April 2016 (Issue #27)

Issue 27 (900 x 392)

The premise for Issue #27 was


One or more character(s) have to deal with some kind of significant change. It can be any kind of change, from a change affecting only one person (or one place, or one thing) to something affecting everyone/everything everywhere, or anything between those extremes.

We received 321 contest entries and chose six stories for prizes. One of our prizewinners has been published in OTP before. This issue also presents stories from two guest writers. Out of this issue’s eight stories, three are speculative fiction and five take place in the real world.


I sometimes dream of foxes jumping about in the yard at home. Their eyes always seem to glow, as if they knew something that I didn’t.

FIRST PLACE: The Star-Tailed Fox, B. C. Matthews’s multi-layered, speculative history story about the different ways that different kinds of people can feel or be oppressed because they are different.

The plants that don’t eat look fine, but you should see the difference a meal or two makes.

SECOND PLACE: Savages, Jean Ryan’s real-world story about hardship, survival, and rare plants.

There was a farmer had a god, and Bingo was his name-o.

THIRD PLACE: His Name-o, Rachel Rodman’s speculative story about the interplay among civilization, religion, and dogs.

Two jars of peanut butter left. Three cans of sardines. A half-gallon of milk.

HONORABLE MENTION: The End of the Oxen, Melon Wedick’s speculative story about a quiet kind of apocalypse.

For the next week or so, as the trees began to change color, she forgot about the job and concentrated on what she liked about her life out here.

HONORABLE MENTION: A Job as Told in Fortune Cookies, Monette Bebow-Reinhard’s real-world story about a married woman developing a life of her own.

The game was a lost cause. He should’ve just let it go.

HONORABLE MENTION: Game Ball, T. C. Powell’s real-world story about the cost of even the most honorable ambitions.

Neither of them said anything as they watched Zeb drive away. When he was far enough that the sound of his engine couldn’t be heard, Hank said, “Got a new one lined up already, huh?”

GUEST WRITER: Tomorrow’s Not Looking Too Good, Gary Hoffman’s real-world story about a sometimes bounty hunter and his strained relationships with almost everyone.


Her sensible shoes did not take away from his enjoyment of her legs. He was enthralled. Again.

GUEST WRITER: Sapphire, Daniel LeBoeuf’s real-world story about a waitress’s ex-boyfriend who might be looking for a place in her life again.

Note: Photo courtesy of Dan Durakovich on Flickr (www.flickr.com)