The 35th OTP mini-contest was held in November 2017. This mini-contest asked contestants to write a story no more than 50 words long in which two people (or sets of people) acted independently at the same time, and each person’s/set of people’s actions would affect the other at some point in the future. (The O. Henry story “Gift of the Magi” was the inspiration for this contest.)
Here are our winning entries, then our honorable mentions. Three out of six authors are new to OTP.
Third Place by Clare Goldfarb (published in mini-contest #23)
Mrs. Archer came home with the prom dress for her daughter Susan, a dress she would have loved had her own parents been able to afford it when she graduated.
The girl hung up the phone. Molly had said, “Yes,” and then added, “it’s time, Susan. We’re wearing tuxedos.”
Second Place by Gita V. Reddy (published in issue #29)
“Let’s bring the young lovers together!” said the Fates, each deciding to do her utmost.
One put Juliet to sleep. “Daughter, fear not. You shall live happily with Romeo.”
The other gave Romeo poison to unite the lovers in death.
The third sister only said, “We should have conspired.”
First Place by Morgan Schafer (new OTP author)
Jim and Rose booked a trip to a nude resort in Cancun for their twentieth wedding anniversary.
Meanwhile, their daughter Emily, a freshman in college, convinced her friends they should do something crazy in Mexico for Spring Break.
Honorable Mentions (no money, just fame)
Three other entries scored highly enough to earn honorable mentions.
While his wife played bingo, Bob was secretly organizing a bachelor party for his friend Dave. Actually, instead of bingo, Linda was training for a new temporary job as a stripper for bachelor parties. On party night, Bob claimed he was going bowling, and Linda declared to be cinema bound.
(by Kirby Hancock, published in multiple mini-contests)
The developer drooled over the site—fifty hectares of incomparable beachfront property. The indigenous protestors waived their placards—“No development of ancestral lands”.
In an office far away, a geologist studied his data—the land was sinking, the water rising. Within a decade, it would slide below the waves.
(by Phil Yeats, new OTP author)
Neil was tearing along at warp speed. After six days lost in time-space, he’d found a wormhole home.
Captain Arcana was at Sandra’s door. “After five years missing, your husband was declared dead today. I know you’ve grown close to his brother. Move on, Sandy. Nobody will blame you.”
(by Deborah Cher, new OTP author)
Congratulations to the winners and our sincere thanks to everyone who entered the mini-contest.