Mini-Contest #40

The 40th OTP mini-contest was held in November 2018. This mini-contest asked contestants to write a story no between 30 and 50 words long that used the word “zebra” exactly once.

Here are our winning entries, then our honorable mentions. Unusually for us, only two out of the six authors are new to OTP. However, both new winners placed in the top three.

Third Place by Joann Majerle (new to OTP)

I hated the zebra stripes on my new outfit. A solid color would have looked much better. Maybe something in baby blue or a nice shade of teal.

“Quit fidgeting and look directly at the camera,” said the prison photographer.


Second Place by Laura Ruth Loomis (published in several issues and several mini-contests)

The other kids called him hurtful names: Oreo, Halfrican. Alone in his room, Jamal drew comics about The Zebra, a superhero with his face striped black and white, who could make the shadows around him come to life.


First Place by Hannah Whiteoak (new OTP author)

The zebra head above Uncle Fred’s fireplace had always creeped me out. When we heard his gun had jammed during his first lion hunt, I couldn’t help wondering, after the lions disemboweled him, did they keep his head? Mom said I couldn’t ask that at his funeral.


Honorable Mentions (no money, just fame)

Three other entries scored highly enough to earn honorable mentions.

“The zebra did it!”

I’ve heard all sorts in interview rooms. This is a first.

She’s not wrong though. Reviewing the security footage, the black and white stripes are clear. Good disguise.

If only he hadn’t removed the head at the exit. A face we recognize. Case closed.
(by Tracy Davidson, previously published in mini-contest #23)

“Anything you want,” promised Pete, clutching his winning lottery ticket. “Daddy’s treat.”

“A zebra,” said Suki.

Pete paled. “How about a pony instead?” But Suki wouldn’t be swayed.

“There you go sweetheart,” he said, hiding the black paintbrush behind his back. “Just don’t ride him in the rain.”
(by Jennifer Moore, previously published in several mini-contests)

“Named your band yet?”


Long pause. “Why?”

“Well one of the competitions we entered offers a hefty cash prize to the band whose name exemplifies the group. We all voted. There’s me, two other black guys, and three white dudes….. Enough said?”

(by Gary Hoffman, previously published in Issue #27)


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