Thank you to the 15 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 winners, and for each round, the same evaluation form was used for consistency. Five entries advanced to the final round, which was judged by Pamela Buchmeyer, of Dallas and Jupiter, Fla.; Mike Farris, of Dallas; and last year’s winner, Jeff Kramer, of Dallas.

The winner, “Once More Into the Breach,” by Kenneth Muir, earned the highest number of points.

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

“Once More Into the Breach,” by Kenneth Muir (First Place)

“A Fine Day in Court,” by Elise Stubbe (Second Place)

“A Lawyer’s Bag,” by Rodney Moore (Third Place)

“White Diamond Whale,” by Amy Cook

“Navigating Reality,” by Victor H. Segura


Here’s an excerpt from “Once More Into the Breach”:

He decided to shave with a new razor for good luck. As he did so, a tremor started up in his hand, and he nicked his chin. The shaking will get a lot worse soon, the doctor had told him. He studied himself in the mirror. His brown hair was graying, but mostly still there. His face was red from a beach foray, his light brown eyes puffy from early mornings getting ready for trial. He wasn’t really that flabby, and at five-foot-ten he felt impressively sturdy. He was still one tough hombre, he reckoned. The cut stung.

“What do you think,” he asked Gloria, who squinted at him from her repose under the sheets. He stood holding a suit jacket in each hand.

“The blue. It gives you a little energy. Gray is boring.”

“But classic gray.”

“And a red power tie. You’re bleeding.”

“I got sloppy.”

“Why are you still going through this every day when you could just be taking it easy? Like you said, the difference between your salary and what you’d get in retirement is a dollar an hour—it’s actually costing you money to work. What’s the point? I want you to turn in your retirement, like we agreed.”

“Well, that’s all true, but I’m just not sure I’m ready to do it.” He also wasn’t ready to tell her yet about his doctor visit.

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