Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Short Short Stories

I just noticed this short short story, which was sort of cute, but really a bit too short short (though much better than this one, an ode to childhood racism).

In the Guardian last year, Dave Eggers judged a contest for slightly longer (400 word) short short stories, and this was the winner.

After the jump, I'll print it in full, since it's so short. Funny how 250 words feels like an anecdote, while 150 more words gives it the feel of a story.

Or perhaps it's just that the Guardian story features a pig.

To the point of breaking, the rope was stretched.

Tuesday July 20, 2004

To the point of breaking, the rope was stretched. At the end of which hung a twitching, whey-faced Arthur, and his pig, Marmite.

Marmite struggled and squealed as the sky and sea tilted, roller coaster style, the cliff jabbing into his side. A two hundred metre drop. Arthur was having a hard time holding on.

Marmite had been the runt of the litter. Arthur raised him from a half dead scrap to a 250 pound monster. There had been one attempt to load Marmite into the slaughterer's van, but Arthur, fierce and steadfast, blocked the ramp. And on this one thing Arthur's father acquiesced. He had given his son so little, but he saw that Arthur truly loved Marmite. Marmite, however, did not love Arthur.

That morning, when Arthur had taken Marmite breakfast, he found Marmite pensive. Marmite didn't even attempt to charge Arthur, but remained in the corner and absently glanced over, before showing his fat, quivering rump, disappearing into the hut.

Arthur was worried. Marmite off his food? This had never happened before. Was he unwell? No, the vet had checked him over just yesterday. He was in good health. Arthur edged towards the hut, calling Marmite's name. Some fresh air. A walk. That might be just the ticket.

To the furthest field, at the top of the cliffs, Arthur dragged a reluctant Marmite. The view was marvellous, wraparound sky, steely grey sea. Arthur felt they should stay to enjoy it. He tied the rope, which was attached to Marmite's collar, to a nearby bench. They sat down by the edge.

Arthur tried to reason with Marmite. It was a lovely day. The sun was out. The world was a good place.

Marmite did not respond.

Arthur tried a different tack. He and Marmite might go further. They might stroll across to the woods, have a root through the undergrowth. Acorns and everything, Arthur said.

Marmite snorted.

Finally, Arthur reached across to stroke Marmite's wrinkled brow, and that was when Marmite lurched, screaming, at Arthur, knocking them both over the edge. The rope whipped tight, catching Marmite as he fell. Arthur, in his descent, threw out a hand and scrabbled for the rope, his feet bouncing off Marmite's head.

And thus, they hung from the rope. And there was no doubt about it - it was him or the pig. Arthur's fingers reached for Marmite's collar.

Miranda Stock


  • At 9:33 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    Eh, I didn't like it. There are a lot of missteps for so few words.

  • At 2:12 PM, Blogger Solomon Grundy said…

    The Dave Eggers-selected story? I thought it was sort of cute, but you're right. Not quite worthy of the first Left Behinds Fiction Link.

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