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Oysters, I Love 'em
by Gwen Boswell

Right, this is it, friends and family have been telling me for years that my letters are a comic delight. Well worth the Christmas cards arriving (usually late). They cannot all be wrong, so off to the trusty Internet to see if I can earn myself a few thousand. It can only be as easy as doing a search on "short story competitions" and the world will be my oyster, except that I don’t really like oysters.

Hmmmm, the "Rupert Trevallyan Short Story Competition" prize money of 1,500, 5000 words, this should do me nicely. Need to knock it out by January 31st, which gives me about three weeks, results in by April 31st. Pretty good, should pay for our Easter trip.

"Tips on short story writing", I don’t think so. I have what is known in the world of fine literature as "raw talent." I can’t let all these rules impede my creative juices, I want to them to flow, forget the Bisto. No, stick your rules, I have never been much of a rule follower anyway hence my early departure from grammar school. I want to be different, bring a new boldness, vibrancy and innovation to the world of short story writing. I have read J D Salinger, so I just know the world needs me desperately.

Right, judges, all down here, all respected writers and all that, let’s take a look at them then. Blimey, I have never seen three more miserable fizz-hogs in all my life, what have they been reading over the last thirty years? Memoirs of a Spanish Inquisitor?. Where is Ben Elton when I need him? I wanted to throw the odd ‘f" word into my story for reality and a bit of grittiness.

How can I relate to this lot? They all look like wine experts with constipation. All wearing shiny broaches, pinning down floaty scarves that have been swirled in a sophisticated fashion around very long, prima ballerina type necks. Hair, I am sure, coffered by someone called "Sergio" or "Jean-Paul" in hairdressers, sorry, styling saloons, on high streets without litter or graffiti. I bet the saloons have water fountains in the middle of them too, to aid relaxation for when hair is being teased and tossed like a grey salad. These hairdressers want all their customers to be nice and floppy before they are presented with the bill so when the shock hits them and they go ridged, it is hardly noticeable. Gee, I’m digressing and I am not supposed to do that in stories.

These judges are beginning to intimidate me, they have written proper stories too, long ones. I must find the courage to fight it, I must think positively, I can spell words like surreptitiously and physiological, perhaps if I stick them both in the first paragraph I will impress them. I won’t use the word nice in the story either.

What’s this down here, funny story competition, win 20. Oysters, I love ‘em!