Thank you to the 28 writers who submitted entries to the Texas Bar Journal Short Story Contest this year.

Author names were removed from entries before being submitted to judges in order to keep the contest fair and impartial. Two panels of judges faced the challenging task of selecting the winners, and for each round, the same evaluation form was used for consistency. Twelve entries advanced to the final round, which was judged by Pamela Buchmeyer of Dallas and Jupiter, Florida, Mike Farris of Dallas, and last year’s winner, Gregg Mayer, of Brandon.

The winner, “The Protective Order,” by Rosanne Gordon, earned the highest number of points.

Please congratulate these attorney-authors for making it through the competitive first round of judging to the finals.

“The Protective Order,” by Rosanne Gordon (First Place)

“Whiskey Hands,” by Ron Uselton (Second Place)

“Max’s Mindspeak,” by Marvin Sprouse (Third Place)

“Hart’s Calling,” by Brandon Beck

“Pity the Dinosaur?,” by Frank J. Gonynor

“Weary Mr. Wycliffe,” by Francis Mwangi

“The Spillover Room,” by David Jones

“2,519,” by Ronald Brown

“Ben’s Paradox,” by William Cornelius

“What He Said,” by Victor Segura

“The Wrath of Stephen, The Pirate-Wizard of Galveston County,” by Andrew Culbertson

“Vignette,” by Robert “Jim” Middleton

Here’s an excerpt from “The Protective Order”:

“The overwhelming smell of pine cleaner grabbed my throat as I opened the glass door. I walked quickly across the rural community center’s glistening tile floor, glancing at the dozens of people sitting on folding chairs against the walls. A pair of young women. One probably applying for a divorce, the other making sure she didn’t chicken out. A scowling man holding a bundle of papers. An elderly couple with an adult, disabled child. I avoided eye contact with the volunteer law students stationed at tables in the middle of the room, hoping they were too busy interviewing potential clients to notice my arrival. No such luck. A tall, young man in a crisp, gray suit called out, ‘Professor?’”

The entire story, along with the second and third place winning entries, will be published in the June issue of the Texas Bar Journal.