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One-Sentence Stories


The Failed Time Machine
Ryan Ridge

Squandered wives and decades in this small room and all I have to show for myself now is this old phone booth attached to an IBM motherboard.

Charles Lennox

My father’s belongings in a cardboard box, light enough to carry under an arm.

Brad Rose

He was so ugly that I just had to run over the meter maid—twice.

Mocking Folks Who Have Probably Lived Through a Goddamned War or Something
Zachary Cole

I just constructed and deleted a snide sentence about senior citizen students, the cadaverous pupils who see me wasting every weekday in front of a school computer, and perhaps the graying brains of these near-dead learners are constructing sentences of their own.

Pamela Gay

Driving to yoga on a chilly November morning, running late, cutting through an alley between two hotels, I freeze-framed a young woman with straight, blonde-streaked hair, carelessly tossed over her shoulders, walking the other way, wearing a too-short-for-her-bright-white hips fake black leather V-necked dress, and all I could think was how cold she looked, how oddly out of season, and when the yoga teacher told us to relax, that relaxation yogis say is the first stage of bliss, and sleep, the second, I imagined that young woman going home after a night of bliss—or not—and thought /not, /given the way she walked, coat-less, head down, looking like something was over and sleep would have to wait.

до свидания жестокий мир (Good-bye, Cruel World)
Rachel McKibbens

At the funeral parlor, the roses shat their dark red stink as grandma lay like a rolling pin in a drawer of blue satin, and I thought about last summer—when she told me and Viktor that uncle Boris is really our father, but he'd committed a real doozey over at the pawn shop on Green Avenue and got busted right outside the delivery room, so his brother Aleksandr signed our birth certificates instead and mom was too blown up on pills to notice the difference for the next twelve years.

In the Jungle
Scott Stealey

The woman behind the counter of the animal shelter had no paperwork on how the dog got there, who brought it in, or gave it up, or why, so when David pressed her for background and breed information, the clearly overworked woman grew frustrated and left to brush the stray cats without an answer for him, so of course, when David took the dog for walks all across the city, that was always the first question posed to him by curious strangers, what kind of dog is that, making it suddenly the only human contact he'd have during his day—before the dog, he might not have said anything to anyone walking past him on the sidewalk, nor they to him, and now all sorts of people wanted to speak with him, have him solve the dog’s origin riddle, but David, even though he had this dog now, still was lonely and painfully shy around people, but, thinking the dog to be his chance to conquer his quiet nature, would respond to the people, answering the only way he knew how to answer when the unknown presented itself, by making an answer up: "Congolese Jungle Hound," was his reply to a woman when she asked the question, stooping to pet the dog's chest, then quickly, "she chases monkeys up into the trees of the rainforest and away from the villagers," to which the woman frowned and walked away without comment, leaving David alone to consider the difference between fiction and lies.

My Son, Jay
Steven Etheridge

The white shoes I get dirty no matter how careful I step.

Pursed Lips
Neila Mezynski

Nothing is working out since I changed purses.

Hurt Metropolis
James Tanner

Even her insect bites had insect bites; a small hurt bloomed redly into cupolas, Russian cites calmed by her nails.

Should You Rather
Gabe Durham

If you could choose to have your hand replaced with a sword, a frying pan, or a shovel, then could have the surgery performed, anaesthetized, all expenses paid, by a capable doctor, and could be out of the hospital in a week, tops, would your sense of civic duty remain intact or would your shame over your own sick unchecked flippancy fling you into a torpor of self-pity/self-disgust for which you’d always have a cold and not-so-versatile reminder close at hand (!) and flip your remaining bird at the third world, the war-torn, and the homeless (none of whom has once supported you or your whimsical life choices)?

Jason Henry McCormick

I had the day off so I decided to do some fishing, browsing for new writers at the fish tanks, book shelves filled with American Literature and I began near Zelazny, trolling backwards with an eye out, hunting, hoping to find a buried treasure in an unsung sea of books at a college library.

My Life is a Game I Won
Andrew Borgstrom

I can't remember a time in my childhood when I wasn't playing See How Long You Can Keep Your Mouth Shut, but mom didn't know I was playing another game at the same time: See How Long You Can Breathe.

Alexandra Seidel

Cold water is spewing over the carpet in front of the bathroom door, bearing iron in purling waves towards incredulous eyes and a brain that is occupied with the question of how to turn it offoffoff.

The Writer of Backlist Catalog Copy
Jaimie Eubanks

She thinks in seventy-five character summaries, succinct and sometimes stifling.