101 Short Story Contest Winners
Thursday, December 20, 2007
More than 200 readers took the time to enter the Weekly’s contest for short sagas. The quality of many of the entries was high – choosing one winner was hard. We also awarded second and third place, as well as 22 honorable mentions. For the record, the shortest entry was six words, the youngest entrant was 7 years old and the story subjects ranged from personal to other-worldly. The ones that most struck the seven-member judges panel were those that painted a vivid picture or used succinct dialogue, and had a clear beginning, middle and end. Some were funny. Some were clever. And some, frankly, were a little scary. Several people entered more than one story and often if we liked one, we liked them all, so you will see some names more than once among those we chose. A number of entries also offered a line or two that we felt worthy of acknowledgment; we include them throughout this package. For kids who entered, animals, both real and fantastic, were a favorite theme, and four notable entries are included.
Writing is hard work. Thanks to all of you who put yourselves on the line and subjected yourselves to being evaluated. The winner gets $101 in cash, and the second- and third-place winners receive complimentary dinners at local restaurants. – Tina May
(Winner) On the Road
Michael Whalen | Pacific Grove
The old Ford pickup rolled to a stop. “Where you headed?” “San Francisco.” “That’s a long way.” “It’s more the journey than the destination.” “Hop in.” He tossed his bag in the back, his hair to the side, and jumped in the passenger seat. “Thanks mister.” “Ain’t hitchhiking dangerous?” “No, you meet the most interesting people.” The young man had ideals, verve and naiveté. I half expected a rumpled Kerouac to fall from his coat. He reminded me of a time before I became jaded. “Things ain’t the same,” I muttered, as the flames engulfed the dumpster where I left him.
(Second Place) The Haircut
John Mills | Monterey
The trigger mechanism is a work of genius. The big problem was concealing a .22-caliber barrel in a pair of hair clippers. Slow days at the shop gave me time to solve the problem: a simple piece of PVC pipe bonded to the blade assembly with J-B Weld. Aim will not be a concern. All these poor soldiers lost and a land in disarray, I now know it’s not what my country can do for me, it’s what I can do for my country. People might not remember my name. But they will always know I was the president’s barber.
(Third Place) Smooth Landing
Tom Rebold | Marina
The night after the aliens landed we decided, let’s party. Us on the bluff with our WELCOME TO SOCAL, USA sign, them out in the arroyo, spaceship steaming up the place. Everyone got obliterated. Vickere spun on the floor like an overturned bug while we tripped on the stuff that really makes you paranoid. Suddenly the bushes stood up and walked inside. Not bushes exactly. Omar pulled a gun. “Everyone project friendliness!” I shouted. Slowly they morphed into wise silvery ETs, whom we serenaded with “We’ll Make Great Pets.” They showed us how to levitate cows. We fed them hummus.