May 16, 2010 You submitted nearly 4,000 original short stories for Round Four of our Three-Minute Fiction contest, and our judge, the acclaimed author Ann Patchett, has picked a winner. Round Four's winning story is "Not Calling Attention to Ourselves" by Yoav Ben Yosef.
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May 16, 2010 Round Four Winner "A plant," he repeats, though sounding hesitant now. Vuk, a Slav, frequently muddles his idioms, taking leaps of faith in expressions, hoping, like a boy playing Scrabble, they withstand verification in the OED, if it came down to that.
May 15, 2010 The winner of the latest round of our three-minute fiction contest will be announced Sunday. Listeners sent in nearly 4,000 short stories this round. Each story had to include these four words: plant, button, trick and fly.
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May 14, 2010 Round Four Runner Up And that was it. Work from the marble heavy line. I had spent weeks on this poem. I worked unbelievably hard. I ate nothing for three days while I just sat there and thought. The anguish that went into that fifth stanza I can't even bear to repeat. In the end, I stole seven words from Sylvia Plath. Seven. They were: "marble heavy / a bag full of God." The other 1,750 were mine. Now he tells me to trash the rest and concentrate on those seven words.
May 14, 2010 Round Four Runner Up I counted it twice; a twenty, two fives and seven ones. The bills folded neatly together with a gimme money clip from an auto parts chain long out of business, I popped the clip open and shut, the thwack playing a mind trick on me. Instantly, I was standing next to him by the cash register of a roadside diner, or hearing the final note of a successful session of haggling over a used lawn mower.
May 13, 2010 Round Four Runner Up In summers we slept late, loitered at the pool, watched TV until our eyes became raisins. There wasn't much to do in our town, and no one denied it. "Make something to do, then," my father said. And so, that summer, we did. We were white boys with straight A's and crooked teeth. Innocent as girls.
May 9, 2010 We are in the home stretch of round four of our Three-Minute Fiction contest. Judge Ann Patchett is reviewing the best of the entries. And while she does, we're bringing you weekly excerpts of some of our favorite stories so far. This week's passage is from a story called "Pearl Cadillac" by Mike van Mantgem of Eugene, Ore. It's read by our own Linda Wertheimer.
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May 9, 2010 Round Four Runner Up Larry, my brother, started digging into other squirrels' caches last fall. I was the one who watched him for a couple of days and figured out that he wasn't actually stealing any food. He'd just dig up a cache and then deposit oddball nesting materials, like paper scraps or cassette tape ribbon he'd balled up and licked clean, right there next to someone else's acorns.
May 7, 2010 He's a plant. The muttering began. He must be a plant. Yes, this was the Modern Languages Association's annual convention. And yes, the assembly rooms at the Washington Hilton were packed with post-structuralists, post-colonial feminists, post-feminist new-historicist deconstructionists and plain old post-docs seeking earnestly to align themselves with one critical school or another.
May 2, 2010 Grandma is a great heave of a woman in a billowing black dress. Today, this last afternoon of her life, an angry heat rash burns the supple puffs under her neck. Last night, on the front porch of the old farmhouse, we watched the western sky explode.
May 1, 2010 "You can't spell Missoula without soul." That's what our father used to say on the long drive from the ranch house into Missoula. By the time I'd turned 12, he would let me drive the silver pickup until we reached the highway.
May 1, 2010 We lounged outside in the mid-April sun on the second floor front porch, the parrot and I, or, more accurately, I lounged and the parrot, all three-and-a-half pounds of him, walnut-cracking, thick-beaked macaw, roughhoused-routed in my cardigan sweater, lifted himself up onto my shoulder and then dangled down again, claws embedded in the black yarn.
May 1, 2010 David had always thought of himself as an artist. He knew he wasn't very good, but that would come with time. All he needed to carry him forward was inspiration. He looked for it every day. That was how he had discovered Perfect Yellow.
April 25, 2010 So much can happen in just three minutes. Lives and love can be lost. Empires can rise and fall. At least they do in "Ripening," one of the nearly 4,000 original short stories listeners sent in during this round of our Three-Minute Fiction contest.
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April 25, 2010 He told me to get out of the mud. I told him that I would never leave my kingdom. He demanded that I put the hose away. I told him that I would not settle for a birdbath when I needed a moat. He told me that I was wasting water. I couldn't tell him to stop dickering — that there were lives at stake.
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