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During the summer of 2016 we’re bringing back our flash fiction prompt series, inviting authors to respond to three different picture prompts. You can read more about the series here. Round 1 submissions responded to the photo prompt found here.
Round 1 Finalist: “Glamour the Snowgirl” by Paul Beckman
Dad says he’s had enough of the Finnegan’s. He’s sure they’re the ones who keep toppling our snowman that we’ve had to rebuild four times now because he’s sure that this is our year to win the neighborhood Best Snowman Contest.
Dad works a lot of hours, gets up at four in the morning and doesn’t get home until six or seven every night. “When you work construction you take the work when they call,” he says and we all know that he can go for a month before they call for another welder.
Dad didn’t get a call for the new office building in New York. “They’ll call,” he said but meanwhile the $500 prize for best Laurel Gardens Snowman will come in handy; but he’s not taking any chances.
We rebuilt Glamour the Snowgirl again and she’s more beautiful than ever. She’s got black-dyed eyelashes, a curvy body, and shapely legs with high heels and long red hair. With food coloring we painted a bathing suit on, candy red wax lips, big eyes from the chocolate cherries with the crème filling and a pug nose Dad chipped from a block of ice. Like the others, she’s kept behind a fence he built. He says we’ll add the jewelry and beach toys at the last minute.
Meanwhile, he moved our kitchen table to the living room so we can watch out the window until it gets dark and then he goes out and stands guard until the sun starts to come up and he goes in for a bite and a snooze. The wind chill factor is 20 below and even bundled up Dad gets cold.
Tonight’s the last night he has to go out because the judging is tomorrow morning. He tells Mom that the $500 is in the bag and he rubs his hands together. Tonight will be the coldest night in Evanston, Illinois’ history the weather people say. Our furnace goes out and we can’t get a repairman so Dad sends us to his sister’s house on the other side of town.
The Snowman Committee meets at Denny’s at six in the morning and stuffs themselves with pancakes and coffee and at seven on the dot they drive out to our neighborhood and from the warmth of their car make notes on each of the snowmen.
After they do that they confer and drive around posting the ribbons on the winning snowmen. Dad wins the blue ribbon and with it the $500. When we come back to the house about ten in the morning to meet the furnace man and see how we did, Dad is still standing in his protective gear with a blue ribbon pinned to his jacket. He’s frozen and never got a chance to uncover Glamour he tells us when he’s thawed. We look at the blue ribbon and under snowman’s name is written, “Masked Viking”.
Paul Beckman was one of the winners in the Queen’s Ferry 2016 Best of the Small Fictions. His stories are widely published in print and online in the following magazines amongst others: Connecticut Review, Raleigh Review, Litro, Playboy, Pank, Blue Fifth Review, Flash Frontier, Matter Press, Metazen, Boston Literary Magazine, Thrice Fiction and Literary Orphans. His latest collection, Peek, weighed in at 65 stories and 120 pages. His website www.paulbeckmanstories.com.