Hal Hulan Short Story Winner of the month plus Time Space & Robot Dogs
Congrats to our May short story winning author of the month, Hal Hulan with their story entered into our monthly sci-fi contest, “The Loving Kindness of Pidgeon Feathers and Jazz Music.” Hal Hulan, a graduate student at Northern Michigan University where they are studying genre fiction and lit theory. They have an upcoming publication in Press Pause Press. When they aren't writing they enjoy exposing their students to diverse authors and yelling at video games.
Here is a cut from her short fiction. It's about a bartender who is in love with a crooning jazz singer. "It is about Paradise," writes Hal. Only this story takes place in a jazz club located in a small Black-Jewish community...in the post-apocalypse. They mourn those they lost in the cataclysm that separated them from the rest of society.
“Well then we are your first two,” Tuvya says and steps inside. Every Day follows him. Tuvya and Arnan talk for a while. Tuvya and the others missed him at Kaddish. Every Day sits at the bar, facing the booth, and nurses a beer.
No one stays away. The Weavers come, the Farmers, the Millers, the folks from the power plant, and the drive-in. The people from the night club bring flavored vodka and a record player. There are baskets and boxes and bundles of food, carried by hands, on trailers pulled by bikes. The Bushes arrive on wobbly-wheeled dogcarts. The dogs laze about on the landing or near the stage. Haddie puts a bowl of water on the floor near the back stairs. There is flour from the Mill and honey from the Beekeepers, Tupperware after Tupperware of berries, the last of the fall’s apple preserves. On a day like this, desserts are the most important. They make honey apple cake, blackberry cobbler, tomato soup cake. Basement mushrooms are new and exciting! There is still pigeon meat to be grilled and fried and sautéed. If the three guests notice that these people receive ice in their glasses when they ask for it, they don’t say anything. The memorial begins at sunset.
Min Jee wears tallit and kippah when she takes the stage. She sits proudly at the piano and plays the niggun to prepare the ritual space. She, Arnan, and Tuvyah sing the lilting words of the rhythmic musical prayer. Technically, Min Jee has not completed her conversion process just yet, but Tuvyah has encouraged her to be the one to play.
The poem is next, read by Haddie in a shaky voice. She found the verse in the back of a novel, and she’s sure there is more of it, but words about a flower growing, blooming, and eventually dying away are more than suited to the memorial. She gives the stage back to Paradise for the candle lighting. Tuvyah brings the candle up and they place it on a small table next to the stage. Paradise recites a verse from Proverbs—the only words she knows by heart in Hebrew—and then the remembrance prayer in English. Traditionally, the deceased’s name is read during the prayer, and instead, Paradise says “All of you.”Then she gives the mic to Tuvya, who reads all of the names out of a notebook with a frayed binding and crinkled edges.
New Extended Deadline is July 31st, 2020
Congrats to our Sci-Fi Winners Jan through May.. and more to be announced. We are so thankful for this amazing work. We need a few more!
Life’s Work by Matthew Brown
Conrade Slug’s Thermos by Travis Flatt
Oneiropathy by Soramimi Hanarejima
The Loving Kindness of Pigeon Feathers and Jazz Music by Hal Hulan
Inner Child by Lauren Leach-Steffens
The Three Rules to Ignore When Training Your Robot by Matt Thomas
Universe in a Bottle by Amrita Bhasin
Purity Test by Brian Dietrich
Precious Metals by Jill Bronfman
Tales from Time, Space & Robot Dogs is a search for the best Sci-Fi short stories that take place in weird wild new worlds. Is your story full of surprises, twists, mysterious creatures, technological wonder, and new things we've never thought of? Then welcome home to Flying Ketchup Press. Submit today! Genres we are looking for: sci-fi, fiction, fantasy, hybrid, flash fiction, other...This is about finding great writers, not about making limitations on your creativity. We are also on the search for great art for this collection! Submit on Submittable or through our website.