Unclaimed baggage

"Hi, I'm wondering if you have any  Pushcart Prizes  laying around somewhere?"

"Hi, I'm wondering if you have any Pushcart Prizes laying around somewhere?"

Prime Number Magazine is a quality outlet, and Kevin, their publisher and eic, is a great guy who has given me sage advice each time I've spoken with him. He's a credit to the industry. That said, I'm a bitter bitch toward them because I've submitted several stories to their monthly contest and haven't won once.

I mean, seriously, don't they know who I am?

The twist of their contest is that stories must be 53 words, neither less nor more. And since there's not a big market for stories of that size, I've written my submissions as one-offs--possibly germs for future stories, but largely unsubmittable elsewhere.

So what to do? Guess Imma go like Beyoncé and make lemonade (minus the holy book pages in my menses). Below are a few of my favorites/ones I could find final versions of in my mess of folders.

July 2017

Prompt: Write a 53-word story about something hot

TITLE: Meditations on Khao San Rd

32° C, eternal summer on Khao San. Songkran waterguns swept the street, backpacker trash remains. But they drop baht. I’m worse, waving palm-down at trinket men.




Mai. Where’s the real Krung Thep?

“You want friend?” She asks over my shoulder.

My Singha sweats. “Chi.” I say, then find the cost.

February 2016
Prompt: Write a 53-word story about something sweet

TITLE: Drop Biscuits

“Give Memaw sugar.”

I don’t wanna but I’m a big boy now so scoot toward wide arms. Dry lips abrade my cheek. Camphor makes me swoon.

Her drop biscuits soaking cocoa gravy help forget. Every Sunday.

Then every other. Then The Sugar takes her eyes, legs. Then Memaw.

But drop biscuits help remind.

This one I wrote on spec, and is unsubmitted as there hasn't been a prompt to support it. But I wanted to post it anyway.


Fragile bonsai in my window, I struggle to nurture you. Water, but not too much. Sun, but not direct. Is your container big enough? You defy books and internet advice. You can’t tell me—I am supposed to know. I prune your rust needles, you spike me in thanks.

I’m failing parenting practice.