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BISON cover letter PRIZE runner-up photo

This month sees publication of our newest print issue, Hobart #14. As such, and as we have done to accompany our last few print issues, we are devoting the entire month to various "bonus materials" -- photo essays, alternate endings, drawings, extra short fictions, interviews, & more! Almost half of #14 is made up of the six BUFFALO Prize winning stories, each chosen by an SF/LD author. When we decided to run the contest, we also decided to have a "best cover letter" sub-contest (the BISON Prize), to make it interesting for both ourselves and those willing to give us some money to consider their stories. Below is one of the five BISON Prize runner-ups.

Dear Editor,

As the managing editor of a literary magazine myself, I am well-versed in The Dirty Little Secret of the Contest (TDLSC). Where do we procure our funding? TDLSC. How do we pad our subscriber database? TDLSC. Oh, to be one of those Submitable fat cats living off the fat of TDLSC! Am I right?

With that said, I don’t aim to ridicule you for succumbing to the literary cannibalism that is the TDLSC. Feast my friends! Feast on the capitalist carrion of literary mediocrity! So, in the spirit of both giving and giving in, I invite you to forgo using the spoils my submission fee on the type of non-taxable, milquetoast, house-keeping expenditures that a mid-level lit mag is wont to spend it on. Instead, I offer you this list of potential ways to spend my $16. Go ahead, treat yourselves!

  1. Buy a bottle of water based personal lubricant for fewer than ten dollars. Exchange five of the remaining dollars for a roll of quarters at your local bank. Shove the roll of quarters comfortably up your motherfucking asshole.
  2. There was a deli/grocery store across the street from my old apartment. They used to sell 18-packs of Miller High Life in bottles for $9.99. Also, cigarettes were like $3.50 a pack back then. So, assuming you have a time machine, set the coordinates for: 1940 N Farwell Ave. Milwaukee, WI; year 2002; (July was a nice month that year). Bring a friend who smokes cigarettes and drinks cheap beer.
  3. Set time machine coordinates to Koppa’s Fulbeli Deli circa 2002 (see #2). Walk across the street. Knock on my door. Give me your $16 and a sports almanac. If all goes as planned, you’ll never have to have another contest again.
  4. Buy 16 items from the McDonald’s breakfast dollar menu. Make sure to get there before 11:30 (See Falling Down (1993)). 
  5. Buy one gallon of gas (thanks, Dad).
  6. Give it to Elizabeth Ellen. While we’re on the subject, is she single?
  7. Donate $16 to the Romney campaign ironically.
  8. Put it all on the fifth horse in the sixth race. I think its name is Chips Ahoy!
  9. Buy a copy of Nebraska by Bruce Springsteen. I never really understood why everyone loves the Boss, then I bought Nebraska at Goodwill for a dollar and it’s been blowing my mind ever since. You can check your Goodwill for a copy, but it’s unlikely that you’ll have the same luck that I had. You should just go to a record store. Also, my copy is on vinyl. Do you think I’m cool now, or am I trying too hard?
  10. When I lived in Key West, a bottle of Appleton Estate VX Rum was only $16. Also the open container laws are openly ignored there. Hitchhike.
  11. Hire a babysitter. This would be best if you don’t have children. Just point out the emergency contacts, show him or her how to use the remote, make sure he or she feels welcome to help himself or herself to anything in the fridge or pantry, and then leave for two hours. 
  12. Somehow use the money to determine why I thought it was a good idea to submit a piece of flash fiction that is substantially shorter than this cover letter. Maybe Elizabeth Ellen knows. Maybe she and I should discuss it over the phone. My number (414) 232-1465.
  13. Use my $16 to rent the top half of a tuxedo, dress shoes, and a top hat. Exchange the rest of your entry fees into coins. Scrooge McDuck that shit.
  14. Remember Zima? Whatever happened to Zima? If you can’t find a six pack of it, use the money to buy ingredients to approximate the taste.
  15. A friend of mine used to get really fucked up on Robitussin. That might be something you want to do.
  16. Put my $16 in an envelope along with the $100 Bison prize I just won, and send it to:

Tyler Koshakow


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image: Aaron Burch