I’m very excited about this one – I took a chance and entered a flash fiction writing contest on MashStories.com and I got shortlisted! Which means my story is published on their site and a podcast episode will be recorded featuring my story, “Smolder.”

MashStories holds four competitions a year and the only requirements for entry are that your story is 500 words or less and it uses three keywords (provided during each competition). The keywords for my competition were: Ankle, Fashion and Criminal.

You can read my story here: Smolder

[UPDATE]
While I didn’t win the contest this round I learned that I came in 5th! Not too shabby!

You can now hear the podcast version of the story here:

[UPDATE: Looks like the old episodes have been taken down but I’m leaving the link here in hopes that I can find a copy.]

[UPDATE: MashStories seems to have closed its doors so, just in case, I’m including the text of the story here.]

 

Smolder

It’s Patrick’s first and last time. His look needs to be the perfect trashy-sexy – the epitome of criminal pin-up style to match the retro Romeo waiting for him in the garage downstairs.

Gripping the edge of the sink, Patrick leans into the mirror, puckers and applies a matte cherry lipstick with too much force. The stick breaks and falls into a bed of mineral foundation already settled around the drain. He finishes the job with the ragged edges anyway. Using a square of toilet paper he blots, fishes out the bit of black eyeliner floating in his eye and then tosses the wad in the trash where it lands next to the wax strips covered in patchy clumps of his tan hair. Leaning back from his reflection he puckers, pouts, bows his back to jut out his ass and blows a kiss.

The beat shifts in the indie pop song playing on his stereo. He jumps twice with the chorus, shoots an arm into the air and vibrates with the beat, the synthetic platinum curls of his Marilyn “fashionwig” bouncing with each movement. He throws his head back and gives her trademark careless smile – all teeth and brightness and levity.

In his bedroom he poses in the closet mirror. He’s Catwoman. He’s Vampira. But wearing a peach halter swing dress dotted with teal Cadillacs and fuzzy dice that match the ones in his boyfriend’s now rumbling car. He imagines him with his shirt sleeves rolled up, checking the fit of the hose on the rebuilt classic, and blushes.

He hurries to his bed and pulls a brown paper-wrapped shoebox out from underneath. The note from the seller is still in the package – “What a Find! Sent straight from heaven to you. Glamourous! Chic! Unique! And regrettably rejected by the original owner due to an imperfect fit.” Folding the note, he slips it into the champagne clutch he’s borrowed from the closet of his mother’s other forgotten things.

Patrick sits to pull his pantyhose on one leg at a time; hiding a bony ankle, thick calf, knobby knee and muscular thigh with each tug of the silky second skin. Laying back, he peddles on an invisible bicycle in the air and then freezes. Turning his head to the imaginary photographer, he sucks in air to highlight his cheekbones. Three more boudoir poses and then he slips into the peach patent leather pumps.

The next part, walking down the empty catwalk hallway to the landing, he’s practiced. One leg crosses the other with each step, arms hang straight, his eyes ahead with a predatory stare. Then he descends demurely, passing the family portraits – everyone in suits, his mother’s hand on a bible in front of an American flag, his own unfamiliar face aging in caps and gowns.

At the bottom Patrick checks his face in the “last looks” mirror and exits into the garage where his Romeo now waits for him, sleepily, in the exhaust-filled car.