Earlier this year we invited everyone to take part in a short story competition. The theme of the story had to centre around one of My Dog Sighs tin can characters. I have been overwhelmed with the interest and the high number amount of entries that I received. It has taken much longer than I anticipated but with the help of Naomi Hewlett (Park Community School) and Angelo Tirotto (No Place Like Home author) we have managed to decide on the winners for each category.
Choosing the winner wasn’t an easy task but it was a lot of fun reading everyone’s interpretation on the tin can man theme. We will also be publishing some of the other entries over the summer so please keep an eye out on the website for those. We will run another short story competition next Autumn. Next time round we hope to recruit a panel of 4-5 judges so we can get through the entries a lot quicker. If you think you would like to be involved then don’t be shy, send us an email or get in touch on social media.
I hope you agree with us and enjoy the stories as much as we did.
13 years and under (150 words)
Hannah Richardson – Year 7 at Milton Cross School
I am just a can…
dumped outside a garage,
left to rust in pain,
never to be used again.
I roam the streets in search of cover,
but no one wants me, not even my mother.
My tears fall down my old tin face,
as I stare away into space.
I hide in the shrubs,
to avoid humans coming from the clubs,
but they see me,
and kick me along the street till I plea.
They leave me, shrivelled up,
it’s just my luck
That tonight I was struck.
So I crawl across to my corner
the corner where I was left.
It’s not my fault,
it’s not I swear.
I didn’t ask for this torture;
this everlasting pain.
I cover myself in plants and leaves,
and cry myself to sleep,
hoping to see tomorrow…
14–18 years (300 words)
Peyton Owen – Year 10 at King Richards School.
There once was a homeless man called Harold. Despite his dire situation he always had a smile on his face.
Harold was different to a lot of other homeless people. He didn’t beg. He never asked for anything. Instead he made beautiful artwork to sell with an old paint set he’d found and any rubbish he could get his hands on. He’d then display them in the subway and sell them cheaply to anybody who wanted them. His most popular pieces were the tiny faces he’d paint onto old discarded tin cans.
He lived this way for years. On some days he’d make enough money for a hot meal and he’d be happy for the rest of the week. As time moved on he aged and became ill, his artwork became less regular, until one day it stopped altogether. When the community heard of his death they all came together to hold a service for him.
Everybody had known him, he’d been an unfortunate soul who had always made the best of his bad situation. For weeks after his death his graveside was littered with cans which people had painted in memory of him.
To this day, the town still remembered Harold; the homeless entrepreneur.
18 years and above (500 words)
‘BANG BANG BANG! In my drawers baby’ As the B52’s famously didn’t sing. The buckshot peppered my tin hide like torrential rain on a corrugated roof, knocking me stone-cold sparko.
I came to my senses just in time to see the All Day Breakfast Gang ride out of town in a cloud of dust. My partner, the treacherous varmint Butch Gassidy had pumped me for information on our latest heist, then betrayed me and threw his lot in with the Breakfast Bandits. I felt rich tomato sauce raging through my veins and swore revenge on the two-timing son of a can.
I roused myself and stumbled to my feet, spotting my loyal steed, I flung myself upon the mechanical bull and with a cry of “Hi-Ho Silver Alloy!” I was off in grim pursuit of the bean-based outlaws.
A few miles out of town, I came to a fork in the road with a mini frankfurter impaled in its prongs. A crude ketchup arrow, pointed towards Green Valley Gulch.
Silver, responding to my command obediently bucked down the track towards the Valley.
The sun was setting as I spotted the bandits camp, and in a scene reminiscent of Blazing Saddles they were sitting around a campfire, laughing and joking how they had made a fool of the Baked Bean Kid. At the head of the campfire sat the low down Butch Gassidy and judging from their relaxed manner and noisy bowel movements, the overpowering stench told me it was very High Noon.
Crouching behind my hidden vantage point, I gripped my trusty Tinchester Repeater and took aim.
Unleashing my 57 varieties of hell, the outlaws scattered and ran for cover into a shabby outbuilding marked: “Green Valley Recycling Centre.”
I followed at a distance and found them cowering in a battered metal truck.
With my eyes growing accustomed to the gloom, I saw the truck was sitting on an old dusty conveyor belt. A lightbulb popped above my head and I knew, cans gotta do what a cans gotta do.
In a flash, I ripped off my ring pull and hurled it at the far wall where it hit its intended target. The big lever marked “Activate”.
With an awful clanking and grinding of gears, the belt burst into life and began rolling, taking Butch and the Breakfast possee ever closer to their deserved fate.
I rushed outside towards the exit, just in time to see the bandit’s less than triumphant transformation.
The once-feared outlaws stood sheepishly before me, resplendent in their shiny new glory…Butch Evaporated Milk and Grapefruit Segment Boys.
I handed them over to the Sheriff of Aldi and had myself a satisfied chuckle, content that the All Day Breakfast Gang’s notorious shelf life had now come to a sweet and sticky end.
I saddled up Silver and with a triumphant wave, noisily clanked off into the sunset.
So long, pardners…