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1st Place Fiction 2017 Summer Contest Though it is quite different from our own work and even our own reading aesthetics, it is a really well-done absurdist story that relies on restrained dialogue and has a compelling voice. Stories often start strong and then fall apart (or at least fall down), but this one grew stronger. It is fully realized in just four pages. Very nicely done. Anne Raeff and Lori Ostlund

Around the Parking Lot David Connor

On a warm Sunday morning in the suburban desert of Southern California, roughly two days ago, while driving in the parking lot of the VONS grocery store, I suddenly realized that my car was never going to leave the parking lot. My car, which had been circling the lot for almost three hours now, had decided on its own accord to circle the lot indefinitely. Not that I minded. The parking lot was fairly nice. Its proprietors included not just a VONS but several decent restaurants, a gas station, a laundromat, and in fact, in one of the restaurants, there was a help-wanted sign which could be used to my benefit in the event that I would need to make some money. The parking lot was, like so many supersized, highly-unspecific parking lots, a perfect mix of every parking lot that had ever existed and all the parking lots that would at some point exist. What I’m saying is that it was nice, this lot, a break from the speed of the freeway. The thing I liked most about the parking lot was its total indifference to everyone that came and left it. I would see large vans full of children, buses carrying the elderly, sports mobiles, stick-shifters, teenagers in Toyotas. All of them would come and go in due time, and the parking lot would remain utterly unchanged. As I circled around, I noticed an attendant outside of the VONS who was smoking a cigarette and eying my car. She wore blue lipstick and ashed her cigarette by the trash can. “What are you doing?” she asked. “Oh, just circling,” I replied, rolling down my window halfway. “Well can you do that somewhere else?” She pointed to the VONS logo on the lapel of her uniform. “My boss wants you to stop circling.” “I’m sorry,” I said, and rolled up my window, and kept circling. The real beauty of the parking lot was that no one, except for the occasional attendant, was aware of my presence there. I could circle around forever, smiling and waving at drivers in cars, beeping at others, none of them knowing that I had been smiling and beeping for hours. It was 8 Blue Mesa Review | 8

Blue Mesa Review Issue 36  
Blue Mesa Review Issue 36