Roarie McPhail woke up and realized he had fallen out of his bed. The wind blew through the half open window. Outside it was stormy and a thick mist was rolling in majestically over the sea. Roarie went down the stairs to the dining room and made himself some porridge. Upon the wall was a photo of the fair ground that once stood upon the promenade outside Roarie’s house. A stall with candy floss was also to be seen in the photo with a little girl in a red coat with black curly hair queuing and smiling. Roarie started to smile as he remembered the days when he ran the family business, the Greeba Bay Fair. The times when he would have to close the fair for the day, but at the same time he didn’t want the day to end. The times when he had argued with the local fisherman, when he had tried to store his stinking fish in Roarie’s cellar. But then Roarie felt a deep sadness remembering what happened next.
Remembering the years that felt like a massive hole in his life.
Roarie went outside. He walked past the only other building on the promenade – the abandoned hotel. He walked further. To his right was Greeba Beach – a rocky beach with wonderful views of the sea. To his left stood the abandoned fairground rides, which were covered in rust. It had only been 6 months since he had repainted them, but the sea air kept swirling in and undoing the fruits of his labour. This time though it was going to be different Roarie told himself. He knew it! He once again set to work painting the fairground rides and repairing the damage caused by the never ending storms all in the hope he would one day reopen the fairground. At midnight he retired to his bed feeling utterly worn out and fell asleep.
Roarie McPhail woke up and realized he had fallen out of his bed. The wind blew through the half open window. Outside it was stormy and the mist was rolling in majestically over the sea. Something wasn’t right. Roarie knew it. He went outside and saw to his dismay that the sea wall had collapsed taking the fairground rides with it. Tears streamed down Roarie’s face. He knew what this meant. The local council would take another six months to rebuild the sea wall and repairing the fairground rides, that now lay on the beach below in tatters, would take at least a year – maybe two, three or even five and that’s only providing he beat the weekly storms. For the rest of the day Roarie tried to block the gap in the sea wall with sandbags that he had used the last time the sea wall had collapsed. Just to stop the tide causing more damage before the council would come and rebuild the sea wall. Exhausted, he went to bed again at midnight.
Roarie McPhail woke up and realized he had fallen out of his bed. The wind blew through the half open window. Outside it was stormy and the mist was rolling majestically over the sea. Roarie packed his bags and walked along the road that went up the cliffs to the bus stop. Looking down on the wreckage of the fairground ride from up high he felt ashamed for not continuing to pursue his dream of reopening the fair and the fact he was taking the easy way out. However he had realized he would never get back what once was. Then he felt something else – a sense of pride. Pride that he had run the fair for so many years – pride that he had gone to such lengths to reopen the fair for almost a decade. Because wherever he was going next and however dull his life may become – he knew he wasn’t a failure.
As the bus drove through the woods he closed his eyes. He could smell paint and oil. But not just that. The air smelled of salt, of fish and there was also a faint scent of candy floss.
by Reuben Potts
The jury comments
- You painted an impressive picture of that lonely person who clinged to his family duty and responsibilities due to your style. The „Groundhog Day“-moment at the beginning of each new day emphasizes the monotony of the protagonist’s life as well as the development and twist of the plot.
- A great story with a rich atmosphere and a professional feeling for style and repetition. As a reader, I can smell, taste and feel the situation Roarie is in. This could be the beginning of a road trip novel where we learn to feel with Roarie and his adventures. Really addictive writing!
- A stunning, well-written story about a man‘s passion and the necessity to adapt his dreams to the present conditions. You manage to draw the reader into your fictional world by creating a dense and gradually dreamlike atmosphere through the vivid description of the surroundings, the protagonist‘s thoughts and through the use of repetitions.
A decision that changed a life
Roarie McPhail woke up and realized he had fallen out of his bed. At first, he didn’t know where he was. After a while he noticed that he was in his apartment. His head hurt. He looked to his clock on the cupboard. There was one hour left before he has to go to work. He thought:“ Okay, just another boring day.“ He decided to take a shower and went to the bathroom, took his clothes off, stepped into the shower cabin and turned on the water. He startled because the water was extremely cold. He jumped out of the cabin and turned off the water. He wanted to brush his teeth and was prepared for the cold water, but not for the empty toothpaste tube. He thought:“ This couldn’t be the worst day of my live.“ He decided to get some fresh baking rolls from the bakery. He took his clothes on and went to the bakery. He bought two baking rolls. He stepped out of the door and went a few meters. Suddenly, it began to rain and he didn’t have an umbrella. He ran back home. When he was home, he saw that the baking rolls where wet. So, he couldn’t eat them. He was really frustrated and had an empty stomach but his head doesn’t hurt anymore. He saw on his wristwatch that it’s time to go to work. He changed his clothes because they were wet and grabbed his umbrella, his suitcase and his car keys. Outside the door he was looking for his old car. As always, he didn’t know where it stood. Luckily, it was red. So, he could find it easily. He went to his car, opened the door, threw his umbrella and suitcase on the passenger ’s seat and got into the car. He started the engine but nothing happened. He tried again and again but nothing happened. He decided to walk to the office and he knew that he wouldn’t make it to the office in time. He wanted to phone his boss while he walked down the way to the office. While he tried to phone his boss, he looked at a display window of a travel agency. There was an advertisement poster for Hawaii. He hung up and went into the agency and booked a one-way ticket to Hawaii. The next day he was on the plane to Hawaii. Nobody knew that he was in Hawaii. Neither his family, nor his friends. He built up a new life. He lived opposite to the beach where somebody sell cotton candy every day. And when Roarie came home from work and opened the window of his apartment, he could feel the light breeze. The air smelled of salt, of fish and there was also a faint scent of candy floss.
by Stefanie Zimmer
The jury comments
- Your detailed and vivid description of the protagonist’s unfortunate day made me suffer with him for I was reminded of several of the experiences in my past – fortunately not all happened in one day. Though similar to the song „Ich war noch niemals in New York“ your plot twist led to a different and more satisfying end. Keep up the creative work!
- A nice story of everybody’s wish to flee from everyday’s life from time to time. You describe the depressive atmosphere in the beginning very well and the situations where everything seems to get wrong. I think the moral is that you just have to follow your heart to become happy! Well done!
- At the beginning this seems to be a story about the annoying obstacles of everyday life we know too well. You have depicted them in detail to make the reader experience the protagonist‘s frustration. The twist at the end makes it an entertaining story about the desire to break free.