Contest Entry

This is my entry to a contest over at this link:

I figured it couldn’t hurt to re-direct some traffic over there.
My hope is that by the time you get there the incorrect entry will have been deleted.
Here’s a challenge and a puzzle to solve.
This version of the story is correct and how I’d like it to appear. The first version posted at the link has one incorrect word that is wrong – so wrong it changes the whole story and throws it off.
The entries were limited to 250 words – almost the exact length of mine.

The “ants” go marching two by two.

He saw them and saw the landing live behind his eyes roughly 15 minutes before those who sent the martian probe knew.

Those explorers cheered the Phoenix landing – a spacecraft sent to find geologic history of water and planetary habitability.

Monitoring from the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, their applause greeted the spacecraft’s transmission confirming safe touchdown.

“The Phoenix has landed, welcome to Vastitas Borealis!” said an exultant flight controller.

They saw tan landscape.

A tan man in a swimming pool saw it inside his head.

A flash behind closed eyes.

No lag.

No 15-minute wait.

And life – tiny forms filled with life leaving the landing site well before the spacecraft came. His extended mind viewed past and present before the explorers knew success.

And it would be years before they knew what he saw.

Screams of laughter echoed around the pool as one child yelled “Marco” and others replied “Polo.”

Tan man slid from his float and into the pool. He cringed. His sunburned belly stung.

“Crazy. I’m going crazy,” he thought, pulling his float between two kids yelling “Polo!” again in response to the shout of “Marco!”

He rubbed himself clean with soap and showering water.

He tried recalling the images. He reviewed them but couldn’t go forward – just play a loop in his head of speeded-up events mixed with consciousness of life – but no confirmation.

He quit.

From outside came a noisy splash and shouts again.




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