Major Award

Michael Snyder

Photo Credit: Judy van der Velden/Flickr (CC-by-nc-nd)

Some people really are as dumb as they look. Harold was one of these people.

He knew the alphabet, but sometimes confused the order. His face was slack, the muscles droopy, as if he were melting. But Harold did have a big heart. Literally. His blood pump was the envy of cyclists, mountain climbers, and sex addicts everywhere.

His real talents, in order, were: finding four-leaf clovers, blind taste-testing, and making razor-straight lines with a push mower.

But his proudest possession had nothing at all to do with his talents. It was actually a cartoonish-looking statuette that his estranged daughter picked up at a yard sale, yet another belated birthday gift.

Dumb as he was, Harold was not immune to irony. Though he’d learned that some things were better left ignored.

Harold was a creature of habit. Each night he brushed, flossed, and stepped into a fresh pair of underpants. He then slipped between the sheets and prayed for all the people he used to know. Once his spiritual accounts were settled, he would reach blindly for the nightstand until his fingers found the chipped scalp of his prized statuette. Next he rolled his bulky form into a sloppy fetal position and hugged the figurine to his chest, fingering the inscription along the base. Sometimes he cried a little. Only as his breathing slowed to an even hum would Harold dare to wonder if maybe he really was the world’s greatest dad.


Michael Snyder lives in middle Tennessee with his amazing wife and children. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The First Line; Cease, Cows; Everyday Fiction; Greater Sum; Relief Journal; Lit.Cat; and various other online haunts. His first three novels were published by Harper Collins/Zondervan. Michael is not a big fan of reading his own work. Email: snydermanwrites[at]

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