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Mini Sledgehammer March 2018

Character: An irate commuter
Action: Rollerblading
Setting: In a plum orchard
Phrase: “Are you sure you really want to do that?”


The Plum

 

by Sara Kachelman
 Sara K
The plum overtook the entire orchard. When it grew larger than a water tower, it rolled and sat its ass on i-5. The commuters tried to go around it until one brave woman plowed right through. Are you sure you really want to do that? Cried a chorus of carpoolers. I am late, she said. She turned her wipers on high. The pulp sprayed everywhere. The juice caused a flash flood that washed away two whole lanes. The sweet nectar plugged the throats of the naysayers, the tailgaters, the ones who told this woman not to try. And all the haters died.

When the woman had cleared a path and disappeared, children flocked to the giant plum to latch onto its flesh and suck like barnacles. The plum was closed to thru traffic.

Everyone had to walk. Intrepid rollerbladers tried and failed to coast down the wet red tongue of the giant plum, scattering pulp in their wake.

But by late afternoon the plum got soft. The heat of the sun sealed its interior like a rotten pink sarcophagus, rendering it too toxic to enter. The city of Portland was filled with the smell of burning sugar.

By nightfall the top of the plum had collapsed, launching a spray of dead yellow fruit flesh across the Willamette Valley.

The survivors gathered together. No one had plum insurance. With gas masks they hunted for the plum farmer. They found him deep inside the plum pit, curled up asleep.

They were so exhausted when they got there they curled up with him and cried.

©2018 Sara Kachelman

Sara Kachelman has published fiction in DIAGRAM, Fanzine, and New South. She lives in Portland, OR.

Mini Sledgehammer February 2018

We had a great crowd this month!

Prompts:
Character: An old man
Action: To electrify
Setting: In a recording studio
Prop: A heart-shaped box


Ron the ManEversmann SH photo

by Bobby Eversmann

Ron has two hearts. Ron is strong now. Ron used to leak cheese-colored spit from his lips. Now Ron’s blood runs strong like black-red ox blood. Ron’s other heart he keeps in a box inside of a box shaped like a heart, a real heart, a box made for a heart, an actual human beating heart, the box on top of his pillow. The one he doesn’t sleep on. The other side of Ron’s big lovely queen. Ron dreams dreams where he holds his heart in his hands, electrifies it with plier-wires, wires into his car, car wires, wires he pulled out of his radio with his bare hands, his hands wrapped deadly in copper wires, his wired hands holding his butterfly beating heart, running high beating with his car engine running. AC/DC, AC/DC, Ron loves AC/DC, rock and roll and swift communication. See Ron. See Ron love. See Ron’s heart beat like ten thousand hot wings of the eagles of freedom. Wow! Ron. See Ron hold his heart in his hands, kiss his own heart, wink. Hi Ron! What a heart Ron! What a heart Ron’s got, what a love, what a love for the world, what a big heart, how gracious is Ron, loves every boy and girl. Ron’s new heart is a little girl’s heart. Three AM Ron nuzzles his heart, his own nose in his own artery. Smells like me, says Ron. Smells like I used to smell. Smells like an old can of beets, like an old cat, like world famous stilton. His lips mixed with his flesh bloody heart, cold red, lush, velvet wet his heart, kisses his own heart, his old heart. Ron’s new heart is a little girl’s heart. A little girl who could have been a doctor! A teacher! But most of all could have been a singer, that girl had a voice. That girl sang like dribbled gold, a desperate grabbing voice that girl, and then that live wire left alone at the pool, the downed one nobody noticed. The little girl—Ron’s not privy to the name—put her feet on it, stepped on it, stepped onto the wire, an eel, an electric eel, and—zap—died. There at the pool. Swam all day at the pool. Climbed out of the pool. Died. And now she lives on in Ron. She could have been a singer. And now she lives on in Ron’s home recording studio, Ron, the podcaster, Ron, Wolf-man Ron coming to you live from Fresno, California, this week we’ve got a great show for you folks, this week we’re dialing up old loves, old flames, old trophies. This week we’re in love. I’m in love with you. And you’re in love with me. Listeners, oh faithful listeners, let me hold you in this little girl’s heart while I kiss my own heart to sleep. Ron the Faithful. Ron the Bold. Ron of Oak Meadow Lane. Ron, what a man, what a man, what a man with a mighty young heart.

© 2018 Bobby Eversmann


Bobby is an editor for the IPRC’s 1001 Journal and the national bookseller journal, Deep Overstock. He works at Powell’s Books and has published in Portland Review, Fiction Southwest, SUSAN/The Journal and fog machine. He runs Late Night Pomes.

Mini Sledgehammer: November 2013 Metlakatla Library

Elissa

Elissa Nelson and her dog, Ollie

Now that I’m back in Alaska for the winter, we finally started up the Metlakatla Mini Sledgehammer again. This one went a bit differently than usual, though.

As many of you know, ardent Sledgehammer supporter Elissa Nelson has been ill for a while. Just a few days before this Mini Sledgehammer, she passed away. I felt compelled to honor her with a tribute activity, so I came up with writing prompts all related to Elissa. Although the other writers here in Alaska didn’t know Elissa, who lived in Portland, they joined me in honoring her with these prompts:

Character: someone terminally ill
Action: squinting one eye
Setting: on the front porch
Phrase: [silence]

While Sledgehammer was founded to help shatter the fiction writer’s block, this combination of prompts led us all to write nonfiction. Grief, it turns out, is a topic most people can relate with and most writers can convey.

It was a beautiful moment to hear the true stories as these writers honored someone they’d lost. And it was not a moment to pick a winning story to post on the website. We’ll keep our stories to ourselves this time, but we invite you to write your own story with these prompts. And we hope you’ll find healing in the process.

Peace,

Ali