The Six Word Short Story

13 Oct

Hemingway was once took a bet at a bar (where else would he have been?) that he could not write a story in six words.  He chugged his beer, grabbed a napkin and pen and wrote:

For sale: Baby shoes.  Never worn.

Hemingway then promptly proceeded to chug two more beers while simultaneously punching the man in the face.  Some people have claimed this is Hemingway’s best work.  That’s debatable, but you can easily see just how much story is created within six simple words.  Hemingway gave you the directions and your brain led you down the path on its own.  That’s impressive.  Since that fateful day, the six word short story has been attempted by many famous authors and celebrity whos-its.  Here are some of those attempts to mimic Hemingway (if you know the author, you can kind of see their genres poking through in the piece):

Failed SAT. Lost scholarship. Invented rocket.
William Shatner

Gown removed carelessly. Head, less so.
Joss Whedon

I’m dead. I’ve missed you. Kiss … ?
Neil Gaiman

Longed for him. Got him. Shit.
Margaret Atwood

With bloody hands, I say good-bye.
Frank Miller

The baby’s blood type? Human, mostly.
Orson Scott Card

Kirby had never eaten toes before.
Kevin Smith

To save humankind he died again.
Ben Bova

We went solar; sun went nova.
Ken MacLeod

All pretty interesting bits.  Honestly, none convey the same as Hemingway’s, but some do a good job.   If you come up with something you think can challenge Hemingway’s story, SUBMIT IT TO THE PEEL.

– Andrew Howard Baker
– Poetry Committee Chair

This man could write a story in six words, and make love to your mother all night long.

Failed SAT. Lost scholarship. Invented rocket.
William Shatner
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