There were so many creative entries that not only were interesting, but were polished, ready to go. I've had a handful of contests and so I had one expectation but got something completely different. There were exactly zero in the definitely not pile. It's There were a few in the maybe pile, but the bulk landed in the serious contender pile. When you take out objective measures, that leaves subjective measures. I felt that this writer did an excellent job of creating a story that could stand alone but kept the contest parameters explicit.
“Yikes! Your Instagram account has been hacked.”
Susan ran into the bedroom, she had a paintbrush stuck in her ponytail so I knew she had woken up early to work on her upcoming exhibition.
“Is it pirates?” she grabbed my phone and scrolled through her feed. “All my paintings have been replaced with an eggplant emoji. What does that even mean?”
“We don’t have much time,” I leaped out of bed, naked as Adam before the fall. I considered explaining the eggplant emoji with the props I had available but didn’t think Susan would appreciate it.
“My mind is blank, should we call Apple?” she asked.
I explained that that would be pointless and tried to think of what would make Susan’s Instagram account a target.
“I know who it was,” I said. “Last night at the dinner party, you were drinking beer and talking to that angry fellow in purple wizard’s hat.”
“Yeah…” she said.
“That is the leader of Frogs Running With Briefcases, a vigilante group of hackers and pirates who leak government secrets.” I was pretty proud of myself until I realised that I had plenty of my own secrets and ghosts—the doomsday launch codes.
“Fucking pirates!” I screamed.
“Don’t swear, General,” said Susan. “Why would you invite the frog… briefcase… leader… whatever, to a United Nations dinner party anyway?”
I opened my laptop trying to remember my password.
“Don’t point your finger at me, Susan. I wasn’t one who was drunk and passing my phone around to show off my number of Instagram followers.”
My laptop hummed into being and the screen turned white apart from a small, animated icon. Susan and I stared at the spinning rainbow of arrows. It was beautiful. I squeezed Susan’s hand and knew this was the end of the world.