Edgar of all trades

Master of all

My good friend, Amy Guth, of the Leah Jones gets Edgar’d video, and all around number one Literary Maven and Literary Leader of the Midwest, sparked one of my Year of the Edgar tasks. I wanted to creatively write more.

First, check Amy’s biography for her details. She writes the local literary blog, Chicago Subtext, for the Tribune’s Chicago Now blog network. Check out my Chicago Now profile here. This is integral to my post today, though she does so much more with her time.

Amy recently blogged about a writing challenge to write flash fiction, or postcard fiction.

a micro-flash fiction story, a very, very short story, but a whole story

Please go back and read the entries, they were all very interesting. The challenge was she provided us with a picture of a bottlecap with a message inside, and we needed to somehow use it in a 100-word or less complete story.

What follows is my entry:

“This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, but with a whimper.” It was the first thing that came to mind as I came to.

As the haze subsided, I took stock of my surroundings. A dark diner. Things strewn about, no windows. What happened? Kitchen’s empty, bathrooms and dining area too.

I headed towards the front door, opened it to a sunset temporarily blinding me and I looked down to see a bottlecap that had, “read Books… not Bottlecaps.”

I thought it odd as I looked up to see a burning city in front of me.

There were many good entries and I was one of four picked, then the audience made it a two-pony race, and I ultimately won.

Amy then posted a second contest. Although I lost, the best part is that I was able to continue my previous story, which was awesome:

No memory of what transpired, I took a step into the burning city. I needed to get my bearings, and fast. No telling what kind of tragedy had transpired.

My first priority was to get back home, it seemed I was several miles north. All of a sudden I remembered. Amy. I was having lunch with Amy.

I crossed street after street wondering where Amy went. Where anyone was. Slowly my memory was returning, and as I turned onto another street, I realized what happened. I saw something.

A road construction sign with the words “BEWARE! ZOMBIES AHEAD.”

Oh crap.

Thanks Amy, I look forward to continuing my story. I wonder what will happen next! Stay tuned!

Oh, by the way, please go to Amy’s posts and add your own flash fiction, using the two items creatively. The two contests are over, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t contribute your own fiction. Follow Amy @amyguth on twitter as well for the next flash fiction. Feel free to post them here as well.

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It was very shocking. Hearing that my uncle had been kidnapped this weekend, Saturday September 12 2009. He lived in Mexico, where in recent times its a common occurrence. How sad is it that its common? Very. I wasn’t worried, I mean, they ask for money, the family puts it together and he gets released. Only this wasn’t to be.

Later that day I found out he was found dead.

I knew very little of the man. I saw him a few times growing up, and again a year ago in Mexico. I could tell he was a loving man. He leaves behind a wife, my mom’s sister, a daughter, my cousin, and an older son from a previous marriage. All he wanted to do was to provide for his wife and daughter. As some immigrants, he fell into some hard times and paid for some mistakes.

My aunt and cousin lived with us for years. They were a part of our immediate family. When my uncle paid his debt, he went back to Mexico wife and daughter in tow to start a new honest life. He opened a successful tortilla shop in his home town. Towns where my parents and he are from are small, dirt roads, and lots of lands… it takes about an hour or less to get to the next similar town and even more to get to the city. They would basically drive to all the towns nearby to sell their tortillas.

My cousin spent another two years with us to finish high school then went right back to her family.

For years, the situation in Mexico has been progressively getting worse. Some of you may have heard of the civil unrest in the southern portions of Mexico with guerrillas and fighting. Not many know of the corruption within the military, or the recent uprising of mafia cartels and gang activities in the north.

Here is an article of his death on a Mexican website. Here it is using Google’s translator.

What sticks out the most is:

Inhabitants of El Oro demand greater military presence since the kidnappings, “surge” and murders are the order of the day. In this regard, the headquarters of EI Oro notes that they are extremely active in prosecuting crime.

El Oro is one of the municipalities where the most bloodshed is recorded, apparently, several groups operate there.

Inhabitants of the municipality of El Oro seek support to end the climate of insecurity and violence in the north of the state.

I remember visiting him about a year ago or so in Mexico. He was happy. He was with his family. This was his second chance. I’ll never forget his smile and the lifetime behind his eyes.

My heart goes out to my aunt and my cousin who are still in Mexico, in fear. Last I heard, they plan to remain there and continue the business. They’ll always have a home with us should they elect to come back to Chicago.

Rest in eternal peace, Gabriel Monarrez Favela. Know that we are here for your family, for they are our family as well.

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