Trout Fishing photo

When I first thought up the idea for the six-word story contest I expected the usual response my blogs generate: a dozen or so comments, the obligatory question about which picture at the top is me (yes, sir, I am indeed the “slack-jawed hillbilly” on the left…) and that one guy who always chides me about my alleged bashing of the Dubya/Darth Cheney administration (Do you maybe have me confused with Bill Maher?).

David Petzal I’m not. So imagine my surprise when the contest not only generated 465-odd entries, but apparently broke the website in the process (it’s now fixed). Thanks, guys. Truly. The overtime for that one’s coming out of my already-meager check.

In all seriousness, I’m thrilled. The response was overwhelming. I had no idea there were so many budding Hemingways out there. Either you all share a common love of the simply-written word or the temptation of winning a genuine piece of printer paper (and a F&S ball cap) was too great to resist.

Some of the entries were hilarious, many of them were poignant, a few were a bit…different. (Cliff Shelby of “Your wife called. I covered up” I’m talking to you. Dude, I’m an open-minded guy but you’re making me a little uncomfortable…).

However, virtually every single one of them spoke to me on some level, with the exception of the one about sea urchins, because they terrify me.

It was an extremely difficult decision but in the end, I chose “He looked up. Death came quick.” from rebel1776.

It’s a good story but what I liked about it was its very Hemingway-esque turn of phrase. I could easily imagine Papa leaning on the bar in some Key West dive, knocking back a rum drink and then writing these very words.

So congratulations, Rebel1776.

You won. Go back to work.

But first shoot an e-mail to the online editors with your name and mailing address.