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

Saturday, March 19, 2005

"Pelf! Pelf! Get your red-hot pelf here!"

"How much, sister?"

"Well, for you...two galoots and a gallatin."

"Sorry. Don't got that much valuta on me."

"Old mazooma-man like you? Come on. It's pelf."

"Don't matter to me if it's round-bottomed fins."

"Ah, here, have one on the house."

'Why thank you. So what's your name?"

"I thought you'd never ask."

Thursday, March 17, 2005

I came in lassitude in the big context. I trayed hard, but never did ketch out to the frontispiece runner. Lassitude, lassitude, it has taken over my attitude.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

When flail falls from the sky, run. It's much worse than hail, more frightening than thunder. A tornado would be safer and simpler. Flail is...flail. That thing which dogs our days and haunts our nights and rousts us from our armored basements with the threat of collapse and involuntary interment. Oh for the simple days before.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Away I flit like the down of a thistle, flying along a breeze like a whistle from the puckered lips of an inattentive god.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Every relationship has its sacraments, those small and sometimes meaningless gestures or words or actions that turn out to be pivotal in maintaining the integrity of two hearts struggling. Imagine your mother saying good-bye to you every morning when you turned out for school as a small child. Was there some special way she hugged you? Did she pinch your cheek and offer you a durian fruit? Did she let slip the wolverines so you would get your exercise fleeing the yard post-haste? Think now to your lover. What sacraments do you share with them? Are they solicitous of the blow-bys you bring home? Do they kiss your wrists before yanking down the cable ties? Are the photos polaroids that can be burned when someday one of you has slipped the other's bones into that acid barrel you went halvsies on last year? What are your sacraments? Write them on the back of a postcard and mail them in today.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

We default to our basic behaviors when confronted by novelty or the bizarre. We default to animal reflexes when danger strikes. We default to howling laughter when the stick is slapped or a fat man falls down the stairs. We default to gibbering insanity when the moon is big and red. We default to tuna fish ice cream when ducks slither through the bricks. We default to words when ideas transmogrify. And default is our own, when the inevitable pun arrives.

(Word "Default" suggested by RuthN)

  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.