Sunday, August 06, 2017

Contest results-NOW FINAL

Special recognition for alliteration
Sharyn Ekbergh: "a shiver of sand sharks"

The Duchess of Yowl is hoping the hooligans are still being held in the hoosegow
AJ Blythe
Extra tough curtain rods in anticipation of the Duchess of Yowl's next visit.
 The return of the clue-by-four!
Sarah 9:12am
After breaking the last three whilst gently remonstrating woodland creatures, she of the toothy grin opens the newly delivered clue-by-four.
 If only!
BJ Muntain
Holy cow. That box must be 4 to 5 feet long...

I know. You ordered yourself a new intern via the Interwebz. It's one of those new-fangled interns that puffs out to normal width when you pull them out of the box. And feed them cookies.

Yea, but those option checks cash juuuuust fine!
Brent Salish
The new Reacher novel. Lee Child was tired of "how tall is he, really," so he decided to make the form of the novel fit the character. He tried - he really did, with the help of his agent - to convince the publisher that Reacher is 6'5", but they knew the truth. And that's why the box is exactly the same height as Tom Cruise.

Several readers were moved to poetry!
What came in the box has left
no trace, no tail, no shed skin.
No desert dust or lingering scent,
nor grain of salt, or breath of wind.
Not any clue at all remains
of what has come and gone.

Melanie Sue Bowles
The trip to Carkoon is a short one,
yet arduous and risky.

You should never make it alone,
but always take scotch whisky.

As you head up Screwed Creek,
there are sharks - don't be incautious.

And that paddle you thought you'd get?
It's sitting in a New York City office.

Marty Weiss
The Area Rug
“The floor was cold; its hardwood made me shiver.
Arachnologists say, that’s bad for a spider’s liver.
She listened and cared and bought it just for me.
At last, it’s here. It arrived F.O.B.

If, perchance, a wandering household bug,
would stray upon this brand new area rug.
I’d joke and play, for I am not a killer,
I’m more like the late Miss Phyllis Diller.

Shag or broadloom, cotton or wool,
Beige or umber or any thing else that’s cool.
Who cares what color, as long as it lays flat.
But please, keep her off, that spider-chasing cat.”

Window blinds. I've never been more certain of anything in my life.
Steve Forti references from pop culture eluded me. I knew there had to be something there though,
so I googled. Thanks Steve. Thanks a lot.
It puts the lotion on its skin..."

Fortunately I did get the reference on this entry!
Joseph Snoe
It was a a long day's journey into night.

This one too.
What is in the box?

A very long kaleidoscope and a very tiny tab of acid.

And a note. A query, really. It begins...

Picture yourself in a boat on a river...

Kathryn sent us all to google translate!
Diri man ini an baton. Ini an para magpalurong kan Janet kon diri hiya makahibaro kon ano nga yinaknan man ini. Pilipino ba? Oo naman, per ano man? Usa ka libro ha akon kon diri ka maaram.

This is so surreal it begs to be a Sean Ferrell book
DelicartoonsDELLcartoons (sheesh SharkForBrains, get it rlght!)
One of the more unusual offerings on Etsy on a hand-crafted Entire-Universe-Except-For-One-Red-Umbrella.

It arrives in a tall, thin, Inside-Out box. A normal box has its insides on the inside and and its outsides on the outside. But an Entire-Universe-Except-For-One-Red-Umbrella obviously won't fit in a normal box, so they put it in an Inside-Out box.

When the box "arrives" it doesn't actually go anywhere, but the contents inside get rearranged so that you're now near the opening.

Here are the finalists
"P2PYL," Janet said, giving her eyes a rest from the hundredth query of the morning. "Never heard of that company before."

The box appeared empty, but had some heft to it. Too heavy for Spidopuss, but not for the filament she produced.

The billowy thread floated into the box and went taut. Tug...tug...cocoon.

"Whoa, Spidey. Let me see."

The object was long, thin, platinum-looking but brighter.

"What are you?" Janet asked and wondered if she should call security.

Letters formed above the latch.

"Open me"

Spidopuss looked at Janet.

Janet looked at the letters as they dissolved and reformed.





"Now you're getting bossy," Janet said.

Sweet cursive

"Might be books"

"Might be a bomb," Janet said.

"Would I do that to you?"

"I don't know. Who are you?"

"Open me and find out."

Janet started to flip the latch - wait - not with that pen. She grabbed a ruler instead.

She flipped the lock and the thing unfolded swift and smooth in the middle of the room where it hung on nothing, shimmering.

"It's a portal," Janet said "but to where?"

"Not to where," a familiar voice said, followed by a wave and a smile.

"Hello, Mum," Janet said. "It's been a while."

Dena Pawling
The box she'd been waiting for had finally arrived.

Spidopuss checked her bank balance, smiled at the hefty deposit for “services rendered,” reviewed her instructions, and started spinning.

Once all employees of New Leaf were cocooned, she opened the door.

“Mmmmmph,” said a cocoon.

“Mwahahahaha,” said intruder #1, rubbing her hands.

Spidopuss finished with the exacto knife (successfully, as she still had all eight legs attached).

“Good girl,” said intruder #2, extracting the contents of the box.

“Mmmmmph!!” said the cocoon again desperately, ignoring the advice to kill all adverbs modifying the word said.

The two intruders found chairs and glasses.

“To our host,” said intruder #1, filling the glasses and raising one high.

“Cheers,” said intruder #2, lifting his glass to meet the other.

“Mmmmmph!!” said the cocoon again, wriggling and wriggling and firmly, definitely, unequivocably stuck, owing to the excellent work of Spidopuss along with several unused adverbs discovered lurking at the bottom of the now-empty box.

Once the special order bottomless bottle of Scotch was empty, sobs could be heard emanating from the cocoon and ignoring the advice to avoid passive voice. Poelle and Sherman left their empty glasses where they'd fallen, and helped each other slosh out the door.

“Thanks, Shark. T'was a lovely party,” they slurred on the way out.

The cocoon wept.

Scott Sloan
    ... as every little spider worth its web knows, no one will remember what came in the box the day after tomorrow...
    Spiders (and cats) everywhere will tell you this is a fact of nature.
    A universal given.
    Who cares what was shipped?
    It's the box that's important!
    With an empty box the possibilities are endless.
    With any actual contents, the possibilities become severely limited.
    What arrived was, indeed, another empty box?!?

Panda In Chief
What’s in the box?
Let the Spidopuss see.
It might be for you,
it might be for me.
Does it have frosting
or ribbons and string?
Is it sort of organic
or crusted with bling?
Is it squishy and soft-
Will it break if it falls?
Is it made for a kitchen
or hung on the walls?
Let me see, let me see!
I must take a look.
Oh fuck it all, Janet,
just send me a book.

EM Goldsmith
What's in the box? This was a curse not a gift. It should never have been opened.

Emptiness and darkness escape the box. Wails of despair wrought of lonliness and isolation no longer in the box. Every soul feels that anguish as it swirls in the ether.

A body found dead, an innocent man accused, well-framed and then well-executed, a dance too often repeated no longer in the box.

These things torment us all now.

A disease of ignorance and hate, pain and tornent flee the box. Please, close it now.

Oh, Pandora, what have you left us? Is hope still there at the bottom of the box? I fear to look. Better to have faith than to know for sure what is left in the box.

Timothy Lowe

Melanie Savransky
    Spidey put down his Glock and opened the box. "You know what this means, don't you? It's curtains for you, Alot."

    Alot fainted.

    "And a curtain rod," Spidey added, "in an absolutely darling brass finish."

    He looked at Alot and sighed. Starting a hitman/interior decorator business wasn't the worst idea he'd ever had, but it was definitely in the top ten.

John Davis (manuscript) Frain
I'm kinda cheating because I ordered the same box.

One of the ninety-six emails I got from Writer's Digest last Monday (I know, slow day) offered the "really good, very nice, excitingly fresh, alarmingly brief box o’ adverbs." They marketed it as all the adverbs you'll need for your WIP. I'm a sucker for good marketing.

Mine arrived yesterday. Despite the long and misleading product name, the box comes as your picture indicates—empty.

So, what's in the box? All the adverbs you'll need for a compelling story.

Because story is what it's all about. Well, that and the hokey-pokey.

(Ed. note: I was breaking out in a rash because my earlier entry was over 100 words. I know it wasn't a rule, but I'm conditioned like one of Pavlov's dogs. Feel much better now, thank you.)

Karen McCoy
Spiderpuss trampled over Janet and the Alot to get a look inside. “It’s dark.”

“Can’t you see in the dark?” the Alot sighed.

“If I was an actual spider, probably,” Spiderpuss says. “Fluff doesn’t really allow for much.”

“You’re right about that,” the Alot groaned. “It’s bad enough that people are still comparing me to Michael Phelps.”

Janet sighed. “No one is doing that. You’re lucky I’m still willing to type your name at all, Alot. Word keeps correcting it.”

“Speaking of words,” Spiderpuss said, “I think there’s one in the box.” With his soft, spidey legs, he pulled out the first letter. “A.”

“Is that the first letter?” the Alot asked.

“Not all names start with A like yours,” Spiderpuss groaned. He grabbed a second letter. “I.”

“AI?” The Alot asked. “Who would send artificial intelligence in a box?”

“There’s more.” Eventually Spiderpuss pulled out 2Ns, an E, another N, a T, and an R.

“It’s an anagram!” The Alot clapped. “I love those. What’s it say?”

Janet scrambled the letters, and eventually landed on the following phrase: “An intern. I ask for an intern, and this is what they send me.”

“Someone thinks they’re punny,” Spiderpuss said.

The Alot snickered.

Let me know which are your faves, and if you think I missed one that should be a finalist.

Final results later today.

You guyz really outdid yourselves!!


I couldn't pick just one.
And since I have several prize books to give away, this seems like just the right time for TWO winners.

And they are: John Davis Frain and Melanie Savransky. Both entries just cracked me up every time I read them.

Melanie, let me know your mailing address.

John, let me know if yours has changed since your last win.

And to all of you who took the time to write entries, many thanks!  It's always a pleasure to read your work!


Kitty said...

BJ Muntain's entry is not a finalist, but I love it anyway.

PAH said...

Cautionary Tales for Children:

Who didn't read the entire post or the instructions before making his guess and was eaten by a Shark.

Anonymous said...

Congrats to all. There were some really good entries this time out.

So I'm back to being delicartoons, am I?

Thanks for reading my comment and mentioning me, by whatever name.

Scott Sloan said...

I made the finals...

Barbara said...

Melanie Savransky's was my favorite. I read it just like Alot heard it. Clever!

Barbara Etlin said...

These are all so great, but I absolutely love Panda in Chief's tribute to Dr. Seuss.

Claire Bobrow said...

Too many good ones to choose. Congrats all! And Steve Forti, I totally got the reference. I'm still shaking in my boots after reading that book, though it was many years ago. Your interpretation managed to make it funny :-)

BJ Muntain said...

I got a mention - yay!

And thank you, Kitty. :)

My favourite also didn't make it to finalist: I just loved Melanie Sue Bowles' entry - I considered it a winner when I first read it, and I still think it's the best of the bunch.

Of the finalists, they're all really good, but I do like Panda's best. :)

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

What fun...! An honorable mention *smiling here.

So much good stuff, as always. Of the finalists: I loved both Karen and Melanie S's. John's made me laugh, even though I am defenderly of the occasional, well placed adverb.

Lennon Faris said...

These are probably some of the funniest entries I've ever read!

From those not mentioned here, I also LOVED Cecilia's - it was hilarious.

The metaphysicist in me just about died with delight from dellcartoon's entry.

They were all excellent. I will never be a contest judge!

E.M. Goldsmith said...

Well, writers and a box. And this is what you get. I liked Panda's a lot- very Seussian. The old Manuscript made me chuckle - all those empty adverbs.

I kept thinking of my daughter at three. For Christmas, she asked Santa for empty boxes. Poor Santa didn't know what to make of this. She said she wanted to fill the boxes up herself. It is just too much fun filling the box yourself with leaves and nuts and shiny rocks like my daughter did with the 10 empty boxes she received that Christmas or with imagination like we all did this weekend.

Theresa said...


John Davis Frain said...

Melanie or Panda? Panda or Melanie?

A coin! A coin! My kingdom for a coin!

Alas, if King Richard cannot decide, who am I to judge? (I should have written that in iambic pentameter, but I have my own editing to torment my mind today. Off to slay adverbs!)

Timothy Lowe said...

Tickled to be mentioned for a one-word entry. Many of these were too long for me to focus on (I was at a BBQ and distracted by a trampoline, a swimming pool, a platter of cupcakes and a dozen kids aged ten and under). One word was about all I could manage.

I do enjoy Panda's verse, especially the end. But hats off to all of you who could make so much out of a box. I think there are some unique characters being developed here (I mean in the stories - but I suppose that could also apply to the authors).

Well done, Reiders!

Dena Pawling said...

I'm a finalist?!! Wow thanks!

Lots of fun ones this time. I especially liked Panda, Melanie Savransky, and John of the manuscript Frain.

LibraryHungry said...

Delurking because of how very much I loved the Entire-Universe-Except-for-One-Red-Umbrella. That is on my top ten list of most delightful things ever.

Craig F said...

Panda for channeling Panda

Yesterday I was in a boat on a river

Passing tangerine trees (this is Florida) under a strawberry cotton candy sky

the girl beside got the sun in her eyes but the kaleidoscope sunglasses, courtesy of Oakley, dispelled it.

We paddled 6.3 miles in 47 minutes which means I am getting closer to where I was before the SCC surgery stole my rhythm.

Cecilia Ortiz Luna said...


And Marty Weiss!

Melanie Savransky said...

The ending couplet of Panda's made me snort coffee! I also dug Timothy Lowe's. My curtains gag was lifted from, er, inspired by an old Bugs Bunny cartoon, so I think the edge should go to one of the other marvelous contestants.

AJ Blythe said...

Ooh, a mention! =)

I wrote down my favourite entries as I read them: BJ, Melanie, John Frain & Panda. But I'm going to be no help narrowing down the list of finalists - the entries are too fabulous.

kathy joyce said...

OT, Janet, I noticed Steve Hamilton in the prize stack. Do you rep him? I love his work.

As for the winner, I can't pick one. Congrats to all.

Sarah said...

Ohmyword, I was a preliminary! (So worth the de-lurking!)

I vote for Timothy's, the Occam's razor of answers.

Panda in Chief said...

Squeeee! I am beside myself, making it to the finals, channeling my inner Dr. Seuss. Huzzah to all who caught the stylistic reference. Really there are so many good ones to choose from. I like Melanie's a lot (Alot!) too! I am humbled by such exalted company.

Apologies to Melanie S if I made you snorf coffee on your keyboard. My bad.

Karen McCoy said...

Oh, wow, I was gone all day only to find out I was a finalist!? Woo hoo!

Mucho congrats to John and Melanie (and thanks to Melanie for the vote of confidence)!

CynthiaMc said...

Congratulations John and Melanie!

BJ Muntain said...

Congratulations, John and Melanie! (Yes, I copied Cynthia's. I am pre-caffeinated, and you didn't want a 3000 word story, did you? :P )

Boris Ryan said...

And they are: John Davis Frain and Melanie Savransky. Both entries just cracked me up every time I read them.

Were they funny because of the contradiction in one employing an adverb, while the other rails against their use?

Kudos to the winners!

Lennon Faris said...

Congratulations, John Frain and Melanie!!

John Davis Frain said...

Well, isn't this a great start to the week. Monday, acting like a Monday, has kept me away until now. I've never been so happy with a tie!

I'm interested in Stephen Mack Jones' selection, August Snow, unless Melanie has claimed it. She should get first pick for that brilliant double entendre, It's curtains for you, Alot. (I feel clever just typing it!)

I'm at the same address. My family may have moved without telling me--I'm locked in the back corner editing, and I'm not wandering into the real world until I'm finished.

Never realized finished was such a pliable word.

Most important, thank you for the opportunity.

Claire Bobrow said...

Well done, Melanie and John!
Villainy, home decor, and missing adverbs. I really, really, really, really love it. (Found them.)