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Mini Sledgehammer January 2013: Blackbird Wine & Atomic Cheese

Elissa Nelson, a long-time Sledgehammer friend, has upped her friendliness by offering to lead Mini Sledgehammer for the next handful of months–tonight was her first in this role. Thanks, Elissa!

Can you guess what, from the winning story below, Elissa’s prompts were? [Insert theme music to Get to Know Your Facilitator, an exciting new game from the producers of Wheel of Fortune!]



by Kerrie Farris

The crows crowded in at her feet, squabbling in rough voices over the cold, half-eaten calzone Grace had dropped a moment before. Some of them stood away from the fray, beady eyes trained on her, grumbling and squawking as if their lack of dinner was her fault.

When two birds each grabbed a scrap of crust and flew straight in to her face, she abandoned the damp cement bench in front of the library and set off in search of somewhere with fewer feathered ruffians.

Shivering in a gust of wind that nearly took her hat off, Grace skirted a wispy-haired woman in a wheel chair, a wispy-haired palm-sized dog tucked into a fold of the dingy Pendleton jacket draping her hunched shoulders. “I walked those streets, my dear, and there was only half an hour I was ever happy,” the woman said to a space well to the left of Grace.

She passed a park, with trees but no grass, where two girls sat on another damp bench, delicately twining each other’s hair into spirals, then roughing it up toward the roots with their fingertips. A quick way to turn shiny, soft hair into dreadlocks. Pulling hair in reverse.

Grace left the park behind her. A few silky-feathered crows ahead of her scrattered over, of all things, a pair of ethereal blue panties. Grace lost her footing at the curb, the toe of her boot jutting too boldly into space. She went down, on her hands and knees and chin, onto the damp pavement as the furious crows shredded the panties, strands of soft, shiny elastic breaking as they were pulled the normal way, the harder way, and wondered if she might not have spent a happier half hour at the library. Even in January, the place was warm.

(c) Kerrie Farris 2013

Kerrie Farris lives in Portland and watches the crows when she ought to be working.


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