Saturday, November 21, 2009

Idiotic Story Contest

This is an idiotic story contest. The rules for entering are as follows:

1) Your story must be in English.

2) Your story must contain no more than 350 words.

3) Your story should be idiotic enough to make the average reader wince at how stupid it is.
Of course I'd love to get stories written by actual idiots. This, let it be said, is my ideal. What I'll probably get, however, are stories of feigned idiocy, or discovered idiocy, or exploratory idiocy--all of which have their literary/philosophical merits.

Given the length of the tales at issue, it's in some sense a matter of "Postcard Fiction" or "Postcard Stories." And since many of the best postcard stories already have a certain idiocy to them, I'm hoping to hear from some of the usual practitioners.

The prose poem is also a genre productive of much brilliant foolishness, and prose poems in narrative mode are of course very welcome. The border between "prose poem" and "postcard story" is well beyond porous in any case.

When I've received one hundred texts idiotic enough to enter the contest, the contest will be over and I will take suggestions for methods of choosing winners. If methods are not forthcoming from contestants, I'll just have to pick some of the idiots I know to help judge the tales.

Finally I'd like to publish an anthology. A tentative title might be Cretinous Tales. Any of you morons have a better idea?

So send me a tale or two yourself and forward this URL to any writers (or idiots) you know. Those who enter the contest recognize that if their stories are accepted they will be put directly on this web page. Writers retain copyright to their work, but the tales will be available online at least until the contest is closed and the anthology is pending.


Eric Mader

For now I post three of my own tales, in ascending idiocy from first to third. I will arrange submissions on this page alphabetically by writer's name as I receive them. Send to:



Jason Lefkowitz had a habit of opening his mouth in any old place and launching into a story even when he had no story to tell. This often caused embarrassment or misunderstanding. Cashiers would interrupt him, “Excuse me, sir, but there are other customers in line,” taxi drivers would say “It’s your penny” and keep driving, and once on business in Edinburgh he was beaten pretty badly outside a pub by a gang of football fans who spat and said, “Fucking poof! Fucking chatty poof!”

Jason’s stories would usually begin earnestly enough. A pleading look in the eye, he’d touch his chosen listener on the arm and begin to narrate in a soft voice: “Once there was a locksmith who’d always dreamt of. . .” or “It happened in the days of Hassan i Sabbah, the Old Man of the Mountain. . .” or “It had been three years since she’d last seen Rick.”

But since Jason normally began his stories with no notion of where they were heading, the tale would soon drift into irrelevance or anachronism, each tale becoming a different tale as he told it, and his surprised listener becoming embarrassed or frustrated, the look on his or her face saying clearly: “What’s going on here? What do you want from me?”

It went on like this for a number of years. Jason’s repertoire of stories became no larger because from the beginning he’d never known any single, unified story, nor had he ever sought to construct one. His compulsion was simply the act of narration itself. In this he was like a carpenter who wielded tools on the lumber he was given without any plan to build anything, but simply in order to exercise the use of one tool after another. What would such a carpenter end up with after a day’s work?

Nothing that would stand; nothing that could fall.


* * *


Ah, the Black Peruvian Rose! In all the world only one living example remaining! Ever since Hunter had first seen it in a photograph--he was thirteen, paging through a magazine while his mother tried on boots--he’d dreamt of one day setting off in search of this rarest of botanical wonders, of journeys through distant lands in quest of those soft petals of perfect singularity. And so his destiny was decided in the corner of one posh London boot dealer. Hunter would become a world explorer!

How many years struggling over the wilds of Peruvia! How many nights camped on ice-covered passes, the bitter Andean winds blowing through the tent flaps!

The Indians laughed at him, everywhere he went they overcharged him for alcohol. The experts too did what they could to discourage him. Many said the last Black Peruvian Rose wasn’t to be found in Peruvia at all, but in Chile. Others said it was in Ecuador or Colombia. Still others said Peruvia wasn’t the country’s proper name: the place he was in was called Peru. Hunter paid them no mind; he kept up his quest. All along he knew that the last living Black Peruvian Rose was in a private hot house on Chicago’s north side. But even this didn’t deter him. The adventure stories he gained as an explorer helped him with the chicks.

Hunter kept up his quest, his only companion a llama blind in one eye. The Rose finally died in its pot. Discovery Channel is doing a documentary.

* * *


This story happened 350 years ago in Boston. There was a dog that lived in a rich lawyer’s house. The dog’s father was a dog, but his mother was a wolf. He was a wolf-dog.

The maids in that lawyer’s house were very strict. They would never let the dog go up on the furniture. All the dog smelled every day was sexual repression and intolerance for other viewpoints.

But the lawyer was good to the dog. The dog trusted the lawyer the most because he was good to him.

Then the lawyer went west for the Big Gold Rush. He trained the dog to pull his covered wagon and they headed out over the plains. The Indians attacked them, but the dog killed all the Indians except two.

In California the lawyer found a huge vein of gold and became very rich. Those were days when great fortunes were made. The dog pulled the wagons of gold for the lawyer. But one day at night the dog heard the wolves howl in the forest. So he escaped to join them. Finally he had found his true brothers.

The wolves taught the dog to kill men and to use a rifle. The dog killed many men with them, and they were bloodthirsty together. Many years passed.

Then one day they came upon the lawyer in the forest. He was old now and walking with a long golden cane. The wolves were ready to kill him, and they said to the dog, “Let’s go,” but the dog was confused in his heart, he didn’t know what to do.

When the wolves sensed the dog’s hesitation, their bloodthirsty nature came out. They turned on the dog and tore him apart with their jaws. They killed him that way. It was just like with Actaeon.


No comments: