Write a story about Gray Finder and Win the Pencil Drawing of Gray

 Write a story about Gray Finder and Win the Pencil Drawing of Gray

Contest Ends Monday January 30th

I'll get this judged by Friday February 10th!  PROMISE!

Round #2 of Renovated Reputations will culminate in three shows.

Santa Clara University, California
January 9 - February 5th
Reception: Thursday February 2, 2012
It is located on the Alameda, at the intersection of Bellomy St, Park Ave, and the Alameda.
Ohlone College, Fremont California 
February 7th -  March 9th
Reception, Saturday, February 25, 2012
6PM - 8PM
Louie Meager Art Gallery
Ohlone College, 43600 Mission Blvd.
Fremont, California 94539
Elliott Fouts Gallery, Sacramento California 
February 4th - March 1st, 2012.
The story you write should be a "Flash Fiction" which is a complete story in one thousand or fewer words.

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

This is the second version of this show!

Stories will be published in a vintage style newspaper catalog and the gallery will be converted into a 1930 or 40's cabaret set and students will be acting the stories out as monologues at some of the events at the college in the art gallery.

More competitions posted on my website at:
These came in by e-mail:

By Denise Nomura
 My father was that type of guy who rarely ever smiled. Of course, at first glance, he looks like the kind of guy who would be enthusiastic and very humorous. If only that were the case. He's the type of guy who was rarely ever impressed. His father, my grandpa, was that way, so I suppose I see where he gets it. Also, he's the CEO of an extremely successful banking company, so I guess his job requires him to be that way.
So my whole life, I've tried to do something impressive enough to win a blue-moon smile from my dad. I played football, baseball, and basketball; got 4.0's in high school; graduated the top of my class. I was just basically the ideal kid. Or at least from the surface. Because of the pressure of school, my extra-curriculars, and trying to impress my father; I did almost every drug you can think of. You'd think it would interfere with my school life, but I would never allow that. Even if I was high off my ass; I still attended every class, did every assignment, even took exams a couple of times. Because what's worse than his mutual look, was his disappointed look. Which I learned in the fourth grade when I dropped the winning touchdown pass in my junior football team's final game. After that, I vowed to my young self to never see that face ever again.
When my grandma passed away, I flew home from college to comfort my father. Because his own father was so hard on him, his mom had to be his comfort zone. She welcomed his father's disappointments with open arms and a batch of cookies. She was the most important person in the world to my father, so I knew he would take her passing very hard.
As, I had suspected, my father was in his study with a bottle of whiskey in hand.
"Hi dad." I whispered. Partially because I felt I was interrupting, and he wasn't exactly the friendliest drunk in the world. But I figured that seeing his only son after being away at college for so long, who came home simply to console him, would change that.
I was wrong. He looked up at me with an irritated glare. "Huh." He said, as though the only greeting I deserved for interrupting his wallowing was a simple grunt.
"Okay, I'll just come back later." I half whimpered as I let myself out.
In that second, it's as though all of the seeded resentment and that feeling of overall feeling unappreciated took over my body as I turned around and slammed the door open. "You know what dad?!" I yelled. He sat up, startled. "Yeah, it sucks that grandma's gone, but you know what sucks even more!?  Leaving all of your classes behind, the week before finals, just to come home to be a shoulder to lean on for the one person that would never appreciate it!" As I was saying this, my father had a look of shock plastered on his face. "And you know what?! Fuck this! I don't need to be here for you when you've never been there for me!" And with that, I leaned in, grabbed the door handle, and slammed it behind me as I strode out of the house in a rage.
Before I knew it, I was at my old dealer's house. We greeted each other and then immediately got down to business. After I went to college, I forgot how good it felt to light up. I think I blacked out for a while, only to be woken up by my cell phone. It was my mother.
"Danny, where are you?" She asked with concern in her voice.
"I'm at a friend's house, ma. What'dya want?" I didn't mean to sound so snooty towards her, but I couldn't help it.
"Grandma's funeral is in an hour. I hope you have your speech down because you're speaking first. I just wanted to let you know before we left. Do you need a ride, sweetie?" My stomach dropped into my friend's basement...
"No, it's okay, mom. I'll walk there." At that moment, I realized that our church was a city away.
"Are you sure, baby? We can always swing by to get you." I didn't want my mother to see me in this state, also, I needed to sober up.
"Yeah, it's totally fine, mom. I need to get a little off my mind anyways."
"Okay, hun. See you there!"
"'Kay, thanks, mom." As I hung up the phone, I got up and ran out of the house. I nearly fell down the stairs on my friend's porch, but in that moment, I didn't care. I just needed to remember exactly where I was, and how to get to the church. It took what seemed like fifteen minutes, which probably only took one, but I finally oriented myself and started sprinting.
I got to the church four minutes early, and in that time, I realized that I went to my grandmother's funeral in an old band tee, some ripped jeans, and a pair of Chuck Taylors. I shook my head to forget about it, because there was nothing I could do at this point. I thought of, what I thought, was the perfect speech in two minutes. Then I instantly went to look for my mother.
Thank God, my father was nowhere to be found. Not only would it be awkward because I had just yelled at him for the first time ever on the day of his dear mother's funeral... But because I was so insanely under-dressed, I would almost instantly earn a "disappointed look," and that's the last thing I needed at this point. My mother pulled me to the front, where we sat.
In what seemed like seconds, I was being called up to make my speech. I was so nervous. Usually public speaking was my forte. But I was still a bit high, I was feeling self-conscious about my attire, and I knew I would be making this speech in front of my father. I got up to the podium, looked around to find my father's face. And when I finally did, I felt my stomach drop again. But this time, I felt this salty taste in my mouth....
Yes, I threw up at my grandma's funeral. In front of every one. On her casket.
I was so embarrassed. I only stayed for mere seconds to see the disgust on my family's faces. Then I left as fast as I could and just started running. Before I knew it, I was home. I ran upstairs to my old room as fast as I could, and just hid under my covers. I began to sob in embarrassment. I must've cried myself to sleep, because when I woke up, it was night time.
I dare not go downstairs, or anywhere for that matter. So I stayed in my room and just tried to think of anything but today.
Nearly minutes after I awoke, I heard the front door open. I looked up at the ceiling and asked why he was so cruel to me. As soon as the door shut, I heard my father's deep footsteps come up the stairs. I clamped my eyes shut and pretended the best that I could to be asleep. Of course, it would look worse that I was sleeping after I had just ruined my grandmother's wedding, but it beat facing my father that night.
My door opened, and I heard him walk towards my bed. He turned on my desk lamp and sat next to me on my bed.
"Turn around, I know you're up." He said with certainty.
His confidence showed me that I wasn't fooling anyone, so I turned over right away. I looked at him as he sat there, facing forward, with his elbows on his knees and his shoulders slumped. He finally turned to look at me, gave me the faintest, yet largest smile I'd ever seen from him, and said, "So how high were you?"
Life in Black and White by Patrick Nelson

          Gray slammed his fist into the steering wheel, but the weak little bleating of his mini cooper's horn couldn't come close to expressing the rage he felt right then. Other drivers on the ramp merging onto the freeway with him this sunny afternoon responded in kind by blaring their horns too. They assumed he was complaining about their driving.  They had no idea that the source of his anger was not them but a certain mutton-chopped slacker some eight miles away that he was racing off to confront.

          He looked at the giant dent and multitude of scratches on the hood. He glared frequently at the spiderweb-like cracks in his windshield. His mental snapshot of the  smashed headlamps dangling from their sockets turned red in his hot brain.

          He knew it was Kirby. He didn't even have to hear the eyewitness accounts of the dozens of student and faculty onlookers--no--gawkers that told him how this skinny kid with the crazy hair went to town on the professor's little car with an aluminum softball bat. Some were even still laughing when Gray came out and discovered the rape of his mini.

          No matter what he thinks Gray did, he had no right to do that to his car! Gray thought back to his confrontation with the boy two days before. He hadn't hit him or threatened him, well, he had threatened him a little...but Gray was not serious. How could he be? He was just a man, a professor who was sticking his nose where it didn't belong. He was just just looking out for his friend and former student, Eliza. He was helping her because she would never ask for it and he felt somewhere deep inside that she really needed it, right? That's why he stepped out of his usual mind-your-own-business and just get through life pathway and ran headlong into her problems.

          Gray never felt close to anybody his whole life: his mother, his few girlfriends or his fellow workers at the community college. No extracurricular activities moved him. The only thing that created even a brief spike in the flatline that his life had become was art. He could only connect with other people through its study or its actual creation. Some students and one or two other artists in the area where allowed into his social foyer, and they were not permitted to even hang up their coats or hats there. They were kept at arm's length, politely and charmingly entertained by Gray, his art, and his knowledge of it.

          Then came Eliza. She was as different as Arp was to El Greco. She understood art on the emotional level that Gray did, but she also lived life as art. As he tried to teach her the tactics and antics of the masters. She tried to teach him how to live beyond the canvas or the clay. He had always felt life was beneath art and had never really felt alive  unless he was somehow tethered to it. Yoked. She stretched his umbilical and made him see a glimpse of the world and why it had inspired so many to put it down with oil and brush. The awe and the anguish that drove men mad or to the easel, or both. Why they created or recreated.

          From the first day in his class, Eliza and Gray became great friends. She asked him out for coffee that first time. They continued from there spending many hours together in and out of the classroom and the galleries and museums. He even grew to love her. Not in a sexual way, that would ruin the magical friendship he had discovered. Besides, he was up for tenure and if there was even a whiff of inappropriate behavior, well, that just made him cringe.

          She came close to snapping the line and making Gray actually become a real walking, talking human, but in the end he became afraid. Through a few fretful days and nights of not answering his phone, he managed to push Eliza back out into the cold. It was the only way he was equipped to deal with it...

          Many months later, he managed to feebly explain to her why their friendship had to "reduce." She said she already knew why but wished he had handled it better. He did too, and now felt even worse about what he had done to her.

          He hadn't spoken with her for months when he heard two friends of Eliza's talking about "the poor girl." Gray got up the courage to ask them if she was ill. Since they knew about his friendship with her, they told him her dirty little secret.

          Gray had not known she was seeing someone seriously. Why would he? He was the one who pushed her away. But to hear of the abuse and that this new lover had started her "using" was simply unbelievable to him. She always seemed so strong and smart. How could a silly, stupid boyfriend bring her so low? No, he didn't believe it. Yet...he felt like he should do something. Something to help her, but what?

           That same day, he came up with the idea to talk to the boyfriend. He looked up her current address in the registrar's office. He drove to her house, knocked on the door and was invited in by the boy. Eliza wasn't home, but Gray could come in and wait as she should be back any minute. Gray came in, sat down and wondered what Eliza saw in this purposefully disheveled little bald baboon.

          Gray didn't intend for it to turn into the shouting match and he certainly didn't know where the threats to "bash his fucking face in" came from, but then again, Gray wasn't a master of social interaction. He left the boyfriend there before Eliza returned, but he had flexed his ego and his intellect and left the young man saying he wouldn't hurt her anymore. How had he even gotten the boy to admit his abuse? It still boggled his mind. It felt good, though. For the next two days, he had a swagger, a social emergence. He felt good about himself. It didn't matter that it came at the baby-man's expense. He found himself chatting with strangers and smiling at women. He even agreed to meet some of the other teachers for a softball game that weekend. He felt good about helping Eliza and that sort of multiplied in his life creating a healthy dividend of human interaction.

          Now, these two days later, he was swerving in front of a Benz delivery truck because he almost missed the exit. He gave the angry driver the finger and took the ramp at top speed. He never drove this fast. What was wrong with him? It was as if he were floating six feet above himself yelling to stop when someone else was behind the wheel.

          He slammed on his brakes in Eliza's front lawn and one of his sickly headlamps flew free of the mini cooper and bounced across the grass. Whatever fire and ire that had almost died in his furnace was reborn.

          "Little fucker's gonna pay!" He fumed.

          He flew across to the porch and saw the door was open. He heard a woman inside crying. Eliza. As he entered, he spied an aluminum softball bat by the dining room table and snatched it gripping it firmly. His resolve was bolstered by the sobbing of his dear friend. He now saw himself in his mind as a knight coming to save a woman in danger. He pictured pulling the boy off Eliza and giving him the beating intended for her.

          He was shocked and sickened by the reality he found. Eliza was laying on the floor by the bed. She was holding Kirby's hand tightly. Kirby was laying on the unmade bed with a blank stare and a needle in his arm. Death of Marat came to mind.

Eliza looked up through a tangle of tear-soaked black hair. Anger took her features and distorted them into an ugly grimace.

          "This is your fault!" She croaked between sobs. "Why couldn't you just leave us alone? Why did you have to become human? Did you feel like you had to fucking save me?"

          Gray slumped back against the door frame.

          "You came here and just made it worse!" she howled.

          Gray couldn't bring himself to even look at her so he just stared down at the bat he held limply in his hand. He let go of it and it pinged to the carpet.

          On his way home, Gray got a call from one of the other teachers.

          "Hey, Gray!" he said over the static. "We still on for softball?"

          Gray said, "no" and hung up.


Power of Hope by Payal Gupta

"You are of no any good. You can't do anything. Go away; you are the burden to the family and society."

He was silent, there was something burning and keeping his hope intact.
There was calm on his face but his heart was burning like volcano, eyes were full of hope.
Though his mouth was shut but seems it is saying, wait.
Days and nights, weeks and month, year after year pass by.
"What are you doing man? Why don't you do anything good, this will not result to anything?"
"Look what this guy is doing, painting all the time", mocked Sally, ha -ha- ha.
“What you said sally”, asked sarcastically David, “Oh yes painting”.
The day came, Gray paintings made their ways into the annual art exhibition.
There were all praise for his thoughts behind his paintings; he gave his painting the power of silence.
Seems his paintings were saying silently, keep your faith intact, no hurdle can stop you.

“Ladies and Gentleman, It's my pleasure to introduce you Mr. Gray”, Prof. Matt said in his introductory speech.
“Meet the Picasso of our time Mr. Gray; all his paintings are giving message of peace, hope brother hood without speaking a word”.

Mr. Gray would you like to say something!.

“HOPE”, that's what only Gray said in his feeble but firm voice.

by Stephanie Pellegrini

Gray Finder looks like your average Joe, he could be the man that works behind the meat counter at the grocery store or the post man that drops off the mail. But here’s something you would never guess about Finder, when he was 35 years old he witnessed a bank robbery, at least that's what he claimed. The cops had questioned him after the incident and Gray had told the police all the details he remembered from that Wednesday morning in March. 
  Finder looked nervous in the small interview room of the police department. He couldn't stop tapping his empty coke can on the metal table. When the officer finally showed up Gray sat straight up in his chair and started from the beginning. It was about 11:30 am when he walked into the bank because he was on his lunch break, depositing a check. He remembers being at the counter with the teller and hearing loud scream behind him coming through the doors. When Gray turned around he saw a 5'8" white male with a ski mask. All he remembers from his face were these round piercing eyes and the deep voice that demanded he get down to the floor. 
Everyone in the bank stayed on the floor and waited for the police in hope that they would come to their rescue. Gray mentioned that the man in the ski mask was in the bank vault for approximately two minutes and thirty seconds and then walking out with bills and jewels in a bag. Finder being very helpful provided a sketch from what he remembers, of the mans eyes before the robber walked right out the front door.
  The police took Gray Finders interview and sketch and continued to search for more evidence of this mystery bank robber. Gray Finder left the police station that very same day of the robbery at 4:00 pm in the afternoon. The police tried to contact him a week later with some follow up questions but Gray Finder was never found. The police finally had gotten the security footage from the bank a few weeks after the robbery and viewed the tapes. While they watched the tapes they noticed that in the time frame of the robbery they didn't notice Gray on the floor by the teller desk like he explained. In fact they never saw anyone who half resembled Gray Finder that whole morning who came into the bank. The detectives also noticed that the bag was in no way see through so they questioned how Finder knew how much money and jewels were stolen that day along with the exact time frame he was in the vault. 


 The Man In Grey by Tyler Polani

He was 6 feet 5 inches, broad shoulders and big feet. He always wore a grey polo, black slacks with black dress shoes. He had always lived in town and everyone knew him, but no one knew his name. No one ever asked because it had never seemed that important, he was known and people had respect for him. When others laughed hysterically, he would only grin. There was much mystery and secrecy behind this man. He always minded his own business, never seen during the day, only at night at restaurants or bars with fellow townsmen. It was unknown as to where this man lived or what he even did for a living. One day a little girl walked up to him and asked, "What's your name mister?" He smiled big, for the first time ever seen, and replied, "The man in grey."

The Lost and Not Found by Gregory Bush
Gray Finder was a college professor at a prestigious university on the east coast. Amongst his colleagues, Finder was a reserved fellow. Even his students found him quite odd; some students would say that at the end of lectures he would be the first one out the door. Unbeknownst to his students and colleagues, Gray Finder came from a family of hunters. Specifically speaking, the hunters in his family hunted down legendary creatures such as Wolfman and Dracula. Through generations, every male in the Finder family managed to hunt down a legendary creature; in a sense, it has become tradition. However, that tradition had come to a complete stop on the day of December 20, 1991. Before Gray became a college professor, he would go on trips with his father. These were no ordinary father-son trips, these were days even weeks long trips to hunt down the legendary, Sasquatch. On the night of December 20th, Gray Finder was sitting in his tent along with his father telling ghost stories. It was a stormy night; the winds pulled the trees back and forward. Gray’s father heard a sound and told his son, “Stay here, it could be the Sasquatch!” Gray’s father ran out to see for himself carrying a flashlight and a rifle. Gray screams “Dad No,” as he stumbles and trips into a puddle of mud. His father takes his attention from the sound to see his son covered in mud. The wind is so strong that it knocks Gray’s father over and him dropping the flash light in the process. All of a sudden, the father and son see a shadowy figure in the near distance. A roar is heard from the direction of the figure. As the figure comes closer, the roars get louder. It turns out that the dark figure is in fact the Sasquatch. Gray’s father tells him not to move as the Sasquatch won’t be able to smell or see him since he’s covered in mud. Gray is only a couple of feet from the tent. The Sasquatch sees that the flashlight is still on and shining its light on the tent. The Sasquatch begins walking toward the tent in which Gray mistakenly believes that it’s coming for him. With Gray full of fear, he goes against his father’s order and runs toward him. The beast nearly grabs a hold of the boy but is shot at by Gray’s father. In an act of rage, the Sasquatch with its sharp claws slashes father’s face. Soon after, the large creature goes off into the woods to tend to its wound. As his father lied in his own blood, Gray sat right by him. With his last words, he told Gray “I’m sorry… son.” The young Gray Finder told his father that he should not be sorry in that he gave his life for his son. After his father gave his last breath, Gray vowed to hunt down the Sasquatch for him and his father. In 2011, it is the day of his father’s death; Gray plans on keeping the promise he made to his father. A whole month as gone by and Gray Finder has yet to return from his search.


Gray Finder by Laura Gonsalves 

Gray Finder finished his contraption that he predicted would cause a ripple in the space-time continuum, thus creating a window for time travel. Working for the U.S. government for the war effort afforded him the use of equipment not readily available to the public. His device essentially consisted of two electrically charged metal plates inside of a vacuum, thus creating an environment that has no gravity. Since gravity and time are interrelated, if you negate gravity, you can negate time. It was time to test the device. He stepped into the “Faraday cage” housing the device and sat in the chair that he placed in the center, inside of a shed in his backyard. He thought for a moment before flipping the switch. Would he fry himself beyond recognition? This was the moment he had been preparing for throughout all the years of college and research, studying math and physics, pouring over all of Einstein’s work. If he was correct, he would find a way to time travel. 
He flipped the switch on the electrical cable that powered the generators. Everything went black for Gray. When he came to, he found himself flat on his back laying on grass. Where was he? He stood up and looked around and the shed was gone that housed his device. He was in someone’s back yard but seeming not his own. He glanced into the back patio sliding door and looked into the house and saw pictures on the wall, none of which looked familiar. His heart was now pounding with fear and excitement. He saw unfamiliar devices in the house with a large black screen on the wall. He saw a divice on the kitchen table that looked like a telephone, but with no cable. He walked around to the gate and walked out the driveway down the street. Looking at the address, the address was the same has his own address, 3671 but the house looked nothing like his. He saw the street sign, “Miramar Street and Skyline Boulevard”. This was his house but somehow changed. He wanted to knock on the door but it appeared that no one was home. There was a sign in front of the house that said, “For Sale, Bank Foreclosure”. Gray was now scared out of his wits.
He had to somehow find the date. He walked to Skyline Boulevard to see if he could find any familiar surroundings. He saw a store with people going in and out of called “7-11”. He walked in and looked at a newspaper. The date said July 30, 2012. He asked the store clerk what day it was and he replied, “It’s Sunday”. No he said, “What is todays date?” The store clerk looking somewhat annoyed at this point said, “It’s the 30th”. That seemed to solidify what Gray suspected. He was catapulted into the future. His device worked. “My God”, he thought. That is my house, and the cars look so different. What to do now? Should he tell anyone? Who could he tell? No-one knew about his time travel experiment. Before he powered up his device it was April 5, 1944. His hands were now trembling with fear. He thought for a moment. I have to buy this newspaper to see what’s happening. He looked at the newspaper and saw the price, $1.50. That was almost all the money he had in his pocket. He paid for the newspaper in quarters. “Wow these are silver”, said the store clerk. He replied, “Yes they are”. The store clerk replied, “Are you sure you want to pay for that newspaper with these coins? They may be worth something...” Each bit of conversation only hammered home that fact that he was way far away from anything familiar with no apparent way to get back.  The neighborhood he lived in was now changed permanently. Gray took the newspaper and walked outside and vomited. The store clerk leaned over the counter and asked, “Are you OK?” Gray just walked away very quickly. There were now stores where there was once and empty field at the end of Skyline Boulevard. Gray found a coffee shop with tables and chairs in front called “Starbucks”. He sat down and read the newspaper. The headline read, “Occupy Oakland Protesters Storm City Hall”, “Drone Strikes Resume on Pakistan”.  Gray though, is the U.S. now at war with Pakistan? That made no sense at all. What about the war with Germany and Japan? Was that war over? It didn’t appear as if there were Germans and Japanese soldiers in charge anywhere. All this was a bit much for Gray to accept all at once. “And what about my wife?” Gray though “Was she still alive?” And why did I land in the year 2012? Why not 2500? Why not 3000 or why not 1493 or some other date in the past? It’s not like there was a dial to select the year to travel to. This was all too new a concept to conceive of. There was only one thing left to do. Search though public records. There must be a way to find out what happened to the device, and what of his wife? Was he considered missing or dead? Gray made his way to the public library and asked the librarian information on how to find death records. He did not find his wife deceased, but he did find on microfiche his own recorded disappearance, April 5, 1944. But now what would he do? Try to contact her? There was only one thing to do. Try to recreate his device.

Words of Wisdom by  Tara Ingraham

"Dad, I can’t afford the funeral.” Jeff finally blurted after a pregnant silence that had been building since early morning.
Ralph set his condescending expression upon his son for the first time since he’d been there and muttered, “Now why in blue blazes are you worrying about that?”
Jeff stared blankly at his father “Why wouldn’t I be concerned? Don’t you want to be buried next to mom in Olive Oaks Cemetery? You know that even if you were cremated they wouldn’t let me place you in her coffin”.
“Why not, just haul out the old shovel and pick-ax and make sure to tip-off the fat-ass grave keeper with a stogie, a pack of Bud-Lights and a half decent porn magazine! It shouldn’t take that long for you to pry her open and throw me in. Old Rosie didn’t have any complaints about that particular department when she was up and kicking so I don’t think she’ll have them now.”
“Ralph, I can’t believe you’re seriously contemplating breaking into Rosie’s tomb!”
“Hey! Watch that mouth of yours before I tan your hide so bad you won’t be able to recognize it for a week as my going away present to you! It’s father or Sir to you and mom to your mother; you hear!”
“Why are you being so pig-headed today? Did the cancer reach your brain and bring out a second personality or have I done something to piss you off or what; because you weren’t like this before! If it’s because of the money I’ll take double or triple shifts at this point if I have to so just stop acting like a perverted jack-ass!”
“Good! You’re no longer moping around like Eeyore from ‘Winnie the Pooh’ when he’s lost his tail. Besides; I have all the money you could possibly need to set up the funeral so you don’t need to worry about it.”
“I said I already have the money for my funeral. And I’ve already made the arrangements so you don’t need to lose any sleep over it, but the thought that you’re willing to work your ass off is a nice compliment I guess. Honestly I just like pushing your buttons because you’ve been brooding for so long that I got irritated.”
“Why didn’t you tell me this before?”
“You didn’t ask. That and I figured you thought I had enough brains to take care of my own issues. I mean honestly; it’s not like I didn’t think the day would come when I kicked the bucket. I just got the short end of the straw when it came to who would go first.”
“What do you mean? Mom died first.”
“She sure did! And so I had to deal with the pain of life without her. How funny that I always said that I would be the first to go. Oh well, at least I have the dog to keep me company and her medical bills are about as bad as mine.”
“Wait! Wait! Back up for a second. Where did you come up with the money? Didn’t it all go towards the hospital bills?”
”What did you think we did with all your allowance money throughout the years?”
“I had an allowance?”
“Sure. Since you were four years old we were saving ten dollars a week for you to go to college, but by the time you graduated we had more than enough to see you through and then some; unless you were a complete idiot and wrecked a Mercedes bens or something.”
”Why didn’t you tell me about this when I was growing up?”
“So you wouldn’t do anything stupid with it for one thing, to have a bit of a cushion if you did and because it wasn’t necessary or the only thing it was being saved for after a time. It was our money so we used it when we needed it to deal with our own issues once you were taken care of, and now it’s come in handy for the issue of paying for my medical expenses and fairly soon, unless God is being a prick with me or all the physicians in this building are complete morons, my funeral so you don’t have to lose any sleep over double or triple shifts as you put it.”
“You really thought I was that untrustworthy when I was young?”
“Jeff, I have trusted you to make dinners for me after having huge fights were I know your imagining killing me in some slow and probably painful manner. I have trusted you with the keys to my house for the last 42 years; even after that wild party you had that cost us over five thousand dollars in damages. I still let you pick what we do for holidays sometimes; even after the skydiving incident when you puked in mid-air with me right behind you. Jeff, I have trusted you behind the wheel of a car with me in it after seeing how you drove with your friends in college through the number of speeding tickets and that u-tube video where you nearly had a collision due to driving on the wrong side of the road. If that isn’t a true demonstration of trust then there is no such thing.”
They remained silent once again considering one another. “Fine” Jeff finally stated with a smirk, “Then, tell me this: If there was anything else you wanted before God decides to send a demon to come stick a pitchfork in your ass and ditch you in the most secluded part of hell so nobody needs to listen to you anymore, what would it be?”
Ralph closed his eyes and thought for a moment, then with a look of exaltation he smirked back at his son and whispered, “a stogie, a pack of Bud-Lights and a half decent porn magazine”.


  1. Power of Hope
    Payal Gupta(

    "You are of no any good. You can't do anything. Go away; you are the burden to the family and society."
    He was silent, there was something burning and keeping his hope intact.
    There was calm on his face but his heart was burning like volcano, eyes were full of hope.
    Though his mouth was shut but seems it is saying, wait.
    Days and nights, weeks and month, year after year pass by.
    "What are you doing man? Why don't you do anything good, this will not result to anything?"
    "Look what this guy is doing, painting all the time", mocked Sally, ha -ha- ha.
    “What you said sally”, asked sarcastically David, “Oh yes painting”.
    The day came, Gray paintings made their ways into the annual art exhibition.
    There were all praise for his thoughts behind his paintings; he gave his painting the power of silence.
    Seems his paintings were saying silently, keep your faith intact, no hurdle can stop you.

    “Ladies and Gentleman, It's my pleasure to introduce you Mr. Gray”, Prof. Matt said in his introductory speech.
    “Meet the Picasso of our time Mr. Gray; all his paintings are giving message of peace, hope brother hood without speaking a word”.

    Mr. Gray would you like to say something!.

    “HOPE”, that's what only Gray said in his feeble but firm voice.

  2. I'll get this judged by Friday February 10th! PROMISE!

  3. Almost all the stories for this round of the competition were almost more vignettes then a fully plotted out narratives. I’m a real sucker for a sense of humor and I like a sort of zap at the end of the story. So while I thought all the stories were fun and I enjoyed reading them I liked Tyler Polani’s story the best. A very close second was Denise Nomura’s story which was actually very plot driven. Here’s why:

    “The Man in Grey” by Tyler Polani was a tight interesting little vignette that was satisfyingly tied to the iconography of the painting. It was also brief and packed a bit of a wallop. The end of the story was a kind of punch line that drew a smile on my face.

    “The Lost and Not Found” by Gregory Bush was another character study and its appeal was a wild sense of fantasy, kind of like “Supernatural” crossed with “Indiana Jones.”

    Laura Gonsalves’ story was more of a first chapter in a novel that I want to see her finish. She is certainly a fine writer: one fantastic turn of phrase, “Everything went black for Gray.” I’m waiting to see how the story will develop in the “future?”

    Aside from a little confusion as to whether the story revolved around a wedding or a funeral, I thought Denise Nomura’s ending was great. It’s the kind of story that could have happened to me when I was a kid. There was a kind of realism to it that really got to me.

    Patrick Nelson almost always takes a zig when I expect a zag. I love the element of surprise at the end of the story although parts of it were just a little too close to home for me but I liked where he went with it.

    While very fine short story with some clever and interesting ideas in it, there was a part of me that felt “Words of Wisdom” by Tara Ingraham. I guess that her wise words are both enigmatic and a little oblique.

    Another wonderful vignette was Power of Hope by Payal Gupta. I like his optimism. A sort of optimistic take on how a bank robbery went was offered up by Stephanie Pellegrini. The character of the story and the main character of “Gray” was a wonderful mixture of “All the Usual Suspects” crossed with the series “White Collar.” Both stories had an optimistic charm!