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WANTED step into the moment (don’t worry, the first step is short)

2012 Write to Publish Flash Fiction Contest Winners


divine intervention By Lucy Mihajlich

I

had the sinking sensation that I was going to have to do trust exercises with God: Willow in the Wind, Mine Field, and the always popular Trust Fall. I didn’t need to put on a blindfold and be led around a room or fall back into Gods arms to trust him. I thought God had been doing pretty well by me. I had a nice job, a nice apartment and it had been three years since I’d heard the rollup on the Indiana Jones slot machine at the Resorts Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. I was a compulsive gambler, but I’d made a change when I left New York. I joined Gamblers Anonymous and followed the first of the twelve steps. I admitted I was powerless over gambling, and that my life had become unmanageable. I stood in front of a room full of people and said, “Hello, my name is Owen Fenske, and I’ve been a compulsive gambler for seven years.” The room full of people had said, “Hello, Owen.” I made my first big gamble when I decided to major in Cinema Studies at New York University. Fifty grand per year on the table and a small chance of payoff. Then I’d discovered Atlantic City. Moving to Oregon after graduation had been a good choice. The nearest casino was the Spirit Mountain in Grande Ronde, and the Gambler’s Anonymous meetings in Portland had the best coffee and doughnuts. Voodoo Doughnuts (The magic is in the hole) made pastries with names like Butterfingering, Triple Chocolate Penetration, and Old Dirty Bastard. They were famous for their maple bars with fried bacon on top, but my favorite was Captain my Captain: A vanilla frosted doughnut coated with Captain Crunch cereal. I picked up a pastry and bit down, chewing slowly while I warily watched God wave his arms around. He was a very expressive speaker. “Hello, my name is God, and I’ve been a compulsive gambler since the beginning. I’m not sure exactly how long. It gets a little tricky since I created time, and while it’s a diachronic phenomenon for you, it’s synchronic for me. But yeah. A long time. I like to make bets with Lucifer on whether or not people are faithful. Like the thing with that one guy. What’s his name. So I figured I needed to join Gambler’s Anonymous. Although the step where I have to embrace a higher power could get tricky.” Jodi, our chairwoman, was looking around the room, and I could tell she was trying to find someone to sponsor God. I slid down in my seat, hoping she wouldn’t notice me, but then I took another bite of Captain my Captain. The crunch of cereal caught between teeth was almost obscenely loud in the quiet church. Jodie’s eyes locked onto me, and I sighed, spitting crumbs. I was definitely going to have to do trust exercises with God.


tiger-wolf By Max Dufrechou

O

nce, there was the Tasmanian Tiger-Wolf. One may assume they hailed from Tasmania. Unfortunately, their lineage was lost when a franciscan friar had to choose between the caramelized apple in his right hand and the candlestick in his left. Knowing full well were the indulgence to fall to the carpeted ground below it would be rendered inedible, he relinquished his grasp on the candle. The library was set ablaze. Documents within were lost. Documents citing the incident remain. Yet, qualities of the Tiger-Wolf have been gleaned from the more veritable accounts within the oral tradition of friars gossiping: they were striped, not like a tiger but a zebra; and their physique was nothing like a wolf, with a build more akin to a kangaroo. It is as much a mystery why the species is not called “Zebraroos” as is the cause of the aforementioned’s predicament. Nevertheless, it is of note that even a man of the cloth’s grip on the light may loosen in the face of carnal confectionery cravings.


moving forward, standing still By Darcie Riedner

T

hey weren’t in love. They were friends. They were lovers, but they weren’t in love. Even strangers walking by on the street could tell this. Lisa and Alan met when both were still picking shrapnel from the wounds of an imploded relationship-the relationship with their signal significant other, the one, the person they were going to spend the rest of their lives with, until suddenly one day they weren’t. This was a way station, somewhere they both could stop for a time before moving on to where they were supposed to be. Already Alan was trying to move forward. He had struggled through four years of military service returning home to be met by a black hearted fiancé who had said she would wait for him but didn’t. Maybe combat training had helped, but he pushed on, one of the walking wounded, getting a job, starting school. Then he met Lisa. It was easy since she was standing still. She was sitting by herself in a booth at the neighborhood bar where he worked; a single beer on the table in front of her. He watched her taking small drink after small, making the one beer her focus of the night. She left when Alan had gone into the kitchen. He thought about her on his drive home. God, she was pretty. Long dark hair, an oval shaped face, pale skin and deep green eyes. He couldn’t believe he had not spoken to her. She had been so solitary he felt it would be wrong to intrude. Lisa came back the next night. She sat in a booth, ordered one beer, took careful, measured sips to stretch the contents of the glass until the end of the night. Alan kept moving forward. He couldn’t let the night end without talking to her. He felt how fragile she was as he walked up to her table. Lisa turned toward him, sorrow so apparent in the tilt of her head it nearly melted his resolve. “Can I get you anything else?” He spoke quietly, gently, fearing a loud voice would shatter her. “No thank you.” This is how it started; Lisa and Alan, with softly spoken questions and hesitant replies. It was months ago. Now, they saw one another nearly every day. They weren’t in love. They were friends. They were lovers, but they weren’t in love. Alan was moving forward, Lisa was standing still. Every morning, each afternoon, on into the evening Alan wondered how long it would be before Lisa noticed he had slowed down to wait for her.


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2012 Write to Publish Flash Fiction Winners