A website I'm a big fan of has a subsection devoted to writing complete fiction stories in just one paragraph. These are the four of mine I like best.
They say your mind maintains consciousness for 30 seconds after you're beheaded. 30 seconds is enough to curse like a sailor, but only in your mind, and spend the next bit morbidly curious and scientifically expectant. They say a lot of things, but I won't know for sure until these 30 seconds are up.
A soul so tarnished ain’t worth much.
He sat with sweaty palms and an amateur poker face as he listened to the call. “Yes, I thought as much. I’ll let him know.” The swarthy man with gleaming eyes, who he wouldn’t have pegged as a demon, hung up the phone. “I spoke with my supervisor. He said you can have the promotion, the girl or the long life, but not all three. Frankly a soul as tarnished as yours is likely to end up with us anyway, so this would just be us hedging our bets.” The demon waved his hand across the desk and three contracts appeared. He reached out to hand the man a glittering gold fountain pen, which he took out of instinct rather than by design. “Just make your choice and sign on the dotted line.“
You had to rewind it with a pencil?
What’s a cassette tape? The children will ask, when I explain to them how I wooed their mother. Why didn’t you just send her a link to the playlist? As confusion comes across their faces. They won’t understand how I sat with the radio on for weeks, the tape at the ready so as to record at an instant if one of the songs happened to come on. They won’t be able to fathom the frantic dash to hit the red button before the opening notes were lost to the whims of a DJ. And it’s true their way is more convenient, but when I gave her that tape and wallowed in her smile as she played it, it meant something they will never understand.
We take up the task eternal, and the burden and the lesson, Pioneers! O pioneers!
The U.S.S Heinlein boosts for Alpha Centauri today. We are frightened. Curious. Excited. It’s a funny feeling, stepping into the unknown. It’s euphoric to know we will be the first 57 people to visit another solar system. But the thought of leaving the forward fuel base on Titan is terrifying. Who knows what peril awaits us on the unexplored edge of space? We said our goodbyes in January, but even though the FTL drive means all we know will be dead when we return, we are only allotted one paragraph of text to relay home. Here I’ve squandered it with thoughts and details, but the only message I truly cared to send is: I love you, and I’m sorry.