NPR logo Constellations


We asked you to send us original works of fiction that could be read in three minutes or less. And, man, did your inner authors respond -- we received more than 5,000 submissions! Read all our favorites from round one on the Three-Minute Fiction page.

In the mess hall, K.D. is talking loud about how fat his girl's ass is. You know, how even women can't help but stare when she walks by. Old men have to stop, clutch their chests. All that. And, she worries for him. First time he got locked up, she told him how she cried and cried while he was gone. Man, she's probably crying right now, he says, like nothing could make him more proud.

Mohamed must have forgotten where he was. He's shaking his head at the end of the table, laughing.

What's so funny, Africa? K.D. wants to know.

Mohamed keeps shaking his head. If your girl's ass is so nice, and she cares about you, I'm wondering why you're here. Locked up again. Now you're sitting around a bunch of dudes, talking about her ass out on the town.

That was the first time Mohamed got his face beaten. Not too bad, just one side really. But his left eye swelled up until his eyelashes looked like stitches meant to keep the eye in his head. And when it opened back up, red and purple constellations hung in the white of his eye.