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THE BEST SHORT STORY OF 1976

By JT Pearson

COPYRIGHT 2013 J T Pearson

SMASHWORDS EDITION

In our little town of Higby story telling is a tradition. Every year at the town’s Fourth of July celebration in the park we hold a competition for the best short story told that year. It is limited to fifteen minutes because Ida Haddler once droned on for two hours and forty five minutes about her dogs until people were leaving. Some thought that she was trying to win the prize by eliminating most of the other story tellers. She seems nice enough. I don’t think that’s the case. This year, being the country’s Bicentennial, the competition is going to be fierce, but I aim to win that prize in the park. All you get is a jar of Barb Mitchcock’s prize pickles, a free pass to our movie theater that has been recently renovated, and a small trophy of a man cupping his hand to his ear as if he’s listening to something really interesting. Walter Peevey, a local artist that has been featured in many of the papers from Gable to Meatwater, carves the trophy himself. But it’s not the fine prizes that I’m interested in. It’s the prestige. My Uncle Larry won it back in sixty four and he still gets to tell his tale down at his barbershop whenever he gets the urge. Everybody stops in to hear it, about his wife Lenore, and how she got liquored up and stole Farmer Balldinger’s prize eight hundred pound hog and rode it all the way into town one night, the ornery cuss snorting and snapping at everybody – the hog my uncle meant, not Lenore. I want that kind of fame. Like my Uncle Larry. Some of the folks around here tell me that I seem bright, and older than twelve. Because of the words I choose, I suppose. Mama tells me to go ahead and talk the way that I want to talk because no one’s ever really admitted to preferring a dullard child. I also tend to steal a little poetic license at times. The tendency to wax a fancy verse now and again just seems to run in my veins like it did in Hemmingway and Fitzgerald. I hope that you won’t begrudge me this one discretion, to practice my craft. You see, I’ve never been very good at games like my twin. She’s good at stickball, spud, flinch, honko, bruisefinger, kick the can, slick slider, head bender, you name it, but I take pride in the fact that I can really tell a good story like this one and every word of it’s true. Promise on my pet turtle Mumble Buddy. He doesn’t actually even mumble. He stays perfectly quiet all the time. I just liked that name. Anyway, here’s the story that I aim to tell this year at the Bicentennial celebration.

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