Your 420-Character Stories

Listeners On Air

Friday, December 16, 2011

Last week, Kurt Andersen talked with Lou Beach, an illustrator who turned his Facebook updates into super-short stories, each 420 characters long.  They are collected in the new book 420 Characters.  

We asked for your 420-character stories and they’ve poured in — here are a few:



Spiced pork rinds are not a great food for road trips, but there you are in some South Dakota gas station and the big bag's only 99 cents. In the miles to come, you’ll shake out a suckling's worth of skin, puffed and crispy, crunching like little bones–though there are no bones, just this empty pig rooting. But, oh, it is loud and energetic, it will play in, it will jostle your slop wee wee wee wee, all the way home. —Matt

In a pink frock, she looked out of place standing on Aunt Ruby's front porch. She gulped fresh air and turned the rusty knob. Her mouth open, she tried not to breathe the cat piss odor. Stepping in, she saw Ruby, naked except for a baseball cap, sorting through one of the boxes of junk surrounding her. She knew the old woman was too deaf to have heard her. She turned and fled. No inheritance was worth this. —Janice

Off the port bow a whale shark broke the surface, polka dots streaming through the water. “You got a plankton lure?” chuckled Betty. Harold rustled through his tackle box, confused. “Plankton! What the hell’s that mean anyway?” he grumbled. “It’s real small,” she offered. “Brine shrimp size, Number 14 hook.” She up-ended her Corona, tossed the bottle toward the head of the 30-foot leviathan. It landed with a splash. —Pete

Our contest deadline is 11:59 EST December 31, 2011 — enter below and read more listener stories.


Produced by:

Emma Miller

Comments [2]

Stella from Indonesia

A sleepy night. Flash! Flash! I was wondering, lightning? I peek out through my window. The beautiful man next door was capturing a white vespa through his camera lenses. Nice ride, me thinks. I kept staring at his face, it was merry at first, then he remained silence. I fell asleep, dreamt of moseying around town with him, and his ride. Then I awakened this morning by the roaring machine next door. Beautiful-man was handing documents to an elderly man who's gone later with the vespa. Old and new (ride).

Dec. 23 2011 01:51 AM
Alex from Saint Louis, MO

Love the show... the facinating stories and guests keep me listening every week! Thank you...

Dec. 17 2011 09:29 PM

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