Mini-Contest #21

The 21st mini-contest was held in August 2013. This mini-contest asked contestants to write a 20- to 40-word story in which the first word was the same as the last. In addition, that word could not be used anywhere else in the story.

Here are our winners, then our honorable mentions.

Third Place ($5) by Alyson Hilbourne (who published a short story in Issue #14)

Parts of the motorcycle littered the drive. As winter strengthened, pieces migrated to the dining room. By spring the relationship couldn’t be mended.

She posted an ad. For sale: Motorcycle parts.

Second Place ($10) by Valerie Benko (new to OTP)

Leaves twirl in the autumn air. She always thought they were beautiful. He found them to be a nuisance. They’re her problem now. He signed the divorce papers, gave up the house. She watches from the window as he leaves.

First Place ($15) by Robert Hanley (new to OTP)

“Well, I guess this is goodbye.” A strange echo accompanied his words. I thought it was the phone, a bad connection. But the phone worked just fine when they found it, beside his body at the bottom of the well.

Honorable Mentions (no money, just fame)

Three other entries scored highly enough to earn honorable mentions.

“You never called me,” I wanted to scream. Instead, I stalked his house. Spying on Facebook, I saw the notice that he was dead. Wow. Didn’t see that coming. Sometimes it’s not about you.
(by JC Sullivan, new to OTP)

Closing her eyes, Marceline tried to remind herself that everything would be okay. The surgeon had told her she had excellent odds. Her mother squeezed her hand, murmured “It’ll be fine.” Then she was gone and the door was closing.
(by Jennifer Ridge, new to OTP)

Hymnals rustled. He clamped his mouth shut, but it was too late. The congregation had stopped at verse three; he’d sang on into four, his own ribald version.

A meaningful cough. Pastor said, “Turn to page 104 in your hymnals.”
(by Forrest Johnson, new to OTP)

Now It’s Our Turn
Guest judges were given the opportunity to have a mini-story published, and one of them did so. Here it is:

Ennui. Was it sufficient motive?

Everyone had left him. Wife, children, friends, even his dog found him boring.

He knotted the rope carefully, thirteen turns, and strung it over a steel beam in his garage.

Suicide, to cure ennui.
(by Adrienne Stevenson)

Congratulations to the winners and our sincere thanks to everyone who entered the mini-contest.