Contest #157 winner 🏆

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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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187 comments

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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Lily Finch
00:30 Aug 27, 2022

Humour and sadness go hand in hand, and you seem to have caught that bit of realism in a coy way. So true with the broken-hearted wishing for what was once. As our friend in the end is caught thinking wishfully about his life. Thanks for the great read. LF6

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Madison Wickham
07:25 Aug 20, 2022

This is amazing and made me laugh!

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Zack Powell
17:39 Aug 20, 2022

Thank you, Madison! Glad the humor came through for you.

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Jocelyn Nelson
02:51 Aug 20, 2022

Loved this fun quick read! And it actually reminded me of a girl I knew once 😂 Well contracted and paced. I don't read many epistolary stories because I typically get bored fast, but this just made me giggle and move right along to the next line. Congratulations on the win!

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Zack Powell
03:42 Aug 20, 2022

Thanks, Jocelyn! I also have known people like this, and the emoji they make me feel is more like 😬, LOL. Glad you gave this story a chance! Epistolary formatting can definitely be hit or miss, so I'm glad this one worked for you. Thanks again!

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20:47 Aug 19, 2022

Congratulations on your win. I really enjoyed this story - great voice, character, and twist at the end - nice!

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Zack Powell
22:18 Aug 19, 2022

Thanks so much, Kathleen! I really enjoyed writing this one, so I'm glad you had some fun here too.

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06:05 Aug 19, 2022

OMG! Just finished my first every story submission, and dont know if I want to waste the five dollars if I dont have an honest chance of winning so I decided to look at some past submissions, to see if they were anything on par with what I wrote. When I wrote and then read my story to my husband I found it quite comical, as did he. Some of my expressions he couldnt get over. But, the I looked back to the past and found the last winner of the last judged contest's entry, your, and I got say...my story is lackluster in comparison. But, when i...

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Zack Powell
13:51 Aug 19, 2022

Wow, thank you for such a lengthy and wholesome comment, Jeneane! I have to say, if you were able to write that must just in a response to this story, you definitely have the potential to write a winning piece yourself. I can see that you enjoy writing and that you have a lot of passion there. And if nothing else, you could always just post it without paying the submission fee so others can see your talent. I wouldn't worry too much about taking long with your drafts either. Mine usually take me anywhere from 6-12 hours. As long as you're s...

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12:38 Aug 26, 2022

You inspired me and I took the leap and submitted the first one last week. It was a lot of fun. And actually, after that, writing with prompts is a little easier, almost finished with this week's but since I have til midnight today...a lot has been going on this week. Got a new roommate above me that sounds like and elephant, moved in at ten at night and unpacked til three...she's the type of person that doesn't realize other people live amongst her.

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Ling Lang
01:19 Aug 19, 2022

Hey Zack, Your story had a ton of really oddly specific details that had me laughing. The George Clooney with and without drugs was such a good detail! Like damn how did you think of that hahaha! Your writing style has this sauciness to it, so I'm gonna check out your other subs. Congrats on the win mate!

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Zack Powell
03:18 Aug 19, 2022

Well thank you, Ling! Very kind of you to say. Glad the George Clooney line worked; I know I had fun with it! Full disclosure: Not sure how saucy my other stories are compared to this one - I wrote this as more of an experiment in character voice and epistolary formatting. Irregardless, thanks for the kind comment and the read. I appreciate it!

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Lorelei Lemon
01:12 Aug 19, 2022

I love to write, but I always have the problem of where to start. I always find myslef writing the ending rather than the beginning and I never thought of it as something that could be used to my advantage and you just proved me wrong. Love the story.

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Zack Powell
03:12 Aug 19, 2022

Thank you, Lorelei, and good luck with your writing! Honestly, I think writing the ending is even better - and in fact, I often tart there with my own stories if I know how I want to finish a piece, and then I work backwards to get to the beginning. It's definitely an advantage, for sure.

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00:42 Aug 19, 2022

Not really my kind of story but I loved it. So funny. Very sad.

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Zack Powell
01:07 Aug 19, 2022

Thank you very much, Kaitlyn! I'm happy that you gave this a chance and enjoyed it!

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Sheri Dusseault
23:07 Aug 17, 2022

Excellent!

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Zack Powell
23:36 Aug 17, 2022

Thanks, Sheri!

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Whitney W.
16:12 Aug 17, 2022

So, so good!

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Zack Powell
16:38 Aug 17, 2022

Thank you, Whitney!

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Kayla Mishri
21:07 Aug 16, 2022

Dang this is really good! Love the descriptive memories and the repetitive line after each letter. Congrats on Winning

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Zack Powell
23:06 Aug 16, 2022

Thank you for the lovely comment, Kayla!

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Kanika G
07:19 Aug 15, 2022

An interesting format to effectively and humourously tell a sad story. I like your MC's attitude and positivity and hope despite the heartbreak she's suffering. While reading the story, I had an urge to comfort her and tell her it's all going to be alright in the end. Well done and congratulations on the win!

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Zack Powell
12:29 Aug 15, 2022

Thank you very much for this, Kanika! What a lovely comment to start my day. I appreciate it.

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Kate Winchester
23:25 Aug 14, 2022

Félicitations/congratulazioni/felicitaciones on the win! I loved your story. It’s funny, but also sad for the lonely writer. The format of this was awesome too with a new lover in each place. Great take on the prompt!

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Zack Powell
00:26 Aug 15, 2022

Merci/grazie/gracias for the lovely comment, Kate! Happy to hear that the format worked for you - I was on the fence about it. Thanks for the reassurance!

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Kate Winchester
01:05 Aug 15, 2022

🥰 welcome

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Chris Morris
08:36 Aug 14, 2022

Congratulations on the win, Zack, thoroughly deserved. This read perfectly as someone who is pretending they are over an ex and yet shows they are totally obsessed with them. Maybe it's my own life experiences but I hope the guy doesn't show up to talk to the main character - move on! Great read - well done again.

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Zack Powell
13:31 Aug 14, 2022

Thank you, Chris! That's how I was hoping it would read, so I'm glad to know it translated to the page. And it's funny: in my mind, I actually thought this guy probably does show up to talk to her. 😬😬😬 (What a disaster that would be.) Now I'm glad I stopped writing where I did. Thanks again!

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Aesha Amin
06:19 Aug 14, 2022

The Statue of David took me out😂💀 Your stories are all so different but so mesmerising. I didn’t even realise I’d reached the end when I did. The character is a classic example of how you can be so hung up on a past relationship so much that getting it back is the only thing on your mind. The humour just makes it such an enjoyable read! And Congrats on the win!!!

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Zack Powell
18:54 Aug 15, 2022

Thanks, Aesha! Just read your newest one, and I really enjoyed it, so coming from you, this comment is all kinds of high praise. Always glad to hear your thoughts.

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Amanda Lieser
03:16 Aug 14, 2022

Hi Zack! CONGRATULATIONS! Oh my this was a fun piece with just the perfect twist of a bit of heartbreak. I loved it. I also loved the fact that you chose letters. I did have an inkling something wasn’t right from the first one. Lover is absolutely one of my favorite words. I was enchanted by the twist at the end of this story and also heartbroken for your MC. It made me think about how social media really affects the end of a relationship. Nice job!

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Zack Powell
13:01 Aug 14, 2022

Thank you, Amanda! It's cool to see how many people intuitively knew something was off by the end of the first letter. There are a lot of astute readers on this site - to no surprise. Glad the social media commentary came through for you. That was a goal of mine here. Thanks again!

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Mohammed Nahir
18:58 Aug 13, 2022

GREAT STORY. REALLY ENJOYED IT

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Zack Powell
19:25 Aug 13, 2022

Thank you very much, Mohammed!

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Marie Mckenzie
17:08 Aug 13, 2022

That man needs a restraining order asap! Lol. Love the zaddy reference and the ending, a nice full circle. Beautifully done!

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Zack Powell
17:55 Aug 13, 2022

I second the motion for the restraining order, LOL. Big time. Thanks for the read and the nice comment, Marie!

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