#ShortShortStories

a cure for the common block

The Surprise Party

Courtney wrapped her arms around Alan like a seat belt – around his waist and across his chest – as they watched a cheesy 50s sci-fi flick. They had been best friends for nearly a decade and frequently exchanged “I love you”s, but something had changed and Courtney found herself falling for him. He got sick while she was out of town, to the point of hospitalization, and her utter helplessness to offer him anything other than words on a screen or a disembodied voice hit her hard and made her realize how much he meant to her. As they laid together and laughed together she told him she loved him for the thousandth time, and as she stared at the curve of his jaw wishing he would turn just a little, his head angled just a bit as he told her he loved her, too, and somehow she knew that he felt the same way.

#ShortShortStories #TheSurpriseParty

Here Today, Gone Today

Otis sat on the bus with his lunch – ham & cheese on rye – in a brown paper bag resting on his lap, holding it for the sharper turns. He could afford a car, but he enjoyed watching people too much to pass up the opportunity to observe them every chance he could. He crafted stories for where they were going, where they were coming from. He imagined the young man with a bouquet of flowers had planned an elaborate set-up to propose to his girlfriend. The soldier in uniform was finally home from deployment and going to surprise her husband and daughter at her grade-school graduation. He would write these stories during breaks at his office job where he balanced books and had no other creative outlet. The files were deleted, removed along with all of his other personal effects after his sudden death, but one story he never wrote – a story he had actually forgotten – was the day he stood and gave his seat to a woman who, unbeknownst to him, had just learned she was pregnant after years of being told that she was barren.

#ShortShortStories #HereTodayGoneToday

A Matter of Life and Breath

Leonard tried easing his anxiety by listening to a playlist he created of relaxing, upbeat songs from his childhood when he noticed his mother calling him. Assuming it was just her 17th “daily check-up” he ignored it and continued listening, but when she immediately called again he feared it-could-be-something-important-and-his-anxiety-spiked! In a panic he turned off his phone, not wanting bad news to send him into a full-blown panic attack. He turned off all the lights and crawled into bed, his sleep disturbed by a pounding at his door not long after. He opened the door to see his red-faced mother, tears rolling down her cheeks; she squealed with delight, wrapping her arms around him and smiling with relief before taking a breath and smacking him upside his head for making her worry. She was just checking on him, but when he didn’t answer her four calls she feared the worst and drove half-an-hour to make sure he was okay, panicking every mile.

#ShortShortStories #AMatterOfLifeAndBreath

Blood is Thicker

Paul carefully cleaned each individual part and then re-assembled the gun given to him by his father on his thirteenth birthday. He never fired it – as a matter of fact he hated guns – but it represented a moment, a man trying to bond with a son he didn’t understand, and he would always take care of it. He never officially came out to his father, and his father never brought it up, but he never tried to change him, never forbid him from anything (except the reasonable stuff that every parent worries about), and when all else failed they could always sit and watch a show together. Earl never got the chance to tell Paul how proud he was of him, that he loved him no matter what, and that after losing Paul’s mother he had to hold on to the family he had left that much tighter.

#ShortShortStories #BloodIsThicker

Home Sweet Home

Bonnie laced up her shoes and began her morning jog, repeating what her doctor had told her like a mantra: “returning to routines helps us heal after trauma.” The first week was the worst, she would barely be gone 5 minutes before something panicked her and sent her right back into her house – a yapping terrier, a car honking, and even a squirrel that just got a little too close. She was able to do almost all of her work from home, and her boss sent an assistant to pick up the more sensitive documents rather than make her venture outside more than necessary. Friends and family also helped, bringing groceries and keeping her company. This had become her new routine, but a day before the anniversary of what had happened she realized it had become a crutch, so she stepped out onto her porch, sat down and didn’t budge for 24 hours, sleeping only momentarily – exposing herself to all of her fears – and nothing happened. What she realized the day before was that she survived, so if she could go through that and come out the other end then she could handle anything.

#ShortShortStories #HomeSweetHome

Funny, You Don’t Look It

Lance could tell Jacy was going to launch into a rant before she even picked up the control to pause the film – a sci-fi adventure about a telekinetic superhero – and launch she did. She complained about the cliche of telekinetic characters using their hands to control the manipulation, arguing that if it’s a mental power then the mind is doing all of the work, hands are unnecessary. Little did she know that Lance indeed had such powers and he took the opportunity to educate her without letting his secret out, conceding that hands may be unnecessary, but it also may be that humans are tactile creatures by nature and that we would be compelled to use our hands. The same way someone rocks and veers when they drive a car in a video game; it doesn’t enhance their performance, but it makes them feel like they have more control, which will make them more confident in their performance.

#ShortShortStories #FunnyYouDon’tLookIt

Matchmaker, Matchmaker

Alyssa had been working with Jen for nearly a year, and while their shift overlap was wildly inconsistent she had felt they managed to form a bond, almost officially confirmed with a mutual social media connection. After months of crushing and questioning, Alyssa asked Jen out, employing a convoluted, self-deprecating escape plan, in case the answer was “No.” Despite never having dated another woman, Jen was compelled to explore the unique feeling that she felt whenever she was around Alyssa. A kiss at the end of their date confirmed a solely platonic interest, but they remained close for years afterward.

#ShortShortStories #MatchmakerMatchmaker

Matter of Silence

Mila danced around the house, carrying her tiny umbrella and pretending to jump in puddles. School was cancelled due to torrential a downpour and flash flood warnings, it was so bad her parents wouldn’t even let her play outside. So she decided to play in the rain inside, complete with raincoat and galoshes. Her mother made soup and grilled cheese, she sat with her father and watched the television; life was good. The next day at school she found out her friend, Jaye, was home sick, but nobody knew what with. Every day Mila wrote Jaye a letter, wishing he would get better and talking about the fun things they would do. A decade after Jaye’s funeral Mila was packing up to go to college when she came across a box of old letters and mementos, including her correspondence with Jaye. They wouldn’t tell her what was wrong at the time, and shortly after they moved she forgot about him. With eyes welling up with tears she walked into the kitchen and asked her mother what had happened, her mother lied about cancer, shielding her from the truth.

#ShortShortStories #MatterOfSilence

Party Crasher

Whenever Henry visited his friend Calvin he was always confused by the compliments he got from Calvin’s mom, how nice his skin was and how he had a “good nose”. He lost touch with Calvin somewhere in high school and hadn’t thought about him or the compliments until his 23rd birthday. He was sitting on the Q when his watched beeped, announcing the arrival of midnight and shortly thereafter a man in a suit came in from another car already in mid-rant, about “them” and “they”. When he saw Henry he pointed and shambled towards him, stringing together a tangent of slurs and expletives, condemning the “filthy thugs” and filling Henry with a deep discomfort, fearing for his safety until the man said “Not like us, you know?” At which point Calvin’s mom’s words echoed in his mind and it dawned on him that this man didn’t realize he was talking to one of “them”.

#ShortShortStories #PartyCrasher

Pot Luck

Weller and “Too” didn’t expect to become friends when they first met. Weller Thomas was introduced to Weller Kane by a mutual friend, Kane’s nickname came from a misunderstanding when Thomas introduced himself as “Weller” and Kane responded “Oh, I am, too.” Three years later and they barely ever thought about the mutual, except with regret. They strummed their guitars, tuning them as they waited for a commercial to come on advertising cat food featuring a talking dog; they were high and the absurd concept delighted them to no end. Weller had already started recording so they’d be able to watch it on a loop and just as it came on the doorbell rang. Too got up to answer it in a manic giggle fit that ceased abruptly as soon as he answered the door. Isabella was new to the neighborhood and needed help finding her puppy, and Too suddenly couldn’t care less about a dog shilling for cat food.

#ShortShortStories #PotLuck

Post Navigation

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.