Short Short Fiction
I don’t read many magazines from month to month, and when I do, I’m usually disappointed by the lack of interesting content. But this month’s Esquire Magazine has a ton of good stuff. There are a couple short stories, one from Steven King and his son, there are a bunch of articles on fatherhood, always a fun subject, and a full-page on how to serve the perfect shot, “But only once in any given night. It’s the repetition that makes the asshole.” Advice I’ll try to live by from now on. But my favorite part was a bunch of 79 word short stories penned by some noted writers. They’re quick reads with no room for wasted words or narrative. Get in, get out. I like that.
They’re also having a Short Short Fiction contest which got me thinking about what it would take to write a 79 word short short story. One thing I was certain of, there has to be a lot left to the imagination of the reader.
So this morning I decided to write a few and see if I could get the hang of it. I don’t know if I’ll submit. If I do it will have to be better than the three I wrote today, but I’m sharing them regardless. Let me know what you think.
The stark light of the elevator sobered her thoughts, then took her home to the seven years of trust. He held her hand and led her to his room. Seven years. The tiny light on the door lock flashed green. She paused. Seven years. Her hand moved to his face, lean, unshaven, and handsome. Strikingly different from home. Lips now less than one inch apart. Seven years. “I’ll see you in the morning,” she whispered.
His body glided between runners climbing the Verrazano Bridge, full of energy and anticipation. A race against himself. In the distance he could see the buildings and bustle of Manhattan, the goal. In Brooklyn, cramps attempted to doom his stride, but he pressed on. Through diverse neighborhoods, the grim projects of The Bronx The tall buildings and screaming crowds of Manhattan promised the end of his pain. He finished the race, beat his best, but the city broke its promise.
The silence of his cell was interrupted by the clicking of heels on concrete. He raised his face from his hands to the accusing glare of a guard. Behind him, a woman. In a past life, a free life, he knew her, or used to know her, but only for a night. The guards stepped away, leaving them alone to confer. She looked him in the eye. “I didn’t kill her.” He’d grown accustomed to the accusing glare.