Here are several of the Fifty Word stories that were published.
A Sky Filled With Bats
In a remote African village I watched in wonder as thousands of fruit bats blotted out the moon as they crossed the river to settle in the mango trees to feed and sleep. Soon I learned that the villagers ate the bats. Later, I learned that the bats transmit Ebola.
A Final Concert
Albert’s wife of 47 years was a concert pianist who loved her 1929 Grotrian Steinweg grand. After she died, Albert moved it to the beach and placed her body on the strings. Floating away on the tide, the gasoline-soaked Steinweg burned quickly, and 260 strings exploded in a funereal fanfare
“See Spot run!” yelled Dick. “Why?” responded Jane. “Huh?” replied Dick. “Why?” repeated Jane. “Uhmm,” said Dick. “I have a million things to get done at home today,” Jane continued. “Why should I look at a stupid running dog?” “Uhmm…” Dick mumbled. “My mother warned me I’d regret this marriage.”
Strutting down the street, Bubba yelled scornfully at the lesser humans scurrying into neighboring buildings. He had honed his 300-pound body into muscular mastery, and he knew it would handle any wind the hurricane could throw at him. “Uh oh,” he whimpered, when he saw the Winnebago flying towards him
Martin Bledsoe was a short, plump, bald, harmless-looking man in his mid-50s. Nobody suspected he was also the best assassin in the world. Bang! Well, nobody except Emma Kronstad, a short, plump, grandma-looking woman in her early sixties who strolled away from his dead body whispering, “Now I’m No. 1!
A pianist’s hands are extremely sensitive, able to detect minuscule changes in touch, response, key drop, even moisture and temperature. Sobbing, Thomas wished deeply that his hands weren’t quite so sensitive, as he waited for the next wave, the gritty ashes of his beautiful 10-year-old son cupped in his hands
The African explorer stopped his topless Land Rover when he saw the approaching grass fire. Hundreds of terrified baboons were running directly towards him. Baboons lighten their bodies when running from danger. After they leapt over his vehicle and continued fleeing, he deeply regretted leaving his Pith helmet in camp.
God commanded the dinosaurs to become vegetarians so they could board Noah’s Ark. “But we love meat,” they said. God commanded them again, and one T-rex told God to take a hike. God hurled the Chicxulub asteroid into the Gulf of Mexico, destroying them all. Dinosaurs had really small brains.
Kwax’ilanokume spent months memorizing how Man-Eater came to the Kwakiutl. The penalty for making any mistake at that evening’s Hamatsa ceremony was death. An hour into his performance a fly entered his mouth. Kwax’ilanokume gagged, momentarily stopping. He’d just resumed singing when the spear entered the back of his head