Originally published as the second place contest winner in the September 2012 mini-contest of On the Premises. Forty-seven words short. Not a typo–47.
Writing a sub 50 word story is tough. ‘Cause it has to be a real story, not just a bullet point or a description of something. To be honest the shortest piece I had previously written weighed in at 500 words (“Airlock”, still unpublished), and I tend toward verbosity.
“Stranded” is loosely linked to one of my most popular short stories, “Three-Quarters Martian.” The protagonist is unnamed, and even I’m not sure which one is talking here, although my bet is on Olga.
(OK, it’s not really possible to excerpt a 47 word story, so this is the whole thing)
Our ever-reddening hair provided comic relief over that first year of winter. Toenails too, especially on the guys. Maroon eyeballs, however, were creepy. The omnipresent fines rouged soy patties, tinted recycled water, stained bulkheads. And corroded electronics. Being stranded on Mars was horrific; peeing red was worse.