Oregon Writing Project

One-Sentence Stories

Professor Cornelia Paraskevas' WR 440 Class at WOU '09

Where were you last night? In that moment of not asleep, but not awake, I felt your warm palm and slightly cold fingertips on my cheek, gently sliding to my ear, where I could hear you breathing softly through your nose--that way you do when you are completely calm, collected and relaxed, pressing those tender lips to my forehead with the quietest, yet firm motion, like you mean it, like you know I will awaken, only to find you not there. --Brendon Fisher

Cat Problem: Allan, my former landlord, who shot two cats with his 9mm, did not wish to be cruel when pulling the trigger, but did so in order to save many future innocent lives; these two feral cats being the neglectful, infanticidal murderers of two litters of kittens left to die, once in Allan’s swamp cooler and again in a tarp folded within the closet of an apartment he was renovating–so when he decided that something must be done, Allan tried to catch these cats to take them to the humane society, but then asked himself, “Why am I pushing the responsibility onto someone else?” and took care of the problem on his own as quickly and painlessly as possible--his 9mm being the best tool for the job. --Matt Stalter

Last night I. . .The car door slammed shut, the lights turned on, the keys jingled, and the door opened as the man, this man that I had been waiting for, finally arrived--it was now 8 am and I had sat up until three in the morning waiting with the lamp shining on me as my eyes and my mind drifted to and fro between the world of dreams and that of reality, but why, because I am that all-American wife, that all-American mom, you know the type--the one who worries endlessly, is involved in/with everything, can't eat a piece of cake for fear of gaining weight, but doesn't mind cooking or baking for everyone else all of the time, nor does she have a spot on the counter, a fuzz on the rug, or a dirty sock in the basket; oh yes, I am one of those moms, those wives--this morning I forget that, all of that--I stand clothed for the day with a baby on my hip and say angrily as I slam the cupboard shut, "Where were you last night?" --Shannon Harrison

I remember when the stress of life was heavy on my shoulders, and I felt like I was alone; Mommy was always there with encouraging words, a heart-warming smile, and an embracing, loving hug that washed away my worries, but these intimate special memories will always remain--even though Mommy's hugs will never be enjoyed again. --Marianne Firestone

Sitting on a cool, terrazzo floor—the heat of the summer midday poring through the half-closed brown shutters—I watch our house helper, a young woman in her twenties, iron my thin, cotton, white dress—the three shiny buttons below the round neckline catching the rays of the burning sun, lighting the darkness of the room. --Cornelia Paraskevas