In Competition No. 2911 you were invited to submit a thriller in three text messages.
This one seemed straightforward enough but it turned out to be a tough assignment that stretched veterans and newcomers alike. As in all forms of micro-fiction — the mini-masterpiece attributed to Hemingway, ‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn’, springs to mind — it’s all about the reader filling in the gaps.
Many entrants went for the mistaken-identity trope, which became rather monotonous after a time. But while I applauded those who attempted a more original twist, most of these didn’t quite come off.
The standard was somewhat disappointing, then, but there were some creditable exceptions, printed below. They earn their authors £15 each.
The good news: your cyber-temporal experiments succeeded. You won the Nobel for your Paradox Amelioration Algorithms. This message is from your 2055 self.
And the bad news?
You’re a wanted man in space and time. Weapons training starts now. You’re about to hear an explosion.
Wassup Jezza? Job done innit! Polonium-210 in Yvette’s gin as U wanted. Go whn U’ve necked yr whisky!
OMG! YFI! Yvette is whisky. I is gin.
Soz bro 🙁 4get fee! IOU1.
Hey hun just woken up. Appreci8 u takin the bbe out 4 a bit
Actually just gone 2 buy pot8os. have solvd cryin problem 4 gud btw
Yeah? Cool. Sumthin smells gud in the oven. What r we havin?
Did you just hear me calling you down for dinner?
Yes Mum! I’ll be down in a second!
Stay in your room. I’m in the upstairs bathroom. And I heard it too.
You sweet lover man, what a time we had. But not a word to anyone, Jim would kill us if he found out.