Three-Minute Fiction Contest on NPR

Write a short story inspired by this photograph.

National Public Radio’s web site is hosting a three-minute fiction contest. NPR book critic Alan Cheuse will choose a winning story to be read on-air and the best entries get posted on the site. The rules are simple. You just write something that can be read in under three minutes.

My camera is a digital one.  Not the old kind with rolls of film in it.  I took this photo to show you something about the street where I work.  Lots of people there do things the old way.  They read newspapers and get on buses to go across town.  Things like that.  I always think of lists and smeared fingers when I see a newspaper.  And I think about people looking for jobs or fast horses.  They’re always folding the pages and scanning them while they wait for something else, like a sandwich or a cup of coffee.  So that’s why I took the photo of the paper as I passed.  No one was using it.  They’d left.  The place was empty.  Not even a person behind the counter, though the door was open.  People sometimes leave papers for the next person.  Happens all the time on the subway or a plane.  ‘Well I’ll just leave it right here in the seat so the next person can have something nice to read.’  Really they’re just littering like a Christian.

I went home and bought a Kindle.  Now I can read my news each morning in electronic ink without any smears.  It’s under my control and I can have it all delivered before I wake up.  When I canceled my paper delivery the representative of the Times spent forty-five minutes on the phone with me trying to find an argument that would keep my driveway on their delivery route.  I asked why I should pay for something I can get for free online.  He told me that all the people who work at a newspaper need my money so they can keep gathering important news.  I told him if someone’s willing to do it for free then it’s free.  He said he certainly hoped I would return soon and have a nice day.

I felt like I had started a war.

One thought on “Three-Minute Fiction Contest on NPR

  1. I heard on the radio this morning about the 3 minute fiction contest that is to begin on March 27th and end on April 11th. I did not hear all the four words that need to be used and the contest rules are not posted. Thanks, Jean Day Alexander

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