Last week Nottingham Writers' Club held their annual Manuscript Of The Year competition.
A piece of flash fiction is required with a maximum of 250 words. Members bring along their entry and hand it in anonymously. They are read out by a team of narrators and then we hold a secret ballot to decide the winner. The successful writer then reveals who they are.
I've never won this competition and this year was no exception. I was beaten into 3rd place by two excellent entries and the winning story can be heard here on our website narrated by BBC radio presenter Graham Wright.
This year the required theme was 'deadline' and I'm posting my effort here:
“These bricks are no good, Giuseppe. The ones at the bottom will crumble once the wall reaches its full height.”
The master builder looked down on his apprentice with disdain. The new chapel of Assisi was due to be finished by Christmas 1145 and was already behind schedule.
“Don't worry, Bono. We'll just put in an extra buttress or two.”
The young lad was still learning his trade but he knew his boss was cutting corners and using inferior materials.
“But that won't fit in with the plans, Giuseppe. This is supposed to be in the new Gothic style.”
“We have a deadline to meet, Bono. I can't afford to waste time and money getting new bricks.”
There was no arguing with his master. This project had been a shambles from the beginning. Even with his inexperience Bono knew the foundations were too shallow, the walls weren't straight and the roof leaked.
“You're a buttero, Giuseppe,” he mumbled under his breath.
“Anyway,” Giuseppe went on, oblivious to his pupil calling him a cowboy. “We'll be well away from here as soon as I've been paid.”
“Why?” enquired the apprentice. “Which unfortunate community is about to benefit from your construction skills this time, Giuseppe?”
“There's a place up in Tuscany,” Giuseppe replied. “Pisa I think it's called. They want me to build a bell tower next to the cathedral. Should be able to knock that up in no time.”
“Oh yes,” thought Bono. “What could possibly go wrong with that?”