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Jumping on the bandwagon...my losing entry

OK, since others have started posting their entries that didn't win, and since I'm desparate for *anyone* to say it is good, *big breath* here's my entry. Hope you all enjoy.

Praise is best accepted in the form of large cash donations.


“Next year, dear.”

That’s what Sue always heard. Next year. Why couldn’t it be this year?

Her mother smiled as the door to their quarters swung upward. A kiss, a wave, and she was gone. Off to work, somewhere in the maze of corridors that stretched for miles in the monstrous tin can they called home.

“I help make the air clean so we can all breathe better,” she had told Sue. Big deal, she thought. What’s the point of having clean air when no-one ever has any fun? Particularly today, of all days.

Fine, she thought to herself, I’ll just have to find someone else to have fun with me.

Sue grabbed her bag from the bed and rushed out into the corridor. As the door swung close with a thud behind her, and the branching hallways stretched out before her, she began to realize just how big five miles was.

Surely, in all of that, there must be someone willing to play…


Sue jumped back as a tall man in business clothes hurried past. She looked out into to zoo, more faces than she could count passing by, hurrying to one place or another. She had come here a lot with her mother to go shopping, so all the strange faces and antennae and colors didn’t frighten her. However, none of them looked like they wanted to play—they were all far too busy on errands of their own. Besides, none of them were dressed appropriately.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw something out of place. She turned, but there were too many people to see clearly. Sue wiggled her way through the crowd, finally stopping behind a booth as she saw her target: clad in a gray uniform, wearing a badge, light glinting off his forehead, jaw set and a demeanor that broadcast to everyone around him that they better behave or he’ll punish them badly. Yes, certainly he didn’t fit here. Maybe he would play?

She started towards him, then her eyes went wide and she dashed behind another booth as the man’s face contorted with anger.

“How many times do I have to catch you, Delek!?” he shouted at another man, who had fear in his face and the front of his shirt balled in the first man’s hand. “The sad thing is that you don’t even make a good thief. And if there’s one thing I hate more than a thief…” The man emphasized his point by tightening his grip and pulling the other man up nose-to-nose. “…It’s a bad thief.”

No, quite clearly, that man would not want to play. He was dragging the other man off by his shirt, anyway.

Just as Sue’s heart began to sink, she saw a strange object at the edge of the crowd. Sue jumped up, back and around the moving array of people in an attempt to see better, but the strange purple object slid away.

Sue darted between a couple looking at necklaces, weaved around two other men with black fans for hair, jumped out of the way of another lady…in and out and around she sewed herself, until finally making it to the edge of the crowd. No sign of the curious object. She ran into the corridor next to her. Reaching an intersection, she glanced left, then right.

Ahh, there it was. Sue had found her quarry. Now she could see that it quite clearly was no object; it moved through the halls like a person. He was just dressed like a funny purple-shaped object. With fins. Somewhat like a fish with robes.

Sue smiled. Finally, someone who would play. He was even dressed appropriately.

She ran forward, almost trampled by some other man running from something or another. She didn’t care. She had found her playmate. Mother had said no, had said next year. She had said that for three years. Maybe now, finally, on the one day more than any other that she wanted to play on, she would finally have her chance.

She caught up to the strange purple fish-dressed person and tugged on his robes. The person glided to a halt, then slowly turned. Sue looked up into a strange single circle for an eye, framed by the purple fins. Colored lights fixed in the middle lit up as the person said, slowly, musically, “Yes?”

What a perfect costume, she thought.

She held up her bag to the strange fish-dressed person.

“Trick or treat?”

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