Monday, June 13, 2011

The One That Didn't Win

This short piece was my entry for the 2011 SCBWI Conference Tuition Content. The word prompt was "cinnamon."

Read what people are saying about it:
"Perverse piece."
- Morality Monthly
"Burn Witch! Burn!"
- General Witch-Finder Daily
"Smut, smut, smut. Clearly the author is a danger to teens everywhere."
- National PTA Quarterly
"May the author burn in the Everlasting Fires of Hell for using the Lord's name in vain."
- The Apostate Review

Room 104 at the Reno Deluxe Inn 
by Lupe Fernandez

My t-shirt smells of tangy sweat. I walk bare foot and recheck the bolted hotel door; adjust the curtains, and turn her Bible face down. The air conditioner drones. Behind the bathroom door, she brushes her hair, rubs lotion on herself and sings “Oh happy day/when Jesus walked.” I slip under the bed covers and take my pants off. What if she notices my giant nose pimple and changes her mind? What should I touch on her first? I never learned that in AP Biology. Pulling my pants over my bony legs, I roll out of bed and smooth the sheets. My belly grumbles. I had no appetite when the jazz band went to McDonalds for dinner. The bathroom door opens. Before she clicks off the light, I see her slim, naked body through her dressing gown. 

“Pray with me,” she says. 

We kneel in front of the bed and hold hands. She smells of cinnamon.

“Ms. Castle,” I confess to her, “I don’t how.”

“Do you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?”

“Yes,” I say.

She thanks Him for “delivering the angel of conception” – me. We climb into bed and Ms. Castle hikes up her gown.

Afterward: I'd like to say that no cinnamon was abused during the writing of this short piece.

I attended last month's SCBWI Tri-Regions of Southern California Schmooze: Westside Writers' Schmooze takes on Misfits, Mutts & Bastards 

I was inspired to sketch Room 104 at the Reno Deluxe Inn as a graphic novel.
Ext. Hotel Hallway

Int. Hotel Room - Castle sets mood.
Int. Hotel Room - Teen looks in refrigerator.

Int. Bathroom - Castle gets ready. 

Int. Hotel Room - Teen sits on bed.

Int. Hotel Room - Teen taps feet and turns over Bible.

Int. Hotel Room - Teen and Castle pray.

Int. Hotel Room - Teen and Castle get into bed.

I hate to brag, but I'm no Frank Miller. I'm not even a Miller Lite.

After Afterward: The pen that drew these sketches has been retired.
Edited by K. Kahrs


  1. Wow, Lupe! Great story. I felt like I was right there in that hotel room with those characters -- how awkward!

    BTW -- It's not the only one that didn't win. I wrote a Cinnamon short story that didn't win either.

  2. Thanks Megan. I'm sure your cinnamon was better than my cinnamon. What do you think of my sketches? I know, I know. You're speechless.

  3. Hmm. This one is a little creepy (in a The-Handmaid's-Tale kind of way). I'd keep reading. Nicely done.

  4. Dear Ms. Walker,
    We quite agree. Mr. F has a creepy quotient of 70.69. However, he comes from a broken home, so we let him express himself, less he become disgruntled and switch the blog passwords on us.
    The Management

  5. OMG Lupe! I love your take on Cinnamon! And I love that the Schmooze prompted you to do a graphic novel take on it!

    I loved what I wrote for the cinnamon contest, too (and worked really hard on it), but it didn't win either. Boo! Still, I think it's a great annual writing exercise.

    Karol Ruth Silverstein

  6. Thanks Karol. Glad you like the sketches. A cross between Picasso's Sleepy Period and a doctor's handwriting.
    Curiously Cursive

  7. That was some good entertainment. Although from the buildup I was expecting it to go a different direction. I was a bit surprised when she came into the room and actually knew he was there.

    Oh well, I guess that's just from reading too much horror :)

    Oh and thank you for including the quotes at the beginning.

  8. Dear E.C.,
    Thanks for reading. I'm partial to the quote from the National PTA Quarterly, "Smut, smut, smut. Clearly the author is a danger to teens everywhere."

    I was always the harmless kid in high school.

    Voted Most Unlikely

  9. Do you think you could send this in to the WSJ? *evil grin*
    I am writing something currently which would make the PTA Quarterly faint. And yes, it's upper YA. We write what we write. I liked it.

  10. Christa, you have good taste. I'll know I've hit the big time when a novel with my name as author gets banned, although, Ellen Hopkins said it's not a pleasant experience.
    Fan of General Witch-Finder Daily

  11. You all have one on me because I couldn't even think of something lame to write, forget smutty. Cinammon did nothing for me, look I can't even spell it correctly.

    Sigh, Hilde, the Cinnammon Challenged.

  12. Dear Cinnamon Challenged,
    Perhaps the prompt should have been "cookie".
    Ms. Fields' Secret Admirer


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