April 2018 (Issue #31)

The premise for Issue #31 was


We challenged contestants to write a creative, compelling, well-crafted story between 1,000 and 5,000 words long in which the a piece of clothing (or clothing in general) plays an important role.

We received 231 contest entries and chose five stories for prizes and one for inclusion in the “guest writer” category. Our first-place author and our guest writer have been published in OTP before, but the other authors are new to us. Two of this issue’s stories are speculative fiction, three take place in the real world, and the other is basically real-world but from an imaginative point of view.


The shelf had imagined that there might be many different languages, for what else could explain the fact that the cargo shorts had nothing to say to it when they returned from wherever it was that they went when the world grew hot and humid?

FIRST PLACE: The Thinking Cap, Bryce Albertson’s speculative story about (forgive the pun) shelf life. You’ll see.

Ma shook her head. “You know I am ever ready to help people. It’s just that… she is too…”

“Too what?”

“Too… what’s the word… fashionable!”

SECOND PLACE: White Piping, Gargi Mehra’s real-world story about clothing and generational conflict in India.

…her socks have lots to share about all of the small clues left beneath the airplane seats. They think they know best about the world, but, in the end, compression is not comprehension.

THIRD PLACE: Winds of Change, Annemarie Catanzaro’s imaginative story of how a scarf sees the world.

Not another house for a mile in any direction. But, the dogs last night, and my daughter said she heard something. So I go look for footprints I know won’t be there. Like monsters under her bed, or in her closet.

HONORABLE MENTION: The Only Thing That Matters, Eli Ryder’s speculative story about missing socks.

“By God, what did you do to him?”

“Didn’t do nothing.”

“Well, you’ve broken him alright.”

HONORABLE MENTION: Wouldn’t Be Seen Dead in That, Raymie Martin’s real-world historical fiction about a couple of people who are down on their luck.

Pammy felt sick to her stomach. Since first grade, it had been Pammy-and-Lena. But now she was starting sixth grade alone, and she hated it.

GUEST WRITER: Emilie, Doree Weller’s real-world story of a young girl who tells a simple little lie that doesn’t stay simple for long.

Note: Photo courtesy of Godisable Jacob on Pexels