2001 Winner

The winner of the XXXVth Lyttoniad is Tanya Menezes, who at seventeen years old is the youngest winner in contest history and the first from its hometown of San Jose.  Tanya describes herself as your average rowdy seventeen-year-old, but one who works at a local museum (where she occasionally has to remind guests that Mars is still a planet and that global warming exists even though it was cold when they visited Vermont).  

 

She enjoys engaging unwitting strangers in staring contests and writes slam poems like stand-up routines.  He favorite poem is John Donne’s “The Flea” and her least favorite author is Nathaniel Hawthorne. Congratulations, Tanya!

 
 

Runner Up

Dreaded Pirate Larry was somewhat worried, as he looked down at his boot, where his first mate was stretched out, making whooshing sounds, attempting to blow him over, that despite having the fastest ship, the most eye patches, and the prettiest parrots, his crew may need a few lessons on the difference between literal and figurative, as evidenced by the rest of the crew applying ice to the timbers.


 

Shelley Siddall, West Kelowna, BC, Canada
 

Grand Panjandrum's Special Award

Dreaded Pirate Larry was somewhat worried, as he looked down at his boot, where his first mate was stretched out, making whooshing sounds, attempting to blow him over, that despite having the fastest ship, the most eye patches, and the prettiest parrots, his crew may need a few lessons on the difference between literal and figurative, as evidenced by the rest of the crew applying ice to the timbers.


 

Shelley Siddall, West Kelowna, BC, Canada
 

 

Adventure

Winner

He glanced at his unsuspecting guests, his slight smile hiding his hateful mood, his calm eyes hiding his evil intentions, and his smooth skin hiding his tensed muscles, skeletal structure, and internal organs.

Dave Agans, Wilton, NH

Dishonorable Mentions

He glanced at his unsuspecting guests, his slight smile hiding his hateful mood, his calm eyes hiding his evil intentions, and his smooth skin hiding his tensed muscles, skeletal structure, and internal organs.

Dave Agans, Wilton, NH

 

Children's Literature

Winner

He glanced at his unsuspecting guests, his slight smile hiding his hateful mood, his calm eyes hiding his evil intentions, and his smooth skin hiding his tensed muscles, skeletal structure, and internal organs.

Dave Agans, Wilton, NH

Dishonorable Mentions

He glanced at his unsuspecting guests, his slight smile hiding his hateful mood, his calm eyes hiding his evil intentions, and his smooth skin hiding his tensed muscles, skeletal structure, and internal organs.

Dave Agans, Wilton, NH

Crime/Detective

Winner

He glanced at his unsuspecting guests, his slight smile hiding his hateful mood, his calm eyes hiding his evil intentions, and his smooth skin hiding his tensed muscles, skeletal structure, and internal organs.

Dave Agans, Wilton, NH

Dishonorable Mentions

Jimmy-The-Bull lay sprawled in a puddle of his own blood, which spread out like a bright-red Rorschach test, in which Detective Williams had so far identified a butterfly, a puppy and the Eiffel tower, but was vaguely disappointed that there was nothing resembling Jimmy’s trademark bull, although the coroner had seen a giraffe, which he claimed was close enough, since it was also a ruminant.


 

Arlen Feldman, Colorado Springs, CO 

For rookie detective Lara Stinson, the hardest aspect of her most recent case was not discovering that the adolescent victim had been thrown from the tenth story of the apartment building by his own grandmother, but rather trying to spell “defenestration by octogenarian” in her subsequent report.

Thomas Purdy, Roseville, CA 

Inspecteur Rollin of the Paris murder squad lit a cigarette as he stood over the body of la prostituée engorgée (to those readers who don’t know French, a prostitute with her throat cut and, indeed, how else would one describe her -- la pute, la fille de joie, la vendeuse de sexe, la travailliste de la rue?) which lay on the Voie Georges Pompidou under the arches of le Pont Neuf on the rive droite of la Seine which flows through the most beautiful city in the world.

Ralph Cutting, Kingston Upon Thames, England
 

 

Dark & Stormy

Winner

It was a dark and stormy night: the wind whistled like an old man with drugstore teeth trying to teach his grandkids to say, "She sells sea shells by the sea shore," causing the little shavers to wonder why Peepaw was suddenly talking like Daffy Duck, whether he'd just had a stroke, and if any of them was in the will.

Mark Schweizer, Tryon NC

Dishonorable Mentions

"It was either a dark or a stormy night, depending, of course, on if one was comparing globally or locally, as the midnight sun would be considered quite bright to the rest of the world, and by Alaskan standards, the negative fifty-degree wind chill would be considered balmy," thought Janet as she wrestled yet another sled dog out of the alien's tractor beam.

Peter Seakat, Rochester, NY 

Sufficiently numerous airborne water droplets struck various grounded objects at appreciable velocities, illuminated by ambient light from a sub-horizon sun such that fewer photons were absorbed by the retina of our protagonist’s eyes within a given interval of time than the number at which he would struggle to decide whether the amount of light he perceives should be considered “bright” or “dark”; in other words, it was a dark and stormy night.

Shea Charkowsky, Santa Clara, CA 

 
 

Fantasy & Horror

Winner

It was a dark and stormy night: the wind whistled like an old man with drugstore teeth trying to teach his grandkids to say, "She sells sea shells by the sea shore," causing the little shavers to wonder why Peepaw was suddenly talking like Daffy Duck, whether he'd just had a stroke, and if any of them was in the will.

Mark Schweizer, Tryon NC

Dishonorable Mentions

It was a dark and stormy night: the wind whistled like an old man with drugstore teeth trying to teach his grandkids to say, "She sells sea shells by the sea shore," causing the little shavers to wonder why Peepaw was suddenly talking like Daffy Duck, whether he'd just had a stroke, and if any of them was in the will.

Mark Schweizer, Tryon NC

It was a dark and stormy night: the wind whistled like an old man with drugstore teeth trying to teach his grandkids to say, "She sells sea shells by the sea shore," causing the little shavers to wonder why Peepaw was suddenly talking like Daffy Duck, whether he'd just had a stroke, and if any of them was in the will.

Mark Schweizer, Tryon NC

Historical Fiction

Winner

It was a dark and stormy night: the wind whistled like an old man with drugstore teeth trying to teach his grandkids to say, "She sells sea shells by the sea shore," causing the little shavers to wonder why Peepaw was suddenly talking like Daffy Duck, whether he'd just had a stroke, and if any of them was in the will.

Mark Schweizer, Tryon NC

Dishonorable Mentions

It was a dark and stormy night: the wind whistled like an old man with drugstore teeth trying to teach his grandkids to say, "She sells sea shells by the sea shore," causing the little shavers to wonder why Peepaw was suddenly talking like Daffy Duck, whether he'd just had a stroke, and if any of them was in the will.

Mark Schweizer, Tryon NC

Purple Prose

Winner

The summer afternoon was so fierce, Italy pulled off its boot, to wiggle toes in the cool blue sea, as hot Contessa Ravioli slid off her pantyhose.

Don Hansbrough, Seattle, WA

Dishonorable Mentions

He was a bold man, thought Arial Calibri, the typesetter’s daughter, but he wouldn’t recognize a superscript if it was underlined, believed that “strikethrough” was a baseball term, thought italics were people from Italy, and that sans serif was a Caribbean island. 

Sarita Hough, Blacksburg, VA

Even in the noisy gloom of the Oyster's Pearl, the most frequented bar in town, Sergeant Pete Harrison spotted her the moment she walked in--the young, tall blonde in a tight red dress that clung to her the way those stringy bits stick to a banana after you peel it.

Sylvi Warshaver-Stein, New York, NY 

He walked in wearing a red checked shirt that was impossible to avoid seeing no matter how desperately one might wish otherwise, looking like a table at a cheap Italian restaurant that had eaten all the pasta on it and then figured out how to come upright on two legs and walk.

Raymond Lockley, San Jose, CA

 
 
 

Romance

Winner

Phoebe sighed happily as she read the text from Mark asking her to be "friends with benefits," as she thought maybe, just maybe, she would finally get that 401k and dental insurance.

Amber Burns, Calhoun, GA

Dishonorable Mentions

Watching Liz Platskis’s lithe form undulate across the room left Bob shaken, but not unpleasantly -- kind of like the time he heard that Caltech seismologist lady describing a magnitude 6.9 earthquake along the Verdugo Hills fault underlying his subdivision only a few minutes after it had happened.

G. Andrew Lundberg, Los Angeles, CA 

My doomed love affair with Katrina was the old, old story: boy meets girl, girl gains control of killer robot, girl uses killer robot to take over the world, boy tries to persuade girl to give up power, girl orders killer robot to throw boy out window. 

Sarita Hough, Blacksburg, VA 

She pursed her lips in disapproval as she considered the divisive and hateful words her lover used to describe the shredded broccoli she had prepared for their honeymoon feast, and woe, too late, she realized that perhaps Col. Sanders was not her destined soul-mate, but, oh God, that pointy little beard sure did tickle her fancy.

George Coe, Broad Run, VA

 

Science Fiction

Winner

The professor had constantly warned his protégé about the time travel related risks of meeting a past version of yourself or killing your grandfather, but unfortunately he'd never mentioned the worst time machine risk of all -- sticking your head out of the window.

Phillip Davies, Cardiff, Wales

Dishonorable Mentions

Terellian Shapeshifters often blew their cover by taking subtly inappropriate forms -- a squirrel that swims perhaps, or a chair with five legs -- but Officer Max Throckmorton spotted this one immediately; every Human knows that bidets are NOT purple, and they usually aren't installed next to a McDonald's drink dispenser.

Mark Watson, Chapel Hill, NC

She stood out like a fifth appendage on the prehensile glandular dorsal fin of a love-sick marmoset from the twin-mooned planet of Hades VII in the Alpha-Centauri star system, but I thought she looked damned cute anyway because of the sailor cap she wore so jauntily.

Tim Petteys, Malden on Hudson, NY

Captain Calamari loosed a plasma bolt from his crossbow, but the charging cyborg knight hefted his magna-shield and deflected the sizzling violet flare into the dust, forcing the square-jawed hero to coolly reload his cumbersome, anachronistic weapon and wonder as he did why he couldn't have a blaster pistol like Han Solo instead of being stuck in this weird hybrid cyber-medieval universe.

Steve Lauducci, Bethlehem, PA

 

Vile Puns

Winner

As Sheriff (and choral conductor) Patrick “Pitch-Perfect” McHenry assessed his perfectly mediocre chorus upon the saloon stage (sopranos that could only sing melody, serviceable altos, screechy tenors, and basses dropping the pitch by more than a quarter step), a wrinkled scowl protruded from under his pristine Stetson and he growled, “I don’t like your tone” at his “okay” chorale.

Peter Bjorkman, Rocklin, CA

Dishonorable Mentions

In preparation for visits by African dignitaries, we had redecorated the West Wing of the White House in an African motif with numerous artificial plants and animals, but the President asked that we remove the papier-mache wildebeests, saying he was "tired of fake gnus."

Wm. "Buddy" Ocheltree, Snellville, GA  

As Lakshmi bestrode her vanquished foe in the Dombivli garment store, she clutched the coveted outfit and with a smug, haughty voice demanded, "Whose sari now?"  

Brent Guernsey, Springfield, VA

As the prosecution wrapped its case, Reynolds listened and knew he'd been foiled again.

William Lindley, Glenview, IL

Wending his way through the streets of Amsterdam only moments after his arrival, Basil-Brett Benedict -- passionate fan of the theater and life-long member of the Baker Street Irregulars -- could not contain his joy upon seeing a Stadsschouwburg posting advertising its dramatization of A STUDY IN SCARLET, THE SIGN OF THE FOUR, and THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, enthusiastically proclaiming his intention of seeing them with, “There’s no plays like Holmes for the Holland days!"

Amy Torchinsky, Chapel Hill, NC

 

Western

Winner

After three weeks on the trail, John’s jock rash was (in some places) burning brighter than the West Texas sun – least wise as far as a cowboy could tell with his chaps and britches down and the little mirror his mom had given him.

Chuck Gray, Shreveport, LA 

Dishonorable Mentions

We start at the end, with a town full of shot freegrazers and rangemen, with me the only survivor of that terrible, bloody day, the worst part being we never had the traditional pre-shootout accusation and insult trade-off mandated by western cowboy law.

Rob Greer, Queen Creek, AZ

Sarah knew a man like Walter "Wild Walt" Sumner could never be tamed; with his brash, unruly manners and fiery temper, and his fast-talking, hard-drinking, gun-slinging, lying, gambling, and cheating ways, and that's why she was marrying Larry, the village idiot. 

Rachel Koch, Blackstone, MA

When Earl flopped down from his sick horse, he (the horse) knew that Earl might become sick too but doubted it because they ate different foods.

Clifford Nishi, Mitsuke, Niigata, Japan 

 

More Dishonorable Mentions

He told her that his love for her was bigger than a spoon because the effects of the anesthesia had not fully worn off and he didn’t know what the hell he was saying; nonetheless, this is where our story begins.

Douglas A. Bass, Farmington, NY

Once in a great while a story is so magnificent, so grand, so great that it begs to be told and while this is not one of those stories, it's nice to know that they're out there. 

Douglas A. Bass, Farmington, NY

He had always associated the beauty of a woman with an exotic and sublime face, but there was something about her silky tresses and corkscrew curls that held his attention prisoner, typed the author, scratching his bald head absently.

Palak Bhatia, New Delhi, India

“He’s got a good head on his shoulders” overheard Preston the Praying Mantis of his fiancée chatting with her mother, though he may not have understood the full implications thereof.

Peter Bjorkman, Rocklin, CA