NPR's Bob Mondello and Tamara Keith read excerpts from Round 10 of our Three-Minute Fiction contest. The entries are "Voice Mail Is For Suckers" by Kristin Bonilla of Fulshear, Texas, and "Chubby Bunny" by Katie Camlin of Warrensburg, Mo. Read the full stories below and see other submissions and past winners on our Three-Minute Fiction page.
"Hey mom, it's Kelsey, sorry for calling so late. I'm kinda glad you didn't answer though, this is will be easier if I can just let my words dribble out without any interruption. I don't know when you'll listen to this. I know you're getting up early to go to the gym before work; you look amazing by the way, I feel inspired to get a gym membership now because of you! Crap, I'm rambling! I have a point. Okay, I have something that I need to tell you. I've been ... You know that game that Kylie and I used to play when we were younger? Chubby Bunny? Where we'd stuff our cheeks full of marshmallows until our cheeks looked like fat little rabbits? You always hated it, you said it was dangerous since we could barely talk or breathe.
When I'm at home, I feel like I'm stuck in a game of chubby bunny. I can't speak, I can barely breathe. Here's the part you hate. Here's the part where I cough, and all of the marshmallows come bursting from my mouth and onto the floor in front of you. I'm in love with a girl, Mom. God, look at how messy I've made the floor, all the marshmallows are everywhere. I'm in love with a girl named Grace. She's not what you're picturing right now. I know you, and you're picturing a hyper-masculine body-builder type girl with spike piercings and a spiked pixie haircut. You're thinking that this King-Kong lesbian has taken me against my will and is squeezing me tight in her brutish fingers of immorality. If you saw her, Mom, you'd laugh at yourself for thinking that. Grace is an Art Education major, she's from a small city in Ohio that I've never heard of. She's tiny, smaller than me, even. She's got gently twisted copper colored curls that reach the middle of her back, and eyes so dark that I'm not sure that she has pupils. She wears nothing but dresses, vintage 50's housewife kinds of dresses that you can only find in seedy little thrift shops. We went to one last Saturday and she picked out a little pink one, with purple and blue flowers smaller than buttons all over it.
But anyways, I'm digressing. I don't know what you're doing right now. You might be crying. I hope you're not crying. You're more than likely wondering how this happened. Maybe you're cursing yourself for letting me go to college out of state. Maybe you're wondering if it's something you did. I can tell you that it's not your fault, Mom. It's no one's fault, really. This ... secret has been crawling out of me for a long time. The more I recognized it, the more marshmallows I shoved in my mouth. It's been building and creeping out of my pores for as long as I can remember, but it took meeting Grace for me to finally release it. This is the part where you kneel down on the floor and help me pick up the marshmallows that I've spewed everywhere. I don't know if I'm gay, or bi, or pansexual, or what. I just know that I'm in love with a wonderful girl named Grace. I'm still figuring the rest out. I hope you're not mad, or disappointed. I need your support. I need to know that no matter who I love, male or female, you'll still love me. You always got irritated when we played Chubby Bunny, but what I need from you, mommy, is help picking up my marshmallows.
Dude, yeah. It's me. Look, what is the deal? Where are you? You haven't responded to a single email. Everyone is worried, man. We checked your Facebook and you haven't updated your status in a week. A freaking week. You haven't even liked anything. And you like everything. Like. Like. Like. You're kind of obnoxious with the liking, dude. No offense. But nothing. Not even a single Icanhazcheeseburger cat. So then we check your Instagram and again, nothing. No hyper contrast photos of the home brew from last weekend, no warm fuzzy photos of the goat cheese tart you and Beth made, no moody black and whites of the graffiti under the overpass. You haven't filtered any phone pics for days.
So then we check your Twitter. Not a tweet, not a retweet, no direct messages from you and, dude, not even any mentions. What the hell, man? You can't stay relevant with a week of tweetless silence. You may as well be dead. So then we check your Tumblr. You haven't updated that either. It's been EIGHT days, dude. Time to shut it down. And your last post? What the? What is that about?
Proper punctuation and capitalized letters? Pffft. Whatever. You haven't responded to any IMs, the invites to Google Hangout, or answered your Skype. So then we check your Flickr. And your SmugMug and your Blogger and your WordPress and your FourSquare. You aren't checked in, you are checked out. So yesterday, I send you a text. It says it was delivered. But you didn't text me back, man. So here we are. Reduced to this. Do you know how low this is, this moment? I'm leaving you a voicemail, dude. What is this, 2004? No, it is not. It's 2013 and this shiz is horrifying, son. Unacceptable. Do you know how many voicemails I leave in a week?
None. Zero. You want to know how many voice mails I get in a week? One. From my mom, dude. From my mom. Voice mail is for suckers, man. And moms. Look, I don't know what's going on with you, but it's scary. If we don't hear from you soon, I don't know what we'll do. We'll have to, like, come over to your house or something. Knock on your door. That's weird, man. Weird. Just the thought of it. Face to face contact. Who does that? Don't make us do that, man. Log on. Text me. Facebook me. Just don't call my voice mail, dude. I don't check that stuff.