I am worried that in the near future, writers of all genres will learn to keep every sentence to 140 characters or less, for the marketing purpose of the re-tweet on Twitter – like how pop musicians have learned to keep their songs to 3 minutes for the sake of radio plays (note: this sentence is a bad example).
Today I’ve gone beyond that, to the 140 character story. Now, I’m not breaking any new ground here; Hemingway claimed to have written the shortest story ever:
“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”
Wow, Twitter hadn’t even been invented yet! But Ernest, honestly? Is that a story? Well, it is sad, and leaves itself open to interpretation, so… okay, I’ll give it to you E.Hem. I’ll also assume Hemingway understands the definition of “story” better than I (or is it “better than me?”). The six word story is pretty unbeatable. I tried for a while and eventually came to, “For rent: casket, unused.”
Woh! Four words! But alas, it’s just a bit of a ripoff, so I can’t take credit. As far as anything not involving an unspoken death, and a colon, no dice.
So here we go: Twelve re-tweetable short stories (that weren’t ripped off from Ernest Hemingway).
A man desired a woman, but she was married to a king. The king hung the man, and the queen ran away and died alone in a cave.
He knew that she loved him. She knew that she didn’t. He knew he was old. She knew she could wait him out. A cat peed in the distance.
The boy was bullied, so he learned Karate from an old man. When the bully called him “Goth Macchio,” the boy shot him.
Before space there was time, and before that there was a guy named Eugene. Eugene grew bored of nothing, so he created everything.
A man got lost in a desert. As he was dying, a gypsy gave him water and whispered three words, “Never come back.”
A deer lay bleeding in a stream. Far away, a hunter gave up searching, and wondered what he had become.
A family paddled across an ocean to escape their past. They came to a new land where they found freedom, but missed home.
Deep on the sea floor, there was a monster who ate everything. It fell in love with an Octopus, and then ate it, too.
A boy saw his own father’s suicide. He never told a soul, and grew up to be an oil baron, and proud cat owner.
In the fiery passions of desire, Lois made a big mistake: she asked Clark to spank her as hard as he could.
Bad Luck: Good Luck: Bad Luck
A man was framed for murder and sentenced to death. He miraculously escaped to NYC, and played didgeridoo on the F- train.
The epitaph read, “He who reads this, turns to sand.” He wondered what that meant, and blew away.
Two men began golfing optimistically. On the 12th hole they quit and vowed to never play again. After a beer, they returned to 13.
What I just learned: it’s difficult to write a 140 character short story without it sounding like a creepy parable.