Three Minute Fiction: “Waiting for You Know”

Another NPR Three-Minute-Fiction challenge . . . another rejection. Although this time I fully expected it because I decided to abrogate the guidelines and submit an entry that I thought was clever in its own right. Some background: every so often NPR radio sponsors a contest in which would-be authors are challenged to pen a coherent fictional story that takes but three minutes to read (translated: 600 words or less). Expectations are that the story makes sense and characters are developed – a fairly heavy lift. On top of that, a theme is applied which further constricts the confines; in this past go-around, the challenge was to write a story in the form of a voice-mail message. “It doesn’t have to be crazy, but it could be crazy. By nature, first person — basically, a soliloquy or a monologue,” Mona Simpson (guest Three Minute Fiction reviewer) tells Guy Raz, NPR host. “It could start out, ‘Hey, it’s me, I’m glad you didn’t pick up,’ or it could start out, ‘You don’t know me, but …” It could be any number of dramatic scenarios which will unwind in the three minutes,” says Mona.

As soon as I heard the challenge I had a marvelous idea – but I knew I’d have no chance to place in the pantheon. Mona wanted original fiction with the “texture of voice.” My fiction tends to have the texture of thrice-recycled toilet paper.

Here’s my submission for Round 10 of Three Minute Fiction: “Waiting for You Know”.

THIS IS GOGO. I CAN’T COME TO THE PHONE RIGHT NOW. IF YOU WANT TO LEAVE A MESSAGE PLEASE WAIT FOR THE BEEP.
It’s me, Didi. I’m calling–
***BEEEEEP***
–Uh, Didi here. I’m calling to see if you want to get together again today. We could meet under that same tree as we did yesterday. By the way, how’s your foot? Better, I hope. I checked the bible and I was right: only one of the gospels mentions a thief being saved. You remember – a thief on the cross hanging next to Jesus. Only one out of four, yet everyone thinks it’s true. Anyway, about tomorrow: call me back if you want to meet by—
YOU HAVE REACHED THE ALLOTED TIME FOR YOUR MESSAGE. GOODBYE.
. . . . .
THIS IS GOGO. I CAN’T COME TO THE PHONE RIGHT NOW. IF YOU WANT TO LEAVE A MESSAGE PLEASE WAIT FOR THE BEEP.
It’s me again–
***BEEEEEP***
–Damn. It’s me again. I guess I ran out of time. Not sure you got my message. Just wanted to know if you’re interested in meeting me again today under that willow tree. Or maybe it was a bush. The dead-looking one. I sure hope it’s the right place. It’s all so confusing, isn’t it? Hey, I, uh, I’m sorry I woke you up in the middle of your nap yesterday. I didn’t mean to startle you. And I apologize for losing my temp—
YOU HAVE REACHED THE ALLOTED TIME FOR YOUR MESSAGE. GOODBYE.
. . . . .
THIS IS GOGO. I CAN’T COME TO THE PHONE RIGHT NOW. IF YOU WANT TO LEAVE A MESSAGE PLEASE WAIT FOR THE BEEP.
***BEEEEEP***
Jesus Christ! I’m sorry. I’m just frustrated, that’s all. Your answering machine won’t let me finish my message. Where was I . . . How’s your foot? Oh, yes. The tree. Do you want to meet me under that dead tree today? I promise not to bring up that silly suicide pact. You made some good points, and so did I. So let’s just leave it at that. OK? Anyway, I have a feeling he’ll show up today. A pretty good feeling—
YOU HAVE REACHED THE ALLOTED TIME FOR YOUR MESSAGE. GOODBYE.
. . . . .
THIS IS GOGO. I CAN’T COME TO THE PHONE RIGHT NOW. IF YOU WANT TO LEAVE A MESSAGE PLEASE WAIT FOR THE BEEP.
***BEEEEEP***
OK. I’m going to be brief. Meet me at the willow tree today. I’ll bring along some fresh tubers this time. Straight from the ground. How about it? Just carrots, no turnips. You in? I have a good feeling he’s going to show up today. A really good—
YOU HAVE REACHED THE ALLOTED TIME FOR YOUR MESSAGE. GOODBYE.
. . . . .
THIS IS GOGO. I CAN’T COME TO THE PHONE RIGHT NOW. IF YOU WANT TO LEAVE A MESSAGE PLEASE WAIT FOR THE BEEP.
***BEEEEEP***
If I could reach through the phone, your answering machine would be nothing more than a little heap of plastic at the present minute, no doubt about it. Listen, meet me at the dead tree and bring a good bit of rope. For sure we’ll hang ourselves today. . . . unless he shows—
YOU HAVE REACHED THE ALLOTED TIME FOR YOUR MESSAGE. GOODBYE.
. . . . .
THIS IS GOGO. I CAN’T COME TO THE PHONE RIGHT NOW. IF YOU WANT TO LEAVE A MESSAGE PLEASE WAIT FOR THE BEEP.
It’s Didi–
***BEEEEEP***
–Damn, damn, damn. Call me back. I’m waiting.

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One Response to Three Minute Fiction: “Waiting for You Know”

  1. s.ranidae says:

    Nice work! Flesh it out… Makes me wanna know more…