Short-shorts is back — with a shorter-short contest.
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 to enjoy from students in my We Like Short-Shorts! class 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.
“After All,” Jacquie Trudeau
After the first rush of fear; after the insistent screeching of the smoke alarm; after the wail of sirens finally stopped ringing in their brains; after the first heady days of gratitude that they all got out safely, even the cat; after the rushed trip to the Children’s Store for baby clothes and cribs — did they dare to begin to take in what they had lost.
Jacquie Trudeau is a long time south Minneapolis resident. She loves writing class. She writes in fits and starts.
“Blue on Blue,” Karon Sherarts
My mom, Frankie Mae, liked blue. The beige walls in our house were accented with blue decor — not an intense Yves Klein blue or a saturated arabesque, but an azure or a warm sky-blue. Why did Mom like blue? Because she and her dad were blue-eyed? Or because the color induced a calmness — rare for her. Or because it simulated water? Frankie Mae loved gazing out over water. Maybe it was the hope of blue that drew her into its arms, the idea of sparkling blue water, blue-sky days — clear — not a cloud, not an obstacle in sight.
Karon Sherarts lives and writes in Minneapolis.
“Chickens, Ten for a Dollar,” Barbara McCabe
“Chickens, Ten For A Dollar!” read the sign in a shop on Myrtle Avenue. When I told my brother — who had a bill burning a hole in his pocket — he could get ten chicks for only a dollar, he said, “What a deal!” We headed to Myrtle Avenue to find ten fuzzy chicks. We could hardly contain our excitement! Never considering there might be more to taking care of chicks than just cuddling them and rubbing their yellow, fuzzy bodies back and forth across our cheeks, we bought them and raced home, carrying them in a cardboard box. Wait till Mom sees them! I thought. When she did, I could tell by the look on her face that these chicks would be going to a new home, and fast. Later that day, we walked to our grandmother’s block and sold all of those chicks for ten and fifteen cents each: my brother still had a hole burning in his pocket, but my days as an entrepreneur had just begun.
Barbara McCabe has always enjoyed all kinds of writing and she’s enjoying the short story now because she can get more things written in a shorter time.
“Scene from a Young Marriage,” Greg Schiller
He looks up from his laptop. She is in the doorway, feet planted, arms folded and jaw set. He is in big trouble.
“What?” he asks.
“What did I just say,” she demands.
“You weren’t listening to me, were you?”
“How could I? You were across the house.”
“That is so not true.”
“It is true.”
“You didn’t hear me because you tune me out. You always do.”
She turns away then comes back. “You tune me out. What if I fell down the basement stairs?”
“I SAID — what if I fell down the stairs. I would be lying at the bottom of the steps all alone, dying in a stinking basement. Is that how you want to end our life together?”
“Then don’t tune me out.”
“I meant no, you wouldn’t die in the basement.”
“Yes, I would.”
“You could call me on your cell phone.”
“That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard, who carries a cell phone around the house?”
“In case I fall down the stairs.”
She stomps back across the house.
He waits until she settles down then mutters, “Don’t fall down the stairs.”
“I HEARD THAT!” she yells.
Greg Schiller is a humble civil servant by day and servant to an uncivil cat by night.