2017 Chesapeake Voices Prose Contest
The Future Is Not For Sale
by Jeremy Griffin
Ken McKinnon wandered along the craggy two-mile stretch of road that connected the Matthews house to the highway. At his side, he carried a half-finished six-pack to keep up the buzz he’d been maintaining for the past four days. That was when he and Nina had driven down from D.C. at the advice of his lawyer, Gwen. She was a severe woman with a pageboy haircut and a seemingly endless supply of earthy-toned pantsuits. “I’m going to file a few pretrial motions to buy us some time,” she’d explained over the phone. “It wouldn’t surprise me if the judge dismisses the case altogether, the county’s process service was so screwy. In the meantime, try to relax. You’ve earned it.” Ordinarily, the house was the ideal place to relax, a white A-frame nestled in a woodsy lot five miles outside the fishing hamlet of Matthews, Virginia, with a wraparound deck that offered a panoramic view of the Chesapeake inlet. However, after nearly a week it was becoming clear that whatever Ken had hoped for out here, clarity or comfort, he wasn’t going to get it.
Jeremy Griffin is the author of a collection of short fiction from SFASU Press titled “A Last Resort for Desperate People: Stories and a Novella,” which was nominated for a Library of Virginia Award. His work has appeared in such journals as the Greensboro Review, the Mid-American Review, the Indiana Review, the Iowa Review, and Shenandoah. He is a lecturer in the department of English at Coastal Carolina University and is fiction editor for Waccamaw: a Journal of Contemporary Literature. You can read Jeremy's winning piece both here and in Volume 10 of Delmarva Review.
Congratulations to Jeremy Griffin, winner of Delmarva Review's Chesapeake Voices Contest!
Jeremy's short story "The Future is Not For Sale," was hailed by contest judge Laura Oliver as sophisticated, with strong characters in a setting that clearly depicts the Chesapeake region.
Second place goes to George Sherblom for his piece "Shots Fired."
Third place winner is B.B. Shamp for "The Sotweed Legacy."
Read all three winning entries here!
George Sherblom is the right-brain alter-ego of G. Thomas Woodward, who is retired from 30 years of providing economic analysis to the U.S. Congress. He is a life-long resident of Anne Arundel County, where he and his wife of 38 years care for horses in need of a home. He is the author of Incidence In My Life.
by George Sherblom
The squad car accelerated satisfactorily as Stohmeyer stomped on the pedal. It was not nearly as underpowered as the older officers insisted. Getting one of the new cars was quite a score for someone of double-low status. As a rookie and a female, Stohmeyer rated the least preferred for any department-issued equipment; but the senior guys hated the new cars.
The oil embargo and high gas prices that followed forced county officials to reassess the desirability of the big Caprices. Like the rest of America in 1974, they downsized for the sake of fuel economy. The experienced officers, who would have otherwise been first in line for new cruisers, didn't want them. They chose to hang on to the older vehicles. And their misperception was her boon. The mid-sized Ford performed well enough, and although it had already lost its new-car smell by the time she got it, it had not yet acquired the odor of urine and vomit that eventually clings to the back seats of so many police cars.
B.B. Shamp won the 2016 first place award from the National Federation of Press Women and Delaware Press Association for her debut novel, Third Haven.
She lives on one of Delaware’s inland bays where she works on environmental issues, local scholarships, and channeling the beauty of the coastal plain in her writing. She is originally from the D.C. area. www.bbshamp.com
The Sotweed Legacy
by B.B. Shamp
Spitting snow stung Father Ingle’s ample cheeks as he fumbled for his key to the church. He raised his eyes to the stained-glass window of St. Aloysius and thought, not for the first time, that its inscription, ‘Patron Saint of Youth’ taunted him. His hip ached from the cold. “Give me strength to endure this night,” he muttered as he laid his thick hand on the doorknob. He leaned his weight against the wood, whitened from so many years of salt spray and sun. The sacristy door gave way to a green and white tiled floor and yellow light that glowed from the church proper.
In a guarded voice, he called, “Hello? Mrs. Owens?” Cautious, even after nine years on the Peninsula, the priest remained suspicious of these riverside residents. Father Ingle brushed the snow from his overcoat. He heard a radio playing and Doris Day’s sweet voice wafted over him. “Whatever Will Be, Will Be.” He nodded and smiled. Catching a slight hint of bleach, he knew Mrs. Owens was at work. With the exception of the gleaming floors, there was no other sign of the woman who single handedly ran the Ladies Altar Society.