141 to 150

July 4, 2012

Zen: .

Family drama: Fishing with his sons. “This is lame!” said the youngest. So he took out the dynamite, got their respect, and lost custody.

Classical: The poison taster gagged and writhed. The cook was executed before the taster could explain that he just hated coriander.

Historical: He stared at his tools. The bolts first? The pliers? That wouldn’t work. He sighed helplessly. Torturer’s block.

Bio: In works far ahead of his time, Mozart composed the operettas “Rollin’ in florins”, “Musket up yo ass” and “The Bitchiz of Figaro”.

Crisis Of Faith: Dress for the job you want, not the job you have, they told him. But the scuba tank kept knocking over the communion wine.

Prehistorical: As the meteor grew near, some dinosaurs rejoiced. They roared hymns, denounced the mammals, and awaited the Velocirapture.

Fable: The sparrow didn’t care that her chick was a changeling. “Fly, my pretty!” she said with pride, pushing the baby rhino from the nest.

Magic Realism: She followed the knife-thrower everywhere, always first on stage, showing off the scar where his knife had pierced her heart.

Overheared: It was New Years Eve in Zimbabwe. They raised their glasses. “Here’s to 2011. It can’t possibly be worse than 2012.”


131 to 140

July 4, 2012

Utopian Conspiracy: This tweet was the only way to get to you. Everyone else is in on it. CIA. FBI. They’re throwing you a surprise party.

Pop-Sci: “It’s okay to be shallow,” said the biologist. “90% of ocean life is in the shallows. It’s warm and bright.” The model just yawned.

Fable: The clumsy trap-maker always got caught in his own traps. “Here we go again,” he thought, as the ring slid onto his finger.

Conspiracy: Inside the hanger wasn’t a moon landing set. There was a stadium. Our minds reeled. The 2010 World Cup was faked.

Apocalyptic: Everything got gradually worse. People fantasised about a quick and definite end. Roland Emmerich made millions.

Horror: “Fish Fingers tonight!” said New Mommy. Jimmy looked at his plate. Scales. Knuckles. They weren’t what Jimmy expected. Not at all.

Speculative: To end racism, we found new ways to define ourselves. But a new power elite rose. Fucking Sagittarians.

Epic: He had The Call. He has a Love Interest, and an Antagonist, and the potential for Personal Growth. Unfortunately, he also had an Xbox.

Urban Legend: A string of cheese led up from the top of the pizza to the mouth of the guilty-looking waiter.

Ghost: Dripping walls. Patches of cold. Weird laughter in the night. On the plus hand, only 800 per month and close to varsity AND the pub.


121 to 130

July 4, 2012

Paradise Lost: He thought he’d finally found the ideal way of life in the nudist camp. Until he tried frying sausages.

Revisionism: Jesus made a famous statement about rich people and camels and eyes of needles. But he didn’t say “Heaven”. He said “Prison”.

Melodrama: “Forgive me for posing as your long-lost daughter, Brad. I’ll wear this wig no more. Before I die, just once, call me: ‘Father.’”

Metafiction: “Mr President, we’re on the brink of disaster. Our world is built on 140 characters and they’re non-renewable. When they run ou

Cringe: He did a German accent whenever he was nervous. He met his new boss Mister Müller, and panicked. “Top o’ t’ mornin’ to ye!” he said.

Steampunk: “The Analytical Engines must be purged!” said the minister. Too late. The compromising mimeograph was already at clickileaks.

Drama: He was miserable. “Puzzle pieces that were forced together are harder to pull apart,” he said. But she didn’t understand him. Again.

War: “They’re filling their trenches with poets,” said the German general. “We can play that game. Send in the mimes.”

Horror: “Wear this ring,” said the shopkeeper, “and all your dreams will come true.” They did. Even the one with the teeth.

Exposé: It was his first day as a copywriter. “Jesus Saves… With CostCo!” he said. It was his last day as a copywriter.


111 to 120

July 4, 2012

Comedy: He did the racist bit. The audience gasped. He paused, ready to launch the punchline, when the heart attack hit. He died on stage.

Historical: The man walked into the sultan’s tent, mistaking him for a fortune teller. The sultan screamed out a fortune. It was accurate.

Campus novel: “Strip rubik’s cube?” he suggested. She solved it in 23 seconds. He ran out the dorm in a panic of love.

Tech: The app made ethics easy. Product histories, informed decisions, clear consciences. No one asked why it kept saying “Buy Coke.”

Psi-Fi: Humanity unified telepathically. Finally we were of one mind. A mind filled with sex and arguments and kittens with poor spelling.

Black Comedy: “They’ll remember me now,” he thought, finger on the trigger. “I’ll be the Kurt Cobain of actuaries.” He was wrong.

Objectivist: His industrialist father had told him that the wealthy owed nothing to anybody. So, as his trust-fund grew, Atlas chugged.

War: He wasn’t that bright. He failed his driver’s test twelve times. But driving a tank means never having to check your blind spots.

Unnerving Children’s Haiku: Waldo is easy / But can you spot the ninja? / He Is Behind You.

Arjun Basu-Style: Two men sat on the bench. “Wouldn’t it be funny if we’re waiting for the same girl?” said one. But they were, and it wasn’t.

Allegory: He slept all day. His conversation left people drained. He avoided mirrors; they made him look unremarkable. And garlic was passé.


101 to 110

July 4, 2012

War: Christmas in the trenches. The two sides played football in no man’s land. Afterwards the English fans got out of hand, as usual.

Horror: Lovecraft stared at the page. During the fever he’d channeled a phantasmagorical tale of sentient beasts, and signed it “B. POTTER.”

Teen Romance: She watched him from across the cafeteria. He was so much taller, more confident, and better described than she was.

Chain Letter: RT This! A Joburg man RTed it and got 876 new followers! A man in Pofadder ignored it, but nothing worse could happen.

Self-referential: This tweey has exactly one hundred and thirty nine characters, two commas, one full stop and an obvious spelling mistake.

Historical: While trying to get a loan, Spartacus discovers he’s the victim of quite unbelievable identity theft.

Superhero: “Behold! This suit will let me move through solid walls!” He put it on, fell to the center of the Earth, and burned to a crisp.

Crime: He argued with the mechanic. Drove off without paying. Just as he hit 120, he noticed the tyre bolts on the passenger seat.

Childrens: Jimmy wanted to see the fire engines but mummy wouldn’t take him. Mohammad won’t come to the mountain, he thought, lighting a match.


91 to 100

July 4, 2012

Game: In the Sims 6, your character can meditate, transcend and become aware of its true nature: A bored person playing the Sims 6.

Horror Metafiction: Vampire romances suck the life out of all new young adult novels. They turn every new book into a vampire romance.

Cooking: Unfold bag. Microwave on high for 3 mins. Open away from face or steam will scald eyes, making Transformers II even less enjoyable.

Post-CS Lewis: After years of adventure, he was pulled up out of his underwater kingdom. He coughed water. The bully said “Flush him again!”

Horror Movie Trailer: 140 IS THE NEW 666. This summer, Follow the warnings. Follow your instinct. Just don’t follow… DeathTweet.

Fable: “Democracy is three wolves and a sheep arguing what’s for dinner,” said the crocodile to three sheep.

Infant mystery: Missing woman. Dame disappears right in front of me. Then, she’s back. No explanation, just the cryptic word “peekaboo.”

Sci-Fi: A giant prehistoric butterfly stood on Dr. Mandel, who by chance had doctorates in time travel, literature, chaos theory, and irony.

Advert: It’s hard to ignore where our food, clothes, and goods really come from. Time to disconnect. Conservol™ chemical guilt suppressant.

Arthurian: He swung Excalibur at the knight’s neck. It bounced off. Always sharpen a sword after shoving it into a rock.



81 to 90

July 4, 2012

Khakipunk: They look like us, sound like us. There’s only one way to test for real humans. I play the sokkie. His feet don’t tap. Uitlander.

Boy’s Own Adventure: Wilderness holiday. Stumbled on gun-running operation. Almost shot. No playstation. Bitten by spider. Worst hol ever.

Homoerotic thriller: The neighbours took him upstairs and showed him the body. He ground against it. Outrage. “Look, I’m not a cop, I’m the stripper.”

Dystopian Xmas Tale: The elves watched, listened, judged me naughty. They left me with sock full of coal. Coal, that used to be my foot.

Postmodern Seuss: “Last time I stole presents, what a mistake! A silly mistake for a big Grinch to make. This year I take the rhyme scheme.”

Electronic Voting Machine Instruction Manual: Press button. Walk away. Opening this machine and testing it for accuracy violates the patent.

Shakesperian Cyber-punk: There is neither good or bad, rich or poor, dream or real, me or you, but data makes it so.

Xmas story: Caucasian, 60-70 yrs, beard. Illegal immigrant. Breaking and entering, theft of milk and pies, “grooming” of minors with toys.

Postmodern Fast-food Romance: “I like men with red hair,” she said, frenching a fry and playing footsie under the table with his clown shoe.

Psychedelic Mills & Boon: The boudoir walls heaved like her bodice. Her eyes met all three of his, and she fell into his million arms.



71 to 80

July 4, 2012

Safari Sci-Fi: “This species of primate sits in metal boxes and watches the other species in the park. No one knows why.”

Dickensian: “As you see, no one attends your funeral- Hey! Is that a sports almanac?” “No!” said Ebenezer.

Orwellian Romcom: It’s the same old story: State loves girl, girl commits ThoughtCrime, State wins girl back in Room 101. DoublePlus Good.

Retro 90′s Occult Fiction: The thing attacked, but got tangled in its own parachute pants. I hit it with my gavel. “Hammer Time!”

8-Bit: Mistakes are fatal. There is no save. You forgot to pick up a key on level 3. Games will be more life-like, but never more like life.

Slapstick bildungsroman: He saw the banana peel and leapt over it, no longer a clumsy child, but a Man: A Man who hadn’t seen the low doorframe.

Self-help noir: She was an attractive broad. Now, she’s attracted six bullets to the heart. Negative thinking. Case closed.

Steampunk: Broken glass had fallen into the mechanism. The inspector sighed. What buffoon would install windows on a Thinking Engine?

Space Opera: “We have starships! We have AI and nanotech! So why do we still have a monarchy?” yelled a man holding a laser-pitchfork.

Beat: The Jazz sizzled out the radio and danced with the tap-tap-tapping of tires with stones caught like bad habits in the treads.


61 to 70

July 4, 2012

Enid Blighton: Jim, Julie and Jeff went to the beach and thwarted some human traffickers. The police said thank you, and they all had buns.

Cooking: WikiPancakes. You will need: Egos, flour, milk, oil. Mix ingredients together in any quantity (citation needed).

Fable: The peacock was extremely beautiful but could only squawk. Thanks to autotune and an aggressive MTV play cycle, he went platinum.

Grindhouse: “Show some backbone,” he taunts, so Kandi pulls out a whip made from the spines of the boys who’d treated her bad.

Sci-Fi: The AI spent its holiday on Windows XP contracting viruses and getting infested with spyware, and came back claiming enlightenment.

War: A shell goes off nearby, snapping him out of it. I was doing something, he thinks. There’s a pin in one hand, and something hard in th-

Spy: Agent V aimed his pen gun and fired. Nothing. Back at the QuikSpar someone tried to sign a receipt and shot a hole through the condoms.

Sci-Fi: 2037 – SETI discovers an interstellar data network. 2038 – Mankind posts its opinions in all caps. 2039 – Mankind gets unfriended.

Horror: “You used to love this before the accident. Now open wide,” said his daughter patiently, holding up a spoonful of crushed eyeballs.

Drug Fantasy: Red powder. Street name: “Skep”. It was only addictive because it made you sceptical. You didn’t believe it was bad for you.


51 to 60

July 4, 2012

Crime: So many tourists. That guy. Young. Nervous. Backpack. Perfect. Grab and ru- Shit! Let go! What’s in here? Pipes? Is that a deton-

Post Apocalyptic: Dan loved it. Free from civilisation. Raiding the camps, crushing the efforts of the rebuilders. Then the toothache came.

Cringe: On the cake were three figures. Bride. Groom. And the baker herself, holding a tiny model cake, so proud to be part of the ceremony.

Superhero: “Tommy” stood a hundred feet tall. Tin helmet the size of a ship. His nemesis strode at him through the mustard gas: “Fritz”.

Dark comedy: The passengers were tense. The pilots wouldn’t stop giggling. “We’re having unexpected… Hehehe… Engine issues…”

Dan Brown RipOff: Dr Sanders, the noted sociologist, examined the 10 rand note. There it was. The rhino. The secret mark of the Broederbond.

Barbarian: “Say your prayers,” said Ord the Avenger. “I was trying to!” said the Snake Cultist, sulkily pointing at the sacrificial virgin.

Kitchen Sink Drama: She couldn’t sleep. There were crumbs in the bed. Insignificant but irritating, like everything about him.

Vampire: “Be alert,” said Mayor Otto. “They suck the goodness out of things.” “Really?” said the hunter, hiding a worm-ridden apple.

Cyberpunk: “Can’t talk, going through a tunnel.” “Whaddaya mean? I’m right next to you.” “Yeah, but without net access, I can’t think prop-”



41 to 50

July 4, 2012

Love letter: You are the words “This Way Up” printed upside-down on the side of my life. I must turn it right, even if everything falls out.

Cyberpunk: “Call me 404,” says the man in the invisibility suit. “404 Not Found.” The general sighs. Tech always turns hard men into geeks.

Modern Fairy Tale: A Gnungl is a lesser imp, summoned by the sigil ” @ “. Althgh mstly hrmlss, it steals vwls frm yr sentencs.

Steampunk: The cylinder came through the pneumatic tubes. Hidden in a side compartment was a small wax recording disc. Blasted spyware!

Psychological Horror: She stroked her cat. A seam burst, and sawdust poured out. “I can’t let go of anything I love,” she said.

Philosophical:The bottom of the tyre couldn’t understand why the top curves upwards. Tyres need to curve down, to grip the road! No levity!

Romance: They stood outside the speed dating hall, scared to go in. “It never works for me,” he said. “Yeah,” she said. “Wanna get coffee?”

Sci-fi: Replicators could copy anything perfectly; gas, food, even other replicators. It was utopia. Then came copyright.

Western: “Looking for the man who killed ya paw? Dun’t think ya knew who ya paw was. Ya ma sure dun’t,” said the biggest mouth in the West.

Fantasy: He taps my head, and his memories flood me. And the memories of the one who tapped him, too. All the way back. Am I immortal?


31 to 40

July 4, 2012

Superhero Fantasy: Dr Z spat out a mouthful of coffee. It was luke warm. TOO luke warm. It had to be the work of his nemesis, Moderato.

Tragedy: They sat, hand in wrinkled hand, and watched the wide screen HDTV bought with their son’s life insurance. It seemed so blurry.

Prehistoric Fantasy: Ug held up the stick in wonder. The magic on the end glowed, flickered, spread to his beard, and hurt.

Comedy: Under pressure from the publishers to “sex things up a bit”, Leo Tolstoy adds a chase scene and shoot out to Anna Karenina.

Stream of Consciousness: The sun was a golden child. Olden child. Wrinkled hands. And old chill followed him home.

Legal fiction: The jury had been rigged. They all had ties to the Family. Every one of them a murderer. A jury of his peers.

Barbarian: “Not that way,” said Xanthia. “It’s blocked by Dark Priests.” A pile of them, actually, from when she had come in with an axe.

Clockpunk: A beast of copper and carved oak clawed out of the canal. The main spring on its back was as twisted as Da Vinci’s fury.

Tragedy: He landed the helicopter on the lawn. His daughter ran out to meet him. In joy, he held her over his head.

Fable: Narcissus lay on the broken glass, scared to move. He finally understood the difficulty of literally loving a mirror.



21 to 30

July 4, 2012

Erotic Horror: Fingertips touched the nape of her neck, stroked her shoulder, and brushed down her body, envious of its completeness.

Fairytale: Mary didn’t chew her food enough, so maggots ate her head, or, in the modern version, she was told off and given ice-cream.

Science Fantasy: The only thing between the Mollusc Men and the pastures of Azuria was Trevor of Venus, and a shotgun loaded with salt.

Martial Arts Fantasy: The invading soldiers fell. The temple had no floors, just ropes, and fighting monks who firmly believed in balance.

Afterlife Fantasy: There were harps. And clouds. The ghost of Richard Dawkins looked around, confused on many levels.

Gothic: “Do you really love me? Be honest,” said the inquisitor.

Biopunk: LEGA-C (TM) looks lovable, but inside, it’s so much more! Its mirror neurons(TM) let it love, mimic, and eventually, replace you!

Postmodern: This is the start of a story that you’re reading about a story that you’re reading that is coming to an end.

Poetry: If I could, I would express / The words that you could decompress / To infinite expressiveness / In 140 characters, or less.

Adventure: Red Dan watched the commodore’s ship being loaded. 500 rum barrels, each big enough to hold a pirate. Big enough to hold revenge.


11 to 20

July 4, 2012

Children: The wizard stole all the laughter in the kingdom and put it in a bag. Tears of laughter poured out, and washed the wizard away.

Postcyberpunk: The WikiConstitution worked surprisingly well, despite griefing from hacker-lobbyists and obsolete politician trolls.

Creation Myth: The Creator made too much, so invented a Carver to whittle things away. Unfortunately the Carver started at the source.

Urban Fantasy: I stopped at the lights. A newspaper vendor walked up behind me, stepped in something, and swore. “Bloody centaurs.”

Cyberpunk: The billboard auto-hacked my brain interface and adjusted my neurotransmitters, making me drowsy. I hate coffee adverts.

Horror: The stone suit pinched his skin until he bled. It wouldn’t stop until he picked up the tools to carve more of them, for his family.

TechnoThriller: “WW1′s biggest secret was the A-bomb prototype on the Lusitania,” the General said. “Yesterday, Al Quaeda learned to scuba.”

Detective: When she walked in the room, I knew she’d done it. I’d ruled her out before because of the pretty smile and the wheelchair.

Comedy: Outside the trailer was Deke, on the ground and moaning softly. He’d been trying to siphon the gas, but got the sceptic tank.

Fantasy: The Faerie Army were unstoppable. Arrows flew straight through them. In the end, we had to resort to our deadliest weapon: Doubt.


1 to 10

July 4, 2012

Ghost Story: Esther examined the exorcist she’d hired; stocky, grizzled, and in the moonlight, transparent.

Conspiracy Fiction: “And you haven’t told anyone else this?” said the human rights commissioner, closing the blinds.

Post Apocalypse: He paid for the water in iPod shuffles, which were so ubiquitous in the ruins that they’d become the local coinage.

Comic Fantasy: The Empire of the Cat-People, though formidable, was distracted by a very, very long piece of string.

Creative Nonfiction: Anne painted pictures inspired by the musician Ravel, who, like her, had a brain disease that manifested in creativity.

Magic Realism: The walls of our hut were made from a single unbroken ring of bark from the tree my grandfather spent his life chopping down.

Erotic: “Our order,” the Mother Superior confessed, “Has the most unusual habits.”

Alternate History: The border guard reluctantly accepted five million rands, and we escaped into Zimbabwe.

Crime: I regained consciousness lying in a circle of policemen, with the murder weapon in my hand and the shoe on the other foot.

Fan Fiction: “Thank goodness you’re here, Sam,” said Han. “Take the controls, and let’s see what this baby can do.”


Genre Stories (@genrestories) is an ongoing Twitter account where I post twitter-length short stories in every genre I can think of.

This blog collects them into easy-to-read batches.