Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Flash Fiction Contest: Benton and Eva Destruction

Write a story about Benton and Eva Destruction and Win the Drawing on the Right
The contest closes Wednesday December 8, 2010



Benton and Eva Destruction 
11"x14" oil on masonite 
with found objects

Click on pictures to enlarge

The story you write should be a "Flash Fiction" which is a complete story in one thousand or fewer words.  Please post the story in the comment section, you will have to provide your name and an email address in order to be qualified to win or you can e-mail me at kmencher@ohlone.edu with your info.  There is a problem with how many characters can post (only about 4,000) so if you cannot post it.  
E-mail it to me at kmencher@ohlone.edu

Go to my website for more contests: http://www.kenney-mencher.com/

Winning flash fiction stories will be integrated in with an exhibit in San Francisco at ArtHaus Gallery (April 8th for the reception).

The show is called:
Renovated Reputations: 
Paintings and Fiction inspired by Vintage Portrait Photographs
 
The exhibit will include a series of 20-40 paintings and mixed media works ranging in size from 8”x10” to 18”x24” framed with thrift store and vintage frames.  In addition to the exhibited works ArtHaus is publishing catalogs signed by me and as many of the authors as possible.

Catalogs/books will consist of image of the painting with the text of the “flash story” surrounding the image.  If I can get the authors to come to a book signing/party, authors would sign their pages for some of the printed stuff.

We're going to have a photobooth for the show for participants to play with and vintage costumes.

Of course I'll send the authors free copies of the catalogs. I will announce the winners the day after the closing deadline for the competition. I'm planning on doing one flash fiction competition a week every Monday from now until April. 

(If the conditions in the side bar are not to your liking, I'm totally flexible.  Send me a contract that you like and I will mail it back to you.  I just don't want to chase people for signatures when I publish the catalog!)

Go to my website for more contests: http://www.kenney-mencher.com/

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Benton and Eva Destruction by D. Charles Florey

Three inches of dirt.  That’s all it takes to cover anything up, three inches of dirt.  That was Benton’s motto and it served him well those thirteen years he and Eva robbed banks together.  
He had a thing about him that wasn’t quite right.  The teachers in grammar school had a name for it, but hell if he could remember what it was.  All he knew was that he couldn’t write so well.  Always writing something backwards or using the wrong letters.  He liked to draw though and he fancied himself quite good at it too.  
Eva was a minx.  Got anything she wanted, that Eva.  And the first thing she wanted, from the minute she laid eyes on him, was Benton.  She couldn’t resist him, she was drawn to him, and he didn’t have a prayer at ditching her, well...
So he had this chip on his shoulder from the day he learned he wasn’t all that bright.  At least that’s what the teachers would tell him and his parents.  Then his pa would take the switch to him, because that’s what he figured he needed.  He certainly wasn’t going to help Benton with the arithmetic or learn him about Gulliver and his travels.  That wasn’t the sort of pa he was.
At twelve, Benton stole the family Buick and left town.  He had to tie a brick to his shoe and sit on two bags of feed just to reach the pedals and see over the steering wheel, but he reckoned he had learnt about all that switch and those teachers were gonna learn him.
Eva was sixteen when he met her.  She was a waitress at the only diner in a town too small to mean anything, except to them two.  
He’d been at it for three years when they met.  Robbing and conniving for every nickel he could, and he was good at it too.  And he knew he was good at it.  A fortune teller once told him as much when the card of the bear track appeared.  The animal that takes what he wants asks not for permission.  So to hell with the teachers, teaching reading and writing and arithmetic, who needed that?  They should spend more time learning about the kids, fostering their natural talents.  If they had with Benton, they would have learned that he was a fine thief, the dandiest around.
And Eva wasn’t half bad herself.  Her ma called her a klepto, whatever that meant.  All she knew was she liked things and she took what she liked.  It seemed right and natural, the proper thing to do.  Eva didn’t see anything so wrong with it, and neither did Benton.  And that’s why she loved him, because he just loved her.
They bedded and pilfered about until they were twenty-two, the pair of them.  They knocked off liquor stores and grocery stores with guns or knives whenever they felt like it.  But most of the time, Eva just liked taking things from the stores.  
“Why go and trouble the folks runnin’ the shops and scarin’ them half to wit, Benton?”
“‘Cause we need the money Eva, we can’t go livin’ off the screws and hammers you swipe at every hardware store.  We gotta eat, you know.”
“I take food too.”
“Not enough, princess.  You know that.”
“I know, I just don’t like scarin everyone.”
They got married before anything sexual happened between them.  It was Benton’s idea mainly.  He was the sentimental kind, the type to draw her all sorts of pictures when he could steal a few moments away from her.  She liked to stick close, didn’t like being alone.
So it was especially hard for her when he wanted to do a job without her. 
“It’s a bank, princess.  These fellas wanted me to come along.  Not you.”
“But what will I do?”
“You gotta stay here and wait for me.”
And wait she did.  Her mind spun wild with thoughts of Benton and his pals.  They took him from her.  Who were they to do that?  She thought as she watched a Blue Jay outside their apartment window construct a nest, twig by twig.  
She waited until the nest was full of eggs, just a few days, but a lifetime without Benton.  When the bird had flown off to do whatever birds do, Eva climbed the tree, inched up it like a worm, and she took that nest and she dumped it out.  The eggs cracked on impact.  Then she took the nest inside and put it in the cupboard.  If she couldn’t have Benton, that Jay couldn’t have her nest.  
Benton came home that night.  He dumped bags of money on the bed and they made love in it.
“Never leave me again.”
“I promise.”
They buried most of the loot in the backyard under three inches of dirt.  “That’ll make it easier to find, you see.”
“Ok, my love.”
Together, they heisted.  Benton showed her how, and she learned quickly.  She didn’t care anymore about scaring people.  In fact, she liked it.  At one bank, she even took a small toy from a boy: a die cast knight in shining armor.  “This is for you my love,” she told Benton.  The boy cried, and she smiled.
Benton grew concerned.  His goal was always simple - steal to live.  But Eva was turning into a monster.
The night in the desert that she killed an eagle just to pluck a single feather from it and give it to Benton was their last night together.
“That’s the symbol of freedom, Eva. You can’t kill an eagle.”
Eva gripped the gun, “But you love America, so I thought this feather...”
“Eva, you just can’t.”
“You don’t love me anymore.”  She held the gun to her head.
“No, Eva!”  He tackled her, but it was too late.
Three inches of dirt was all he covered her with.  Three inches, so he could always find her again.
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TWO EGGS FROM THE SAME NEST by Dee Turbon

Two eggs from the same nest. That’s how she put it. That’s what we were, what we are. As close as that, so close we shared a bed when we were growing up, sneaking around the house so we wouldn’t be caught. Mom and dad had their own problems to deal with, always carping at one another, always worrying about money and how they’d make everything work out. So me and Eva, we had space and time to ourselves, and no one looking over our shoulders to make sure that what we did was right.

It got so that I looked forward to the star-startled dark and the games we’d play, dressing her like she was a doll and calling her princess and I was the prince or the knight in clink-clank armour, and dragons I slew, and all for Eva’s love or her kisses. Just a game to begin with, all in our heads, those swords and those dragons and those gift-kisses, and Eva felt left out, standing pretty at the dark edge of our imaginings, chained and waiting to be rescued, or dropping a silk scarf for the knight to fasten to his lance before battle.

‘I want to be the knight,’ she said. ‘Once, I do.’

But I told her she was a girl and that wasn’t how it was in all the stories, that it was against the rules.

‘Then the stories are all wrong,’ she said, ‘and the rules should be broken and the games should be more real.’

And I think that was the start, of everything, and the beginning of the end, too.

I was the dragon some nights, and some nights it was Eva, and we wrestled each other on the floor of her room and sometimes the dragon won and sometimes it didn’t. She was like an animal when she started, fighting for real, and my clothes were torn into ribbons and she scratched my skin and afterwards licked the wounds clean, really licked them, and rubbed her spit into the cuts. And once she bloodied my mouth, my lip split against her hard thrown fist, and she kissed me, sucking-lip to lip, and she said my blood tasted of iron on her tongue.

Then too old for dragons and princesses and still we fought and her breath hot on my face and she broke the bones of my fingers once, and afterwards she said she was sorry and she stroked the tears from my face with the tips of her fingers, gentle as feathers brushing against the skin, and she kissed me and it was worth those broken fingers for what she did afterwards.

‘We mustn’t tell,’ she said. ‘Not ever. And that’s a rule we can’t break. Like secrets sworn in blood.’

And there was blood on her sheets that first time.

Two eggs hatched in the same nest, that’s how she put it, and that’s what we were.

‘Just when we are alone, just here in the dark of ourselves, just then,’ she said.

And her favourite story was the one about Pandora and how she opened a box that held all that was evil in it and opening the box set those evils free and they multiplied to fill the whole world and would never again fit back into that box. She had a picture of Pandora on the wall above her bed, and she said what we did in her room was like being in that box and if we let it out the whole of our world would be crushed, and she had a scuttle black beetle that she’d caught in a jar just so she could show me what she meant, and she tipped it onto the wooden floor and squished it flat with the dance-twist heal of her foot, all so I could see what a crushed world would be.

‘Swear,’ she said.

And I did.

But swearing made no difference, not in the end. Came a day it was suddenly no secret. We got careless. Eva’s door left unlocked one night, maybe other nights, too, and sleep a little thicker on us than it was before, and our parents standing in the near-light of morning and what they saw was an abomination, that’s what they said. And they went to church together, speaking with the one soft fright-voice, and they told the minister and asked him what they should do. And he said they should pray for our souls as he would.

Two eggs from the one nest and they sent me away, far away, and Eva was just a voice in my head ever afterwards, fighting to be heard, dragon’s tooth and dragon’s claw as only Eva could fight, but no knight to rescue her from the dark she fell into, and mad she became, that was what they later said. Eva, all her screws loose, and she was right about Pandora’s box, for the evils multiplied beyond reckoning, till she could bear them no more, and at last she ran away from everything.

They say she was on her way to me when she was hit by the car, and I swear I knew before ever they told me, we were as close as that.  
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WHEN WISH UPON A STAR
Stephen D. Rogers

"Starlight, start bright, first star I see tonight.  I wish I
may, I wish I might, get the wish I wish tonight.  I wish that
you are my shining knight and I am your princess, waiting to be
saved so that she can reward her hero.  That like birds of a
feather we build a nest to start a family.  That you're not so
chivalrous that you forget to be a tiger, a lion, a big old bear.
That's what I wish.  What do you wish?"

That I get screwed tonight which seems really, really likely. 
"What you said."