ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Weston Ochse is a former intelligence officer and special operations soldier who has engaged enemy combatants, terrorists, narco smugglers, and human traffickers. His personal war stories include performing humanitarian operations over Bangladesh, being deployed to Afghanistan, and a near miss being cannibalized in Papua New Guinea. His fiction and non-fiction has been praised by USA Today, The Atlantic, The New York Post, The Financial Times of London, and Publishers Weekly. The American Library Association labeled him one of the Major Horror Authors of the 21st Century. His work has also won the Bram Stoker Award, been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, and won multiple New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards. A writer of more than 26 books in multiple genres, his military supernatural series SEAL Team 666 has been optioned to be a movie starring Dwayne Johnson. His military sci fi series, which starts with Grunt Life, has been praised for its PTSD-positive depiction of soldiers at peace and at war. Weston likes to be called a chaotic good paladin and challenges anyone to disagree. After all, no one can really stand a goody two-shoes lawful good character. They can be so annoying. It's so much more fun to be chaotic, even when you're striving to save the world. You can argue with him about this and other things online at Living Dangerously or on Facebook at Badasswriter. All content of this blog is copywrited by Weston Ochse.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Esquire Magazine's 79 Story Contest


Esquire Magazine is having a fiction contest. You must tell a story in 79 words. No more. No less. I'm not so good at this sort of flash fiction, but I thought I'd try it. In fact, I'm hoping to get advice from you kind and talented folks. 

The entries will be judged on the following criteria: plot (25%); characterization (25%); theme (25%); and originality (25%).

The deadline is September 1st.

So here are my four I created today. Hopefully you all will like one of these. Excluding the title, they
are all 79 words.

Which one do you like the most? Which one the least?

She held the corners like Steve McQueen’s mustang, digging in and letting go at all the right times. I told her I loved her. I come back to her every time I’m in Amsterdam. She’s always ready. She’s always a pro. Why don’t you marry her, a friend once asked? I explained, you can’t live on vacation. When I returned home, I kissed my dear wife promising to never leave again, but I was soon longing for another vacation.  

She had me dig and watched as I struggled with the desert scrabble. Blue sky up to God and a vicious sun spit lava through my veins. I told her I wouldn’t ever hit her again, but she didn’t believe me. She had me sit in the hole, then filled it in with the dirt until only my head was free. Now you know what helpless feels, she said. She walked away as the combine began picking the lettuce.

Gomez straddled the border as he hiked west. Neither in America or Mexico, he was in both and nowhere at all. Whose laws should he follow? He stepped to the right when the Zetas came. He stepped to the left when he saw border patrol. Funny how a line meant so much. Days later he delivered the bag of cocaine to a cousin in San Diego. Its street value was measured in grams, but it was enjoyed in lines.

She wipes tears away as she watches him go through security. Six months in Afghanistan, then return. She wonders where her boy had gone, that child who’d pointed at the moon and announced he’d one day go there. His legs are doing better now. Metal is so much more sturdy than flesh. The detector alarms and men scramble towards him. They make him hold his arms like a criminal, her boy, her soldier, her red, white and blue dreamer.

Muchos Gracious for your help. It's not too late for you to write something too. Maybe you'll win one of the prizes. Maybe we both will. Maybe we'll find ourselves in NYC laughing about this as we drink free wine and eat free food.

We'll see.


  1. Vacation was my favorite. They each had something going, but I felt Vacation was strongest over all. Good luck.

  2. Thanks Frank. I appreciate the comment.

  3. Wow! Thanks for the heads up on this! Personally, I like them in this order:
    Patriotism, Salad Days, Line Logic (although I really like these top three), and Vacation. I'm going to write some too. :)