Thank you so much to everyone who submitted a piece to the 2nd Annual Bloomsday Fiction Contest! The judges had a hard time deciding who would make the top 5 as so much talent was submitted.
We are excited to announce our top 5 winners!
Fifth Place – Infinity or the Big Bang, Inge Isreal
If he had smiled why would he have smiled? To reflect that each one who enters imagines himself to be the first to enter whereas he is always the last term of a preceding series even if the first term of a succeeding one, each imagining himself to be the first, last only and alone, whereas he is neither first nor last nor only nor alone in a series originating in and repeated to infinity. And what if it originated, not in infinity, but in the Big Bang, so that, having downed their Devil’s Dream and in the full glory of their manhood, all who preceded him and all who would follow, entered, ever since the first split second, the very moment of creation that gave birth to the universe and to time itself, including the present 24 hours and, in the same instant, to the unquenchable urge, the single-minded drive, the disguised but ungovernable desire to procreate?
Fourth Place – Embarr Street, Jared Gowen
I had been late stepping out; my watch had stopped. It was a rattle in the window, the passing rumble of the 9:05, that let me know of my mistake. I crossed the street, each new step punctuated by the echo of the last. The walk to the bus stop took longer than I remembered. I saw myself in the window of Finn’s Diner, awning black with mould, door shut fast behind a plywood cover. My thoughts went to sticky afternoons in a summer haze, tucked behind chequer tablecloths and cold drinks. No more. The night pressed close, kiln-hot. My bus pole, lonely on an empty street. Above it, a fluorescent light droned. The liquor store was cool inside. My hand clouded the refrigerator glass, and the clinking bottles perspired in their case as I set it down. I didn’t know the long-faced man behind the counter, and he didn’t know me. As he stood, sliding coins over the countertop with his fingertips, I saw it: the coach that was to take me home. Its roar became a whine, and as I reached the street it was nothing but a red wake sinking down into the dark.
Third Place – Persusasion, Wayne Norton
“The Inter-Galactic Committee detects no value whatsoever, captain. All is in readiness for the destruction of Planet Earth.” “Good, good. I am eager to devote my talents to more important matters.” “The local species is still pleading with us to spare them. The final delivery of what they insist is evidence of their cultural excellence has arrived. Shall I simply activate the expulsion hatch?” “No, we are obliged by I-GC law to provide due process. Here is something called the Mona Lisa—an ugly species, aren’t they?—and a further clarification of the American democratic process. Still incomprehensible. But what is this cylinder from Victoria, BC? I thought Victoria was a dead queen and BC had something to do with one of their religions.” “Captain, it identifies itself as Appleton E.S.B. and invites us to sample. Our sensors detect no content harmful to our little green bodies and large purple brains.” “A toast then! To Earth’s imminent destruction.” They drink; they hesitate. The captain speaks. “A species capable of producing such nectar may possess some value after all. I grant a century’s reprieve. Order the fleet to leave this stellar system … and have that cylinder delivered to my cabin.”
Second Place – Porto Rosso, Barbra Black
The man with the ruddy face, a regular at Bar Os Lusíadas, has not come back for his prosthetic leg. Homer he called it. Sits there like an abandoned half-marionette, its carved wood gathering odours: cigarette smoke, kidney, mouldy velvet. Around its upper joint dark matter, paint flakes, the old skin, the only reminder the leg once stomped the oak floors of the Teatro Daedelus de Lisboa, punctuating monologues by Pessoa with its owner attached. Disquieting. The widowed waitress grimaces every time she passes by it. Garish lipstick lights up the dank interior, her face the devil’s dream of a hot and satisfying eternity devoid of the endless stream of consciousness of unrepentant alcoholics. The drink of Gods. And actors. Outside, the moon hangs, last apple of winter. “O ditador não está morto,” a drunken patron slurs to nobody in particular. The tram, which could be the same tram every time, its intermittent nature creating the illusion of succession, rattles past. Sad circus train. At home, the man with the ruddy face—prides himself on his entries and exits—dreams, the first time in years. He’s adrift on a phosphorescent sea, in the filmy distance a floating puppet theatre.
First Place – The Legacy, Mithila Karnick
The judges agreed that The Legacy by Mithila Karnick told an amazing story that left the judges with an overflow of emotions. Mithila was awarded 2 tickets to the Sunshine Coast Writers Festival with 2 nights accommodations. Take a look at her piece!