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Short Short Stories August 20, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.

A local newspaper solicited short short stories (25 words or less) to run in the paper during the month of August.

At the end of the summer, one story will be chosen as “the winner” and its author will receive a culinary prize from . . . The Lazy Lobster.

I like lobster.  Even lazy lobsters, which are easier to catch.  I also enjoy playing with words, so I submitted a few short shorts:

The Best Thing About Getting Older

Audrey watched her 97-year-old neighbor sail by on a bike: “You’re such an inspiration, Vivian. What’s the best thing about getting older?”

“No peer pressure.”


[We have a 96-year-old neighbor who still rides his bike and NEVER worries about peer pressure.]

Killing Time

Sophia hated waiting.
Killing time.

A woman in purple scrubs passed by, “Sorry, Sophia. Your chemo will start soon.”

Great. More time to kill . . .


[Fiction.  Through and through.  The only Sophia I know is NOT undergoing chemo.  Which is good since she’s only 9.]


Busted light. Sparks flew. Son professed innocence. Mom’s cross-examination shed light. Son came clean.

“I might have hit the hot bulb with a wet towel.”


[Fiction.  Sort of.  Borrowed from an anecdote Janna shared with me.]

Where’s the ESC Key?

Memories erased, a hard drive malfunction. A lifetime abased, software keeps crumbling. Circuits and synapses fried, no longer firing. Fumbling thoughts stumble, a graceless nosedive.


[Prompted by watching “creeping senility.”  No, not mine!  My parents.]

Following Our Gut Instincts

Ralph leaned over his bike’s handlebars, revealing serious belly bulge.  John pointed, “That’s not a 6-pack . . . it’s a keg!

Ralph laughed, “I’m following my gut!”

Not Ralph

Not Ralph

[Prompted by seeing a guy in tight biker shorts with no shirt.]

Pretty Swift, eh?

Category: 19th Century Authors.

“Jonathan Swift.”
“Final Jeopardy answer.”
“Alex hasn’t revealed the clue.”
“I know.”

Cue clue. Contestants stumped.

Answer announced: Jonathan Swift!


[True story.  Just one of the amazing Winks, Whispers, and Nudges I’ve experienced from the Universal Matrix/Web.]

A Secret Made For Sharing

Mom hid dad’s birthday cake. “It’s a secret.” Jamie nodded. Seeing dad, the cork popped and 2-year-old Jamie squealed, “Cake in ‘ere! Cake in ‘ere!”


[True story.  For 2-year-old, birthday cake is too exciting to keep secret.]

How Do You Do That?

My husband waved an opaque bag, “Guess what I bought!”
The answer drifted in . . . “PEZ dispensers.”

“How do you do that?!”
“Sometimes I just know.”


[True story.  Sometimes I just know.  And it always freaks BFF out.]

He’s Five. I’m Three. Do the Math!

Terrified by my older brother’s taunts, I screamed for back-up.  “M~O~M!!! Jamie’s gonna hit me!”

Mom (a clueless only child) replied, “Well, hit him back.”


[I am NOT a tattle tale!  Or a cry baby.  Stop saying that . . . or I’m gonna hit you!  And don’t go running to mom.  She won’t do anything anyway.]


“Stop rocking the boat!”
“Learn to sway.”
“No. I’m leaving. Today.”
“Where to?”
“Can’t say.”
“Then stay.”
“No way.”
“Come back.”
“I may . . . one day.”


[Fiction.  Just playing with rhyme time.]

Falling on Deaf Ears

As the Merry-Go-Round slowed to a stop, my 3-year-old niece kicked her wooden carousel horse to urge it forward. “Don’t Stop, Horsie! Don’t Stop!”


[True story.  The niece in question is now 21 and knows that kicking wooden horses will not make them speed up.]

Aah . . . that’s better!


1. suzicate - August 20, 2014

Good job, like following his “gut instinct”.

nrhatch - August 20, 2014

Thanks, Suzi. It’s been interesting to see the entries submitted each week. From the numbers, it appears that people lost interest or got distracted:

Week #1 ~ 16 stories (including 2 of mine).
Week #2 ~ 9 stories.
Week #3 ~ 0 stories!

When I saw the number of entries drying up, I decided to submit a few more ~ including “gut instinct.”

2. Val Boyko - August 20, 2014

So refreshing Nancy! I love no peer pressure and Ralph’s gut 🙂
Killing time and the ESC key were provocative!
Thank you for sharing so much.
Val x

nrhatch - August 20, 2014

Thanks, Val. I submitted 2 of those (peer pressure and killing time) the first week. And planned to leave it at that . . . until I saw that the paper received no entries for week #3.

So I’ve submitted a few more. Maybe I’ll get a consolation prize for being “most supportive.” 😛

Val Boyko - August 20, 2014

Share the goodness and the good spirit Nancy 🙂
Good on ya!

nrhatch - August 20, 2014

Here’s to doing what we can with what we have where we are.

3. Silver in the Barn - August 20, 2014

Prepare to enjoy the culinary prize!!

nrhatch - August 20, 2014

Thanks, Barbara. If I don’t win the “culinary prize,” I might treat myself to lunch at the Lazy Lobster just for playing the game!

Silver in the Barn - August 20, 2014

As it should be!

nrhatch - August 20, 2014

I see a lobster in my future. 😯

4. Don - August 20, 2014

Great short shorts. Also enjoyed the one on peer pressure. Amazing what can be said in just a few words. Brevity is a jewel. Thanks Nancy.

nrhatch - August 20, 2014

It’s been fun culling stories down, trimming the fat word by word, to fit into the tight confines and contours of the contest’s parameters.

There’s a quote I quite enjoy:

I have made this letter longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter. ~ Blaise Pascal

5. katecrimmins - August 20, 2014

I’m with the gut and peer pressure but they all are clever!

nrhatch - August 20, 2014

Thanks, Kate! Here’s to lazy lobsters and summertime fun!

katecrimmins - August 20, 2014

Oh lobster….yes. Glad that you haven’t eliminated that from your diet!

nrhatch - August 20, 2014

We eat seafood. Sometimes. Not often.

Lobster is a very occasional treat.
A good Lobster Roll is hard to beat. :mrgreen:

6. NancyTex - August 20, 2014

I am so impressed by those who can tell a story in so few words! Your Killing Time story was particularly moving.
Fingers crossed you win! Lobster is quite the prize!

nrhatch - August 20, 2014

Thanks, NT! One reason writing holds such appeal to me is that I have a chance to edit my thoughts before anyone sees the full extent of my verbosity! 😛

NancyTex - August 20, 2014

A skill I’m working on daily!

nrhatch - August 20, 2014

Instead of stashing words in secret cubbies, or mashing them into overflowing drawers, we’re slashing the fat . . . before dashing out the door! 😎

7. Jill Weatherholt - August 20, 2014

You’ve got my vote…these are great, Nancy!

nrhatch - August 20, 2014

Thanks, Jill! Writing contests with tight corners and close quarters encourage us to trim the fat ~ by shaving off one word at a time. Yesterday, I decided to enter the Ordinary Guru Contest ~ there, entrants have 1200 words at their disposal. Doing this contest first has helped me to choose words wisely.

BTW: The Lazy Lobster is just a claw’s throw from the Chart House ~ both on Longboat Key.

Jill Weatherholt - August 20, 2014

Good luck with the OGC, Nancy…keep us posted!
Oh man, I could go for a big ole lobster tail right now. 🙂

nrhatch - August 20, 2014

My favorite seafood treat!

8. valleygrail - August 20, 2014

That was a really fun read! Thank you!!

nrhatch - August 20, 2014

Thanks, VG! It’s been a great exercise for me as “training” for the Ordinary Guru project. Keep the meat . . . slash the fat!

9. Pix Under the Oaks - August 20, 2014

I think you are going to be eating lobster! I love “How Do You Do That?.. !!!

nrhatch - August 20, 2014

Thanks for your vote of confidence, Pix! I’m trying not to count my crustaceans until they appear on the plate. :mrgreen:

10. jannatwrites - August 21, 2014

That’s a lot of little stories! Funny, I kind of recognized ‘Busted’ 🙂 I hope you win!

nrhatch - August 21, 2014

Thanks, Janna. Imagining him coming clean after a few flying sparks inspired me. If I win with that one, I’ll have to split the winnings with you ~> I’ll eat the lobster and send you a photo of the butter dripping off my chin. :mrgreen:

11. Three Well Beings - August 21, 2014

You are a veritable fountain of creativity! These are quite fun. I think “following the gut instinct” is the definite winner. 🙂

nrhatch - August 21, 2014

Thanks, Debra. I can still see that guy following his gut down Manatee Avenue! If I win, I’ll have to take him out to dinner with us!

12. Grannymar - August 21, 2014

I enjoyed your mini stories, I hope you win the visit to the The Lazy Lobster.

PS: Any chance of a doggie bag?

nrhatch - August 21, 2014

Thanks, GM! Do doggies like lobster? :mrgreen:

Our first two cats NEVER begged at the table for treats . . . except when we had lobster. They would hover,d pat our leg, stare intently to get our attention, and W~A~I~T to see if they could have a piece.

13. livelytwist - August 21, 2014

I liked, Busted, How Do You Do That?, and He’s Five. I’m Three. Do the Math! the most. Something about Stay, haunts me. I’ve read it at least thrice.

Well done Nancy, you managed to pack meaning in 25 words or less. I should give it a try for the fun of it. Hope you win and thanks for sharing your stories with us 🙂

nrhatch - August 21, 2014

It’s a fun exercise, Timi. Most submissions I’ve seen have been poem-like observations about wandering the beach or seizing the day. One was about going to hell and asking for a glass of water.

Another had a girl griping about no brothers or sisters . . . not even a dog. So her parents got her a dog.

livelytwist - August 21, 2014

Nice way to get stuff from parents 😉

nrhatch - August 21, 2014

Kids are cagey!

14. Winner . . . Winner . . . Lobster Dinner! | Spirit Lights The Way - September 8, 2014

[…] mentioned in Short Short Stories, the winner of the Longboat Key News Short Short Story Contest receives a complimentary dinner at […]

15. Caramel Apples At The Fair | Spirit Lights The Way - October 20, 2014

[…] In August, I shared a 25-word story about Emily urging a carousel horse to go faster, Falling On Deaf Ears. […]

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