• Mary Decker

ATA Flash Fiction Results 2019-04

This week's guest judge was crime thriller novelist C. Stuart Marshall. When not working on his latest series, he can be found protecting and serving his community.

We thank him for his lending his time and support to this week's competition.

This week's winner is none other than Mark A Morris.

Judge's comments

There is nothing greater for an author than having the reader immersed in a story. In 'The Ten Forward Resolution,' the writer succeeds marvelously.

I felt as though I was standing in line at the same coffee shop. The experience was vivid, full of sight and sound and even scent.

It's a difficult thing to set the stage dealing with a tight structure of 300 words, but the writer did. It'd be interesting to see what the day holds for the character.

A well done story.

Thank you,


And now - the story...

The Ten-Forward Resolution - 300 words (MS Word - English UK dictionary) by Mark A Morris “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot,” I said, snapping the words out. I couldn’t guess how many other times she’d been given that order, but she said nothing. She just nodded, filled the lidded steel jug with hot water, selected a sachet from the box beside her, then added them both to the tray she’d begun to assemble. She placed a small sealed pot of a cream additive alongside them and then smiled. “Was there anything else you required?” I shook my head. I never drank my Earl Grey with anything added, thinking that to do so was tantamount to it being a sin. It was just not done. Not in England. I’d decided I’d forgo the scones too. There were many other issues there – should I add the cream to them before the jam or do it after? And the saying of the word – should the ‘o’ be pronounced with the tongue up toward the palate or with it pressed down against the teeth? There were regularly angry letters in ‘The Times’ concerning both. I was a steadfast believer in the ‘cream first’ camp, my thinking being that the jam was easily dropped, it usually falling more readily from the spoon than the other component. There were disputes between Devon and Cornwall over this, with people referring to the usual practice in the Queen’s tea-room seeking an absolute decider. I didn’t remember which way any of them had decided was correct. I cared little what anyone else thought, refusing to be swayed from what I believed worked best. The barista woman probably cared little either, letting her customers choose for themselves. It’d be much simpler for her that way. She just processed my order, rang it though the till and then smiled.

“I’m happy to make it so for you, sir.”

Congratulations, Mark! Well done. Tune in tomorrow for the next installment of: The ATA Flash Fiction contest

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