A Real-Life Example of an Ultra-Short Story

Spoiler if the link doesn’t work:

Someone saw a sign that said, Now Hiring, Managers Wanted. Two weeks later, the sign was back: Now Hiring, Managers Wanted, Background Checks Required.

My husband and I love this. Assuming it’s true, it packs a lot of plot into just two more words.

(Note to Moderators: If this belongs in another thread, sorry, and please feel free to move it.)

When I taught language arts, we would do six word stories modeled after Hemingway’s “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”

I enjoy reading these, and many of the kids did a great job.

I came.
She didn’t.
Oh well.

The one I like that I think I read here was (paraphrased):

The last man on earth was sitting in a room,
there was a knock at the door.

It’s apocryphal to attribute that to Hemingway, there’s no clear documentation of him writing or saying it. But it’s also the first thing I thought of when I read the OP.

One I’m fond of used to be CalMeacham’s signature:

I don’t know if he wrote it himself or got it from elsewhere, though.

Thank you. I didn’t know that.

Sort of similar to the one in the OP:

Some coworkers and I walked into a plant we have to visit occasionally for work. We were greeted with a sign that said “1 day since our last accident.” Just a week or so before it was in the 600’s.


Adam had’m.

It’s not ‘real-life’, but the last words spoken by Walter White in the final episode of Season 4 of Breaking Bad constitute a Hemingway-esque six-word story:

[spoiler]“It’s over. We’re safe. I won.

(There is response from his wife in between the second and third lines).[/spoiler]

I have an anthology of science fiction short stories that includes two of the shortest stories I’ve ever read.

The first one is titled Science Fiction for Telepaths:

The second is Sign at the End of the Universe:

It’s original with me.
Thanks for the compliment.
(Although you’re evidently quoting from memory – it’s slightly different from what I wrote, although not significantly)

Yeah, it’s tough to dig up old sigs. Was it “leveled the shotgun” instead of “cocked”?

What is it?

Short film “Grandfather paradox” based on this idea (based a a short story by Edward Lerner called “Grandpa?”): http://www.nsi-canada.ca/2012/04/the-grandfather-paradox/

P.S. This isn’t to say that CalMeacham didn’t come up with his signature independently.

It’s not exactly the same as the OP, but I once saw something that had a similar effect (implied information). I was with a girlfriend and her teenage daughters at an all-you-can-eat diner, when a bride, a groom and their wedding guests came in and sat down at a nearby table. Still wearing their wedding clothes, they were obviously very angry about something that had happened, but they just sat there in silence, glaring at the floor and the corners of the room, without so much as exchanging a word or even making eye contact. I noticed that one of my girlfriend’s daughters couldn’t stop staring with her mouth ajar. Normally a very well-behaved girl, she was gorging on the inferred information and didn’t snap out of it until I gave her foot a nudge.

Another real-life example, but probably not all that good a story and you’ll have to use your imagination: Photocopies informing of a missing dog had been put up around the neighborhood. Just an image, a telephone number and a few incomplete sentences that went something like: “Lost chihuahua. Suffers epilepsy. Kids sad.”

One from the COO at work:

“To All Employees: Testing, please ignore.”

Damned straight, I did. Based on a 2004 short story? My sig line was earlier than that.
My line was
“Of course,” said my grandfather, pulling a gun from his belt as he stepped from the time machine, “There’s no paradox if I shoot you.”

That’s from Fredric Brown, 50s SF/mystery author and master of the short short.

Sorry about that. I watched the movie back in 2007, and should have rewatched it before I compared it to your sig. I remembered that it was an unusual take on the grandfather paradox, which is why your sig reminded me of it, but they are obviously otherwise completely different.