Here's how you can win:
Write a Jewish-themed short story of 300 words or less. The shorter, the better.
Think of this as the haiku of short sories.
Any genre is fine – except porn.
Leave your microstory as a comment to this post. My anonymous panel of judges will choose the winner. (If they are unable to reach a decision, Joshua Henkin will choose.)
Make sure your story-comment is left with a valid email address so we can find you and get you the book if you win. (For those of you concerned with privacy, your mail address will not post on the blog if you put it in the comments form on the email line.)
Authors give up all publication rights to their microstories. FailedMessiah.com and/or its publisher may choose to republish these stories in print or electronic form, perhaps to benefit a charity, perhaps to benefit FailedMessiah.com, perhaps just for the heck of it.
Deadline for the contest is Thursday, August 28, 2008 at 10:00 p.m. CDT. Good luck!
To kick things off, here is my microstory. It runs 190 words.
©2008 Shmarya Rosenberg
Rain. It runs in sheets down the cold stone walls, oozing, seeping, permeating each stone as if it were a sponge. Nothing feels dry. It is hard to stay warm, even in bed, even covered with every blanket we own. It is not enough. Not when it rains.
Jerusalem is a low-lying cloud, heavy, wet and gray. It isn't the security situation or the drivers or even the loaves of uncovered makolet bread strewn in open baskets, touched with unwashed hands and dirty coat sleeves. None of that will get you.
Rain is the true enemy. It gives life, sure, but it takes it: coughing, hacking, gasping for breath; bones iced through to the marrow. The cough becomes larger than the body that makes it. Soon all that is left is the sound.
There is no cold like Jerusalem cold. Jill told me then. She had lived it once, and she knew. But I did not understand.
I do now. Without her next to me, sweatshirt up, legs wrapped around, pushing into me, her breath on my lips, her eyes on mine – without her now, I would be gone.