Stephen Roger's the Winner of the Max Earnest Flash Fiction Competition

by Stephen Rogers

The Nose knows: weather, people, what goes on.

Christina now, she didn't know corn. Didn't care to. Back in the old country, her people may have worked the vineyards, but Christina herself found no sustenance in the soil.
Her brother was no different, but he helped their father in the cemetery, and that's where he stayed. He didn't stand out by trying to fit in.

Christina liked to talk. And because she liked to talk she gravitated towards places where talking could be done.

On the average day you might find Christina at the feed store, or in the diner, or outside the barbershop, places frequented by men. Some men talked more than others, but most grew accustomed to the foreign girl who could talk the rain from a cloudless sky.
Wives talked amongst themselves, and they didn't say what they feared most, that their husbands were becoming bewitched.
Christina didn't make advances or even flirt. She was simply there, carefree and unlike anyone else.

And then one day, the community was rocked by an unnatural silence. There was no sign of Christina at the feed store, or in the diner, or outside the barbershop. No sign of her anywhere.
Weeks later, Christina's father, stiff in his black Sunday best, came into town to plead his case to the newspaper.

No one came forward. Christina never came back.

But the crows now seem to favor the southwest corner of a certain field, the rocky section that's rarely planted.

The Nose knows.

Stephen D. Rogers


Okay okay okay!  I’ve really had a tough time with the holidays and getting it all together between transferring the furniture and paintings to Santa Clara University’s Art Gallery but now I’m back. . . Really!  Here’s the winner of the Max Earnest contest Stephen Rogers.

In a nutshell, Rogers’ story was almost a poem, it kind of reminded me a little bit of a surrealist bit of writing by Andre Breton or Duchamp.  Rogers story was also one of the most suggestive without providing too much so my imagination concerning the backstory was allowed to run free.

Close on Rogers’ heals were Matt O’Malley and Patrick Nelson.  Patrick e-mailed me and confessed that his story was too long in terms of the word count but it’s really a great story and you guys should go back and read it now!  Now Mr. O’Malley is totally funny and has some great images in his story.  I like how O’Malley is kind of a magic realist in which he works with the present day San Francisco and combines it with a sensibility that goes back decades.  It’s almost like a funny “Dark City.”  I particularly like how he’s combined an almost hipster sensibility with current events.

Michael West and Mary Charest (yeah I noticed they rhyme) had a wonderful sense of mood and character development.    West’s story is really great for its rhythm and timing.  The references to musical composition and the spacing and timing of his story really got hold of me and I read it several times because I liked the mood it put me in.  Charest also shares a bit of the esthetic that I like so much about O’Malley’s story.  Charest have me a hipster magic realist bent to her story she also had a really noir plot and feeling which is a strength.

Peter Vu’s story has a lot in common with Charest and West.  It’s a wonderful noir story with a nod to books and films like “The Postman Always Rings Twice.”  I really dug his ending and the mood he created throughout the story.  Nice nice job!

CJ Jones’ story was just silly fun (kind of like his last one) so I think he’s on to something here.  It matches his art and his sense of humor when you speak with him.

Read them all here:

More competitions on my site:

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