Submit your 200-word story by November 22, 2010.
Contest guidelines: Only Minnesota writers can submit. Only one short-short by an individual will be accepted. Your short-short must be under 200 words. Please put your last name and short-short contest in the subject line of the email. Include your name, address, telephone number, email address, word count and a brief biography (up to 150 words). Send your entry — in the body of the email, or as an attachment — to mbarrett [at] minnpost [dot] com. The file must be saved in Word.
Following are examples from students in my We Like Short-Shorts! and The Art of Creative Nonfiction classes at the Loft Literary Center.
Marge Barrett has published prose and poetry in numerous print and online journals and in The Best of the Web 2009 and The State We’re In. She teaches at the Loft Literary Center and the Jewish Community Center in St. Paul.
“Sail Away Café” by Samuel Cole
She sits in her regular spot at her regular time, the back of her favorite chair pressed against the white trellis full of hanging vines, some still green but turning. She sips Merlot and nurses platefuls of artichoke hearts with gooey centers, seared crab cakes and cheese panade. Full tables chatter and clink. Bow-tied waiters smile and pencil up. Yachts, and a few smaller class rigs, mutter in and out of the marina, rarely offensively loud, but still an affront. She worries for the songbird in the corner playing Dan Fogelberg on a wooden-sheath guitar. His brown ponytail and silver earrings sway around a bluesy harmonica that lulls her eyes shut to the leader of the band. A new song tempts her forward, tongues licking moist lips. “I could never live one day without love,” he sings, raspy and diluted. “Whiskey, take away my troubles. Starlight evening come take me home.” Clawing winds stir between them, grabbing her scarf like a jealous paramour, blowing it away forever. “Temperate night, whisper us with life’s beginning,” he sings into her eyes smiling back at him. Jasmine and ragweed seeds scent her embowered desires. “You looking, huh, baby?” he asks, winking. “Every night.”
Samuel Cole lives in Woodbury, MN. He takes classes at the Loft, loves to write short-shorts and is currently working on his first novel. By day, he’s an event planner and loves to volunteer in his spare time.
“Ode to a ’59 Triumph” by Steven M. Lukas
You wait patiently under winter canvas wraps lovingly sedated with C Foam, filled to the brim, feebly warding off ravages of relentless rust. We warm ourselves through memories of my pushing you hard, wind streaming through my thinning hair as you ferried me on chromed wire wheels flashing in summer suns. Your seams all twisted and loose have bled a trail of precious body fluids for jealous young boys to follow as they madly pedaled to catch us. Our frames and joints creak in unison as I once more snuggly wrap your worn leather cockpit around me, all smooth and shiny like an old coat that might be worn out but not out grown. Your skin still shimmers in British Racing Green, saturated with yearly coats of polish that now barely hide mosaic cracks lining your once youthful face. Together we’ve fought the good fight against aging. We could stay here forever, safely cocooned, but we’d never again feel fresh breezes as they whistle across old skin, nor could we ever again sing together in the rush and wonder of the open road on the way to never-been-there places.
Steven Lukas moved to Minnesota from Nebraska in 1971 with his late wife Dianne. After a career as a CPA and CFO at several medical device companies in the Twin Cities, he transitioned into semi-retirement. He’s currently teaching various graduate-level courses in business. He enjoys writing, motorcycles, winter and time with his family at their cabin on the North Shore.