Out of Step?

Funny thing happened on here the other week.

I took part in a prompt I had just come across. I wrote my contribution, linked to the prompter’s post, and thought no more of it.

The prompt had an end date, which I guess makes sense, just so any respondent knows that they’re answering the “current” prompt over one that is a year old.

About a week later, I got a pingback of my own. The prompter had helpfully rounded-up the week’s contributions. That, too, seemed like a good idea – I do like to look at other people’s responses to things so that post made it easy for me. The thing that struck me as strange was that the post also contained an announcement of the week’s winner.

Winner? What do we mean by “winner”? For me, I post for fun, because I enjoy posting something. So if I enjoy writing, and responding, it’s a win. Period. If other people then enjoy reading it, that’s a win-win. “Lost” just doesn’t come into it.

So it made me think of a few things, like how the winner had been judged? Was it just the prompter’s preference? That’s just subjective anyhow – another reader might see things differently, so one person’s opinion has no more value than anyone else’s.

Or, was it by the number of “likes”? But then, surely, well-followed bloggers have an unfair advantage?

Anyway, I don’t say it is wrong, but it made me uncomfortable. The following week, I passed on the prompt. It’s not a big thing, but it just seems that by introducing this competitive element, we’re inviting unnecessary disagreements. What if somebody thinks that their response should have won the week? That sounds laughable, but I’ve seen for myself how zealous people can be with these prompts.

I presume none of us submit responses to prompts in the hope that they will somehow “win”? It puts me right off. Life is competitive enough without it straying into something which should be fun.

Costa del Crime

inspired by Fandango’s One Word Challenge (FOWC) of 20 October 2020, finagle. Another uncommon word here, I hope I got the interpretation right.

“What a lovely place”, I say,
The old man shows me round
“With such a perfect dwelling place,
You surely must be proud.”

How could he afford all this?
I wonder silently,
I think he must have won the pools,
Perhaps, the lottery.

He beckons me to breakfast,
Beside the indoor pool,
I cannot help but gasp in awe,
Gawking like a fool.

“What was it you used to do?
How did you spend your day?”
He said he was “a fixer”
Made problems go away.

A hint of menace in his voice,
Thought best not to inquire,
The type of problems that he solved,
Before he had retired.

With croissants and fresh coffee,
I sat uncomfortably,
“Okay, let’s get this business done”,
He says commandingly.

The paperwork completed,
Our business had been brief,
I came out from the villa,
I’m shaking like a leaf.

Safely at my office,
I Google this old man,
Shootings? Gangland? Murder?
Relieved I cut and ran.

I was imagining here a lawyer or an accountant or something, maybe an office junior, having been sent out to visit some client who he’d never met before, maybe to collect some signatures on something, and it gradually dawning on him that this client might not be all he seems…