BONUS CATEGORY: Tiny Pulitzers 

While we had to choose four winners, there were so many little moments of brilliance throughout all the stories that we had to pull out some of the best and give them their own special awards.

Best First Line: “The best photograph of my sister is the one
on the milk carton.” — “Missing,” Foust

Best Title: “365 Ways to Cook Chicken” — Katharine Herndon

Best Simile: “I gave her a lick, and her stringy hair felt like pumpkin guts.” —“Waiting,” Betsy Reid

Best Metaphor: “To Mary, it felt as if her tiny doll's hands held tightly to a string that looped around the top of her heart. She could feel it being pulled as the doll was carried away, until there was nothing left to hold her heart in place.” — “Doll and String,” Michael Means

Best Character Name: “My name is Vic Polenta. I was named after a side dish.” — “Vic Polenta: Brownie Points,” Victor Gottlieb

Best Contradiction: “Hitting people is not cool, no matter how awesome it may be in movies and TV.” — “The Hits Keep Coming,” Ted Winston

Best Atmosphere for Breaking Up: “It's been almost five hours since he arrived, since they've been at-this-at-this-at-this, since she threw open the front door and welcomed him with a Rolling Rock, a lottery card and a kiss that was not returned. Between them they've smoked a pack and a half of cigarettes — all his — and killed the beer and a bottle of plonk and changed the iTunes playlist twice. But still he has not taken off his green overcoat. And now he's quoting Brodsky.” — “Bird,” E.H. Hahn

Best Aspiration: “She was unsure she could wait for the sweet moment in which she could stand in cold pools of blood.” — “The Party of Their Lives,” Emily Reichstetter

Best Feminist Commentary: “But, she reminded herself, she didn't need a man to be happy. Sure, she would be happier with one. Wouldn't everybody? She didn't need the attention of the male species to feel gratified. Or did she?” — “Wake Up,” Heather Simpkins

Best Intro to Spleen Economics 101: “You don't get a lot of money for a spleen these days, so all of my pens are stolen from motels.” — “The Museum of Warm Things,” Kathryn DiPasqua
Best Observation Made by a Dog: “But this flesh looked unusually attractive, soft and hairless. I poked the buttocks, and it bounced back nicely, not yet stiff.” — “Scented,” Gayla Mills

Best Argument for Gun Control: “We continue to thrive and grow and spread our clan throughout — without opposable thumbs or pepperbox revolvers.” — “Adventures With Andre, Part 1,” Susan Deihl

Most Elaborate Description of a Facial Anomaly: “The old lady had a huge wart projecting from her chin, like a hairy, independent, chubby finger, boneless and jiggling like a Bobble head.” — “The Concert,” Victor Gottlieb

Most Unexpected Presentation of an Object of Childhood Innocence: “The victim had a doll fetish and the doll, which was programmed for vomiting only, went berserk and turned into a psycho mutilating machine.” — “Vic Polenta: Brownie Points,” Victor Gottlieb

Best Instance of a Hat Just Dealing With It: “The hat could not retreat to the box because the box had gone out in the trash.” — “Captain,” Paul DiPasquale

Best Speculation Unsupported by Research: “I guess Grandpa built them. He's dead, so I don't know.” — “Snapshot,” Gayla Mills

Best Drug-Induced Homoerotica: “‘I wish, I want you with all my heart to be a fairy in the land of fun. You then will magically appear in Fabulous Fairy Funland,’ Sparkle said.” — “Untitled,” Ainsley Davis

Best Salute to Richmond Roots: “Though his father was pure Southside Richmond trailer trash, he was still a traditionalist.” — “The Damning Glass,” Kent Jennings Brockwell

Best Lush Logic: “A yard sale is a perfect reason to drink canned beer at 8 o'clock in the morning.” — “Standing in the Shadow of a Falling Tree,” Mike Dulin

Best Hoped-For Conversion Experience: “And if there was a God … and he was all powerful, then why can't He just come down and say, ‘Hey Danny; I am real; I am omnipresent, so start believing in Me and stop jerking off so much.’” — “An Argument,” Daniel Fain

Zombie Revisionist History Award: “Modern culture really knew nothing about the dead, what they thought or felt. Mike thought, ‘This is certainly going to redefine a lot of ideas of heaven and hell, should anyone survive to think of such things.’” — “As For Me, I'll Stay Inside,” Sarah Beth Yuhasz

Best Memory: “… but instead of discarding such things, like she did pictures of friendships and ultrasounds that had long since left her, he kept them along with the hockey stick from a game that required stitches just under his left eye, the empty tequila bottle from the night he drove home from a party and crawled to the front door, throwing up and farting along the way.” — “Still Waiting,” William Hobbs

Best Acronym for a Lady's Club: “The monthly meeting of the National Organization of Tentatively Naked Older Women, or NOT NOW, for short, was in full swing at Carol-Barbara Hoofnagle's house.” — “NOT NOW,” Dagny J. Collier

Best Goodbye: “‘I see, now you have a nice day,’ he states while awkwardly reaching to shake Mr. Karachi's fingerless hand.” — “Atman Samsara,” Michael Hirsch

Best Argument for Home-Schooling: “Harold had a glass eye in his left socket — a reminder of a middle-school fruit cup accident.” — “Harold,” Mike Dulin

Best Acceptance of the Flawed Self: “Eventually, I began to realize that she could no more relinquish her generosity than she could give up the big nose she inherited from her father.” — “Channel,” Dorothy Marie Rice

Best Insult: “The year of the leotard is over, you chump-faced indie dork.” — “Memo to Carl,” Anne Lemore Stowe

Best Tuber Ballistics: “The back of the waiter's head acted like a potato magnet, drawing the thrown spud with amazing accuracy.” — “Carl's Potato,” Gary Powell

Best Last Line: “WAR, WAR, WAR, GLORY TO OUR LEADER, WAR WAR WAR!!!!!!” — “The Golden Eye,” William D. Wilkerson

Best Warped Logic: “… why does he get to wear a toupee indoors and I can't wear my hat? They both serve the same purpose, aesthetics.” — “Untitled,” Savannah McReynolds

Best Passive-Aggressive Pickup Line: “If you kiss me it might feel better … Just kidding. But not really.” — “The Hits Keep Coming,” Ted Winston

Best Hat Psychology: “Talking to hats is a whole lot cheaper than talking to my shrink.” — “In Loco Parentis,” Barbara Grace-Pedrotty

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