Monday, June 14, 2010

New Post About Old Writing

I've realized that this blog doesn't contain much (read: any) of my original fiction. That's mainly because it's a bad idea to post stories that are in progress, or currently being submitted to publications on a public blog. Trust me, as soon as my newest story gets picked up by Tin House or Zoetrope, you'll be the first to know. I hope you're prepared to wait awhile.

So, to pass the time, here's something you don't have to wait for: my previously published flash fiction stories!

All of these originally appeared in the Boise Weekly's Fiction 101 contest, in which all the submissions must be exactly 101 words long.

Most of you have probably read these by now, but this blog is looking a bit naked without them. So here you go.

2010: 1st Place Winner - The Swells (Link)

     The beach was biting cold, but our mom wore a two-piece and swore it was a vacation. I wrestled Andy into the ocean. We toppled in waves, nostrils stinging with salt.
     Mom lit cigarettes, hugged her arms.
     "Looks like rain," she said. Clouds smeared like charcoal behind her, Mom's bikini bright neon against them.
     A man noticed, too. He waved, flashing his tan-line wedding ring.
     Mom blew smoke and smiled.
     Andy and I gasped on the sand. We watched the swells heave like our chests, like the ocean catching its breath. We locked hands, determined to wait out the coming storm.

 2009: Honorable Mention - In Tongues (Link)

     Inside Foursquare Pentecostal, our mother paces aisles, swallows hot coffee, and waits her turn to be knocked down by Jesus.
     My kid brother spins this yarn about his birth: says the nurse on duty swears on a stack of bibles she's never seen a baby flail so much. Says she nearly fumbled the catch. He signs this story with whipping, exaggerated arm motions. He's mute, see? That's part of the joke.
     Soon, we'll line up between pews with Mom. She'll stand, singing, raising her arms toward God. My brother will mouth silent hymns, praying, waiting his turn to be born again.

 2008: Grand Prize - Billows (Link)

     If not a monster, then something close; our grandfather lumbers around the house like a B-movie Frankenstein, swearing up storms at misplaced Tonka trucks, his skeleton creaking and groaning like an antiquated arm chair.
     You boys wear a coat or catch a fright, he says.
     It's too goddamned cold, he says.
     And stop pissing in the cat lady's yard.
     After sandpaper kisses, we see his frame by the fire, burnishing his belt buckle with a threadbare handkerchief. We whisper, our breath expanding then dying in the January air, leaving clouds like ghosts.
     Through the window, we search his neck for bolts.

and, 2008: First Place - The Cats

     Me and my brother throw stray cats off our roof. They don't always land on their feet, but most come close.
     We talk about it at breakfast. Daddy sometimes says to shut the hell up, usually though, he don't say anything at all. We pour milk and stare out windows. We drop fireball candies into ice water and take turns tasting it.
     Come November, there ain't no more cats, just hoarfrost and exhaust. Daddy cranks the car heater and says that lady threw us for a loop. My brother grins and says the same, says mostly we land on our feet.

2007: Honorable Mention - The Archivist (Link)

     The man was a fossil, a burlap sack stretched tightly over bones. Hunched over his work, his glasses were buried in a shadow like an artifact, some anachronistic relic from ancient times. Arm quaking, he handled the paper gingerly. Folding, turning, inspecting, and folding again. The man's eyes were yellowed and myopic, his movements ungraceful yet slowly deliberate and certain. He gazed at his grandson seated across the cluttered desk with fiercely puckered lips and an angled brow.
     To the boy, his eyes appeared large and comical behind the colossal lenses, but there was nothing about his look. It was expectant.