Nov. 14 2011 12:00 AM

Two of our favorite entries that were disqualified on technicalities

pigeon
Credit: Dr Neil Clifton, Wikimedia Commons

The rules of CityBeat's Fiction 101 contest are pretty simple: It's gotta be no more than 101 words long, not including the title. We count particles and numbers, and a hyphenated word counts as two words if the two parts can work independently. 

Nevertheless, some people overshoot their word count and their stories get dumped. Often it's just a simple mistake. In The Pigeon Lady below, one of our favorites, "every day" was accidentally spelled "everyday" and once we split it, the word count jumped 102. In the second entry below, the writer counted "4-inch" as one word, when "four-inch" to us is two words. 

Yet, we liked these two so much that we're going to go ahead and publish them as cautionary tales: 

The Pigeon Lady

She is withered. Every day she feeds the pigeons from her atrophied hands, watching with eyes as hooked as her nose. Every day visitors see her, sitting in her black dress, with a brown paper bag, tossing small handfuls of seed. Photographed, talked about, remembered. A grandmother icon. The tale most told. 

None remembers the old man gripping his chest at this spot. They do not remember his pain, or her traitorous body unable to stoop, or help. Or the pigeons shating on his chest and in his eyes as he died. She remembers.

Eat your poison birds, eat and die gasping.
 
Glenn Hefleynn

***

Is Your Libido a Mosquito?"

The four-inch square advertisement mocked me from the redlight section of The Stranger, Seattle's weekly free radical newspaper. I wasn't sure when the breast augmentation section spilled over into the male escort section but here I was anyway. 

Find your Inner Sasquatch,” it said. Inner Sasquatch? Why would I want to find my Inner Sasquatch? My eyes rolled past pitches for electrolysis and the patches of coarse fur at my shoulders itched beneath my brown flannel woodsman's shirt. 

I flipped back a few pages to the feminine enhancement section. 

What in the name of Odin's Mighty Forearm is Vaginal Rejuvenation Surgery

Brian White

Calendar

  • Visit one of the 70 participating restaurants, bars, coffeehouses and nightclubs in town on this night and 25 to 50 percent of sales will go to local HIV/AIDS services and prevention programs. 
  • Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward, who are vying to replace Todd Gloria on the San Diego City Council, will discuss urban issues, such as parking, homelessness and new developments
  • The new exhibition designed by Dave Ghilarducci is made from hundreds of rolls of packing tape and bound together by layers of plastic shrink-wrap. Visitors can navigate their way through cocoon-like passageways...
  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
  • The San Diego County Bike Coalition hosts this monthly bike-in happy hour event to get biking residents involved in their communities and discuss bike projects planned for that specific community
  • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
  • So Say We All's monthly storytelling night features stories about those jobs we took because we had to take a job. Featured readers include Allison Gauss, Annmarie Houghtailing, Cecile Estelle, and more
  • Artists from the all-abstracts group show will talk about their work and techniques. Artists include Edwin Nutting, Danielle Nelisse, Leah Pantea, Lenore Simon, and more
See all events on Thursday, Apr 28