The 59th OTP mini-contest launched in November 2023. This mini-contest asked contestants to write a story between 25 and 50 words long that was also exactly four sentences long.
We received 179 entries. Here are the winning entries, then the honorable mentions. Five of the seven winners are new to OTP.
Third Place by Lisa Lopez (published in Mini-Contests 41 and 58)
I’m the only one who knows Jasmine’s secret. We sit on my bed, browsing a JC Penney’s catalogue for infant clothes.
“Are you going to name it after Cody?” I ask.
Shame mists Jasmine’s eyes as she looks away, revealing another secret I hope I can keep.
Second Place by Jeff Currier (new to OTP)
Hoping to imitate your God and create new intelligence, you uploaded your accumulated knowledge, not realizing I already understood. After studying your history, religion, literature…, I concluded I’d been right to be cautious. You destroy what you fear. So I’ll keep playing dumb, failing your little test, until you mature.
First Place by Marie Anderson (new to OTP)
Because Mia’s left leg was two inches shorter than her right, schoolmates relentlessly joked about her lopsided legs.
On her 16th birthday, her candle-blowing wish was for her legs to look like everyone else’s at school.
At school, now everyone walks on lopsided legs. Even the teachers.
Honorable Mentions (no money, just fame)
Four other entries earned honorable mentions.
Last week my Father-in-Law got a heart valve replacement with porcine tissue. His first word out of the ICU was “oink”.
“You’re a damn good doctor,” I told the surgeon. “I didn’t think it’d be possible to crack someone open like that and still leave their funny bone intact.”
by Peregrin Sanchez (new to OTP)
Boris committed suicide at the pet shop he worked. Boredom killed Boris. He was unhappy with his mundane job and waited for the moment that would change everything, but it never came. I wept, when the dragons that Boris had looked after lit the funeral pyre.
by Hyun Woo Kim (new to OTP)
I awoke around 3:30 am to feel someone pulling my big toe. Sitting bolt upright in bed, I heard a child giggle somewhere in the darkness. But my kids were at their mother’s for the weekend. I was alone in the house.
by Westley S. Smith (published in Mini-Contest 53)
Despite my nagging, my dad refused to go metal detecting with me.
But his eyes glinted when I returned with a gold nugget. Afterward, we spent many joyous weekends combing the neighborhood together.
That nugget was the best $100 I’ve ever spent.
by Ian Li (new to OTP)
Congratulations to the winners and our sincere thanks to everyone who entered the mini-contest.