Pittance Winners Past

For the purposes of your edification on matters relating to the Bulwer Purple Prose Project, and so that you may peruse the writings of purple pens from both far and wide; we give you these purplest of prose, hoping, dear reader, that you will enjoy, most thoroughly, the ingenuity of our esteemed, albeit wretched writers.

2014 Pittances awarded to…

Grand Pittance Winner

Jackie Hyman (Sawyerville, Quebec)

“Exhausted and disheartened, his heavy pack sat heavy as a lie on the conscience of an honest man after six days of rough and tumble slogging o’er sylvan woods and rippling brooks, and thus, Joshua Foss, tired, worn and frustrated, shuffled off the coil of his serpentine journey through the wilds of New England towards the urbane city of Montreal by erupting, like the pit of an overripe chokecherry squeezed out by a child’s fat hand, into the centre of the village of Eaton Corner which, he was delighted to discover, was in the thralls of a rather luridly beautiful autumnal season making the unpleasant memory of his arduous journey disappear in a puff of sunlight filtering through the falling leaves; he decided to stay.”

Adventure

First Pittance: David Oliver (North Hatley, Quebec)

Randy, the ship’s carpenter who doubled as surgeon, swung the swivel gun towards the gunwale where the revenuers were swarming like leeches aboard the rum-runner anchored just off the shores of Whiskeyville, Lake Memphremagog (now Snug Harbour) and lit the powder in the flash pan thinking as the grapeshot flew – “There’ll be work for me one way or another!”

Second Pittance: Carole Martignacco (North Hatley, Quebec)

Lest you accuse me of exaggeration, let me assure you: it really was a dark and stormy night, the sixth in a seemingly endless week of the bleakest, bitterest bone-chilling cold, as the ice-laden fingers of the bent and overburdened branches clawed at our blackened windowpanes, a few fiery sparks flew up from the last precious log on the grate, and the lights flickered as if in some grand cosmic jest – on/off, off/on – while we of slowly waning faith in the electric powers that be huddled closer and chaffed our triple-mittened hands together, regaling ourselves with what seemed now the faintest memories of long-ago warmth, the only thing left to feed to the fading embers, our fears of slowly freezing to death in the depths of Quebec on the night of the Winter Solstice.

Crime/Mystery

First Pittance: David Oliver (North Hatley, Quebec)

The vicar pulled on his pipe, adjusted his gaiters and pondered the delightful creature in front of him – tall, willowy and dressed in the latest fashion from St. James’ Street;  she had come to share a most curious story of an encounter that had occurred beneath her window between an American Fenian and a lady of the street who had seemed to be engaged in the ordinary barter that precedes the event, when out of the night came the shot and cry, “Maudit américain,  ceci est pour nous tous, les Canadiens!”

Second Pittance: Judy Palmer (Randboro, Quebec)

Martha decided at age 65 that, as far as she was concerned, she could do whatever she liked so far as she avoided notoriety and embarrassing the whole family, but that was not to be the case when she was discovered in the hot tub of the local drug dealer and even though it was really just the tub she wanted, her nudity and apparent confusion at the time of the drug bust insinuated her guilt.

Fantasy

First Pittance: Jaime Dunton (North Hatley, Quebec)

‘Twas the night of the umpteenth severendum and on the big flat screen the ghosts of its forefathers were there to be seen – the first was Sir Ben, who cried bitter tears as the smoke from his cigarette blew out his ears, and said of his loss don’t worry my friends, there’s always another chance and I’ll be back again; and then came Sir Jock who,  glowering at the outcome and drinking more scotch, said that the failure was not due to botch, but rather to influences not patriotic, namely voters from elsewhere and bankers despotic; then came Madame whoever who, some will remember, was elected in April and not in November, on a promise not to guarantee not to hold one, whatever that means, backed up as she was by a baron of the written and spoken word and definitely not by the maker of a cold one; and finally the current 2020 first minister, who spoke of the ignominy sinister of being bailed out by the province of the Arctic which was now richer than any other, and of the threat caused to our beloved Québec by the black-veiled nurse wearing a cross on his neck; after which, waiting breathlessly for the outcome, we all bowed to the north and refused to succumb.

Second Pittance: Mead Baldwin (Way’s Mills, Quebec)

Long ago and far away, in an enchanted river valley, there lived a race of elf-like creatures, known far and wide for their lyrical voices, beautiful blue eyes, and lithe hairy legs, and the most remarkable of these marvellous bunzies, as the dwarfs call them, was a female named Jerezan who was born with a unique fuzzy navel.

Legends

First Pittance: Susan Mastine (Kingsey Falls, Quebec)

The purplest of garden flowers trailed down the wall struggling to reach the puddles of water on the cobblestones that lined the path that led to the alley that was home to the saddest of men who wore but scraps of clothing and huddled in corners that harboured little light, little hope…

Second Pittance: David Oliver

The Lake Megantic Outlaw Donald Morrison, was released from his grave in Gisla Cemetary and hovered over the devastated centre of his beloved town looking down upon the ruin wracked upon it by another unsavoury American who cared for nothing except quick profit, much like the constable and whisky smuggler who had come after him in his days upon earth – paying with his life for his vaunted boast to be the quicker draw; it was time to repay the kindness of the town and its neighbours in Scotstown.

Local History

First Pittance: Jackie Hyman (Sawyerville, Quebec)

Exhausted and disheartened, his heavy pack sat heavy as a lie on the conscience of an honest man after six days of rough and tumble slogging o’er sylvan woods and rippling brooks, and thus, Joshua Foss, tired, worn and frustrated,  shuffled off the coil of his serpentine journey through the wilds of New England towards the urbane city of Montreal by erupting , like the pit of an overripe chokecherry squeezed out by a child’s fat hand,  into the centre of the village of Eaton Corner which, he was delighted to discover, was in the thralls of a rather luridly beautiful autumnal season making the unpleasant memory of his arduous journey disappear in a puff of sunlight filtering through the falling leaves; he decided to stay.

Second Pittance: Judy Palmer

“I remember with relish,” announced Dr. Heatherington to Dr. Rodgers,” that marvelous roast of  beef so graciously served to us by Mrs. Stone a week ago last Sunday, tender and pink as I so adore it”, as he held aloft the amputated leg of Mr. William Stone, lucky husband to the aforementioned cook.

Romance

First Pittance: Beverly Dame (Sherbrooke, Quebec)

It wasn’t that Roderick was incredibly handsome (he was), exceedingly kind and generous (that too) or extraordinarily well-educated (multiple degrees from Harvard and Oxford) but that he knew all the answers to every question in the “Rock of the 80s” Jeopardy category that told bookish, repressed and slightly astigmatic Elsie that this mysterious stranger was the man for her.

Second Pittance: Maurice Crossfield (Knowlton, Quebec)

The emotion welling up from deep within, the singer sweltered under the solitary spotlight, pouring her heart out onto the barroom floor, where the few feckless patrons barely paused long enough to crush it beneath their unfeeling feet.

2013 Pittances awarded to…

Grand Pittance Winner

Jerome Krause (Ayer’s Cliff, Quebec)

Be I a madman, a murderer, or both, I am not unrepentant ere the task be done – set aside any discourse vis-à-vis my diffident want of his pillowy strumpet (an unfruitful, false adventure, alas, and it holds no sway in this enterprise) – but the man is salacious in his dissipated hungers and I shall without indecision kill him.

Adventure

First Pittance: Joyce Booth (Lennoxville, Quebec)

Annabelle’s beautiful  black-fringed gentian blue eyes opened wide in horror, and her usually pretty  rosebud mouth stretched to its limit in total fear as she watched the thundering  approach of a red-eyed foaming-mouthed pit bull racing towards the chubby little  sleeping baby that she was supposed to be watching for her absent shopaholic  neighbour, who had gone to a Boxing Day Sale in town.

Second Pittance: Mead Baldwin (Way’s Mills, Quebec)

The waves were choppy and turbulent as I guided my small vessel across the grey menacing water to the distant opposite shore, where my long and winding  quest would find its eventual conclusion in my mother’s arms on the grass outside the wading pool.

Third Pittance: Annie Duriez (Sherbrooke, Quebec)

Slipping, slipping, desperately holding on for dear life, the tightly wound rope around his hands, hands that were burning, burning, the cold rain pounding, pounding, so hard, providing no relief for his aching fingers, the wind howling around his ears, Henry’s thoughts turned inward, seeking some kind of hope, some kind of future, some kind of salvation.

Crime / Mystery

First Pittance: Jerome Krause (Ayer’s Cliff, Quebec)

Be I a madman, a murderer, or both, I am not unrepentant ere the task be done – set aside any discourse vis-à-vis my diffident want of his pillowy strumpet (an unfruitful, false adventure, alas, and it holds no sway in this enterprise) – but the man is salacious in his dissipated hungers and I shall without indecision kill him.

Second  Pittance: Susan Mastine (Kingsey Falls, Quebec)

Writing an obituary—an unedited, never-to-be-published, spicy version that includes not particularly the deceased person’s lifetime claims to fame but his or her misbehaviours, those mistakes that can never be retracted, that appear long buried and forgotten but… that abruptly and unbiddingly resurface, nay haunt one, at the most unexpected moments—can be such a lark.

Third Pittance: Annie Duriez (Sherbrooke, Quebec)

It was 2:17 a.m. when an alarm began to ring, a high-pitched sound that startled Detective Crawford out of his pity party, the sting still raw (having yet again been passed over for the lead detective spot), and his eyes shifted over to the sound emanating from the laptop computer on the desk, the one wrapped in yellow police tape.

Fantasy

First Pittance: Annie Duriez (Sherbrooke, Quebec)

Assassaya, daughter of Lamatista and Firrion, granddaughter of Quelusarn and Ethrenon, stepped out of the angry swarming crowd and held out her hand, a single glass Lilium grasped between her tiny fingers, a single blue tear running down her pale cheek, and fainted.

Legends

First Pittance: Jerome Krause (Ayer’s Cliff, Quebec)

Six-toed Pete, failed gunslinger, restored to the Townships following his injudicious attempt to be anointed as an heroic luminary (of any sort) in the Wild West, unluckily was short a few coins after he demanded, and knocked back, a stout rye while haunting Cecil Chute’s Bulwer roadhouse; Cecil was not amused and Pete wasn’t quick on those feet.

Second Pittance: Mead Baldwin (Way’s Mills, Quebec)

Once, long ago in the distant past when everyday life was bleak and menacing, a young ambitious settler arrived in the valley with just the clothes on his back and a dream in his heart, a dream of land and cattle and children and rhubarb and snow angels.

Local History

First Pittance: David Smith (Ottawa, Ontario)

While some said it was a miracle, others claimed a Walter Hodgman divine intervention when, after hours and hours of torrential downpours, the sun finally broke through and Cookshire Fair came back to life as if nothing had happened.

Romance

First Pittance: Mead Baldwin (Way’s Mills, Quebec)

The young starstruck Romeo, who had never ventured this far into the esoteric world of romance, stared vacantly into the large warm beautiful eyes of his heart’s desire, knowing that their love would never be complete, because he was but a young inexperienced farmhand, and she was a Jersey cow.

Second Pittance: Jerome Krause (Ayer’s Cliff, Quebec)

Oh!, were I a mote in Edna’s eye where I could swim in her warm tears and look into that one eye, but then she might blow her nose and I’d be smashed into one of those ghastly green hankies her great-aunt gave her on her birthday when, really, she didn’t want any gifts because she was turning thirty and thought she was over the hill, but I didn’t think so.

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