Flash fiction is very short, usually not more than one or two pages. A writer tells a story with a beginning, middle and end with an economy of words. It’s not easy to write flash fiction, and it’s especially challenging to write flash fiction that is not more than 300 words in length. But…let’s see what you can do, all right?

West is hosting a flash fiction short story contest. It is open to all Los Angeles Community College District students, staff, faculty and administrators, past and present, and to our soldiers who have served or are serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

The story you write cannot be longer than 300 words—excluding the title. That is, your story itself cannot be longer than 300 words, but this word count does not include the title.

What’s the prize for winning this contest? The prize is publication of your short story in West. Interested? Send your short story of not more than 300 words to westword@wlac.edu with a photo of you and a brief biography, as well as a statement that affirms that you are the sole author of the story and possess sole legal ownership of the story. All short story submissions should be in Word. Your submission of a short story gives West the right to publish your story.



Marilyn Monroe's Hair Was That Same
Exact Same Shade of Blonde

Nuala Lincke-Ivic

She’s a big fat lady who smokes cigarettes in front of her kids in an enclosed room. But she’s funny, so people forget that when they watch her sing karaoke, broadcast on the worldwide ’Net from her small, messy kitchen: that she’s gross and immoral and whatever else you might want to call someone like that.

She’s the kind of person who, you might imagine, says, “I fart every time I bend over nowadays,” and it’s not funny, but when she says that, when someone like her says that, you laugh.

She has a certain something that just leaps out at you from her eyes, and they are eyes that tell you what she looked like when she was a girl.

She was pretty. And she may have smoked, but she didn’t fart every time she bent over. You can bet on that.
That’s in the forefront of your mind when you’re listening to her sing on the ’Net: that once she had promise. And she’s still funny as hell. Especially when she sings karaoke in her kitchen in a tight tank and drawstring pants because her belly's so big. But a mike’s in one hand and a crisp, new cigarette is in the other. And you realize she's bleached her hair so blonde that every last memory of gray went screaming down the drain. And it's true: Marilyn Monroe's hair was that same exact same shade of blonde.

And you want to say to people who criticize her: Wait until you’re in the same exact spot in your life; then you’ll understand what she’s got in her, to keep smiling. To keep bleaching her hair and broadcasting herself on the ’Net, or letting someone else broadcast her on the ’Net as a joke.

You’ll get it. One day.