Mini-Contest #25

The 25th mini-contest was held in April 2015. This mini-contest asked contestants to write a story between 20 and 40 words long that used the same (non-trivial) word at least twice—and each time it was used, it needed to have a different definition.

Before we get to our regular winners, we want to notice that a few people tried to win by using the same word as many different times as possible, while still giving that word a different definition every time. The problem is, if you use the same word that many times in a 20- to 40-word story, the word stands out a bit and hurts the story’s readability. We should have limited people to just two uses of the word. Since we didn’t, we decided to make a special bonus prize of $10 to the story we liked best that used the same word many times.

Special Bonus Prize ($10) by Mimi Jalenak

Bernice ventures to a dance club. Self-conscious of her club foot, she nurses Scotch and club soda. Dizzy from libation and vibration, Bernice prefers being knocked unconscious with a club. Lonely, longing for her book club, she departs.

Here are our regular winners, then our honorable mentions.

Third Place ($10) by Jennifer Moore (won Mini-Contest #24; honorable mention in Mini-Contest #22)

Coach Jefferson was as mean and scary as they came, and always picked on Mikey. The poor kid spent all winter break “growing a pair,” just like Coach told him to. Only it turned out he didn’t mean antlers.

Second Place ($15) by Sharon King


The grip holding the lightbounce staggered away. The chisel-jawed lead stayed slumped against a wooden post.

“Closeups later. Moving on!”

The A.D. blinked.



“Sorry, but…”


“Hall’s… dead.”


“We’ll fix it in post.”

First Place ($25) by Anami Sheppard

She broke the bread into two equal pieces. After, she tried not to watch when her son licked his finger, using it to pick up the crumbs. She had twenty-seven cents and a spent smile. She’d never been so broke.

Honorable Mentions (no money, just fame)
Four other entries scored highly enough to earn honorable mentions.

The sign in the shop window read: “I have a wedding ring that’s never been used. Why don’t you give me a ring?” So, he called the number, and maybe they didn’t live happily ever after, but happily enough.
(by Seamus Sweeney)

Evening creeps into the jungle. Golden-eyed creatures, sinewy and silent, sharpen their claws and wait. Men, sweating in camouflage, point their deadly rifles at the gloom and curse the dying sun. The odds—at last—are evening.
(by Melinda Brasher)

Seeing the impossibly small hoof print, he knows. Someone’s been playing with DNA. Suddenly, he feels cold, implacable steel against the small of his back. Too bad, he thinks. He would have liked to see the little horse, before dying.
(by Lisa Timpf)

For years I suck the bottle.

I watch myself sink deep into despair.

Finally, I empty all bottles into the sink and check my watch.

I hurry out the door. To be late for my very first meeting would suck.
(by Jeanne Hirth)

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