Short Strokes Meaning

(idiomatic) Bare essentials.

Example: 1990, M. E. Morris, The Last Kamikaze, ISBN 9780394576343, p. 242:
  He knows they are in the short strokes—it's almost over.
1998, Peter Botte, "Straw Signing Official Today," New York Daily News, 8 Jan. (retrieved 18 May 2009):
  Ironing out the short strokes has taken a little longer than expected, but it all should be worth the wait for Strawberry when the Yankees officially announce today they have re-signed the rehabbed slugger.
2006, William Annett, The Final Undertaking, ISBN 9780741433930, p. 87:
  Sly and Dave Chandler having set the deal, and Al McAfee moving in to do the legal fine points, Maxwell and Johnson tumbled into our lap for just over a million in cash up front and about twice that in Slumberhaven stock and options. I didn't even have to get involved, except for the short strokes toward the end.
2005, Martin Levin, "Shelf Life" (review of Close Range by Annie Proulx), Globe and Mail (Canada), 15 Jan., p. D13:
  She can evoke an entire scene in short strokes, as in this from "The Wamsutter Wolf": "This trailer was in ruins, broken-backed because its west end had slipped off the cinder-block supports. All the windows had been shot out."