Mini-Contest #60

The 60th OTP mini-contest launched in April 2024. This mini-contest asked contestants to write a story between 25 and 50 words long in which a hat played an important role.

We received 340 entries. Here are the six winning entries, then the honorable mentions. Five of the six winners are new to OTP.

Third Place by Juliette Ogrin (new to OTP)

He was an elegant gentleman, this much was apparent from his sleek top hat. He walked leisurely, tipping his hat to passersby. If only they weren’t so entranced by his charm, they might notice that his hands remained lowered as another hand crept from the brim, tipping it for him.


Second Place by Lance Burri (new to OTP)

“Sorry we bothered you, Detective,” the officer said. “Must’ve been a prank call.”

Detective Murphy looked at the small group of kids huddled nearby, crying, and at the old battered top hat resting in a puddle that used to be snow, and remembered why she always dreaded Spring.

First Place by Abigail Taylor (new to OTP)

“I wrote my thesis on the symbolism of your protagonist’s blue hat!” A student laid down his raw heart to Flannery O’Connor. “Did I hit the mark?”

She answered with that passive smile any southerner knew meant danger, “I don’t know. I just wanted him to have a hat.”

Honorable Mentions (no money, just fame)

Three other entries earned honorable mentions.

The letter in the box said, “Please wear the enclosed hat all times when you are outside.” Inside he found a porkpie hat with a silver lining and he smiled to himself conspiratorially. Titanium of course, with its unique abilities to block transmissions. So, the authorities were taking him seriously.
by Doug Jacquier (published in Issue #37 and mini-contests #53 and #57)

“You can’t prove it was me,” Art insisted to the cop after being picked up for the convenience store robbery.

“You’re on the security footage. We can clearly identify you by the Santa hat you’re still wearing.”

“Every Santa hat looks the same. That proves nothing!”

“It does in April.”
by Margaret Lea (new to OTP)

Grandpappy always stopped at a glass enclosed hat at the town museum. Wide-brimmed and rusted leather. One day courage took hold. “Why this one?” I squeaked.

“Long story short, lots of gold, three men, one Winchester model 1887, that there hole, and then my own grandmomma cryin’.”

“Oh,” I whispered.
by Joshua Nieubuurt (new to OTP)

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