July 2014 (Issue #23)

Issue 23 (800 x 691)

The premise for Issue #23 was

DECISIONS, DECISIONS

One or more characters face an especially difficult decision.

We received 272 contest entries and chose five stories for prizes. We also have a guest writer this issue. None of the authors in this issue have ever had stories published in OTP before, and our first-place winner has never had a story published anywhere before.

CONTENTS:

Dear Katherine,

[…] You’ll be glad to know that the lost tooth issue has been addressed to Billy’s satisfaction. Frankly, though, I’m less concerned about Billy’s plight than I am about your own.

FIRST PLACE: Incognito, Susan Lemere’s story about the new, more modern Tooth Fairy. (Her first short story publication!)

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“Did you know,” he said, waving his glass in the air and splashing a good portion of cabernet over his white shirt, “that over 50 billion of our cells die every day? We start dying the moment we’re born.”

SECOND PLACE: The Quality of Life, Helen Rossiter’s real-world story about a divorce decision that becomes more complicated than usual.

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“That’s impossible,” Jenkins said, as the first dark glimmer of what we were in for washed over him in a distasteful bath. He said again, “That’s impossible.”

THIRD PLACE: Bare Bones, Curtis James McConnell’s story that could be real-world or speculative, depending on the conclusion you draw about a key piece of evidence the story’s two scientists are trying to decipher.

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Miranda was once tempted to ask Vortex why the grass behind the perimeter was fine to study when the grass beyond it wasn’t, but she thought better of it.

HONORABLE MENTION: A Dome of Chrome, Jeremy Szal’s science-fiction story about humans trying to live on an alien world, under alien terms.

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Connor tilted his head back and sighed again. He didn’t want to talk about it. He also didn’t want to keep it to himself.

HONORABLE MENTION: Sharpie Stones, Jordan Legg’s real-world story about two people who are utterly unprepared and unqualified to make an incredibly difficult decision and can’t avoid making it.

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“Honey,” he said sternly. “Of course I did, but it all comes down to—”

“The needs of the Navy.”

GUEST WRITER: Best Interests, Melinda Jones’s real-world story about the difficulties of being a military spouse with children.

Note: Photo courtesy of Mo Riza on Flickr (www.flickr.com)