I let my subscription to Esquire expire.
Saturday they sent me an issue as a come-on to re-up. In it was a writer's contest to celebrate their 78th anniversary. The story you submit must be just 78 words long. It gnawed on me for a day and I thought maybe I'd give it a whirl. Then I reread the rules and deadline for entries was midnight, two days ago.
I wrote two, and stopped tweaking them, or finishing the second, after I realized I was too late. But so as not to waste:
The 52nd President strode to the AT&T podium to address the three houses of congress. "Members of congress, Mr. Vice President, Mr. Speaker, honored guests from Exxon-Mobile, I come to you on this auspicious occasion to celebrate our latest budget reduction initiative. Starting this March, our paper currency will contain logos from patriot blue chip companies who have purchased space to help reduce our national debt. This is truly a great day for Walmart's United States of America!"
On the day the fish swam away, Pedro's net pulled up empty. He cursed God under his breath while making the sign of the cross, then kissing the silver Virgin Mary medal which had hung around his neck since his baptism. He scanned the horizon, and what appeared to be clouds were thousands of gulls, flying as one, away from land. As his oars dipped, they were unable to gain purchase as the sea had begun to effervesce.
I don't think the second story had a shot. I think they wanted a beginning, middle, and end. The first story is probably too jokey.