Write a story about June Bug and Win the Drawing on the Right

The contest closes Monday May 31, 2011

Beau Toques' Beauty Contest
oil on linen canvas
with Buttons and a Bow Tie 48"x60"

June Bug
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

Entries for this contest may be used in a future show.  

Renovated Reputations is the result of an internet blogging project in which paintings and assemblages based on vintage and antique vernacular photography are the inspiration for short fiction.

The impetus for this project is based in a solo show of paintings in I am having at ArtHaus Gallery in San Francisco in April through June 25th 2011. 

The show is called
Renovated Reputations: Paintings and Fiction inspired by Vintage Portrait Photographs.
at ArtHaus 411 Brannan Street  San Francisco, CA  94107

Download the draft of Tabloid Newspaper catalog as a PDF.
Here's a link to the free newspaper style catalog as a pdf:

Here's a link to the book:
(This is about 5MB so if you are using firefox it may stall.  You can right click and save or use explorer.)

This came in by e-mail.  It's a continuation of the Tina Bopper story by Patrick Nelson so for convenience sake I'm putting the two stories together complete with the images:

The Beauty Within by Patrick Nelson

“I got the shaft and boy does it suck.” She looked at me with very manic eyes; they wouldn’t stay still and her pupils were tiny black pinpoints. I don’t know who she was, but she kept ranting about ‘the whole thing being rigged and they got what’s coming to them.”
It sounded like the script from some old radio soap opera: “I didn’t do it, but I wish I had.”
I was riding in the back of the ambulance with her in case she had anything to add to the story. The other detectives and I had cobbled together what we could and it wasn’t much: we had three victims and a whole lot of sick people. Someone had released a noxious gas on stage at the beauty contest and the two finalists and the judge were at ground zero when the crude dispersion device went off. The “bomb” was a bouquet of roses that contained two vials of liquid that, when introduced to each other, create a deadly gas that only lasts five minutes but can kill you in two if you get a big whiff of it. This woman was extremely agitated and she had to be strapped down but she couldn’t be sedated as the EMTs had a pretty good idea but did not know for sure what the chemicals were that were used in the incident. She had been a contestant in the contest, but had been voted out in the preceding round so she and a bunch of the other ‘losers’ for want of a better word, were commiserating in the wings.
“Those cheats got what they deserved. I hate ‘em all! They ruined my life. I can’t go back on the circuit after a defeat like this!”
She was delusional and probably dangerous, but whoever did this had done it premeditatedly and wouldn’t have been dumb enough to be nearby when this happened, plus it was tossed from within the audience. Other detectives were doing what I thought was the more productive chore of interviewing the members of the audience. My gut told me Lucy in the skies here was just an angry innocent bystander no matter how hopping mad she was on the way to the hospital. To be honest, I kind of agreed with her--about the results, not the killing of the people. The other two dead finalists were nowhere near as good looking as the wild eyed and sputtering lunatic in the gurney before me. As a matter of fact, if we had met under different under different circumstances...
“Hey you male chauvinist pig, just because I'm drugged and strapped down, doesn’t give you the right to drool all over me. Is that what you’re into? What? You want to ask me out you freak? I don’t care if you think I should have won, you weren’t one of the judges. Just because I wouldn’t sleep with him, the lousy son of a bitch cashes me out in the last round. Yeah, we should have done it too but we didn’t. We were all talking about how we all refused that creep Mr. Toque’s promises of winning if we did the big nasty with him. You’re right about the audience being important. It wasn’t any one of us so you should ask them all.”
Okay, she was starting to freak me out.
“You? How do you think I feel?” she exclaimed with flailing arms.
I thought: ‘can you read my thoughts?”
She looked up at me with no sign of lunacy and said: “yeah, asshole. Like a book. Just the stuff on the surface, though. The rest is like a ghost image on the TV. I can’t focus on that.”
I said in my head: “is it just me can you read other’s thoughts?”
“I’m in everybody’s head sunshine! Not just me, All the girls can read minds. You want some more proof, sherlock? The driver of this ambulance is worried that you are going to search him and find that bag of dope under his seat. The other EMT is waiting for you to leave us so he can try to cop a feel. By the way, no such luck, sweetheart! I will break your arm off and shove it up your ass!”
Wow was all I could muster.
“Yeah, you dumbass! ‘wow’ Is right!”
I did have a great idea, though. Maybe she could help me out with this investigation.
“Well, then have them turn this band-aid box around and let’s go!” she said in a borderline hysterical tone.
Oy vey.
“Yeah. Oy vey is right, putz.” 

Part 2 (June Bug)

Tina told me her name during a tirade about what exactly women thought was wrong with the modern police force. Apparently it’s not only ‘the antiquated misogynistic, barbarically violent and trigger happy mentality‘; We were apparently too narrow minded and unimaginative to understand this let alone be expected to solve any crimes that have been perpetrated by people of (if somehow possible) lesser intelligence than our own.
-But she liked my tie.
          By the time we got the ambulance turned around and back to the hotel, she had already managed to contact (telepathically, of course) the other three women who were the disgruntled beauty queen wannabes and they all not only agreed to meet at the same spot by the stage but they were already conducting nonverbal psychic interviews with the people who were giving off the most provocative thoughts themselves.
          We were greeted by June Bug. I should correct that statement: I was greeted by June and told that the others (Bobbi Soxer and Clara Sabell) were already inside with the last suspect to be read. I informed her that this type of investigative technique was not admissible and that they should stop the investigation immediately.
          I was getting kind of pissed: they were already making headway in a case less than an hour old, I was being treated like a small child who had wandered into a quantum physics class accidentally and when they communicate with each other, they did not need to speak. When they did speak to me, it was in an extremely underwhelmed and condescending tone.
          They just nodded to each other like some kind of Village of the Damned kids only way hotter. June was the kind of go between for the other two girls personality-wise. She was cute and bubbly but had communication skills the others lacked. June apparently liked that description because she smiled coyly when I thought it.
                    Bobbi talked the least to me or anyone. She had a constant look of angst or disdain or both on her face--like it was a real pain in the tuchas just being in the same room as everyone else. She stuck her tongue out at this thought of mine and made me wonder if she was crowned miss congeniality.
          The most compelling of the group to me personally was Clara Sabell: she had the dewy appearance of a pre-drug and alcohol period Marilyn Monroe but the mental bite of a Gloria Steinem. She smiled wryly and nodded at this mental description. Yeah, I know. If Gloria Steinem was hot enough to be in a be in a beauty contest would she still do it? Bella Abzug would’ve. She didn’t give a shit. She would’ve done it just to piss people--from the looks I’m getting, I think I am drifting way off point here.
          The women all converged coven-style on an old mousey woman in her sixties. She was seated alone in a sea of now empty chairs in the auditorium. They all pointed at her and said: “She did it. She did it.” It felt a little too reverse Salem Witch Trials to me, but I couldn’t argue with telepathy apparently. I mean, how could you? They would know what you were thinking before you did and they would already have an argument planned for any response you came up...Okay! Okay! Enough with the creepy I-know-what-you’re-thinking looks! How do you know?
          “Well” said Clara, my favorite (she blushed a little) “we can’t read what her thoughts are. We get no clear image of her doing it or thoughts of guilt in her head. It’s hard to read her, but she is the only one that clearly doesn’t have a mental image of where she was or what she was doing at the moment of the attack.” 
          Then how can you be sure? I thought to her.
“Well...” she pointed at the banners at the bottom of the stage. A small brown snout poked its hairy little nose out from under the fabric and bobbed it up and down in the air questioningly.
          “A MOUSE! Am I supposed to rest the entire weight of this case on the shoulders of this little rodent right here? I can see me now trying to convince the DA to prosecute this woman on the grounds that a mouse is the witness. ‘Yes, your honor, I then questioned the rodent and he identified the woman in question as the murderer’.”
          “We know that she did it because we can see the mouse seeing her throw the bouquet. He was right there” said the sourpuss Bobbi (she stuck her tongue out and gave me the finger for that thought).
          June added: “we can, however, see her motive: the many years of affairs her husband the judge had with various beauty queens, the constant degrading and abusive language heaped upon her by the victim and the final insult of bringing home a girl to their own bed when he thought she was out of town. She could no longer take this sub human treatment.”
          We all stood there staring at this poor cowering woman. She wore a solemn black Jackie-O type suit with a veil covered pill box hat and she was clutching her clutch purse so hard I could almost hear some pennies screaming inside. She looked like she was dressed for a funeral. Yeah, her husbands. I could swear I felt a physical wave of pity pass through the crowd but I wasn’t the psychic here.
          Tina chimed in now: “I see her working for many weeks going to the library and studying up on chemical science, experimenting and finally the visit to the flower-shop this morn--”
          Mrs. Tocques interrupted by clearing her throat and whispering something while her eyes travelled warily across the crowd.
“Excuse me ma’am. You need to speak up” I urged her.
She leaned forward and right as she said it I saw the women surrounding her nod acceptingly: “I never meant to hurt those two poor girls or my dear Beau too. I guess my ratios were too strong still. I tested it. I did kill the cat with the third batch, but the fourth one just made the dog sleep for a very long time. I just wanted him to know what those girls really thought” her voice grew stronger and more sure-almost angry. The four girls stepped in closer behind her and placed their hand on her shoulders as a sign of assurance or solidarity. After all: they had been there too. “I wanted him to know what these girls really thought of him. How he was old and fat and ugly like he always said I was. I found some references to the potion from some old books and I found a way to recreate it. I did something wrong because it wasn’t supposed to kill them, just make them-”
“Read minds” Clara said. “She must have been blocking the murder out of shock. That’s why we couldn’t see it in her mind.”
          I began to think that either way, unless she confessed I had no way of proving any of this except in a court of magic.
          Clara looked at me apologetically and shrugged her shoulders and said: “sorry, Silas. That’s your job...”
          The four women turned and linked arms and headed back up the aisle towards the exit. Clara turned and gave me a wink and blew me a kiss. I hoped she could tell what I was thinking.


1 comment:

  1. Great work, Patrick. LOL in places. Thanks for posting these together, Kenney.