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.