The 38th OTP mini-contest was held in May 2018. This mini-contest asked contestants to write a story no more than 50 words long in which the word “graft” was used exactly once.
Here are our winning entries, then our honorable mentions. Three out of six authors are new to OTP.
Third Place by Scot McIntosh (new OTP author)
“Once you become accustomed to the implant, you’ll have the hearing of an owl,” Ember assured Sergeant Rakoto. “We good?”
The uniformed woman nodded, wincing slightly. “Your black market clinic stays off the department’s radar.”
With the advent of cyborganic implants, “graft” had taken on a whole new meaning.
Second Place by Dana Schellings (published in mini-contest #26)
It was brilliant in theory. Graft branches from various fruit trees to one tree and create a spectacular new species. But the result was a horrifying monstrosity he had no choice but to destroy. Hopefully I’ll have better luck with my other experiment, Frankenstein thought as he lit the fire.
First Place by Kathleen Kempa (new OTP author)
My neighbor’s a botanist with a padlocked barn. He races a Porsche and vacations in Maui. What’s in that barn? Removing planks, I shudder and covet a gold-leafed tree. I take a precise cutting, graft it to an oak sapling. Now, I wait in my barn.
Honorable Mentions (no money, just fame)
Three other entries scored highly enough to earn honorable mentions.
Sharon suggested the art exhibit, but Carl sulked. He wanted to see a movie.
In the cinema queue, she realized her years of capitulation had been like stepping into wet cement. Gradually it had dried around her knees. Too late to undo: an unyielding graft of flesh, bone, and concrete.
(by Lisa Finch, published in mini-contest #30)
When the alien forces landed in our yard, Dad said he’d take charge. He was a grifter. Wall Streeters and politicians bought into his graft. “I’m good with people,” he boasted and went out to negotiate. The aliens listened briefly, then blasted him into dust. They were aliens, not people.
(by Jack Curtin, new OTP author)
“Shall I remove the bandages?”
Slowly she unraveled the gauze from his face. Now he looked like the earthlings. He would fit right in.
“Will you depart today?”
“Yes,” he answered as he blinked the big purple eye graft in the center of his forehead.
(by Donna Ring, published in mini-contest #23)
Congratulations to the winners and our sincere thanks to everyone who entered the mini-contest.