful chicken from the local roost where Odette had tried to convince them he was a chicken - like them. It was Mother Hen.
Mother Hen had a big heart - although she was a few eggs short of a basket. The other hens chuckled at her remarkable inability to distinguish what eggs belonged to whom. First she'd brought in what was clearly a baby stork and declared him a swan; then she'd even had the call to bring alligators into their roost under the claim they were just "confused". None of them had ever had the heart to correct her.

"Are you...does that mean you're Odette?"

Odie winced. "Odie. Y-y-yes."

What surprised Podge - who was starting to feel less and less like the main character - was how the alligator tried to blink back tears. It seemed as if everybody had forgotten dear Paul. Which wasn't difficult considering, and Podge was certain now, he had definately passed out.

"I always wanted a big brother", he said. Odie patted the alligators flat head with a little smile and a there, there.
Podge let the freakishly tearful alligator and - Podge supposed - his friend, indoors for a chat. Afterall, this family reunion was working to his favour. And all according to plan, he thought gleefully. He podged over to the other brother, and gave him some sips of his iced-tea.

Barry smiled his wonky-toothed smile. Odie! Odie was involved in economics and knew big words! This was the big brother he'd been waiting for. With the situation explained, everything became suddenly clear.

"Who-ever that other man was," he said, enjoying the chance to show off to his big brother. "I'll bet my bottom tooth Wild Crocodile's involved. Probably set the whole thing up, and sent us off to tie up the loose ends - he'd know you'd be here."

"But he didn't plan on us being brothers!"

"Me and Paul'll sort him out," Barry growled. "Him and his stupid chair. How does an alligator sit in a chair anyway-"

Odie shook his head. "No, you'll just get into trouble. If you don't m-mind talking to some cops, I know who to call."

*

Podge was sitting on the still incapacitated alligator's head, sipping his iced-tea and trying to catch some rays when two birds flew overhead with loud screeches like sirens that echoed over the fields. They were mostly golden, with bright yellow beaks and angry-looking eyes. The feathers on their heads were pure white. Podge raised his little hedgehog eyebrows. Cherry-eyed Eagles?

Screeching, they flew by in seconds on the breeze and were soon over in the distance, heading toward the marshlands.

Barry emerged from the house, followed by Odie, who appeared to be pushing the reluctant alligator on. He stopped in front of Podge and he sat straight up. I cannot die now, he thought.

"I'm...", Barry shot a grumpy look at his bird-brother. "...sorry. That I threatened you."

Podge pouted. "Hmph. Fine. Apology tentatively accepted."

Odie shuffled Barry off to make a statement or something - Podge wasn't sure. The story had clearly delineated from him.
Podge might've cared, but the iced-tea was doing it's work. The sun was shining bright and Podge was having a fairly less awful day. This alligator was perfect to lie on, for a start. And, it seemed, he'd had a friend all this time and never realised. The iced-tea was almost gone, now. Odie had found something greater than wobbling over numbers - somehow, he seemed less nervous. More certain. He has to be a brother now, Podge thought. Finally, and perhaps most importantly - nobody was dead.
Well, except Kakao the Clown.

Podge used a little hedgehog paw to shade his eyes: the glass was empty. He prodded the sleeping, scaly mass. The alligator let out a little, quiet fart and went back to sleep. Podge took a deep breath, for poetic effect (which was made rather unfortunate by the smell) and went inside to fix himself another iced-tea and sit on the porch. Podge podge podge podge.


ZIE GUT END

NB: Lol this is kind of a mess. And I know nothing about economics so...yeah. XD

MattJoeTom

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Re: January 2013 Writing Contest
« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2013, 04:08:04 AM »
I would've loved to write for this challenge! Too bad life and college got in the way. I'm actually writing a novel with many anthros as main character's. My characters are a little less ... cute, though.