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January 26, 2021

Winner of Echo story comp: week 2

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Mandy Nolan

Echonetdaily had another bunch of awesome entries in our weekly story comp!

What incredible storytellers we have in this region!

When all this is finished I’d like to invite some of these storytellers to deliver their stories at a Mullum Echo Moth. When we can actually gather and hear stories in the flesh!

This week we had some very powerful entries – in fact it was hard to choose the winner – but being a lover of topical issues, I do love how Mike Smee has taken on 5 G and given the whole thing a curious twist. So this week’s winner is My Lucky Day.

I also totally loved Margaret Davidson’s moving story about a woman waiting to be reunited with a lost love and Andrea Darvill’s piece about singing with her Nan.

The Stranger on the Roof  by Henrietta Davidson left me with a little goosebumps, Bums Ahoy by Midge Phlatt dived deep into women’s surfwear and the trend for women to show their butts, and The Party by Ninian Gemmell took us inside the quiet conversation between two businessmen.

Please keep sending those stories through and we’ll have a new $50 winner for you next week too!

The main rule is the story has nothing to do with COVID-19. It can be no more than 800 words in length and there will be a $50 cash prize every week for six weeks!

Email your entries to: [email protected] by 11.59pm every Tuesday for inclusion. Please include your full name, address, and phone number.

This week’s winning story – My Lucky Day

Today must be my lucky day.

My thumb’s barely out before a car stops. A dusty old silver sedan with a grumbling motor. I bend down and look in the window. The driver looks friendly enough, even if she does have a maniacal smile. I try to be careful about who I ride with, what with stranger danger and all that. But the truth is, danger’s everywhere. You don’t need to look too hard.

I open the door and climb in.

‘Where you goin’?’ she asks, in an accent that’s oddly unworldly and strangely familiar.

‘Ah …’ I stumble, gathering my thoughts. ‘Mullumbimby?’

‘Yeah, me too,’ she says.

‘I love your car,’ I say, giving the chrome on the dash a rub. ‘What is it?’

‘It’s a Galaxy, what else,’ she replies, somewhat enigmatically.

As soon as I see Mount Chincogan emerging above the road, I feel a crazy buzz of exhilaration, like I’m channelling Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. We’re on the straight, heading west into town, and fairly flying for such an old car.

‘She goes like a rocket,’ I say.

She looks at me and laughs.

‘If only.’

Now that I have time to study her more closely, I’m struck by her singular appearance. Her features are so chiselled they could’ve been hammered into shape on an anvil. She’s all edges and creases. An image pops into my head, of her folding herself up at night like an intricate piece of origami. Sometimes my imagination really…

‘Hey,’ she says, ‘what’s going on?’

I don’t know the word for a collection of protesters, but there they are, right in front of us, blocking the road into town.

I moan, ‘Oh. It’s another 5g protest.’

‘Well, good luck to them,’ she says. ‘I’d be protesting too about such old technology.’ She tugs absently at her ear, and I notice her ear stud is blinking.

‘What? No. they’re worried about radiation,’

‘Ha! I’d say that’s the least of their worries.’

Great. As if I don’t already have enough to worry about.

“There’s no shortage of protests, blockades, boycotts and conspiracy theories around here,’ I say.

‘The funny thing is,’ she says, ‘all these minor conspiracies only obscure the really big one.’ We edge past the protesters, who eye us suspiciously.

‘Religion?’

‘Ok. Yeah, there’s that. But there’s also …’

She leans in so close I can smell mint on her breath.

‘… us.’ A whisper so soft, I’m not sure I’ve heard it.

‘What do you mean? …us?’

‘I knew as soon as I saw you,’ she says, straightening up. ‘Not that you don’t hide it well. But I can tell. You’re one of us.’

I look straight ahead. Frozen.

A study has found that super-intelligent aliens do not exist in our corner of the universe. (photo Space.Com)

‘Ok, I’ll go first, ‘she says. ‘Have you picked the accent? I’m from Gallifrey, a little place on the northern outskirts of Orion.’

And suddenly it all fits. Like winning Tetris. And it explains why I’ve been feeling homesick, ever since I got in the car. I’m not alone after all.

‘No way. I’m from Caprica,’ I chuckle. ‘Isn’t it a small universe?’

Her perfect white teeth sparkle like a curved constellation. I lean forward and fiddle with the dials on the dashboard.

‘Can we reach …’

‘Sorry, it’s only an FM radio,’ she says. ‘The bloody aerial’s just a coat hanger. I’m lucky to get Bay FM.’

‘There’s lots of us around here,’ she continues. ‘I sometimes wonder if we outnumber the locals. Luckily, we’ve mostly managed to keep a low profile … well, with one notable exception.’

‘Who? Do I know them?’

‘Let’s just say he’s a certain local celebrity who lives in a rather pretentious house big enough for an intergalactic landing platform on the roof,’ she groans. ‘As if being incredibly sexy, and a superhero, isn’t enough.’

‘Wait! Are you saying…?’

‘Here we are,’ she says, pulling over outside Santos. ‘Good old Mullum.’

‘See you around,’ I say, ‘like an orbit.’ It really has been my lucky day.

She gives me the universal sign of intergalactic friendship. And I give her one back.

‘I might see you tonight,’ she says. ‘Mandy Nolan’s on at the Drill Hall. She’s out of this world. Should be a hoot.’


Winner of Echo story comp: week 6

Mandy Nolan Thanks so much to all the writers who submitted stories over the last six weeks. It’s been an absolute pleasure to see them come in on my email every week. I’ve enjoyed making myself a cup of tea...

1

Winner of Echo story comp: week 5

Mandy Nolan When we thought of having a regular short story competition we didn’t even dream that there would be so many budding writers sending in offerings each week. To be honest I expected about three stories a week, if...

2

Winner of Echo story comp: week 4

This week’s winner has written a hard hitting piece that takes you inside the mind of a woman who has an eating disorder. It’s disturbing and powerful, and a reminder how obsession with weight is not just part of the dominant narrative, for many it's an illness.

1

Winner of Echo story comp: week 3

It’s been so great to hear what stories you have to tell each week! We’re up to our third week so keep those stories coming.

6

Winner of Echo story comp: week 2

Echonetdaily had another bunch of awesome entries in our weekly story comp! What incredible storytellers we have in this region!

2

Winner of Echo story comp: week 1

Echonetdaily was just blown away by the amazing entries in our weekly story comp! The idea was to break out of this oppressive narrative of COVID-19 and tell stories to each other! And that’s exactly what happened.

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