50-word stories are known as Dribbles, those with 100 are called Drabbles. The Dribble Drabble Review publishes them both and in Issue VII is my 50-worder about a very sad garage sale.
Published on Twitter by Cuento Magazine.
One year ago, my 50-word story appeared in 50 Give Or Take.
by DL Shirey
One-two-three-four-five-six, blow. One-two-three-four-five-six, blow. The same rhythm every time. Each rasp of her emery board makes me grip the steering wheel tighter.
At arms length she studies her work, spots a flaw and attacks the inexactitude in cadence. She splays five fingers, nods and begins the other hand.
If you like writing 50-word stories, one of the best potential publishing venues is Blink-Ink. Over the years they’ve accepted a few of my stories. This one was submitted for their Country Roads issue, but did not make the cut.
The three-mile walk to Jacob’s Hole was like a hotplate, but a swim was my reward.
The trip back would be miserable except when Mom and her pickup truck ambled up the parallel ruts of the dusty road.
“It’s fried boy for dinner,” Mom said when she saw my sunburn.
The protagonist in this story feels overwhelmed. He uses a trick taught by his psychiatrist: 5-4-3-2-1. It’s the only way he knows to stop obsessing. This is a 100-word story published in Grimdark from Black Hare Press. As you might expect, all the stories in this anthology are grim and dark.
This piece was bare-bones from its inception. It started as a 50-word story for another publication and was rejected. So, I took a hard look at a revision, added a whopping 14 more words and voila. The good folks at Dreams Walking (RIP) published it in their second issue, back in June 2020.
by DL Shirey
The push of air caused litter to rustle. Brakes squawked, water splashed up the curb. I looked up and saw nothing, yet still stepped back from the sidewalk’s edge.
“Don’t you know the rules?” a foul breath voiced, “Make way for exiting passengers.”
I waited, then a cold grip cupped my shoulder and shoved me forward. “Well, what are you waiting for?” it said, “Get on the bus.”
In January, 2020, A Story in 100 Words published my Drabble. (That’s a story of exactly one hundred words, folks.) It can be quite challenging to craft a beginning, middle and end into extremely short prose. At the time, I was struggling mightily with another microfiction piece and my frustration inspired me to write this:
by DL Shirey
The crumpled notebook paper can’t be hurt, no matter how hard it’s thrown. An anemic crackle sounds at impact, a lazy, pointless attempt to uncurl is its sole achievement. The lopsided wad sits atop the unburning end of a Duraflame log. Mercifully, black char ashes the paper’s edge, further loosening the ball until gravity pulls it down to hearth. Still misshapened, I see blue ink, evidence of the second worst opening line in the history of writing. The winner is in my fist, ready to toss to the flames. It’s the only way to bring fire to my words today.
Six words published by Briefly Write.
This Drabble, a story exactly 100 words long, was published in September 2018 by Friday Flash Fiction. It’s a tale of an unnecessary medical procedure. Unnecessary because, well, that would be a spoiler.
by DL Shirey
The MRI hums to life and the technician says, “don’t move.” I do. I smirk. The thing that nests inside my head isn’t easily fooled. It doesn’t move very fast but is always a step ahead of the doctors.
The machine clanks and chirps in earnest. Too late. The soft, warm bed atop my left parietal lobe is empty. No telltale traces will be found where it slipped down my brainpan, nor handprints on the ladder of my spine.
I can feel it now, spidering to the back of my ribs where it will stay until the test is over.