Miniature Stories At Most 54 Words Long
by L. J. Patrick (c) Jan 23rd 2002
Marooned in Space

Luna XI was damaged, spinning slowly, and unable to return to Earth. Harold checked all the systems, catalogued all the stores. There were forty-one hours of oxygen remaining, plenty of food, but no possibility of survival. "At last," he thought, "I have some time to work on my novel."

Cyber Love

Ella met Silas online. He seemed interesting. She arranged to meet in Rose's Bar, on Friday, at 5:45. She was early. At 5:45 the door opened. He was a robot! Ella couldn't face him. Leaving a $5 note on the bar, she fled. The bartender called out, "Hey, machine oil is $6 a glass!"


Graham knew he'd been sleepwalking when Rebecca said he'd been out all night. He affixed a radio transmitter to his arm, similar to the ones he tracked animals with, in the forest. He slept. Next morning, he checked his computer to see where he'd been. Apparently, he was running around the forest all night.

Parallel Universe

Rhys activated the portal generator. A glowing vortex transported him to a parallel universe. He discovered that here he was wildly rich. No good. He activated it again. Now, he was a famous explorer. Still no good. Finally, he found a universe where his favourite restaurant was still doing business. He ordered spaghetti bolognese.

Crashing Spacecraft

The engine exploded while descending to Mars. Dan survived, but his spaceship tumbled towards Deimos. Soon, it would crash on the miniscule moon. He prepared; Deimos loomed. At the last minute he jumped, with all his might, clear of the wreck. Some nights, you can still see his spacesuit orbiting Deimos, in the sunlight.

Galactic War Gridlock

The galaxy, populated by Humans and Zom, had been at war for millions of years. Matt Hastings, cyberbrain, met Zlor Gonrath, digimind, on a neutral asteroid.
"We both remember what life was like, before star-flight."
"Children, not clones."
"Let us begin again."
"Without technology?"
"Lest all memory of love be lost."

Lizard Man Epilogue

Skrossor's blade sliced through the troll's armour. As the giant troll fell, the goblins stopped in fear, then ran away screaming. Skrossor, lizard man, fighter, cleaned his axe. The elves said nothing. Even the humans kept a fearful distance. Skrossor gave up being a mercenary soon thereafter. He returned home, and grew roses.


Silas watched the wobbly robot flee. "Hey," he called after her. "Your wheel's fallen off." He spent days searching workshops around town. Finally, as he waited in the "Robots Only" queue at Cyber-Repairs, she opened the door. "I love you," said he. "I'm sorry," she replied. "At midday they're rebuilding me as a motorcycle."

Traxical Joke

Jenna decided to play a practical joke on Leanne. That night, at a downtown bar, she slipped Trax into Leanne's drink. When Leanne sipped it, she became a Tyrannosaurus. The guy who'd been chatting to her ran for his life. Leanne turned towards Jenna and roared. Jenna retorted, "Geez, don't bite my head off!"

Battle of the Sexes

Professor Humbolt rode the vortex into a parallel universe, appearing in a bar. The patrons looked... different. After much discussion with the bartender, Humbolt realised why. "What's gender?" asked the Professor. The bartender pointed to a TV beer commercial. A dog pulled a "female's" jeans off, while "males" watched, laughing, drinking.* "Ah! Slave combat."

Insomnia Serum

Dr Franz Jenkins completed his Insomnia Serum last year. He immediately injected himself with it. Now he has no need of sleep. I interviewed him last week, and asked what he does all night with his new-found spare time. He began, "There's a TV show selling electronic muscle toners. Have you seen it?"

Peace and Quiet

When I was 54, I retired to an uninhabited world, near Barnard's Star. Three years later, I was bored. My Replicator hummed as it worked. The clone was a perfect copy of me, including memories. A week later, we had nothing new to talk about. We've agreed to live on separate continents.

* An actual Australian beer commercial from 2001.