Saturday, June 25, 2011

You can't win them all

Thought that I would share today with you my entry for a flash fiction contest I entered a while back. I have posted part of this story before, today you get the rest. I wrote this story for my brother who I miss very much. Through the years and across all the miles we have lost touch. I hope wherever he is that he is happy. I didn't make the final cut for this entry but since this is the first time I have ever written anything like this, I am proud of myself for trying.I have attached a copy of the mail I received at the bottom of this post. I hope you enjoy reading this story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

The Green Smasher

My grandfather died when I was twelve years old. He was sick for a long time before my father took me to see him in the hospital. How grown up I was walking down those huge white hallways. I remember the many old and used faces staring hopefully from their rooms as we passed by. They reminded me of the figures I had seen in the wax museum the year before. This was dead wood city and I kept waiting for my father to tell me, “You can look, but don’t touch.”

My father led me to a room that was different from the rest. In the other rooms I had seen walls with sad flowers printed on them. Here the walls were white, clean and empty. My grandfather was lost in a bed that he once could have filled. From under the crisp white sheets came a pale blue hand that must have been his. Plastic tubes muffled his voice and I couldn’t understand what he was trying to say so I went closer. I was terrified, this was not my grandfather. He was a stranger and death was his companion.  His last words to me were in a strangers voice that said, “You will always be my princess.” Sometimes in the middle of the night I hear those words. They start as a whisper behind my dreams then they become demanding and clear, beating louder and louder until I awake to the sound of my own heart beating in my chest. I am afraid to open my eyes for I am sure that death will be standing there waiting.

They buried my grandfather on a navy blue day high on top of a well-respected hill. No one cried that day. Smiles were as steady as handshakes and passed around just as easily. I doubted his death and watched calmly as they carried his coffin and placed it inside that long black beast with glaring white eyes. It was a long time before I felt anything and when I did there were no tears. My grandfather taught me two things. He taught me how to bait a hook without being afraid of the worms and he taught me how to play games in an unreal world where nothing or no one can hurt you. Games played with secrets that I knew would become for me a way of life.

We never saw much of our father after that day, and when we did he never seemed very pleased with us. My little brother and I did our best to make him happy because when he got mad, the paddle that hung on the wall got even madder. We learned very quickly that when father was wearing his sunglasses the best thing to do was to stay away and to stay very, very quiet. If by some chance we would forget, mom was quick to remind us about the paddle on the wall.

One day my little brother and I were playing marbles. Willie, that was my brothers name, had this beautiful green marble that I had my eyes on and wanted really bad. The problem was that Willie never would trade it. I had tried everything I could think of to win that marble and Willie knew it. He just sat there and smiled at me for the longest time and then he said, “There is one way that maybe you can win the green smasher. That is if you dare.” I could tell by the look on his face that he was up to something and that something was not going to be good. As soon as the words came out, I wished that I could take them back.

“Ok smarty-pants, whatever it is, let’s make it a double dare! If I win the green smasher than you have to be my slave for a day.” Willie looked at me and said, “What if you lose, what do I get?” I really didn’t think that Willie was that smart and I guess I was right because he agreed when I said that he could keep the green smasher if I lost. 

Willie climbed up onto one of fathers barstools and took down his favorite shot glass. He sat it on the floor between us and said, “If you can throw a marble into fathers glass then you can have the green smasher.” I took a deep breath, picked up the biggest marble I had, took careful aim and made my toss. We both just stared at each other and the broken glass on the floor.

Finally Willie said almost in a whisper, “Oh, oh. You are so going to get the paddle.” “No way, it was all your idea!” I screamed back at him, and then I cleaned up the broken glass as best as I could while my stupid brother just stood there with a terrified look on his face.

Between half muffled sobs he said, “Maybe he won’t notice.” We knew that he would be coming home soon so we quickly packed away our marbles, scattered into our room and for some reason decided it was best to hide under the bed. It didn’t take long before we heard father scream out the names he always gave us which meant big trouble, “Sister… Brother! Get your scrawny behinds out here RIGHT NOW!” We crawled out from under the bed, took each other by the hand and slowly made our way down the hall to where our father stood.  The closer we got the more terrified we were. He stood there like an evil giant holding the paddle like a weapon ready to spring into action.

At the end of the day my rear end was red and sore, but Willie being the brother he was, felt sorry for me and the green smasher was tucked safely away with the rest of my marbles.

Funny thing is that I can not remember where I entered this contest. Tomorrow I am taking a blogging break and on Monday I thought we would play a little Gibberish together. Have a great week-end!
Here is the very nice mail I received.

Hi Siv!

I just wanted to let you know that we had a slew of really awesome
entries in the flash fiction contest, and that The Green Smasher
didn't *quite* make the cut.  I wanted to email you anyway though,
because I was really torn about not including it.  I liked the writing
style a lot; it's very literary and sparse, something that I find
quite attractive. In any case, I just wanted to let you know that
there is a lot of merit to the story, and you were *really* close to
making the cut!

Thanks for playing, and following!



Elisabeth Hirsch said...

I loved this story even more the second time. It makes me feel as if I was there. OH and that was such a sweet note they sent you! :0)

I'm excited for Gibberish Monday. I LOVE it when you do those.

N. R. Williams said...

I liked the story too. I saw my father beat my brother and sister with a steel ruler and I'd hide in the corner. Funny thing, he never touched me with it. I'm sure I was just as naughty. Nice email.
N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium

Michael Di Gesu said...

I remember when you first posted this... but was it an excerpt? I don't remember the death of the grandfather.

The letter from Mindy was quite nice. It should make you feel good that the judge wrote such a nice and personal letter.

A few months ago the same thing happened to me. I wasn't chosen because the other judges didn't like my use of colon on the first page. It was grammatically correct, but still it didn't make the cut.

Nicely written Sis...

I have twelve more pages to edit, then I will be able to send you BG. I hope to send it to you sometime tomorrow.

I hope you're enjoying your Sunday morning. I suspect you're an early riser.

Jules said...

Loved the story and it sounds just like my brother and I. Do I remember that paddle! :)

Sorry about being cut.
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Nas Dean said...

It is a very nicely written story, I loved reading it!

Wish they'd chosen you.