Welcome to 81words

How short is a story?

The challenge is to write a complete story in exactly 81 words.
You can see how other people have done and rank their stories. Can you do better?

Why 81? It’s just long enough to allow for a story to develop but short enough to mean every single word needs thoughtful weighing. Mostly though it’s just a nice number, ask a mathematician.

Scroll down to read stories, or register / log in to vote and submit your own stories.

Plain Sheet

“Present your plain sheets for inspection before you go in for the exam.”

All checked in and exam almost commencing, a fellow comes running, a bowl in hand.

I scream what the heck.

Looking perplexed, the sincerity of his facial expression unhidden, “Ain’t you asks for som’ plain shit, sir? Me just obeys instruction.”

So much for an awful ghetto background and damaged grammatical upbringing.

Near retching, I motion for him to get lost – together with his mound of faeces.

Posted in Humour on
Plain Sheet
  • 2.00 / 5 5
9 votes, 2.00 avg. rating (42% score)

Sucker Punch

“Oh, now that is your ‘date’? Phew! Someone old enough to father you!”
“It’s nothing you think, Honey. Please hear me out…,” blocking the restaurant’s entrance.

I’m heedless. My next actions seem fast-forwarded.

Clenched fist raised, I ignore whatever tells me to exercise patience; approaching him from behind, I disregard the voice of restraint. Until a punch on his temple clears the eyes. My eyes.
But not so early for my new girlfriend’s “That’s my Dad!” to be of any use.

Status Quo Ante

I’ll brush your hair out of your face. I’ll tell you about my day and ask about yours–although you never tell me anything. I’ll remind you to call your mother, although I know you won’t. I’ll squeeze your hand so you’ll know that I’m there. I won’t talk about the accident.

I’ll kiss you on each cheek before I say goodbye.

I’ll do it all to remember the way things were, before the blood settles and all the warmth is gone.

A Punitive Action

The old man hung is head. “I’m sorry for what we did to you. You deserved better.”
I nodded.
“Nobody would blame you for just killing us all. But you didn’t. We put you through hell, and after all that you came through with your honor intact. It’s a miracle, if you ask me.”
I pulled the gun out of my pocket.
“The rest are dead,” I said. “There’s no such thing as miracles.”
Then I put two in his chest.

Posted in Crime on
A Punitive Action
  • 2.75 / 5 5
12 votes, 2.75 avg. rating (55% score)

Meanwhile, Up In Heaven

Suddenly, I found myself in a wide, open space, surrounded by an almost blinding whiteness.
“Is this heaven?”, I asked the being next to me, the size, face and gender of which I couldn’t determine.
“Yep”, God answered.
“Is my life over?”
“Exactly. So, what did you achieve?”
Tough one. “Well. I was probably a nice person. Always polite. Does that count?”
“Not at all. Everybody says that. Do you have a tattoo?”
“That should do, then. Come on in.”

Posted in Humour on
Meanwhile, Up In Heaven
  • 3.56 / 5 5
9 votes, 3.56 avg. rating (70% score)


Detective Jameson examined the kitchen floor. More accurately, he examined the dismembered bodies scattered there.
“Good God! There must be three … no four in here.”
He stepped into the room and investigated more closely.
His partner appeared at the door, “there’s another one in the lounge. Maybe more elsewhere.”
“We’ve got to stop this happening.”
“I agree. Do you have any ideas?”
The detective stood and stroked his chin. He sighed.
“We could start by blocking the catflap at night.”

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