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RJN: The Hemingway is good, but then his prose always did move toward compression. The "short-short"¯a short story of no more than a paragraph, and often only a sentence¯has emerged as a genre in its own right over the last decade, particularly among mystery writers, who always liked puzzle elements in writing.

The inspiration may be the late Jack Ritchie, one of my favorites, who always constructed tiny mystery gems. Do you know his work? Elaine May filmed his story "The Green Heart" as A New Leaf in 1971, improbably starring Walter Matthau as a rich man who decides to murder his wife, with comic results. (Best line: "If you can’t be immortal, why bother?")

Anyway, in the years since, the genre has developed with . . . with . . . um, the trouble with living in New York’s cramped spaces is that all my books are in storage, and I can’t look anything up . . . with many authors so well known that I’m sure I needn’t bother to name them.

The best I’ve ever managed in my own attempts at the genre is this:

"Something about him put her back up, and she swore that this time she wouldn’t take his advances lying down."

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