Sunday, October 17, 2010

Flash Fiction Contest: Win this drawing of Edgar

This contest is now closed. 

The winner for this one is Edgar by Mark Brosamer. 

I gotta say, the quality of all the stories were excellent and I really have a hard time choosing between them.  For instance, just the ending line of Dee Turbon's and Kermit Hayes' stories made me pause.  I really appreciate all the effort you have made in writing these. 

Write a flash fiction story about "Edgar" and win this drawing of him.

Edgar,11"x14" oil and mixed
media on masonite

Edgar, 12"x9"
graphite on paper

Click on images to enlarge.

The story you write should be a "Flash Fiction" which is a complete story in one thousand or fewer words.  Please post the story in the comment section, you will have to provide your name and an email address in order to be qualified to win or you can e-mail me at with your info.

The contest closes Monday November 1, 2010.

There is a problem with how many characters can post (only about 4,000) so if you cannot post it.  E-mail it to me at

Go to my website for more contests:

Winning flash fiction stories will be integrated in with an exhibit in San Francisco at ArtHaus Gallery (April 8th for the reception). 

The show is called: Renovated Reputations: Paintings and Fiction inspired by Vintage Portrait Photographs

The exhibit will include a series of 20-40 paintings and mixed media works ranging in size from 8”x10” to 18”x24” framed with thrift store and vintage frames.  In addition to the exhibited works ArtHaus is publishing catalogs signed by me and as many of the authors as possible.  Catalogs/books will consist of image of the painting with the text of the “flash story” surrounding the image.  If I can get the authors to come to a book signing/party, authors would sign their pages for some of the printed stuff.

We're going to have a photobooth for the show for participants to play with and vintage costumes. 

Of course I'll send the authors free copies of the catalogs.

I will announce the winners the day after the closing deadline for the competition. I'm planning on doing one flash fiction competition a week every Monday from now until April.  You can preview the works I have so far completed here:

This one was e-mailed to me:

Edgar Doily, hair all shocked and his ears like the spread wings of birds, and a smile as bright as old man Hoyle’s picket fence and just as crooked. And his pa said he was to come straight home, soon as school finished, and he had chores to do and his homework, too. And no man ever made a success of his life without he had to put in the effort, that’s what his pa says. Only Edgar Doily didn’t go straight home. Up to the point he went with Tommy and Shoo and Grits.

Throwing stones, throwing them at the sky, high as birds or clouds, and then those stones falling, fast as bullets, and entering the water making a sound like duck-farts, and that’s what the boys call ‘em, and the boys laughing fit to burst at that.

And Tiff’s there’ too, and the boys all think she’s the prettiest girl in school, so they throw their stones a little harder, even though their arms ache, and they laugh a little louder and all for the catching of Tiff’s attention. And she knows. Handstands then, and cartwheels turning, and Tiff joins in, tucks her skirts into her knickers and shows the boys a longer leg, and their whole world is turned upside down and time is too quickly spent, their time, and the church clock tells them it is late.

‘You have the bluest eyes I ever saw, Edgar Doily, and I choose you to walk me home.’

And he is dizzy and his heart skips and he might be turning cartwheels still. And the prettiest girl in school takes his hand in hers and they walk the slow way to where she lives, and what they talk about he afterwards can’t recall, but he talks without halt until they stand at her door. And she turns to him and tip-toe tall she leans into Edgar Doily and kisses him, the kitten-pink tip of her tongue in his mouth and kitten-soft, too. And she says he kisses real nice and she hopes he’ll walk her home again one day.

And ‘what you got to smile at Edgar Doily?’ says old man Hoyle leaning on his picket fence gate, a pipe between his teeth and his old cur curled at his feet. ‘Cos your pa’s looking for you and he ain’t smiling, no sir, he ain’t.’

And Edgar notices then the dark at his back and the sun gone from the sky, and he quickens his step, skipping it looks like, and he stumbles some, but the smile does not slip, and Edgar Doily holds tight to the memory of Tiff’s kitten-kiss. All the way home and his pa waiting there, looking at the clock on the mantelpiece and counting off the minutes, and they are many.

Edgar Doily in his front room, suffers the lecture then, head bowed and his hands behind his back. And he listens to his pa tell him, over and over, what it takes to be something in this world and how a man will be measured when he is grown and what responsibility is. And Edgar wonders then if his pa was ever kissed by a girl on tip-toes and the point of a girl’s tongue in his pa’s mouth, and if he had how he could forget the moment and everything he is or was shrunk to that porch-light touching of a girl’s lips to his, and Edgar Doily does not know what more there can be in the world, sits on top of that world he thinks, with his head in the clouds.

This one was e-mailed to me:

Edgar by Mark Brosamer

Lots of the kids in our cul de sac had fathers who had gone off to the war, so my case wasn’t really that special. Still, my mother bore it hard, and maybe even harder because I was an only child. Sometimes I would see her crying as she smoked out on the porch or standing over a sink of dirty plates. Usually I was running out into the street and I will admit to you that her sobbing embarrassed me enough that I did not stop to comfort her. I pretended I didn’t see her tears, and she would do the same, yelling after me through a cracked voice something like “Edgar, I want you home when the streetlights come on!”
Mostly the kids on the street spent our days outside, playing war or imagining ourselves on some great western adventure, and this was especially true that breezy summer when our fathers had been shipped overseas. In our play, we fought their enemies in our own backyards, in the fields and culverts that peppered our little suburb.  We turned anything longer than our arms into rifles, anything shorter into hand grenades and sticks of dynamite.
               I didn’t think about my father dying, to tell you the truth. I somehow knew that he would come back when school started, as if the war could not possibly last through Labor Day, when I’d need him to help me with math or get ready for the October Pinewood Derby.
               I remember the strong, warm wind coursing through our town that summer, how it irritated our eyes and kept us down at the creek, our pantlegs rolled halfway up our scrawny thighs. I remember the incident with Mr. Jenkins, too, who lived two doors down from my house. As one of the few men left on the block, he had come to help us when there was a toilet leaking or a lawn that had grown too long for a boy to mow. I don’t know why he wasn’t sent off, although Pete had overheard his mother whispering something about a bad liver or maybe it was flat feet. We weren’t that concerned. In fact we were glad to have him home that summer, because we had been eager spectators of his own private war, the one he’d been waging since spring against the gopher in his front yard.
Arnie’s cousin had seen him at McWhorters buying traps, and then we all saw him dropping poison down the holes that had turned his lawn into a miniature minefield of craters and the excavated piles of dirt next to them. He dug; he swore; he’d shake his head and scowl every time he passed his front lawn on his way inside.
               It must have been late August when his patience wore out. Most of us kids were sitting on the curb in front of Carl Finkelstein’s house when Mr. Jenkins called us over to his yard.
“Hey boys, y’all come over here for a minute,” he said, gathering us towards him with a broad sweep of his thick arm.  He was holding a white painter’s bucket full of hammers, eight or nine of them.
“Listen men, I have a little mission I need you to help me with, something I can’t do by myself, okay?” He set the bucket in the middle of his tortured lawn and rubbed his hands together slowly.
“I want each of you to take a hammer and kneel yourself down in front of a hole, you hear me now?” He reached into the bucket and pulled out a hammer, handing it to Nick Campolo, the oldest kid on our street at twelve years old.
“That’s it, come on over boys.”
Out of curiosity, I had crept over to see with my own eyes the bucket full of hammers, but I did not come any further until Mr. Jenkins called me by name.
“Edgar,” he said, drawing out the ‘e’ in my name a little too far, “you’re a tough little cowboy, ain’tcha?” He held the wooden end of a hammer out to me, and I could feel the eyes of the other kids on me as I reached out for it. I raised my arm as slowly as I could, wondering if I could stretch it out slowly enough for him to think I was an imbecile or just uncoordinated. Maybe he would lose interest in me and pass my hammer into one of the clutching hands of the other kids.
Mr. Jenkins waited as long as he needed to, then dropped the hammer into my small hand. It pulled at my arm as if it had already hijacked my tendons and muscles for its own purpose. I wanted to run home, but knew that I would never hear the end of it from the other kids, especially Nick, who had positioned himself at the biggest hole and was staring menacingly down into its black mouth.
               I sunk down beside one of the last remaining holes, trying to choose one that looked abandoned, although really they all seemed pretty fresh to me.
               Satisfied with our positions, Mr. Jenkins the garden hose from its rack near the faucet at the front of the house, stretching it to the last remaining gopher hole in his lawn.
“Now boys, listen to me carefully. There’s a war on, as you know, and we all need to help each other out, right? Like them times I lent a hand to your mamas ‘round the house. Well here’s your chance to lend me a hand. I’m about to turn this hose down into that gopher den, and in a minute you might see him pop up out of your hole, and if you do I want you to bring your hammer down on his dirty little head, okay?”
I looked around at the other boys, hammers suspended over their heads in anticipation, all staring into their holes. I counted them, trying to calculate the odds of the gopher coming up my hole, but the arithmetic eluded me. I did not know anything about the underground science of gophers, or whether he might have some contingency plan saved for just such an ambush as this. I secretly hoped they were more clever than we gave them credit for, like the cartoon coyote that seemed forever to escape, scarred, burnt, flattened, and pock-marked, but always intact.  
My mind reeled, striving for escape, and meanwhile Mr. Jenkins had turned on the hose, jabbing its end into the hole at his feet.
               I stared as far as I could into the black hole between my knees, my eyes blurring in the hot afternoon wind. I imagined that I could see through the end of that miniature tunnel, beyond it and into whatever jungle or trench or desert my father was protecting for America. I saw him back in our living room, sitting in his plush recliner and smiling as he pulled at a cigar. I saw my mother, too, calling my name into the evening because I’d been out too long and gone too far. I heard the water gurgling through the tunnels, its pitch rising as it rushed at the light, sweeping its prey towards our little troop of boy soldiers. I tried not to blink but my eyes burned. I stared and stared down that hole, the shriek of the water ringing now in my ears, chanting softly to myself, “Don’t let it be me. Don’t let it be me.”