The Jacket: Entries, Post One

The Beaver did NOT submit an entry. He’s so ashamed.

Presented for your reading pleasure…the first batch of five entrants in The Jacket: A Writing Competition.  Click in the right-hand column (where you’ll see, coincidentally, a picture of a spiffy, green jacket) to find out what this is all about.  It will make a lot more sense if you do, so go ahead.  We’ll wait right here for you to get caught up.

I’m stoked about all the people who have entered so far, and am super impressed with the level of talent shown.   Entries are being printing in the order received.  If you provide a title for your piece, I show it.

I’m sorry I can’t figure out how to show gravatars, but I do provide a link to the writer’s blog, if they have one.   Be sure to visit them and leave some bloggy love.  Some of the entrants are not bloggers, however, but gifted readers who are turning the tables on us.  And that’s great!

Check back next Friday when the next batch of entries will run.  Actually, check back every day because, you know, I write stuff on this-here blog, too.  Entries will be moved up top under The Jacket Competition page on Monday to make room for my own pearls of humor and wisdom.

You still have a week to enter, so sharpen your pencils, get your writing caps on and turn out the next, great entry for The Jacket: A Writing Competition! (while sitting there looking like a big dork wearing a writing cap and clutching a bunch of sharp pencils)


Name: Off the Wall

Tom Wojciechowski.  A name that will live in infamy.  A name that came to mean the world to me, in a time when the date itself would live in infamy.

It was 1943 and my old friend Bob Hope talked me into going on tour with the girls.  So Betty Grable, Marlene Deitrich and I jumped a cargo plane to go entertain our troops in the middle of WW II.  It was a whirlwind in more ways than one.

It was after a show, and the girls and I loved to give the troops an extra surprise and dance with as many of those fine lads as possible.  Even though our feet were hurting in our high heels, and our stockings were starting to sag, we put as much energy as we could into jitterbugging along.

It was one of those nights when I met Tom Wojciechowski.  A tall, skinny G.I. with the bluest eyes I had ever seen.  He shyly approached and asked his buddy if he could cut in.  Boy that kid could jitterbug!  After a few rounds on the dance floor we adjourned to the makeshift bar for a cool drink.  And he started to talk.

We talked for hours and hours, long after the dance was over.  He was the most interesting young man I had ever met.  I admired his courage in face of such adversity in the war.

All too soon, the sun came up, and it was time for him to go.  He took out a scrap of paper and wrote his name, Tom Wojciechowski.  He carefully folded into a clean Kleenex and handed it to me.  I put it into my jacket pocket, and we both went on our way.  Me to rest a bit before my next show that night, and he to go on a mission, his “call to arms”.

That evening, I searched the crowd for his face.  I did not see him.  I asked about him later at the dance.  One of his comrades told me sorrowfully that Tom never came back from his mission.  He was MIA.  My heart clenched at that thought, and I fingered the scrap of paper still residing in my pocket.  I swore that I would look at his name, Tom Wojciechowski, every day, until he came home.

That scrap of paper went everywhere with me for years and years, always in my pocket, in a fresh Kleenex.  He never came home.  In 1955 when I sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow, I silently dedicated the song to him, Tom Wojciechowski, a name I never fogot.  My name?  Judy Garland.


Name:  Al
OK. This is too easy.

Tom Wojciechowski was one of the characters on the comedy cop show “Barney Miller” back in the late 70’s. He’s obviously found it hard to find work since the show was cancelled and had to pawn the jacket to make his next meal. The pawn shop, after a couple of decades, realized it would never move and donated it to Goodwill. Enter “easy” Peg.

This contest comes at a good time for me. I will soon be having my 44th wedding anniversary and was laboring greatly about what to get my dear wife. As this will fit her to a tee…. problem solved. (After she gets this gift, I won’t have to worry about a 45th either.)


Name: She’s a Maineiac
Proceed Without Caution

“God,” he sighed, sitting down next to her two barstools over. “Aren’t these things a drag?” He waved to the bartender then reached into his dark gray suit jacket, pulling out a cigarette.

She put the wine glass down long enough to shoot him her patented glare.

“I suppose, ” she said, straightening her back as she loudly cleared her throat.

She turned away to view the Happy Couple, their reflections dancing and swirling in the large dusty mirror that hung above the rows of endless liquor bottles. She closed her eyes. Another headache loomed on the horizon. She fingered the long stem of the wine glass and prayed the potent grapes would work their magic and fast.  She could feel him still watching her.  Finally, the old familiar warmth started to spread from her neck and inch slowly up the back of her head; prickling and soothing enough to make her thoughts become fuzzy.

There is it, she thought, and closed her eyes.

The music and laughter grew louder and she suddenly had the urge to ask this man to dance.

“You know, it’s gonna kill you someday,” she said instead, her voice rising above the din. She slanted her head just enough to take him all in.

He leaned back and smiled.  His green eyes met hers and there was an almost audible sound of a spark igniting. He grinned at her again, and this time she noticed his dimples underneath the five o’clock shadow.

“What, you mean getting married?” he laughed.  “You don’t know how right you are, darling.” He shook his head and reached over to tap the cigarette onto the side of the ashtray.

She smiled in spite of herself. The wine was working a little too well.

“No,” she took another sip of wine. “The smoking. It’s bad for you. It’ll kill you if you’re not careful.”

“Careful?” his eyes lit up. “Now who’d wanna go and be a thing like that?”

She blushed. She hadn’t blushed since 1965 when she first met her ex-husband.

“As a matter of fact,” he pulled out a piece of paper and jotted something down. “Here.”
He handed her the paper, kissed her on the cheek, and walked out.

Her heart skipped as she opened it: Tom Wajciechowski

Maybe I’m done with being careful, she thought as she slipped it back into her jacket.


Name: TotallyTawn

Carol cheerfully unlocked the door to her beloved little cottage in the country.  She had just returned from a pleasant shopping trip to the local village and was eager to review her purchases.  Carol thought of herself as a woman who could spot a good deal a mile away and this trip had done nothing to change that opinion.  While strolling through the shops, Carol had purchased a nice bottle of Burgundy, a darling green plaid blazer, and an antique coffee table – which would be delivered later  today – all at a fraction of their value.
Closing the front door behind her, Carol sashayed into the kitchen – her favorite room in the house – and placed the bottle of wine carefully on the counter.  Then, in one swift motion, she removed  the jacket and carelessly dropped the bag it was in on a chair.  Carol gently laid the jacket on the table, smoothed out the wrinkles, and stood back to admire it.

Her appreciative smile slowly gave way to a frown as she noticed a piece of paper peeking out from one of the front pockets.  Yanking the slip from her blazer, Carol held it to the light and read aloud, “Tom Wojciechowski.”

    Carol instantly felt ill.  Panic seized her as she dropped the paper, stumbled backwards into the refrigerator, and slid to the floor in a heap.  Kneeling, she pressed her hands to her head, hoping to dampen the pain drowning her consciousness.

    Through the fog of fear, pain and shock, Carol heard a man’s voice, deep and sorrowful, say quietly, “I’m so sorry.  The only way to free yourself of the accursed garment is for someone to say your name aloud in its presence.  There is no other way.  Godspeed.”

    A few hours later, a young man from the antique store in town arrived at Carol’s home to deliver the table she had purchased that day.  After knocking several times, he hesitantly opened the door and called out while stepping inside.  No answer.  He did a cursory check of the main floor and, finding nothing but an ugly green jacket in the kitchen, he shrugged and left the coffee table by the front door before returning to work.  Had he examined the jacket more closely, he may have found the small slip of paper now bearing the name, “Carol Nowicki.”


Name: Angie Z.

A key thing one must first tend to before she jumps in front of an oncoming Greyhound bus.  Stuff.  You need to get your stuff in order.  First, toss out the unpleasant items – mustache bleach, 50-year-old plastic bag collection, autographed George Bush photos and the like.  Then, put the rest together in an orderly fashion and label what goes to whom.  This is harder than it seems.  When you are gone, you want your friends to remember you by the items, something that will honor your memory.  So no rushing through this task. 

I had no trouble deciding on most of my belongings.  Audrey obviously gets my best kitchen timer.  The woman never made a roast that wasn’t charred to a crisp.  To Mildred I leave my favorite toilet plunger.  Oh, how many times I thought to myself, will this woman ever shut her yap?  Yes, I get it – your hemorrhoids are back, your bunions are aching and the duck tape never rid you of the plantar warts.  Something to stop-up that piehole would do the world good.

And then I pause and smile when I think of Tom.  Oh, Tom.  Handsome, smug, sarcastic Tom.  What do I give to the man who has everything?  I remember the time he confidently strode into the Johnsons’ garden party as if he invented trees.  That night, he made a beeline over to me and ran his fingers along the sleeve of my favorite polyester green blazer, the one he knew I wore to Bingo every Saturday, the one he called my Leprechaun costume.  And I remember the exact tone he used when he said with a wink, “Wow, is this thing new?  Never seen it before.  Classy.”

And, with that, I slipped his name into the pocket and laid it on the bed with the other gifts.


About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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43 Responses to The Jacket: Entries, Post One

  1. Tar-Buns says:

    I like them all. Have to say Totally Tawn’s is most ingenious. Can I pull mine?


  2. Peg, I love the idea of a contest, and I love the entries so far. What fun. I’ve told Tom about this. He said, “Funny, I remember that guy in the green jacket coming to the door and showing me my name on a piece of paper. I told him I had no idea who that was. He left, and I breathed a sigh of relief. I’ve been Tom Wilder for over 40 years now, and I’ll never look back.”


  3. Jackie says:

    Totally Tawn’s is very well done. Just sayin’.


  4. Enjoyed every one of these. Looking forward to the next batch. What a teacher you would be…”You want 400 words by when? Be right on it, Ms. Peg.” Thank you for doing this!


  5. Lenore Diane says:

    Wow. You have a tough road ahead of you, Peg. These are great.


  6. Al says:

    After reading these great entries, it becomes obvious that if I’m going to win a green jacket for my wife, I’d better enter The Masters golf tournament. If you need me, I’ll be at the driving range.


  7. Off the Wall says:

    Shot down already! Kudos to Totally Tawn, the apparent first round favorite! Ok, so do I at least get extra credit points for being the first entry? At a minimum it tells you I can dash off a story in minutes and have mad fast typing skills.


  8. notquiteold says:

    How fascinating that they are all so different. Everyone’s mind is so…strange…


  9. Sandy Sue says:

    This is such fun. Cudos to everyone!


    • pegoleg says:

      It is fun,isn’t it? Only thing is I got more entries than I expected so I’m going to start running them more than just on Fridays. I’ll try to get the next batch up tomorrow.


  10. pattisj says:

    Oh, these are good!


  11. Wow. Five new blogs I want to receive in my in-box. Really interesting takes on the issue and some very fine writing above.


  12. Howdy, Pegoleg. I just read these entries again and I have to say good luck trying to narrow it down. Can’t wait to see what the others come up with…and did I tell you how hard it is to write under 400 words for someone who can barely keep her comments under 400 words?


    • pegoleg says:

      That was the reason for the limit – to force us all to be disciplined about it. Not that every word that drops from your fingertips isn’t golden, Darlinian.


  13. Dana says:

    These are incredible! Kind of makes me glad I haven’t submitted anything, so I don’t have to suffer extreme embarrassment and envy…


  14. Angie Z. says:

    Good group! May the best jacket win! 😉


  15. Lenore Diane says:

    So. I have a question, Peg. If I play, may I submit it through the normal channels AND publish it as a post of mine? Or, would you prefer I merely submit it? Do let me know, Boss. Thanks!


    • pegoleg says:

      Sure, go ahead and post it there and here. I realize this is a lot of work to ask of people who still have to crank out the genius on their own blogs. Although if you wait until I post it that would be great, so I’m not posting last week’s stale stuff. 🙂


  16. winsomebella says:

    Stiff competition. And I can’t fit into size 8. Excuses, excuses.


  17. Pingback: {Short Story} Works without Faith « Being is a Verb

  18. Pingback: The Jacket: A Call To Arms | Peg-o-Leg's Ramblings

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