Contest #157 winner 🏆

184 comments

Contemporary Funny Sad

Bonjour from the city of love! I don't have much space on this postcard, so I'll keep things brief. I'm heading to the all-you-can-eat crêpe buffet soon anyway. My new lover, Jacques, doesn't mind a woman with a few extra curves. More cushion for the pushin', you know?


Oh, you should see him. Jacques is quite the looker, a total zaddy. Like George Clooney without the drug problem. I'm talking high cheekbones and a strong jawline. An accent that can turn cheddar into gouda. Washboard abs you could do two and a half loads of laundry on. I'm pretty sure the Paris Match magazine even called his body the eighth natural wonder of the world.


And he's so creative with whipped cream!


Anyway, I just wanted to say that I hope you're happy with your new girlfriend. Oh yes, I've seen the Instagram posts, the videos of the two of you doing the Electric Slide on rollerblades, the pictures of you donating plasma together. I saw the change in your relationship status on Facebook. I wasn't stalking you or anything; someone sent me the links the other day. I think it was when Jacques was taking me to the Eiffel Tower. He's thoughtful like that.


Well, just do me a favor, would you? Don't bother calling me. I won't be coming back to you. I'm too busy having the time of my life.


Wish you were here.


***


Ciao from the land of pasta and pizza! Forgive any misspellings or chicken scratch in this letter. I'm currently writing this from a gondola, because Lorenzo absolutely insisted. I swear he adores the water almost as much as he adores me.


Oh, that's my new lover, by the way. Believe me, he's very handsome, with abs and cheekbones too. The total ninth natural wonder. Tall and dark and mysterious, like the kind of guy you'd find on the cover of a pirate romance novel. Or like George Clooney with the drug problem. 


Don't worry, back in Paris I let Jacques down easy. Gave him the old "It's not you, it's me" line. Remember that one? I'm sure you do.


Irregardless, Jacques is so last month, and when in Rome, right? 


We visited the big art museum here yesterday, the Accademia Gallery, Lorenzo and I. Trekked past marble sculptures and oil paintings and a weird urinal structure that I'm pretty sure is only there as an emergency toilet and isn't actually art at all. It was really quite lovely.


When we came to the last room, the one with the Statue of David standing in the center like a nude superhero, it made me think of you. I'll give you one guess why.


Anyway, that's why I decided to write you now. Not because I watched that TikTok of you and your new girlfriend whipping and nae naeing in perfect rhythm, and certainly not because of your Snapchat story about reopening the cockles of your heart after all this time. After all, I've moved on and so should you.


But I suppose you can call me if you really want to. Just know I've got my hands full with the love of my life Lorenzo, so the chances of my responding are about as anemic as your new girlfriend. And what kind of name is Brittanee anyway? Whatever.


Wish you were here.


***


¡Hola from the sunny state of Jalisco, Mexico! Hey, you know how I've always wanted to go horseback riding? Well, I'm halfway to living the dream, baby, because I'm writing this from the back of a donkey. Santiago says it's just like being on a horse, only a donkey is smaller and a little more slobbery and it has one extra letter in its name. He's very intelligent, my new lover, my Santiago.


Trust me, the less we say about Lorenzo, the better. Some advice: Never trust a man who takes you to an art museum to see a urinal and a nude male statue.


Santiago isn't that type of guy. And get this: He can cook. And not just spaghetti and minute rice and Lunchables. Real food. He loves making all our meals, and he never complains.


In fact, the funniest thing happened the other day. As I was scrolling through your Twitter, reading through all the old "I just want a girl who's honest" comments you posted and retweeted, Santiago's sweltering apartment filled with the scent of cinnamon. And when he waltzed into the living room and offered me the plate of churros behind his back, I took one look at them, all floppy and shriveled, and I thought of the Statue of David, and then I thought of you. And I laughed until I fell off the couch and hit my head against the coffee table and had to get eight stitches. 


That's why I'm writing you now. To tell you how painful true love can be. To tell you it's worth it. No other reason.


How's that for a girl who's honest?


But just so you know—and maybe it's the concussion talking—I'll be back in the US next month. And I guess if you want to beg for my forgiveness and ask me to reconsider our relationship, I might be willing to hear you out. Say, over dinner at Olive Garden.


In the meantime, Santiago and I have some burros to ride and some churros to eat.


Wish you were here.


***


Hey from the Starbucks down the street from our home. Your home. Brittanee's and your home. I have to admit that was a shock just now, pulling up to the curb and seeing the two of you through the picture window, nestled together on opposite ends of the loveseat with your legs tangled together like the infinity symbol.


You say you want someone who's honest? Well, here goes.


They never existed. Jacques and Lorenzo and Santiago and Olaf, whom you never got to second guess because I didn't make it to Russia. I think you know why I did it.


But maybe you saw the pictures I posted on Instagram, the ones of me skydiving and parasailing and saving those orphans from that burning building, and you wondered. Maybe you stared at them the way I stared at the pictures of you and Brittanee in the opera house, or your Tweets about finally finding "the one," or the video of you getting down on one knee in our favorite restaurant.


I doubt your moments were photoshopped, though.


Irregardless, this message should be finding you soon. I've just paid some acne-crusted freshman a double blended venti white mocha with four shots and almond milk and fifteen Splenda packets in exchange for delivering this postcard to you.


Maybe we can still have that talk. I was honest about that.


I mean, I know this place isn't exactly Olive Garden, but hey, it isn't Chili's either.


Until then, I'll be here sitting at the corner table for a while, maybe ten minutes or an hour or until this place closes. I don't mind the waiting. I've got nothing but time now. Time to think about you, and her, and the memories of a life I thought I knew, a house I may never inhabit again.


But I wish I were there.

August 05, 2022 09:41

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184 comments

J.C. Lovero
01:49 Aug 07, 2022

Digging how you throw in zaddy here for us, btw :) I love me a good epistolary story, and I enjoyed the construction of this one. Your MC has such a quirky voice in here, very larger than life and I am here for it. And anyone who uses "irregardless" immediately gets judged 😆 😅 😂 Yeah, yeah, according to Google it is a word. But fight me. Though, there is a sadness at the end, one of loss. And sometimes, we use humor and grandiosity as a defense mechanism, don't we? Because it is easier to hide against the shield of laughter than to sit vul...

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Zack Powell
03:15 Aug 07, 2022

Pen pal! Confession: I definitely thought of you and Riel when writing that zaddy line. 😂 Shameless Easter eggs are my weakness. Glad the formatting worked here. Monologue-style pieces are definitely a dark horse favorite of mine, both to read and write, because you can just let loose with the character voice. (Side note: I also am in the "irregardless = instant judgment" camp. Just no.) Hope your week off was good! I know I loved mine last week. Totally recharges your batteries, amirite?

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J.C. Lovero
23:12 Aug 12, 2022

CONGRATS ON THE WIN! So happy for you! And Ri Ri shortlisted this week! #hotmessexpress represent!

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Zack Powell
04:26 Aug 13, 2022

BIG thanks! The week was very good to the #hotmessexpress crew! Happy to have now shared a list with both of you!

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Riel Rosehill
12:57 Aug 13, 2022

Now we just need a week when we all share the same one! Doable?! :DD

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Zack Powell
14:21 Aug 13, 2022

"Totally doable, right, Reedsy judges?" I say while looking at the new prompt about someone accepting a bribe. 👀 😂

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Suma Jayachandar
14:20 Aug 06, 2022

Zack! So you took Zaddy from J.C and Ri Ri and coined it here, I see😊 This story is a bit short compared to your other ones, but boy! does it pack a punch! You have this pathetically needy, hopeless yet hopeful character going through her strong yet probably futile mission of enticing her lover back into her arms. As always you made the reader thoroughly empathise with her. I missed reading your story last week and wondered what happened. Glad you posted this week!

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Zack Powell
02:29 Aug 07, 2022

Thank you, Suma! I shamelessly love Easter eggs and references in stories, so I decided to fit Zaddy in at the last minute as an inside joke. Glad to see you caught it too. 😂 Happy to hear this one had a punch, even with its short length. I was worried there weren't enough postcards, but then I was worried that I was dragging the joke out too long, so this was the compromise. Thanks for the concern too! I tried writing quite a few stories last week, but they either felt forced and/or meandering, so I decided to skip that contest with the hop...

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Tommy Goround
09:34 Aug 13, 2022

What a wonderful tribute.

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Faith Ogedegbe
13:26 Aug 21, 2022

You worth the win. Weldone, Zack.

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Zack Powell
13:40 Aug 21, 2022

Thank you, Faith!

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Kelsey H
11:17 Aug 10, 2022

Love the letter format first of all, I always really like diary/letter/ postcard entries used as the structure for a story ... though I have never been able to write one myself (might have to try and force myself to!). Also love the use of happy/sad. You have a talent for that style of humour used as a way of concealing sadness or vulnerability, and I always find it enjoyable, it gives depth and realness to a character and their story. Without it the narrator would probably just come across as bragging, but instead, there are lines which g...

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Zack Powell
14:52 Aug 10, 2022

Thanks for this, Kelsey! I definitely recommend trying this story structure - it's been a blast every time I've done it, and if nothing else, it's a fun exercise in practicing character voice. You got exactly what I was going for too, with the character using humor to deflect and conceal. Reminds me of the concept of the people who are the funniest on the outside being the saddest on the inside. Thanks for highlighting the plasma line too! Originally it was "the pictures of you giving blood together," but then I thought plasma was a little...

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Kelsey H
21:43 Aug 12, 2022

Congrats on the win, Zack, enjoy!

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Zack Powell
16:43 Aug 13, 2022

Thanks, Kelsey! Will definitely be celebrating this weekend.

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L.M. Lydon
00:54 Aug 10, 2022

Oh my goodness: the fictional descriptions of Jacques and Lorenzo and Santiago were spectacularly transparent and as entertainingly cringe-inducing as I suspect you intended. This story was just so much fun to read. But the fleeting moment in the final postcard from the temporarily self-aware narrator is beautifully poignant. Before the narrator moves on to Carlos or Ahmed or Kenji, anyway.

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Zack Powell
01:22 Aug 10, 2022

Thanks, L.M.! Glad to see your name back on here; it's been a while. Happy to hear the transparency and the cringe came through here - it was indeed my goal! And I wouldn't put it past this woman to move on to others, even after this, haha. Thanks again, and I'm on my way to check out your newest story.

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Kai Corvus
19:46 Aug 08, 2022

I rarely see a story tagged as both "funny" and "sad" so even before I started reading, I knew that this was going to be an entertaining story. By the fourth paragraph, the jealousy of the main character just comes seeping through, which completely turns the perspective of the story upside-down. The ending was definitely a twist. I felt like I was engaged in her ex's story as well - he PROPOSED? You must be kidding me. After she went out of her way to purposely make him jealous, and then confess that she still had feelings for him? I thi...

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Zack Powell
21:17 Aug 08, 2022

Thanks, Kai! I was debating with myself if I should even use the "Sad" tag, but I figured the ending might justify it. Good to see it caught your attention early in a positive way. This was definitely a fun character to write. Jealousy is one hell of an emotion, and it's fun to explore how people wield it. That said, I'm also hoping for the best for this woman, despite her baggage. Thanks again for the read and the kind comment!

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Kai Corvus
19:19 Aug 12, 2022

Congrats on the win, Zack! So happy to see you on the Recently Featured page! :D

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Zack Powell
04:28 Aug 13, 2022

Thank you very much, Kai! Always glad to have your support!

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19:42 Aug 08, 2022

Hi Zack! Long time! I enjoyed this one - it must be one of your shortest pieces?! I thought you balanced the MC's superficial/lighthearted tone with their underlying anguish quite well. I also caught 'zaddy' (let's be honest, it was hard to miss lol) and the naughty jokes were great throughout. I found "and Olaf, whom you never got to second guess because I didn't make it to Russia" really funny too hahah Critique-wise, I do see why you did it, but the "Wish you were here/Wish I were there" repetition didn't quite work for me - I guess it f...

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Zack Powell
21:14 Aug 08, 2022

Glad to see you back on here, Shuvayon! Your presence has been missed. Yeah, the slump is real, hence the shortness of this piece (though I didn't want to run the joke into the ground either). I had to force myself to crank this one out. No one ever tells you how agonizing writing can be, do they? Thank you for the critique! It's totally valid, and something I was wondering about halfway through writing this (I think I justified it to myself by claiming that she was saying it sarcastically). I swear, though, when I know how I want to end a...

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02:24 Aug 13, 2022

Look at you go! Another win, and during a slump no less! Congrats, my friend. :)

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Zack Powell
21:09 Aug 13, 2022

Thanks, friend! Absolutely adored your newest piece. Wishing you good luck!

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Stevie Burges
07:15 Jan 31, 2023

Loved it. I can think of dozens of friends when much younger who would have written much the same postcards. Well observed (who did you observe?) and great writing.

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Zack Powell
20:21 Jan 31, 2023

Thanks, Stevie! I had a good friend in mind while writing this, but I'm sure plenty of people know, or at least have known, someone like this in their life. Or who knows, maybe they've been this person, haha.

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Madison Laird
19:09 Jan 13, 2023

I love this, Zack! I'm trying to put into words how I love the character you've written...I guess all I can say is that she reminds me of someone, and it was interesting to feel like they were the one in this story. The drama of it all. Such a good read!

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Zack Powell
06:11 Jan 14, 2023

Thanks, Madison! I definitely had a specific person in mind while writing this one, so it's nice to hear that there are other people out there who know people like this (for better or worse).

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Yen G
00:41 Jan 13, 2023

great story! it was adorable in a way and i loved it. at the end, i can only imagine the main character sitting in Starbucks saddened and alone :( i love the end, it gives sort of a plot twist when explaining her boyfriends were never real.

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Zack Powell
02:33 Jan 13, 2023

Thank you, Yen! Very much appreciated.

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Celeste Anderson
16:22 Jan 06, 2023

One of my favorite stories on here! So fun to read and with such a creative format. Thanks for sharing. I found this inspiring!

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Zack Powell
17:24 Jan 06, 2023

Thank you very much, Celeste! "Inspiring" is about the highest compliment one can receive, so this made my day.

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01:57 Dec 02, 2022

Just read this story again. I think I forgot to comment. Or I just can't find the comment among so many! Well done on your hilarious story though written with all seriousness. Very insightful. You deserve to be a winner. But oh dear, so sad. Will she ever learn? Definitely what not to do after a relationship ends.

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Wally Schmidt
05:03 Nov 17, 2022

Loved everything about this story-the tone, the snarkiness, the humor, the contemporary 'I Love Lucy" MC, the awkwardness, the holding out hope & the flickering flame. Fun read.

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Dawn Kaltenbaugh
20:01 Oct 04, 2022

I had a feeling all those lovers were just to try to make her ex jealous, but you handled the descriptions very well. It brought her fantasies to life. You can almost taste the cinnamon. Personally, I would never have wanted to see him again, never mind asking him out for a chat. Yet it fits the character and her motivations perfectly. Well done.

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Zack Powell
20:48 Oct 04, 2022

Thanks, Dawn! Description is definitely my Achilles' heel, so it's always nice to hear when they worked. I don't know that I would've wanted to see him either, but I suppose desperation can make us do some crazy things. Thanks again for the kindness!

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Angela Huang
19:41 Oct 02, 2022

I kinda like it 👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍👍

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Zack Powell
23:21 Oct 02, 2022

Thanks, Angela!

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Calvin Kirby
18:45 Sep 22, 2022

Zack, I. Loved this story and the way you presented it through postcards and letters, very unique! I belong to a Literary shorts group of senior citizens in Laurel,Maryland, and would like to use your story when I am the presenter in a few weeks. If I have your permission, I will be presenting it on a October 10th. I will send you my email so I can be in contact with you for some background. Please contact me at Ckirby59@comcast.net. Thanks Cal Kirby

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Zack Powell
21:46 Sep 22, 2022

Thanks, Calvin! You're more than welcome to use this story for your literary group in any way you see fit. I'll be sure to shoot you an email soon.

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Souryn Lauv
22:52 Sep 12, 2022

I admire your ability to write such quirky characters. Our writing styles are very different and that makes it better, seeing as it feels like another voice, not my own. Funny as well, haha!

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Zack Powell
23:51 Sep 12, 2022

Thank you very much, Hunter! That's my favorite thing about this site - so many different voices and writing styles to explore. I appreciate you exploring mine and am glad you got a kick out of this!

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Jamus Hanscom
23:27 Sep 11, 2022

I appreciated the “irregardless” not just once but twice. I sometimes say that jokingly, my fiancée doesn’t think it’s that funny. I do it irregardless. Anyway I see why you won, funny and unique story.

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Zack Powell
02:11 Sep 12, 2022

Thanks, Jamus! I've caught myself saying it too (mostly on purpose, but sometimes accidentally), so you're not alone there.

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Kathryn Bryant
12:06 Sep 09, 2022

I love, love, love what you did with the 'Wish you were here' s and the 'But I wish I were there.' That last line caught in the back of my throat. Really well done.

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Zack Powell
15:28 Sep 09, 2022

Thank you, Kathryn! I personally love when repeated lines get turned on their head, so it's nice to know that it worked for you too. Appreciate it!

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Ron Smith
18:17 Aug 29, 2022

Easy read. Well done.

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Zack Powell
19:33 Sep 01, 2022

A late thank you for this, Ron! "Easy read" is exactly the type of writing that I shoot for, so I'm glad this fulfilled that.

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