Nicholas Conley puts the squeeze on our contest!


It’s been five years since we heard from Nicholas Conley (Oh? Really?  Hmmnn.. I was using hyperbole!)  OK, we have not heard from one our original writers in quite some time, but now that our site is back up and gravitas free Nic has found us again.

I am reminded of the story of Bertrand Russell, whose dying quote(no, I don’t mean the quote was dying–it’s immortal–I mean he was dying):
“Remember your humanity, and forget the rest.”

Now where the hell did I put mine?  It’s gotta be around here somewhere…


Here is

Ben Speaks

by Nicholas Conley


A filthy corridor.  Yellowed, encrusted walls.  Murky shadows stretch across the cracked plaster floor, wrapping dark arms around the doorways of a dozen rooms.  Not just rooms—cells.  The overhead light flickers; a moth commits Sepukku upon its heated surface.  Bruckheimer Mental Hospital has barely changed over the last 100 years.  State regulations?  What regulations?

Room 104.  Ben Campbell waits, silent as ever—in the last five years, Ben hasn’t spoken a word.  The administrator, Kyle Morris, stands across him from, incredulous.  Shocked.

“You didn’t write this,” Mr. Morris states, in disbelief.

Morris presents a strip of toilet paper, marked by thousands of tiny letters.  Ben looks disinterested.  Dead to the world.

“Did you?” Morris asks.

Morris dangles the paper.  Upon its surface is a story.  A piece of carefully-structured fiction.   Ben doesn’t react.  He never reacts.  Morris sighs.  Ben absentmindedly traces the deep scars on his wrists.

“Ben.  This story, it…it’s the most brilliant thing I’ve ever read.”

Suddenly, Ben looks up.

His eyes are bloodshot.  Glossy.  The smallest hint of a sad, repressed smile appears on Ben’s face.  And for the first time in five years, Ben regains the one thing he thought he’d lost forever.

His humanity.

“BEN!!!  GREAT NEWS!!!  They published your novel!



Be careful not to leave a paper trail

7 thoughts on “Nicholas Conley puts the squeeze on our contest!

  1. Diane Cresswell says:

    You certainly jam packed a lot of feelings into these words.  Like the staccato like sentences – each word hitting you creating a great reaction to them.  Specfrictabulous…

  2. Michael Stang says:

    Mr. Conley, the theme of your story is suburb.  Dark and ancient.  I was a little surprised to find a Mr. Morris at all.   I love the little bit of Marquis de Sade on the toilet paper, but the real puch was the ending.  This is quite talented.
    It is exciting for us, the next generation, to read the level of the founding fathers.  So do wish you will stick around and show us how it is done.

  3. Tlrelf says:

    Welcome back to the pack, Nick. I got the chills at the end of this. . .I’m glad he didn’t write in blood or faeces like the Marquis of yore.

    I am intrigued, however, about just what he did write that moved the warden, and what the future might bring. . .

  4. Chalice Divine says:

    Ha a paper trail. How marvelous to rediscover a lost shattered self in reams of wordologies… yeah I know, but I make up words whenever I want to, God pound it:D

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