GINOSKO FLASH FICTION CONTEST:
$500 Award, $5 entry fee, deadline for Contest #4 is March 1, 2017.
Submit up to 2 pieces, 800 words maximum each piece.
Amanda Yskamp, Michael Hettich, Gary Lundy, E M Schorb, Andrena Zawinski, Andrei Guruianu, Robert Paul Cesaretti.
Awarded work will be published on Ginosko Literary Journal website and in forthcoming issue.
Guidelines and Eligibility:
The Ginosko Flash Fiction Award is for an unpublished work of flash fiction. Awarded piece is selected through a submission process open to all writers with the following exception:
Relatives or individuals having a personal or professional relationship with any of the final judges where they have taken any part whatsoever in shaping the submitted manuscript.
Procedures and Considerations:
Please submit work, along with a brief bio and cover letter if desired, by Submittable: https://ginosko.submittable.com/submit. Attachments must be in .wps, .doc, .rtf, or .pdf form, otherwise they will not be considered. Name of author not to be on submission.
Send print submissions to:
Ginosko Literary Journal
73 Sais Ave
San Anselmo, CA 94960
Online submissions will receive emailed invoices via PayPal to account EditorGinosko@aol.com. You do not need a PayPal account. Print submissions may send $10 in cash or check (made payable to Ginosko Literary Journal) to the above address.
Winner of 2016 Contest:
Gina M. Fields
He lays the gun down gently on the end table, like a baby he’s afraid to wake. I don’t know him. I don’t know his name. And I don’t know why I’m here. I’m smarter than this, or so I’ve been told. He’s a grisly man, probably younger than his hardened looks reveal, wearing an unbuttoned blue plaid lumberjack shirt, over a fresh to death white tank top, with blue khaki pants - the unofficial Crips uniform.
Staring at me from his worn down, green, easy chair on the other side of the living room, he says, You’re the smart one.
I don’t respond, not because I’m not, but because, I don’t want to seem arrogant or hurt the feelings of my three girlfriends who are stuffed onto this overstuffed, broken down, beige couch with me, in a barely sunlit, sparsely furnished apartment in The Jungle, a low income neighborhood in Central Los Angeles, where I’ve live with my overprotective mother and my older brother and sister.
We should go, I say.
No, he says, picking up the gun and placing it in his lap. His eyes won’t leave mine.
He adds, Pretty too.
Earlier this afternoon, we met three boys, a little older than us, maybe 16, 17, outside the Rave movie theater a few blocks from here, and they asked if we wanted to come over to their friend’s place and hang out.
I said no, but Francine giggled, Yes, and Michelle, said, It’ll be fun.
Stephanie, who’s way more practical than any of us, whispered in my ear, We can’t let them go alone, they’ll get killed or raped or something stupid like that.
Now, I’m sitting in a weed stench-ed, dimly lit apartment, a single bead of sweat dripping down my spine, staring at a gun, trying to keep us all safe. The three boys who we met, who brought us here, who probably sell weed for the guy with the gun, linger in the hallway door, having been dismissed from the room by our captor.
I’m not that smart, I say.
You’re not? he asks.
No, if I was I wouldn’t be here.
He laughs and says, Funny too. How old are you? Ummm, 16, I lie.
I’m 15. Why do I lie? Does that one year make me a more formidable opponent for a half stoned, 185 pound, 28 year old, gang member with a gun?
He squints his eyes like he doesn’t believe me.
I left this behind. I got a scholarship to the private prep, Westlake School for Girls, and left behind, Audubon, my neighborhood middle school, my friends, and my mother’s fears for me, to ride a Metro bus an hour and a half away to Bel Air, driving pass the recovery centers and wigs shops and 99 Cent Stores of my neighborhood to sprawling lawns, 15 foot hedges and palm trees, like you see in the movies.
Then, came summer.
Why are you here? the drug dealer asks.
She thinks he’s cute, I say, first nodding my head toward Francine, sitting next to me, and then towards the light skinned, skinny boy, nervously snickering in the hall with his homies.
Francine shoves into me, angrily denying, I do not. Why’d you go and say that?
I want to tell her, because staring at a gun promotes honesty, and I barely got away with lying once, so I’m not anxious to try again, but I’m concentrating on not breaking our captor’s gaze. He will not respect that sign of weakness.
The late afternoon sun struggles in through uneven blinds, saturating the room with heat.
Michelle’s nerves have gotten to her and she can’t stop giggling. Stephanie is sniffling, trying to hold back tears. And Francine, blinded by her crush, is making flirty eyes towards the hallway.
He picks up the gun and points it at me, asking, So, are you afraid, Beauty? Every breath in the room halts.
Heart pounding, mind racing, hands sweating, what’s the right answer, what’s the perfect quote, with a mind full of knowledge, surely Ellison, Emerson, someone, something I’ve learned will make me bulletproof? Words, thoughts, quotes jumble and stumble around in my head.
Nothing to say? he prompts. Words can’t stop bullets, I mutter.
He laughs loudly, and says, Naw, they can’t. Laying the gun back down on the table, he adds, Remember this, today, this dumbass nigger sitting here, gave you a gift, gave you life. Don’t ever forget. And I don’t care what your stupid-ass friends say or do, don’t ever walk into nobody’s place if you don’t know what’s up. The next motherfucker may not be in a giving mood. Get out of here, go save the world or do whatever shit it is you need to do.
Gina M. Fields received her B.A. from UC Berkeley, and is currently taking novel writing courses at UCLA and regularly attending Writer’s Digest Conferences. With her writing, she seeks to shine light into the darker corners of the human experience, so that we can better understand this wild and beautiful thing called life. She is seeking representation for her literary fiction manuscripts, "Fireflies in Winter" and “The Blue Hour.” Feel free to send thoughts or comments to: GFields347@aol.com.
WINNER OF 2015 CONTEST:
A Clown's Lips
She smears it round and round. Santa red, an inch beyond the ridges. The 55 bus pulls up and I board with the crowd of iPhone zombies. But she stays behind, rifling through a soiled plastic bag or tyinguntyingtying a shoe, her clown lips fluttering in petroleum fumes. At haters imagined, I imagine.
I once tried concealer on the blue veins around my eyes. I’ve never told anyone that. I was so tired of hearing You look so tired. That’s sort of like your lips, don’t you think?
You need to know, she says, what happens when it glides against me? It skates like ice, then waxes maternal. Like pig fat warming. Then something cums in my brain and spiders shiny like tinsel from synapsis to synapsis to synapsis. Sometimes I only have to unscrew the tube, twist it up and Merry Christmas.
I'm at work. My eyes wander from my Excel sheet hell to a window, blocky buildings beyond. I wonder where Clown Lady goes when she’s not at the bus stop. I’ve held back hellos because I dread where a real conversation might take us. You know, if you back away about twenty feet from an Excel sheet, all numbers look like fours?
Dopamine! she shouts at the bus stop the next day. A dopamine stampede! She laughs at her near rhyme.
I laugh at my own jokes too. I like to feel empathetic. But maybe I see myself too much through others. Sometimes I try to look out Clown Lady’s eyes just to see if her world looks whole from there. Maybe it’s black and white or ultraviolet.
Maybe it’s Heaven.
Maybe there’s a blind spot right in front of her. Like a horse.
A kid jumps up to kick a rock at the approaching bus; Clown Lady sits down next to me. Kids think I’m a retard, but I’m not, she says to everyone and no one. I used to do tests on animals in a lab. Had a Master’s degree in slapping lipstick on pigs and other pretty little atrocities. Freaked out, got fired, can’t afford my meds now. People say I ought to stay home like a bug in a cocoon. A bug! she shouts. But I like the smell of people waiting for perdition. She's smiling at me now. It's a very big smile, as you might imagine.
Like me? I whisper, still unsure I want to be heard. But the bus has just pulled up, and I’m not moving from her side.
You? Burnt toast, Barbasol and funk. The loneliest. That woman over there? A tumbleweed of primers, foundations and powders, blushes and balms, bronzers, lipsticks and funk. People don’t get it: they never really cover up the funk.
I’m a goddamn clown. Just say it. Say I need to find out what’s up with the clown lips like everyone else. People think if they bully me into talking about my mother or some mean man who left his subtle scars, one day I’ll show up all normal in a navy blue pantsuit and pumps, wearing pale peach skincolored bullshit on my weedyass lips.
I quote sitcoms.
I need my meds.
Clown Lady paces the length of the bus stop, retouches her lipstick. A new copse of kids has begun to huddle in a corner. Their sniggering grows louder until it erupts into Clown Lady Clown Lady Clown Lady as they board the bus. Cowards, I say. Clown Lady smiles, sits back down next me and twists up her lipstick another inch.
What's your name, sailor?
She leans in close to me. Baby bulls, James, those kids. They don’t try to figure you out; they just charge. Me, I’m the bull and the poser with the Mickey Mouse hat and the stretchy sequined suit, drinking in Oil of Olays! from the crowd. Do they see my inner struggle? No. How the lips pass me in a mirror, a window, someone’s sunglasses and want to be touched up? No. How they need to be touched?
I do, I say, which sounds like I'm saying I need to be touched. I let it go. Maybe I do.
Clown Lady stands up to address a colossal audience. And when they see me, she shouts, my lips all fat and red, do they see how I straighten, lift my chin to the hissing crowd and dare the bulls to charge?
Christopher Allen is the author of Conversations with S. Teri O'Type (a Satire). His work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Indiana Review, Night Train, Litro Magazine, STRIPPED a collection of anonymous flash and many other fine places. He's the managing editor of SmokeLong Quarterly. He lives somewhere in Europe and blogs about his crazy life at www.imustbeoff.com.
WINNER OF 2014 CONTEST:
BONE FOLDER He was sad and angry because his friend had died in a way that made it suicide in everything but name and he sat in a place where they used to drink and talk about Japanese literature and bullshit about work in progress and he thought that his friend might be forgotten which would be unjust because he was part of the resistance whereas the living collaborated and his anger at himself coalesced into action of a sort and he went out and bought tiles and a foam brush and a sheet of acetate and gloves and a mask and fingernail polish remover and a bone folder and he made color copies of a photograph of his dead friend with the right type of ink and he pushed the mirror image button so that the image would not be reversed on transfer and he heated the tiles in the microwave and placed each copy of the photo onto each warm tile face down and coated them with the fingernail polish remover and smoothed them with the bone folder under the acetate and applied the tile sealer to fix the image forever and when he was done he took off the gloves and the mask and left the tiles to dry and he was crying but he did not notice or if he did he thought it was the fumes of the solvent in his eyes and then one night later that week he mixed up a batch of cement and went out and fixed the tiles with the picture of his dead friend to the facades of buildings all across the indifferent city and for the rest of the year he smiled seeing the tiles in secret places or being denounced as vandalism by the authorities. - Jason Price Everett