LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown: January Edition - Updated with Winner

Flash fiction: A style of fictional literature marked by extreme brevity.

Welcome to LitReactor's Flash Fiction Smackdown, a monthly bout of writing prowess, in which you're challenged to thrill us in 250 words or less.

How It Works

We give you a picture. You write a flash fiction piece, using the picture we gave you as inspiration. Put your entry in the comments section. One winner will be picked, and awarded a prize.

The Rules

  • 250 words is the limit (you can write less, but you can't write more)
  • Any genre
  • Give it a title
  • We're not exactly shy, but let's stay away from senseless racism or violence
  • One entry per person
  • Editing your entry after you submit it is permitted
  • We'll pick a winner on the last day of the month
  • LitReactor staffers can't win, but are encouraged to participate
  • All stories submitted on or before January 30 will be considered. We'll run the winner on January 31.

This Month's Prize

A pack of advanced reader's copies from upstart fiction publisher Two Dollar Radio. Your prize pack will consist of these three excellent titles:

  1. Damascus by Joshua Mohr
  2. Seven Days in Rio by Frances Levy
  3. How to Get Into the Twin Palms by Karolina Waclawiak

Here's a bit about this pioneering publisher from Joshua Chaplinsky's Indie Press Spotlight:

 Two Dollar Radio was founded in 2005 by Eric Obenauf and Eliza Wood-Obenauf, a husband and wife team railing against the publishing status quo. Inspired by Andre Schiffrin's The Business of Books, the indie upstarts set out to 'reaffirm the cultural and artistic spirit of the publishing industry... by presenting bold works of literary merit, each book, individually and collectively, providing a sonic progression that [they] believe to be too loud to ignore.'

Your Inspiration

 Weird_01.jpg

Photo via  The New Yorker - Photo Booth

Now Get Writing!


And the winner is...Kelby Losack

I think what I love the most about Kelby's story is the first line. The entire story has great pacing, and little punches of humor that are believable and endearing. Nicely done, Kelby.

Necklace

Johnny waddles his fat ass across the playground, hands in his Wranglers like he's some hot shit cowboy. I've always played the Indian.

Anyways, he walks up to Sally, and let's just say Sally and I have shared the same glue bottle in art class all week. I haven't asked my brother yet, but I think that means we're dating.

Johnny starts pulling on Sally's pony tail and laughing. All her friends are the chicken shit Barbie type, and all my friends are imaginary, so I have to take matters into my own clenched fists.

I run and jump-kick Johnny, but he's a fatter fuck-bucket than I thought and I fall in the sandbox. He face-stomps me and I spit out blood and teeth.

I turn over and kick the lard-butt shadow standing over me square in the nuts. The other kids gasp. The fat shadow stands silent.

"What?" Johnny asks the crowd. Stupid.

I yell, "Ha! Johnny has no balls!"

The other kids chant, "Johnny no-nuts!" and his fatass shadow runs away crying.

I pick my teeth out of the sand and stand up. I don't bother brushing myself off.

I look at Sally. She looks away. She picks up her peace sign backpack and walks inside just as the bell rings.

I won't ask my brother, but I think that means we broke up.

Oh well. The teeth in my hand are baby teeth, no biggie. I'll put them on a necklace. I'll wear it at school.

Taylor Houston

Column by Taylor Houston

Taylor Houston is a genuine Word Nerd living in Portland, OR where she works as a technical writer and volunteers on the marketing committee for Wordstock, a local organization dedicated to writing education. She has a BA in Creative Writing and Spanish from Hamilton College and attended Penn State's MFA program in Creative Nonfiction. She has taught writing at all levels from middle school to college to adult, and she is the creator of Writer’s Cramp, a class for adults who just want to write!

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Comments

Seb's picture
Seb from Thanet, Kent, UK January 2, 2013 - 7:34am

The Rite of Passage

They waited in anticipation. The excitement of leaving, finally being free, was almost unbearable. They had rehearsed this many times before, seen their elders leave before them, such was the way.

The youngest were afraid, they heard tales of daylight. They all hoped to go somewhere safe, a place where their lives had meaning. It had been like this since before they could remember. No one ever came back.

Inside the dark caverns they waited, prepared. No one taught them what to do, they just understood. You fight to survive; you keep going no matter what. Half of life is waiting.

The walls began to move. This was it.

The pressure came from beneath. They had watched, seen this before, but now it was their turn. The force threw them into chaos; none knew which way they were facing, but they were moving.

Up, through the forbidden zone, past the point of no return. They flew, majestic in their arc, into the darkness.

After an age in projection they landed, but the journey was far from over. They had to battle each other for the prize, there can be only one. They started moving, a mad struggle to reach an unseen goal. The sheer white climb endless.

The liquid was unexpected. They were not where they had hoped. Rushing, dissolving, the saliva engulfed them.

Swallow.

Matt L.'s picture
Matt L. from Texas is reading Tenth of December: Stories July 12, 2014 - 5:04pm

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Audra Brown's picture
Audra Brown from The Middle of Nowhere is reading Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach January 2, 2013 - 5:58pm

A Floss a Day Keeps The Coppers Away

Father always said: clean teeth keeps you free.

I greeted the investigators with my brightest smile.

Solemn and stoic, the short, stringy one spoke. "Where were you last night?"

"I treated my father to a home cooked meal for his birthday. I was at his house all night."

"Have you seen Miss Rawson, the other secretary, today?"

I smiled so bright and swallowed the saliva that had filled my mouth. "Not since last night. Is she in trouble?"

"Thank you for your time." He handed me a card, sliding it across the table with his long, not too thin fingers.

"Anytime." I smiled for a few more seconds and they went in to grill the boss. Oh, what sensation that would be. My mouth watered and my stomach growled.

I checked the clock, it was close enough to lunchtime, so I pulled my sandwich out of my purse. Two slices of rye toast, a little mustard, and some meat left over from last night.

It was tasty, though not so wonderful as fresh, and I ate it all too fast. I flossed twice and was checking my teeth in the mirror when the investigators took their leave. My teeth were clean and the last of the leftovers was on its way down. I smiled again and watched them go, the image of my boss getting grilled filling my mind with possibilities and plans. Thanksgiving was a few short weeks away, and my family hates turkey.

Alexander Briggs's picture
Alexander Briggs from 3rd Planet from Sol is reading Ruins By Orson Scott Card January 18, 2013 - 11:53am

Easy Dating
"Apple of my eye, " Jackie said, "I don't get the expression." looking deep into the young man's eyes. " Where is the apple?"

Douglas was in trouble. Doing a favor for mom. Just meet this girl. Now how to make a win out nothing.

"You need to know someone first. To embrace their uniqueness. Then choose to hold them in that great loving way" Doug is looking for a way to keep it pleasant. " Plus I think it's Shakespeare phrase."

"Do you always wear so many clothes" Jackie asked while inspecting the salt shaker and taking a taste? " This is what you call sweet?"

"Where you from? " Doug tried to move things along and his mom really got him in trouble now. "You're a little out of this world."

"I am from a place outside of your Sol system. Not too far for me. It has been a century since my family was here." said Jackie and now Doug had all the piece to put it together.

Doug considers that it's better to let crazy be crazy. There could only be one question, "Why you come all this way to visit with me." Expecting something further on the arc of futuristic.

“I had these travel points to use up and earth was within approved area" Jackie said without a pause or change in her tone. "I just wanted to have sex. I had heard that human were prone to the creative jester in their love-making. "

Doug thought, thanks mom.

Akex Nads's picture
Akex Nads from East Tennessee is reading Flesh and Bone January 2, 2013 - 4:03pm

The Appointment

“Everything will be all right,” the dentist said. She held a magnifying glass up to her mouth to show  what it was for.

“Jeez, I’m a little nervous around dentists, but I’m not a baby.”

The nurse smiled and sat a reassuring hand on my chest. “Now hold still so I can take a peek.”

I tried to protest being treated like a baby again, but she had her hands in my mouth, and all that came out were vowels.

She looked at someone behind me and shook her head solemnly. To the person behind me she said, “Would you like to leave for this?”

“Leave for what?” I demanded. “What’s the problem?”

The nurse waited for the door to click closed and then looked down at me.

“What did you find in there? Just tell me already!”

Without another word she put a pair of reverse vice grips in my jaw to hold my mouth open and set her hand over my eyes.

I screamed in protest. “What are you doing?” I yelled in vowels.

I felt was a sharp sting, then a twist and jerk from within my mouth.

She let the clamp off my mouth and I screamed. The door opened, my mother ran and gathered me in her arms.

“There, there son. It was just a baby tooth,” mother said.

“Is he big enough for a sucker,” the dentist said.

My mother shook her head and took me from that awful place.

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like January 3, 2013 - 5:32am

Orthology

… And, after searching through the mouths of hundreds of specimens, we've successfully corralled the teeth once belonging to Ms. Caraway, and reassembled the smile you see exhibited here before you today. Upon close inspection, you'll see that the teeth are quite clean, uniformly mounted, and altogether good-as-new.

It is just a smile, though—after all.

Yes, yes, it is but a smile. But, given the back-story and the amount of work which went into this endeavor, I believe the thoughtful onlooker should meet with a real sense of the holistic: a glimpse of a totality which was once lost to us and, most importantly, to Ms. Caraway.

How do you know it's all her own teeth?

DNA testing. No two teeth are alike. Think of snowflakes.

But snowflakes are just white bits of ice that float around and then melt. Doesn't really matter that they're unique, does it?

Does it “matter?” I can't answer that question for you. It matters to me. It matters to the men and women who spent days and weeks searching out those teeth, mining the orifices of an endless array of humanity. And I'm sure it matters to Ms. Caraway.

I'd never heard of Ms. Caraway before all this business about the teeth. Why's she special? Why'd you go looking for them in first place?

“Why” is a question for scientists and philosophers—not artists.

I thought you guys were scientists.

And I thought “you guys” were journalists. That will be all. Dismissed.

Ryan O'Connor's picture
Ryan O'Connor January 11, 2013 - 10:20am

Time's magnifying glass

She was stopped by security, they briefly looked at her press pass then searched her black handbag. They found only a magnifying glass, a pen and notepad; the magnifying glass had the word “HOUR” engraves around the rim.

“Mr. Goldstein is waiting in his jet for you Ms. McKenzie, you only have an hour before he has to be back in the air”

“Please call me Thyme, and don’t worry an hour will be more than enough for the interview”

Thyme was shown up the gateway and was greeted by the seemingly immortal billionaire.

“Pleasure to meet you Ms McKenzie, I’m Hershel Goldstein”

“Mr. Goldstein you are a hard man to track down, I've been waiting to speak to you for years”

“Well, shall we began”

They both sat down opposite each other in luxurious recliners, Thyme reached into her bag taking out the pen, notepad and finally the magnifying glass.

“Hershel what is your secret to staying so youthful at 127?”

“Staying on the move, I've been on the run from death since I escaped Birkenau” He paused to pull his shirt sleeve to reveal a tattoo on his left forearm.

Thyme picked up the magnifying glass. “May I?”

“Sure.”

His forearm began to whither and age instantly, as the gaze of the magnifying glass reached it. Hershel whispered in a dry croak, as Thyme brought the magnifying glass towards his face.

Through Thyme’s magnifying glass Hershel saw Death.......

Stephen_Inf's picture
Stephen_Inf from Illinois is reading Whiskey Tango Foxtrot January 3, 2013 - 2:47pm

Cheater

This isn’t you from a distance. This is you under a microscope. This is you, scrutinized under a magnifying glass. This is you, enlarged a hundred times, exposed for who you really are.

This is your cute little nose, wrinkled up, nostrils flaring as you part your soft, beautiful lips and lie to me through your brilliant, sparkling teeth. These are your captivating brown eyes, looking deep into mine, the lashes fluttering just slightly, trying to lure me in. These are the meticulously sculpted brows above, arched in confusion when I don’t take the bait.

These are your ears, your perfect ears, seeking shelter underneath your radiant hair, hoping to escape the words I’m about to say. These are your cheeks, your immaculate skin, glowing a fiery red when you hear that I know the truth.

The truth is I saw you from a distance. I watched your enchanting brown eyes gazing into the eyes of another man, you batting your lashes to entice him. I witnessed him whisper into your pretty ears and stroke your shimmering hair. I saw your dazzling smile just before your full and lovely lips met his. The truth is I saw your cheeks flushed rose when he caressed your gorgeous skin. I watched you exhale through your adorable nose, deeply, eagerly in anticipation as he led you away.

This is not you from a distance. This is you, up close and personal. This is you, beautiful. Flawless. Perfect. And this is me, disgusted.

cmlalone's picture
cmlalone from Albany, NY is reading Wolves of the Calla - Stephen King January 3, 2013 - 6:47pm

Look at Me When I’m Talking to You

“Do you understand what I am saying?”

“No, I don’t understand a damn thing coming out of your mouth.”

“Do I need to talk slower?”

“Talk as slow as you like. Won’t make a difference – you don’t want me to understand you. You are trying to show me how smart you are again and I’ve lost interest.”

“Look at me when I am talking to you.”

“Are you saying if I see your mouth move I will have a sudden burst of understanding?”

“Just look at me.”

“I’m not playing your little games anymore. Go look at yourself in the mirror and you’ll see just what an asshole looks like.”

“Look at me!”

Her scream makes me jump and turn to look at her despite my concerted attempt to avoid doing just that. I take a step back upon seeing the grotesque features of her mouth - they must be the reason for her unsuspected scream. She is as horrified by her appearance as I am.

“What the hell happened to…”

The laugh that erupts from behind her bulging lips and massive teeth makes me cringe and I look away.

“Look at me”, it is a soft purr this time - which makes it all the more chilling.

Hesitantly I face her and I’m confounded that she looks normal again.

“What happened?”

She raises a magnifying glass to her mouth – slow enough that I don’t miss what she does.

And with her swollen red lips she whispers, “Kiss me”.

David Hathaway's picture
David Hathaway from Boston January 3, 2013 - 8:01pm

Is this thing on?
Suzie picked up the strange device left on her missing husband’s desk. She was not sure what it was or what it did. She placed it to her ear but there was no effect. She put it to her mouth and spoke to the strange device.

“Hello? Is this thing on?”

She said this with a timid tone. She waited a couple of seconds for a response but got none.  The cold metal in her hand was almost alien. She sat down twisting the device around and around thinking out loud.

“What is this?”
“Why did Bob have it?”
“What did he use it for?”

A light went off in her head. She raised the device to her eye left eye. Everything in the world got larger! She scanned the room. On the desk near where the device was she found tiny writing that was unnoticed by the naked eye. It said:

       My name is Bob Roberts. I am being watched by someone or something. If you have found this then you are in danger.

She dropped the unusual device which shattered when it hit the hard wooden floor. Suzie looked around in fear pondering who or what could be out there. Was this why Bob went missing? When was it written? She had so many questions that had no answers.

Carly Berg's picture
Carly Berg from USA is reading Story Prompts That Work by Carly Berg is now available at Amazon January 4, 2013 - 9:40am

                                                     Tess the Tooth Fairy
 

My sister-in-law Tess was always the irritating small town do-gooder type. But earning her dental technician license launched her over the Annoying county line and into the major city of Intolerable.
 

I had to invite her to my Halloween party, since I was still under spousal suspicion for “forgetting” her July Fourth invitation. 
 

Tess arrived dressed as the tooth fairy and interrupted “The Monster Mash” to scold everyone for eating candy. “Sugar is bad for your teeth!” she bleated, eyebrows raised as if ready to take flight from the sheer alarm of it all.
 

She passed out her treat to the dozen children, red tablets that dissolved in your mouth to show the spots missed after brushing.  The children immediately dropped tablets into the toilet and laughed themselves apoplectic . “Who pissed blood?” was even funnier than the classic, “Who farted?”  They coined the term “blood-fart” and Tess the Tooth Fairy sobbed, drowning out  “Marie Laveau.”
 

I passed out my treat, wind-up mouths with chattering teeth. I whispered helpfully, “I hope Mr. Mouth doesn’t bite Aunt Tess for being uncool.”
 

The children formed into a tittering, pointing, teeth-clacking pack. The adults danced past in a conga line as I poured more rum into the swamp punch.
 

I felt warm, with my house a-rocking even though it was cold outside. When Tess screamed from the other room along with the howling in “Werewolves of London,” everyone raised their glasses. They thought she was getting jiggy with it at last.

 

Luis Oliveira's picture
Luis Oliveira from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is reading Iliad by Homer January 4, 2013 - 6:13pm

  

Luis Oliveira's picture
Luis Oliveira from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is reading Iliad by Homer January 22, 2013 - 4:06pm

New Year's eve

  Ten minutes to midnight.
  The New Year celebration is happening right now in my terrace, in the Zona Sul of Rio de Janeiro. Memorable place. Me, I am sitting in a desolate spot, with my Glock 9mm, downing innumerous shots of cachaça, watching my wife crack big slutty smiles to everyone. I am the only person here who is a 100% sure about her sex intentions for tonight. I know she wants to fuck because this morning she yelled at me, stating some ignorant facts about erectile dysfunction. She thinks I am the one who is in trouble, but she is sadly wrong. I am comfortable with myself. The problem is herself. She likes playing games. And if there is something funny in all that, it is the unsteady faces the amateur guys have. They should be smarter, realize what they are here for.
  Five minutes to midnight.
  Am I supposed to be here for the first moments of 2013? I don't think so. I don't want to hug anyone. I don't want to touch people who are going to rub my wife later in the guest room. Like, "Happy New Year, and remember the bitch loves it doggystyle."
  A minute to midnight.
  You know what, I am tired and my gun is loaded. The fireworks positioned at the beach are ready to erupt. The seconds are running. People started the countdown. Five. Four. Three. Two. One. Explosions and screams can now be heard.

gpirnia's picture
gpirnia January 4, 2013 - 6:15pm

Salty Caramel Angst

After a decade of dating him, she learned to lower her expectations. She sat on her zebra-print couch shoveling pizza flavored ice cream into her mouth and thought about him. At this moment he was at a conference in Miami, probably shacked up in a hotel room with her – his secretary with the big jugs and the collagen injected lips, the one who always cooed, “Bonjour doctor,” even though he was an accountant. She envisioned their tryst: Big Jugs eating salty caramel ice cream off his hirsute chest and him telling her “lick it off slowly, hon.” Speaking of which, she just remembered the salty caramel ice cream hidden under the frozen peas in the icebox. With him away on business, the issues became magnified to the point where she feared the inevitable. She sat back on the couch, now alternating between the two desserts, and spied a copy of “Cosmo”. “How to Keep Your Man,” read a headline. If you have to engage in tactics to keep your man then aren’t you already losing the battle? Isn’t that a symptom of a greater problem, like Big Jugs? She couldn’t handle her unruly mind anymore, so she picked up the phone and called his hotel room. The phone rang four times but no one answered. He was probably in the lounge throwing back a few Manhattans with Big Jugs. She hung up the phone and didn’t try to wipe away the trickle of ice cream careening down her crestfallen face.

R. Perry's picture
R. Perry January 5, 2013 - 8:47am

Canine Devotion

Rusty was wagging his entire body, nearly jumping out of his shaggy blonde paws, when Annie first came home nearly a decade ago. Her parents spent months batting away his gangly puppy frame as he tried to cuddle with the vulnerable infant.

His persistent whimpers chipped away at their resistance, and within a year he earned access to the little girl, though the tables of danger quickly turned. She became the hazardous one -- chewing his ears, squeezing his gums, yanking his tail -- and he was delighted to play the victim.

Now she stares at his lifeless body. It’s flanked by a gnawed toothbrush and an empty bottle of bleach -- not a drop on the bathroom carpet.

She had fled the scene just minutes earlier, eyes burning from an impulsive attempt at an ill-advised beauty regimen, opening a fatal window for Rusty’s curiosity. The harmless abuse he’d willfully endured years earlier paled in comparison to this. It was unintentional, yes, but the harshest blows often are.

Hours earlier, Annie had told some boys at school about meeting a modeling agent at the mall. The words had barely escaped before the boys pounced, taunting her with a speciously boastful and air-headed pitch: “I’m, like, totally a model!”

They continued to joke as she sulked away. Assuming she was beyond earshot, their playful inflection gave way to a much more poisonous tone: An honest one.

“I hope she has white teeth,” one said. “That’s the only thing she’ll be modeling.”

Angel Colón's picture
Angel Colón from The Bronx now living in New Jersey is reading A Big Ol' Pile of Books January 5, 2013 - 12:43pm

“Perfect”

Dolores held the magnifying glass up to her mouth and smiled, “I want it to look exactly like this.”

“You want everything to be bigger? Do you mean just the lips or teeth too?” Dr. Graves arched a brow, confused as to why anyone would want their entire mouth to be larger.

“The whole thing, I always felt like my mouth was too small. I want everyone to notice when I smile, to notice when I eat.”

“Alright,” the doctor fidgeted in his chair, his mind tripping over itself to think of the right thing to say, “Realize I’m only a plastic surgeon, I can plump your  lips and make them fuller or larger in your case, but everything else is a little out of my reach.”

“Is there anyone that can do it?”

“Well, maybe, but I don’t…”

“Do whatever needs to be done and we’ll get it to work. I assure you, I can pay for whatever needs to get done."

 ***
Thirteen months to the day after her initial consultation with Dr. Graves, her entire mouth now took up 50% of her face. She was proud. This wasn’t just an inflated lip job, her jaw and teeth had been enhanced with bone grafts and state of the art procedures (some of which required overseas travel).

While others now saw her as a freak, Dolores only saw opportunity and true beauty. She couldn’t be happier.

Now she would surely win the Northeast Pie Eating Championship.

SarahElizabeth's picture
SarahElizabeth from Pennsylvania is reading All the Light We Cannot See; Monster January 5, 2013 - 3:08pm

The School of Perfection

“Perfect! Do you understand? They have to be perfect!”

“Yes, ma’am…” I wanted to cry.

“See? See my teeth? My hair? My dress? Yours have to be like this!”

“Yes, ma’am!”

My teacher grabbed my magnifying glass off the bedside table. “Like THIS!” She opened her perfectly lipsticked mouth in a huge, cheesy, incongrous grin. “You will not leave this room until it is perfect.”

She slammed the glass down and sailed majestically, perfectly, out of the dormitory.
This was the School of Perfection. Girls were sent here to learn to be ladies. They learned etiquette, social graces, dancing, cooking, and sewing. They came out perfect.

Some never came out.

I had my doubts about my own survival. Since arriving five weeks ago, I’d missed, by my count, fourteen meals because my curly hair refused to stay in place. Missing meals was nothing, though, compared to forgetting to brush your teeth.

My friend Daisy had forgotten. Once. They dragged her from the classroom and we didn’t see her until the next day. Her teeth were perfect and there was not a mark on her, but she didn’t speak for three days. She barely ate for a week. When she finally did she brushed and flossed so thoroughly her gums bled. But she was perfect.

And that was all that mattered.

There was a girl who refused to comply. She disappeared.

The School of Perfection’s slogan was, “Perfection. Every time.”

They delivered on that slogan. Only perfect girls ever came home.

James Dougherty's picture
James Dougherty from Liverpool, England is reading God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater January 11, 2013 - 11:17am

The Percieved End of the World

 

She has teeth like a carthorse, but other than that she’s a definite prospect. Her body looks great, and the clothes that hug it are expensive enough. I desperately want her to shut up though. She talks too much. With every passing second, I become less attracted to her, and although this has never stopped me before, there’s a chance that I won’t take her home at all.


Each word that crawls out of her mouth burrows behind my right eyeball. My head begins to throb. I honestly don’t know why I’m persisting with this one. She shrieks loudly, throwing her head back and sloshing her martini (such an uninspired choice). A drop lands on my knee, and holds there, fully formed. The urge to wipe it off is excruciating, but I push it to the back of my mind and re-establish eye contact.


She’ll eventually think I’m a bastard. When I’m done with her. That’s if I let it get that far. I don’t think I can afford a one night stand at the moment though. I quickly scan the overpriced hotel bar to see what else is available, but it’s getting late and I’m starting to think I’ll just settle. I want to slam her face into the table, but I flash my best cavalier grin, and order another round of drinks.

James Dougherty's picture
James Dougherty from Liverpool, England is reading God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater January 11, 2013 - 11:28am

Happy New Year everyone!

Kelby Losack's picture
Kelby Losack from Texas is reading Muerte Con Carne; The Summer Job; Bizarro Bizarro January 13, 2013 - 6:21pm

Necklace

 

Johnny waddles his fat ass across the playground, hands in his Wranglers like he's some hot shit cowboy. I've always played the Indian.

Anyways, he walks up to Sally, and let's just say Sally and I have shared the same glue bottle in art class all week. I haven't asked my brother yet, but I think that means we're dating. 

Johnny starts pulling on Sally's pony tail and laughing. All her friends are the chicken shit Barbie type, and all my friends are imaginary, so I have to take matters into my own clenched fists. 

I run and jump-kick Johnny, but he's a fatter fuck-bucket than I thought and I fall in the sandbox. He face-stomps me and I spit out blood and teeth. 

I turn over and kick the lard-butt shadow standing over me square in the nuts. The other kids gasp. The fat shadow stands silent.

"What?" Johnny asks the crowd. Stupid. 

I yell, "Ha! Johnny has no balls!" 

The other kids chant, "Johnny no-nuts!" and his fatass shadow runs away crying. 

I pick my teeth out of the sand and stand up. I don't bother brushing myself off.

I look at Sally. She looks away. She picks up her peace sign backpack and walks inside just as the bell rings. 

I won't ask my brother, but I think that means we broke up. 

Oh well. The teeth in my hand are baby teeth, no biggie. I'll put them on a necklace. I'll wear it at school. 

Anna Elizabeth Grace's picture
Anna Elizabeth Grace from a little place called Earth is reading To Kill a Mockingbird January 15, 2013 - 8:56am
     Knock out


    Dr. Hopkins was an angry man.  He had a quick temper, and often got mad at his wife over little things.
      I remember the time she came to me at three in the morning, sobbing.  She had forgotten to pick up his suit from the dry cleaners that day.  Let's just say he wasn't very forgiving.  Her face was black and blue, and her two front teeth were knocked out.  I told her to leave him, but I knew that she never would.  She was madly in love with him.  He was just mad.
     She spent that night at my house, but was back with him by morning.  Weeks had gone by, and I hadn't heard from her.  I began to worry.  I stopped by her house on my way home from work one day.  She opened the door, and greeted me with a toothy grim.  She didn't appear to be missing any teeth at all.  She told me that was because she wasn't missing any.  She said that her husband had found out a way for her to regrow her teeth.  I said that she was crazy.  She held up a magnifying glass, and had me inspect them.  They looked like normal, healthy teeth.  I didn't know what to think, so  I didn't think anything at all.

midoridia's picture
midoridia January 20, 2013 - 11:56pm

The Tooth
By Diana Radovan

Joanna had always had strong, healthy teeth, unlike her best friend, Elmira, who’d had serious dental issues during her teenage years, demineralization, hormonal imbalance, stuff like that. But today in anatomy class – Joanna was training to become a dentist herself and was a straight A student – Pete, her lab partner, did what the teacher had asked them to: examine their partner’s teeth, a mock dental check. Mouth wide open, eyes towards the ceiling, and the boy she liked staring at everything her mouth had to offer; that’s what her patients would be feeling like for years after she’d graduate and have her own practice, lost, vulnerable, wondering how their breath smelt like…

”28, 29…Wait a minute! 29?” Pete said and withdrew the magnifying mirror from her mouth.

So what, was she finally growing a wisdom tooth? She took the mirror from the desk in front of her and had a look herself.

“Pete, I see no wisdom tooth.”

”No, silly, it’s in the front, an extra left-incisor.”

Uh-ah! He? Years of staring into the mirror, often hating or loving her face and smile – true, her smile had always been a little crooked – without ever noticing it. So much for hopes of symmetry! Well, it was Pete who found it. He now knew her better than she knew herself. The tooth had been there long enough, why have it removed now? She’ll chew a bloody steak with it over lunch with Pete, right after anatomy class.

Franz III's picture
Franz III from Colorado is reading Perdido Street Station by China Miéville January 20, 2013 - 2:34pm

Inflation

"No, no, no. They need to be bigger. I've told you, I want them to look like they've been inflated. Tell him to give them more… mmm - what's the word?"
"Girth?"
"Yes, yes. Girth. I need more girth."

"They aren't big enough. Mr. Glunt wants them bigger, fatter."
"Good God, he wants more? I thought we'd overdone it with this last run. We go much bigger and her lips are gonna pop."
"-I fough you saif dis wus safe?"
"Sit down, honey. Don't worry, it's all completely safe."
"Don't lie to her. This procedure isn't exactly normal, nor does it lack possible…complications."
"Well, she signed up for this and so did we. What do you think?"
"I suppose I'll expand them even more. Let's hope they don't-"
"-Aw you shuwe dis won't scawr?"
"Jesus, yes, I promise it won't scar… Did Mr. Glunt say how much more size he wanted?"
"You know how he is. He just did that weird tongue flick thing and asked for more girth."
"Alright then. Come lay down again, sweetheart. Just one more needle prick and I think we'll have it."

"Oh my God. Her lips look like a life raft."
"Shut up and take her in before they deflate."

"Mr. Glunt? Let me introduce Selena."
"Oh, oh my. Yes. Good work. Come here, darling. Let me have a look at you… Mmm, marvelous. They are so, so - what's the word?"
"Bulbous?"
"Yes. Bul-bous. Darling, would you say my name?"
"Mwifte-"
Pop.

TucsonWriter12's picture
TucsonWriter12 January 23, 2013 - 1:51pm

Nuance

 

“Seriously?  It’s the most absurd picture of the bunch,” he said.  Jeremy was a hipster, working with me for college credit.  His breath perpetually stunk, but he had a great eye.

“I know.  But look at that shirt.”  Twenty years as a photographer and I’d been reduced to snapping pictures for quarter page ads in the Pennysaver.  “It’s hideous.”

“Can’t we Photoshop it?  Plain white would be better.  Less Where’s Waldo.”

“Hacks use Photoshop.  Just like the weak minded resort to vulgarity.”  Did Adams Photoshop his landscapes?  Nope.  “It’ll work.  They seemed like a quirky business.”

“Quirky, yes.  Creepy, no.”  He brushed his hand through his already messy hair.

I used to charge a three grand consultation fee.  People didn’t appreciate nuance anymore.  Non-threatening and predictable.  That’s what sold.  France.  They’d eat this up in France.

“Forget the prop for a second.  What else do you see?”  Tired of arguing, I decided to teach him something for a bit.  Maybe leave a legacy.

“Boring.  Plain.  A found photo from the 50s.”  His shirt was a least one size too small.  It made me claustrophobic just looking at him.

“Which one would you choose?”

Wider angle, her shoulders back.  The only sexualized pose I’d captured.  Of course.

“Why?”

“I don’t know.  Draws my eye.”

“There’s more than one type of beauty, you know,” I said.

“Yeah, there’s more than one type of shit, too.”  He scrunched his nose and tilted the photo.  “What if we made it black and white?”

Kevin Maddox's picture
Kevin Maddox from Melstrand, Mi is reading Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut January 28, 2013 - 8:50am

Shit Eating Grin

I used to have a perfect smile. It could have been on an add for toothpaste. A nice smile can get you a long way. People seem to trust you more when you have a nice smile. I know the difference now.

I was loving my life last May when I decided to take a country drive. I remember thinking "what do nice people do with their free time on beautiful days like this?" 

Seriously though, who takes a fucking country drive? 

So I just cruise out of town with my pearly whites beaming in the sun, without a care in the world. I was just soaking it all in; the sun, life, everything.

I didn't see the truck. I was probably looking at cows or something. I must have been going pretty fast too. Sometimes I wish I would have been going fast enough to kill myself. I was only going fast enough to smash all my teeth out when I rear-ended the the old Ford.

Between the impact, and weight of the manure, the windshield broke enough to fill my bleeding mouth with cow shit.

Now I have a shit-eating Grin.

Joshua Chaplinsky's picture
Joshua Chaplinsky from New York is reading Stories of YOUR Life January 31, 2013 - 10:13am

Great choice. Badass.

jyh's picture
jyh from VA is reading whatever he feels like January 31, 2013 - 10:49am

Well done, Kelby

Juice Ica's picture
Juice Ica from Rhode Island is reading The Twelve by Justin Cronin & Beautiful Creatures January 31, 2013 - 10:56am

Well done Kelby! Excellent choice for winner.

Kelby Losack's picture
Kelby Losack from Texas is reading Muerte Con Carne; The Summer Job; Bizarro Bizarro January 31, 2013 - 4:13pm

Thanks for the kind words, everyone. This was a nice surprise. A lot of these stories are great and humorous. Can't wait to get those books in the mail!