AFTER MANY PHONE CALLS, EMAILS, AND LETTERS asking about the status— and hopeful return—of the Texas Bar Journal Short Story Contest, we decided it was time to bring it back. A one-year hiatus proved long enough; numerous writers—and readers— were clamoring for creative prose. Many of this year’s entries were humorous, some even heartfelt, and then there were those that lingered on the mind for days. We’d like to extend an appreciative thank you to the 55 authors who submitted stories this year. To keep the contest fair and impartial, we removed author names from each entry, replacing them with numbers. Two panels of judges faced the challenging task of selecting the winners, and for each round, the same evaluation form was used for consistency. Eleven entries advanced to the final round, which was judged by Mike Farris of Dallas, DeDe Church of Austin, and John G. Browning of Dallas. The winner, “Final Descent,” by Stephanie S. Tillman, earned the highest number of points. We have published the first-, second-, and third-place winners on the following pages. We hope you enjoy these creative short stories as much as we did. To listen to a podcast reading by the authors, go to texasbar.com/shortstory. FINALISTS Please congratulate these attorney-authors for making it through the competitive first round of judging to the finals. FINAL DESCENT, by Stephanie S. Tillman CLOSING ARGUMENT, by Kimberly Simpson MY GENERATION, by Jason Steed THE BOTTOM DRAWER, by Gerald G. Francisco LILAC SURPRISE, by Marvin E. Sprouse III THE DUEL, by Drew Crownover PAYING HIS BAR DUES, by Tim Sralla CROWLEY’S NEW CLIENT, by Gregg Mayer VIABLE, by Charles R. McBeth DRIVING THROUGH, by Kevin M. Faulkner THE SWAMP, by Gene L. Jameson
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