If you're a literature buff like me, you'll readily recognize the story quoted: “Baby Shoes. For sale. Never Worn.” It is the shortest short story in literature history; written by Ernest Hemingway, creator of Santiago, the main character in his much acclaimed work; the award winning novella titled the Old Man and the Sea.
According to reliable sources, Hemingway once challenged a friend that he could write a story in six words. And he did—Baby shoes. For sale. Never won.
Now, one may be tempted to wonder, “is the above a short story? Is it really a story?”
It is. It possesses the major qualities/characteristics of a story or novel or novella—plot, main character or protagonist and antagonist.
(Baby shoes. For sale. Never won.) Where is the plot? The plot lies in the last four words! For sale. Never won.
Why are the shoes being sold? Maybe the mom is homeless and needs the money. Or, the baby died suddenly and the shoes are no longer needed? And how did it died?
You can find him/her/it in the first word: Baby. Newly born, crying out loud and already battling for survival; then death or, the baby was never born, hence the baby shoes—never won?
He/she/it doesn't need any introduction. It could be the abortion the almost-to-be mom subjected herself to, a miscarriage or something worse.
There you have it, done and dusted; a brief review of Hemingway's shortest short story.
Now, seeing that I also habour dreams of becoming an influential writer one day, let me also try writing such a story. Okay, okay, it may seem as if am imitating this genius, but nothing and no one is original really.
Homer isn't. Shakespeare isn't. Not even Hemingway with his shortest short story.
Here is mine (five words only): Planet Earth. Attacked! No more.
There; I've imitated a genius, albeit a word less!