A Selection Of Three-Minute Fiction Entries Nearly 4,000 original stories were submitted to this round of Three Minute Fiction. We're on the quest to select just one winner. Until then, we'll be reading a few of the stories that catch our eyes. To see these stories and others, visit npr.org/threeminutefiction.
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A Selection Of Three-Minute Fiction Entries

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A Selection Of Three-Minute Fiction Entries

A Selection Of Three-Minute Fiction Entries

A Selection Of Three-Minute Fiction Entries

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/133547758/133547788" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Nearly 4,000 original stories were submitted to this round of Three Minute Fiction. We're on the quest to select just one winner. Until then, we'll be reading a few of the stories that catch our eyes. To see these stories and others, visit npr.org/threeminutefiction.

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:

We're on a quest to find one winner with the right blend of 600 words. We received nearly 4,000 short stories in this round of our Three-Minute Fiction contest on Weekend ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

Here's what Alexandra Felix of Great Neck, New York, and Lauri Anderson of Lubbock, Texas have demonstrated: Sometimes telling a great story only takes three minutes.

(Soundbite of music)

LYNN NEARY: (Reading) Will you remember me tomorrow, he asks? Yes, of course, you say. He searches for the words in his head, blinks, continues. Will you remember me in a week? You stare back at him. He knows. How does he know? Of course I will, you say. Don't be silly. Knock knock, he interrupts. Who's there? He laughs. Momma, you forgot me already.

A few seconds pass, and he's still smiling, satisfied with the joke. You want to laugh, tell him you can't wait to tell daddy the joke tomorrow over breakfast. He'll love it. Really, it was that good.

But you say nothing. Instead, you pull him by the front of his pajamas, thrust your face into his small chest as if he were a tissue. When he hears you whimper, he thinks you're laughing.

(Soundbite of music)

BOB MONDELLO: (Reading) I cough, I try to swallow, I vow to stay silent. But I keep thinking about all the times my brother came home late or not at all, my father's brow stitched with worry, my mother crying in the bathroom where she thought I couldn't hear.

I think of that night, the late-ringing phone, the three of us shuffling in the dark, the coat I put on inside-out. All those lights made the unfamiliar street seem almost foreign, the reds and blues casting everyone as garish characters, puppets in a show.

By the time we arrived, the ambulance had already carried the woman away. We surveyed the damage, my father running his hands through his hair, my mother shredding a Kleenex into shaggy bits that rested on the grass at her feet.

WERTHEIMER: Excerpts from the story "A Saint and a Criminal" by Lauri Anderson, read by Bob Mondello, and "Departure" by Alexandra Felix, read by Lynn Neary.

To read the full content of these stories, go to our website, npr.org/threeminutefiction. That's threeminutefiction all spelled out, no spaces. And you can also follow us on our Three-Minute Fiction Facebook page.

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