Racing to Win by SM Prasad

I filtered information, massaged and burnished points of data, and kneaded the facts. Truth is like taffy; pull and stretch till you get the consistency that won’t break your teeth.

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Member
24 days ago

Hi Sudha! I’m sorry it took me so long to come here – but I’m so glad I did. I love this kind of stuff, conspiracy, wicked people in high places and so on. My heart broke for poor Athena who is the one who has to bear the brunt of all the BS power-hungry people had cooked up. I love your “truth is like taffy” line – In fact, I think it holds your story’s Big Idea. So an allusion to that in the title would have been nice. But that’s just a thought. I love your work.

Member
1 month ago

SM A timely tale for you in the USA and us here in South Africa where corruption is being exposed daily.
I thought it was well written with good descriptions of the political to and fro.
Well done

Member
1 month ago

This is a riveting story Sudha about what goes on in politics and how no cause is ever given the actual value it truly deserves. The discontent of Athena shines through from beginning to end, and I liked the shades of grey you’ve given her that show she isn’t a paragon of virtue either. However, I was certainly confused by the way the story ended because it wasn’t clear to me if Athena stepped up to make a difference or capitulated to the powers that be. A thought provoking read that highlights the hollowness of public political life!

1 month ago

Hi Sudha,

As Erin found out, there is no limit to how far a corporate will go in the pursuit of wealth especially if local authorities, the City, turn a blind eye.

You have exposed the same greed and utter contempt corporates have for their fellow workers and we have for them.

While this story is good, it can be tightened in places where the dialogue can be trimmed and the descriptions can work harder to show the increasing contempt as the story unfolds.

Perhaps the dozen or more adverbs can be revisited. These are mainly the “ly” variants.

The author creeps in now and again in lines such as “The senator pretended to get a message on her earpiece”. Why not simply describe what happens allowing the reader to draw this conclusion.

I enjoyed this story.

Thank you for sharing.
Keep Writing.

Cheers,
Paul

1 month ago
Reply to  SM Prasad

Hi Sudha,

Your story reminds me of Erin Brokovich, hence I mentioned her in my feedback.

This is a lively riveting story that would still benefit from further edits to trim some repeats such as “…mandated the closure of the tannery…”, clearly the repeat of “the” can be trimmed with a re adjustment of the sentence.

This type of close editing will greatly enhance what is already a knock out story.

I wish you well.

Cheers,
Paul

Member
Jes
1 month ago

Hi!
I really like the layers you put into your story. The main issue, feelinga for Lance, Melinda, and the election. You made it flow well. Not easy to do in small word counts. I like this sentence you wrote best, “Truth is like taffy; pull and stretch till you get the consistency that won’t break your teeth. ” Comparing taffy to the truth in a political arena is perfect! Loves it!

Member
1 month ago

by the way, what is ‘taffy’ (apart from a nickname to describe Welsh people!). In Wales we have a word called ‘taffish’ which means ‘sweets, candy’ in general. I wondered if taffy was nougat?

Member
1 month ago

Oh boy. this was so topical and could have happened in just about any developed country. We have had many issues here ranging from effluent from slaughterhouses, farms, and even meat processing plants that have resulted in (eventually) huge fines despite the apparent ‘innocence’ of those responsible.
The one thing that confused me was Melinda Morton – she seemed like a downtrodden and possibly sick woman from a working class background and yet she suddenly appears having undergone a transformation but still championing the case against the tannery? What did I miss here?
Your autumn descriptions and connected analogy to age is excellent.
I thought the nod to the prompt was very subtle (how I HATE ‘obvious’ prompt mentions!).
Good job here and I guess based on facts that you have noted over the years.

Member
1 month ago
Reply to  SM Prasad

very clever. You chose wisely to avoid that all-too-often portrayed stereotype. t all makes sense now.
And, yes, I may try taffy one day – and hope it doesn’t pull my fillings out!!

Member
1 month ago

Such great writing, Sudha! I loved the opening paragraphs and the autumnal reference/metaphor to Athena’s political career. It really set the tone of the story and said so much about Athena’s nature and character.

I love the way you use the characters of the story to portray the double standards, the deception, and the corruption so prevalent and rampant in politicians. Even Melinda Morton fell prey to its “charm” which saddened me somehow. I really wanted Athena to stand up and do the right thing, but it seems she did not, and in not doing so has set herself up as the scapegoat.

Great storytelling, as always, Sudha! Well done.

Member
1 month ago

Hi Sudha. I can see many comments below and there is not much more I can add. It is fabulously written with lots of layers and dubious goings on. Fairly normal for politics I would say (unfortunately). I thought from your ending that Athena did not do the right thing and ended up caring more for her career than the people or environment. In the end if she ends up in court and help partially responsible I would say karma has got her.
Really well done, thanks for sharing:)

Member
Jan
1 month ago

Hi Sudha,
A very gripping and powerful tale! And like Catherine says – you always get the nuance and subtleties of human nature so well, just like all the beautifully delicious layers of a piece of …!
There is a lot of feeling engendered for Athena, who is the one behind the scenes really doing the work, and it’s not fair that she had to be the scapegoat for this accident, but such is politics I guess. This scenario is surely playing out again and again as we speak.
I love your writing – rich in enviable imagery and metaphors and always an inspiration!
Beautiful story and thank you for sharing!

Member
1 month ago

Hey SM and how goes it? Your opening lines are epic, and though I lived in New Jersey for a while, I don’t think that’s needed to see the autumnal scenes you describe so well. I’m not sure if you intended it, but i really enjoyed the seasonal metaphor you extended to the second paragraph with ‘I’d begun to fade, shrivel, and dry up’ and ‘I’d fall to the ground, unnoticed.’ I agree this is highly topical and very true-to-life. I saw it as an unremittingly sad story with no heroes, though. The hypocrisy of the Morton stands out as well, especially as she is lauded late as a whistle-blower. I thought Athena was being dragged to Congress very much against her will, and I wonder how honest she will be with her answers. Like real life, plenty of blame to go around. Well done with crafting such a realistic tale. I can’t wait for our politics to reflect something higher than these abysmally low standards. Regards Seyi

Member
1 month ago

Yup, you nailed it. All the deceit and trivialities when the realities are looming. Well done

Member
1 month ago

Hi Sudha,
The one thing I love about your stories is their piquance. This one was no different. I loved the sarcasm, and how masterfully you delve into the dirty gutter of political corruption and double standards. It was almost as if you had a report of it all. The best part was how real it all sounded and that’s the irony. Athena comes across as a seasoned character. I love her wit, her acidic tone. Hated Lance and the Senator. The flow and pace of the story was smooth. A great read! Thank you for sharing!

Member
1 month ago

This was a very powerful read and the way you unpacked the story, was excellent! Well done on handling a difficult topic with such deftness! I am impressed.

Member
1 month ago

This is so so good; fast-paced, complex, and all shades dark. Powerful piece.

Member
1 month ago

Hi Sudha This is so relatable, it’s like Erin Brockovich meets present day -, so many cover ups, so many angles for re election, the fine line that Chiefs of Staff must tread, the compromises…it’s a dirty business, politics and v well captured here. Well done.

Member
1 month ago
Reply to  Deryn

Yes, I had the same Erin flash-back. This reads like a thriller – well executed Sudha

Member
1 month ago

Loved the intensity and intrigue. I wasn’t sure until the end if Athena would fold to political pressure or step up. Vibrant details and descriptions. The ageism is great.

My only suggestion is to spend more time on Athena’s motivation. We see the EPA reports later in the story, but I didn’t see the tipping point where she decides to chuck her career and do the right thing as vividly.

Excellent work!

Member
1 month ago

It’s chilling how horribly plausible this story sounds – more like reportage in some places and a sad commentary on the way things are spun and concealed in politics and business with opportunities missed. The pace of this was excellent, kept me whizzing through the lines, getting crosser and crosser and hoping for the happy ending – and then… Good job!

Member
1 month ago
Reply to  Susan O'Neal

I thought it was forewarning it wasn’t a happy ending – but the clever thing is, it’s ambiguous – keeps the reader wondering.

Member
1 month ago

Oh, you always get the nuance and subtleties of human nature so well. Every inflection adding layers to a character, ultimately exposing there flaws. The darkness of politics were everything is twisted for maximum pr and no one is ever who they seem. There is much to find in this piece, well done.