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Mini Sledgehammer: July 2010

This month’s Mini Sledgehammer landed between this year’s odd bouts of heat and rain, so the group took advantage of an evening outside, writing on Blackbird & Atomic‘s front patio. Check out our Facebook page to see photos. This month we also encouraged people who couldn’t make it to the event in person to participate–those stories are also on our Facebook page. We hope you’ll join us, in Portland or elsewhere, at the next Mini Sledgehammer, August 10. July’s winning writer will be one of the guest judges.

Prompts included:
a character with a unibrow and one eye
the action of using a plastic milk crate
the phrase “thanks a bunch”
the setting of behind a picture
Here’s July’s winning story!

Behind the picture she’s just pulled down from above her dorm room bed, the wall glistens with the sickly sheen of left-behind poster tape, its residue gunky and clotted. She rolls her own frayed poster up, and stuffs it into the bright purple milk crate on the floor, nestling it inside so that it joins a stack of CDs and a pile of books she will not return to him. Let him discover their absence, when he reaches up onto the bookshelf in his faculty office, ready to pull some obscure tome down, eager to recommend it to some freshman girl who needs her horizons “expanded.” She pictures him scrambling to preserve his air of avuncular-yet-flirty cool, and utterly failing, his five-hundred-dollar words baroque and overcompensating as a one-eyed man with a unibrow. His fingers will fumble, fishing out his back-up bibliographies; he’ll pass them to the provincial newbie with a flourish. “Thanks a bunch,” she’ll breathe, before she knows better, before his own breath will enter hers, before she winds up rolling her posters, and stacking her milk crates, educated now, but utterly weary.
© 2010 Jenn Crowell
Jenn Crowell is the author of the novels Necessary Madness (Putnam, 1997) and Letting the Body Lead (Putnam Penguin, 2002). She is currently a student in the low-residency MFA program at Antioch University Los Angeles, and is at work on her third novel.

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