Write a story about Hammond Cheese and Win the Drawing on the Right

Write a story about Hammond Cheese and Win the Drawing on the Right
The contest closes Wednesday March 30, 2011

Hammond Cheese 10"x8"
oil on masonite panel 

Hammond Cheese

Click pictures to enlarge

Buy this painting for $220

The story you write should be a "Flash Fiction" which is a complete story in one thousand or fewer words.  Please post the story in the comment section, you will have to provide your name and an email address in order to be qualified to win or you can e-mail me at with your info.  There is a problem with how many characters can post (only about 4,000) so if you cannot post it.  E-mail it to me at

Go to my website for more contests:

Winning flash fiction stories will be integrated in with an exhibit in San Francisco at 
ArtHaus Gallery

The show is called:
Renovated Reputations: Paintings and Fiction inspired by Vintage Portrait Photographs

The exhibit will include a series of 20-40 paintings and mixed media work framed with thrift store and vintage frames.  In addition to the exhibited works ArtHaus is publishing catalogs signed by me and as many of the authors as possible.

The catalog and a monograph/book consist of image of the painting with the text of the “flash story” surrounding the image.

We're going to have a photobooth for the show for participants to play with and vintage costumes.

Of course I'll send the authors free copies of the catalogs. I will announce the winners the day after the closing deadline for the competition. I'm planning on doing one or two flash fiction competition a week every Monday from now until April. 

(If the conditions in the side bar are not to your liking, I'm totally flexible.  Send me a contract that you like and I will mail it back to you.  I just don't want to chase people for signatures when I publish the catalog!)

Go to my website for more contests:

This came in by email:

Hero Man by Patrick Nelson

          Sept. 20, 1998

I am a superhero. There.  I said it. I have a costume and a lair that doubles as my apartment. I do not, unfortunately, have an arch-nemesis as of yet. That is mainly due to the fact that most arch nemesi (is that the plural form?) are somehow inextricably intertwined to the hero's past or some cathartic event, usually the moments of their origin. I, as of yet, have neither an event nor an origin, but I will wait. I would give examples of this theory, but if this journal were to ever be made public, I fear the lawyers for various comic book publishers would come down upon me with all the wrath of The Mighty Thor or The Incredible Hulk...oops. Note to self: scratch that out later. Besides, these myriad of diligent do-gooders are but ink and paper whereas am a real man of flesh and blood.

I do not have my mortal foe designated to me by fate for I daresay I have not found out what my super power is. That's right. A superhero who doesn't know his power. But I have faith. I can feel the potential welling inside me. The pulse of being more than normal beats so loudly in my heart that I am surprised others cannot hear it.

I must admit that I am afraid. I am afraid of not becoming super at the right moment or, God forbid, too late to make a difference in the world. What if my power manifests itself after the need and someone is injured when I could have saved them? What if my power manifests itself when I am too old to do anything with it? What if it never comes to me at all - no! I must keep my faith. I must stay sure in the knowledge that I am more than the average human.

          July 15, 2002

On the subway home, I almost felt as if it was the time to burst forth from my chrysalis and become the hero I am destined to be: a young woman was being harassed by some hooligans on the train and I was about to emerge from the garb of my alter ego when I stopped dead with paralyzing fear that if this was not the time (as it also had never been before), I would risk making a fool of myself, but more importantly of giving away my identities to the world before it was safe to. It would be seen as a weakness in my career before it had even started. No, it would not do reveal myself before I even had power. All the good superheroes had managed to hide their secret identities for at least a little while before they where forced to reveal it through some crisis or evil doer’s plan. No self respecting crime fighter came out of the gate with everyone, foe and ally knowing who they really were. Really bad form. Fortunately, an old lady managed to use her stun gun on one of them in the groin thus scaring the others away. I was not needed after all. Good work from her, by the way.

          Dec. 13, 2005

I often daydream about what my power will actually be: Invisibility like Mrs. Fantastic? Healing Powers like those of Wolverine? The ability to communicate with our friends of the bestial nature like Animal Man? I am afraid that such musings may not leave me open to the true nature of my ability when it does try to manifest itself. I must steer clear of these flights of fancy for they may constipate my ability to be sensitive to them when they do emerge. Still, won’t it be thrilling?

          Sep. 6, 2007

Oh, how I worry what power I will have! The main item that bothers me is that I will not be able to quickly come up with a nom de guerre. I am sure when the need arises I will leap into action, but after the deed is done someone will invariably query: “who was that costumed saviour?” I hope that I will have the presence of mind to think up something rapidly, flash a charming smile and smoothly deliver my fresh moniker to the awed crowd. I have taken the precaution of writing down a few suitable alternatives and I carry them with me in case my genesis leaves me in a state of shock and therefore unable to think on my feet as it where.

           Sep. 8, 2007

Unfortunately I have laundered the list of superhero names, but i think I can remember the better ones and I will make several copies. Fear not!

          Aug. 22, 2009

I must find a compromise between the freedom and flexibility that tights afford versus the chafing they cause in between one’s thighs due to having to wear them under one’s clothes. Honestly, I must confess that the sensation of the the tight costume against the outer layer of street clothes as they slide across each other is...exhilarating.

          Oct. 30, 2009

I am afraid I may have been discovered: I believe my landlady Mrs. Klostermann is entering my apartment and going through my things when I am out on patrol. Some things have been displaced when I return. The worst, I fear is that she may have discovered this journal, therefore putting my hero status and identity in great peril. If this is the case, PLEASE STOP GOING THROUGH MY THINGS MRS. KLOSTERMANN! It is illegal for you to enter my apartment/lair without a written statement to me at least twenty-four hours prior to your visit! Please do not force me to contact the authorities.

          Feb. 14, 2011

I feel my time for greatness must be at hand, I cannot say specifically why or how I know, I just do. Every day I can feel myself perched upon the edge of greatness. I leave for my daily patrol with a sense of trepidation and great expectation...

This came in by e-mail:
"Hammond Cheese Pitches a Perfect Game" Marlin Bressi

When the awkward boy stood up and said, "My name is Hammond Cheese",
all the other children began to laugh and taunt and tease.
Worst of all was Lester, he was the bully and class clown
who took pleasure in tripping Hammond and always laughed when he fell down.
Although the pavement stung him, although the insults hurt,
he had it easier than his brother Rocky (short for Roquefort).
The brothers held their tempers through the years of constant abuse;
Instead of stooping to Lester's level they put their energy to good use.
Rocky became a policeman, on his chest he wore the shield,
while younger brother Hammond excelled on the athletic field.

But then a few years later Hammond got the awful word
that Rocky was afflicted with a cancer that couldn't be cured.
Hammond was playing ball, but he came home the following day,
wrapped his arms around his mother and put his glove and cleats away.
One day late in August while the summer rain fell down,
Rocky closed his weary eyes and died without a sound.
After his brother's funeral, Hammond was never the same;
Instead of breaking into the Big Leagues, he retired from the game.

Twenty-five years later, Hammond went to the county fair
to enjoy the colorful lights and smiling faces everywhere.
As he strolled the midway Hammond heard a familiar sound,
he glanced at the dunk tank and he saw the cackling clown
who riled up the passersby with mean-spirited insults,
which he hurled indiscriminately at both children and adults.
It didn't take Hammond Cheese long to recognize the jester-
The insult-hurling clown was the despicable bully Lester!

"Hammond Cheese!" the bully shouted, "You're the biggest dope in town!
And I bet you throw like a girl," taunted the cackling clown.
Hammond turned and walked away, wanting no part of clown's nonsense;
Until the bully Lester shouted an unforgivable offense:
"Good thing your brother's dead," he said.  "I guess he wasn't dumb
to live long enough to see the big failure you've become!"

Now Hammond was no stranger to dugouts and bullpens;
In '37 he pitched six games for the Toledo Mud Hens.
He said, "Three balls for one dollar?  I think I'll give it a shot."
When his first two pitches missed, Lester asked "Is that all you've got?"
The third pitch hit the bullseye and the clown let out his last breath;
Once he plunged into the water he was electrocuted to death.

You see, the first pitch cracked open the electric heater mounted to the tank
designed to keep the water warm when the jester sank.
The next pitch was aimed at a wire resting by the water's edge,
Hammond's blazing fastball knocked the live wire from the ledge.
The third pitch was delivered, finishing a task monumental;
Hammond killed the bully, while making it look accidental.
And while Hammond Cheese will never be in the Hall of Fame,
the former Toledo Mud Hen managed to pitch a perfect game.


This came in by e-mail:

Hammond Cheese Understands God

by W.H. Matlack

The morning wind hit my face like a sucker punch thrown by a seasoned heavyweight. It was one of those unforgiving cold winter days after an endless week of snow, but the sun was as bright as a bare bulb in an interrogation session. The sidewalk was like walking on polished steel, but I had to get out. If for no other reason than to reassure myself that there was still a world around me. It looked like everyone else had opted for a car ride, but I needed to connect with the air and sun. In spite of the freezing wind, it felt good.

For the last year, after some nasty business down in Miami, I’d been laying low in a three-story walk up with no hot water and a greasy bathroom at the end of the hall. I’d been telling everyone that I was a writer -- which I wasn’t -- but it seemed to provide an acceptable excuse for my hermit-like behavior. Yes, I was waiting for another little job to develop in this town, then maybe, just maybe, I could move to a warmer climate again.

I’d trudged about a mile from my room when I noticed the ragged tent set up on that vacant lot just south of Karney Street. It was one of those perpetually empty city lots with knee-high weeds in the summer. There was always a narrow path that cut through it diagonally providing an insignificant shortcut to 12th Avenue. I’d never even seen anyone use the path, but judging by the miscellaneous wrappings and other debris, it must have been used occasionally.

Today the lot was covered by a week of snow, so even the garbage had an esthetic charm. The tent was an ugly canvas affair that looked like some sort of Army surplus from two wars ago. It had been patched many times with whatever fabric was lying around, but judging by the various rips, even that had ceased sometime in the distant past. The snow was crisscrossed by a myriad of footprints from the erection process that really spoiled the charm of the virgin snow covering the rest of the lot.

It looked like it could hold about twenty people, and I could see some cheap, metal folding chairs scattered about in the interior. A course, handwritten sign was pounded into the mud at the entrance that read, “Understanding God! Free Lecture Today by Prof. Hammond Cheese. All Are Welcome.”

Well, it didn’t look any warmer inside the tent, but I figured “What the Hell.” I needed to go in, and it would get me out of the wind for a while. As I ducked through the entrance, I noticed there were only three other audience members. Two of them were sleeping, and the third was talking loudly to an invisible friend… or maybe an invisible foe.

The tent reeked of wet canvas, and the professor was standing on a little stage made of wooden boxes of various heights all pushed together. He was standing behind a nicely polished lectern, and was talking as though the tent was filled to the brim with people. I pulled up a rickety chair in the third row and began to listen.

“… I’ll repeat that for our newly arrived brother. What makes you think you don’t understand God in the first place? Are you here because you expect me to provide you with an understanding through the simple act of talking?” Hammond’s meaty palm slammed down on the lectern waking up one of the sleeping beauties. “NO! You can’t hear the truth with your ears. Language limits understanding. It creates neat little ideas, each one separated from the other. Language is clearly false. Why? Because nothing is separated from the Greater Being. All things are connected. You must listen with your inner self! The self that was you at the moment of your birth when you perceived all existence without ideas and definitions… without the ideas of separation that were hammered into you by your parents, school and every other external….”

The lecture was much more interesting than I thought it would be. Hammond went on to point out that we can’t even fully understand ourselves, let alone an infinite force. Even if we could become fully conscious of every cell and atom in our bodies, the process of understanding requires the passing of time, and time constantly changes everything, including us, and quantum physics tells us that when we observe something, we cause it to change. So only something that is unchanging is eternal, but something that is unchanging cannot be perceived by us, because if it could be, it would be changed… made different.

I was totally mesmerized by what he was saying. There was more. So much more that by the time he concluded his talk, it was totally dark outside. He thanked us all for coming – even though I was the only one left in the audience – and said a small donation would be greatly appreciated.

I walked up to the stage and put one of my hundreds in the donation box. I took a good look at him for a moment. There was really nothing remarkable about his appearance. Except for his talk, you would never have realized that he was another of those pesky messiahs. Three rounds from my .45 smacked into his cheap overcoat with a dramatic spray of blood that shot out his back as the rounds exited and sprayed the canvas like a dramatic modern painting.

I walked back through the eerie glow of the sodium streetlights hoping the next messiah would choose a warmer city.

This came in by e-mail:

Cheese Spread by Royce A Ratterman

“Skip,” shouted the captain across the squad room, “I want you out at the Cheese mansion to follow up on that murder that happened out there last week.”

“Murder?” an already overworked detective yelled back to his supervisor. “I thought it was a routine hit and run vehicular homicide.”

“An anonymous witness called in and stated that the vehicle involved chased down the victim. That makes it a murder in my book, lieutenant.”

“Yes, sir,” Skip replied. “I’ll get right on it.”

The eighty acre Cheese family estate was a magnificent one-hundred and fifty-plus year old spread that sat atop the highest point in the area. The roadway climbed steeply on the western side then wound down to a neighboring canyon to the east. In times past, the family seemed to have had all of the money in the world. A little known and reclusive family, the Cheeses had always stayed clear of the public limelight.

The half hour drive up to the estate was an enjoyable one for the young detective. He arrived at the estate’s front gate, parked his car and commenced to walk the area searching for clues. No other homes were in close proximity to the mansion. Had anything related to the crime been observed, it would have been from the Cheese’s estate. A Mr. Jack Cheese was initially interviewed, but nothing pertinent could be gathered from his statement. The original case’s detective confirmed that Mr. Cheese was in fact away on a business trip at the time of the crime’s occurrence.

“Well, here goes,” Skip said to himself. He entered the ornate iron gate and preceded to the front entry doors and employed the large brass knocker in hopes of summoning someone, but in reality he hoped no one was home. He never enjoyed conversing with stuffy rich folks very much.

The double doors opened slowly and a rather moderately well dressed man greeted him, “I am Hammond Cheese, please state your business, young man.”

After introducing himself, showing his credentials and explaining the circumstances in detail as to his presence, the young detective was invited in. The two sat in the study and discussed the case.

“You should interview the Krensdale boys, Jeremy and Todd, a few miles down the roadway,” Hammond insisted. “I feel they are involved in some way. They knew the victim and their family has had a history of misdeeds for many, many decades. If you check the metal pole fifty feet to the south of my front gate you will see that the vehicle clipped it just after running down that poor young woman.”

“Did you witness this accident, sir? I was under the impression that a Mr. Jack Cheese was currently the only estate’s resident and was away at the time of this tragedy.”

“He was in fact away, detective. I was not, however. I never leave this place.”

The detective took notes as he discussed with Mr. Cheese details of the current crime as well as the history of the suspect Krensdale family youths; a suspect history that spanned numerous decades.

A large painting caught the detectives eye, “That is an amazing portrait of you, sir. If I am not mistaken, I believe you are wearing the same, or similar, suit, white shirt and stripped tie as in the painting. Even your spectacles appear identical.”

“You are a very observant detective. The famed local artist, James W. Rye, painted that for me. It has always been my fondest piece of artwork.”

“Sort of a Hammond Cheese on Rye,” chuckled the detective.

“A smiling Hammond responded, “Yes, I suppose it is.”

“The two conversed for a while longer before the detective stated, “I must be getting back to the station. I have a lot of work to do, sir, thanks to your help.”

“You flatter me,” replied the humble elderly man. “Good luck, detective.”

The weeks passed by rather swiftly for the detective as he investigated the criminal records of several Krensdale family members, past and present. Eventually a break came in the case. Skip was able to tie the two young Krensdale boys to the victim and to a rather large unpaid debt she owed the two. Paint samples collected from the suspects’ vehicle also matched those retrieved from the roadway’s metal pole. Arrests were made.

Skip decided it was time to return to the Cheese estate and interview Hammond once again. He hoped it would be a simple matter to ask Mr. Cheese to testify in court should the necessity arise.

When the door opened a middle-aged man answered asking, “May I help you, sir?”

“Yes, I am here to see a Mr. Hammond Cheese.”

“Hammond Cheese?” questioned the man.

 After seeing the detective’s credentials, the man responded, “I am Jack Cheese. Please enter and we will continue this conversation in the study.”

Mr. Cheese informed the lieutenant, “I was interviewed some time ago by the police concerning a vehicle accident nearby, but it had occurred when I was out of town. Are you sure ‘Hammond Cheese’ is the correct name, detective?”

“Yes, Mr. Hammond Cheese is the man I interviewed. That is his portrait there,” he stated, pointing to the painting upon the wall. “He told me that an artist by the name of Rye accomplished the work.”

Perplexed, Mr. Cheese said frankly, “The work was indeed done by James W. Rye and it is in fact of Hammond Cheese.”

“Is there a problem with me contacting him, sir?” questioned the lieutenant.

“The painting is of my great granduncle and was created over one hundred years ago, detective. The artist passed away a few months after he completed it and my great granduncle departed this earthly realm some five-plus years after that.”

Not knowing just how to respond, the detective simply stared at the painting and replied, “That explains why he hasn’t aged a day, I suppose.”



  1. Sorry this took so long! I’m in freak out mode trying to prepare for the show and I’ve finally got 95% of the stuff done.

    My favorite story was Patrick Nelson’s story. Again, I’m reminded of the Seinfeld episode in which he says that “All men think they have the potential to become a superhero, all they need is the training or a radioactive spider.” “Hero Man” by Patrick is a kind of Kafka meets R. Crumb meets Willie Loman kind of superhero. In some ways, his hero reminds me of my students where I teach, so many of them think they have the potential to become greater than they are, if only. . . I think I chose it because I feel like I’m living in a Kafkaesque world right now.

    The runner up, but only because I had a hard time deciding who was in first place is W.H. Matlack’s “Hammond Cheese Understands God.” This was a helluva a strong story and had quite the surprising ending. I think that Matlack’s version of Mr. Cheese is also very similar to who I thought he would be. The story is not told from Hammond’s point of view and if you read it I think that you’ll see why. A really great story!

    Marlin Bressi’s “Hammond Cheese Pitches a Perfect Game” is a pulp fiction version of “Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Lawrence Thayer. I think you’ll like the ending.

    Royce Ratterman’s “Cheese Spread” was cute (but not overly so) kind of a “Turn of the Screw” meets sandwiched between “The Monkey’s Paw” a “Sort of a Hammond Cheese on Rye.” I don’t want to give a away the story by giving too many details but it was totally a fun story and well worth a read.

  2. Hammond Cheese is for sale on Etsy for $220