More From Three-Minute Fiction Contest

We are still reading all of the stories that were submitted to the Three Minute Fiction contest — all 3,800 of them. In the meantime, Guy Raz presents some of the favorites so far. For the full stories, visit npr.org/threeminutefiction.

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GUY RAZ, host:

As you know, here on Weekends on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, it only takes three minutes to tell a good story. And 4,000 of you have taken the challenge this round, the Sixth Round in our Three-Minute Fiction contest.

We're halfway through reading that stash of stories, and here are a few standouts that caught our eye this week.

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LYNN NEARY: She didn't want to leave him, but he was insistent that he wanted to eat. He hadn't had an appetite in so long, she finally relented.

When she got back to the hospital, it was too late. A nurse cleaned the food off the floor, where the teriyaki seeped across the tile in a scene of noodle carnage. She held his hand, dry-eyed. She kissed him good bye, dry-eyed. She signed where they told her to sign. She called family. She packed up his things, dry-eyed.

It was hot outside: muggy, stifling, humid. The cicadas shrieked. She climbed in the car, put her head on the steering wheel and sobbed for half an hour.

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Finally, she stopped because her hiccups were so bad she couldn't breathe. Who was she without him? What was she? What was she supposed to do?

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SUSAN STAMBERG: She set the sponge on the edge of the sink and glanced back at him. His eyes were set on the newspaper in front of him, which he had marked with extended and nonsensical footnotes and heavily scrawled punctuations of either enthusiastic agreement or wild dismay, all caps.

Charles? Mmmm, he intoned, rattling the paper closed. Has anyone ever told you that you look like George Clooney? What did you say, Fiona? George Clooney? Fi, Fi, Fi, he wagged his finger. You're just trying to get me into bed with you, aren't you? You just finish the dishes, and we'll see if you play your cards right.

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RAZ: Excerpts from stories written by Jillian Diehl of Girdwood, Alaska, and Jonathan Bell out in Louisville, Kentucky. Special thanks to NPR's Lynn Neary and Susan Stamberg for those readings.

You can find the full version of these stories and other favorites at npr.org/threeminutefiction. That's threeminutefiction, all spelled out, no spaces. And be sure to join us on our Three-Minute Fiction Facebook page where the conversation about the contest and the stories continues.

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