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Seattle Winners

Congratulations, The Word Millers! Your story, “Appearance,” won Sledgehammer Seattle. The top two teams from Seattle and the top three teams from Portland will now compete for the grand prize. That winner will be announced the week of October 5.

Stay tuned!


2009 story submission by “Misanthrope” (Ryan Kelly, Natalie Walker, Sarah Fonnesbeck, Arthur Ross)

The crowd of mingling people coalesced into a line and looked attentive down the street at the approach of the bus.  Foremost among them was a man in a worn but pleasant brown jacket, holding a large book in one hand and smiling in the warm weather.  He greeted the driver as he ascended the few stairs into the bus.
“How you doin’ hon,” she said.

“Oh, you know me Lori, still standing.”

She busied herself taking the fares of the other passengers and the bus lurched into motion a moment before he had sat down, bringing him hard into the seat and against the elderly woman sitting next to the window.
The bus pulled away from the stop and as it did so a young man on a bicycle came racing along side, yelling, “Hey, wait, hold up! Hold the bus!”
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2009 Story Submission by “The Word Millers” (Jason and Karina Miller)

Friday Evening

“How much longer?” Samantha asks impatiently as we wait at the crosswalk for permission to cross the busy intersection. Her hand grips mine tightly in anticipation, her eyes fixed on the dance studio across the street where her friends wait  to start practicing plié’s and whatever 8-year-old girls do in ballet studios. It’s only been a week, and she is already standing out amongst her peers. I’m not in the least bit surprised but I can only think one thing.

This can’t end well.

The little green, walking man appears and Samantha nearly tears my arm out of its socket as she takes off like an Olympic sprinter from the blocks. After regaining my balance, I try to walk at a leisurely pace through the crosswalk.  I’m not weak, just average, but she’s pulling pretty hard, requiring me to take long, fast strides in an attempt to match pace without running.

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For Ecological Reasons Alone

2009 story submission by “Insolence” (Jason Rizos)

Jackie said that her mother would “simply adore” a bike tour of downtown Portland. I wondered why Jackie picked these words, and why she articulated them with a Southern drawl, but upon meeting Sheila, it made perfect sense. She flew in from Austin along with Jackie’s geeky young brother Steven, ostensibly to see Puget Sound, but the true agenda was obvious–meeting her only daughter’s now serious boyfriend. That would be me. I brought the rental bikes, along with my trusty, custom Quixote three-speed touring bike, to the Silver Cloud where Jackie’s family was staying. After waiting a full forty minutes for Steven to get out of the shower and dress, we embarked down 23rd Street.  Jackie left the Bicycle Tour trip planning to me, seeing I was commuted through the metro area just about every day, en route to my job at the Oregon Public Broadcasting PSU annex. This happened to be the very topic of conversation at our first destination–Rose’s Bakery.

“Who would have ever guessed radio stations would hire writers?” Sheila asked as we sat outside eating delectable pastries. She had the impeccable, rock-solid manner of a true Midwesterner and the quaint naiveté to match.

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The Mysterious Grilled Cheese Left in the Night

2009 story submission by Amber Hatt

Carol Johnson eyes the clock and closes the link to KGW.com. Today’s high is a predicted 82 degrees; perfect sleeping weather.

At two minutes past seven, Sue enters the vast maze of cubicles. Carol squints her eyes against Sue’s perky morning energy.

“Morning Carol,” Sue sing-songs setting her BIG GULP diet Pepsi down on their shared desk, “anything good happen?” she teases.

Carol works the graveyard shift at the Multnomah County Mental Health Crisis Line. The day shifters never get the good calls. They mostly get people asking for referrals and phone numbers. The overdosing, bridge jumping, knife wielding calls happen during the grave yard shift.

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