Beauty Queen [Flash Fiction]

My name is Gwen. It’s a good, strong name. That’s what my pop always said. He said: Gwen, with a gee and a double-you, you’ve got nothing to be scared of in this world because the hardest thing for you will be learning how to spell your name with those big letters in it. I don’t know what my mama said because she skipped out on me and my pop when I was still real small. My pop always said she was the second prettiest gal in the world, after me. Then he would laugh and say: you had the best looking parents I’ve ever seen.

I guess he was right. I won all the beauty pageants when I was a kid, except for that one year when I was eight when I had to be in the hospital because I tripped and broke my head open. I don’t really remember it but my pop told me that I near broke it in two pieces just like an egg. Like the egg with kings and the horses, only my pop said that because I was the prettiest gal in the world we had the money to fix me up good. I still got a scar under my hair that I can feel. It’s all bumpy, and I kinda like it. I like having this one ugly thing on my head where no one, not even the meanest judges, can see it.

Henry used to tell me that I should be happy that I’m pretty. That was before he and Mick drove into a tree and got their drunk asses killed. I’m still mad at Henry for that, even though it was Mick who drove. I would have told Henry: don’t you get in the car with him, he’s drunk as a skunk. And maybe if it was me then Henry would have listened. But maybe not. My pop told me that there’s nothing I can do now except pray for their souls. But I don’t know if they need me to pray for them because if they died drunk then they must have stayed drunk in the next life too and those two pals had the best time when they were good and sloppy together. They could laugh at anything, even me when I let them and they were the only people who dared do that to my face so I liked it and I let them.

One thing that Henry never told me was that he thought I was pretty. He just said it as if I knew it, like it was the same thing as saying: the sky is blue like the ocean. All the others always kept telling me: do you know how pretty you are? But Henry didn’t because he knew that it didn’t matter to me one way or another if he thought I was pretty, just so the judges kept thinking so. Henry told me sometimes that I was smart, and I liked that best of all.

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10 thoughts on “Beauty Queen [Flash Fiction]

  1. This is very engaging. The details really carry me along and make me want to know more about this girl and her story– a great intro to a short story or a novel.

    You’ve been writing here for a couple of years I see. When I get some time, I’ll come back and explore some more. Glad to find you at Girl in the Hat!

  2. Great piece! I love that Gwen doesn’t really seem to care that she’s pretty, like it’s something that makes her secretly miserable… Like maybe she feels like it’s the only thing people notice about her.

    I’m also curious about Henry, and his relationship (or lack thereof) with Gwen.

  3. Erin M says:

    Lovelovelove the voice in this piece!

    Also love names Henry and Gwen. =]

    And I like how Gwen is proud of her scar.

    PS, my iPod started playing a Rolling Stones song on random, so reading the name Mick was totally one of those happenstance thingummies. ^_^

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