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Second Place: "How Superconfederate Smashed Into the Side of Big Rock Mountain and Became Petrified" 

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The Poet-Scholar disliked the Tradesman. His disdain for poetry left all his work ignoble and empty. Where was the soul and spirit? A newly freed people deserved both work and wonder, industry and art. Alongside factories, Odes and obelisks must also arise. But meantime, a maniac of flight and fury made looking skyward a vision of doom. The only dreams were nightmares. Freedom was not yet free. Something must be written up and done.

"Old Man Kensey"

"It's a sour mash I make with corn. Nothing fancy, but it's pretty potent. I wouldn't fly after too much of it. Mind the XXX on the jug. That's meant to be a warning, not a tribute to you and two of your friends."

Superconfederate brushed aside the Old Man's warning. "I can handle my whisky. It is a mere balm to my broken heart. When unions end there is always an aching, no matter how mutual the dissolution."

"Blow into the mouth after each draught. The lower the pitch the more distilled your own spirit is becoming. Sip it slowly, for the most mournful notes come from an empty jug."

Superconfederate belched.

"Can't Get There From Here"

"We could devise a large cannon?"

"He seems impregnable by balls."

"Perhaps some kind of well-forged blade might pierce him?"

"I suspect that only his own force can destroy him. We must instigate his self-destruction. But I think I know the place. If we can lure him toward Big Rock Mountain during one of his drunken flights he might smash into the side."

"An object of his super-force would become embedded."

"At one with the Southern land."

"I shall make a study of Vesuvius and petrified woods. Once he's stuck we will use the powers of Natural Science to turn him into stone."

"Can it all be done?"

"You have the vision. I have the skill. All that remains is funding for the means."

"Green Grow the Rushes"

The Newspaperman came to Superconfederate and asked him to retire.

"Your terrorism is bad for commerce. The war has ended. It's time to build a new South. Let yourself retire. I will publish your memoirs and arrange a speaking tour. You'll outdraw Buffalo Bill."

"A man of honor never surrenders."

"But will you destroy the hopes of the whole Southern people?"

"It is for their honor I must fight on."

"On my lapel is the pin of the Chi Phi fraternity. The X and bisected O of the Greek alphabet. I am now the first National President from the South since the war. Brother has embraced brother again. Next to the kiss of St. Andrew we can add the bisected hug of ... uh ... whomever. It is the bisected hug of reunion. Of opportunity and investment. Let us abandon the kiss of secession for the bisected hug of success."

"You are a businessman and booster. I am a Southerner. I shall remain unreconstructed."

"Kohoutek"

Superconfederate's last wife was a Yankee. She'd come South with a carpetbagger who died of rug burns when his furnishings warehouse caught fire. Nothing survived but his toupee. Widowed and weary, she caught sight of the grey comet in the sky and wanted to fly. "Save me," she exclaimed before jumping from the highest trestle. He could rescue a Northern woman, but marry her? She was pretty and smitten by him. But marry a Yankee? Even one born after the war? Too young to have cheered for Lincoln or written a fan letter to Harriet Beecher Stowe. Could he consent to such a union? But must he always stand alone?

The first months were bliss. He'd show her the South as he saw it, flying above the pine trees with her eager body on his back and her dainty hands crossed tightly against his chest. But the land was changing fast. More trains, more people, more reasons to forget the past. Freedmen wore suits and ran colleges. They had students who had always been free. The war receded from living memory to once upon a time. His honor felt forgotten.

He joined the Klan and led the lynch mobs. He covered his grey in sheets of white. His wife grew distant. She wanted flight but not fury; the South's temperate weather but not its tortured past. She longed for carpet. "I must save myself," she exclaimed before leaving for Boston with a friend.

"Auctioneer"

Superconfederate felt lonelier than ever. He sipped from his jug until it played nothing but bass notes. One evening he flew above the Newspaperman's office and relieved himself on the windows. The Newspaperman agreed to meet the Tradesman.

"I will give you whatever funds you need. He is no longer a hero to the South, but a menace to us all."

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