SD Short Story Contest Finalist: All Caps, No Spaces – Wes Trexler

All Caps No spaces
You’re completely disoriented as you run down the steps of the courthouse in Downtown Manhattan. This isn’t exactly your neighborhood, and it’s hard to get your bearings straight at first, but you know you have to move fast and catch a train soon, any train headed Uptown, so you move as quick as you can in dress shoes minus the laces.
Within a couple blocks you spot the green globes of a Metro tunnel, and head for the station at Foley Square.
On the platform you grow anxious. You were just sprung from Central Booking about fifteen minutes ago, and you’re humming with pent-up energy. You repeat some details in your head, memorizing acronym-encrypted chunks of vital intel.
“ROR…released on recognizance…three misdemeanors. Franklin Seigel from the NLG…you were sprung by Frank Seigel, CUNY Law professor…no, respected CUNY Law professor.”
You didn’t sleep at all in holding, so now, in a quasi-hypnogogic state, your head spins, leaning back on the plastic seat of the subway. You’re worried about things at home, but you can’t call ahead because they confiscated your phone. To stay grounded, you keep at it with the details, cataloguing facts and codifying the official scene for future recall.
Things you know: It’s Saturday. You’ve been released after about twenty hours in various kinds of NYPD lockup. You were arrested on your birthday. Yesterday was 11-11-11. You turned 33 years old on 11-11-11, and you got arrested for organizing a prayer circle in Central Park.
Old enough to know better, you think.
Now it’s nine PM, and you’ve gotta make it back to Brooklyn to host a loft party—a little punk benefit show you put together to buy socks and gloves for the people at Zuccotti.
On the L train you daydream about the last few hours, try to remember your own words so you can repeat them verbatim later.
You see yourself in the cell, jumping up when your name is finally called, stepping through the sliding barred-door into the narrow hall between cages where they shackle you to a chain with about a dozen other dudes. This is your last chance.
Loud and steady, for everyone up and down the hall to hear, you say, “The global class struggle has begun. Don’t be on the wrong side of revolution, people. I urge each and every one of you, when you get back on the outside, do whatever you can to resist, resist, resist.”
You’re not being at all ironic, and no one thinks you are, so you get some positive grumbling, a lot of head nods, one power-fist and one heckler.
Good enough, you think.
The Corrections Officer leads you through the maze of bare tunnels toward arraignment. When you get to a spiral stairway he hollers to the other guards, “Got ten bodies comin’ up the stairs.” He yells it dull and sterile like someone working the mic at Burger King.
“You got ten human beings,” you yell, to no one, and to everyone.
The officer pretends to ignore you. You are officially someone else’s problem now.
Again, you run. As soon as the L train lets off at the Montrose stop you book it to the loft. It feels good to run in the night, to stretch your legs as you move down the street past the Projects. You’re worried about the loft party, hoping GI Dave or one of the Yankou brothers took charge when they heard you got locked up. Hopefully someone found a good PA to use. Hopefully you’ll have no problem getting in the front door with no keys and no phone.
After three blocks you turn the corner onto McKibbin, and you can see from here a small gaggle of Westchester White-guilt punks hovering by the front entrance.
You’re right on time.
Once you’re home, things move fast. There’s a mild hero’s welcome from everyone at hand, but you just wanna know if Gloria’s there. She’s not. Nobody can tell you where she is. This infuriates you to no end, but you don’t let it show. You try not to, at least.
Gloria. The real one. The one Van Morrison’s always croaking about. The girl everyone thinks of as your ex-wife. The firecracker everyone thinks of as your ex-wife.
She’s the singer in your band. Her flight leaves in the morning. She’s giving up on New York, or running away, or taking a break or something. Everything she owns is piled up unpacked under your plywood loft bed, and scattered all around on the dirty floor.
People start showing up—teenage musicians with gear, listless scenesters and unfamiliar kids in skinny-jeans—then, Gloria’s all-time favorite NYC noise/art band TURBO-SLEAZE—all caps, no spaces—load in a trailer-worth of speaker cabs and amps, sprawling a pile of mic-stands and XLR cables across the stage in the living-room. Competent people are doing necessary things so you retreat to your bedroom and try to prepare for the show.
There’s acid. There’s cocaine. No, there’s no cocaine, but you call Ghetto-J down the street and he delivers. You share with no one and brood, make up malicious scenarios about where she might be, what she’s doing and why she’s late while you tattoo your little mirror with a razor blade.
The loft fills up with commotion and body-heat ‘til you can’t hardly stand it.
Out of frustration you start cramming her suitcases and bags with stripper clothes, bras and homemade dresses, clearing a path from the door to your desk.
You are about to vacate, to run sweating down the stairs for some fresh filthy air, when Gloria suddenly rolls in smiling, overstuffed bags bulging in each hand. She plops them down in the middle of the floor and gives you a soul hug. Tells you how proud she is.
The doom evaporates with the sound of her bags touching down, and you are right back to fighting-weight in an instant.
You share some with her. Tell her things about the arrest and about the prayer circle. You both laugh and get excited.
The drummer shows up. Bands play.
Soon, too soon, you’re on stage, strapped into the Flying V. All the pedals and cables give you some trouble at first, but you pull it together just in time. And by the first hook of the first song it’s perfect. Even with the untested virgin replacement drummer the sound is huge in the tiny loft. Gloria’s singing her guts out, and you know it’s right.
A bold smile crawls across your face as you tilt your head way back, trying to keep the snot and blow from dripping onto your lips. You start laughing, but try hard not to lose it in the afterglow of pure comedy. Two weeks ago you were still employed, working nine-to-five, running a fashion blog and writing PR in Midtown. That wasn’t possibly real.
All around you are friends and friendly strangers. Your producer and his wife are here. The other two dudes you were arrested with walk in and get high-fives from your roommates. “The Central Park Three,” you think, mythologizing in real-time. Half of the SLEAZE stand gyrating front and center. Random suburban high-schoolers get drunk or stoned at their first ever Brooklyn loft party. Even Ghetto-J comes back to check out the show for a minute.
When you and Gloria sing together on the chorus, you feel it for sure. This is what you’re after, what you’ve always been after: Freedom—or something very much like it. There’s no going back. From now on, until you end, you’ll live in breathless pursuit of this sensation, stalking these proximations of unfettered liberty at whatever cost, bound by nothing—ever again—but the audacity of your own will.

Wes Trexler is an American writer and filmmaker based out of New York City. Recent stories have appeared in the Wisconsin Review, Willow Springs, Story|Houston and elsewhere. Several others have appeared in the Rag Literary Review, including one which was awarded their fiction prize in 2015. Mr. Trexler was born in West Virginia. He studied at Eastern Washington University and attended the Squaw Valley Community of Writers workshop in 2005. He plays clarinet.

Rana Kelly’s Superstition Book Giveaway Contest

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Sudden Denouement just published our first book, Superstition, a collection of poetry by the other-worldly Rana Kelly. The book is available through Amazon. It was a labor of love for both Rana and myself. The process of pouring yourself, your life experience into a book is daunting–and rewarding at the same time. Conversely, publishing a book is a great deal of work and undertaken with a passion for great poetry, great literature.
SD is greatly honored in the task. I would ask that anyone interested reward Rana by picking up a copy of her book. We will soon have copies with signed cards inside them. I would also suggest reading Until Her Darkness Goes, her amazing novel, also available on Amazon.
I will give a copy away to the best 100 words I receive about why poetry is necessary in a world of texts, social media, reality television, and the never-ending noise that we wad through in our daily lives.
We will be giving more copies away in the near future. Please support Rana, support the process, the sacrifice, the barring of one’s soul to the world. There is a place for poetry in the world, and Rana Kelly’s Superstition is a reminder of this fact.
Anyone who wants to write 100 words about the importance of poetry in our society, please send you submission to Jasperkerkauwriting@gmail.com.

March Madness Divergent Literature Contest Deadline Extended to April 15, 2017

In response to requests, we have extended the deadline of the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective and Secret First Draft joint Writing Contest to April 15th.  The Divergent Literature Contest is being sponsored to find new writers for the Collective.

Writing Prompt: March Madness

Unpublished/Original work

Each entry should be more than 50 words but less than 500

Each writer may submit 1 to 3 (maximum) pieces of writing for consideration

Submissions will be accepted: 3/1/2017 through 4/15/2017

Full prize information to be announced!

1st Place Winner will be granted membership in the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective

2nd, 3rd and 4th Place Runners-ups will be granted membership in the Secret First Draft Collective.

Send your submissions with your name, your pen name (if applicable), the address for your blog and a short biography (1 to 3 sentences to): Suddendenouement@gmail.com

The Sudden Denouement Literary Collective and its sister sites Secret First Draft and The Whisper and The Roar are forums for divergent literature that we hope excite and challenge you.

The top three posts will be published on Sudden Denouement and the top five posts will be published on Secret First Draft.

Finalists will be contacted by Sudden Denouement no later than May 30, 2017.

Finalist 5 of 6: MISSING – David Lohrey

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MISSING – David Lohrey

What’s missing?
Absolutely everything, dad, absolutely everything,
including you.

Who’s missing?

I have friends who don’t sleep at night.
Are they thinking of what’s happened or worried about tomorrow?

The ball came this close but missed my head.
It’s called a close call.
All of life is a close call, mother said.

Who, what, where, when, why, how?

Mother’s left breast is missing.
Does she miss it? Did he?

Humes. Clover. Des Moines, Iowa. Coldspring.
There’s no tomorrow and yesterday’s forgotten.

You will be missed means you’re still alive.
You’re not dead yet but you will be.
Welcome to your funeral.

Is anything missing?
There is something missing but I can’t put my finger on it.

My front tooth is missing.
I missed the bus.
Mom’s purse.
Where’s my sock?

No, I don’t miss the bus.
I missed the boat.

“I’ll teach you to talk that way to your mother!”
You missed.
“I won’t miss next time.”

There won’t be a next time, father.
There never is a next time.

I miss you.

David Lohrey

Contest Finalist 3: On Becoming a Writer – Christine Ray

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On Becoming a Writer – Christine Ray Brave and Reckless Blog

Sometimes, adopting the names ‘writer’ and ‘poet’
Led her to encounters with the most amazing minds
Connecting her with a larger community

At other times she thought that ‘writer’ and ‘poet’
Were the loneliest names she had ever called herself
Waking up every morning
To unzip her chest, her gut
And bare her truths to the world
Because like others of her kind
She was complex, messy, containing
Multiple truths, not a singular one

Sometimes she felt like she was writing
To a small group of intimate friends
At others times,
She felt like she was calling out her truths
Into an empty desert landscape
Without even a coyote or armadillo
To hear her words before they fell away
Forlorn and unread
Unheard and unacknowledged
Rendering the writer, the poet herself
Invisible, diminished somehow

She was always struck by the juxtaposition
Of her physical body negotiating
Close suburbs,
Crowded subways and jostling city sidewalks
On the way to her day job
While her heart and mind
Wandered in the isolated wilderness
While errant words and wisps of dreams
And drops of feelings like rich, red blood
Continued to seep out of her
Brave and Reckless Blog

 

Contest Finalist 2: Splatter – Aakriti Kuntal

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Splatter – Aakriti Kuntal

When the ink parts

between my tresses

I unfold like a streak of leather

and disappear into the horizon

A crimson casualty

of lifeless days

In my town

the weather is a dense blue

rivulets and arches, alleyways and purple boundaries

a liquid state

of all matter

a fluidity, a lisp, a demonstration

I have been weeding out

the pellets of time

time after time

they have grown scaly fingers and clumsy feet

You ask me

Where is the ‘ache’ ?

I throb, a spinning compass

pointless

pointless

I am Orion

I am Virgo

I am Polaris and Sirius

stretching and leaping

across time and its variety

the combustible zones of space

I have a mouth of flames

an insurgency of sores, the vacancies of unanswered questions

Time after Time

I pluck my tendons

twist and crack, break and wield

throw it all away

Am I diseased ?

Do I seem irregular to you ?

with my blurriness and putrid hues

Do I deviate from your slumber of stagnant happiness ?

for you continuously ask

Where is the ‘ache’ ?

I stay quiet

pastel white lips, creases of suspended chlorine

embroidered waves of a wallowing blue

the willows and the currents

burgundy and bourbon

I stay quiet

for how must I say

that I am the ache

I am the ache now

I am coarse and viscous

and I spill

Oh, how I spill

I spill like velveteen red blobs

splatter, splatter

I’m not afraid

I have no sex,

I have no religion, no color, no form

no mind, no interpretation, no perspective

I am sparse and dangling and damaged

and true

Oh, so true

for only the truth can sting, sting and penetrate

and carve circles on your chest

and cubes

and snakes

and split you

and chop you

yet leave you calcified

remotely resembling the contours of a human female

aakritkuntal

https://aakritikuntal.wordpress.com/

 

Contest Finalist 1: Suburban Suicide – Erin Crocker

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Suburban Suicide – Erin Crocker  (Author Erin Crocker)

Custom Homes from the Low 600’s

     The Monday after I committed suicide, clouds formed over the plastic McMansion he’d promised me before slipping three-quarter karat cyanide on my left hand. Weighted drops of rain thrust their gelled bodies out gray figures like shit the day after a person over-indulges his or herself on a party-sized bag of Doritos.
My corpse, lost, within a forest of highlighted reverse bobs sitting behind leather steering wheels inside black Escalades, complaining how the forty-dollar bottle of ‘Damn Gina’ just stained the side of their ten-dollar iced-caramel-macchiato-choco-latte-Frappuccino—extra skinny, and ruined a selfie.
Blood slid down our AstroTurf lawns, syrup on Sunday morning pancakes, or paychecks from a nine-to-five-but-we-found-ourselves-going-in-at-seven-and-coming-home-at-ten-and-who-cares-if-a-glance-or-two-or-seven-is-exchanged-between-him-and-his-secretary type job, and suffocated us like Spanx.
We needed the money for a closetful of Louis Vuitton, because one should always keep a closetful of Louis Vuitton if she (or he) is attempting to impress fabricated friends to score an invitation to bunko night. Our laughs, GMO free as we dieted on sushi and engaged in photoshopped conversation about The Bachelor, or goldfish. The barrel of the gun cold as I poured a glass of Pinot and pulled the trigger.

authorerincrocker.com/

 

Tomorrow is Last Day of Contest / Tom Slatin

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[Pictured Elis Regina]

Tomorrow is Last Day of Contest / Tom Slatin

Tomorrow is the last day of the contest. I am looking forward to sending the judges your work. We have received an enormous amount of good work, and it is going to be hard to determine a winner. 1st place is 100 dollars. 2nd is 50 dollars. 3rd is 25 dollars. We will publish the finalists. We do not retain rights to any of the works.

I would like to say that the most rewarding part of this process is talking to other writers, which I’m sure I’ve mentioned before. I wanted to take a second and say a big thank you to Tom Slatin. He has a wonderful website with photography and writing. When I first started, he gave me invaluable advice about the process and sent me several stickers. I wanted to take a second to say thank you to him for taking his time to reach out to someone who was just starting. I have tried to pass that along and will continue to do so. Please take a moment to look at Tom’s wonderful work: TomSlatin.com.

 

Update on Contest and New Writers

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Update on Contest and New Writers

It has been a tremendous week, and we have received many wonderful submissions for the contest. The more I have thought about it, I believe we should add a prize for second and third place.

1st Place: 100 dollars

2nd Place: 50 dollars

3rd Place: 25 dollars

We will narrow it down to five or six pieces and then publish one every day as we make our decision. There is still a great deal of time; the contest ends on the 30th. We look forward to looking at all of the submissions, and, on a personal note, I have thoroughly enjoyed interacting with so many of you. Writing can be a solitary practice, and it is nice to engage with so many talented individuals who share our passion for the written word.

We have showcased several new writers over the last week and appreciate all of the support they have received. We have published works by Georgia Park (Private Bad Thoughts), Laura McGowan (Skinny and Single), Mick Hugh (Mick’s Neon Fog), Nicole Lyons (The Lithium Chronicles), as well as Pbbr, and myself. We have several new writers to publish over the next week, which we are excited about. If you feel like you may be a good fit for us, please drop us an email.

Suddendenouement.com

Thank you

Jasper Kerkau