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55 Words

Writing a novel can be a trying yet rewarding experience. Writing a short story can be more challenging but also rewording. Writing a story that paints pictures and conveys meaning in fifty-five words or less is just plain crazy––but fun.  Folks in the writing world refer to abbreviated-word-count tales as flash fiction. One of the people in my writing group is particularly talented in that genre. The New Times in San Luis Obispo, California has an annual contest to showcase brevity-minded authors.  With those things in mind, I decided to accept the 55-word challenge. This week’s post features three examples of my efforts.

Enjoy. Thanks for stopping by.



The propellers droned. I stared at Don––best at everything.

“Thirty-thousand feet,” he said. “Bet you never skydived from this altitude.”

I shrugged. “Nope, Don, you got me again.”

“I’ll be waiting on the ground, wimp.” He laughed and dove from the plane.

I grinned at the severed ripcords. “Sooner than you think, pal.”



I’d finished in the bathroom, but my wife was taking much longer than usual. Concerned but not wanting to intrude, I waited atop the comforter.

When she strolled into the bedroom, her cheeks bore a heightened glow.

“What’s up? You feeling all right?” I said.

She winked. “Ask me again in nine––actually, seven months.”



Her son’s photograph was the last item she dusted. His Marine dress uniform and determined expression made him appear older than his nineteen years.  She smiled and prepared to vacuum when the doorbell rang.

Two men with perfect posture waited on the stoop.

“Mrs. Peterson?”

Her dust rag fell to the floor. Her knees followed.


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