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 kmencher@ohlone.edu 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 kmencher@ohlone.edu

Go to my website for more contests: http://www.kenney-mencher.com/

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:
http://www.kenney-mencher.com/catalog/recent_work.htm

________________________________________________________________________
This one was e-mailed to me:
EDGAR DOILY AT THE POINT by Dee Turbon

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.”
 
 

6 comments:

  1. No Halloween party this year and it’s my fault. by Francine Markowitz

    In September I found I found a change purse in the wardrobe room. I put it in my pocket and then forgot about it, until I got to the Candy Lady’s house, where I bought a whole bunch of Mary Janes. A week later, Mrs. Balber told us that Bonnie had lost her change purse and that if it wasn’t returned we wouldn’t have a Halloween party, but I had already lost the purse and spent all the change. The class was really sad and I know that it’s my fault.

    I got so mad that I started talking too loud and Mrs. Balber made me sit in the separate toy section. I couldn’t stand it and I started taking all the toys off the shelves and putting them all over the floor. She yelled at me to stop and her eyes bulged out of her head. It was kind of funny, but I didn’t laugh. I just kept taking the toys off the shelf and putting them in piles all over the carpet.

    A couple of hours later they called my dad to school. He came into the classroom, picked me up and carried me down to the principal’s office, where I on the benches listening to them talk through the thick door. Finally they called me.

    They asked me why I did it. I don’t really know why, but, I knew that if I didn’t come up with a good reason I’d get a beating from my dad for sure. Before I knew what I was saying comes out of my mouth, “I did it to punish myself, cause I knew I’d have to clean up after myself.” Well, it got me out of the beating, but I’m still not sure if I meant it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Edgar, the Looker Bee

    On weekends he dressed differently. My father repeatedly told us we were not the same as everyone else. Our neighbors, our classmates, our friends...they were less. We were going to be rich one day. "Dress the part," he said. God doesn't reward the weak or the non-believers. We believed.

    Both of my mothers and my five sisters went to the park and picked flowers to sell during the week. They also went house to house selling magazines for the church. Their long dresses nearly skimmed the ground but were short enough that they consistently remained clean and neat. Their bright hair was pulled tightly atop their heads, always with a white silk ornament contrasting with the magenta hue. It was difficult to turn down a beautifully persuasive group of girls my father said. "Everyone has their place son."

    My job was to search. I was a "looker." That was my nickname, "Looker Bee." I liked that name. We would travel to remote places: The Utah Cliffs, The Hills, The Ledge. There were other lookers there too. We had tools, my father and I. Mostly hammers that seemed very heavy to me, but not to him. And railway spikes that were as long as my forearm and half as thick, but sharp! And there were bags. Large canvas bags, folded and ready for "The Find." Everyone had the same system as far as I could tell. We were dressed better than most because of the big discovery. But that had happened long ago.

    The newspapers reported it. The magazines too. Dad's picture was everywhere I remember. Strangers would come to the old house, asking for hints; praying for his secrets and what to look for. He gave answers, preached answers. Extravagant stories and methods of the technique he used. How simple it was he said, any hard working man of Faith could do it. But the good finds only came to good men he said, and his find was Glorious, which meant he was enlightened and should be regarded as so. We did. We all did.

    Then, abruptly, it dried up. Just like that, in a flash, the gold was gone. My father's popularity and supreme position were no longer. And then finally, his own faith disappeared, or had been stolen away, just like the gift of wealth that had been bestowed upon us.

    The tools became dull. The spikes rusted. The wooden handles splintered and cracked, especially at the working end. The canvas bags which held the gifts from above became dry and weakened, unable to hold even a load of groceries and certainly not a haul of boulders for sifting.

    My mothers and sisters never stopped going to the park though. They never stopped collecting flowers. Their faith remained consistent, like the suppleness of their hands, like their glowing red hair, like the fair skin that only changed color when they laughed, or smiled, or hugged me so tightly that they took my breath away.

    The calluses on my father's hands eventually became softer. The furrows and frowns on his brow, as well as the blaming of others and his anger at the heavens, eventually subsided. And the trips to the cliffs, and the hills, and the ledges were stopped. He no longer smoked his Sunday cigar, or preached his system. But I remember we were happier then, after it was all over. And despite any temporary lapse in his faith, I have always remained, even to this day, his "Looker Bee."

    ----Michael Gray; gonegray@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. That’s me and my Dad in the sketch up there. It is most likely the only surviving image of me as a kid, I burned any photos of me I could find when the parents died. I only kept the sketch because my Dad was in it and the artist didn’t get my name right, he called me Edgar.

    When I was born I was named for my two grandfathers, Alfred and Edward. I was called Alf by everyone. We lived on a farm in the middle of nowhere and I went to grade school with the local farm kids who I knew from the day I was born. To say we were isolated is to understate it. The radio was the only source of outside news. After grade school we had to be bused into town to go to high school each day. On the first day I knew something was wrong. The homeroom teacher called the role and when she got to my name everyone, even the teacher laughed long and hard. The rest of the day kids were asking me “are you worried yet”, “why aren’t you worried”? Or saying “I’d worry if I was you” or some variant on that theme. I had no idea what was going on.

    After about a week of these questions and laughs I finally asked a kid what was going on and he told me I should get a copy of Mad magazine. So, after school I went to the local drug store and found a copy of Mad and as soon as I saw the cover I realized what was so funny. You see not only is my full name Alfred E. Newman but I’m a dead ringer for the Mad cartoon character “Alfred E. Newman” right down to the gap in the front teeth and the red hair. I can’t blame my parents, I was born two years before Mad was published for the first time.

    Needless to say high school was Hell, I hoped college would be better but no, it was Hell as well. Then the draft and off to the army which only made high school and college seem mild. You see I also have another curse, I have a Dorian Gray or Dick Clark syndrome where no mater how old I get I look just the same. In the army, in Nam, I was so very tempted to do a bit of “friendly fire” on assholes that just would not let the “what, me worry” bit go.

    Out of the army I got my CPA on the G.I. bill and set up my own office. I don’t think I have ever had one client who has not done the “what, me worry” bit, some did it every time they came in. After twenty five years of that I have finally retired but I’m still getting it from grocery clerks, waiters and even passer bys in the street.

    That is why I’m standing here in the street across from the building where Mad has it corporate offices. I’ve made a deal with myself. If I can stand here for one hour without anyone saying anything to me about Alfred E. Newman or doing any “what, me worry” jokes then I will go home and just accept my fate. If not, I have my army .45 in my coat pocket and this ends, one way or another, but there will be no more laughter. And by the way, I’m not worried.


    …..Kermit Hayes
    Khayes8684@aol.com

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  4. Oh my god Kermit. You had me rolling. I can't believe how funny that is!

    Thanks!

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  5. Hi guys,

    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. If you send me your addresses, I'll like to send you some gifts for your stories.

    ReplyDelete

If you are posting a story, please make sure you read the conditions of the contest on my website.
http://www.kenney-mencher.com/flash_fiction_competition.htm