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The Winning Entry

... was the title of the last story to be seen by the judges.

"Presumptuous," declared Judge A.
"Cheeky," pronounced Judge B.
"Like it," said Judge C.

The author’s supposed name was J. P. Slovník.

"Czech?" inquired Judge A.
"Polish," mused B.
"Made-up" said C.

It was the plot, however, that really grabbed their attention.

Slovník wanted to win so badly that he resolved to blackmail the judges. Finding material proved surprisingly easy. After only two weeks’ investigation he discovered that A had a powder habit, B had a mistress and judge C had a secret so dark it made Slovník’s flesh crawl. The problem was how to put his plan into action. C, he knew, would never go to the police, but what about A and B?

It was only a few days before the closing date that Slovník had his great idea. He would not send the story he always sent - the one he had entered for the last ten years consecutively without once seeing his name on the short list. This year he would write something different. A story about a struggling writer who hatches a devious plan to secure the winning prize of a competition by blackmailing the judges. And just to be certain he would call it "The Winning Entry"...

"Audacious," said A.
"Ingenious," said B.
"The winner," said C. "Without question."

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submitted at 4:20pm

27 January 2008