NPR has a short story contest they call "Three-Minute Fiction." Stories can be a maximum of 600 words with the idea that each can be read in three minutes. A "famous" (read: "published") author is the guest judge for each round, and s/he submits the writing prompt. My Unit sent me this just in time for Round 11. Guest judge Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia! and St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves, said the prompt was to "[w]rite a story in which a character finds an object that he or she has no intention of returning."
Each week NPR reads some of their favorite entries; the winner is picked in a month or two. So far, my story has not made to the "favorites" list. When I've read my "competition," sometimes I think, "Yeah, mine was crap," and "Really? They liked this??" Here's the list so far. As in anything online, it updates at least once a week, so you'll have to check back anxiously and often like I do.
Also, as with anything on the Interwebs, people feel free to comment and give their unsolicited advice. And even though this is NPR, these people are still kind of assholes. Not the same assholes and trolls that you find on Facebook posts or newspaper "articles." These assholes try to pick apart the stories and use all their words and their sentences are (mostly) grammatically correct. But damn. Whether they're armchair editors or fellow submitters with a case of sour grapes, I can't tell, but they're still highly negative and judgmental.
Oh, you're probably wondering about my story. Well, I'm going to give NPR another week or two. If my story doesn't show up, I'll post it here. I'm already wondering if my silly subtitle killed my chances (I knew I should have left it off!). Here's a hint: