Vol. XIII Nonfiction Contest: Pizza Money by Angie Sebastian

As a child there was always an excitement opening the door for the pizza deliveryman. It was a chance to be the grown up, handle the money, impress the adult with the right amount of tip. Pizza Money, the third place winner of this year’s  nonfiction contest, judged by Cheryl Strayed, is about just that—a search for money to pay for a delivered pizza. But it is about, as you will discover, much more than simply that. I am excited to share it with you today in a LUMINA blog exclusive.

– Geoff Bendeck, Nonfiction Editor


My pizza will be here in forty-five minutes to an hour and the total comes to…

I make the sign of the cross. Twice. Three times.

$11.50, the pizza man says.

That’s two dollars more than last time, but all I say is, Okay, thanks, in my best grown up voice, and all he says is, Plus tip.

He hangs up, I hang up. I check the microwave clock. 12:23 p.m.

It’s not that we don’t have food in the house, we do—I’ve been snacking on Peanut Butter Twix all morning—but I want something hot; only a small cheese; only $11.50, plus tip. By the time it gets here, and I eat the whole thing, and maybe read some Baby-Sitters Club, Nonna, my grandmother, will be back from work, and Nonno, my grandfather, will be sitting in his chair by the front door, smoking cigarettes in his sleep. Mom’s nurse has Saturdays off, but Mom doesn’t, and neither do I. Now I just have to find the money.

We live in a red brick ranch that Nonno paid cash for when Mom and Dad got divorced. Cash, he’d said. He acted like he wanted me to congratulate him, but when I did he shook his finger at me and said it was none of my business. He’s used to telling people off; he owns a couple of apartment buildings where no one pays rent on time. He and Nonna don’t live with Mom and me, but they’re here in the mornings before school and after Nonna gets off work—she’s a seamstress at a suit store, and sometimes I go with Nonno to pick her up at the mall. Her boss calls her “Maggie,” because, as Nonna says, he’s a “Cazuna Americano,” and can’t pronounce Marguerite. Neither can I, but luckily, she’s my grandmother.  $11.50, plus tip, hiding in two bedrooms, the kitchen, living room, and bathroom. If things get bad, I’ll have to look in the garage too. But I’ll go hungry before I go anywhere near the basement. I keep the door locked, and I tell myself we don’t even have a basement when I hear funny sounds down there.

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Vol. XIII Nonfiction Contest Winners

A very special announcement from assistant nonfiction editor Devin Kelly. ———————————————————- It is with great pleasure that we announce the winners of the nonfiction contest for the upcoming issue of LUMINA. This year, the contest was judged by Cheryl Strayed, the bestselling author of Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, and she took the time out of her busy schedule as … Continue reading Vol. XIII Nonfiction Contest Winners

LUMINA’s Very Important Dates

Check your calendars – the deadline for our Nonfiction Contest (judged by the wonderful Cheryl Strayed) is coming up very soon! Click here for everything you need to know. Entries must be received by October 15th! The deadline for general submissions is also October 15th. Be sure to check out our genre editors’ thoughts on their ideal submissions: Geoff Bendeck on Nonfiction submissions Kevin Zambrano … Continue reading LUMINA’s Very Important Dates

LUMINA Volume XIII Contest Judge Announced!

Lumina XIII is excited to announce Cheryl Strayed as the judge of our 2013 nonfiction writing contest! Cheryl Strayed is the author of #1 New York Times bestseller Wild, the New York Times bestseller Tiny Beautiful Things, and the novel Torch. Strayed’s writing has appeared in The Best American Essays, The New York Times Magazine, The Washington Post Magazine, Vogue, Allure, The Missouri Review, The … Continue reading LUMINA Volume XIII Contest Judge Announced!

Multimedia Submissions and Logo Contest!

LUMINA has two ground-breaking and exciting announcements today. The first is a call for submissions for our first ever Multimedia Issue, and the second an official logo contest. 1. Multimedia Submissions LUMINA is pleased to announce the opening of submissions for our first ever Multimedia Issue! We’re looking for unique fiction, poetry, non-fiction, visual art and audio work. All genres are welcome; slam poetry and … Continue reading Multimedia Submissions and Logo Contest!