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Master Plotto Week Two Winner: Richard Osgood

It was another tough Plotto battle this week, with many of you providing extremely interesting (and sometimes comically frightening) ways for people to get locked in (and out) of a hotel room. Congratulations go out to Richard Osgood, whose wild take on the situation had us thinking of Becker, David Lynch, and highway obstructionists.

Be sure to check back later today for this week’s prompt.

Last week’s prompt: {B} finds that the knob and lock on the door of a hotel bedroom are in disrepair; the lock apparently locks itself, and the knob will not turn.

Somewhere between Normal and Decatur I drove my 1974 Mercury Comet into the side of the Spangler Falls Motor Lodge. It was late and I didn’t know how long I’d been asleep at the wheel. A Romanian woman in Room 119, whose bed I pushed against the door, said I reminded her of Ted Danson, which she followed with an emphatic “Norm!” I told her Norm wasn’t played by Ted Danson, to which she puttered her lips, rolled over and went back to sleep. An orange-vested crew from the Department of Transportation came up behind me and paved a detour into Room 121. They said the link between Point A and Point B was never a straight line because of obstructionists like me. I suspected the undersides of hardhats were not conducive to hair growth and they were just jealous of my pompadour. They said I should not have treated Diane like shit and laughed as they climbed back into the orange dump truck and headed south through Room 121.

I waved my arms at passing traffic but the speed limit in these parts was seventy-five miles per hour. Only small children and dogs acknowledged my existence. I felt like an outdated roadside attraction, like the world’s largest ball of dental floss or the world’s smallest mime trapped inside an invisible hamster ball. A State Trooper pulled his cruiser in beside my Comet. He leaned against his open driver’s side door and pointed a radar gun toward northbound traffic. I asked if he could radio in for a tow truck but he said he had a quota, and plus, he said, a wrecker was bound to pass by at some point. No other road between Normal and Decatur but this one, he said. The Romanian woman sang in her sleep. I recognized the tune but not the words. She harmonized the melody with the pitch of passing traffic at eighty miles per hour. The State Trooper didn’t pull anyone over. He said they weren’t breaking the law if he didn’t write any tickets.

The Romanian woman woke at daybreak as rush-hour commuters turned the route into a parking lot. I smelled French toast and maple syrup through the door and realized I’d neglected the obvious. Does that door open in or out? I asked because her bed and my Comet still blocked it from the inside. If the door opened out we could go to the front desk for help. She reached for the knob but it wouldn’t turn. She said ever since she came here from the old country, doors locked themselves for no apparent reason. I told her a lot of doors in this country locked themselves without cause or reason, but we just created detours and went around them. We hitched a ride back to Normal in a bread truck and had breakfast in a roadside diner. It was the kind of place where everyone seemed to know each other’s name.

Richard Osgood lives in a city on a river where the north meets the south. He works in a place called the Flash Factory where talented writers compress the essence of fiction from bloated prose.

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Comments: 10

(26) Comments

  1. Zin Kenter says:

    Hello, Richard, I am Zin, I am so happy HAPPY to see your flash here! This is wonderful! Congratulations!

  2. AP Diggs says:

    Great story, Rich.

  3. lucinda kempe says:

    “We hitched a ride back to Normal in a bread truck….” sounds like my life. Zany fun with a nice bit of apercu at its core. Bravo, RichO!

  4. Sue Staats says:

    crazy, wonderful story. Nice to see imagination like this so skillfully deployed.

  5. Great story, Richard. You create a wonderful, dreamlike state here. Nice use of the prompt.

  6. Andrew Stancek says:

    Imaginative wild story. Great use of the prompt. Congratulations, Richard!

(4) Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] on March 28 with his story “Millennium House” (he won the qualifying round in Week 2 with his entry “Rapid Eye”). Since I know Richard from the Flash Factory at Zoetrope, I asked him a few questions! I want to […]

  2. […] weekly Plotto contest winners: Laura Horley, Richard Osgood, Yasuko Thanh, Henry Leung, and Randall Brown are hard at work on The Final Master Plot Challenge. […]

  3. […] sure to stay tuned while weekly winners: Laura Horely, Richard Osgood, Yasuko Thanh, Henry Leung, and Randall Brown face off in the Final Master Plot Challenge. And, […]

  4. […] Seeing that I haven’t had much to say, here’s a 500 word story for Tin House Blog’s Plotto Series: […]

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