May is Short Story Month, and what better way to celebrate than by reading some short fiction by emerging writers? But I don’t have time, you say. National Public Radio has the answer: three-minute fiction. These stories can all be read aloud in under three minuteslittle gems to surprise and delight you in less time than it takes to microwave a bag of popcorn.
The deadline for the current round NPR’sThree-Minute Fiction Contest has passed, but while judge Ann Patchett decides on the winner, check out some of the entries. All stories for this round include the words “plant,” “trick,” “fly,” and “button,” in any form. Read this opening to “Pearl Cadillac” and I dare you to not read further:
“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.”
Previous rounds included stories inspired by a particular photograph and stories beginning with the sentence “The nurse left work at five o’clock.” Finalists and winners of prior rounds are all available here, in the sidebar. Go onyou know you’ve got three minutes.