Steve Himmer was looking for “the earliest story you’re willing to share without revising.” As I explain in my introductory note:
I wrote “Roses” in 1995–6, soon after I started taking writing workshops at Penn State University. My primary interests then were poetry and flash fiction, mainly because I’d yet to write anything longer than 500 words. I didn’t know much about making stories, so everything I wrote that year is an overly precious, roundabout attempt to communicate some tidbit to the reader. Thankfully, I soon lost interest in this kind of stuff; all that remains is that I still fuss too much with my sentences.
The story is here; enjoy!