Adult winners 2012
The best of the best
Ten Mile River
I woke early, even before my father, and slipped out of the cabin. The early morning mist gave way to pale blue as I walked along the beach toward Ten Mile River. Sand dollars washed up with the tide like delicate circles of crisp white linen, lightly embroidered with soft-pointed stars, cool in the palm of my hand.
Sharon is no stranger to Fiction 59. Actually, she’s been a regular entrant into the CN&R’s annual short-fiction contest for more than a decade. And, as she recently informed us, she just completed her master’s thesis devoted to 59-word stories for her degree in creative writing from Chico State. She won the contest in 2009 and has had more honorable mentions than we could count.
She remembers eating sardines: peeling them from their tin with her thumb and forefinger, lowering them head-first into the salty little ocean behind her lips and teeth. She remembers the current that they swam in, before they died, coursing through her stomach. She remembers her stomach: the shape and size of her father’s fist, he told her once.
Our second-place finisher, Darcy, moved back to Chico from Seattle just in time to enter this year’s Fiction 59 contest—and we’re glad she did! A blogger and social-media expert, Darcy has a long history of volunteerism and writing. Notice she also has an honorable mention.
He sailed the small boat across the lake and pulled it up the grassy slope, then a short walk to her backdoor. Her friends were circling around the kitchen counter picking away at slices of fruit, cheese, bread, spoonfuls of her famous potato salad. From her glance, he knew the trip was a mistake. Returning home the wind died.
For his second try at the Fiction 59 contest, Mark reworked his previous entries and this time succeeded in catching the judge’s attention. “Good writing is in the rewriting,” said this year’s third-place winner. Though he says he enjoys writing, for his day job as the owner of AAG Biotics Conry spends his time crafting beneficial microbes for agriculture and industry.
The world was too full of trees. “Can’t you see the future?” he asked his girlfriend, “city blocks like ordered facets in a diamond?” Before she left, she chucked a waste bin at his head. It glanced off with a perfect twang that echoed through him. It was just as well. She could never understand what brought him pleasure.
At the Hip
August heat couldn’t keep them apart as they crossed traffic, flip-flops on black top. Whose sweat was whose? Lips tug tongues as hands and forearms entwined like mating snakes. They’ll make it to the water. After the sun falls they’ll watch shooting stars as they suck up the last of the heat from the river stones, until shivering.
Adam James Taverner
Lydia folded her bifocals, set them on a dog eared Flaubert novel, flicked off the light. She eased across pilled flannel sheets, wrapped her thigh over Ronald’s thick hip, breasts pressed flat against his hirsute torso. She pictured tawny biceps straining a faded shirt, strapping back bent under her hood, oily fingers easing the dip stick from her Oldsmobile.
A Chicken Lickin’ Good
Penny spread her feathers caressing her large chicken breasts as she straddled a pyramid of delicate, smooth eggs. The nest was both warm and inviting. She clucked softly dreaming about his pointed beak, blood-red wattle, and large tail feathers. His “cock-a-doodle-doo” demanded her complete obedience; and she, stacked with eggs, gave him the best lay he’d ever had.
Two boys plucked from a Norman Rockwell painting dance in sun-soaked puddles from a late summer rain, bare feet slapping wet earth with the rhythm of joyful youth. A mother watches absently from the kitchen window, peeling potatoes. Laughter rises with steam from the pavement, swirling midst a westward breeze ferrying tomorrows and yesterdays far off to sea.