The 13th mini-contest was held in December 2010. This mini-contest asked contestants to write the worst possible short story ending of all time.
The biggest problem we had with entries was that, as bad as many of them were, we could imagine stories for which they would make good endings. Sometimes, even funny endings! So clearly, those were out. When we’d chosen our top ten and sent them to the prize judges, and the prize judges came back with their ratings, we had three prize winners and three honorable mentions.
And here they are.
Third Place ($5) by Steve Myers
They’d followed him again. Four continents; so many dead. And now she was pointing a gun.
“Where is the Brigador Talisman?”
“How many times? I don’t know any bloody Talisman or Code! Templar was the name of The Saint, if that helps. I’m no professor! My name’s Prosser. It’s my gap year. I can’t help you.”
She smiled. “Congratulations Mr. Prosser. You just won I’m A Nobody, Scare the Shit Out Of Me!”
Second Place ($10) by Karlyn Thayer
And so it was that Bobbie died, and her unborn baby died with her. With no one to care for them, the children drifted apart to find their way in the filthy streets. Emma sold her body; Homer turned to crack. Little Irene froze to death one February night, huddled in a cardboard box in an alley near the house where once the family had laughed, where there had been light and warmth. And pizza.
First Place ($15) by Paul Baughman
Just as the evil magician, Drastor, was about to pronounce the last syllable of the spell that would cement him as the ultimate ruler of the world for all time, a bolt of lightning lanced down from the clear, blue sky and incinerated him.
Eric gave a sigh of relief and kissed Janet. “What’s for dinner?” he asked.
Honorable Mentions (no money, just fame)
Three other entries scored highly enough to earn honorable mentions.
And then the zombies stopped moving. Stopped crawling, dragging their sullen carcasses along the ground behind me. They simply stopped. Their wretched faces stared up at the sun. Suddenly I realized, all that moaning, that despair, they weren’t trying to hurt anyone. Their oversized eyes, the sad look on their faces. They were just looking for someone to love. I looked at the zombie, and it looked at me, and we pondered our fate.
(by Allan Smith)
It was then she realized it had all been a sham. Jock wasn’t really an astronaut. He hadn’t really walked on the Moon. It was all faked, all of it. The nearest he’d got to zero gravity was when he got drunk and fell off his yacht.
But Melissa would do better. She would join NASA, she’d go to the Moon and she’d bring back a piece of cheese to prove it!
(by Philip Lees)
After foreclosure of his house, Joe sat at the curb staring at his old furniture: Two workless years had elapsed, unemployment insurance exhausted. He awaited Marie’s return from the doctor, diagnosis hopeless.
In the mailbox was a letter from his last interview offering him a job. He picked up the newspaper on the sidewalk, automatically checking winning lottery numbers. His numbers were correct; a million dollar prize. Marie returned, beaming—miraculously, her cancer was cured.
(by Roselyn Silverman)
Congratulations to the winners and our sincere thanks to everyone who entered the mini-contest.