Guild Challenges 2016

Congratulations to Suzanne Connelly Paulter for winning the Flash Fiction Time Capsule Contest, in which writers were asked to depict life in Missouri 50 years from now. Also congratulations to close runner-up Debbie Sutton. The time capsule is is a project of the Missouri Arts Council, the state agency supporting arts in Missouri. The locked steel box will be stored in the MAC offices in the Old Post Office in St. Louis, at 815 Olive Street.

Suzanne’s and Debbie’s works will be stored in a time capsule to be open in June 2066. Both will also appear in the 2016 edition of Well Versed.

Interviews and bios of both will accompany the winning entries and will appear on the Columbia Chapter of the Missouri Writers Guild website.
WINNER:  Entry No. 2

Simple Livin’ – June 25, 2066
By Suzanne Connelly Pautler


Good boy, Freddy. Hold still now while I get those burrs out, then we’ll walk to the pond. Just my old bird dog and me.

Sky sure is blue and the hills are showin’ off their splendid green. Beautiful.

Hear the geese? Flyin’ low today.

Yep, things haven’t changed much ‘round here for ol’ Uncle David. One hundred years in this fine Missouri countryside and still here to enjoy it. Who would o’ thought? Simple livin’ does it for me. Sure, modern ways cured my cancer, fixed my heart, and keeps my ol’ body workin’, but this country life’s what really keeps me goin’. They’ll see I’m right when they get here. They’ll be here soon.

The ducks sure look peaceful, ripplin’ the water so. And smell that fresh air.

Don’t need new gadgets out here to keep me happy. Never had a fancy phone, smart they called ‘em. Didn’t fall for computers either. All gatherin’ dust now, along with smart cars, parts of smart kitchens, smart glasses, even those fancy smart clothes. Now, ‘cordin’ to the ads, Marveltec homes and accessories, “work marvelously through your thoughts.” They say they only have to think and, Voila, lights turn on, doors open, coffee brews, and to beat it all, their feelins’ are evaluated and little spray whatevers puff around their houses to calm them. What’s the world comin’ to?

We get along just fine with the soothin’ hum of crickets and usin’ my God given hands and fingers to turn knobs and switches, open doors, and prepare food. Yes, sir, and I’ll keep my country home any day, with only its basic ‘46 Zephyrphone to meet communication requirements.

Sun’s gettin’ high. See anyone yet? Don’t need those implanted vision enhancers and supersonic hearin’ doodads, just my good ol’ lasered eyes and hearin’ devices.

You know they say they can’t live without modern doohickeys? Hogwash. Why not walk, bike, and run? Take a walk in the woods, like man did for centuries. Without their aerial aerobic thingamajigs, their bodies would turn to mush. And what’s the youth comin’ to today? Hardly leavin’ their homes anymore.

See that, Freddy? In the eastern sky? Here they come, way out from the city. Must be a dozen of ‘em in their colorful Celopods. Word sounds like a dinosaur, huh. Beats me why they can’t come on the ground anymore.

I’ll wait ‘til they’re closer to light it. More dramatic that way. One, two, three… Hee haw, there it goes. Good ol’ fashioned gasoline to light this huge bonfire. Bet they haven’t seen that before.

They’re droppin’ out of the sky like flies.

Guess now that the relatives are here my one hundredth birthday party can begin.


SECOND PLACE:  Entry  No. 7

A Change in Time
By Debbie Sutton

Tui engaged the automatic feature on her Prius as she leaned back, sipping the cappuccino she swiped that morning. She rubbed her wrist, knowing the implant was buried too far in to feel but unable to stop the reflex. A quick scan could pay for her coffee, prove her identity, or provide her complete medical history.   No need to even carry a purse like her great-grandmother used to do.

As her car slowed to a mere seventy, she glanced down at the road with concern. The speed limit on the windy roads was a hundred, and it was double that on the interstates.  If she was slowing down, something must be tipping the sensors off. As she zoomed over the hill, she could see a large horse pulling a black buggy along the side of the road. She manually slowed the car down even more to avoid scaring the horse and driver. It amazed her that in this day and age the Amish still stayed true to their beliefs, like they had for hundreds of years.

After passing the old-fashioned vehicle, she used the opportunity to gaze at the fields, watching the majestic combines zip the corn from the ground, harvesting the fields within minutes. As a kid, Tui loved watching the sun bounce off the force fields on her daddy’s farm. They were not only colorful, but they also shielded the crops from the elements and provided extra rain when needed. Losing crops was a thing of the past, and because of that most everyone in the world had plenty to eat.

Of course, life wasn’t perfect by any means. They still had corruption, since there was always be greedy people to be found. Identity theft was an especially heinous crime.  She shuddered at some of the things she’d heard about and rubbed her wrist again. But, overall things seemed better than in her great-grandmother’s day.

She engaged the speed button once again, anxious to get to her job at the conservation office. Protecting animals and the environment had always been her passion and recent advancements in science and technology made it an exciting time to be a biologist.  As the countryside zipped by in a colorful blur, Tui was thankful she lived in Missouri with its stunning cities and rich heartlands. That was one thing that would never change.




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