Saturday, June 27, 2015

Flash Fiction: a first attempt at a short story with less than 500 words

I decided to stretch my writing skills and submit a piece for a contest, but I never thought the story would amount to anything. After all, I don't write flash fiction and it was hard enough to come up with a tale that made sense in less than 500 words. But I was surprised by my ability to finish it and by my courage to enter it in the competition. When I received a notification that the story received an Honorary Mention award, I was beside myself. Yes, I was proud to know I was able to challenge myself and conquer something for it. Mission accomplished.

My story is published at along with other talented winners. And don't be shy about trying something new or accepting a challenge. You never know what it can lead you to. Check Spider Road Press' other award winning books, authors and opportunities for more challenging submissions.

Here's the award winning flash fiction piece - enjoy it!

Honorable Mention

Because the Sky Is Blue

by Andrea Barbosa

Lana picked up the broken pieces of crayons she had collected from under the tables when she was cleaning the restaurant, and spread them on her bedroom’s floor. A white piece of cardboard was ready to be used as the canvas for her next masterpiece.
“What do you do with these crayons?” She recalled the customer asking her. She had no idea she was being observed. The gentleman came to the restaurant often with his wife and two children. She had heard the waitresses mention he gave great tips because he was the president of some company and traveled a lot.
“I… I like to draw,” she had answered, a bit embarrassed by the unexpected contact with a customer. The janitorial staff was usually invisible, and had no business interacting with patrons.
“What do you draw?” The man had insisted on the conversation.
Lana had dug inside her jeans pocket and pulled a crumpled piece of paper. She showed it to the customer. The beautiful picture of Burj Al Arab resembling a sail boat in the middle of an island revealed itself.
“You draw places you want to travel to?” He had asked.
“Yes. One day I’ll travel. As sure as the sky is blue…”
“Dream, because the sky is blue,” she heard him saying.
Lana looked around her small bedroom with no windows. The walls were covered in the beautiful, colorful drawings she had made with the broken pieces of crayons, depicting cities she longed to visit: Paris, London, Venice, New York, even Athens. “One day, I’ll pack and go, because the sky is blue,” she thought to herself while coloring different hues of a blue sky on her makeshift canvas as the background for her own Burj Al Arab.
“It was an accident, I’m so sorry,” Lana apologized, while picking up the broken pieces of dinner plates peppering the floor of the restaurant. Waitresses were leading the customers away from the hazard. She was mortified, even more so because it happened in front of the only customer who had ever showed interest in her as a person, someone who hadn’t made fun of her dreams.
“Didn’t I tell you not to enter the dining room during busy hours?” The manager yelled at her with a menacing look. “What the hell happened?”
“I tripped over the broom when she was sweeping,” the waiter said in a shaky voice. He couldn’t believe he had dropped the dishes on the floor. Lana didn’t want to look up and continued to clean the mess she had caused while tears streamed down her face.
“You’re fired,” the manager said to her. “Finish cleaning this up and get the hell out. I don’t want to see your face around here no more.”
Lana marveled at the enchanting view. Like magic, the Burj Al Arab with its entire splendor seemed to be sailing by her bedroom window. She reached inside her purse and picked up the crumpled up picture of the Burj Al Arab she had shown to a customer five years ago, just a few days before the fatalistic day she was fired from the restaurant. She opened up her suitcase and took out the old cardboard canvases that used to decorate the walls of her barren bedroom. They all had red check marks on them. She found her drawing of Dubai and painted a red check mark on it.
“How do you like it?” The comforting, familiar voice asked her.
“I’m amazed! I can’t wait to have the children draw this, looking at the real model!”
“I believe they’re ready to do it,” he said, while his two children ran inside the room in excitement. “You’re the best art teacher. I’m so glad you accepted the offer to work for us.”
Lana smiled at him and hugged the children. She looked out the window again and whispered to herself the words she heard from him long ago. “Dream, because the sky is blue.”

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