This contest closes Monday July 25th, 2011
Buy this painting now for $220.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org with your info. 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 email@example.com
This is the second version of this show!
Round #2 of Renovated Reputations will culminate in a show at Ohlone College in Fremont, California at the Louie Meager Art Gallery in February 2012.
Stories will be published in a vintage style newspaper catalog and the gallery will be converted into a 1930 or 40's cabaret set and students will be acting the stories out as monologues at some of the events at the college in the art gallery.
More competitions posted on my website at:
These came in by e-mail:
by D. Bellenghi
The bar door squeaked above the din of talk and music and then banged loudly as it slammed shut. Shards of sunlight streaked across the gloom exposing the overhead haze of curling smoke and dancing dust motes. As I waited for my eyes to adjust to the darkness, the smell of stale beer assaulted my nostrils. What a dive! I was stuck in this town until tomorrow so I would make the best of it. As my eyes became accustom to the darkness, I made my way to an empty stool at the bar. Two women sat chatting to my right. As I waited for my scotch, the brunette next to me asked, “You must be new in town, right?"
"Yes," I answered, wondering where this was going.
"I told you," the other woman stated emphatically, tossing her blonde hair back from her face with her hand as she leaned forward to take a good look at me. "We know everyone in town.
"And everyone knows the Godde girls," interjected Frank the bartender with a smile as he delivered my drink.
"Well, they better," answered the brunette, “we didn't work our asses off making Daddy ashamed for nothin'." Both women roared with laughter at their private joke. After a moment I realized what the bartender had said. "Are you members of a church group or something?"
"You could say we are,” answered the brunette through her cigarette smoke.
"And you could say we're not." tossed in the blonde, not bothering to look over at me.
"Did I hear correctly, your last name is God?" I asked.
"We got ourselves a smart one here," remarked the blonde.
"Really?" I said in disbelief. "
"Yessirree" answered the brunette drawing deeply on her cigarette. "And here comes the million dollar question...how did we come to have such an unusual name?" Both women cackled again.
"I'll bite." I said mildly interested.
"Oh, now he's getting sexy" cooed the blonde.
"Telling our story, as often as we do, is draining and parches our delicate throats" the brunette said turning to me, waiting for me to discern her meaning.
"Of course," I answered and ordered a round of drinks for the three of us. With that out of the way, she started her story.
"My name is Faith and this is my sister, Gloria B," nodding toward the blonde. "We are Faith and Gloria B. Godde. Get it? Our dear old Daddy was sooo clever." I nodded my understanding.
"As you might guess, he was a preacher. And as preachers goes, he was a real good one. He was what you called, filled with the spirit."
"Yea, a little too much if you know what I mean." Gloria pitched from the side of her mouth.
"Now, Gloria, don't get ahead of me. It's my turn to tell our story. Anyways, like I was saying, he was the real thing. He believed his bible and he lived his life that way."
"For awhile, anyway." Gloria zinged in again.
Faith chose to ignore this remark, “So when he found out he and Mama were going to have a baby, he started to obsess over the idea that he must raise his child to be a perfect Christian. He thought of little else. His child had be the shinning example of the perfection we humans could be with the correct teaching. He worried how he would keep that child focused on the righteous path. Matt:7:14 'small is the gate and narrow the road'. Right before we were born, he came up with this idea. The idea to change his name to God. But he had to spell it so he wouldn't appear crazy. Then along we came and it was even better than he hoped. There was two pieces of clay for him to mold into the image of true believers."
Frank came over to our end of the bar, “You girls telling Goddely stories?" he asked with a knowing grin.
"Yes, we are," said Gloria, "and we need another round Frankie."
Faith lit a cigarette and continued, “All we remember of dear old dad was the preacher. The more we tried to please him, the stricter he became. We had to recite the bible at any opportunity. We were kept isolated; captive to his world of church and the bible. Proverbs 13:24 'He that sparest the rod hateth his son'. As we grew older, we witnessed how he came to believe the name Godde bestowed a power upon him. He was no longer a son of God but the divine son of God come down to earth." Faith paused to take a swig of her drink. "Isaiah 14:12-14,'I will make myself like the most high.'"
"By that time, we were in our teens we had it up to here," she hand gestured at her throat, “with all this isolation, fire, and damnation. We wanted to see how normal people lived. So Gloria and me started sneaking out our bedroom window at night. After bible reading and prayers, of course. It took the preacher quiet a while to figure it out."
"That's when the trolley left the tracks." Gloria threw in.
"The more he tried to control us, the more we rebelled and ran away. When he realized he couldn't even transform his teenaged daughters, well, that's when he started to collapse. He realized he was not the God he envisioned in his divine nightmare. He became so disillusioned he couldn't even give a coherent sermon. When the Elders finally released him as pastor, he raged at them with hysterical fury until there was nothing left. He never spoke again and withdrew into a catatonic stage. He became a prisoner of his own invisible walls. 'Thou shalt have no other gods before me'".
“You still got it, sister." Gloria chimed in, “But preach not what you believe not,”. Both women laughed heartily as Gloria B shouted, "Hey, Frankie, we need some drinks over here."
A Loss of Faith by Patrick Nelson
What a name for a faith healer, right? It sounded made up but it wasn’t. It was on her birth certificate-if that was real. She had the gift all right. Everyone she touched was healed even if they didn't have ailments: they seemed to remember that old football injury didn’t pain them like it did, or when the storm front moved in they wouldn’t wake up with all those aches and pains.
They seemed fit as a fiddle. All of them even the bad ones: Virgil Clements had the cancer real bad and all she had to do was lay her hands on him and he was doing back flips down the aisle while he praised the name of the Lord his God. Virgil never set foot in a revival tent let alone an honest to God church. He was a womanizer, drinker, brawler and thief, yet when Faith used her gift on that old crusty son of a gun, why he was her new spokesman. He was the poster child for what the Lord could do through the nimble hands of Faith Godde as long as you let the Lord into your heart and a few dollars out of your wallet.
There was no color barrier in the tent, either. It was the only place in the state where black and white sat wherever they could find a seat.
Gloria B. was a different story, she traveled with her sister for years and would do the books and manage the crew, but her heart wasn't in it. She had been jealous of the attention at first, but when she saw how much it took out of her sister, she thanked God he hadn’t seen fit to bless her with the gift. She had spent the years listening to the praise that people would heap on her sister and when the lights went out and the crew wrapped up the tent and the organ and the chairs, she would tend to the damage the day had done to Faith: her poor sister had become thinner and more sickly.
The depression had started to turn to dementia and then to pure delusion. Soon Faith was sure she was the right hand woman of the Lord Jesus. It wasn't as if she took in their illnesses so much as when she made someone better, she got worse. Making a poor country bumpkin the spirit of health, she became a little bit more of the specter of death.
People in all the counties of Southern Alabama would come to be touched and healed. They didn't even have any real complaints when they lined up, they just thought of it as preventative medicine when she graced them with her touch. Why go to a doctor and see if you were going to get sick? Just have Faith Godde do her connection to God trick and you never had to worry. It was better than the fountain of youth or a sip from the Holy Grail because it was real and it was there.
“You know these people are just using you, and a couple days from now, they’re gonna be back to their old evil ways” Gloria B. said one night while she cleaned up her sister’s vomit.
“I don’t know any such thing” Faith said as she looked at her with her sunken and ghost-like eyes. She was combing her hair and noticing how much was staying in the brush these days.
“Well I do know that whatever you give them, they take even more” Gloria B. replied. “one day you’re gonna give too much and that’s gonna be it.”
Gloria B. was tired of the revivals, of the hot days of traveling and setting up the tent but how in the world could she complain when her poor sister was giving it all in the name of the lord? She prayed to the Lord to forgive her for wanting it all to be over, not just for her but for her poor sister but she did want it to end. She wanted her poor sister to stop suffering and have it done with. She would find some way to support herself and her life could begin. How could she be so selfish. There it was, though.
One day the revival found itself in Montgomery. They had gone north so Faith could see a good doctor in that big city. Faith had finally succumbed to Glory B’s constant nagging.
The hospital was busy and they had to wait quite a while. As they were waiting a group of black men and women entered in a panic. It seemed one of their group, a reverend, had suffered a heart attack and was dying. Due to his being black, he was made to wait on a gurney in the hallway. Faith, who was slumped over in a chair in the waiting room, suddenly came to her senses and rose up and walked to the group of black men surrounding the reverend. They looked cross with this frail little white woman who insisted on speaking with the dying man, but when Gloria spoke to them they seemed to admire these women's spirit and broke their circle around him.
Faith held her sister for support and said some words as she pressed her frail hand against his neck.
The reverend gasped for breath and opened his eyes and at the same moment, Faith had been freed from the Lord's work as she collapsed.
Gloria waited for hours only to have the doctor tell her Faith could not be saved. Before she left the hospital she learned from a custodian that the reverend was expected to recover fully.
Weeks later she sat in a coffee shop reading the paper for jobs when she went back to the front page and saw an article about the same man that Faith had given her last ounce of God's gift to heal. He had been shot and killed in a motel in Memphis, Tennessee.
This saddened her almost as much as the loss of her dear sister.
"Why, Lord?" She thought "why let her use the last of your gift on a man only to let him be shot dead weeks later?"
The loss of faith was upon her until she continued to read the papers over the next few days: this man's death had energized the nation it seemed. It now dawned on her that this man was great but his sacrifice was greater just as her sister's had been.
If he had died on that gurney instead of by an assassin's bullet...
She never once doubted God's choice of using her sister again. But still, she now had no Faith.
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