So we're nearing the finishing line. The third place story for the Columbus Day Contest was sent to us from Maleri Sevier from Tempe, AZ. Congratulations, and here's the story!

It all started with the worst batch of peach preserve you can imagine and the first cigarette I ever tasted, though regrettably not the last. Margie Vetter kept staring at me like I didn’t belong there, and truth be told, I didn’t. I mean, really, who weasels his way into a Columbus Day celebration just to get a glimpse of some girl? Some girl who doesn’t really even matter so much. I wanted to wipe that smirk right off Margie’s face-- looking all smug and giving off that holier-than-thou attitude. Smother her face into that awful concoction she called peach pre— There goes Cynthia Masters! Walkin’ right on by me like I don’t even exist. I’ll show her! Ignorin’ me like that! Throwing my stub into the pile collecting by my feet, I lit up another cigarette, my hands shaking—I really shoulda never listened to Ronnie when he told me cigarettes calm your nerves. Cynthia was helping herself to some peach preserve—Who actually likes that junk?—and talking to the other girls around her like she was at the coolest shindig she’d been at in weeks. Enjoying a Columbus Day celebration? I don’t think so! I knew she wasn’t really enjoying herself, so I sauntered on over. “S’ when’s this celebration gonna get a-goin’?” Oh no… not that look! What? Does she think I got it for her or something? You can’t just walk up to a person standin’ and say what’s on your mind? ”Have some peach preserve,” her saccharine voice answered. ”I thought you’d never ask.” Oh cripes! What have I gotten myself into? I shoulda never let Miss James convince me to come to this garbage. And Margie Vetter keeps lookin’ at me with smirks and gloats. One of these days I tell ya…