Three times a year, the National Public Radio show Weekends on All Things Considered holds a fiction contest in which listeners from across the country submit stories that can be read aloud in less than three minutes. This spring’s judge was the novelist Mona Simpson, who asked for stories in the form of a voice mail. “Three-Minute Fiction” winners appear in The Paris Review by special arrangement with NPR.
Hi, it’s me—Christine. I can’t believe you still have this number. That I still remember it. But there’s your voice on the machine . . . like no time has passed. I’m so sorry for your loss, Nick, for your mom. Can anyone else hear this? [PRESS # TO ERASE AND RE-RECORD YOUR MESSAGE]
# Hi Nick, it’s Christine. Christine Williams. Remember? It’s been a long time. I called because—I know it’s tough right now. I’m sorry to hear about the death of . . . that your mom passed. Try to say something real. [PRESS # TO ERASE AND RE-RECORD YOUR MESSAGE]
# Nick, it’s Chris…