It's Round 10 of Three-Minute Fiction, the short story contest from weekends on All Things Considered. Here's the premise: Write a piece of original fiction that can be read in about three minutes (no more than 600 words).
Our judge for this round is author Mona Simpson, whose most recent book is My Hollywood. She most recently won a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, among other prizes. Here's her twist for Round 10:
Write a story in the form of a voice-mail message.
In 1992, Mae Jemison became the first African-American woman to fly in space when she served as a science mission specialist. We've invited Jemison to play a game called "Excuse me? When do we get to the Southwest terminal?" Jemison has flown in the space shuttle Endeavour, so we thought we'd ask her questions about a sometimes more unpredictable vehicle ... the airport shuttle.
In case a thousand thousands of internet words haven't informed you, last night was the final episode of 30 Rock, and in addition to taking a moment to appreciate the show itself, we decided to use it as a jumping-off point for a discussion of "meta" humor — what it is, when it works, and when it just comes off like a crutch. You might be surprised to hear meta traced all the way back to childhood, but hey, that's what we're here for.
The Oscar-nominated documentary The Gatekeepers centers on Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but from an unusual vantage — not the Palestinians or Israelis on the ground, but six men at the pinnacle of the country's security apparatus: the former heads of the security agency Shin Bet.
This week's versatile V.I.P. has had spells as an author, an ordained minister, a fortuneteller, and a bartender — which serves her well during a delectable drinking game. And with quizzes covering highfalutin children's literature, crossbred celebrities and a geologist's favorite Queen song, this week's contestants show a little versatility, too.