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“Eight Thousand Dollars in 1981,”by Gina Rose

Eight Thousand Dollars in 1981

Gina Rose

They came to my door and it was very late. They were knocking. But I had barely fallen asleep. They didn’t know this about me. They didn’t know I was a night owl. I don’t remember asking them to please come inside, but I might have. They flashed their badges in my face. They said:

Do you have a camera?

A camera. A…what?

Now they are flashing their lights outside the house. Through the double pane windows. I bought the house in 1981 for eight thousand dollars. Good house. Never gave me a lick of trouble. Only thing is the four way stop outside that people tend to glide through. I never had an accident myself, but I’ve lived through a few of them.

The Browns, I told them. The Browns. They have a camera.

The Browns live across the street. South side of the street. Kitty katty korner to me.

That’s the Browns…

Now they are writing in their notebooks. Tiny pads of paper made for a Barbie doll-sized human of a being. 

We need to check the tapes.

The what?

The footage. See if there’s any footage of the footage. The footage we’re looking for.

I just remember, I say. I just remembered. I do have a camera. I do, in fact, have a camera.

They want to know where and I tell them. Or show them.

Now it’s several days later and I’m sitting across a desk.

We want to thank you for your cooperation, Mr. White. Yours is the only home surveillance camera that caught the footage.

The footage of the footage?

Of the killing. The hit and run. Fifteen years old. That poor boy…

I crumple a little in my chair across the desk from the person. It has to be a sign, I think. It has to be a sign. Why me? Why my camera? Why couldn’t it have been the Browns? Now I must live with the memory of this moment forever. It will forever belong to my truth and it’s something I never asked for. It has to be a sign. Why me?

They came to my door and it was very late. They were knocking. But I had barely fallen asleep. They were knocking and knocking. They came to my door and it was very late. I don’t remember asking them inside. They were knocking and at first I didn’t hear them. Knocking and knocking and knocking. And I couldn’t hear them at first. I don’t remember asking them to please come inside, but maybe I did. They were knocking. And it was very late. They were knocking and knocking and knocking. And when I finally heard them in this life, they were gone.

About the Author

Gina Rose is an African American and Chinese American writer in Oakland, California. She attended Barnard College in New York City where she received the Howard M. Teichmann Writing Prize. Her work has been featured in Rigorous and Penultimate Peanut magazines.

Editorial Note

This piece was selected during a special “(Re)new” themed call for submissions. The theme was curated by our managing editor, James R. Gapinski. The theme celebrates The Conium Review‘s new website and James’s new title, Fruit Rot, released on July 15th from Etchings Press at the University of Indianapolis.

AWP Offsite Event: Books & Brass

Flyer for Books & Brass event

AWP is finally coming to The Conium Review‘s home-city of Portland, and we’re excited. We’ll be doing several on-site and off-site activities. Over the coming weeks, expect to hear about more upcoming gatherings, readings, and author signings.

To kick off AWP, we’re hosting a reading on Thursday, March 28th at the 1905 Jazz Club (830 N. Shaver St., Portland, OR). The readings begin at 6:00 and feature Theodora Bishop, TJ Fuller, Rachel Lyon, Simone Person, Caitlin Scarano, Rebecca Schiff, and Eliza Tudor. The featured live band is the Michael Raynor Quartet.

The readings are completely free, but if you stay for the music at 8:00, there is a $5 cover for that portion of the evening.

Throughout the event, we’ll have free swag available from Conium Press, and authors will have their books for sale. Find this event on Facebook for more information.

About the Readers

Theodora Bishop is the author of the novella, On the Rocks (Texas Review Press), winner of a 2018 Next Generation Indie Book Award, and the short story chapbook Mother Tongues, winner of The Cupboard’s 2015 contest. Theodora Bishop’s poetry and short stories have appeared in Glimmer Train, Prairie Schooner, Arts & Letters, and Short Fiction (England), among other journals, anthologies, and exhibits. A Best New Poets and four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Theodora Bishop holds an MFA from the University of Alabama and is pursuing her PhD in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Houston. She serves as Poetry Editor for Gulf Coast, Fiction Editor for Big Fiction, and occasionally subs as a life care specialist at a memory care center in Houston.

TJ Fuller writes and teaches in Portland, Oregon. His fiction has appeared in Hobart, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Jellyfish Review, and elsewhere. He won the 2017 Flash Fiction Contest at The Conium Review.

Rachel Lyon is the author of the debut novel Self-Portrait With Boy (Scribner 2018), which was longlisted for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. Her shorter work has appeared in Joyland, Iowa Review, Electric Literature’s Recommended Reading, McSweeney’s, and other publications. A cofounder of the reading series Ditmas Lit in her native Brooklyn NY, Rachel has taught creative writing for the Sackett Street Writers Workshop, Catapult, the Fine Arts Work Center, Slice Literary, and elsewhere. Subscribe to Rachel’s Writing/Thinking Prompts newsletter at tinyletter.com/rachellyon, and visit her at www.rachellyon.work.

Simone Person is the author of Dislocate, the winner of the 2017 Honeysuckle Press Chapbook Contest in Prose, and Smoke Girl, the winner of the 2018 Diode Editions Chapbook Contest in Poetry. She grew up in small Michigan towns and Toledo, Ohio and is a dual MFA/MA student at Indiana University in Fiction and African American and African Diaspora Studies. In 2018, Simone became the Prose Editor for Honeysuckle Press. She sporadically, and to varying degrees of success, uses Twitter and Instagram at @princxporkchop.

Caitlin Scarano is a writer based in Washington state. She holds a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an MFA from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She was selected as a participant in the NSF’s Antarctic Artists & Writers Program and spent November 2018 in McMurdo Station in Antarctica.  Her debut collection of poems, Do Not Bring Him Water, was released in Fall 2017 by Write Bloody Publishing. She has two poetry chapbooks: The White Dog Year (dancing girl press, 2015) and The Salt and Shadow Coiled (Zoo Cake Press, 2015).

Rebecca Schiff is the author of The Bed Moved, a finalist for an LA Times Book Prize. Her fiction has appeared in n+1, Electric Literature, The Guardian, Guernica, BuzzFeed, The American Reader, Fence, Washington Square, Lenny Letter, and in The Best Small Fictions 2017. She lives in Oregon.

Eliza Tudor grew up in Indiana and holds an MA in English and an MFA in Writing from Butler University. Her stories have appeared in The Conium Review, PANK, TLR, Hobart, Annalemma, and Paper Darts, among others, as well as in the anthologies, Mythic Indy, and Dark Ink Press’s Fall. Her novella,Wish You Were Here, won the 2017 Minerva Rising Press Novella Prize and was published by that press. After spending the last few years living in places as varied as Silicon Valley, the south coast of England, and Austin, Texas, she is currently in the process of moving to the Pacific Northwest.

Emily Wortman-Wunder is the 2018 Innovative Short Fiction Contest winner

Maryse Meier has made her decision. Emily Wortman-Wunder‘s “Endangered Fish of the Colorado River” is this year’s Innovative Short Fiction Contest winner!

Emily Wortman-Wunder lives in Denver, Colorado. Her work has appeared in Vela, Nimrod, Terrain, High Country News, and many other places.

This year’s finalists were Suzanne Burns, Chelsea HarrisMarlene OlinN. Page, and Francine Witte. Maryse Meijer had this to say about the winning story:

“‘Endangered Fish of the Colorado River’ is a moving meditation on parental and ecological grief, an exceptionally accomplished examination of losses big and small. Restrained, precise, and wise, the author shows us how, in the attempt to save something, we risk losing everything.”

 
—Maryse Meijer, contest judge and author of Heartbreaker

Emily’s story will be published in The Conium Review: Vol. 7. She also receives a $500 prize, five contributor copies, and a copy of Maryse Meijer’s latest book.

Thanks to all who submitted to this year’s contest. We’ll be announcing next year’s judge soon. Sign up for our newsletter to stay informed about these calls for submissions and news from The Conium Review and Conium Press.

Editor Update: James R. Gapinski’s 2018 Book Tour

Join The Conium Review‘s managing editor, James R. Gapinski, as he celebrates the release of Edge of the Known Bus Line (Etchings Press, University of Indianapolis). Later this month, James embarks on a five-state reading tour, with stops in Seattle, Milwaukee, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Portland.

The tour kicks off on August 29th with a featured reading at the Two Hour Transport series in Seattle. Next stop is Boswell Books in Milwaukee. Then James visits Chicago for a conversation with former contributor and recent contest judge Maryse Meijer, author of Heartbreaker (FSG) and Northwood (Black Balloon Publishing). In Minneapolis, James reads with local and visiting authors Maya Beck, Madeline Reding, Kathryn Savage, and Erin Sharkey. Finally, James returns home for a reading in Portland. Full book tour details, Facebook links, and other information is available on James R. Gapinski’s author page.

EOTKBL Book Tour flyer (compressed)

TJ Fuller wins the 2017 Flash Fiction Contest!

Rebecca Schiff has selected TJ Fuller‘s “Slim Fit” as the winner of the 2017 Flash Fiction Contest! The contest finalists were Carla Diaz, Ingrid Jendrzejewski, LaTanya McQueenDerek Updegraff, and Francine Witte.

TJ Fuller writes and teaches in Portland, Oregon. His work has also appeared in Jellyfish Review, Pacifica Literary Review, and Hobart.

Here’s what the judge, Rebecca Schiff, had to say about the TJ Fuller’s winning flash:

 

“From the first sentence, ‘Slim Fit’ brings us into its strange, funny world. The author trusts that the movement of language and his delight in its premise will become the reader’s delight. It does. I’m thrilled to declare TJ Fuller the winner of The Conium Review 2017 Flash Fiction contest and I hope you enjoy his story as much as I did.”

—Rebecca Schiff, author of The Bed Moved

TJ’s winning story will be published digitally at The Conium Review Online Compendium. The piece will also be designed and printed as a limited-run broadside or micro-chapbook for distribution at conferences or other literary events. TJ will also receive a $300 prize for his story and a copy of Rebecca Schiff’s book.

Thanks to all who submitted to this year’s contest. We hope you’ll consider sending work to our annual Innovative Short Fiction Contest, or through our general submission queueSign up for our newsletter to stay informed about these calls for submissions and news from The Conium Review and Conium Press.