Herbert looked like a raccoon with deathly alabaster features. But these qualities were more than the effect of insomnia. The smudges under his eyes indicated a much greater problem. What terrorized Herbert at night and haunted him during the day was his … Pen and Computer.
Pen and Computer seemed to love their sadomasochistic relationship with Herbert. Sometimes they conjured up the sprightly Muse, compelling Herbert to write with the fervor of a fat kid eating ice cream. He wrote three-dimensional characters that danced on the page in exotic settings under the banner of rich metaphors.
Other times, they accosted Herbert in anger. They called for the Furies, blocking the creativity flowing from Herbert’s mind.
Pen and Computer wanted revenge — for Herbert allowing Pen to bleed, and Computer for Herbert’s habit of fondling and striking its keys. He would raise his fist at them and exclaim, “That ink is my blood, and those keys are my bones.”
Recently Herbert picked up LEO and saw “Book Smart,” the rag’s new literary page. He learned that this new venture featured the results of a flash fiction/poetry challenge the third week of each month.
The Muse whispered into his ear and swore to get the Pen and Computer off his back. He read the rules and vowed to cease the drama and see Pen and Computer in the light of reality — just as tools.
Then he posted the rules on his fridge. —Claudia Olea
• Entries — either flash fiction or poetry — should be at least 250 but not more than 325 words. The deadline is the first business day of each month (for work to be published later that month). Contestants may submit up to three entries per month. LEO reserves the right to publish any submitted work in print and on-line. Please do not send originals; work will not be returned.
LEO, Book Smart Challenge
640 S. Fourth St., Ste. 100
Louisville, KY 40202
E-mail: [email protected]
(Make sure to write “Book Smart Challenge” in the subject line.)