Win Free State Fair and Chinese Lantern Tickets

Let’s do some more micro fiction. In the comments, write a story of 200 words or fewer whose plot includes Mayor Mike Rawlings and a pair of vice grips. Best submission, as judged by us (by which I mean me), wins four tickets to the State Fair and four passes to the Chinese Lantern Festival, which Zac says is the best thing he has seen since Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. If you’ve won something from D Magazine in the past six months, you are not eligible. Given how soon the Fair ends, tickets have to be picked up at D Mag headquarters, downtown. Contest ends at 5 o’clock today, and the winner will be announced shortly thereafter. May the muse be with you.


  • D. Shapiro

    Mayor Mike Rawlings had a pair of magic vice grips. If you rubbed them, you won four State Fair tickets and four passes to the Chinese Lantern Festival.

  • AmandaG

    Mayor Mike Rawling won one hundred vice grips. He then decided to do handyman repairs for all the those lower class households in need. He had a volunteer group of 99 plus himself; and they worked every day for one full week. He was thanked by all the famillies.

  • Not based on any real persons living or dead

    Rawlings recognized the soft knock of his assistant before the door cracked open slightly, “Mr. Torep?” she said with eyebrow raised, and at the mayor’s nod, opened the door wide to walk his guest in. The two men shook hands as she excused herself from the room, and seating themselves, they took the moment to assess each other.

    “Mayor Rawlings,” began Mr. Torep, “we have a wonderful opportunity for a development in South Dallas. But it cannot pass without your full support.” He laid the roll of plans across the mayors desk, abruptly, startling the mayor at his enthusiasm. He pulled two sets of vice grips from his pocket, and tacked the plans to the desk so they wouldn’t roll.

    The mayor was cautious with his reply, as his political future was tied to men like Mr. Torep, “I’m not sure that this plan can be achieved even with my support, sir. The last time we tried, it turned out to be a political roblet, the people were pissed off for years. And this time, it wouldn’t be just the neighbors, all of the region would want to know what in the hell happened to the State Fairgrounds?”

  • Spartacus

    Mayor Mike was tired. A long day of high-fiving kindergartners had taxed his hands to the breaking point. However, his day was far from over.

    Upon arriving home, Mike quickly changed out of his American flag shirt–a gift from his predecessor in office–and headed into the garage.

    “Michelle, where are my vice grips? How do you expect me to hang up my commemorative Venn Diagram next to my novelty Playgirl cover and my sheep costume? Zac will be pissed if I don’t have it up before the next former candidate potluck!”

    Perturbed, Michelle emerged from her studio. “Mayor Daddy, you promised I could use those for my next project! This one is called ‘Clamp Down,’ and viewers are supposed to put the grips on their…”

    “That’s enough, young lady! And it’s Citizen Daddy to you. Hey, we’ve both had a long day. How ‘bout some pizza?”

    Michelle smiled. “Okay, Citizen Daddy. But only if you agree to tip the driver!”

  • Anna

    The crowd gathered at Fair Park on a sunny Sunday afternoon to witness the first annual “Best Mayor of the DFW Metroplex” competition. The four-hour event involved events such as jumping hurdles, cycling three miles in narrow bike lanes, balancing heavy weights labeled “budget,” and dodging tough reporter questions. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings was a favorite to win the pizza-eating contest, but the talent portion of the competition was making him nervous again. He looked in his suitcase, at his shiny set of vice grips and his caped costume. His plan was to dangle from the Skyway wires using the vice grips, then let go and execute a double somersault into an appropriately deep inflatable kiddie pool set on a platform. But his trick high-diving days were well behind him. As he climbed out of the Skyway gondola and attached the vice grips around the thick metal cables, his silky cape – emblazoned with a big red D on it – fluttered in the breeze and he thought to himself, I’d better win this competition.

  • Of All the Pretty Horses

    He came in from the North, as they often did. From a land of franchised edibles.
    He rode with trumpet and snare. Fanfare brought forth in an over-fanfared ciudad. Mayor, shouted his entourage. The name of Rawlings.
    This new conqueror brought forth magical plans and grand ideas. A new land of opportunity and prosperity.
    The barrios of the south and of the west were curious. These barrios, isolated from northerly neighbors and oppressed by economic plight, squeezed as though a pair of vise grips worked to silence their respective hopes and dreams, they too hoped for a drop of holy waters that would touch the God-forsaken, dusty steppes of their barren lands.
    Will he change things for us, asked one native.
    The people knew not. They carried on as they did each time a conqueror arrived.
    They worked. They ate. They slept.
    And so the land watched and waited. After a year distracted by insect pestilence and the still growing needs for water, the Mayor’s plans took root.
    Low-hanging fruit was the catchphrase of the Mayor’s early actions.
    So the people continued to wait, dreaming of the beautiful delights at the top of the fruit-tree.

  • Christina L

    “Darn!” exclaimed The Mayor of Dallas, Mike Rawlings. He found himself in quite the predicament. How could the workers at the State Fair Grounds possibly have missed him? Brushing the debris off his slacks he checked his watch and saw that it was 2:04 am. “How could this have happened?” he thought to himself. Trying to recall the events of the day he remembered that hours earlier, it seems that Mayor Mike Rawlings ate his way to a fried food coma. After scarfing down a medley of fried delishiness, he found a quiet spot right behind a craft tent, unbuttoning the top portion of his pants he sat to rest and eventually passed out.
    The Mayor circled the fair grounds in hopes to find a way out. He thought maybe he could MacGyver his way out of the locked gates. Fiddling with the lock pad he remembered, I WON A PAIR OF VICE GRIPS at the Midway! Excited that he found a way out, he felt pretty darn proud of himself after breaking the lock pad. Now, Mayor Mike Rawlings carries around a pair of lucky vice grips wherever he goes.

  • Chooseme

    “Can you get this done? “ Mayor Mike asked.” It would mean a lot to me.” “I don’t know, Mike, these folks are plenty mad. I have to answer to them after it’s all said and done”, replied the Reverend. “But I’ll see what I can do.” “Well, let me leave you with these reminders of our conversation.” said Mayor Mike, laying a pair of Ginormous Golden Vice Grips on the desk between them. The Reverend eyed the menacing pincers, then locked the tools in his filing cabinet.
    The next morning, after a fitful sleep, the Reverend awoke with a pounding headache. He reached for the water glass on his bedside table, only to find his hand grasping a Ginormous Golden Vice Grip. He would make those calls today.

  • Matt

    When Mayor Rawlings worked for Pizza Hut, he once established a contest amongst his chefs. Whoever could make the largest pizza would win an extra week of paid vacation. The contest was a hit. Every chef made huge, delicious Pizza Hut pizzas. One pizza was so humongous, Mr. Rawlings needed a set of vice grips to handle it. Those vice grips came in handy later when Mr. Rawlings used them to cinch his girdle in an attempt to retain his girlish figure. The biggest pizza contest fell into obscurity after Mr. Rawlings declared himself the winner (all he did was stack two pizzas on top of each other) and all of the Pizza Hut chefs became disenfranchised with the whole thing. Those fabled vice grips live on to this day in the pages of the Guinness Book of World Records. They hold the record for “vice grips that held the biggest slice of pizza” and “only vice grips capable of making Mike Rawlings look girlish.”

  • Once upon a time, there was a mayor of the great city of Dallas named Mike Rawlings. Mayor Rawlings was known for taking moonlight strolls throughout town to clear his head and to get a feel for his city. It was on a night such as this that Mayor Rawlings was accosted by a great monster on a quiet stretch of road.

    “You will dance for me!” cried the shrill demonic voice of the monster, “Or I will squeeze you tightly in these Vice Grips of Doom!”

    Mayor Rawlings did not panic. He never did. He simply removed his sport coat, loosened his tie, and cued up Brick House on his iPod. As the funky horns blasted, Mayor Rawlings danced a jig so sublime, not revolutionary, that even as I type this tears of joy pour from my eyes. He did The Sprinkler, The Lawn Mower, and the Dougie. Were there Jazz Hands and Spirit Sprinkles? Oh, you bet your bottom, there were.

    Sweat never appearing his brow, Mayor Rawlings completed his performance as the song ended with a flourish. He was not even out of breath.

    The monster stared in awe, having never been bested before. “That was beautiful!” he cried. “Can you teach me?”

    Mayor Rawlings only smiled and delivered a swift kick to the monster’s chest, making him explode in flames. All that was left were the vice grips smoldering on the pavement. He picked them up, put them in his pocket, and walked on into the night.

  • Christie Hernandez

    There once was a Mayor named Mike.
    Who one day went riding on his bike.
    During this day trip
    He found some old vice grips
    Then clamped down on the city budget to prevent a tax hike.

  • ernest t bass

    The mayoral candidate knew the impending imbroglio boiled like meth in a glass bowl. Criminal vice grips John Wiley Price and Dapheny Fain, like pliers on his testes, both displayed “Mike Rawlings for Dallas Mayor” signs in front of their homes. Another shady associate, one Kathy Nealy, accepted thousands of dollars from the mayor to campaign on his behalf. “Get the black vote!” he screamed. “I will!” she promised, and promptly headed to the nearest Mercedes-Benz dealership.

    But Dallasites embrace all manner of shady characters, and they all lived happily ever after.

    The End.

  • Erin W.

    Mayor Rawlings was sick. Sick of the weather, sick of the divisiveness of Dallas politics and sick of shelling out small treasure for a day of fun at the State Fair. While passing by a gauzy curtain in the middle of Fair Park, he made out fantastic shapes and beautiful lights.

    Stopping a State Fair employee during her smoke break, he discovered the magical land behind the curtain was the Chinese Lantern Festival. He strode to the gate and prepared to enter, but was turned away by the surly gentleman manning the entrance. He failed to present yet more money to enter.

    Mayor Rawlings blood pressure began to rise, his face turned red, and sweat started pouring down his face. Spying a pair of vice grips on the ground, the Mayor began slashing at the curtain that kept him and the rest of the fair goers from entering this enchanted display. A crowd began to surround him as he ripped hole after hole in the fabric. At last, his anger was sated and he turned to view his handiwork. He had ripped apart the entire fence and happy Texans were marveling at the beauty of the lights around them.

  • Marcial Sanchez

    Mayor Mike Rawlings was on his way home from visiting the State Fair of Texas when he encountered a vehicle accident on the highway. As any good Mayor of a city would do, he stopped and offered some assistance. The accident had rendered one of the vehicle’s wheels flat so the driver had to replace it with the spare. To the drivers surprise the cross lug wrench used to remove the nuts of the wheel was missing. The Mayor, quick on his feet, went to retrieve his from his vehicle. To his astonishment, his was also missing as he had put it in his wife’s car. The only tool remaining in his car was a pair of vice grips. He said to himself “I guess we’ll have to work with it”. It took the Mayor and the motorist almost an hour to replace the blown tire.

  • Jesse Wolfe

    Mayor Rawlings by day, corrector of wrong doers around 5:00 P.M.
    Noticing another contest set forth by the evil villain Rim Togers, his
    suspicions flare up. Dawning his cape and tights, he jumps out of his
    window to investigate his suspicions. Picking himself up off the
    ground he remembers he cannot fly and chooses his car to go confront
    the evil Togers.

    Togers sits asleep at his desk, puddle of drool forming below his chin.

    “AH-HA” Rawlings proclaims loudly, startling Togers.

    “What is your problem, Do-gooder Rawlings?” screams Evil, sleepy eyed Togers.

    “You’re the problem, Rim Togers! Read the stories! Don’t randomly pick them.”

    “I’ll do as I see fit, Rawlings. It’s 4:59, NAP TIME!!! Take THAT!!!!”
    Slapping the desk he slings drool in Rawlings, leaving him feeling

    Wiping his face he pulls out his vice grips. He’s unable to target due
    to the yuckiness and thrusts them forward gripping blindly. An ear…
    good enough.

    “You’ll sit down and read them all, then attempt to make a decent
    choice… or lose your ear.” Rawlings says through gritted teeth.

    Walking home Rawlings drops the ear on the ground and realizes you
    cannot fix bad taste.

  • Evan

    Did you know that Mayor Mike is quite the handyman? True story – he’s been known for assisting in putting Big Tex up for the season, fixing the Ferris Wheel a time or two, and even helped build the Skywalk. This year, the Fair finally honors Mayor Mike appropriately – by selling Mayor Mike’s Deep Fried Vice Grips. Mmm, tastes like democracy (with just a hint of vice grips).

  • Scott G.

    Mayor Rawlings was asked to give a speech at the Girl Scouts 100 Year celebration exhibit. Afterward he decided to stop by the Backyard Circus as this had been a fair favorite of his children. He glimpsed into the tent to see if the actors were the same from years ago. He noticed the top of the tent was sagging and it appeared as if it were starting to fall. The excited kids and parents didn’t notice they were too caught up into the act. Quickly Rawlings looked at the poles and saw some roping slipping. He called over several men standing by, one of which had a tool belt. He grabbed a pair of vice grips from the tool belt and instructed the men to pull on the line. Deftly he remedied the situation using the vice grips to hold the rope in place as they re-tied that spot. He had saved the day. As he left the men pondered out loud, “who was that guy?”. “I don’t know” said one man, “but I heard the Mayor of Dallas is over at the Girl Scout exhibit .. that’d be a great story to tell him.”

  • This was a tough one. Some really good submissions here.

    I like the one from Spartacus for its inside references to Leppert’s shirt and Rawlings’ daughter’s artwork.

    Joe Thompson’s was pretty awesome. I know I speak for Zac when I say that any story with a dance scene in it deserves serious consideration, especially when the loser of said contest explodes into flames.

    And then there’s the offering from Marcial Sanchez. In some of these stories, the vice grips were forced into the plot. Not so with Sanchez’s story. The mayor changes a tire. The end. There was conflict, and there was resolution. Beautiful in its simplicity.

    All three of you win. The tickets will be waiting for you at the front desk. Arrange to have them picked up before 5 o’clock today, or they will be useless to you. Thanks to everyone for entering.

  • Jesse Wolfe

    Do-gooder Rawlings must have gotten to you after all. Nice picks.

  • Just Me

    Ahem, you said 200 words or less. I had to cut a great sex scene from my 1,500 word original story.

    Was Of All the Pretty Horses plaguerized? I thought it was briliant, and 195 words.

  • Jesse Wolfe

    @ Just Me

    By “plaguerized” do you mean to be stricken with a plague?

    Forgive me… I am sure you can find plenty of typos in anything I post. That one just struck me funny.

  • Of All the Pretty Horses

    Sad I didn’t even get a shout out; waited on bated breath the whole day!

    To “Just Me” – Thanks for the kind words. It was not plagiarized in the least, just written in the sparse, epic style of Cormac McCarthy, one of my favorite authors who writes primarily about the modern American West. Highly recommend his books.

    I will just have to try again next time!

  • Just Me

    @Of – it read like the narration portion of the movie Seabiscuit.

    @Jesse – I am my own worst editor, as seen my love of commas (Not based on….)

    I would like to take this opportunity to point out that November is NaNoWriMo month, google it and try it. Two years ago Peter Simek got a group of D’thusiasts to try writing a novel in one month.

    This was so much fun, can we do it again?

  • Jesse Wolfe

    @JustMe- In a world where Auto Correct dictates the outcome of messages, human error is a welcome relief.

    I too have a passion for commas… and ellipses.

    NaNoWriMo sounds like fun. I am game. What do you think Mr.Togers?