The Writers’ Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador are a non-profit organization devoted to supporting the province’s rich writing industry. They run many programs, services, and reading series for writers that you can read about on their website.
They also run several awards every year, including the NL Book Awards, the Fresh Fish Award for Emerging Writers, and most recently the fun but ultra-challenging 250-word Postcard Story Contest, presented this year with the support of Rocket Bakery. This year’s rules were simple: write a postcard story that included the word “rocket,” in 250 words or less
This year’s judges were local literary queen Lisa Moore, and CBC’s Ted Blades. The 1st place winner happened to be Matthew Lewis for “Where is the Pigeon Camera.” Matthew is also the author of June’s short story in this month’s print issue of The Overcast. The two runners-up were: Suzanne Fitzpatrick for “History,” and Holly Rose for “Last Shot.” Check out the new issue of The Newfoundland Quarterly to read these three.
Honourable Mention this year went to Anthony Brenton for “Lunch,” which you can read below:
I was working in an industrial kitchen for a massive psychiatric hospital. All the plates & utensils & whatnot were a soft plastic. The drone of the conveyor belts hypnotized us to the point of stupor. A wide spread lethargic like the long panic of our diners. A contagious underwater resistance followed us everywhere.
The lunchroom shone as if chrome. These cleaners! They made mirrors of every surface. The floor gleamed like polished teeth.
Meticulous, and obsessively persistent as scum-sucker fish in every crease. The refrigerator’s inventory was ordered by dates, janitors became librarians.
Yes, we shuffled when the evil clock finally showed us her smile & the machinery halted with a silence screeching louder than full bore. The custodians moved in as we filed out to our break. Hungry mops feasted, vicious as ravenous birds for crumbs. Uniforms getting grotesque as uncoloured photographs of war.
We ate to that same clock in our silence.
The botulism had reproduced with such pressure that when the pregnant tin belly was pierced by the can opener it ejaculated with a force that blew it across the room, more of a projectile than a rocket, and sprayed spaghetti O’s up the walls and onto the tube lighting.
A woman in a blue hairnet, laced into steel-toed boots, slid up the wall and crawled on her hands and knees across the ceiling scrubbing with a hard bristled brush as we marched out. The belt was hungry again.
Anthony Brenton has published 3 works with Pink Eye here in St. John’s: The Mechanical Egg Bug House (Poetry), “An of Rearing a Youngster” (short story), and A Book (a novel).