Mini-Contest #47

The 47th OTP mini-contest launched in November 2020. This mini-contest asked contestants to write a story between 25 and 50 words long that used the word “monitor” exactly ONCE.

We received 110 entries. Here are the winning entries, then the honorable mentions. Three of the seven winners are new to OTP.

Third Place by Jennifer Moore (placed in several other mini-contests)

Penny wasn’t interested in normal pets. No puppies or kittens for her.

“Why can’t I have a monitor lizard?”

“It’s too big,” said her mother. “Too dangerous. It’ll eat your brother’s hamster for breakfast!”

Penny shook her head. “It can have goldfish for breakfast. I’ll save the hamster for lunch.”


Second Place by Steve Bailey (new to OTP)

My escape from bondage was joyous and sad. I joined the Navy to free my family. In a battle with the CSS Virginia, cannonballs banged on my ship’s ironsides. I went down with her, my USS Monitor when she sank in a storm. My black life was short but mattered.


First Place by Terri Mertz (new to OTP)

I hate this guy my mom’s running around with. He creeps me out. Greasy hair, that stupid mustache, annoying laugh. They came home drunk last night, singing Elvis songs. She’s not a child, but I have to monitor her like one. I’m afraid she’s going to get pregnant.

Honorable Mentions (no money, just fame)

Four other entries scored highly enough to earn honorable mentions.

The young man set everything up, wrote instructions and left me a crib sheet. But on Sally’s birthday, it wouldn’t work properly. I had to phone her instead.

“Sorry we can’t see each other. My screen is blank.”

“Grandad, have you turned on the monitor?”
(by Wendy Janes, published in Issue #35)

Helen Stilton lumbers out the door on screen and my jaw plummets in amazement. It was only yesterday she was admitted on a gurney, unmoving, unfeeling, gray-faced. She should not be leaving the building of her own accord. It’s my job to monitor the morgue’s security footage, you see.
(by Rainie Zenith, published in mini-contest #45)

“If I’m called from class, behave yourselves. Otherwise, the Monitor will wreak vengeance.” Mrs. Luna indicates the foot-high robot on her table.

Today she’s called from class.

I pull Peggy’s pigtails. Peggy squeals. Everyone laughs.

A whirring starts up inside the robot, like blades of a blender.

Everyone stops laughing.
(by Paul Freeman, new to OTP)

A huge spaceship landed. Four reptilian creatures walked out, through the crowd of excited humans, and bowed to a nearby monitor lizard.

“These mammals are destroying your atmosphere, oceans and land,” they hissed. “We have come to help you eliminate them and save your planet.”

The lizard merely blinked.
(by Sheila Crosby, published in Issue #17 and four other mini-contests)

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