Want to win a copy of Dora: A Headcase (which, negative, I dropped and the page edges got ever so slightly marred, but positive IT'S SIGNED BY LIDIA YUKNAVITCH!)? All you gotta do is enter.
The Contest: Write a short story. And by short, I mean short. 200 words maximum.
The Story: For this story, you have to start with the opening line of the book and end with the closing.
Opening Line: Mother is cleaning the spoons again.
Closer: Because if it is, you know, just shoot me.
Other Boring Rules:
-Yes, the opening and closing lines count towards your 200. So technically you've got 185 words.
-Entries must be posted by April 27th, 9 AM MST.
Mother is cleaning the spoons again.
“Did you take those out of the drawer?”
She grabs a fresh dish towel, wipes one, looks at her tiny curved reflection, and doesn’t answer me.
Well, she sniffs.
Which, technically, maybe, is a kind of answer. But I presume she sniffed at her distorted face on the back of the spoon and ignored her one and only daughter. The daughter who visits every Sunday afternoon. Avoids talking about politics, her lack of God, or her girlfriend. Does a load of laundry before driving back to campus to study late into the night. Usually does some kind of chore, like taking out the trash or vacuuming, even though I don’t live here anymore.
The spoons should be clean. We didn’t have tea with dinner. No coffee with dessert.
(If we’re going to do an honest menu inventory, there was no dessert).
“Have you heard from dad?”
Mother lays the spoons on the dish towel and says, “He’s enjoying the conference.”
“Good,” I say.
“I’m sorry,” mother says, “It’s just… you know I hate spots.”
Spots? Is this some kind of code? Is it allegory?
Because if it is, you know, just shoot me.
“Mother is cleaning the spoons again.”
There’s a click and the line goes dead. For a long moment, I stand there, phone to my ear listening to the dial tone. I sit in the green armchair next to the bed. So this is it. Suddenly the cigarette pack in my pocket seems heavy. I’d quit but it wasn’t like they’d kill me now. There are no matches in the bedside table drawers and my lighter is empty.
In the lobby, the concierge, tosses me a matchbook and continues watching the news. On the television is a woman who’d drowned her children. The kid says, “She’s getting out, you believe that? Someone should just kill her. Eye for an eye.”
“Who kills her killer?”
Returning to my room, I snap open the gun case hidden under my bed. I load the magazine, it’d been a fun ride, but when it’s your skin…it’s different. Right? Cigarette lit, I bring it to my lips only to stub it out. The gun goes down. I’d quit months ago. It’s the principle of the thing. The front door clicks open.
“Jack,is that you? Because if it is, you know, just shoot me.”
We have a winner! Based on a blind reading by an impartial judge, @wilalberdalton is victorious! Thanks for participating, and keep your eyes on this space for our next contest, next day or two!