Ode to a Dead Salmon Bad Writing Finalists!

What a run it’s been for our third annual 49 Writers Ode to a Dead Salmon Bad Writing Contest! It was no easy task, but after much deliberation our esteemed judges have narrowed down our pool of entries to three finalists. Reeling in the winning Ode is now up to you! On the right side bar you’ll find the poll for the contest. You get to decide which piece represents the best bad writing of the salmon season. Voting will close next Monday August 15 at 7:00 pm. One vote per person please. The winner will receive an autographed Ray Troll t-shirt, lots of good 49 Writers press, and, of course, huge bragging rights.

Without further ado, here are this year’s finalists in alphabetical order. May the best worst Ode win!

The Horror: A Tale of Dismemberment

by Paula Bryner

Its eye stared up at me from the plywood slab that had become its sepulcher. An eye like the one that Poe described. An unblinking memento of death.

“Here,” my companion snorted handing me a knife that resembled the scimitar of an Ottoman. “Try not to cut yourself.”

My hand went to the shiny scales of the sacrifice. They glistened as gray as water and sky.

“Cut it up,” he continued. “We’ll be here all day.”

I glanced over to note that he had already gutted and filleted two of our four serial killings.

The eye kept staring. Staring.

That unholy scimitar cut through the gut of my victim as if it were clotted cream.And then the gore spilled forth. Red and round and unending, or so it seemed.Future life now tiny corpses at my behest.

“Save the roe,” he said all too eagerly while tossing me a plastic bag.

I reached out, my hand trembling. Did all killers feel like this their first time?

The thought left me when I felt the squish of roe between my fingers. It had the ooze of a brain degraded by spongiform encephalopathy. It made me sorry to know what that felt like.

Somehow, the bright red eggs found their way into the plastic bag.

“Jeez, just get it over with.”

The eye, unlike my companion, had less encouraging things to say.

“It’s just a salmon,” he said after a moment.

“You do it,” I replied at last.

And he did. Guts were cast aside for eager scavengers to fly away with. Tail chopped off and then finally the head with its tell-tale eye, all gone to feed other wild things.

“There,” he said after extracting the surprisingly translucent spine. “That wasn’t so bad.”

The salmon, like her roe, was crammed into a plastic bag.

As he stomped up to the truck to put our casualties in the cooler, I waded into the river, stooped and washed the mucilaginous blood from my hands.

While watching the vermillion ribbons disappear into the glacial water, I felt my trepidation lift. The river carried away the horror and now all that was left was a single thought.



Overheard at Chitina
by Christine Byl

This year I’m taking

my goddamn dip-net to the
fish counter at Freds.


Love Story

by Travis Naught

Hook, line and sinker, he’s a quick thinker to finagle his way out of that close call! Now the line trails in the freshwater stream providing floss for the brown bear that chomps a near miss mouthful of water behind the tail up the rapids. It’s a good thing the net season is a week out because the filament would surely tangle in the knots tied by practiced hands. But his fate lies another spell upstream where the shiny swivel acts like a tail fin tattoo that helps to attract a most buxom mate. They dance a duet under the fallen tree log shading a perfectly formed nesting area for the first of their trysts. Wore out from hours of assuring that the species will live on each mate goes fluttering into oblivion in their own time.

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