Lou Beach’s new book of very short stories – 420 Characters – packs vivid descriptions into tiny narratives.
We want to read your 420-character story!
Submit yours below to enter our contest.
→ The story must be 420 characters or fewer -- including spaces.
→ Only one entry per author will be considered.
→ The deadline to be considered for our contest is 11:59 EST December 31, 2011.
The winner will be announced on the show and will receive a signed print of an illustration by Lou Beach.
Did I mention it's in a penthouse? Yes! Honestly, why should it even matter that he's never heard of the chef? I really could care less about the menu. I want to go but he keeps refusing. It's not that he doesn't have the money either - I mean it's BYOB and only $100 per person. I don't understand what he's thinking when tells me secret supper clubs have jumped the shark.
Mini food processor, measuring cup, spoons, the recipe, plus the ingredients he'll need - that's the gift. He buys packages of pork, chicken, and shrimp flavored noodles. Flavored? Please! Convenience makes sense, but it shouldn't be impossible to convince him that a simple soup made with miso paste, pureed carrots, ginger, cumin, freshly squeezed lemon (possibly topped with a dollop of plain yogurt) is delicious!
My grandfather's third wife passed away. She was 80. They'd known each other 17 years and were married for the last 10 or so (I think). He said they traveled together but lived apart because Yolanda insisted on her "own space" - a tiny Manhattan apartment. I had imagined her as aloof until we met that one time in 2010. When they came backstage to my dressing room, she seemed charming, really intelligent, so urban!
Maria Adolfo pulled the silver hairs that wouldn't vacuum up from his comfy chair. She moved the Mass card as she pursued his dirt on the end table. She spotted a huge toenail clipping at the foot of the chair. She picked it up, sat down and stared at it. As if on cue she burst into tears. She dried her tears and let the vacuum suck up the clipping. She took a breath, stood up and continued cleaning.
At 7, she wept in front of the stuffed animal display at Rogoff's Cards and Gifts. It wasn't for the toy she couldn't have, but for the dust-covered forgotten ones in the corners, the ones with rumpled up faces that she imagined were once fresh, lint-free, and hopeful. She cried because she knew they'd never have homes, and she cried even harder knowing not even she would save them. Twenty dollars worth of choice only came around so often.
G. so there you are in any profession with everything you know competing against everything you are sooner or later a has-been looking to rent a room in a vacant building you plan to make good one day before you're done selling your business supplies another ego maybe wrestling
F. except fire on her breathe really accept fire on her breathe i knew you would preach to me thru your poesy you poser she exclaimed as if novel the philosophy of rhetoric gravitating to an eros embodiment as callous as measures in science okay okay he said so i live in an opera nothing less than seers nail me to a cross and see who comes to pray and she said hark i hear the angel fling
E. the valet parked a couple of ancients in the lobby while a wedding reception went on inside a deeper room wedding guests came out higher than aspiring vowels then the couple came out aspirating the vows as she found out apparently he had throw up on her girlfriend the night before their wedding he was coming onto her for an upstairs delivery there could be no deliverance she go give to the devil
D. a horseman drove up in a dinosaur car and he was of course treated as a clown by the girls with longer legs than skits short history lesson in modesty showed just how hip their brains were to modernity maternity they were still smart enough to either void or avoid what is the real professional youth to become
C. the circus always begins with a ring leader preferring to be called master and little do they know the audience is the show for the performers the money is counted behind their backs as they perform their rehearsed expression really in danger of becoming extinct as each animal gets bored of their tricks
B. what what you now going to sing some whining song about poverty and riches you gave up for a woman or like a woman makeup yourself why don't you do something pure like like i don't know wrestling
A. blast you poets drinking your primordial soup in asian temples and you novelist are no better with your silver daggers thru the heart of a rose and don't get me started on these desert visionaries or these test tube totting testers of imperfection
I broke into the cool earthen pyramid. A swarm of dutiful soldiers attacked but I held my ground. Outmatched, the defeated colony delivered up their Queen. Her introduction to my green plastic Ant Farm transformed it's existing band of anarchists into a grand Monarchy! Alas. An orderly and prosperous regime it was, until my unruly cousin opened the portal to this idyllic society and allowed the citizens to escape.
C. wrecking ball swept by completely missing the others' life so he said to the other that doesn't prove anything just because you got lucky in astonishment the other gave him the coin while walking off he fell in a sewer all the others looked on as none could save anyone from their reconstruction builds up from one story to another he said giving them his word
B. he lost his temper enough to knock the coin from the others' air until it fell lost in the dirt rubble in the pit the other pulled out another coin and began to flip it so what is this he said you giving me another chance the other said nothing flipped the coin heads tails tails heads he said with a questioning tone tails the other said nothing dropping the coin i told you he said the other bent down
A. reconstruction project with all the usual dirt and promise gleam ascension you can't have any good luck unless you accept my word he said while the other flipped a coin heads you think you're cute don't you the other had nothing to say tails that doesn't prove anything he said heads so you think you're taking your chance well that doesn't prove anything tails said the other outcome the same he lost his temper
If you loved me, you’d tell him to get out of our bed and leave. I’m waiting.
I. many years later they would meet on marble some would say on bladder stones of a distant conflict against principles to prerequisites some would say on the bowels of undigested lifestyles her body still beside his was all they had to say as some offspring pour herbal fragrance over their feet while others burned innocents in their memories as again nations were baptizes in such old fluids in their regions
H. where was he to find her drying out in a rice field or painted orange with medicine on a ragged cot under dirty knitting under a jungle eaten tent and any member of her family deteriorating as the vehicles excoriated with shrapnel and symbols of desperate attempts at escaping hatred the friend of banality serving contempt was he to find a medic treating his puss like a priest, a savior or native of ethics
G. raining shells was coming again from gray tank clouds each mud explosion a million fragments of one nature upon another an incursion of forces upon an immersion of deep soil seed washed down from millenniums she bird-less yet she sang in a humming sound as she rocked back in forth in the down pour of her hair her infant in her sweat her shoulders from her dress