Don’t Worry, It Won’t Take Long

For this month’s Six-Word Story Contest, we challenged readers to tell a complete story in only a handful (plus one finger) of words. Dozens of taciturn types rose to the occasion—including, to our surprise, two classes of fourth- and fifth-graders from Emerson Elementary in Berkeley. Forthwith, the three winning entries (all of which achieved the Six-Word gold standard of implying ever so much more), plus an assortment of other entertaining picks.


Shoes under my bed, not mine.
Sue Wainwright, Alameda

Nine months since you called . . . surprise!
Heather Angier, Oakland

Miss my scooter at Papa’s house.
Tom Melton-Stephan, Berkeley

Made it to Carnegie. Now unsung.
Rachel Hurwitz, Berkeley

Scuffed satin flung behind the coats.
Nancy McKay, Berkeley

School plays now, big screen tomorrow.
Ryan Walton, Berkeley

Aretha. Who? You are too young.
Mischa Wendel, Albany

Three goblets abandoned by the fire.
Carol Dorf, Berkeley

He’d say he left her. Later.
Lydia Nayo, Oakland

My life is full of surprises.
Takiyah Harris, Berkeley

Bulging cardboard boxes. Nowhere to go.
Carole Dwinell, Briones

Later, realized was fed own pet.
Allison Stuart-Willis, Oakland

Full of Trophies and future Dreams.
Leo Garcia, Berkeley

I was naked, now in jail.
Fred Foldvary, Berkeley

Don’t lie to Mom and Dad.
Ezzat Obeid, Berkeley

One-legged woman, three-legged dog.
Jennifer Frisch, Berkeley

I arrived, stayed,
but never belonged.
Joseph Mileck, Berkeley

Hit the gas. It’s over anyway.
Eric Anderson, Berkeley

Teacher’s pet. Teacher’s toy. Teacher’s arrest.
Dorrie Slutsker, Oakland

Neptune Society? I can’t even swim.
Ed Malenk, Alameda

Flat-chest history; tattoo-on nipples.
Ann Luria, Oakland

Take a pen. Draw a life.
Keerthi Peddiboina, Berkeley

Sleepy eyes, waking up in Mexico.
Luis Manuel Ramirez, Berkeley

Once the target, now the villain.
Jelina Liu, Berkeley

You loved her, yes. Faithfully? No.
Lior Jacober, Oakland

Came back home, puppy is gone.
Amy Ha, Berkeley

Awaiting circumcision . . . What’s that bright light??!
Barry Gantt, Oakland

Loud when little, quiet when older.
Mela Schoon, Berkeley

The patient, declared dead, awakened. Hungry.
Gene Dominique, Oakland,

My sister’s gown follows behind her.
Aaliyah Ratchford, Berkeley

Trailer for rent. I am home.
Art Davis, Moraga

Faces of the East Bay