One Paragraph Short Stories - Every Submission in One Post

Bill Loguidice's picture

A little while back I had asked everyone to participate in a little off-topic idea based around the concept of "One Paragraph Short Stories". We received six total submissions, re-posted here all at once in reverse order in their final versions for your reading convenience. Enjoy and thanks! (NOTE: If there are any "last minute" entries, I'll be happy to add them in)

(#6) THE METAL MONK by Matt Barton

Jacob drew steel, the sound echoing through the tavern and drawing every pair of eyes. Zane's face went stony for a moment, but then avalanched into laughter and mirth. "You'd kill me, then, monk?" spat Zane. "You must have forgotten your own book. 'Thou shalt not kill.' I'm not afraid of your threats." The drunken brawler suddenly pulled two long knives from his belt, twirling them like ballerinas. "I'm going to kill you now and take that book from you. Ought to be worth something to somebody." Zane leaped forward, and Jacob's sword flashed in the torchlight. A split second later, Zane's blades clanged against the far walls. But Jacob did not stop at disarming his opponent--he was too deadly, too proud. No, Jacob's weapon swung through the air, the razor tip scraping Zane's neck, slitting it. The metal monk knelt beside his dying opponent. Quietly, he prayed over the man, begging his Lord to forgive him his sins and wing this soul to heaven. When he was done, he caught a last flicker of light in Zane's eyes. He whispered: "If you had been more familiar with my book, you might have known another verse: 'I come, not to bring peace, but a sword.' I did not seek a fight with you. But I am through running."

(#5) LOVE RINGS TWICE by Bill Loguidice

Theirs was a true love, thought Tony, one to stand the test of time. Eva, his soul-mate, was somehow even more beautiful than the day they first met, he realized. And even though she always seemed to say something interesting, it ultimately didn't matter, as he was happy just to hear her soft, melodic voice. Someday soon, he imagined, they would have children together, and their love would blossom as a family. These wonderful thoughts made him feel warm and tingly inside. Suddenly, without warning, Tony was yanked from his daydream by the doorbell. He let out a long sigh, realizing that that would be the courier with the divorce papers.

(#4) FIVE MINUTES by Matt Barton

The masked man put it simply: "I'm going to kill you in five minutes," and since James had heard him say the exact same line to three of his friends--and noted with some alarm that the man had carried through on each occasion--he knew exactly what lay in store for him. He was tied down with barbwire to a rough sawed plank, but comfort mattered little now. After all, the last thing he wanted to do with his last five minutes was think about how uncomfortable he was on that stupid board. You'd think, though, that someone would've at least sanded it down a bit. And why barbwire? Was that really necessary? Why couldn't he have been killed by a killer who preferred soft nylon rope? And why, for that matter, had he been positioned facing the wall, with nothing interesting to look at? He was the only one of his friends who'd been put this way. Nothing to see but cheap woodgrain paneling. It was maddening. What an insult! And, to make matters worse, he had to pee. He didn't mind not getting a "last cigarette." He didn't smoke. But he did have to pee. Jesus Christ, what a lousy way to spend five minutes.

(#3) A SIMPLE DIVERSION by Bill Loguidice

Jack tried to speak, but failed, the tears beginning to well. Angie tried to speak, but also failed, her face becoming flush. "W-W-W-hat do we do now?" Jack finally stammered. "Don't know," Angie responded, barely audible. The two sat staring for a long time, sharing a stunned silence, not really hearing the gentle clicking in the background. How had they reached this point? What went wrong? All had been wonderful just a few moments ago, as they worked as one to reach new levels of success. Then, without warning, it happened, "Disk Error", flashing repeatedly. Though it was like "Game Over" from so many times before, those words now took on their true, sinister meaning. Having nothing left but time to reflect, Jack and Angie called it a night.

(#2) INSPIRATION by Davy Kelly

He was bored. So bored. His great intellect, seemingly inexhaustible, was hungry for new challenges but he was the last of the great innovators - society's problems had all been solved. All seemingly unconnected disciplines had long since been found to be related in horrifically elusive and contrived ways and he had mastered them all. He lay back in the dark and tried to relax. He longed for the challenges of the past when his racing mind prevented him from sleeping. It was tortuous at the time, but he now looked back on those times enviously. Then it hit him. Since he couldn't be presented with a challenging problem any more, all he had to do was to create a problem of his own design; so complicated and with so many interrelated complex relationships that only he could untangle them and calculate the ultimate outcome. But where to start? Then it hit him. He opened his eyes in the dark and said, "Let there be light."

(#1) SARAH by Bill Loguidice

Sarah was excited by the prospect of jumping back into the holographic synthesizer. Living long-term aboard a space station was not her idea of paradise, but the pay was irresistible, if not the atmosphere. Now her turn was again up to get away from it all, if only for a few hours. As usual, she wanted to simulate a nighttime float in the creaky row boat on the small lake by her old Earth-bound Florida home. The last time she did it, she just laid back and, though the irony was palpable, simply looked up at the stars. While she loved the light breeze that gently rocked the boat, she did not appreciate the simulated insects, with their all too real bites and buzzing about; Sarah had been on that sterile space station a very long time now. Whoever determined that virtual reality would truly fool the senses only if there was genuine environmental interaction, Sarah thought, probably needed to actually get out more. In any case, this time Sarah bent the rules more than a little by getting one of her programmer friends to hack the system for her and override life simulation on her program. Now she could really relax, just her, the boat and those very distant stars. Sarah happily entered the room, ran the program and within a few seconds, ceased to exist.

Comments

Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
Thanks for setting these up,

Thanks for setting these up, Bill. I've been trying to figure out for the past two weeks whether folks like this direction or not. What do you think, Armchair Arcaders? Have you enjoyed reading these stories, or should we not quit our "day jobs," so to speak?

I spent the better part of my teenager years trying to write novels and short stories and get them published, but never had much luck. The closest I ever came was to get a signed memo back from The Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy (or maybe that's reversed) claiming that the editor had liked the story, but not enough to publish it. Believe it or not, even that little memo was enough to flare up hope. Every other submission had just resulted in a mindless form letter, and I doubt the editors had even bothered to read the darn things.

At any rate, though, I was never able to get a story published commercially, though I did have some luck with local independent papers and the like. I took several creative writing classes in college and was always told I had talent, but was never able to find a way to make a living by it. Shame, really. I'd much rather spend my time writing fun novels and stories than teaching freshman where to put a comma for the rest of my life. So it goes! ;-P

At least I can put some of my creative energies into writing good non-fiction and technical prose! If it weren't for my knowledge of computers and gaming, I really would be stuck with nothing to write about.

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Anonymous (not verified)
this sucks

this sucks

Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
It has extra importance when you don't know who it is...
Anonymous wrote:

this sucks

Thank you, anonymous.

***************************
Bill Loguidice, Managing Director
Armchair Arcade, Inc.

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I-nonymous (not verified)
Ha. Whoever wrote that

Ha. Whoever wrote that comment is wrong. Thanks for these wonderful stories.

Anonymous (not verified)
yes of course

yes of course

Chris Kennedy
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Joined: 08/31/2008
Hmm.

He did say that on April Fools....so they must be great!

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Rowdy Rob
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Joined: 09/04/2006
Cool
Chris Kennedy wrote:

He did say that on April Fools....so they must be great!

I missed this when it was originally posted, so thanks to "Anonymous," I got to catch up on it. This was really cool!

Anonymous (not verified)
i want a story on a man who

i want a story on a man who can't hear very well and doesn't want to spend money on hearing aids

Bill Loguidice
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Joined: 12/31/1969
What?
Anonymous wrote:

i want a story on a man who can't hear very well and doesn't want to spend money on hearing aids

I don't think my father would appreciate me writing a story about him...

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Matt Barton
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Joined: 01/16/2006
LOL!
Anonymous wrote:

i want a story on a man who can't hear very well and doesn't want to spend money on hearing aids

Bill wrote:

I don't think my father would appreciate me writing a story about him...

What a bizarre, random comment.

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