Mini-Contest #6

The sixth mini-contest was held in August 2008. It challenged contestants to tell a complete story in 25 to 75 words, with the additional stipulation that every word had to be in dialogue. No narration whatsoever!

We received 74 entries. Two reading judges selected 12 contenders from all the entries received. Six prize judges labeled one entry as their “favorite” and rated the rest as either “yes,” “maybe,” or “no.”

For the first time, we had a tie for first place. As a result, there is no second place winner…our winners ranked first, first, third, then honorable mentions. We have one author who might be familiar to readers of past issues, and four whom OTP has never published before.

Third Place ($5) by Sam Douglas


“Hello, Mama. It’s me.”


“Mama, it’s Cara.”


“Mama, can you hear me?”

“Is anybody there?”

“Mama, I know you hear me. I’m sorry I left in the middle of the night like that. I was just mad. I want to come home. Is that okay?”

“Anybody there?”

“Mama, let me come home and I’ll never run away again. I promise. Can I please come home?

“I guess nobody’s there.”


*TIE* for First Place ($15) by Bryce Albertson

“I’m so scared, Bobby… I didn’t mean to kill him!”

“I know, Jason. It was an accident, but it was your fault.”

“You gotta help me hide the body!”

“Fine. We’ll bury it out back.”

“What if they find it?”

“They won’t even look. We’ll tell Mom and Dad we opened the door and Whiskers ran away, just like they said your gerbil did.”

“You mean Mr. Pellets didn’t run away?”

*TIE* for First Place ($15) by Mercedes Murdock

“I saw Chandra on the news today. Wow.”

“Yeah. Wow.”

“The death penalty.”


“How many guys did she kill again? Twenty?”


“That’s… that’s a lot of people, man.”

“It really is.”

“Your fingers reattach okay?”


“Listen. I’m sorry. When I set you guys up, I just thought… well, I just thought she had a penchant for power tools. I thought, ‘how lucky would Carl be, he’d never have to fix nothing. Nothing.’”

Honorable Mentions (no money, just fame)

Two other entries scored highly enough to earn honorable mentions.

“You always hook up with Mr. Wrong.”

“No I don’t.”

“When was the last time you dated a nice guy?”

“Brian was nice.”

“That was years ago, doesn’t count.”

“Interesting men are complicated.”

“With ex’s, bad habits, secrets?”

“It’s fun to turn bad boys good.”

“Yeah, because that works.”

“Let’s face it, by the time a guy reaches our age, there’s bound to be flaws if he’s still single or otherwise unattached.”

“Like us?”
(by Karen Monroe)

“Remember when Robbie played ball with us? “

“What about the barbecues? And those franks. Wish I had one now.”

“Wonder what Robbie’s doin’ now?”

“College stuff.”

“Does he think about us?”

“Sure. We’re his best friends.”

“Think he’ll hang around with us when he comes home for the holidays?”

“Why not? Bet he misses us, too.”

“Hey, let’s see if Mom will take us for a walk.”

“Okay. I get the red leash this time.”
(by Lee Mandel)

Now It’s Our Turn
Only one of the judges submitted an entry this time–Sean Tierney, our occasional guest judge who lives in Hong Kong. I’d say we’re bending our no-non-fiction rule a bit to publish this entry, but that would be cynical!

“What are you thinking?”


“No, really, what are you thinking?”

“I told you, nothing.”

“I knew it, you’re mad at me.”

“I’m not mad at you!”

“Then why are you yelling!”

“Because I’m not mad at you.”

“That doesn’t make any sense!”

“Neither does thinking I’m mad at you.”

“But you yelled at me!!!”

“Because you refused to believe me when I said I wasn’t thinking anything.”

“You weren’t thinking about me?”

“Oh Christ…”
(by Sean Tierney)

Congratulations to the winners and our sincere thanks to everyone who entered the mini-contest.