Creativity gone wild
Winners in the adult category
This is what Jason would remember: A red plastic rose melting in the withering sun. An old lady slipping a glass figurine in her purse, then winking when she saw him looking, as if he were in on her little secret. Daddy selling Mama’s favorite vase for 25 cents. It was the one that hadn’t shattered against the wall.
by Lindy Hoppough
Lindy took the Fiction 59 challenge from her daughter, teen winner Emma, and ran with it. “It was nice to be creative for a change,” she said. She writes often, but mostly for the web—she works in an economic-development consulting firm. Clearly writing runs in the family!
He works tending the machines, adjusting the pitch and lift of their screams. He wears earplugs, goggles, gloves. Through their wails he hears the monotone horn signaling a rest for both machines and shepherds. Standing outside the loading dock, where the field begins. To the west is nothing but green, and above him the sky is filled with Glory.
by William Cadman
A lumber-mill worker in Red Bluff, William has been writing for years and has long enjoyed reading the CN&R’s annual Fiction 59 winners issue, but this is the first time he’s submitted a story of his own. We’re glad he finally did!
Hero of the Backyard
He suffers for it on Mondays, the weekends spent in the backyard, weeding, watering, pruning, digging, the shovel lifting soil, turning under thirsty, hardened dirt, bringing the long-buried deep earth to the surface, moist and rich with possibility, like his ticket to America, his degree from Harvard, the accomplished hands of his children, finally letting go of his.
by Sharon DeMeyer
Sharon is quite possibly Fiction 59’s biggest fan. She’s a secretary in Chico State’s English Department while pursuing her master’s degree in English and creative writing who’s been submitting short stories to this contest for more than a decade. Her writing has received many honorable mentions over the years, and she took first place in 2009.
Friday, Jack was on his game. He split the nines, pushed a tottering chip stack to the table’s green field and hit twice. Casa Fuente cigar, Grey Goose martini, blue cheese stuffed olives hung over his lips like stripper tits. Dealer shows King, Ace. Sunday, Jack drives his colicky son around the block listening to Steely Dan. House wins.
by Lisa Trombley
She walked into the bar on his arm and the air shifted. She was a good two inches taller than him because she insisted on wearing her new, sassy-stilettos, but now she wasn’t so sure. It felt like there was a neon sign pointing at her proclaiming, “She’s a mother of two and trying WAY too hard tonight!”
by Jenny Fuller
Christmas Eve at San Quentin
She rides into Tent City on the last shuttle. Fog still hangs heavy over the Bay, mist condensed against the glass. His face is pale, his long black hair neatly tucked back. He smiles quietly as he sits holding her hand, hoping she won’t notice the slight tremble of his lip, the fear in his eye that she might.
by Sharon DeMeyer
The superstring mathematicians discovered 10 dimensions and that it’s possible to travel through black holes. Being young and foolish, I tested this out. Now I’m stuck in dimension nine where I can’t get back. All I can do is channel when someone like you is on your computer. Please contact Professor Kaku and ask him how I can return!
by Gayle Kimball
My mom’s belly was extended further than I thought was possible. The baby, who was curled up and protected, stretched an arm or a leg against her tight skin and it made me giggle. I told her I wanted to name the baby “Sparkle.” She laughed and as she leaned over to hug me her hair smelled like flowers.
by Aubrey Nash
His daughter lived in Florida. She sent her kids’ pictures on the computer.
In the afternoon he went for a walk. Down the road came a young woman and a kid on a bike. She went into the orchard for a stick and held it until he’d passed.
Back home he sat in the garage for a long time.
by David Veith
Everywhere I sit, the smoke comes to me. We’re on the porch couch. “Do you believe in God?” I’ve already tried switching sides. “Do you believe in aliens?” He exhales the other way. “They’re the same thing.” He’s dead set on absurdity, and we lock fingers. “Give me that.” I puff noxious brimstone. It’s better to share the ride.
by Rachel Libby
It’s frigid as Hell. No compass. No jacket. Hillary is bitching again, not that i blame her—the walk WAS my idea. I don’t believe in voodoo, jesus, or feng-shui and this bothers her. “I’m … sorry.” I’ve learned to keep it short because words are clumsy and pile high with unintended meaning. “I know.” She’s shortened her answers too.
by Erik E. Ellis
I Got This
The waiter drops the check and everyone puts on coats, laughing at the last joke. I wish I’d never won the money. I toss two bills on the tray. My friends laugh outside. The chef eats alone at a corner table, buried in a paperback. The busboy folds napkins. Steam billows from the dishwasher. I sit a moment, invisible.
by Kennan McGill
I was listening for the word, but I didn’t hear it. I had refused the blindfold. The icy wind had frozen my tears. The volunteers from my unit were motionless figures in the shadows. Their rifles steady. A rooster crowed. I must not think of her smile, her green eyes. The sun’s sudden appearance over the barricade blinded me.
by Andy Hanson
Her mother had always said he was a rolling stone. For years she thought that meant he was a rock star. The truth came with adolescence. Now, here was that infamous stone, sitting across the table from her. He was cracked and weathered, looming and incomprehensible. What could she say? He looked so large, yet so frail. “Hello dad.”
by Amber Newton
I met her online. Right away I was smitten. She said she was in a twelve-step recovery program for her addictions to sex, alcohol, drugs, prescription pain killers, smoking and overeating. She assured me she was healthy now.
When I told her I eat meat, she said it would surely kill me someday. That weekend she dumped me.
by Steve Baroni
Not Even Once
The fence was moving way too fast, hurtling toward the hood of his car. The airbag knocked him back, but there was no more sense to knock loose. He’d left that at the bar. What the Hell? He was already learning from his mistake, things like There are some mistakes you can’t make even once. No, not even once.
by Jim Dwyer
When I was young, I was enamored by the glow of a firefly. I cupped it in my hand, and it fluttered wildly in the darkness of my palm. I clenched my fingers closed, afraid to let go. When I opened up my hand, the creature twitched, and in a drowsy state, flew away. But the light was gone.
by Michael Watts
The two young girls, brown as berries, finished swimming and climbed out of the pool and onto the scorching wood deck to drip dry. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. Curious, they cautiously peered over the back fence. With his teeth on the fence and an eye on the girls, the neighbor’s horse continued to gnaw his way down along the boards.
by Stephanie Poldervaart
Wrong side of the door
Boyd was on the wrong side of her door and he didn’t know why. Since he first knew how love felt he had cast it at her. Clumsily. Now, she had kissed him with all the awkward urgency of honest emotion. He had mumbled timid excuses, turned the knob and fled into December, dreams melting in the uncertain night.
by Nathan Hislop
He moved. I watched the graceful light unfold. All which encompassed him melted; a peak of diminishment. Who was he? I knew … he unfortunately didn’t. Maybe there comes a point in time where we can’t feel, maybe we can’t care, and maybe that’s the only possible beauty of dementia. Not the erosion but the absence of worries and wonders.
by Jessica Zadra
The Devil and mushroom soup
The Devil was asking for Lucy’s soul. Lucy said no and poured a bowl full of soup. She told the devil she would consider his offer if he would shrink down and jump in the soup for a swim. Just when he jumped, Lucy grabbed a spoon and gobbled him down. The devil has not been heard from since.
by Terry Flippo
The Battle of San Pasqual
Fog hung withers high as the American Dragoons crossed the arroyo. The Californio’s nimble native stallions swarmed the column, wheeled on the stubborn American asses and whipped the invaders to the ground, goring them with their lances. Muskets failed, pinched by dew. The lancers left, satisfied, and only two fewer. Left the field, Kearny pinned victory to his wounds.
by Nathan Hislop