11th Annual Fiction 101 Contest 

Painting pictures in 101 words

Page 3 of 3

Judge's Pick, Cort Conley, $25

Maria G. Essig, Boise

Language of My Dreams

The new bedsheets. They required an entirely different vocabulary from my dreams. Suddenly, the language of my dreams turned formal—"yes, sir" and "no, ma'am," "I do believe I shall," no slang. Men now wear hats, not caps but real hats with brims. Colors have become darker and less defined—very film noir. More blues and blacks, fewer greens. No pink. I wear dresses (imagine that!) bordered with lace. On a horse, I would probably ride sidesaddle. Fog swirls in at odd times of the day. And I no longer dream of my dog but of a bird I don't have.

Judge's Pick, Laura DeLaney, $25

Mark Perison, Boise


He picks up the last box and stands listening. This now-empty room was once the nursery, then playroom and finally office. The handyman comes tomorrow to patch holes and paint, the buyers move in Thursday.

The echoes—crying, laughter, music—are already fading.

Then he sees it: the earring lost when Katie was eight. A goofy, costume-jewelry cat she'd cried over for days. He studies it carefully. If he sends it, she'll just toss it into some dorm-desk drawer. Widening a hold in the drywall, he drops it in, a faint clack somewhere deep in the wall. Turning, he walks out.

Judge's Pick, Alan Heathcock, $25

Greg Heinzman, Boise

Agustin Arrives Home to Find Gringos in His Kitchen

The gringo missionaries sipped Jamaica in the kitchen, commenting on the drink's lack of sugar. Isis anticipated Agustin at the door and let him in discreetly.

"Why are they here?"

"To see what it means to be poor," she whispered.

"Tell them it's puta mierda."

"No, me amor. We are feliz y contento despite our poverty."

"Feliz y contento? PUTA y MIERDA!"

The gringos didn't know mierda, but they knew puta. They thought he had called her a whore, and they smiled inside to have witnessed machismo firsthand. Another cheap souvenir for the collection.

The translator did not bother to clarify.

Judge's Pick, Clay Morgan, $25

Swarnal Borthakur, Boise

The Ticking Clock

I hear a clock ticking faintly but I cannot find it. I ask my father if he hears it too and he shakes his head. He looks tired and sad.

I think it is in the terrarium and the turtle swallowed it. I was watching him swim lazily around his enclosure yesterday. I had to lean forward in my wheelchair to see his eyes. He knew I was watching him.

Was he wondering why a seven-year-old child was peering at him so wistfully?

He swam toward me and turned his head. I think he understood and I was glad.

Judge's Pick, Jocelyn Robertson, $25

Jennifer Sanders Peterson, Boise

A Part

Charlie didn't show for work today. They called. I didn't know where he was beyond this morning when we woke at the same time, facing each other, our feet hooked together beneath the covers. He looked at me through half-crimped eyes, smoothed my hair, said, "How are you still so sexy with your retainer in?" Which made me laugh, made him laugh—and the sun was coming in behind his head, through his eyelashes. He sent one text though, Don't worry Jules. I'm fine. Just done. You understand, right? Love you for whatever it's worth. And I wonder what it is.

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