Tiny ‘Limit 55’ book collects briefest of stories

For “Limit 55,” Davis songwriter-musician Rick Palkovic had to think small. As in a miniature book that measures only 2 inches by 2 inches. It contains 26 55-word stories with 26 accompanying illustrations. It’s best-described as “quirky.”

“Not 54 words, not 56 words – 55 words exactly,” said Palkovic. Think Twitter for the literary set.

“I was intrigued by the challenge of getting the classic elements of a short story into 55 words,” he said. “Each story stands alone, with a protagonist, an antagonist and a problem to overcome. They’re all quite different. Most are lighthearted, but some are serious. If there’s room for a clever twist ending, all the better.”’

One of the tales goes like this:

“She came into my office with the same sultry swagger that worked on me before.

“ ‘It’s after noon,’ she purred. ‘Can we have a drink?’

“ ‘I’m a detective,’ I said. ‘Not a barkeep. You hired me to recover your pictures, and I did.’

“She arched an eyebrow. ‘How?’

“I can’t tell you in 55 words.”

The mini-book project was a family affair. Rick Palkovic’s brother, Mark Palkovic, published “Limit 55” at his Flying Pig Press in Cincinnati. He’s a miniature-book collector, and board member and past president of the Miniature Book Society. Their siblings, Tim Palkovic and Carolyn Palkovic Evans, drew the illustrations.

Meet the family at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Avid Reader, 617 Second St., Davis; (530) 758-4040. Only 100 copies of the hand-stitched book were printed; they’re $30 each. Watching the Palkovics autograph them should be interesting.

As a bonus, Mark Palkovic will display books from his collection, including a copy of “the world’s smallest book.” It’s 0.75 millimeters square and must be read under a microscope.