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…