March 2014 (Issue #22)

Issue 22 image


The premise for Issue #22 was

21 UP!

For this contest only, we’re celebrating seven successful years by letting contestants send us a short story based on ANY of our first 21 contest premises.

We received 325 contest entries and chose six stories for prizes. Only one of the authors has been published in OTP before, and for one author (Liam Kennedy), this issue represents his first publication.


As expected, Earth was a terrible, terrible place. At least in Hell, he was dry and warm.

FIRST PLACE: Spring Cleaning, Siobhan Gallagher’s speculative and humorous story about a little demon who just wants to go home. (Uses the premise from Contest #15: Myths and Legends)


Except… how could she have gotten so turned around? She looked left and right, but there was nothing but forest and more forest.

SECOND PLACE: Grandmother Winter, Alison McBain’s  fairy tale of a girl with an honest heart. (Uses the premise from Contest #6: Revelation)


And so exactly one minute and forty-three seconds after her unexpected arrival, the self-liberated chicken was canonized by Father DiPatria as St. Greta.

THIRD PLACE: Saint Greta the Chickenhearted, J. A. Parente’s real-world and humorous story about the relationship between a priest and his chicken. (Uses the premise from Contest #4: Goodbye To All That)


“[W]e could just keep going. Leave the colony entirely. Set up our own home.”

HONORABLE MENTION: Stalked, Melinda Brasher’s speculative story about humans settling on a new world. (Uses the premise from Contest #16: Home)


“Are all time travelers obnoxious?” I said, trying to move ahead.

She broke down laughing. Then she reached over and wagged my chin. “Rule number one, when traveling in time one must be obnoxious.”

HONORABLE MENTION: Fossils and Fools, John C. Waugh’s story about time travel and the people who choose not to do it. (John is a frequent mini-contest contender who had a story published in Issue #2.) (Uses the premise from Contest #18: Time)


She looked perhaps fifty, with delicate features in contrast to a body thick with layers of clothing. Her skin was clean but reddened from the cold. Ned could detect no body odor, only the smell of wet wool.

HONORABLE MENTION: Home, William Locke Hauser’s real-world story about a woman who’s down on her luck but a lot smarter than people think. (Uses the premise from Contest #16: Home)


“Down there is Agra Fort miss, okaykay?” He waited for a response. She was busy typing something into her phone and hadn’t looked up for at least a minute.

GUEST WRITER: Sing For Your Supper, Liam Kennedy’s real-world story of a rickshaw driver trying to make ends meet. (Liam’s first short story publication!) (Uses the premise from Contest #16: Home)

Note: Photo courtesy of BigStockPhoto