A Very Short Story Contest—2019

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.

Victoria Shea
Milton, Massachussets


Louisiana made him. He made murder taste like sweet tea.

Bryan Mootz
Carpinteria, California

Wanted, companion for elderly lady. Only the brave need apply.

Patricia Ruppert
Casper, Wyoming

He looked like Bill Murray. Actually it was Bill Murray.

Marc Arkovitz
New Rochelle, New York

The bicycle helmet lay roadside: pink, fissured. Nobody claimed it.

Frances Brown
Webster, Massachussets
The contest is closed.