Mini-Contest #14

The 14th mini-contest was held in April 2011. Contestants had to write a story exactly five sentences long, and each sentence had to be exactly five words long. (We called the challenge “story squared,” get it?)

Because this was a special mini-contest that used the submissions system SubMishMash for the first time, we raised the prize money by $5 per place, to incentivize people to try the new system. It turns out that was probably an unnecessary move. Nearly all comments about the new system were positive, and we got 114 entries.

Here are our winners, then our honorable mentions. We have our usual mix of authors we’ve never published before, and authors we’ve seen at least once.

Third Place ($10) by Kristin Stille (new to OTP)

The stranger grabbed her ass. She grabbed his right back. He smiled at their confrontation. Hands retreating, she smiled too. She now had his wallet.

Second Place ($15) by Caroline Zarlengo Sposto (new to OTP)

Chez FooFoo was very exclusive.
Generally, only celebrities got in.
Somehow, Larry found himself there.
He had a dreadful evening.
Lobsters never enjoy fine restaurants.

First Place ($20) by Laura Loomis

She kissed by the numbers. Her digits touched him perfunctorily. Once their love had multiplied. Now something didn’t add up. He knew he didn’t count.

(Editor’s special note: In case you’re wondering, the first place entry got no extra points for managing to combine mini-contest #14’s challenge with the “numbers” premise from the simultaneously running short story contest #14. But it was an impressive move anyway.)

Honorable Mentions (no money, just fame)

Five other entries scored highly enough to earn honorable mentions.

It fell from the sky.
A gray man came out.
He asked for my hand.
I wanted a universal cruise.
He just wanted the hand.
(by Dian Gansen, new to OTP)

He didn’t call her back.
She thinks about her words.
What he must have thought.
They gossip of her loneliness.
Like radios in empty rooms.
(by Brian Bahr)

The courtesan checked her addition.
Her receipts were down again.
Her mirror reflected new lines.
Innocence was the fashion now.
Sighing, she summoned her daughter.
(by Shauna Roberts, new to OTP)

Jack considered himself pretty open-minded.

But Karen had left him. “Paul really, really gets me.” Paul had eight tentacle arms.

Now Jack just craved calamari.
(by Ken Liu)

Dying of cancer very soon.
Have no family or friends.
Will erase bad folks cheap.
Absolute discretion and satisfaction guaranteed.
Will accept serious inquiries only.
(by John C. Waugh)

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