It may be apocryphal, but the story goes that Ernest Hemingway won a bet by writing a short story that ran fewer than ten words. One version of the story places the bet at the famed Algonquin round table. Whether true or not, there is an actual bet-winning short story attributed to Hemingway:
For sale. Baby Shoes. Never worn.
You have to admit it’s pretty good. It builds, and there’s a whole world of background and emotion lurking beneath those words.
We made a similar bet with you. Write a great short story in ten words or fewer.
Here we present the winner and five finalists:
My chicken had one leg. Surgically removed. Not eaten.
Louisiana made him. He made murder taste like sweet tea.
Wanted, companion for elderly lady. Only the brave need apply.
He looked like Bill Murray. Actually it was Bill Murray.
New Rochelle, New York
The bicycle helmet lay roadside: pink, fissured. Nobody claimed it.