Thursday, March 7, 2013

Six Hundred Word Short Story Contest Submission

Our guest blogger is Scott Barlett the author of Royal Flush (4.2 stars, 18 reviews).

Six Hundred Word Short Story Contest Submission

This is a short story I wrote for a contest with a six-hundred word limit. It’s called “Six Hundred”.
One day Bob invested in a spaceship and spacesuit, making this a science fiction story.
He had lots of zany, exciting adventures, but unfortunately I can’t relate them here because of this contest’s extremely inhibiting six-hundred-word limit.
On a related note, how do you people expect a self-respecting writer to create characters the reader cares about, or a plot worth following, in such a short space? One hardly considers six-hundred words a story.
Anyway, that’s neither here nor there. After Bob had all those well-worth-reading-about adventures, he settled down on Planet Cabbage and met a girl he really cared about. A week later they had a candle-lit dinner, where lots of character development went on.
Turns out Bob is a little nervous around new people, especially of the female persuasion, but once you get him talking about his favorite subject—stupid contest restrictions—he’s on fire. We the readers have learned to love Bob. We can really relate to him, and we are eager to see what happens next.
Suddenly a plot convenience walked into the restaurant, and informed Bob and the female love interest that Planet Cabbage needed them. The Planet was under attack by the Polly Wogs, an alien race with a really neat history and culture, who of course you will learn nothing about here.
Bob, of necessity a man of few words, didn’t ask why Planet Cabbage needed them specifically, and during their first date no less. Instead he saw this as an opportunity to impress the female love interest, and so he strapped on his Mega Laser Flinger 2000 (overcompensation) and hopped in his spaceship.
Once they’d attained orbit and saw the overwhelming swarm of Polly Wogs, and had finally stopped giggling at the aliens’ silly name, Bob and the female love interest began to get a little worried. Not only did the Polly Wogs outnumber them a gazillion to one, but the word limit was fast approaching.

Thinking quickly, Bob fearlessly jettisoned the female love interest into space, which served to distract the Polly Wogs as he high-tailed it back to Planet Cabbage.
Cowering under his space-age bed in his futuristic bedroom, Bob realized something: in only 363 words, he’d fallen in love with the female love interest, and he didn’t want her to die. Luckily for him, as any disciple of Douglas Adams knows, with a lungful of air it’s possible to fend off asphyxiation for thirty seconds. Unluckily for him, the female love interest had been picked up by a Polly Wog flyboy in that half-minute, and she’d immediately fallen for the rugged extraterrestrial. Their marriage was already well underway.
Of course, Bob didn’t know this. He soared back into orbit, donned his spacesuit, and jumped in his spaceship, not necessarily in that order.
He rammed into the first Polly Wog ship he saw, mashing the two vessels into one. Predictably he had chosen correctly, and deeper inside the alien craft, those gathered in the small chapel—installed for those unexpected interracial marriages—felt the tremors of the impact.
Bob leaped from the wreckage of his spaceship and charged into the bowels of the Polly Wog craft, dodging bullets, fleeing guards and generally being a nuisance. Finally he reached the chapel, barreled up the center aisle and stuck his Mega Laser Flinger 2000 right in the groom’s ear.
The female love interest swooned at Bob’s bravery, and the Polly Wog minister recoiled in disgruntlement. “Should I stop?” he asked mid-ceremony.
The groom remained cool. “Don’t worry about him,” he said, meaning Bob. “He only has four words left.”
Bob frowned in confusion.

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