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One-Sentence Stories


To a Young British Soldier in the Trenches at Ypres
Amber Sparks

You'll outwit death in a million ways and come to the end long after all of them—Brits, Russians, Germans, Algerians, French, Turks, Americans—of all the boys and men and beasts in the trenches you'll be last to remember, the last to have had boots planted in the cold, wriggling mud, shell-shocked brain and skin prickling with awful alertness, lasting in fact to a hundred and eleven, older than cinema, watching three wives and two sons die before you, never saying a word about those trenches until you're a hundred; and then you will only shake your old, old, impossibly old head and say, it wasn't worth it. It wasn't worth it at all.

Jody Brooks

He snuck around at night painting over graffiti; in the morning, his white splotches made hieroglyphs in the sun.

Instant Classic
Ryan Ridge

Suddenly he felt so old.

A Tale Wherein Dash Hartman, Out of Necessity, Flies Coach
Drew Jackson

I left Tokyo Narita International Airport with a dislocated rib and a face crowded with contusions the color of my sainted grandmother’s pickled beets, but the amulet that controlled Giant Robot was mine, which meant that the mechanical man would now do my bidding, sort of.

I'm God, Baby
Stevie Lee Edwards

At two years seasoned, deep in the fog of night, did God come to me in a dream wearing a hooded blue cloak, floating like a birthday balloon, or did Dad return home after another late night wearing those blue sweats Mom has since thrown away (too ratty, even for Goodwill), treading tequila, and sneak into my bedroom, clumsily lifting me from bed, a dumb drunk smile consuming his face, chanting, “Look Baby, I can float! I'm God! I swear I'm God, Baby!” with the opaque earnestness of an evangelical?

The Gravity of the Situation
Brian Beatty

There is no moonlight to silhouette your nightly bounce across this barren lunar surface you now call home.

Oh God
Aaron Gilbreath

Mark said he believed in God just to get in Claire's pants, but seeing her naked made him think God was real, so he excused himself and went home.

thank god it's disco friday
Desmond Kon

thus in that in this is an example: you bent over a belfast sink in a hurl, last night’s pain in muffled breaths, catching themselves so I can’t hear whimpered names, one john long, one jonathan, one more jason, another joseph, one more performs the separate outcomes drawn into one; this easy arrangement is club currency, inch bits of acid jazz, jewel eyes a sugar rush to risqué reggae; you in gaultier, dolce and second-hand gucci, slung carryall so you look used, conditioned; this love contingent on the clean and simple but effective; on me in this in that, thus another example; no fuss, no patrons, no revues, no ambience, its gothic getup of cages and scaling dancers; a top slides off, denim shorts in a corner, and the seventies return; you fed on pop rocks, pringles and tang for breakfast and the metric system, and pele and mood rings and deliverance and chariots of the gods, and this and that and thus, an attentive distrust, these establishments a psychedelic spray; there are three intuitions, all lollipop peace symbols—in wrangler hip huggers, wrangler bell bottoms and wrangler toughskins, and the little house on the prairie on, wobbly telly; where is mary, her blind-date lamb? where’re the beatles and andy gibb, our too much heaven, this and that, the totally rad; am I real, am I borrowed? is it you leaving me free? love, a third step in the surrendering, falling process; don’t know why the beatniks try, give in to the glam-rock chic, the unthinkable, shoulder-dusters dusting buddy shoulders; these are higher spiritual things, the threesome of us and all of the above, small preserved choices, the simplest arithmetic pendent, leaving the surface of the sphere, the threefold thatness knocked about, more superficial things; we’re trying on maxi coats, gelled hair parted down the middle; help me, I’m helpless, helplessly falling; cher has ditched bono and mork is mindy; this a weekend staple, visions of us running long, other decade yet naked revival, half a dozen of us staying up; all night still a lawn and rooftop party, starry threeness always plastered vista

Pursed Lips
Neila Mezynski

Nothing is working out since I changed purses.

Liza the Smoker
Wendy Sumner-Winter

Liza was one of those girls who smoked but who never took on the look of a real smoker—she held the cigarette between the knuckle and first finger joint and kissed the cigarette with wet and puckered lips and she never inhaled—and I never trust a smoker who doesn’t know how to smoke properly, which is to say that I never trusted Liza.

Booze, Bands, Saturday Night
Barry Basden

No, she shouts over the blaring tunes, harsh enough so that later he walks alone in the grassy median while headlights pass left and right, reflecting luminous eyes, moving the shadows of trees, encouraging him to lift his arms and, yes, begin to dance.

One Sentence At A Time...
Murray Dunlap

So the wreck ended his once good life, but he's writing as therapy and fighting for his life, one sentence at a time...

Brad Rose

An embarrassingly atrocious speller and even worse prose stylist, Mort read his own suicide note, and died laughing.

Traffic Report
Anne Brinser Shelton

Joyce never knew what hit her, but it was one of those eye-in-the-sky traffic copters that hover low above the gridlock during rush hour, giving quirky play-by-plays to morning commuters.

Karen Vaughn

To my mother: Here we lost our treasure.