A Short Short Story

Objective: Write a short short story, somehow mentioning all details that your classmates gave you about characters, setting, props, and catchphrases.

Pedro’s nightly strolls along the dimly lit cobblestone paths of Hyde Park were strictly reserved for serious self-reflection. The good years, also known as elementary school, had passed, and he knew that it was now time to find a stable career, one that would enable him to carve out the life he wanted. Pedro was 39 and unemployed, but he was a firm believer in the motto ‘Better late than never, or better early than late,’ and he was determined to find his true vocation one way or another.

However, uneducated and unenthusiastic, he was hardly the poster figure for the perfect employee. The only quality of Pedro that was outstanding or peculiar was his height—or, lack thereof. Born prematurely, in a remote Cuban suburb, to an underprivileged family with thirteen other children, Pedro was given no particular attention when their village’s self-appointed midwife expressed concern for his height. As the years went by, though, Pedro’s classmates grew and grew, and Pedro simply… didn’t.

It may have seemed like a problem at the time, but what he didn’t know was that the officials from Guinness World Records had had their eyes on him for a while, eager to take pictures of the shortest man in the world. A letter arrived at the doorstep of Pedro’s Cuban home one day with a note and a plane ticket to London—and, with these, the promise of a very bright future.

Pedro’s first encounter with the public came when the Carnival Cruises ship line contacted him, requesting for him to perform a comedic segment for their audiences during trips in the Maldives. However, this turned out to be a flop when less than half their tickets sold despite copious amounts of promotion, including feature ads with flashy designs and clever puns, some involving clocks and pianos.

Guinness World Records never ended up publishing their photos of Pedro, and for three months, he slept, penniless and hopeless, beside a rusted bicycle rack in a playground with only two companions: a crippled, homeless dog with patched and matted fur who frequented the park almost as much as he did, whom he named Molly after much consideration. The second companion was his stash of chewing gum, the only thing in his coat pocket. That promise of a bright future had been false, and Pedro now had no choice but to retire to the suburbs of this city where his dreams had supposed to have come true.

Amy Pan