25 Words of Wonder Contest—2014

This time we gave you a contest that let you wander wherever you liked. We asked for a story of any kind, true or made up. Prose, poetry, script, whatever.

The only catch: It must be 25 words or fewer.

Challenging? Yes. As the saying goes, “If I had more time, I would have written you a shorter letter.” (No one knows who said this. It’s been attributed to numerous people including, Mark Twain, Winston Churchill, and Pliny the Younger.)

Here we present the winner and finalists.


Married Life

(COUPLE at window)

CAROL: If we weren’t living in a one story, I’d jump.

VIN: I’d push you.

CAROL: What?

VIN: Nothing.

CAROL: Exactly.

Ray D’Ariano
White Plains, NY



I live here.

People from other parts come, soliciting votes or prostitutes. News crews arrive to report shootings or protests then flee.

I live here.

Catina Williams
St. Louis, MO


Untethered, rotating in the vast vacuum of dark space, no one heard her say, “I should have gone to art school.”

Sylvia Liu
Virginia Beach, VA

The Gift

She stood before me with purple Mohawk, ringed nose and tattooed chest aglow, and spoke with pierced lips. “Mom, this dress makes me look weird.”

Jay Bugg
Round Rock, TX

The Walk

A boy and girl walked along the beach. She threw up in the ocean. “I’m pregnant.” The boy threw up in the ocean as well.

Shannon Guyton
Valencia, CA

The silent cleanup after a brutal war

It is 4 am and this city has become so still, I feel for its pulse. And then his.

Rachel Landau
New York, NY

And on it goes

The fat piece is too big; the skinny piece is too small. Either way Bundt cake is now on the list of reasons therapy continues.

Anthony Wobbe
Stevensville, MD

Cab Fare

“Birthdays are like whiskey,” she murmured from the back seat. “Glorious, at first. Then suddenly you can’t remember how many you’ve had, and you’re alone.”

Alison Behnke
Minneapolis, MN

The State of the Limerick

A young man from Michigan
Had an unusual condichigan.
He got sick from a hake
Caught in the lake.
Now he can never eat fishigan.

Alan Draeger
New York, NY