Winners of the Geist Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest
Pay As You Play
There’s a prostitute in the kitchen, peeling potatoes, preparing dinner for the kids playing Grand Theft Auto down the hall. There’s a terrorist in the backyard, mowing the grass, applying weed killer purchased in Buffalo and smuggled over the border for a righteous cause. There’s a psychopath next door, with three young girls and a baby in his basement. He chats with you over the fence and picks up the mail while you’re on vacation. There’s a murderer getting her nails done, acrylic with crimson varnish and geometric designs. She’s a favourite of the Vietnamese girls because she tips good.
Pedophiles walk their dogs and thieves push grocery carts full of diapers and frozen pizza while world leaders lock themselves in cubicles, praying for one satisfying bowel movement.
Have you heard this one?
A refugee walks into a bar.
“Just water,” he says to the server (a single mom with a heart of gold).
She brings him the special. No charge. A priest, a rabbi and a pastor capture the good deed from the back booth and post it to Youtube. Then they continue their heated debate about a golf game they recently had with God.
An officer arrives within minutes. The refugee accompanies him without a whimper. The single mom gets fired. God checks his scorecard and strikes the three clergymen dead. They were right. He did cheat. He can cheat whenever he feels like it.
“It’s just a game,” he says. “Play at your peril.”
Janet Trull’s writing has appeared in Prairie Fire, TNQ and subterrain, among other periodicals. Her collection of short fiction, Hot Town and Other Stories, was published in 2016 by At Bay Press.