Flash 405, August 2021: “House Party” Winners

Looks like this party’s over (or maybe just beginning) with the announcement of our 2021 Flash 405 contest “House Party” winners. Judged by Barrelhouse Fiction Editor Christopher Gonzalez, this round of Flash 405 wanted pieces that made us crave community and conflict, heat and heated discussions, raw and unfiltered potential. After much deliberation, we have our winners!

Learn more about Christopher’s selections and read the winning pieces below:

Judge’s Comments: 

When I was asked to judge the Flash 405 competition, COVID-19 vaccines were rolling out and I was fantasizing about parties, about getting totally sloppy and living for real, whatever that means. Parties are sprawling with narrative potential even if limited to a dinner for six. Everyone has their own conflicts and desires; any two people could have beef or love or some mix of both. I was fantasizing about being back in the world amongst my peers and enemies alike, gossiping with sticky Solo cups in hand, screaming over ear-drum splitting music, and dancing until my heart threatened to give up. Until I forgot my body existed at all.

In perhaps an unsurprising turn, many of the entries spoke to experiences set in high school and college. Well, of course. When else in our lives are we that unhinged, that frothy with possibility? When are we that chaotic? But there were also stories about childhood, those early stirrings of change. Childhood: an exciting, confusing time, party in its own right.

It was a joy reading these pieces. I hope you find the parties at the center of my personal favorites worth attending.

– Christopher Gonzalez

Congratulations to the winners! You can read their work below:

1st Place:
Vigil by Alyson Mosquera Dutemple (Fiction)

2nd Place:
Astral Body by Miranda Williams (Fiction)

Honorable Mentions:
Life in a Fishbowl by Abram Valdez (Fiction)
Salt Lick at Sigma Psi Rho by Hadley Griggs (Fiction)

Want to keep the party going? Submit for our annual issue today! Those who submit before November 1 will receive guaranteed feedback on their work.

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Photo Credit: Jake Hinds