55 Fiction: Keep it short, keep it sweet, and if it’s good enough, you’ll review it this week

You can contend a lot in 55 words. You can kill someone, adore someone, or save someone. Tell stories about torture, divorce, or family drama. Make domestic statements. Riff on governmental issues. But there are usually a name few who can do it good adequate to get published! For a final 3 decades, New Times and a Sun have brought we reader-submitted stories for a annual 55 Fiction contest. This year, hundreds of entries came from as distant divided as a Netherlands and as tighten as San Luis Obispo. Our 2018 judges embody Proofreader Andrea Rooks, Senior Staff Writer Glen Starkey, Staff Writer Chris McGuinness, and Calendar Editor Caleb Wiseblood. So get prepared for tales with warn endings, lots of death, and a rabbit or two.

—Camillia Lanham

A Shot during Romance

Eye contact. She smiles. He signals a bartender.

“How about a refill?” he asks her. She moves to a sofa alongside his.

“Sure. What’s your name?” The barkeeper fills both shot glasses.



“Why, yes.” She downs her drink, shoves some papers into his palm and heads toward a door.

“Consider yourself served, John.”

Tom Corona

Los Osos


They left him there, firm in a snow. The cold feasted on him, devoured his warmth, done him a footman of pain. He roared opposite a elements, opposite a gaping bill of nature, opposite his transgressions that put him there, opposite everything. Despite his bonds, he stood, and followed a tire marks in a snow.

Kip Lorenzetti

San Luis Obispo


The crane’s wire had snapped. The Chinese take-out’s superb new marquis lay totally damaged on a sidewalk, a tumble frequency cushioned by a physique underneath. The questioner pulled a trip of paper from a damaged happening cookie fibbing subsequent to a victim, “Watch for a pointer from above.”

Dan Gilmore

San Luis Obispo

Frozen in Time

My family is a clock. My mom and father are a hands, channel paths for usually a second. My hermit is a time, always changing. I’m a gears operative tough to try and pierce this family behind together yet we know this time will be damaged forever. For eternity.

Kalynn (age 10)


Why Are You Telling Me?

I’m deaf, though we can still suppose and dream. we can hear nothing, though there’s a throng in my head. Words, thoughts, and dreams keep replaying in my mind. I’m usually 5. I’ve always done a best of it, though we usually wish to hear my relatives say, “I adore you.”

Emily (age 11)



  • Illustration By Leni Litonjua

A Period of Inactivity

“Your palm, a cards, and your astrological chart, with progressions and transits, are all really consistent. we see a duration of heated annoy and denial, then, shortly a enlarged duration of … inactivity. we see a wake … .”

“I’m not going to any funeral!”

“You’ll really be during this one. I’ll need remuneration in income today.”

Steve Recchia

Reno, Nev.


  • Illustration By Leni Litonjua

Story Time

“Tell us a story again!”

“Yeah, yeah!” a young’uns chanted.

“He got tired, we kept goin’, delayed and solid wins—”

“No, a genuine story! Please, Grandpa!”

The elder sighed. His scaly bill winding into a smile: “That reticent ol’ rabbit didn’t know that we cut by a racetrack!” The reptiles exploded with laughter.

Collin Shen

Atherton, Calif.

My Gucci Bag

He’s filthy. Baggy clothes. Mismatched shoes. Unkempt hair. He’s black. we watch as a office eye him suspiciously. Customers curve around him. He strolls a aisle clearly preoccupied to their scrutiny. The front clerk calls for assistance. As a pimply partner manager bravely walks toward him, we trip a bottle of redolence into my purse.

Ellen Morrison

San Luis Obispo

To Save a World



“Why is a universe so evil?”

Daddy’s brow furrowed with thoroughness as he buttoned his son’s jacket, all a approach to a top.

“Because it is a depressed world, cursed by God.”

“But we will be saved?”

“Yes. You will see paradise. Now, remember: Let him get tighten before we press a button.”

Sean R. Shealy

San Luis Obispo


  • Illustration By Leni Litonjua

Drive or Die!

All we wish to do is get home, and this jerk is creeping along in a dim in front of me. As we nearby my house, we snake left and roar past a dismayed idiot. we flip “the bird” for good measure, and we glance a driver’s repelled and informed face.

Oops! Sorry, Mom!

Linda McClellan

Whittier, Calif.


He was dipsomaniac again and job from jail. He destined her to his tip accumulate of cash. Fumbling, she found a clod of envelopes. It was afterwards she beheld a lacy book of another woman. Love letters. Dozens.

The income would some-more than cover her sheet to Los Angeles. She packaged immediately.

Ana-Lisa Siemsen-McQUaide

Burbank, Calif.


Who is that lady staring during me?

Her pale face is disgusting; it sags like a melting marshmallow.

Her eyes are rabbit pink.

Her hair is a faded striped awning.

Oh God. There’s an aged male behind her.

“Come behind to bed,” he says.

He touches my arm and we follow him.

Dana Istre



Drifting in roller off a silt spit, we felt peace, connection, a transformation of a swells. Without warning, we was rocked by an blast of pain, ripping flesh, an assumed force heaving me by a water. we blacked out. When we regained consciousness, we lay on a deck. we writhed, flailed, gills sucking air.

Geoffrey Land

San Luis Obispo



  • Illustration By Leni Litonjua

The conveyor stopped.

I’m trapped. My stomach hurts. Bad. Can it wait? No! we have to go. NOW! Crap.

Literally. What a outrageous mess.

Then, a conveyor started relocating again. And non-stop on a subsequent floor. The watchful throng gasped.

“It was like this when we got in,” we mumbled.

“And we stepped in anyway?”

Cassandra Ward

Los Osos

Unconscious Uncoupling

Unbuttoning his pants, he eased a scruffy recliner behind and scratched his plenty belly. “Why would she ever leave ME?” he wondered, belching loudly, holding another swig. With tobacco stained fingers, he wadded adult and tossed her letter, eyes already transfixed on a Married with Children rerun, her crumpled heart descending onto his unwashed boots.

Mara Sanchez

Paso Robles

In a Wool

“Four weeks ago, we couldn’t pierce your left side. Now you’re walking again. These drugs will diminution a risk of another stroke.”

“I competence need to have another stroke.”

“Why?! You could turn totally disabled!”

“Because now we gaunt to a left when we walk. I’m a conservative. we wish to gaunt to a right.”

Steve Recchia

Reno, Nev.

A New Lease

In my haze, we hear … monitors beeping?

we smell … antiseptic?

we clarity pain opposite my chest, and involuntarily, we whimper.

A comfortable palm caresses my face.

“Shh-shh-shh!” a helper whispers. “You’re going to be OK! It was benign.”

we feel … ecstatic.

Linda McClellan

Whittier, Calif.

Father’s Day

His disfigured trucker’s palm drops a fork, perplexing to feed himself.

Clanging pans association with bleach smells of a cafeteria. Reaching over, we clean his chin.

“You will come again, Son?” rheumy eyes welling.

“We’ll see, Dad. We’ll see.”

The pile in my throat is painful. we stand into my rig.

Anna Salazar


click to enlarge After a Breviary of Renaud and Marguerite de Bar, Metz ca. 1302-1305. - ILLUSTRATION BY LENI LITONJUA

  • Illustration By Leni Litonjua
  • After a Breviary of Renaud and Marguerite de Bar, Metz ca. 1302-1305.

Human-Tested Product

Blood stained a tile scarlet. Men wandered, their hair tangled and red. Glass walled them in. A waves of chemicals enveloped a people, blazing their strength and ripping anguished screams from their lips.

“Experiment 401 complete,” sounded a clinical voice. Standing over a list was a white rabbit in a lab coat.

“Please dispose contents.”

Emily Niebuhr

San Luis Obispo


They sought retreat from a breathless feverishness underneath a tree. The dual teenagers ate their shaved ice, hers cherry and his blue raspberry. Across a environment was a environment sun, constrained a dual to contend what they’ve bottled adult for years. Three, two, one. In unison.

“I’m study abroad after comparison year.”

“I adore you.”

Charlene Collado

Santa Maria


The song danced in a atmosphere with me that night, booze moving my calloused feet. The groundwork mud building patted down from my nightly routine—wine, a mirror, a … dress. Silk kissed my skin, so inviting, so sexy. Tonight “Jeremy” ends; tomorrow “Jessica” begins. we grabbed my outrageous manhood, and plugged in a saw.

Mallory Bissett

Glen Ellyn, Ill.

Arrival and Departure

The baby came by a straight incision, a radical C-section. The mom couldn’t travel for weeks and slept propped by pillows: her chest a baby’s bed. They gazed out a window during sprouting trees and nursed. The pappy left dual days after birth. She knew he would go, had already forgiven him. She sent photos.

Marni Lynn Ager

San Luis Obispo


Steve and we grew adult together. It seems we were a usually ones from a aged area to survive. We were swimming upriver, perplexing to strech a place were we were innate … some large bacchanal or something.

Then, Steve says to me, “Dam!”

“What is it?” we asked.

“A large petrify wall restraint a river.” Δ

Dan Gilmore

San Luis Obispo

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