helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman March 2, 2018 - 1:28pm

Starting today, a mini writing contest. The winner gets a copy of The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel. A great read, great lessons in minimalism, and a total favorite of Chuck Palahniuk.

The Contest: Write a short story using the same title as one of Amy Hempel's short stories. Her title becomes your title, and ideally the inspiration for your story. You can read them here: https://www.amazon.com/Collected-Stories-Amy-Hempel-ebook/dp/B000N0WTAQ 

Post your story on this thread to enter.

The Rules:

1. Nothing longer than 500 words (not including title). 

2. One entry per writer.

3. Write something new. Don't slap a Hempel title on something you've already got. She deserves better!

4. Entries must be posted to this thread no later than midnight, March 9th.

5. Contest open to all LitReactor users who post their story below.

Judgment: Winner will be selected by a third party unfamiliar with you lot. 

Prize: I've got one copy to mail out to the winner, who will have to PM me an address. 

Also: Hey, if you know someone who might want that book, get them signed up and entered! Spread the word!

Tip: You've got 500 words to make us laugh, teach us something, and break our hearts. Go.

 

helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman March 8, 2018 - 9:18am

It's your last day to enter. Enter today, I'd say your chances are pretty goddamn good. 

Kedzie's picture
Kedzie from the SF Bay Area is reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien March 10, 2018 - 1:25am

LOL.

I thought of one for Three Popes Walk Into A Bar but it’s pretty goddamned juvenile!

Maybe I’ll write it up anyway?

Where else ya gonna get these odds? :-)

helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman March 8, 2018 - 1:05pm

I'd say the odds are very much in your favor. 

Kedzie's picture
Kedzie from the SF Bay Area is reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien March 8, 2018 - 7:39pm

Do we have until midnight PST? 

I might be able to buy some time later tonight after all the kitchen and pet chores are done.

Eastern, Central and/or Mountain time zones would be a problem, but PST might work.

 

helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman March 8, 2018 - 10:33pm

Go for it!

Kedzie's picture
Kedzie from the SF Bay Area is reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien March 9, 2018 - 12:31am

So I finished the dishes and promptly fell asleep in the Lazy-Boy. Retirement is awesome, you sleep in these natural 3 and 4 hour bursts whenever you get tired, then are up the rest of the time.

I'm up now and typing. I got something. It sucks and is just a first draft, but given the competition I think it might be good enough.

Still typing it, should be done in about 30-45 mins...

Kedzie's picture
Kedzie from the SF Bay Area is reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien March 9, 2018 - 8:43pm

OK Helpful, here ya go.

It ain't great but it ain't awful.

                                                                     

                                                                      Pool Night

 

The hump that used to be Jack bulged below a beach towel on the concrete behind the diving board. At six two and three-forty-five, the mound flashed like a red sea lion with each pulse of the ambo's cherry lights.

The back doors were open, ready to receive Jack's body, but an eight foot fence stood between all that life saving medical equipment and Jack, and nobody - leastways not the ambo drivers - had figured a way to get the body over the fence.

It made perfect sense that Jack's last act would be to ruin everybody's pool night. The guy was born an asshole; not even death could fix that.

"They're coming with the keys," Officer Cavelli let us know.

He was making the rounds, interviewing witnesses, trying to turn them to suspects. He pulled each guy individually off into the back corner, muscled us up against the fence. He made the ladies cry. But honestly, he wasn’t trying all that hard. Cavelli knew Jack better than anyone. "He fell," was all anybody would say.

And he did fall.

Slipped from the high dive, an Olympic height board on an Olympic sized public swimming pool that had graced our park since 1927. On hot summer afternoons folks from all across the city came on El trains and busses to cool off in its clean, chlorinated waters. To jump from the high dive while holding their noses; to feast on hot dogs and popcorn, soft pretzels and cold pop from the snack shack.

But after dark the pool was ours. And if the night were hot and muggy, sometimes it seemed the whole neighborhood would wander out of their apartments for a midnight swim. We’d climb the fence, kick off our gym shoes and flip flops, lay our towels and transistor radios out on the bleachers, pop our beers and roll our joints under the yellow-green arc lamps. Most folks walked over in trunks and bikinis, a towel or two under their arm. But some folks swam in just their BVDs. And the bravest among us, as well as the drunkest, swam naked. 

There’d only been eight of us when Jack fell. We'd covered him with my beach towel before the vehicles arrived. Sent Donna home with Larry Bernaki and Joey Carpanzano to calm her, make sure she understood that nobody would ever know how she pushed that prick off the back end of the diving board. Just instinctively spun around and slammed him with the force of two open palms and all the embarrassment that comes from having some shithead following you around all night pulling down your bikini bottom.

Just as you’re getting ready to do a jackknife off the high dive.

That was something I’d never done.

The jackknife, I mean.

Try it sometimes. It ain’t easy.

(end)

 

helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman March 9, 2018 - 5:22pm

Nice! And an award-winning entry! PM me an address, I'll get your book in the mail!

Kedzie's picture
Kedzie from the SF Bay Area is reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien March 10, 2018 - 1:31am

PM sent.

Man, wait 'til I tell my wife I won a writing contest!  :-) 

In all seriousness, THANKS!

Very much look forward to reading Amy Hempel!

 

helpfulsnowman's picture
Community Manager
helpfulsnowman from Colorado is reading But What If We're Wrong? by Chuck Klosterman March 15, 2018 - 11:44am

It's a great read, but probably won't be as exciting as telling your wife that you're an award-winning writer.