Trifecta Challenge: Clean


Today’s Music: White Rabbits – Percussion Gun
Days Til Spring: 1!!!

Tomorrow is the first day of spring. So there’s that to look forward to. Especially for those of you about to slog through my latest entry in the Trifecta Challenge.
As always, the story must be between 33 and 333 words.
This weeks word must illustrate the 3rd definition of
clean (adjective)
c : observing the rules : fair (a clean fight)

As always, any criticisms or suggestions are welcome. I think there’s something off, but I can’t identify what.
And remember, if you help me get better at this, you’re helping yourself too!


Whose Is Bigger
They met on a field bigger than the average playground.
They circled each other, t-shirts drenched in sweat, fire blazing in their eyes.
There was a crowd – some cheering, some hiding their eyes, all of them waiting on the outcome.
One person stood, torn between watching and looking away. She compromised, her long auburn hair making a partial screen between her eyes and the drama unfolding.
One of the men moved. In the blink of an eye, he covered the ground to his opponent, fist lashing out.
The other man moved, even faster. Before the punch could connect, he whipped out his gun and squeezed the trigger.
The sharp retort pushed back the crowd.
The bullet dropped his opponent.

After the crowd had parted and the victor left with the girl, two men moved in to dispose of the body.
“What the hell was that?” asked the first. “That wasn’t a fair fight!”
“All’s fair in love and war” answered the other eruditely.
The first man thought about it for a moment.
“Then I guess he took him clean…”

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87 responses to “Trifecta Challenge: Clean

  1. Wow this is really good. I was surprised by the gun shot. I really enjoyed this!

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  2. I guess the answer to who is bigger is, the guy with the gun? And I still don’t think the fight was fair, even if it was a fight, so guy number two obliquely reveals how he fights. hmph. ❤

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  3. whiteladyinthehood

    I thought it was going to be a school yard fight..I should have took the clue from your photo. I liked the part about the person torn between watching and looking away… it made the story seem very authentic. As always, Guapo – great job!

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  4. Dramatic, tense….I enjoyed it.

    The line ‘In the blink of an eye, he covered the ground between them, fist lashing out.’ tripped me up for a second. I wanted you to define ‘them’. For second I thought you meant the girl as she was the last person you mentioned.

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  5. The title…It should say ‘whose’ is bigger….the story is awesome and I like the word, eruditely. I may have to use that one… Nicely done.

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  6. Hi,
    Well done, the story was great, I loved the part about the girl using her hair as a screen, this I have done on more than one occasion. 😀
    I was not expecting a gun to enter the picture at all, so a good twist for the end. You did an excellent job on this story. 🙂

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  7. I love it EG! I thought you were going with a love story with the girl, and then a fight story…then the gunshot… Wonderful surprises around each corner!

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  8. I like that you made the word “clean” the last word. Not easy to do.

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  9. Very nice story

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  10. I kind of like the idea that the other commenter had of shooting the girl. That would have really been surprising!

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  11. I love “he took him clean!” The only ‘off’ I could find was that I wasn’t sure why there was a comma before ‘even faster’. It didn’t seem necessary. I also liked the image of this sort of anarchistic society where all’s REALLY fair in love and war.

    But I want to punch the girl for allowing herself to be manipulated like that.

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    • The comma was to try and highlight that even though the first guy was fast, the second was faster. But I see your point and will edit it out. I think it will make it flow faster.
      I also think you just nailed what is bothering me. She’s a necessary device for the story, but she has no existence beyond that.
      Interesting that you see her as manipulated. I didn’t consider the character as anything other than a prop to make the All’s fair line work…
      Thank you very much for the comments!

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  12. You have a vivid imagination. Great job on the prompt.

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  13. How did you come up with the title?

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  14. I really like this line in particular “her long auburn hair making a partial screen between her eyes and the drama” I thought it was really discriptive.

    Giving it my bohemian snap snap snap ………

    Looks like Spring is only hours away now heart be still. :+)

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  15. Knock me down with a feather! That was great.

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  16. I love the way you left the word for the last line. Everything builds to that. And the pacing is perfect. Good writing EG!

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  17. what;s off – what;s off… I dunno.. it;s gotta be about the girl… it;s like she doesn;t want to be there witnessing the whole thing… I got the impression and was thinking she was gonna be the one that kept it a clean fight..why? I don;t know. but then there are a couple of thoughts that i;m not sure were picked up by anyone (i mostly skimmed the comments sorry, I usually read more thoroughly) ….. she was with the guy to begin with and the reason she was half hiding behind her hair was cause she knew he was gonna pull out the gun. Why else would she leave with him? The other just being that she knew it was about her and ….well .. then she;s a trollop for leaving with the gun wielding douche… or spineless and we know how I feel about spineless… so that may be all that;s off and it;s just my opinion because as far as the writing and the imagery it allowed and the story….. it was …excellent!! and I have already commented on the use of erudite… but it fit very well into the story – and Iam not as strict as Trifecta about requiring the same form of the word….nicely done… 🙂

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    • Thank you lizziec.
      You’ve given me a lot to think about here, along with the other comments.
      I think I’ll roll it around my brain a bit and see if there’s more to this…

      And thanks, I missed the last couple of words of the week – didn’t want to lose my blog cred!

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  18. girl, don’t trust that man. he’s a cheater. in war and love.

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  19. Totally digging it Your El Guapoship! Nothing felt off to me at all!

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  20. Much going on with such few words … love, games, intensity, allure, guns, cheers, and death …. and all in the name of fairness.

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  21. So now I find myself thinking of the girl, did she end up with who she wanted? She was the prize, but she’s a passive player in the whole thing. I loved the line about her auburn hair being a screen. Well-done. You’re really good at doing the unexpected with prompts.

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    • Some other people had the same question, Asplenia. Now that I think about it (which I didn’t while writing it), I think she did, and that this is a bittersweet ending to a longer story…

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  22. Yours has stirred up a lot of interest and comments. Congratulations for that. Keep up what you are doing!

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  23. Great story. He who comes looking for a fair fight usually leaves the loser. You win by having an advantage. Bigger, stronger, faster or just better tactics. I enjoyed it.

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  24. I felt like a spectator. I found myself getting more anxious with every line I read. I liked the use of the word eruditely. I’m going to try and fit it into a tweet or conversation this week.

    As usual, very original and entertaining read! Great work!

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  25. interesting take on the word “clean” EG. hope the girl is happy with the shooter. continue…

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  26. The setting definitely took me back some 30 years to a schoolyard fight of my own. Only rather than shoot me, my nemesis (also my bully) scratched me from my eyebrow to quite close to my breast. It was enough to wake me up to the concept of walking away. The crowd was the same, though. Only no reward lover. =(

    Brilliant! I loved this. Though I feel bad for the girl. Yikes!

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  27. I really enjoyed your story. I think I was expecting the girl to be wailing over the dead boy, but instead, she walks off with the gunman. But I don’t feel like there’s anything ‘off’ about it. My favorite line: “…her long auburn hair making a partial screen between her eyes and the drama unfolding.” The story was descriptive and captivating. All in the name of love!

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  28. great take on that phrase – “all’s fair in love and war” – in a war, all that’s important is to win, so I guess it applies in love as well. How must she feel, though, having been ‘won’?

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  29. Good night! 78 comments! You certainly don’t need one more, but I’m gonna give it to you anyway! Great job and great story! The only thing I would change (and it’s a very small issue) is your use of “erudite” as an adverb. It certainly can be used that way, but adverbs tend to be no-nos as a general rule (not that I don’t overuse them too! 😆 ) What I am talking about here is the phrase reads too awkwardly as stated: “answered the other eruditely.” It reads to me as dissonance, and stops the flow of the story. Erudite is a good word, but could be better used here is worded differently (there’s that pesky adverb again!).

    You know, I have never had 78 comments (including my replies) on any one post, ever! I don’t think I get 78 comments in a week! This must be evidence of some great writing – spurs me to get busy and improve! 😆

    BTW did you name yourself “El Guapo” after the character in “The Three Amigos?” (One of my favorite movies of all time!)

    Once again, great job, super story! Reminds me of Indiana Jones’ pulling out his gun and shooting the guy with all the fancy scimitar maneuvers! 😆

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    • Thank you, Pauline. Just so you know, My replies to all the comments are added in too, so half of it is me babbling on!
      As far as “eruditely”, you’re absolutely right, but I was also trying to meet another challenge for the word of the week, so it was worth it just for the giggles.
      3 Amigos is where I took the name, great guess!
      And I love that scene in Indiana Jones (along with the first 3 movies!)

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      • And not sure why I called you Pauline when it says Paula right there.
        Sigh.
        Sorry!

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        • No problem EG: I hate to tell you, but you have made a common mistake. Lately I have given up on correcting people because I understand completely why the error is made. My “middle” name, “Tohline” is my maiden name. Tohline is pronounced, t’LEEN – and rhymes with Pauline. i was essentially named after my paternal grandmother (died long before I was born), Pauline Bowers Tohline. She had no choice in the matter when she married my grandfather. My folks did in naming me, and since they gave me no middle name, they thought that Pauline Tohline (rhythm and rhyme are identical) was just a bit too much. I am grateful. But when people see the “line” of my middle name, they connect it to the Paula.

          I hang on to my maiden name (didn’t add “Calhoun” to my moniker until after I had been married for 30 years!) because there are so few of us in the world. The number of people in the world today with that spelling of the Swedish name is around 25 or 30. There are two other spellings of the name: Toline, and Tohlene – both of them are very few in number as well. Probably 100 total of all three names. However, the name in Sweden, Tölin is quite common. There is a long and interesting story to how the three different spellings came about – but it is probably only interesting to my family!

          I understand about 1/2 the comments being replies – that’s the way mine works too – but what I have not been able to figure out is how to get the comments numbered by the incoming comments. One of my blog-friends comments are listed that way, and her replies are not included in the count. Can’t figure out how to do that, but I also haven’t spent a lot of time trying to figure it out – like going on a WP forum, etc.

          Thanks again for commenting, and for putting up with my logorrhea!.

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          • You’re welcome to babble ’round here whenever you like, Paula.
            Thanks for your forebearance on the mispronunciation.

            Are you related to all the non-Swedish variations of your name? Seems like it would be kind of cool to have a unique name.
            My name is ridiculously generic, but every so often I’ve thought it would be nice to change my name to something like Eustace Esterhaus

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            • There were three brothers who came over from Sweden, who apparently did not get along, so when they landed on these shores, they each spelled their name a different way. This was mid-19th century – not too terribly long ago, so yes we are related.

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  30. Loved how you painted the picture of an innocent playground spat before revealing the true battle taking place. I’m still not convinced he truly deserves the girl… Great writing as always. Hope to see you over the weekend.

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  31. Pingback: Happy Talk from The Coffee Spot April 1, 2012 | Running Naked With Scissors

Ahem *best Ricky Ricardo voice* Babble-OOOoooo!!!

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