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Fiction Winners

"My Brother, The Whale"

First Place


Fiction & Poetry Contest 2008

No Loss For Words City Paper Fiction & Poetry Contest 2008

"My Brother, The Whale" First Place | By Benjamin Beast

"Snow" Second Place | By Sarah Perry

"The Smoke Room" Third Place | By Penny Zang

"Breakfast Triolet" First Place | By Maggie Beetz

"A Poem For When You Are Older" Second Place | By Elizabeth Bastos

"Our Beloved Charles Willoughby" Third Place | By Christopher Adams

By Benjamin Beast | Posted 11/26/2008

It is four o'clock in the morning, and my brother is a whale. He is awake, outside. I am standing, and he is with me, crouched over a fire, burning photographs. We are silent. A birthday cake glows orange and curls.

"Can I at least keep this one?" I ask him.

"No way dude. That's exactly why you can't keep it: cause you want to. Get it?"

I don't answer him because I don't get it. But I trust him.

"Go in the house and get more," he says. "Please?"

I groan and go inside. Deep in my mother's chest I find a box of baby pictures. Hospitals, Halloween, and naked penises stare at me. I find one of me at Disney World and slip it in my back pocket. I set the box next to my brother and we sit in silence. One by one we burn them. After a long while, he speaks.

"Sometimes . . ." He pauses. "Sometimes after I masturbate--"


"Dude, shut up. Listen. Sometimes after I masturbate--I mean after I orgasm--I get this strong urge to run away, as fast as I can, in one direction--"


"--and sometimes, like when Mom asks me what I want to do with my life, I suddenly get the feeling that what I want to do is dig a hole, like an endless one. Or I want to walk, just walk, for the rest of my life." He throws a picture on the flame. The box is empty.

"What does that have to do with this?" I ask.

He shrugs. I nod. The fire goes out.

Guilty, I take the picture from my pocket and hand it to him. He looks at it and laughs, holds it over his cigarette lighter and looks at me with a smile.

"Fuck Mickey Mouse," he says, and hands me the burning photo.

I hold it and let it burn down to my fingers, ashes floating upward.

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And the winners are... (12/2/2009)
City Paper's 11th annual Fiction and 10th annual Poetry Contest

An Airline Ticket to Romantic Places (12/2/2009)
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What Was Janie Looking At? (12/2/2009)
Second Place

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