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55 Fiction

“The World’s Shortest Stories” yearly contest

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Dennis and Linda Were Lovers

(Pre-2000)
Relationships are ownership with destructive power. Here is an example of how a long short story can become a major chapter in a novel.

Read the original version, then read the novelized altered version, Talk Show Host.

As occasionally happens in Northern California, summer was extended by a few months that year. A dazzling mid-morning display of sunlight made it clear the Pumpkin Festival in Half Moon Bay, thirty miles south, would be held during a warm harvest afternoon.

Dennis drove even though it was Linda’s car. She hung an arm out the open window, a book in her lap, its pages split to form an upside down vee on the inside of her left thigh. Air fanned her face and splayed her hair.

The highway south followed the sea. Linda wistfully considered how the waters of the Pacific were a reflection of her mood and imagined, for an instant, the trip to the winery as an exciting afternoon tryst with her lover. She wanted it to be a lazy, carefree day.

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Perhaps that thought had been brought on by the romance novel although the book was not terribly engrossing, the story having long ago crossed over into fantasy. After several dreamily drowsy moments, she brought herself back to the car ride and the driver who had been quiet for the last few miles as he fiddled with the radio.

She began to pay attention to the towns they traveled through. An orchid grower’s rambling glass-roofed hothouses were followed by tract homes and roads that ended at water’s edge. Rugged coastal flowers in splendid display still bloomed in the dunes this late in the year. It all passed like a filmstrip, a scene from a documentary.

This story is 26 pages long, available in PDF format.
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