The 51st OTP mini-contest launched in November 2021. This mini-contest asked contestants to write a story between 25 and 50 words long based on the idea of holiday stress.
We received 133 entries. Here are the winning entries, then the honorable mentions. Six of the seven winners are new to OTP.
Third Place by Tracy Davidson (published in mini-contests 23, 40, and 43)
“Death By Chocolate” Day was here again. She loved it, but it was becoming increasingly stressful to think of new recipes to mark the occasion. Last year, she had simply boiled her unworthy suitor in a vat of melting chocolate. This year… well, maybe something involving crushed nuts.
Second Place by Kathryn Caldwell (new to OTP)
Beckley watched in silence as her mother zigzagged through the house, tagging and untagging items. It was Purging Day. Too little in the designated square and face accusations of greed. Place too much and pay the carbon fine for over-consumerism. Shaming was always swift and eagerly extended by neighbors.
First Place by Cindy Tebo (new to OTP)
Christmas preparations left Carol exhausted. However, tonight was the Christmas play. She could relax.
Her daughter, Katie, was playing Mary. When Joseph almost dropped the baby, Mary shouted, “Don’t you dare drop him. I was in labor 18 hours just like my momma. And I’m NOT going through that again!”
Honorable Mentions (no money, just fame)
Four other entries earned honorable mentions.
They’re coming! I haven’t seen them in two years. I cleaned the entire house from top to bottom. I cleaned until I was so tired I couldn’t function. Mom and Dad are finally here for Thanksgiving. And the first thing my mother did when she got here was start cleaning.
by Judy Lunsford (new to OTP)
Her son, knowing this wouldn’t be their last Christmas together, laughed as they put the decorations away, pulling a Santa hat from his smooth scalp. His mother, knowing it would be, did the same.
by Aaron Williams (new to OTP)
“My crew, the admiralty sent orders to walk the plank at sunset. I’m honored to’ve been yer captain.”
“Boss? Is Headquarters closing our branch?”
“But you’re gonna keep celebrating Talk Like a Pirate Day?”
“‘Tis good fer morale.”
“…Please tell me you brought rum.”
by Megan Hippler (new to OTP)
“National Artichoke Day?”
“Yes, it’s our annual dinner. Artichoke dip, stuffed artichokes, grilled artichokes, artichoke ice cream. So much fun—until one of our guests keeled over. We didn’t know what to do.”
“What’s his name?”
“You mean, you all just watched Artie choke?”
by Terrance McArthur (new to OTP)
Congratulations to the winners and our sincere thanks to everyone who entered the mini-contest.