How I Found My Six Word Story

You’re familiar with the “six word story?” The idea, quite simply, is to tell a story in six words. The most famous one, attributed to Hemingway, “For sale, baby shoes, never used,” is intimidatingly brilliant. I’ve wanted to find one for years now, since the first time I came across the baby shoes. I’ve tried. I’ve never come close. And then, last week, my wife and I took our son to college. We got there a few days early, on a Friday. Move-in day was the following Monday. We looked around at the city and the campus. The city was small but somehow hard to navigate. The campus was old and beautiful. We were all nervous. It’s Sunday morning. My wife and son are still asleep. I decide to walk around the campus, to imagine the next four years of our son’s life. It’s a beautiful morning. There’s no one here, just an occasional nervous, excited mother and father with their nervous, excited kid. I’m on my way back out to get coffee and I hear this scraping sound. I look up. A very old man is making his way to me using his walker. He’s got that scared, mistrustful look that old men sometimes get along with cataracts. He’s taking his even older, more feeble dachshund for a walk. When I say hello, he looks at me as if I might steal his dog. “Come on, Toby,” I hear him say as I’m walking past. “Not much further.” And so, on an empty college campus, the day before all the young people show up full of hope and an endless future, that’s what I’m left with: My Six Word Story.

Les Bohem has written a lot of movies and TV shows including A Nightmare on Elm Street 5: The Dream Child, The Horror Show, Twenty Bucks, Daylight, Dante’s Peak, The Alamo, Kid, Nowhere To Run, The Darkest Hour and the mini-series, Taken, which he wrote and executive produced with Steven Spielberg. and for which he won an Emmy award. He’s had songs recorded by Emmylou Harris, Randy Travis, Freddy Fender, Steve Gillette, Johnette Napolitano (of Concrete Blonde), and Alvin (of the Chipmunks). He is currently producing his series Shut Eye for Hulu.

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