Short short stories

This page contains some short, often fairly experimental pieces of prose written by me in 1999-2011. My current favorite genre seems to be (surreal) science fiction drabbles/55-word stories, often with philosophical and political undertones (drabbles are short stories exactly 100 words in length). I have also created a genre called "cripfic" for fiction about people with disabilities and I have also started writing cripfic tiny fiction (with one finished story I am trying to get published and another one currently in the works).

Femme fatale

(a 55-word story, written in early 2011)

She was arrested for the possession of not just one but two deadly weapons: a water bottle (polyethylene plastic, 2/3 full) and an aluminum crochet hook. No prison felt safe taking such a dangerous guerrilla, so she walked away free, with a facial transplant and a new name, crochet patterns swirling in her mind.

Manufacturing defect

(a 55-word story, written in January 2011)

"It doesn't matter if it's a girl or a boy, as long as it's healthy", she said. Later she was disheartened by Better Business Bureau's response: "In absence of other evidence of homosexuality, effeminate behaviour alone does not constitute a defect." However, they noted that she could request for the manufacturer to amend the product.

Caveat emptor

(55 words; written in April 2009 for Alt magazine #4 which had the (loose) theme "Cyberpunk", edited a bit after publication)

"I just hate C-Mart", Yanni blurts out in frustration, gyrating around in her levichair.

"What's wrong with C-Mart?" I ask. "Yeah, they are a bit cheap, but the one-minute delivery is awesome."

"Maybe, but the quality is awful. The cerebral add-ons? Made in Triangulum - and it shows. The last time I bought an utility fog, I lost it the very next day. Damn bots just vanished on me."

"You'd lose your head if it wasn't screwed in", I mutter, so quietly that she won't hear me. I know from experience it's best not to dare her.

Affection

(a drabble; written in April 2009 for Alt magazine #4 which had the (loose) theme "Cyberpunk", edited a bit after publication)

The air in the waiting room is heavy and rigid. I think they can sense that something is wrong.

"It's so hard to put them down, isn't it?" says the woman next to me. She looks like she hasn't slept.

"Incredibly hard," I admit. "I wish bios weren't so frail."

"But for the duration of their short lives they give you unconditional love," she points out.

I look at Jimmy and wonder if I'm doing the right thing.

"It's alright," she reassures me. "If you really love your humans, you won't let them suffer needlessly."

And she's right, of course.

Final tally

(written in June 2008 for a 55-word fiction contest, apparently didn't win anything)

"A clock radio? Is that it?"

Peter smiled and patted my back.

"I'm sorry, ma'am, but to qualify for a toaster you would have needed 20 points more."

The crowd applauded. I shed a quiet tear thinking about the plasma TV.

"Better luck next time!" Peter said upbeatly as he opened the gate for me.

Eschatos

(written in February 2008)

In the end, God created singularity.

Falling at odds

(written in March 2007 for a competition with the theme "Luck")

There are worse ways to die than approaching the Earth at terminal velocity. Your falling speed stops accelerating after about 20 seconds. It's a beautiful planet when viewed from a distance, an intoxicating view. It seems rather unlikely that it would miss you in any way.

Of course, most of the time you don't actually die. An automatic device triggers the parachute even if you've forgotten about it. You float gently to the ground, out of breath and jizzing adrenaline, breaking a bone or two at most.

Sometimes neither happens. Your fall no longer accelerates and begins to slow down, until it halts completely. There you go, stuck in the midair somewhere in the lower troposphere. This is a good occasion to stretch all your cramped muscles and perhaps do a little jiggle. It's not like anyone is watching.

The man with an obscure newspaper

(written in December 2006 for a drabble competition, placed #2)

The man sits like he owns the bench, maybe he does. His glasses sink on his nose and he holds the newspaper in front of him like a sail, glancing around it and failing to comprehend the text. Perhaps the paper is upside down, so he flips it and tries again. Still the glyphs don't form any meaningful patterns. This is getting quite confusing. It's possible that the man is drunk. On the other hand papers often don't make any sense. Perhaps neither of them is making any sense and this thought makes him feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

A lesson learnt

(written in Finnish in 1999, translated into English in 2003)

I grew up in a sterile environment. I never got anything. I never expected to deserve anything. I existed and it was enough. I was never good at anything. My integrates were inferior. My derivates went straight to hell. Subject adverb predicate discriminate osmosis narcissist jesus christ superstar. I wasn't very liked. People kicked me in the head, literally. It hurt. I was 153 centimeters tall and weighed 45 kg, so I was no match for them. That's when I started lying. First it hurt me even more. I fought pain by physical means. The protrusion in my face started to grow. It grew inwards. Outside it shrank. I became very small-nosed. It did increase my external appearance. Still I got no romantic contact with the other sex. But something started to develop in my nose. It felt a bit like a huge lump of snot. I realized that my nose had evolved into a flounder. It transmitted alpha waves of an unknown frequency. There was a lethal weapon in my nose. I was ready for the battle between the good and the evil. In school I faced my tormentors. I concentrated deeply in the radioactive flounder. I told the radiation to set out. Nothing happened. I realized that instead of an ionizing flat fish it was a lump of snot in my nose. I got beaten up.

Four eras

(originally written in Finnish in 1999, rewritten in a radically shorter form in 2001 for a drabble contest, placed #2, translated into English in 2006)

I

It had remained unseen from everyone. That includes me since I am blind, but I could feel its presence. My blood curdled into pieces and electrons moved from their paths. One shouldn't really talk about that, it was the first era after all. It was discordant and no one disapproved.

II

I'm still proud of the way I died, it was like a song. Of course I am deaf, but one can recognize a song without ears. The second era was the best, self-evident like the death of rocks and no one disapproved.

III

It was an amusing night. My laughter hurled around as a shooting star. Death was just a dress in the end. The third era separated flesh from bones and no one disapproved. Except for me, but I am mute.

IV

Sorry, I just remembered that I cannot wri--