Wednesday, November 25, 2009

SS&PP Day 2

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  As you sneak away from the table full of food and family, snag an extra slice of pie and enjoy our next four semi-finalists in the Short Story & Prose Poetry Contest, run this fall by The Writer's Center.  Then, before you lapse into a delightful turkey (or tofurkey) coma, reflect once more on why we do what we do - to vent, to move, to inspire, to create, to learn.  Whatever your reason for writing, it's often a thankless craft, which is why it's so important to celebrate it whenever we can.  We at The Writer's Center remain grateful to all of you, for allowing us a place in your writing world, and for supporting us as we endeavor to provide a place for all of us to do what we love most: Write.

Here are our next three pieces (EDIT: I was able to get permission from our fourth semi-finalist, Richard Ladson, whose piece has now been added!), from John Cushing, Luke Moderacki, and Stefanie Wallach:

Batman and Superman

In January of 2006 I returned to Washington from my assignment in Cotonou, Benin, for three weeks for surgery.  One afternoon I took a #80 bus from Fort Totten to Foggy Bottom.  I was the only white person on the bus.  Somewhere in Northeast DC a woman got on with two boys, aged about five and six, each holding a toy action figure.  The older boy sat next to me and said, “This is Batman.  I don’t have a Daddy, but Batman has a Daddy.”

“Well, actually, Batman’s parents were both killed during an armed robbery,” I replied.

The boy sat quietly for a moment, then walked across the aisle of the bus, handed his younger brother the Batman action figure, and came back with Superman.

“This is Superman.  I don’t have a Daddy, but Superman has a Daddy,” he said.

 “Superman’s parents were both killed when their planet exploded,” I said.

He got quiet for awhile, and then asked me, “Where do you live?”


The bus got very quiet.

                                                                      -John Cushing


Of Couch and Man

The man is not obese

The man is not handicap

The man is not old

But somehow, the man has become one with the couch

His skin has absorbed into the couch

If the couch needed to go somewhere, the man would have to oblige

But, fortunately for the man, couches don’t move

And, fortunately for the couch, the man doesn’t move either

Over time the man sinks deeper and deeper into the couch

The man’s skin takes on the green pigment of the couch

The man’s backside, including the back of his head, looks as if it is sewn into the couch

Eventually, there is no longer a seam where the man meets the couch

If you touch the man’s skin, you feel the softness of cotton,

It is no longer human skin

He then becomes nothing more than a lump in the fabric

He is no longer discernable

All that is left is a lumpy couch

You ask, “How does such a thing happen?”

The lump answers, “No sense of purpose.”

                                                                     -Luke Moderacki


Night Mine 

The girl’s compass spun as she walked in the cool night to find where she last breathed underwater. Such aimlessness! It was impossible, so she closed her eyes and felt for a pillow of frogs.
          "Little girl," he said. His breath a prickle of static on her downy cheek.
            The prince had first appeared to her as a tree. She had been wandering at dawn and wondering at the stillness of an oak. With staccato shift of branch and leaf, he formed pretty sky patterns. She plucked a blue
jewel from the boughs to keep in her pocket.
            One time she heard him in a Johnny Cash song. While fever danced along her spine, she noticed his laughter beneath the gravelly lyrics. She reached under her pillow to find an egg-shaped, velvet laugh.
            His no. 2 pencil had been the most charming gift. Wading in the brook, she stroked the mossy stones under the rapids and smiled when she pulled her hand from the brown boil. Instead of smooth gray, her waterwrinkled fingers held slender yellow.

             In the celestial field she heard again, “Little girl.”
             Her eyes opened upon a plastic laundry basket. She climbed in as the basket began to rise. It flew her over words, wishes, gardens, games, machines, mountains.
             The girl awoke in the spare room at her grandmother's house, just down the road from her own, in a warm square of sun. She held a slightly melted chocolate chip cookie. It tasted like love 
                                                               - Stefanie Wallach



While at the mall I visited Neiman Marcus and tried to purchase the newest (your name) package in their persona department.  They informed me that they only carried first tier personas.  They suggested that I try Kmart.

At Kmart I found a knock-off version of the (your name) persona in the returned merchandise department.  It had some dents and scratches and the batteries were dead, but otherwise appeared to be in working condition.

So I bought it for $1.99 and took it home.  I took the shopping cart home too.

When I got home and replaced the batteries I found that the OFF switch that controlled the mouth was inoperative.  It kept repeating, (Gimme chocolate, Gimme chocolate ...)

I put it on the shelf next to my Ken and Barbie personas.  The next morning I found Barbie torn to shreds, and Ken staring into space with a smile on his face.  (your name)  just sat there smoking a cigarette. 
                                       -Richard Ladson

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