Monologue Contest Runners-Up

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(250 words by Sasha Streiber, written in response to the prompt: “Gardens”)

Garden of the Gods. Never been there. Isn’t it in Colorado? Why is it called that? Does it grow Gods?

Garden of Eden. Never been there either. Isn’t that a fictional garden in a really old book? I’m pretty sure it was before my time. I also think it grows sinful apples.

Garden fresh. I’m familiar with this. That’s how I like my vegetables. GMO free, not tampered with, no chemicals, organic. Too bad I don’t have a garden. And too bad I don’t have a horse. The horse’s poop would sure be good for my garden. That is if I had a garden.

I could also ride the horse and feed it sinless apples. We could ride to the Garden of the Gods to watch the God’s heads poke out of the ground. They probably grow just like cabbage patch kids. Then we could gallop back home and tend to the garden. I’ll first strap a plow to the horse to till up the ground. Then I’ll mix the horse’s poop in the soil and plant my seeds.

Such a long day of travel and work that would be. Fine time for a tall whiskey for me and a beer for my horse. If the horse would prefer whiskey, that’s fine with me. He definitely earned it.

Even though my garden is only a figment of my imagination, it’s my garden, and it certainly has come alive in my mind.


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(250 words by Neelab Mahmoud, written in response to the prompt: “Smoke”)

I look away from the audience; I didn’t expect to be on stage, I didn’t volunteer for
this, but he chose me anyway, and I gaze at the top of his black hat trying to keep
calm. He said he’ll make me disappear, but I don’t know what that means or where
I’m going — is there a trap door beneath my feet that will send me down a chute? I
panic, I hate surprises, and my heart is beating wild. Then I hear him say the magical
words; there is smoke all around me, and then poof!

The smoke clears, and I’m able to look out and see that I’m still on stage, but something changed — I am suddenly alone. The audience disappeared and his hat was gone — what kind of trick is this, I wonder, as I frantically look around. Then out of the corner of my eye, I see myself walking towards me. But how can it be? Same hair, posture, clothes and as I come closer, I see my face mirror back at me.

“How?” I ask.

The other me simply states, “Higgs Boson of course.”

“Higgs what?”

“Your universe is less advanced, which is why I’m here — I will be more useful to your world than you will ever be…”

There wasn’t time to answer; there was smoke around me again; and I was back in front of the audience, staring at his hat — but something had changed, and I was no longer me.


Kane Newspapers (Citizen Kane) Courtesy of



New York Times Online Subscription

(250 words by Sarah Loden, responding: New York Times Online Subscriptions)


New York Times Online Subscription! No, I am NOT paying. Besides, I thought if I just signed up and gave you access to sell and distribute my personal information to third party vendors, I would then be permitted to read all the appealing headlines I wanted! Like, “Jenny McCarthy graces the pages of Playboy.” Oh, wait, that was today.

Ok, so it’s true: and its scrolling splash bar has become my more frequented source of news lately. Then I realize I’m perusing photo albums of Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes. Such teasers! The shots are distant ones of their profiles when I want to see how fat Eva is! Oh God! Why am I spending time doing this? I was supposed to check my work email! Or really, I was supposed to research for an article I’m writing, then distracted myself with the work email, then found myself opening this Internet hatch door and wandering through…photos showing the musculature of Michelle Obama’s arms!?

At least I don’t use’s social app that instantly shares the articles I click on. I see Facebook friends sharing their reading filth. “I’m a curator!” I say. “I read articles in their entirety!” Articles I share on Facebook. There’s plenty of bullet-­‐point skimming of stuff I can’t really read because of their density, though I want to propagate my intellectual self. I will get back to that article on dark matter in NYT’s Science section! So long as it’s free when I return.


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