Mini-Contest #41

The 41st OTP mini-contest launched in April 2019. This mini-contest asked contestants to write a story no between 30 and 50 words long in which the story’s first word began with “a” and the last began with “z”. Proper nouns were not allowed for the “a” and “z” words.

Here are our winning entries, then our honorable mentions. All seven authors are new to this magazine!

Third Place by Mike Todd (new to OTP)

“Assault and battery,” my mother said as I walked through the door unzipping my jacket. “They’re not even calling it ‘fighting’ anymore. Next time, you’re expelled. I miss your father, too. But we have to try…”

I turned around and walked back outside, zipping my zipper.


Second Place by Gustavo Bondoni (new to OTP)

Anyone who tells you that mixing hallucinogenics with alcohol is a bad idea is clearly a boring old stiff. Tell them to lighten up. While you’re at it, could you also ask the cars around me to slow down and stop honking? I really need to catch this zebra.


First Place by Laura Beutler (new to OTP)

Alcohol on the counter, I search the fridge for orange juice. It’s been nine months, but the pain still comes in waves. I sit down with receipts and my drink. I fill out our tax form. Under dependents, I change the “one” to “zero”.


Honorable Mentions (no money, just fame)

Four other entries scored highly enough to earn honorable mentions.

After a season of heartache and zits, she blossomed like a rose. Smiles replaced self doubt. Soon she was waltzing in pink pearls and chasing after blue tide dreams. But with time, her petals faded like summer’s end, and she remembered, with longing, the girl with the zit.
(by Lisa Lopez, new to OTP)

“Abiogenesis–it works!” cried the scientist as the towering corpse rose to its feet, gently waving a white handkerchief. Then the monster grabbed him and began to eat him.

“But you have a white flag of truce!” screamed the scientist.

“No, that’s my napkin,” said the zombie.
(by Larry Hodges, new to OTP)

Awe-inspiring as it may seem, Nathaniel was no longer thrilled to be a member of this particular cult. Although previously bedecked in gold and willing women, his upcoming sacrifice to the old gods dampened his loyalty, especially now as he was dragged to the steps of the waiting ziggurat.
(by Ann Pryciak, new to OTP)

Aspiring to have the same air of dignified coolness, I looked at the circus camel in awe. It was midnight and as another tourist climbed off of him, he held his exhausted head so high and so proudly as if he belonged to an unreachable land and time zone.
(by Niloufar Behrooz, new to OTP)

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