April 2024 (Issue #43)

The premise for Issue #43 was


We challenged contestants to write a creative, compelling, well-crafted story between 1,000 and 5,000 words long in which some kind of vehicle plays an important role.

We received over 430 contest entries. Of those entries, five stories won prizes. Three more stories were selected as guest writer stories. Two of them will be published in May 2024, and the other will be published in June 2024. Each guest writer story will be added to this issue when it is published.

Two of this issue’s prize-winning stories are speculative fiction and three are real-world stories. One of our prizewinners has had a story published in OTP before, and the others are new to OTP. Also, our third-place winner’s story represents his first published fiction,


He could climb to the rigging, where they could not follow, but that was no escape. Just a slow thirsty death.

FIRST PLACE: Tide’s End, David Dobson’s speculative story about a sinking ship and a battle of wills. (New OTP author.)

Clearly, the rusted hatchback with the smashed fender matched Izzy better than the SUV-on-steroids idling at the curb.

SECOND PLACE: Intersection, Marcie Friedman’s real-world story of a minor car accident and the major effect it has on everyone involved. (New OTP author.)

He was good with cars. He’d get them silent and unmoving, and he’d wake them.

THIRD PLACE: Joyriders, Norman Corenthal’s real-world story about a desperate low-level criminal and his equally desperate girlfriend. (New OTP author.)

It looks like no junk he’s ever seen, no dead satellite, obviously not a booster. A weapon?

HONORABLE MENTION: Junk Man, Samuel Finn’s speculative fiction story about a strange encounter in outer space. (New OTP author.)

Ever since then she’d been giving him a ride. Now she wanted to stop.

HONORABLE MENTION: Rides, Tony Concannon’s real-world story about a favor that grows into something more troublesome. (Tony was also published in issues #25 and #39.)

Under the housekeeper’s watchful gaze, Betty fidgeted with the silver-tipped pen before deciding on a business name for the form: House Sitting by Betty.

GUEST WRITER: House Sitting by Betty, A. K. McCutcheon’s real-world story about a house sitter experiencing significant life difficulties. (New OTP author.)

Meredith frowned, the rush of joy at seeing him overshadowed by anxiety as she realized what it meant that he had ridden to her house on his bike.

“You’re taking that thing to Klamath Falls?”

GUEST WRITER: Worth the Risk, H. I. Brown’s real-world story which I believe is the first traditional romance story our magazine has ever published. (New OTP author.)

What constitutes a lucky day is relative.

GUEST WRITER: Redefining Everything, Jan Allen’s real-world story about a meeting with an old romantic partner that doesn’t go the way anyone expects. (New OTP author.)

Note: Photo by Alexandra Nicolae on Unsplash