Mini-Contest #57

The 57th OTP mini-contest launched in May 2023. This mini-contest asked contestants to write a story between 25 and 50 words long that showed the same situation from two, very different, points of view.

We received 212 entries. Here are the winning entries, then the honorable mentions. Six of the seven winners are new to OTP.

Third Place by Doug Jacquier (published in Issue 37 and mini-contest 53)

The pensioner couple shuffled towards the supermarket doors. Before they entered, Mrs. Smith stopped to drop $5 into the upturned hat of a homeless man, who sat on cardboard on the ground, with his head bowed. Mr. Smith scowled and mentally crossed “chocolate biscuits” off their shopping list.


Second Place by Cassandra Cline (new to OTP)

Inside: Shaking, followed by a maelstrom of flurries. Blizzard. Whiteout. Can’t see. Panic.

Outside: A winter wonderland in your hands. Joy! Until all the flurries settle. Then shake the snow globe again.


First Place by Nathan Long (new to OTP)

Management, tired of people stealing pint glasses or dropping them on the patio, put up the sign: “Beer MUST Be Drunk At Bar.”

Diana, exhausted from work, collapsed onto the bar stool, aching for a glass of wine. But after reading the sign, she sighed and ordered herself a beer.


Honorable Mentions (no money, just fame)

Four other entries earned honorable mentions.

Teachers’ Lounge: “I read the second graders a story about furnishing a log cabin in the 1800s with children gathering cattails for mattresses. They loved it! They were so attentive!”

School bus: “The librarian read a super scary story about old people killing cats and putting their tails in beds.”
by Nancy Rust (new to OTP)

My ailing mother gushes over the Poinsettia plant my sister overseas gifted her. What about my gift of time? I am resentful and, as her caregiver, feel undervalued.

“Why the animosity between you and your sister? I don’t see Carrie often. The Poinsettia is all I have of her.”
by Iris Cross (new to OTP)

“Too many items,” the cashier growls. “Sign says, ‘10 Items.’”

“I only have 12 potatoes,” Tessa counters. “He has a whole sack.”

“One sack, one item. Twelve loose potatoes, twelve items,” the cashier says, turning away with a grumble.

Tessa stares at the back of the cashier’s t-shirt: “Kindness Counts.”
by Wendy Mages (new to OTP)

She taught them to be kind and show respect. They learned perseverance in problem solving. She motivated them and she loved them. The year had been a success.

The state’s scores came back as less than proficient. Her strategies were questioned and methods critiqued. The year had been a failure.
by Jessica Russo (new to OTP)

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