Story Words
Very short fiction, written on the fly, from words submitted by readers.
© 2002, 2003, 2004 Jay Lake

Saturday, April 26, 2003

I say "mortadella," you say "candy bar"
In any language that tells me just how yummy you are
With beer you seem the same
Please let me explain
Really nasty Italian lunch meat to you

Friday, April 25, 2003

Peltmosts and Peltasts were the two great political parties on Skye, generations ago, who finally fought themselves to a standstill in the Great Groats War. The last Peltast died in 1374 of a surfeit of groats brought on by a forced-feeding on the part of the Peltmosts assisted by a drunken Viking and a pair of mendicant monks.

Thursday, April 24, 2003
Ursa Major

A now-obsolete rank in the Candian Forces, the Ursa Major typically commanded units of trained animals, such as grizzlies, beavers or egrets.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

The wee animals of Scotland and Ireland once gathered to complain to the King of Faerie about the way that Brother Bear had treated them. "He scoops out our hives," complained busy Aunt Bee. "His great feet smash our burrows," whined Brer Rabbit. "His breath is a great carrack of filth beneath the earth," squeaked the Three Blind Mice.

"Very well," said the King of Faerie. "Brother Bear, what have you to say for yourself."

"I am just doing what I ought ter," said Brother Bear, "for and I'm big and brown and full of stink."

"Ye ought ter take a bleeding bath," screamed one of the mice.

So the King did just that -- made Brother Bear into the otter that never leaves the water. Though soon enough good English bears came to terrorize the lands, bringing with them moveable type and Hessian soldiers. But that's another story.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Pilaster is the stoof we pee on weals when we wish to couver them over their tombers.

Monday, April 21, 2003

Back in the saddle again on my return from Norwescon. "Saddle" is an old Albanian word that actually refers to the seventh vertebra of the horse, which can be fashioned into a pipe. The unique structure of the nerve cannulae within that particular vertebra causes the pipe smoke to go through an Escherian swirl, offering the smoker a massively mind-bending shift of perceptual reality. Similar to the experience of riding a horse, really.

  I've been nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Novelette, and for the John W. Campbell, Jr. Award for Best New Writer!
Award info | Me

Read the Hugo-nominated story for free at

Q: What is this?
A: A fiction experiment. Every day, people email me words. At some random point in the day, I pick a word, write a quick story about it on the spot, and post it unedited (except for a quick typo patrol).

Q: What did that word mean?
A: Look it up:

Q: Can I send you a word?
A: You bet. Include a definition if the word is deeply obscure -- or not, if you prefer. Send it to

Q: I've got something to say about this.
A: Click over to the Story Words discussion topic.

Q: Who else is silly enough to do this? I think it's kind of neat.
A: David Jones, for one. Surf over there and check him out. Drop him an encouraging word, too. He's a brave man.
A: Jeremy Tolbert, for another, with his Microscopica project. Likewise show him some love.
A: Jason Erik Lundberg with his Mythologism blog.

Q: You're even cooler than KITT the Knight Rider car. Do you have a mailing list to announce your latest hijinks?
A: Of course I do. What kind of self-promoting, narcissistic writer would I be otherwise? Email me. Occasional mailings regarding stories appearing in print and online, weird stuff in general, and appearances of the Greek Chorus.