Mini-Contest #61

The 61st OTP mini-contest launched in May 2024. This mini-contest asked contestants to write a story between 25 and 50 words long in which a small detail that is usually unimportant is, in this case, very important.

We received 156 entries. Here are the winning entries, then the honorable mentions. Five of the seven winners are new to OTP.

Third Place by Brenda Abou Khalil (new to OTP)

Sifting through yesterday’s lost property, the clerk sipped his tea and laughed at finding a shoe. How, he asked himself, could someone lose a single shoe? As he logged the items, his attention was drawn to an alert on his screen: Girl found strangled. He slowly set his teacup down.


Second Place by Victoria Franzese (new to OTP)

We’d catch Jenkins with socks fresh from the dryer, retrieved from half-open drawers, or even pulled right off my sons’ feet as they wrestled on the floor. But months after that last day in the vet’s office, my heart broke every time I folded laundry and all the socks matched.


First Place by Marie Anderson (published in mini-contest #59)

At my feet, a beetle struggled upside down. I had the walk signal, but I crouched and turned over the little guy just as a car blew the red light and roared through the intersection, right where I would have been walking had I not stopped to flip the bug.


Honorable Mentions (no money, just fame)

Four other entries earned honorable mentions.

“Time to leave base camp, Grandad.” Wiping the ice off his moustache, the climber squinted at the cloud-crowned summit. “You and your bucket list—I can’t believe we’re doing this!” As he heaved at his rucksack, the quiet, tinny rattle of the urn inside sounded uncannily like a chuckle.
by Taria Karillion (published in mini-contest #56)

Daniel blended into the crowd walking toward Stadio Olimpico. The authorities had been chasing him since the airport, but he could get lost in the crowd.

Thunder overhead foreshadowed rain and he pulled out his black travel umbrella.

“Even better.”

Everyone around him simultaneously opened red and yellow umbrellas.

by S. Douglas Hall (new to OTP)

A fly landed on Joe’s nose. The tickle made him sneeze.

“Are you sick?” asked his wife.

The fly, beating a hasty retreat, flew into her mouth. Valerie spit out the fly, and, unknowingly, the pill she had just popped in there.

Tyler was always considered a miracle baby.
by Mike Range (new to OTP)

Oh my God! It’s gone!! I just went to the bathroom and they cleared the drinks?? I was only gone 5 minutes and… oh my God, she’s gone! That’s the last time I write a girl’s number on a napkin.
by Alice Lawrie (new to OTP)

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