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rom a poodle with a person problem, to bloodthirsty writers plotting their revenge against editors, to an unrepentant sinner presumably standing at heaven’s gate, New Times is celebrating the 25th anniversary of our annual 55 Fiction competition with wit, cynicism, whimsy, and style. In keeping with our tradition of paying tribute to the memory of a recently deceased author, we dedicate this edition of 55 Fiction to Ray Bradbury, an author who believed, without limits, in the value of books. And also to Maurice Sendak, that wildest of beasts—an author who raged against the trappings of normalcy and left us all a little bit wiser for it. Do not go gentle into that good night, madmen and provocateurs; rage, rage, against the dying of the light. ∆

Read, you fiends, and think fondly of Ray Bradbury and Maurice Sendak

Send 55-word comments to Managing Editor Ashley Schwellenbach at


Poodle Problems It was humiliating, this get-up. The sequin-studded frilly skirt was bad enough, but a tiara? She was the laughingstock of the park! They teased and taunted from a distance but no one would come near her. Even off the leash she was a bejeweled alien, set a world apart by her tinfoil crown.

Alyssa Rose San Luis Obispo

Serve with Onions No two writers agree about how best to cook an editor. “They’re tough, naturally,” said one Pulitzer Prize winner, “but vinegar marinade tenderizes nicely.” A Newbery Medalist favors boxing gloves. But the biggest dissension is finding a complementary wine. Food critics insist on Cabernet—if you’re grilling, of course. I favor anything over 80 proof.

Lauren Collins Templeton

Dishwasher Sonata Andy liked fart jokes, which Elliot found repugnant. And his eyes were brown, which wasn’t a huge problem, but not ideal. He called her “baby,” which was crass. But dating was difficult in a small town, and he was the only man she’d ever known who danced spastically in the kitchen to no music whatsoever.

Emily Bell Missoula, MT

Peacekeeping for Dummies I’ve finally made peace with the monsters under my bed. It took 30 years, culminating in a decade-long landmine campaign. They retaliated by relocating to my shower—I smelled a bit ripe for a few weeks. But we’ve struck a compromise. I moved into a bigger house, and they get the guest bedroom.

Do Over He replayed for me only a few moments: Every masturbation. Each drunken revelry. The first girl I kissed; the last boy I kissed. He looked at me and scowled and commanded me to explain for my sins. All I could do was smile. Because even knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t change a thing.

EventsCalendar Special Events

39+ DANCE CLUB Dance to a live band every Wednesday afternoon from 11am-2pm, Morro Bay Veterans Hall, 209 Surf St., Morro Bay., $6. More info: 227-0607, meesen@ MONDAY NIGHT MAGIC (TYPE II: MAGIC THE GATHERING) Come and join Monday Night Magic (Type II Magic: The Gathering) at Captain Nemo in SLO. 5pm, Captain Nemo Games, 565 Higuera Street, San Luis Obispo. More info: 544-6366, OPEN BOARD GAME NIGHT! Bring your favorite board games for our Open Board Game Night at Captain Nemo in San Luis Obispo! Hope to see you there, and game on. The next meeting is July 5. 4pm, Captain Nemo Games, 565 Higuera Street, San Luis Obispo. More info: 544-6366, ENVIRONMENTAL DEFENSE CENTER’S TGIF One of the best happy hours in Santa Barbara, this TGIF is your opportunity to connect with environmental activists, elected officials, friends and family to the beat of live music, food, and beverages. There will be beer, wine, snacks, live music and a raffle on July 13. 5:30-7:30pm, 906 Garden Street, Santa Barbara. $15. More info: 963-1622 ext. 100,, THE MAGIC OF QI GONG - STRETCH


Walk in fields of gold All dog lovers are welcome to join owners of Golden Retrievers at Laguna Lake Park in San Luis Obispo for the fifth annual “Goldens in the Park” on July 8. The event is organized by local Realtor Lenny Jones of Arroyo Grande and benefits Woods Humane Society and the Animal Shelter Adoption Partners of SLO County. The event will be held from noon to 4 p.m. and will feature golden competitions, demonstrations, pet vendors, dog and human food, and much more fun for the whole family. For more info, visit or

Gary Ace San Luis Obispo

Squirrel Bite

Brent D. Singleton Fontana

South Thornburg, Santa Maria. More info: 925-8824, LOS OSOS LIBRARY CHILDREN’S CRAFT FAIRE Children ages 13 and younger are invited to pick up an application for the Craft Faire. Applications are due July 21. Applications must be submitted for inclusion in the Aug. 4 faire. Children will be making and selling their own crafts. Stop by the library SPECIAL continued page 50


Could your business be the answer? The school year is coming around again and New Times is taking a look at what’s new and exciting for grades k-12. Our readers need your help! If you provide goods or services that are needed to get the county’s kids back to school, you won’t want to miss this special section. If you would like to get better educated about this special section, contact New Times today.

Advertising Deadline JULY 27

An African in New York, 1894 Boubacar stood silent, an onyx sculpture adorning the vestibule. His humanity confirmed only by the briefest nod as dropped pennies clink-clanked in the brass kettle dangling from the Senegambian’s arm. In Africa, his ability to read and speak many languages garnered respect and position. In this land, he awaited clanging confirmation of alms, inert.

Brent D. Singleton Fontana

16 • New Times • July 5 - July 12, 2012 •

For a complete list of special events, arts listings, support groups, lectures, and more, please visit New Times online at where you can submit events to be included in New Times Calendar, browse for upcoming events, or check out what’s happening today in your neighborhood. Submissions are edited and approved by Calendar Editor Nick Powell. To be included in print, as well as online, please provide specific dates in the description box. Deadline for submission is one week before the issue you want to be in. Events can appear in print up to 10 days before they happen.

Education Today ‘12

Jack Kennedy Cambria

Mark writhed before the ER nurse injected him with morphine. Once the narcotic entered the brain, his neck burned and curled back. He wondered if this was normal or a bad reaction. Soon enough, the drug rendered him blithe. Mark closed his eyes and listened to the woman next door complain of a squirrel bite.

AND FLOW INTO VITALITY Lee Holden, a well-known Qi Gong practitioner from The Santa Cruz Integrative Medicine & Chi Center and KQED Public Television notoriety, will be giving a weekend QI GONG workshop on July 14 and July 15 at The Green Lotus Center. Cost is $195. Pre-registration and full payment is necessary to hold a place. Saturday, 10am5pm and Sunday, 10am-3pm., 550 Morro Bay Blvd., Morro Bay. More info: 748-4930, holly_, greenlotuscenter. com/special_events_in_july_lee_holden. LIVE-LOVE-BE: GAY PRIDE Gay Pride week of events takes place July 6-8 and includes an art reception, drag show, beach bash, all culminating with Pride in the Plaza. Times vary, SLO County. More info: 541-4252, FOCUS ON WOMEN Speaker Mary Ann Tardiff, an Estate Planning Attorney, will share “Wills and Trusts - what do I need to know now?” Speaker Susie Fulton will share “The greatest gift I can give my kids as I make my end of life decisions” on July 10. 6:15pm, Los Osos Valley Mortuary and Memorial Park, 2260 Los Osos Valley Rd, Los Osos. Free. More info: 528-1500, NEW TIMES MUSIC AWARDS New Times is accepting submissions for its annual music contest. Finalists from five categories will get a chance to perform live before being crowned as SLO County’s supreme rockers. Submit online or at the office, New Times SLO, 1010 Marsh St. More info: 546-8208, SANTA BARBARA COUNTY FAIR Enjoy carnival rides, live entertainment, delicious food, and exhibits July 11-15. Events occur throught the day, Santa Maria Fairpark, 937

submit your listing online

Issue Date AUGUST 2 805-546-8208



Call to be a part of our children’s future!


Fax • July 5 - July 12, 2012 • New Times • 49

The Hottest Pepper Her dad gave her a cheeky smile and said, “I’ll give you a dollar if you eat that pepper.” She looked at the daunting red chili, the color of fire trucks, and then back to her dad’s face. She agreed, knowing ice cream makes everything better.

Sharaya Olmeda Arroyo Grande

The Accident on North Tryon The blue lights of the police car blink against the setting sun, and Rhea curses the jam on North Tryon. At home she slips into a lilac dress and lights up the candles. As the chicken marsala simmers, she calls up Dave. A police officer answers. She grasps the words, accident, Tryon, and University Hospital.

Rajni Gupta Hunterville, N.C.

Plastic Princess His first impression of her was love at first sight. Him casually walking down a bustling sidewalk, her posing in a display window, perfectly proportioned and plastic. Tonight he would smash the glass window of her cage and rescue his princess. Tonight her plastic skin would be warmed by his Prince Charming touch.

Minestrone and Pop Dorothy died the day American Idol crowned its 12th winner. She’d volunteered at a soup kitchen for 23 years, and patrons agreed the soup had improved considerably during that time. (She was liberal with the pepper, and easy on the eyes.) People decried Simon Cowell’s cruelty, the loser’s tragedy. Meanwhile, Dorothy’s cat ate her face.

Don’t Get Me Started on Play-Doh

Penelope Bradshaw Boise, Idaho

Preschool isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I’m an insomniac so naptime is boring as shit. Second, the principles of sharing go against capitalism. Lastly, I will shank the next bitch who tries to make me color inside the lines, even if I have to use those dull-ass scissors to do it.

Sharaya Olmeda Arroyo Grande

Karen Ballentyne Oceano

A Dirty Turn Crown Jewel As the photo technician shuffled through a recent batch of prints, his eyes fell hungrily on a familiar face. Glancing quickly over his shoulder, he leaned down and slowly licked the width of the glossy surface. He then tucked it safely into his breast pocket, another jewel to add to his collection.

Sharaya Olmeda Arroyo Grande

The fluorescent light of the laundry-mat made her head ache with a dull throb. Tiredly she wheeled bundles of clothes over the dirty tiled floor. The crow’s feet around her eyes creased happily as she emptied the contents of the ashtray from outside into all four of the machines. One dirty turn deserves another.

Sharaya Olmeda Arroyo Grande

If Life Came with a Remote Control “Tough luck, shithead, the world’s not fair,” my mother told me for the 117th time. She’s right. But rather than have kids of my own and pass along the wisdom of “tough luck, shithead, the world’s not fair,” I opted to write books. My worlds might not be fair, but the parental figures are mute. Karen Ballentyne Oceano

Booty Call Maybe if you were that hot Brazilian, or last Friday’s waiter. But it is 1 a.m., and you’ve just reminded me what an ass you can be. Rain check.

Kate Ashley Templeton

18 • New Times • July 5 - July 12, 2012 •


Winners of Annual New Times 55 word fiction contest.