Important Notice

Special captions are available for the humor-impaired.


Monday, September 05, 2011

Short Story Competition

Esquire Magazine is sponsoring a short story competition in which all entries must be exactly 78 words (in honor of their 78th birthday).

I plan on submitting a story and will write at least a dozen entries and narrow it down to what I think is the best. 78 words means that there is very little commitment on the part of the author. I could probably write 10 in a day. Here is my first attempt:

Talbot's Dream

For as long as they could remember Talbot had told his friends and family that his big dream was to live in Paris. He studied French and received the highest marks. He said he would go after he graduated from the university. He got married, bought a house, and fathered two children. He taught them French.  

He never made it to the city of light, as you may have guessed. He died suddenly and tragically of old age.

Esquire printed Hemingway's famous micro-fiction: "For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn." I find that horribly maudlin but who the fuck am I? I'll write another quick story borrowing heavily from Hemingway.

Say No to Drugs

For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn. Why’re we selling the shoes you may be asking? The baby’s dead, that’s why. Are you happy now, you intrusive, heartless pricks? Your next question—if I know your type, and I think I do—is to ask how the baby died. Ever heard of crystal meth? Not exactly anyone’s idea of pre-natal care but the old lady is totally hooked on the stuff. Me too.

Want the damn shoes or not?

Pink Slip, Orange Hair

After being let go from Ringling Brothers the only place to go in a clown’s career is down…way down. What’s left? Birthday parties or some sleazy carnival? I’d rather shoot myself.  Granted, all I have is one of those pistols that fires a flag that says “BOOM” but I’m sure it’d still hurt. 

The guy at unemployment had me doing balloon animals. Can it get more degrading?

Thinking back I guess that I had it good in prison.

Things Matter

Seth said, “I’m so glad that I got this. How do people live without them?” He was talking about something he didn’t know existed the week previous.  He used ephemeral slang that disappeared like linguistic bellbottoms; fashion and style were his passions, although that perhaps puts it too forcefully. The future was anyone’s guess and the past was easier left forgotten. He was truly a modern male.

But Seth was more of a target market than a man.


  1. Here's mine:

    My drill sergeant stared at me with an expression of wonderment and dismay. “You dropped out of college four weeks before graduation to join my Army? And Infantry? What, are you insane, PFC Zimmer?”

    “Bored is a better word, Drill Sergeant.”

    “Well, this shit ain’t boring. But it ain’t like a fucking Hemmingway novel either—you go looking for adventure in the Army, usually you get killed first.”

    “Maybe. But it’s a life worth living.”

    “Not for long.”

  2. Just a little plot hole on the second one ... I doubt many pregnant meth-heads are wasting money buying baby shoes in advance. Then again, maybe they were a baby shower gift -- I guess the whole point is to get you thinking, right?


  3. I was just trying to answer a few of the questions from the Hemingway story which is so highly regarded (and so fucking corny). I think I'll do a few more of these but only with humor as I can't take this format seriously. The Esquire example story is also pretty corny. I'd rather be funny than pseudo-deep or whatever.


If you can't say something nice, say it here.