Saturday, January 31, 2009

"Who is Pete Sevang?" Contest Winners

FIRST PLACE

Who is Pete Sevang?
By Rachel Paiste

He rubbed Tomas’ head one more time, and leaned over to softly kiss his brow. He had been doing this every night for some time now, but it never got easier. Or harder, really. It just was. He put his two kids in bed, kissed their quietly resting foreheads, and slipped out. His wife rarely even noticed his exit. Sometimes she asked questions, but it seemed that lately she had bored of them. Tonight was no different. He had his whole excuse planned: there was a late night meeting at the firm, this was an incredibly challenging case, they needed to put in many extra hours. But she could not be bothered to look up from her TV program. He slipped out unseen.

Went to his car. Peered towards the back seat; the outfit was there, in a Kevingston bag. He pulled out of the driveway and drove towards Once.

Entered the Burger King. Changed into the slinky red gown, the one with holes in all the right places. Fitted his wig to his now ashen hair. Spent fifteen minutes delicately applying his makeup, attaching his false lashes, gargling mouthwash.

Taking to the streets, he felt like a different person. The real Pete Sevang. It was only 14 minutes before a John picked him up. After a few moments of haggling price, he slipped into the red Peugeot and was off.


SECOND PLACE

Were you Sevanged?
By Sharon Haywood

Are you a writer in Argentina? Looking for love in Dubai? Hoping to network with other teachers in Japan? If you answered yes, then you were probably Sevanged. Pete Sevanged to be exact. I was too.

Single, born in June, a freelance writer and teacher—that’s all you know about him; well, at least that’s all he told you via his Facebook account. And of course, that he resided in the same city you live in. His profile picture displayed a stunning shot of Mount Kilimanjaro. His photo albums exhibited various pictures of supposed pets: two Golden Labs, a Siamese cat, a cockatoo, and a teddy-bear hamster. Did you chuckle at the cute accompanying captions? I did.

His wall was filled with benign pleasantries such as, “Nice to meet you—maybe in person soon!”; “Hope to see you at the party!”; “Sorry you couldn’t make it. Maybe next time.” Were you one of the hundreds of friends who wrote on his wall? I was.

He’s gone now. Evaporated into cyber-space. The closest hit Facebook comes up with is multiple Peter Strangs. Google only lists blog entries from confused writers in Buenos Aires, heartbroken women in the United Arab Emirates, and angry educators in Asia. I hope you take refuge knowing you’re not alone. I’m sure you’re like me now, a lot more discerning about whom you call friends. One last question though: Did you notice that he disappeared the same day your bank balance read zero? I didn’t either.


THIRD PLACE

Who is Pete Sevang?
By Noah Pedrini

Peter Sevang, acclaimed social linguist and gender theorist, was pronounced dead Sunday night after his raft capsized off the coast of Miami.

Raised in the Cuban countryside by his father, a diplomat, Sevang was fluent in three languages by the age of seven. Majoring in Gender Studies at the University of Havana, his influential dissertation Debemos Girar a la Izquierda garnered international attention and incensed his peers. In it, Sevang argued that popularly-held male/female stereotypes were largely based in fact. He asserted that the gender of words related to such stereotypes were predominantly of one gender or the other, and the decision of which wasn't arbitrary as popularly believed but based on centuries of observed behavior.

Solicited by the US Department of Internal Affairs shortly thereafter, Sevang researched the growing rate of divorce among married couples in America. His findings posited a direct correlation between the percentage of words in a country's language that were gendered and its number of successful marriages. What resulted from the use of Modern English, he wrote, was “the erosion of an inferred passion through language that keeps relationships alive when they would otherwise wither away.”

Sevang's recommendation—update the English language so that most of its words are gendered, or officially adopt the language of a minority population as a second—was summarily rejected.

Immediately exiled from the country, Sevang was forced to leave the young fiancé he had met only months before.

Returning to Cuba, he taught at his alma mater until his death.


HONORABLE MENTIONS

Pete Sevang - Postman
By Skye Brannon

Pete Sevang is a U.S. postman turned alcoholic, just last week. He's boxer shorts on Tuesday and banana hammock on Friday night. Behind a bar that has a sign that says "Bar", he has parked the eagle headed postal-truck with its beak tucked in a crack between dumpster and carpet van. Pete Sevang slurs these words, "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night...but whiskey's another story." He's all laughs at three and moody murmurs at ten.

He sits beside a man far less interesting and far more pungent. This is not a difficult task in the least. The two are on bar stools that squeak when turned, although no one's sober enough to hear it. Are they really squeaking? Pete Sevang is divorcee unextraordinaire and step-boyfriend when he feels the need. He is pretzels on game day and popcorn at the movies. He started favoring mixed nuts, just last week.

Inside Pete Sevang's squat postal truck there is a passport. The passport has a photo of a lady that had applied an extra layer of make-up just for the passport photo's occasion. Passport photos last for years, she had reckoned while applying lines. Honeymoons were worth the passport wait, but she had waited too long herself. She only had a day before the plane left, and Pete Sevang was going to ruin it for her. Pete Sevang had ruined so much for her already. She was an ex-wife turned new bride, just last week.


Who is Pete Sevang?
By Scott Alexander Young

Even as the Buenos Aires night fibrillates with hi-tech fireworks and the racket of a kajillion taxistas listening to Tango volume way up high; the enquiry “who is Pete Sevang” rings loud and clear for fashionably fluttering lips in Palermo’s haute bohemian café society circa 2064.

Little does this cyber-age sewing circle of foppish gossips know of Sevang’s secret life as a luxury lovin’ Vigilante!

Tonight - Sevang is wearing his usual holographic smoking jacket and monogrammed airborne pumps, surrounded by an entourage of distractingly beautiful midgets.

Earlier, Sevang had to dispatch an intruder from his presidential suite: a hulking psychopath with an eye-patch, a bad Afro and even worse Lithuanian accent.

There was a bodaciously rocktacious action sequence in which a lot of frightfully expensive furniture was smashed, but Sevang’s shirt-front somehow remained spotless.

Ultimately, Sevang’s experience with the French Foreign Legion and San Francisco’s chapter of the Sisters-of-Perpetual-Indulgence paid off. Not only did he expel the infectiously louché assassin, he tumbled over a thrillingly obtuse scintilla of evidence.

On ejection the henchman caught his jacket on the door, ripping open its breast pocket. He’d salvaged his wallet, but in the confusion didn’t notice when a micro-chip sized diary dropped to the floor; one that belonged to elusive femme fatale, Maryann Ullmann.

All of a sudden, the case was cracked wide open!!!

This is what these society types just don’t get. Sevang can boogie-oogie-oogie all night long, but when it comes to fieldwork, the guy is all suave professionalism!


Who is Pete Sevang?
By Karla Sutton

"Pe
ter Sevang. passenger, Peter Se-vang, please come to gate 5,” a nasal voice blares, another noise amongst the clamor of JFK. A toddler wails. I wince, look up. The man walking to the counter looks familiar, but I don’t remember the name.

He looks as though he rolled out of bed and put on his clothes from the night before: wrinkled, grey suit, polished shoes. He is tall, thin, unshaven, longish brown hair pulled back in a ponytail.

Nonchalantly attempting to get closer, I trip over someone’s laptop charger. I am no longer bored girl, hours early for my flight. I am sly, film-noir sleuth. My eavesdropping imparts that Mr. Sevang, flying standby, will be sitting in seat 40B.

I look at my boarding pass: 40A.

Moments later, Mr. Sevang slides a slim briefcase into the overhead compartment. He takes his seat without a glance in my direction. Smells strongly of cigarettes. I stare down at my book, sleuthing peripherally.

I make a coughing noise, the obvious-clearing-your-throat type. I cross and re-cross my shortly-skirted legs. Nothing. Not a hint of eyeball movement from Mr. Sevang. So, I accidentally drop my book on his foot.

We both bend and reach at the same time.

“I know you!” I stammer. You’re John from 5A!”

“Would you please lower your voice, miss,” he whispers with a fake Nordic accent. “My name is Petah, and I do not know vat you are talking about.” He winks.


The Reinvention of Pete
By Fred Aceves

"Ni
ce talking to you. My name’s Pete Sevang,” the fortyish man says to a fellow American as she gathers her newspaper and leaves the café. He’s impressed by the ease with which he’s using his new name, by how naturally he can fabricate his background.

Last night he arrived in Buenos Aires with an assumed name to reinvent himself.

Made up stories will replace his old self, bit by bit, so he can turn into Pete Sevang.

And who is Pete Sevang? He doesn’t know. But it’s someone whose personality, whose life will soon take shape.

This is the beauty of expatriation, thinks Pete, as he finishes the hard tip of his medialuna and wipes the stickiness from his fingers. You are anonymous, an unknown to yourself, too. If you are the life you lead, it follows that a changed life, the one he’s working at now, makes him a different person. With his 122,674 dollars in the bank.

He will find a trendy apartment, seek out business opportunities, get hair plugs at a third-world price and lose the beer belly that is not a beer belly but a buffalo-wings-and-Coke belly. This last goal he made just minutes ago, after watching crowds hustle down the sidewalk and counting only five fatties among them.

The unknown who, what, where and how of Pete’s new life has filled him with a longing he hasn’t felt for years. He asks for the bill. It’s mid-morning and he has many things he wants to be today.

2 comments:

Stephen said...

The anagram contest was good fun and good reading. Looking forward to meeting you all, and the next contest.

Sharon said...

Great piece Rachel!