Becomes One Hundred Stories #41: Tells a Hippo Tale

This is a piece of short fiction in the style and universe of three of my novels: Becomes the Happy Man, Becomes God’s Silent Prophet, and Becomes the Meaning Blossom.

Tells a Hippo Tale

The sad young man said he felt defeated. He said he felt defeated all the time.

The young man asked why.

The sad young man said he wished he knew. He said if he knew then he would know what to do to stop being sad all the time.

The young man said he sometimes got sad, but whenever he got sad, he thought about the hippo and he always felt better. He said in fact he had been sad often like the sad young man was sad until (more…)


Power Shorts: The Shortest Stories

lady bug

Lately I’ve shifted focus from writing fiction to creating stories. It’s an important distinction. As I study aspects of story, I find it helpful to try to write complete short stories as short as possible. They should have a beginning, middle, and end, showing some change in a character due to an apparent or implied conflict.

  1. A tree fell in the forest only to find that no one was around to hear it, so it stood back up, a little embarrassed, and resolved to show more patience next time.
  2. The bloodied cat lounged in the doghouse eating the dog’s bone–its thigh bone.*
  3. On June 5, 1944, in a small town on Long Island, New York, little Joey asked his mother when he would become a man. His mother said not until his father died. The next day, Joey became a man.
  4. At noon on the savannah, a hungry hippo waded into the water but refused to eat without his shadow. A minute later he ate his fill and so did his skinny companion.
  5. The crazy butcher bled on the park bench. He cursed himself for failing to notice the bottle was not a twist-off. He smashed the bottle in the trash bin and returned to the fair.
  6. A man and his wife entered a dingy brothel. The wife told Madame what they wanted. Madame named the price. The woman and her husband left as new owners of a thriving brothel.
  7. I died one night and stood at the gates of paradise. The chain and padlock were rusted and the place was desolate as far as my eyes could see. A faded foreclosure notice flapped in the breeze. Saint Peter sat in the dirt shaking a tin cup. He said everyone had gone to the other place. On my way I flipped a coin into his cup. “Sucker,” he muttered under his breath. A fitting epitaph, I had to admit.
  8. The storm blew itself out. Jimmy rushed outside to check for damage. He found that his wife had indeed ripped him a new one.
  9. Aesop had writer’s block. He couldn’t think of a creature to represent hypocrisy. He began writing about himself, and the words flowed smoothly thereafter.

See the whole collection at Power Shorts Daily: The Shortest Stories.

Please leave me a comment about which one you like the best. What kind of power shorts can you come up with? 

* Variation on a comment by John Le Carre: “‘The cat sat on the mat,’ is not the beginning of a story. ‘The cat sat on the dog’s mat’ is.”