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Three-Minute Fiction: Great Men, Real White House



Only one more week before we announce the winner of our Three-Minute Fiction contest, our contest where listeners send in original stories of under 600 words. Our judge, the novelist Brad Meltzer, asked for stories that revolve around a U.S. president who could be fictional or real. Brad will join us next weekend to reveal the winner of Round 9 of Three-Minute Fiction. Until then, take a listen to some excerpts of our favorite stories so far.


BOB MONDELLO, BYLINE: (Reading) The aide Seymour rushed in, a drape of yellow silk fluttering from his hands. Mr. President, I'm sorry, but you need to change your tie. The viewers picked this one for you to wear today. The viewers had chosen Seymour three months earlier, and for the most part, he was working out OK. Casting had been given strict parameters this time after the intended three-episode story arc last season involving another aide Becca had to be cut to one and a half episodes when Becca was caught trying to steal a Murano glass figurine the president had received as a gift from the Italian prime minister.

The viewers liked Becca and getting rid of her so abruptly generated a minor backlash on Twitter. But when the president's chief of staff chewed out the Secret Service agents on the air for a good 15 minutes - about eight minutes of which had to be bleeped - the viewers settled down.


LYNN NEARY, BYLINE: (Reading) He had hoped that getting close to it would steady his heart. It had been rolling like a drum all day, a relentless build with no release. Padding blindly forward, the density of the thick turf caused him to stumble slightly, but he caught himself and kept going, as if it hadn't happened. He could see it now as it glowed, elegant against the navy sweep of sky. The house of the man carved in stone usually soothed him. But tonight, he couldn't escape the air, which was thick and fingered, reaching down the collar of his shirt, making him feel cold and hot and wet all at once.

As he moved through the Mall, he didn't look back at them, though he knew they were there, waiting through the dark like lions in waist-high swaths of African grass.


LYDEN: That was Bob Mondello and Lynn Neary reading excerpts from "The Real White House" by Valerie Wright of Portland, Maine, and "Great Men" by Sarah Healy of Williston, Vermont. To read these stories in full along with other Three-Minute Fiction submissions, visit npr.org/threeminutefiction. That's Three-Minute Fiction all spelled out, no spaces. And don't forget to join the ongoing conversation on our Three-Minute Fiction Facebook page.

(SOUNDBITE OF CLOCK TICKING) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.