DB’s 2011 Million Writer’s Award Nominations
“Me and Brigitte (Bardot)” by Brigit Kelly Young
When I met Brigitte Bardot she was twenty-six and firm as ice. She wore a gingham dress, navy blue and off-white, and it sashayed off her calves as she moved toward me to extend a tiny tanned hand with nails filed into ten sharp-edged squares. “Hello Brigitte,” I said. “I’m Brigit.” My nails were different lengths, some nibbled off.
“Brigit I am so beautiful,” she said right away. “It is not just the layout of my face,” she began, “but the way it pouts and slides like a serpent into the crotch of your pants.” Brigitte held a cigarette in one hand and swigged it like a Guinness, her head thrown slightly back. “It is the way I hold it. Like my face is the Sphinx of Egypt, hard in place, never letting loose for,” with her cigarette-free hand she flicked her honey hair beyond her shoulder and formed an angry smile, “even a moment.” She bowed her head. Hairs flitted off her lips as she spoke. “It is nice to meet with you.”
“Nebraska, 2008” by Emily Eiselein
When Kathy woke she decided that this was the day that what had been hers would be no longer. It was still dark outside, and cold. She crept into Eugene’s room, pulling her sweater close, and felt with her fingertips along the edge of the bureau his father had built years ago. She was surprised the sweet smell of cedar still lingered. She glanced at Eugene, sleeping there. A sliver of light from the hallway lit up his jaw clenched in sleep and the first wisps of an adolescent beard. But he’s just a boy—she felt her heart beat right through her sweater and made herself look away. She slowly inched open the top dresser drawer.
“Care and Feeding” by Karin Gottshall
Margaret gave birth to the octopus in a wading pool in her own apartment. The midwife, who thought she’d seen everything and nearly had, took it in stride. It had been an easy birth. The creature had come out head first, a boneless mass that they at first mistook for an intact caul. No umbilical cord to cut. No blood, no squalling. He was the size of a loosely closed fist, or the bloom of a peony. He rested at the bottom of the pool, one flexible arm looping softly around Margaret’s left ankle like a long pearl necklace, and looked up at the two women through trusting, amber eyes. Next thing they knew he was climbing out of the pool, reaching for the midwife’s medical bag.
“Oh no you don’t,” she said, gently prying his sucker discs from the leather handle. She filled the tub in the bathroom and corralled the octopus, closing the door behind her. “I guess you’ll have to exchange that crib for a tank,” the midwife said, nodding toward the corner of the studio apartment Margaret had designated as the nursery.
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