My Short Story Gets HM from WOTF



My short story, Monsters on the Border, won Honorable Mention in the Writers of the Future Contest. This is the first recognition I've gotten for my fiction. 


The story started out as a Thursday story at the Viable Paradise workshop.

For those who are curious, here is the opening paragraph of the story:

Monsters on the Border, a short Story by Alison McMahan

Opening Sample

My brother is dead because I took a dump.

We'd guided the twelve alambres, illegal workers, north along the foothills all night, picking our way through the chamisa shrubs that smelled like old wet sneakers.  I turned and walked down the line, telling everyone it was time to rest. The woman with the fat baby collapsed under a tree away from the others to nurse her child. 

I could hear my brother showing off his black cowboy hat, making the alambres laugh. 

"You look like a singer. Give us a corrida!"

"He's a gambler! Bring out the cards!"

"He'll lasso the bulls in America!"

Miguel really did look like a charro rider, with his muscular arms and chest and his tight shirt. Then the group went quiet. My brother had pulled out some of his Hierba de Michoacán and the men were breathing in the earthy, musky, dizzying perfume. 

I slammed my hand down on the open package and yanked my brother away.

"Cover that," I hissed. "Get your backpack. Come on."

Miguel looked at me with that peaceful look people get when they are high on hierba.

"But these are my friends. It's our last night together."   

"They are not your friends, they are your clients. Don't make friends with them."

"You have some with me then."

"We're close to the border. We need to keep a clear head. Let's eat."

It was Miguel's first trip as a coyote and he'd made our food before we left. I'd forgotten to warn him against frijoles.  After a few bites, too oily and too spicy, I had to take a dump. 


Just a reminder, I'm participating in the Clarion West Write-a-Thon until August 2. If you make a donation, I'll name a character in one of my short stories after you.