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

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Fewmets are well-met, but rarely so often as when falconing amid the high towers of the endless castle of the world.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Gilberto seemed always to be suspended between two things, two poles, two choices, two shores. How gingerly he walked the double yellow line between duty and destiny, unwilling or unable to dirty his shoes on either shoulder of the four-lane metaphor. "I'm torn," he was fond of saying, as though that explained it. Eventually, time made all his dread decisions irrelevant.

Guest Editor BMcK

Tuesday, January 25, 2005
If life were a cabaret we'd be up past our bedtime every night, dancing. On the other hand we'd have to entertain drunks and pretend we enjoyed their company. We'd live with the volume up, and the champagne would flow like... well... champagne, but when our fifty-seven closest friends went home, guess who'd get stuck washing the glasses?
Guest editor BMcKenna

Monday, January 24, 2005
Word had just come down from home office: Osculation would commence within the hour. Mecium got on the horn immediately. "Scramble the fighters!" he barked. He tried to hide the giddy feeling welling up inside. He had recently been promoted and chose to be transferred to the frontier. This was where the action was. This was where things got hot. Mecium liked it that way. "Sir!" Private Pep interrupted his thoughts. "Sir, home office says we gotta step down, sir! Sending endorphin diplomats! They're talking peace, sir!" Damn! Mecium's blood-lust was rising. "I will NOT settle for analgesic diplomacy this time. Those beta-bureaucrats have gone too far!" He grabbed the comm. "Get me the General." Within moments the sad news came through. "I'm sorry son, but ever since President Encephalin was elected, our policies on these matters are different. We have an open border. Our pseudopodia are tied."

"I'll be damned if foreign bodies will be allowed to roam our arteries with impunity!" Mecium grabbed his old helmet and descended to the hangar bay. "Sir! We're not authorized!" squealed Pep. Mecium pushed past him and ensconced himself in the nearest fighter, Immuno-HyHel-5. He prepped his lysis cannons, kick-started the flagellum, and burst out of the hangar. Within moments his craft was harried by a swarm of Lysozyme battle cruisers. "I knew it! That peacenik president of ours is walking into a trap!"

His first salvo caught a cruiser off guard. But there were too many. Far too many.
This could mean only one thing. The Osculation was happening ahead of schedule. And there were no defenses ready. There was no way he could defeat such an onslaught alone.

A sickening SPLAT, and Mecium knew it was over. A hull breach. His craft was hydrolyzing! "I'm going down!" A broken flagella and leaking hull made it difficult, but his seasoned skills and training proved true. He managed to coax enough power out of his craft to slide past the frontier boundary into enemy territory. He smiled grimly and flipped the switch that activated his Simplex bomb as he spun out of control. The impact of his ship detonated the explosive, and he left his spiteful mark on enemy soil.

The political fallout that occurred from this one brave act has gone down in history. The foreign president was dethroned after the frontier rebellion. No one wanted to work near ground zero, and food production diminished due to the Afferent community's ceaseless complaints. A new president, less bound by the Opiate Receptors lobby, was elected.

And peace ruled the land for generations.

Today's Story Word by guest author, JoshF

Sunday, January 23, 2005
Like honey on a dead man's tongue, the truth trickles down a bit at a time, changing as it does from one thing to another until it is no more true or false than a weather forecast. Bittersweet, it speaks of an unknown future, of desires perhaps unreal, perhaps just unrealistic, of common ground broken, of chasms breached in spite of themselves. Like me, it doesn't always recognize itself in the mirror. Or perhaps I'm wrong.

Today's Story Word by guest author, Tiger Lily

  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.