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Small wonders


Winners of the 2004 flash fiction contest

Last fall, BCM invited readers to commit a work of fiction in 250 words or less. To all who participated, thank you. The first-place entry by Jason Reblando and the runner-up by Andrew Teed appear below. To read the stories awarded an honorable mention, go to "Related Links."

The Fiancé

By Jason Reblando

Philip ate his pork chops and balanced peas between the tines of his fork as the apartment radiators hissed and groaned. Theresa had already eaten her dinner. She knew Philip wouldn't feel like talking after she told him about the engagement. He was unhappy with the prospect of having a heroin user as a brother-in-law. The heavy worry Philip felt for his sister Melanie had been gathering for years, long before this ill-chosen boyfriend. The engagement was just one in a series of terrible decisions.

Philip hated Melanie's pathetic rationalizations: being in a relationship would solve her depression; moving in with Vincent would bring them closer together; getting engaged would fix the problems caused by moving in with him. Melanie believed these things would happen. But her optimism wronged her at every turn.

The elevated train rumbled by and turned the ceiling fan's pull-chain into a pendulum. Philip barely noticed Theresa washing the dishes. He stared at the empty kitchen table and tried to forget Melanie's tearful phone calls about spot-checks for used needles in Vincent's jeans. He knew there would be more. He tried to block out the conversations where Melanie had told him they were throwing things at each other, but knew there would be more. Philip also knew that of all the characters in Melanie's sad, frenetic life, it was this feckless fiancÚ who understood her most. And with that pitiful thought, he lifted the phone, which felt like an anvil, to congratulate his sister.

Jason Reblando '95 is a freelance photographer based in Chicago.

Star Lite

By Andrew Teed

Cassidy McNault was a 27-year-old aspiring actress living in Hollywood whose acting credits to date included, solely, faking orgasms. Fortunately for Cassidy, there was only one thing keeping her from stardom. Unfortunately for Cassidy, that one thing was talent. Sensing that her prime years were slipping by as audition after audition yielded no roles, she concluded that only by placing herself in the public eye would she be "discovered."

In an ingenious move that belied her lack of genius, Cassidy purchased a police scanner and monitored the whereabouts of breaking stories that warranted media coverage. From robberies to three-alarm fires to homicides, Cassidy was there, making herself available to local news crews on the scene. While Cassidy never knew the victim or perpetrator, she didn't let a minor detail like that prevent her from delivering compelling interviews as the "unsuspecting neighbor" or "grief-stricken you-name-it." It seemed that Cassidy had finally found her acting niche.

She got her big break having sped to the town of La Jolla (pronounced "La Hoya"), where she gave a convincing interview as the wife of a producer who had just been in a car accident. Unbeknownst to Cassidy, the producer was Tom Smith (pronounced "very gay"), and he had watched the interview that night on the news from his hospital bed. Impressed by her audacity, he offered—and she accepted—a role in the upcoming feature Scan and Deliver.

Andrew Teed '98 is a media analyst for a motion picture studio in Burbank, California.


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