Six Word Short Story

I’ve come across multiple requests for these lately from different sources.  A six word short story?  Seriously?  That’s a joke and a punch-line, isn’t it?  Even knock-knock jokes would be eight words long at a minimum.  When they’re coupled with a photo for inspiration, all I can do is stare blankly and think: “I’m not really good at writing captions.”

I was flustered.  Who the hell can write a proper short story in six words with a beginning, middle and end, with a plot?  Most of what I’ve read have the writer giving the final sentence.  That’s not a short story, that’s the ending to one.

Then I found a short story in six words.  A real one.  It’s supposed to be by Ernest Hemingway, but there’s some debate over the authenticity.  I think it could be him.  Whoever it was, they were talented.  The short story goes thus:

For sale: Baby shoes.  Never worn.

I was astounded.  There was a premise at the beginning; an item for sale.  Then the middle, identifying what the item was.  Then the ending, which tugs at the heart strings if you’re a parent or a compassionate soul.  If not, at the very least everyone can acknowledge the depth behind this tiny story.  It alludes to the back-story without being written.  It speaks of lost love, and lost hope.  It’s sad, and it’s brilliant.

So here are three six word short stories, and I fear none are as complex or carry a surprise ending as maybe-Hemingway.

Firm insistence.  Eye roll.  Alien abduction.

Beach party.  Night swim.  Shark attack.

Bended knee. Popped question. Derisive laughter.


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