Every day I ride my bike to work, rain or shine. That’s not so bad. But every day I have to ride my bike home again, which means struggling up a long, steep incline trying not to fall over or pass out. My saving grace is the stoplight at the top of the hill — when it is red.
Sometimes, though, the light is green. You’d think this would be a good thing, except that it means no breather, no break. I have to push on through the intersection in my lowest gear, hoping I make it through before the light changes again. Every day I do it; every day I curse myself for doing it. But by the time I make it the next couple of blocks and turn left to coast down the gentle slope of 42nd, I’m feeling pretty smug. Hey. I did it again. Made it to the top of the hill.
Take this as a metaphor if you like; I’ll keep my kick-ass quads.
Answer the ultimate question in exactly 42 words: what’s at the top?
This week’s question is pretty simple. Your answer can be literal (like that stoplight at the top of the hill) or figurative (that six-figure salary). For a good answer, you really ought to be able to show us also “on top of what.”
Don’t get disqualified on a technicality
READ THE SUBMISSION GUIDELINES. Take us seriously so we can take you seriously.
COUNT YOUR WORDS. Use your eyes, not your word processor. Your post may not be eligible for voting if you go over or under 42 words. And remember, any words surrounding your microstory — explanations, references, footnotes, shout-outs, etc. — will be counted against your 42-word limit. (The only exception is photo credits.)
PROOFREAD. Nothing is easier, and nothing will get you bumped from the voting grid faster than typos, spelling or punctuation mistakes, or grammatical errors. You’ve only got 42 words; mistakes stick out.
ANSWER THE QUESTION. We try to give you some basic guidelines with every question; pay attention to what we’re looking for. Keep in mind that your post has to make sense if your reader doesn’t know the question. Don’t use the question as your title or anywhere else in your piece.
The top 42 entries will be open for voting on Thursday
You may enter only one gargleblaster microstory. Submissions are moderated. All entries will show up on our submissions grid, and up to 42 entries will be moved to the voting grid, which opens on Thursday. Everybody: read, comment, vote! Participation is the key to making this community work.
If you don’t make the voting grid, don’t despair – you’ll get a detailed love letter from our wonderful submissions editor, Rowan G., letting you know what needed improvement. Email us or head over to our pages on Facebook and Twitter with any questions.
Winners will be announced on Friday
Look for Friday’s combined winners’ post to see the crowd favorites and editors’ picks from across all of our challenge grids.
What else is happening around here?
We’ve got the nonfiction challenge opening on Mondays, the fiction and poetry challenge on Tuesdays, the microstory challenge on Wednesdays, and the come-one, come-all moonshine grid for the weekends. We’ve also got a great hangout space over at the coffeehouse. Make sure you subscribe to our weekly e-mail blast so you don’t miss out.