We are now accepting submissions for tournament #4: IF I WERE TRULY FREE… Submissions must be non-fiction stories about your life. Think micro-memoir. Deadline: February 5th. $5.25 USD. Click here for submission details. The winner takes home 35% of the $ pot and the runner-up takes home 15% of the $ pot. Go here to read the results of our previous tournaments.
1. KIMM BROCKETT STAMMEN
My Cousin Visits for a Week in 1973
He taught me to call it Table Tennis–not Ping Pong!–and took me to a pro club in Seattle. I was eleven, in flowered bell-bottoms. The other players–adult men like him–beat the pants off me. Kindly, mercilessly.
Cousin David, shoveling mom’s chicken and dumplings, complained about the difficulty of ascending Table Tennis seedings, the inadequate prize money. From our house he flew to Thailand, stayed until I was grown and we thought him lost.
I remember the arc of his backhand smash, the distance he taught me to stand back from the table, because distance equals power.
2. SARAH BERGER
In North Wales
I discovered sheep
are not placid bedtime animals,
but rather dirty and shaggy and wild,
sometimes hiding with the bulk of their bodies
a slim lamb
which I didn’t see
when I climbed over the pasture fence,
stomping along with my sketchbook in the bright white wind.
It was good
that I was nimble,
since startled mothers are fierce. I snapped
alert when she ran at me, fast as fire.
I held my pencil box, I jumped, and I learned.
3. NASSYA SOL
My mother, investigating the children gone quiet, caught my first attempt at fortune telling. She saw me scrutinizing the playing cards, older girls (aching for womanhood) eagerly leaning in as I prophesied one an acting career and a loving rich husband.
When I saw her, my terrified eyes betrayed the imposter alibis I tried to conjure: Wasn’t my great-grandmother a rumored Romani witch? Couldn’t my own suspicious mother read thoughts?
She ignored mine now and nodded to the eldest: “She foretells well”, then disappeared into the party. I abandoned the craft after that, but the bond of my coven thickened.
4. KATE E LORE
Parties Past and Present
I cheated, technically. I was so certain he was about to break up with me. And I still cried when he did. But for some reason I forgot about the other boy in my heartbreak. I avoided him. Perhaps I blamed him. We talk now, but I never touched him again. Not in that way.
A year later they’re both at my birthday party. Everybody is just friends and I’m the only one hung up on the past. Watching my ex from across the room, rebuffing this boy and his honest advances. He seems confused. I guess we all are.
T5. LUCY WILDE
Watching Mr. X brush my husband’s remains from his hair, I knew he would not be back for a repeat performance. He had only been in my bed, inside of me, as a probe. To see if I was dead inside. I felt nothing. I screamed harder, bit his shoulder, hungry for the taste of life. With the last thrust, I saw your urn wobble on the shelf above, tip and release a shroud of ashes. I put you there to watch over me. To remind me of the phoenix. To save me from myself.
T5. ARA HAGOPIAN
Who Dies Anymore?
And then he died. Can you believe that? I saw it on social media. He died. Who dies anymore? I looked back at some of our old messenger conversations- mostly mediocre banter (people who open up easily quickly run out of stuff to talk about). I noticed the naked pictures he’d sent. He was a sexy guy, and they were sexy pictures, so I found myself getting aroused looking at them. And after a while I just thought- oh my god, he’s dead. I wish I could say that was the last time I looked at those pictures.
TOP-6: Author Bios
Kimm Brockett Stammen’s writings have appeared or are forthcoming in The Greensboro Review, Oyster River Pages, Pembroke Magazine, Crack the Spine, and many others. She is nominated for a 2020 Pushcart Award by Cirque Press, was the 2nd Place winner in Typehouse Magazine‘s 2019 short fiction contest, and was shortlisted for the 2019 Eyelands International Short Story Prize. She received an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University in Louisville, KY.
Sarah Berger is a writer and classical singer living in Baltimore. Her essays and stories have been published in Prometheus Dreaming, Shards, Big Whoopie Deal, and Passengers Journal. She is writing a novel about a cohort of music students graduating in the year 1965, and she is currently studying in the University of Baltimore’s MFA program in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts.
Nassya Sol is an aspiring storyteller living in Brooklyn, NY. Her curiosity about the world is possibly a result of frequently moving countries throughout her life. Nassya has often felt like an outsider painstakingly assembling an insider dossier. She remains insatiably curious and cautiously optimistic about humanity. You can find her online at NassyaSol.com
Kate E Lore is the pen name of Kate Isaacs. Graduated with a bachelors degree from The Ohio State University Kate was born in Dayton Ohio, but currently lives in Columbus Ohio. Kate has self published comics, been featured in anthologies, written articles for magazines, and had multiple publications in literary magazines for both fiction and nonfiction.
A jack-of-all-trades Kate splits her time up between fiction and nonfiction, a graphic memoire and a written one. Screen plays and flash short stories. Painting and comics. Her dating blog and her art page. For more information see: Kateelore.com
Lucy Wilde is an emerging writer, living in an old farmhouse in Tsawwassen, British Columbia. She divides her time between writing and communing with her erudite horse Magic, who lives on a farm nearby. Her writing has appeared in Barren Magazine, and will be forthcoming in White Wall Review, and Citron Review.
I’m an MFA fiction candidate at University of Florida. I’m bisexual and I’ve been involved in the “hookup” scene, which I say only to give some context for my submission. I recently spent some time in Armenia in the Depi Hayk Birthright program for 25%-or-greater ethnic Armenian diasporans. Before that I worked at a liquor store and a bar. Before that I went to undergrad at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.
|Matches played||Wins||Losses||Win %||Average Vote %||# of votes||1st Place||2nd Place||3rd Place||Prize winnings $ in USD|
|Kimm Brockett Stammen||5||5||5||100||90.91||10/11||1||$30.80|
|Kate E Lore||3||2||1||66.67||71.43||5/7|
|Ben Kim Paplham||1||0||1||0||0||0/2|
|Juan Manuel Sandoval||1||0||1||0||0||0/2|
|Momin uz Zaman||1||0||1||0||0||0/2|
|Kelly A. Dorgan||1||0||1||0||0||0/2|
|Alex Wells Shapiro||1||0||1||0||0||0/2|
|Round 1||Votes||Round 2||Votes||Round 3||Votes||Round-Robin Final||Votes|
|Most wins = tournament winner.|
|ShuJen Walker [Embraced]||2|
|vs.||ShuJen Walker [Embraced]||0|
|Ben Kim Paplham [Adoption: of silver pieces]||0||Round-Robin Wins||Round-Robin Losses|
|vs.||Sarah Berger [Curious]||2||Sarah Berger [Curious]||2||1st Place||Kimm Brockett Stammen [My Cousin Visits for a Week 1973]||2||0|
|Sarah Berger [Curious]||2||2nd Place||Sarah Berger [Curious]||1||1|
|vs.||Sarah Berger [Curious]||2||3rd Place||Nassya Sol [Good Fortune]||0||2|
|Rupa Wood [The Sweet Emptiness Which I Accept Like The Warm Fruit of Something Better.]||0|
|Mel Sherrer [Providence]||0|
|vs.||Lucy Wilde [Resurrection]||2|
|Lucy Wilde [Resurrection]||2|
|vs.||Lucy Wilde [Resurrection]||0||Nassya Sol [Good Fortune]||0|
|Janice McCrum [The Slide]||0|
|vs.||Alyssa Dorsey [A Burning Farewell]||0|
|Alyssa Dorsey [A Burning Farewell]||2|
|Nassya Sol [Good Fortune]||2|
|vs.||Nassya Sol [Good Fortune]||2|
|Brenda Gonzalez [The Fall]||0|
|vs.||Nassya Sol [Good Fortune]||2||Nassya Sol [Good Fortune]||0|
|Juan Manuel Sandoval [¿Quién es el hombre que me a querido?]||0|
|vs.||Taylor Irwin [Bloodmemory]||0|
|Taylor Irwin [Bloodmemory]||2|
|Momin uz Zaman [Tonight I came]||0|
|vs.||Brent Gudzus [My Temporary Family]||0|
|Brent Gudzus [My Temporary Family]||2|
|vs.||Kate E Lore [Parties past and present]||1||Kimm Brockett Stammen [My Cousin Visits for a Week 1973]||2|
|Mara Beneway [Our Mother Made us Matzo Ball Soup]||0|
|vs.||Kate E Lore [Parties past and present]||2|
|Kate E Lore [Parties past and present]||2|
|Ara Hagopian [Who dies anymore?]||2|
|vs.||Ara Hagopian [Who dies anymore?]||2|
|Kelly A. Dorgan [SET ABLAZE]||0|
|vs.||Ara Hagopian [Who dies anymore?]||0||Sarah Berger [Curious]||1|
|Doug Canter [View]||0|
|vs.||LindaAnn LoShiavo [The Pervert from the Poster]||0|
|LindaAnn LoShiavo [The Pervert from the Poster]||2|
|Alex Wells Shapiro [Testing Boundaries]||0|
|vs.||Kimm Brockett Stammen [My Cousin Visits for a Week 1973]||2|
|Kimm Brockett Stammen [My Cousin Visits for a Week 1973]||2|
|vs.||Kimm Brockett Stammen [My Cousin Visits for a Week 1973]||2||Kimm Brockett Stammen [My Cousin Visits for a Week 1973]||2|