TESS VIGELAND, HOST:

And if you're just joining us, this is WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Tess Vigeland.

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VIGELAND: You know that sound. It's time for Three-Minute Fiction. And today, we are reading the last of the excerpts. Tomorrow on the show, we will announce the winner of Round 11, handpicked by our judge Karen Russell. You remember our prompt: a character finds something they have no intention of returning. Our next character finds an object he can't give to the person he wants.

BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: (Reading) Without his really deciding on it, the earring became hers. He could see her wearing it, smiling at him across a table or from the other side of her rental car. He'd given it to her, and now he'd found it again. This one small thing would bear evidence to their love, to its existence. Like her country songs, he'd create his own reality. Life's messy, he thought, as he turned away.

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VIGELAND: That was NPR's Bob Mondello reading an excerpt from the story "Beyond the Fence," written by Matthew Campbell of Salem, Massachusetts. You can read the rest at our website, npr.org/threeminutefiction. And a special thanks to all of our graduate student readers who helped us with all the thousands of excellent story submissions this round. And tomorrow, we announce the winner of Three-Minute Fiction Round 11.

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