Saturday, March 19

"Car Shopping"

Good news everybody. Since The Inlander redesigned its website, the pieces read in its 2009 flash fiction tournament are no longer up. That means I am free to share the three pieces I wrote for it with you. Please enjoy "Car Shopping."


Mom took me car shopping this morning. I graduate next month, and she said I deserved it, that he would be proud of me. We went to a lot, and a salesman said he knew what I needed.

“Ready?” he asked, gunning the engine of a 1975 Pontiac Grand Am.

Dad asked me that when I was younger. Sure of my grip, I would lean forward in my red wagon and give a fevered nod. The car would never make me choke in exhilaration like that wagon when Dad charged ahead, kicking up leaves on the street.

I miss him.


There were rules for the tournament, themes and phrases that had to be included. This story had to include a red wagon. Of the three I wrote, I had the least confidence in this one, but I read it in the first round in the hopes that by keeping my stronger stories for later, they would propel me to the championship. That was a mistake. I lost in that first round and didn't get to read my other two stories at all. Then again, I don't think even my best story would have sent me to the second round. That was a really good story I lost to, and I knew it when she was done reading. I didn't feel so bad when the judges announced her victory, but the woman who sat behind me in the audience said that she had liked this one more. That felt good.

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