Welcome to the 2007 Fiction 101! Congratulations are in order for our winners and finalists, but also to everyone who contributed. Choosing a winner wasn’t easy. We received hundreds of submissions wildly varying in style and subject matter. Our winners had only 101 words to stand out. After a team of crack VC Reporter editorial staffers sequestered themselves in a distant kitchen to pore over the contributions, they selected the pieces that best captured a dramatic mood, a sense of humor, or an intriguing image. Here are the winners, as well as a selection of some of the most “unique” pieces.



First place

I am Pakistani

by Jeff McElroy

I am Pakistani. I wear heavy eye shadow. My parents are white and too old to have conceived me. I’m adopted.

On Saturdays we go down to Starbucks and sit in the Southern California sun. My parents read newspapers, held high like fortresses. I’ve read the quote on my Starbucks cup five times. It’s a motivational quote from a successful singer/songwriter. But what I need is a quote from a successful, orphaned-at-6, then adopted by American baby boomers upon the impulse of their empty nest syndrome, woman.

I doubt this demographic will appear any time soon on the back of a paper cup.

Second place

Making repairs

by Jan Loren

Feb. 14 — Dear Diary, lousy Valentine’s. Three days since Dad left. Mom seems sad. She took broken toaster apart to fix it.

Feb. 25 — Dear Diary, Mom took apart vacuum cleaner, lawnmower and shower nozzle.

March 8 — Dear Diary, Mom went to Haggarty’s Hardware for more tools. Put shower nozzle on upside down. Squirts everywhere.

April 11 — Dear Diary, Happy Easter. Got hammers, pliers and chocolate eggs in our baskets. Met Mr. Haggerty from hardware store. Seems nice.

Dec. 25 — Dear Diary, Merry Christmas! Mr. Haggarty came for dinner. He’s funny. Mom laughing. Shower nozzle working great now. Happy New Year!

Third place

The ghost is rice!

by Joon Rice

“What are you doing here?” A boy just saw me and asked me.

“Me…? Um … I am trying to hide, because ghost was following me,” I answered.

He laughed. “Do you want me to go to your house with you?”

I just said “yes” because I was really frightened.

Finally, I got to my house. Now it’s 11:47 p.m. I look in the mirror to brush my teeth. Anyway, what happened with the ghost?

Today, I broke up with my girlfriend. I was eating rice with my tears for five hours. That ghost was a rice paste in my hair!


Honorable mentions

Most likely to anger PETA

Truth is stranger than fiction

By Michael Weingarden

They told us what to expect, but when we entered the dark restaurant I was creeped out. We flew to Tokyo to sell to these folks? Shortly after we entered, the rats showed their faces and darted out from their shelters. They were hungry.

The way they used to deal with rats was horrific. They would lay 100 glueboards on the floor, then go outside and wait. Every hour they’d come back and gather the boards with writhing vermin. To dispatch the rodents, they would fold the glueboards over and stomp them with their boots. To them, electrocution seemed humane.

Best euphemism award

Subterranean Sausage-Haus

by Jason Ward

I followed the kid down three flights of stairs to a musty little smoking den. It must’ve been a break room for employees of the hotel above. Spilled over ashtrays littered the furniture and floor.

The boy oozed attractiveness … really fuck-rise adorable … with his angular German features, tightly cropped with his conservative chestnut shear, starched white button-down with rolled cuffs and plaid sweater vest.

His generous hospitality and beckoning youth sprawled coyly upside-down on the divan. I mimicked his seductive inhale.

If it weren’t for the matronly-looking mute in the corner, we would’ve made bratwurst.

Uter-bratten Award.

Eat

by Simon Lee

Here, you don’t need to worry about food or drink or anything. We eat together, sleep together, we do everything together. What do I always do? Eat, eat and eat. Eating is my life, is my job, is my all. It’s easy, we don’t need to work. We always watch them working so hard, working for food. However, we don’t. I’m tired of doing everything again and again. I’m tired of eating all day. So I started to talk to someone else. None want to talk to me, they just eat.

“This one stops eating.”

“It’s fat enough to sell!”

Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind award

by Drew Steele

I called her up.

She answered, angry.

I apologized.

OK, she said, now what?

We go back to normal.

Normal? she said, sounding a bit angry again. What’s normal?

You know, I said, make up, make love, go for long walks in the moonlight, talk about our future, have a slight disagreement about something, get moody, get mad, fight, make up, make love, argue about something or other, both blame the other, storm out the door, go home, get lonely, get sad, wait a while, make the call, apologize, go back to normal.

All right, she said, come over.


Finalists

The Death in the Desert Award

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by Jeff Dillon

The sun began its descent on the majestic desert backdrop. Two opossums with their backs to the sandy landscape stared into a sea of asphalt. One said to the other, “If you can quickly make it to the yellow line, you’re home free.”

The other darted his semi-hairless body across, and when he crossed the yellow line he turned.

“I made it to the line. Now what?”

Just as the other was about to answer, high beams pierced the opossum’s eyes. SPLAT! The once-black sea turned a harsh red. The other swung around and sulked sadly into the sunset.

Best use of vernacular blow-off

My car goes 185

by Sam Morritz

My car goes 185. I pull up to the light ’n gun my engine. Then I pull away … slowly. When I drive, my food is fast, too. I wad up my trash in tight little balls and hurl them from a distance. I never miss. My car pulls right up to the curb. Then I get out. Some jerk tries to tell me I can’t park in the handicap — I don’t give a rat’s. I’d like to see what he drives. My car goes 185.

Best depiction of marital malaise in front of Target

Fate Prevails

By Monique Millen

“Hey there!” he exclaimed. “Would you like to register to vote?”

“No, I’m already registered,” she sighed.

“As a Democrat?”

“Yep.”

He was young, too young. His hair was long, too long.

How long had it been since she and her husband had made love?

The sun danced in his golden eyes and in his glorious mane.

He seemed surreal. Was he real?

Sometimes the best thing to do is not always the right thing to do, she mused.

“Can I have your phone number?”

“The best thing to do, the right thing to do,” echoed in her mind relentlessly.

“Yes.”