We would like to thank Judge Paul Beckman for his able assistance in selecting three top stories; and we are, as always, grateful to the 287 international writers who entered this contest.
First Prize: It Came in the Mail by Damhnait Monaghan Second Prize: Princess Party by Jennifer Stuart Third Prize: The Secret of the Snoring Time by Elizabeth Fisher
Judge: Paul Beckman
Theme: It Came in the Mail
FIRST PRIZE: It Came in the Mail by Damhnait Monaghan
Judge’s comments: “The reason I selected this story is that at no time did the author give in and let the reader know what it was that came in the mail. It’s hard to not sprinkle clues but this author pulled it off and finished with a perfect ending. Readers’ imaginations will take them from place to place deciding what came in the mail and that makes this a fun read as well as a creative one. Congratulations.”
It Came in the Mail
By Damhnait Monaghan
It came in the mail, addressed to The Occupant. There were two of us so I waited for my flat mate to get home from work. When I heard her keys jingling, I went to the meet her at the door.
“We got mail.”
We never get proper mail; it’s all advertising circulars and find Jesus pamphlets. I’ve often wondered why people bother with post-boxes. Until today.
She followed me into the kitchen, flinging her bag on the table. I gave her the mail. She twisted it around, examining every angle.
Old Jimmy approaches the street corner, paper grocery bags weighing in each hand, and pushes the yellow walk button with his elbow. He has on cotton yoga pants, cut off at mid-calf, partially revealing a pair of great bass swimming upshore. The old black ink faded to a watery grey against his own scaly skin. At his sleeves, his lanky, fleshy arms have long been inked with mystical birds and masks like weathered totem poles. Inspired by past winters, hunting moose, in the South East Alaskan terrain. Ancient hieroglyphics decorate his forearms to commemorate his late wife. And the markings of Buddha, the All-Seeing Eye, the Hindu Ganesha, along with Christ seated on Jimmy’s torso, front and back. Tombstones of his past.
Old Jimmy pushes up his prescription glasses with the tip of his thumb, wiggles the blood back into his fingers. He feels faint from Bikram Yoga and hunger as the amber sun presses down on him. Through the asphalt mirage across the street, Old Jimmy discerns a young man in a vintage Jim Morrison tee shirt approaching the opposite corner. He had that shirt once, a long time ago. Remembers going to their concert. As Jimmy observes him, there is something else familiar about this young man. The manner of his walk. The way he jerks his head to throw back his long wavy bangs. Sweat runs down Jimmy’s back and he rests the bags down beside him as he rubs his tired eyes and scratches an old scar on his right cheek. Despite the heat, his fingers are cold and moist. He readjusts his glasses and studies the young man’s face as he’s retrieving something from his pocket. He regards the boy’s compulsive blinking. The exact habit he had before he got cataracts in both eyes. That arched nose reminds him of his father. And the same thin lips that purse when he sniffles. Then suddenly he notices the payphone that he entered nearly forty years ago. Continue reading “ISSUE 6: JUNE 2015”→