Lucy Vickery

Spectator competition winners: 50 shades of…

Last week, you were asked to dream up a short story entitled “Fifty Shades of”. The entries were a bit of a mixed bag, but I enjoyed Gerard Benson’s twist on Empson’s Seven Types of Ambiguity, Josh Ekroy’s 50 Shades of Ukip and Carolyn Thomas-Coxhead’s clever, grisly tale of a woman reduced to a piece of meat. Though not all of you went the E.L. James route, Chris O’Carroll’s winning entry clearly took its lead from the queen of erotica, as well as from another publishing sensation whose appeal I find equally mystifying. He is rewarded with 50 lashes and £30, and his fellow winners pocket £25 each. Fifty Shades of Dan Brown by Chris O’Carroll

‘The Pope!’ he hissed in her ear. The Illuminati! Atlantis! Stonehenge! Inscriptions! Codes! Occult wisdom!’

She winced and writhed as if each word were the stinging stroke of his riding crop across her naked bottom. ‘Yes, yes!’ she choked out, burning with desire to give herself to his passionate conspiratorial worldview. ‘Yes! I want it! I need it! Tell me more!’

His dark eyes flashed and his masterful voice throbbed with conviction as he told her, ‘Oh, I’m excited by the exclamation marks in your prose! This world is not as it seems! The powers that be are fattening everyone for the kill on a diet of lies! It’s up to a few special people like us to uncover their secrets, expose them to the light of day!’

‘Yes, yes!’ She exclaimed. Because, really, what else could she exclaim at a moment like this?

Fifty Shades of Magnolia by Hugh King

Fifty shades of magnolia accounted for most of the domestic decor of Winterborne Longjohns, a tranquil Dorset village whose unadventurous and generally decrepit inhabitants were untroubled by passing fashion. Transgressions here were few. (Covetousness was more likely to be directed at a neighbour’s ride-on lawnmower than at his wife.)

Much changed when Aimee Farrow-Ball, charismatic interior designer, arrived with her old English sheepdogs, Matt and Satin.

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