I have just submitted the winning entry for your glorious Friday Flash Fiction Competition. I believe it is a fine piece of writing. Thank you for providing this opportunity to enter.
I ignored it.
But another email from Robert Aurora arrived four days later:
You might remember that on Tuesday I sent you what should prove to be the winning entry in you Friday Flush Fiction Competition. I am surprised that my story has not appeared on your website. However I know you are busy.
I see you are also a great publisher, and your bank details are on its website. I'd like to support Frodo Flush Faction by making a small donation to help writers less fortunate than myself. You may use this as you please, as I know you are a very wise man.
I look forward to the results of the competition!
Some days later, I glanced at my publishing house's online bank statement, and saw that £50 had been transferred into it from a 'Robert Aurora: winning entry'. Further increased payments appeared on subsequent days.
Guiltily, I trawled through my spam box. Sure enough, there were three more increasingly desperate emails, each coinciding with bank payments. The last was especially poignant:
I am distraught that my award-winning tale has not yet appeared on your website. I know that a man of your undoubted vision will have seen the merit of my submission, but I am afraid that minds less able than yours might have influenced your choice.
I live in a small village, and I am trying to encourage my neighbours to express themselves. I think writing is an important means of empowering the poor and downtrodden, of giving them a voice in a world where greed and power have corrupted our society from top to bottom. Had someone like me from a humble background won the prize, everyone in my village would have entered the next time. It was hoping that my efforts would liberate many others. I am keen to help writers less than fortunate than myself.
Perhaps I might win another competition instead.
I remain your humble servant,
No, I didn't keep the money. I donated it to the local public library instead.
In case you're wondering, this is fiction! – GL