Mini-Contest #29

The 29th OTP mini-contest was held in April 2016. This mini-contest asked contestants to use no more than 75 words to tell, show, or evoke a complete story in which music played some kind of important role.

Here are our winners, then our honorable mentions. Four of the six winners are new to OTP.

Third Place by Edward Carney (new OTP author)

The composer had heard it was impossible to think of art as either good or evil. His answer was a symphony comprised of harmonies and tones that were pleasant enough to keep people in their seats, but peppered with subtle noise reminiscent of wailing children and tortured gasps of dying men. When incidences of road rage and domestic violence skyrocketed in the immediate vicinity of the concert hall, he knew he’d produced his greatest work.

Second Place by Jennifer Moore (placed in several prior mini-contests)

Ghostly wailing was one thing, Lotta told the famous conductor haunting her apartment. Inviting an entire spectral orchestra for nightly rehearsals in her lounge was taking things too far. She couldn’t sleep for Stravinsky pounding through her walls.

It took four priests and a professional ghostbuster to banish the Maestro’s spirit once and for all, leaving only his baton behind. Now it was guilt keeping Lotta awake at night. That and the unearthly silence.

First Place by Vanessa Levin-Pompetzki (new OTP author)

Her dad says it’s cancer, and they have their last cigarette together. His favorite song, in the background, morphs into a trigger.

“Everything happens for a reason,” her mother says at his funeral, like some great wisdom.

The day before he dies, he asks her for a cigarette. She tells him she’s quit.

When the song plays, now, she smokes and tells him, you don’t know.

You don’t have to live without you.

Honorable Mentions (no money, just fame)

Three other entries scored highly enough to earn honorable mentions.

Chad danced through history class, tapped his feet through science, and snapped his fingers through math. “Weird” was the kindest of a long list of adjectives his classmates used. His teachers learned to ignore him.

This is often the place in the story where a kindhearted teacher or awkward kindred spirit comes in and finds the music in his soul. But that didn’t happen to Chad. He lived in your town and you did nothing.
(by John Rhea, new OTP author)

There’s something cruel in his smile but we dance anyway. The beat of the music thumps up through the floorboards, pulses through my body. Pure joy.

It’s three months since my illness. Meningitis. Though luckier than some, I didn’t escape unscathed.

He’s standing still. The music must have stopped, but I’d carried on dancing.

“We can’t go on like this,” I say.

“No,” I lip-read, unbearably hurt by the relief I see on his face.
(by Kathy Schilbach, new OTP author)

Anita’s Ringtones:

14-Feb-2013: (Today I Met) The Boy I’m Gonna Marry
18-Jun-2013: Crazy Little Thing Called Love
06-Oct-2013: Mendelssohn’s Wedding March
22-Mar-2014: The Boy Does Nothing
17-Sep-2014: Did I Shave My Legs For This?
27-Oct-2015: More Fool Me
09-Apr-2016: How Long Has This Been Going On?
11-Apr-2016: Total Eclipse Of The Heart
14-Apr-2016: I Want To Break Free
02-May-2016: I Will Survive
06-May-2016: Get Your Tongue Out Of My Mouth; I’m Kissing You Goodbye
(by Sheila Crosby, published in Issue 17 and three other mini-contests)

Now It’s Our Turn

One of our judges wanted to try this one. Here is her entry.


“Triangle. Glockenspiel!”

Big interview with Columbus Chamber Quintet. My tics go berserk.


“I’m hired?”

“We mix styles. You create mashups.”



The cellist grabs one.

“It was a tic, not a suggestion.”

They ignored bell, clapper, whistle. So why…?

Then I hear it. Magical!


“Doesn’t Tourette’s make people swear?”

“For strict anti-percussionists this is swearing. My parents only listen to string or wind ensembles, and I love chamber music, too. Just sometimes with percussion.”
(by Bethany Granger)

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