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Listener Challenge: 420-Character Stories

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.


→ Read stories submitted by other listeners

Click here for the complete rules and regulations for the contest.


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December 31, 2011 11:45:38 PM
:

norman

:

F. how could she suckle innocence he wondered if she was captured again as on his knees he parted the tall grass watching the predators dine on each others' kill as he could smell his own genitals he left as silent as he could remember mythical leopard without tiger teeth or the brave mantis appropriately green to the overwhelming environment a loner moving for a retreating advantage

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December 31, 2011 11:45:34 PM
:

norman

:

E. among the troops combat sounds were not much further away than flashing lights behind her eyes her nipples were as sore as the fruit she peeled the distance between her lips and her infantile wants was measured in sobbing in young soldiers she remember dismembered as casaba her father's melon head meat in a rice bowl

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December 31, 2011 11:45:24 PM
:

norman

:

D. she had evaded the mosstroopers she was among the cattails as comfortable as among the frogs morass would never poison her as some would have her believe in sumac no sump would stagnate her with or without her clothes on a stick she would bathe her resilience with mud if she had to carry her life in her again she would resist mushrooming into a fever thirsting with an altered mind

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December 31, 2011 11:45:20 PM
:

norman

:

C. inhabitants synapses he would have followed the tribe yet he has broken off from the footpaths from the rope bridges from the arrowhead cliffs were he found his foreskin cut he has jumped from his traditions to explore the lush amid volcanoes foretold and villages so forgotten as forbidden absent fear on his spear he would endure his animals train his passions embrace mystery emerged from lipid lake or fogy bog

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December 31, 2011 11:45:15 PM
:

norman

:

B. is this not the ultimate scent a newborn or anew born so much among the moss is carpeted with ahisma yet amphibious with dogma among the dogwood swamps are not the antiseptics amino acids pealing back renewal tears from an onion child tears in the juicy milk lactation oozes shiny as glycerin peptide bonds gardenia flesh on refresh bosoms blossoms he would gather if he could neurotransmitter his nerves

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December 31, 2011 11:44:01 PM
:

norman

:

A. she peed among the flowers the weeds were beneath her she wouldn't leave her dignity on a rock though her markings thru the forest where not the vintages she'd hope to leave for her sniffer following her would advance thru avalanche and caves her advantage was her odor of another a kind she would bare with a vine attached to her life in the mist growing moisture in the woods

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December 31, 2011 11:40:19 PM
:

Matthew

:

After retiring as a History teacher, Henry volunteered as a Civil War tour guide to help prevent Alzheimer’s. He’d been showing Bennett Farm to a pack of fifth graders, when Holly Hill hospital called. A janitor had left out the bleach. His father had pilfered vinegar from the cafeteria. Driving along I-40, Henry thought of John Fredrick Parker, Lincoln’s bodyguard, and he wished he hadn’t waited till today to visit.

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December 31, 2011 11:35:00 PM
:

norman

:

G. she was determined to evolve to her meaning her significance redefining her outline her profile in the silhouettes moon would have her naked dancing atop a mound surrounded by tribal wanders wearing the heads of myth and the reality of komodo dragons how variant we are to flesh-eating monitors from an island of peace to a nation of factures depends on what how we swing thru the jungle painting ourselves 2 people

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December 31, 2011 11:34:50 PM
:

norman

:

F. are these sisters nuns with their monks for enjoyment embroidering their legends in centuries canvas handed down in traditions among warring relatives as well as herds of the passive or branders of the bullheaded or the milking cow he was always breaking her eggs if she was taken for a victory and left with a burden she would walk dirt-foot in vineyards become purple in the grape if he the horde or if he the beast

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December 31, 2011 11:34:45 PM
:

norman

:

E. she would thrive among the money changers he knew better than to steal from her with a blade he was only as good as she would let him split along lines of silk dress she kept to her mesh leggings his passions to pursue her trapped as an iron maiden might take a captain down with his attempt to have his ship destinations arrive with or without their destiny charts ascribed worked in galley gallery or cabin

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December 31, 2011 11:34:38 PM
:

norman

:

D. she wears the medallion of her art as much as his slavery to expectations was it bronze or gold was not the matter of the metal instead the charm of the hanging between what she could show as a woman and demonstrate as a motherless child seeking craftsmanship in any worker to board her vessel seeking treasure wherever she would land her boots on flamboyant as a pirate where no humanity was an island

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December 31, 2011 11:34:30 PM
:

norman

:

C. where is man kind to stand under water's fall howl like wolves in splash images free as contemporary art form lost moment in concepts wallow in primeval emotion her face written in stone as in moss as in burnt in scars on foreheads native exploring healing searing fires on frontal wounds bleeding thinking forward are seekers following brightest star is too distant beyond gazing hazing sacrificial suffering

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December 31, 2011 11:34:23 PM
:

norman

:

B. she sprayed perfume on her hair as if she walked through 1 cloud 1 spray paint she arrived in his 1 embrace speckled all over time they made canvas warp as chrysalis 4 2 by 1 communion becoming adult in their adulteration protected stages 1 development 2 divide in 2 spotted wings she was upright now among lilies while afar he flirted with fleshy cactus flowered where desert lizard tongue painted burning air

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December 31, 2011 11:34:18 PM
:

norman

:

A. she threw herself on canvas showing signs molecular biogeochemistry 1 evolution away from her sister o how she had evolved how was any person 2 evolve in their expressive dating sample the species thru microscope thru photo lens thru tactical experiment or tactile installations in studio apartment 1 main reason for euphoria 1 disciplined science letting universe expand beyond limits she sprayed perfume

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December 31, 2011 11:33:34 PM
:

Matt

:

Sue scrapes burnt salmon from the frying pan with candy cane fingernails. “Can I help?” Bruce says. She pushes him away. On the oak coffee table, in the 2nd floor studio, two champagne flutes sit brimming with rosé. A netted pine lay wedged between a worn bicycle and the coat closet, like a 6ft marlin in a 5ft pontoon. Bruce yanks on his rubber boots and jumps out the window. “Merry Christmas,” Sue says.

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December 31, 2011 11:33:01 PM
:

Jaisre

:

Dialogue
@man  Waaaah...
@God Do
@man phew! High school done - 10,000 points
@God stop
@man graduation milestone - check! 100,000 points bonus job offer
@God and
@man Promoted to team leader following a winning streak. 500,000 points
@God smell
@man chief everything officer -JACKPOT!
@God the
@man finished all levels, ready to quit!
@God flowers
@man one life down, two more to go...

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December 31, 2011 10:50:22 PM
:

Tiffany

:

It is a 33 degrees, and she lays on the blown up air mattress. Her artwork hangs on the pale walls of white hall. Two weeks have past and she fits into her size 2 pants. This is an starving artist sleeping in her studio space.

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December 31, 2011 10:19:05 PM
:

Allison

:

If you haven't noticed, the way we mark time has changed. There aren't that many memorable natural disasters between the eruptions at Pompeii and Mount St. Helens. But now it's nuclear meltdown earthquakes and drowning polar bears non-stop. I had a gun to my head a few weeks ago. It was a personal natural disaster. I am still waiting for my clock to reset, or for the next catastrophe -- should be any second now.

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December 31, 2011 10:15:42 PM
:

Matt

:

It's hot, have another beer.
You old trickster, I know you have them.
What are you going on about?
You've hidden my teeth.
Not that again. Last time the dog took them.
You taught it to steal teeth. Besides, the dog's dead.
You're paranoid.
I know you used magic. I've seen your books.
Only card tricks, coins behind ears.
What are you two arguing about?
He took my teeth.
No he didn't, dear. They're in your mouth.

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December 31, 2011 09:57:59 PM
:

fred

:

Please, no, they thought--even seven years after he died. Please jump up and
down. Be the Sandman again in Hansel and
Gretel. Let your sister chase you. Catch
you this time--but not win. Please, don't, they asked, but no way. People said,"Good memories"? Of the living only.

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