Stories to tell

Welcome to this week’s Reno News & Review.

Happy holidays, folks!

Our 95-word fiction issue is always a fun change of pace. And this year, the change felt needed. I’ve been pretty stressed—in addition to all the usual stuff, I’ve been wrapping up a busy semester at the university, and moving—not far, just 0.6 of a mile from my current place, but it’s just enough added stress to make my eyeballs feel heavy with blood.

Anyway, it was nice to kick back and read some bite-sized morsels of fiction from our creative friends, neighbors and other people who read our paper—some just to hate on it—or folks who just like to submit short fiction to contests with no cash prizes.

We had a big crop of submissions this year, and the stories seemed better than in some previous years, even though many of them were on the sad side. Nice work, folks.

To cap off the sad batch of stories, I received an email from reader Craig Paulsen. He wrote that his daughter, Sabrina, passed away in 2009 at the age of 24. She was a prolific writer and he came across a story that was just about exactly the right length for our contest. She was a journalism student who grew up in Reno, so she might have even been working on it for the contest.

Either way, Paulsen found the story after our deadline and sent it after we’d already started judging, so we weren’t able to include it in the contest, but it’s a nice story and the circumstances seemed to warrant a publication:

Hands down, this is the best day I can ever remember. I’ll always remember the sound of the stereo, the scent of your hair that I twirled in my fingers, and the time on the dock when we realized it was so late, and the work that we shared together. The streets were wet and the gate was locked, so I jumped it, and I let you in, and you stood at the door with your hands on my waist, and you kissed me like you meant it, and I knew that you meant it.

Brad Bynum