53-Word Story

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Lorri McDole

Winner of the November 2017 Prime Number Magazine 53-Word Story Contest

Judged by our most-excellent fall intern, Sarah York, a Wake Forest University senior, who awarded Lorri a copy of Baby's on Fire by Liz Prato.

Prompt for November 2017

Nothing lasts forever, except for energy. Science says that energy cannot be created or destroyed, and it also says that everything is energy, so everything lasts forever. But there is one thing I can think of that doesn’t last forever: an internship at Press 53 and Prime Number Magazine. That is only temporary.

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Write a 53-word story about something temporary


The Little Transient by Lorri McDole

At Evan’s first birthday party, Sarah and her ex-boyfriend opened his presents like grownups. They smiled at the guests and each other but were careful not to touch elbows or fingers or knees. Still children themselves, they didn’t notice their cherub toddling away, a knife in one hand and scissors in the other.


Author’s 53-word biography

Lorri McDole’s writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Writer, Cleaver, Sweet, The Offing, Flash Nonfiction Funny, New Madrid, Eclectica, and Brain, Child. Her essay “Storms of the Circus World,” which was a finalist for the Talking Writing Prize for Personal Essay, was nominated for a 2017 Best of the Net Award.