SEMI-FINALIST – 12

Name: Ellen Goodlett
Title: Stray
Genre: Young Adult Futuristic

For the third time this week, someone has jacked my ride.

I stand at the corner of Broadway and 17th, exactly where I know I tied it up. But there’s no gondola to be found. How desperate are these shitheads, to steal the leakiest, ugliest boat in New York City? I’m sure they’ll abandon it as soon as the bubble-gum plugging the cracks in the prow pops out, but that ain’t the point.

“Lucky me,” I mutter to myself, and hock a loogie into the vomit-colored canal water.

It’s hard to see down here – the streetlights stand two stories overhead, set along the posh walkways for the rich and privileged. Us gutter rats are the only ones who skulk about canal-side, unless a rich lady stoops to catch a water taxi. The wealthy all ride the subways anyway. Ever since they pumped the water from the ancient train tunnels and renovated them, us gondoliers have been shit-outta-luck. Which is probably why someone was crazy enough to try stealing my hunk of junk boat.

Raised voices interrupt my thoughts. They’re coming from the other end of the dock, where the wooden pier wraps around what used to be a fancy apartment building and heads left down Broadway.

One of them shouts angrily, too far away to make out the words. I inch along the wooden planks toward the corner. Most likely just a gondolier arguing with a customer. But there’s a chance it could be the thief.

3 comments to SEMI-FINALIST – 12

  • Congrats, Ellen! This was one of my favorites. Good luck!

  • Congrats! This was one of my favorites too!

  • Cat

    I liked this beginning except for one thing.
    This bit:
    “It’s hard to see down here – the streetlights stand two stories overhead, set along the posh walkways for the rich and privileged. Us gutter rats are the only ones who skulk about canal-side, unless a rich lady stoops to catch a water taxi. The wealthy all ride the subways anyway. Ever since they pumped the water from the ancient train tunnels and renovated them, us gondoliers have been shit-outta-luck. Which is probably why someone was crazy enough to try stealing my hunk of junk boat.”
    is a big info dump. Can’t you spread some of this information out in the next few pages? It somehow slows down the pace of the scene.

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