I was going through some old files tonight and ran across this short story I wrote for a contest and forgot to enter it.  Scatterbrain.

Anyway, the contest gave writers the first sentence.  “You don’t have enough points, sir.”  I think the story was supposed to be under 250 words.  This is what I came up with.  What do you think?



“You don’t have enough points, sir.”

Mark’s expression fell.  ‘One more ball in the apron.  One more chance.’

He tried to block out the jeers of the desperate audience.  They wanted to see him lose.  From the moment he stepped up to the table, they heckled and sneered at him.  If he lost, he was gone and they stood a chance to stand where he was standing now.

Mark unintentionally allowed his eyes to drift.  Caitlyn was standing there in the pit near tears, her hands folded in prayer.  This was their last chance at salvation.  He could read her lips.  ‘Come on, Mark.  You can do this.’

The plunger automatically rifled the silver ball up the pipe.  There was no more time to think.  ‘React, Mark.  No!  Anticipate!’  Blink.  Bank.  Rocket.  Bumper.  10 points.  Bumper.  100 points.  Bumper.  50 points.  ‘Yes!  That’s it!’  Bumper.  200 points.  ‘I got this.’

The ball rolled down Fiddlers Lane into the left flapper.  He pressed the button hard and slapped the ball back up the board.  Treasure Hunt combo.  600 points.  Bang.  Bang.  Bang.  The ball ricocheted back and forth three times through Three Door Monty.  350 points each time.  It entered Wilson’s Orbit, swinging around through Silverman’s Spinner, eventually striking Fogelman’s Bumper.  850 points.  ‘I must be close.’

Suicide alley.  ‘Dang!’  A kickout hole.  ‘No!’  The ball disappeared completely.  ‘It’s inside the table.’  Mark’s blue eyes grew wide.  ‘There are three places it can pop up.  Which one?  Which one?  Be ready, Mark.  Be ready.’

Dynamite Grove.  ‘Yes!’  Mark was ready.  He flicked the right flipper barely grazing the ball, sending it horizontally over the drain and into the left flapper.  Pow.  The ball soared all the way up the board into Zeus’ Heaven.  1000 points.

The crowd groaned.

A host of twirling colored lights suddenly flashed all around Mark.  Fireworks exploded and whistled sounded.  The emcee leapt out on stage in a bright white suit.  His deep voice boomed over the PA.  “Winner!”

Allen M Werner is the author of the Epic Historical Fantasy series The Crystal Crux.

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