AWC professor impressed by short story entries
Students, staff and faculty at Arizona Western College were challenged to write a story in just 100 words, and over 150 people accepted the challenge.
Professor of English Ric Jahna said he was very impressed with the quality of the entries submitted for the 100-Word Short Story Contest and the imaginative scope of the stories.
Jahna said he wanted to provide a venue for writers and potential writers to share their work.
“Stories by their very nature are meant to be told. Whether we're talking about early humans sitting around a campfire or people today gathering around a watercooler, stories are how we relate to one another and make sense of our life.”
A 100-word story, or a “drabble” as the genre is called, is a good place for writers to start out, he said. “The short form forces us to distill a story to its essence ... We are forced to consider every word and sentence closely, and too often in writing we don't do that.”
Student category winners were Wayne McDonald, first place for “Siblings,” and Jacquelyn Medina, second place for “The Chase”; faculty and staff category — Ed Schubert, first place for “Warning: The Folies Bergere is a Portal,” and Nancy Gilkey, second place for “The White Patent Leather Alligator.”
Honorable mentions include Kevin Draper for “Biker's Heaven,” Miriam Galindo for “Lovers,” Randy Hartless for “Things Better Left Alone,” Ashley Roman for “Screw Modern?,” Araceli Acosta for “Tea Party,” Bill Devey for “The Bully,” Violet Payne for “When I Grow Up,” Dawn Whinnery for “Something New,” Isidro Valdivia for “Ghost Land,” Laurel Adair for “Riding the Rails,” Marcy Henry for “The Wand” and Ted Martinez for “Gravity.”
Stories were judged by professors Michael Miller and Ellen Riek, and by David Coy, retired professor and former director of The Writing School.
First-Place Student Story:
By Wayne McDonald
“Pickles! Nobody puts pickles on a turkey sandwich, you stupid cow. Go make me another one! No pickles this time.
Mona's one good eye ... dark and smoky, fixed her brother with a venomous stare.
“Watch your mouth little boy. You remember the last time you smarted off to me?
“Yeah, but you caught me off guard. It won't happen again, Cyclops.”
The ketchup bottle landed perfectly in the center of Clive's skull with a muffled, “crack.”
His eyes rolled up as he slumped into the potato salad.
“Dad always said I had the reflexes of a Yankee Shortstop.”
Second-Place Student Story:
By Jacquelyn Medina
Someone was behind me, closer than my shadow. Every corner I turned, every door I went through, it was following close behind. I glanced back. There he was! Holding an unknown object. A box. He ran back towards the door and I followed. I was quick. Cornered him. I snatched my shadow friends' box. Inside, a sketch of a child, my father's copy of Utopia, and a necklace from an old lover. I must have looked puzzled, because after a few seconds, he announced, “Surely, you recognize me child? I am your past! Now, for goodness sake, stop chasing me!”
First-Place Faculty/Staff Story:
“Warning: The Folies Bergere Is a Portal”
By Ed Schubert
Somewhere in space-time, a universe exists that is an exact parallel of our own: where earth is the third planet from the sun, where Barack Obama is president of the United States, where cars float down Highway 95, and where a parallel you is reading this identical story.
The parallel world betrays only the smallest differences from our own, such as this:
In Manet's Bar at the Folies Bergere, the barmaid has oranges in her bowl, not pears.
If you fear you've stumbled into the parallel world, visit the Folies Bergere.
You may be waiting for you there.
Second-Place Faculty/Staff Story:
“The White Patent Leather Alligator”
By Nancy Gilkey
We saw the alligator grinning by the couch in the living room. “He's friendly,” I said.
“He's special,” Pam said, as we marveled at his white skin.
“It's shiny, like patent leather.” His tail slithered; his eyes locked on mine. Pam tossed a pillow, he snapped, and we fled.
“Don't look back!” she warned.
“But he's so vulnerable.” I returned to check on him and felt the hair rise on the back of my neck. I slammed the door and ran to Pam.
“You can never pet an alligator,” she said. And the truth sank like teeth into my heart.