Saturday, August 05, 2017

flash contest!

What came in this box?

The box arrived in the office, and the Spidopuss immediately rappelled in to investigate.

She got out the exacto knife, sliced the tape, and took a look.

It was a very long box!

What could have been inside this?

Here are some clues:

1. It was not a giraffe.

2. It was not a snake.

3. It was not a pogo stick (all the animals in the office were disappointed at that.)

In the comment column, tell me what you think came in the box!

Of course there's a prize!
It's one of these books:

Contest opens NOW
Contest closes later tonight!

Remember, reality plays a VERY small part of "correct" in these answers.  Yes, something did come in the box, but getting it "right" is less important to a winning answer than imagination, fun, word play, and clever.

Have at it!

Oops, too late. Contest now closed.


Sharyn Ekbergh said...

A shiver of sand sharks.

Kregger said...

Irwin Allen has sent the auto-return device from The Time Tunnel. James Darren awaits your return.

AJ Blythe said...

Extra tough curtain rods in anticipation of the Duchess of Yowl's next visit.

CynthiaMc said...

"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."

Sarah said...

After breaking the last three whilst gently remonstrating woodland creatures, she of the toothy grin opens the newly delivered clue-by-four.

Her Grace, Heidi, the Duchess of Kneale said...

A tripod with its legs stuck in the tall position.

Nobody gave it much thought until they heard it whisper, "Oooh-long..."

(Anybody got a cold coming on?)

Sherry Howard said...

"It's here!" Spidopuss exclaimed.

"I thought her card got declined," said Sharkface.

"Guess not. I'm first."

They had the slide set up in no time, confident JR wouldn't mind her desk being the landing spot until the self-inflating pool arrived to put at the bottom of the slide.

BJ Muntain said...

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.

Brent Salish said...

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.

Susan said...

Twenty questions? I bet I can guess it in one:

It's a breadbox.

Boom. *mic drop*

Marie McKay said...

The next installment of a very tall tail!

Nita said...

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.

PAH said...

Window blinds. I've never been more certain of anything in my life.

Steve Forti said...

Aragog peered at the box. He liked this game, ordering a plethora of presents off Amazon and trying to guess which arrived first. But this particular package bore no identifying marks.

"Hmm... maybe it's that telescope. Nah, that would have more padding."

He read the few bits of signage. "Fragile. Italian, got it. That means it can't be that massive baguette."

Any more clues? The box said "dn" with an arrow, which was odd, since usually they told you which end was up. Oh well.

"Could it be that whale baculum from the museum shop? No, that was through FedEx."

He puzzled for an hour, wracking his brain and taking mental measurements. It was light. And did not rattle.

"The giant Toblerone?" No, no. Italian, remember?

At long last, he gave up and opened the box. As he peered down its long, dark insides, his brow furrowed. "It's... empty?" No, something glinted at the far end of the box. A reflective sticker or something. Just needed a closer look.


Aragog slid down the long box interior, landing with a thud and standing the box up lengthwise. Flustered, he found the owner of the reflected light. A small tube of something. Cream, perhaps? Lotion?

He tried to climb out, but the walls were too slick. "Hello? My queen? Anyone there?" He tried again, but was trapped. "Help?"

A noise. A shadow. A face appearing at the far open end of the tunnel box.

"Alot. Thank heavens. Toss me a line or something."

Alot just stared.

"Come on, buddy."

Alot grinned. That was foreboding. "It puts the lotion on its skin..."

Dena Pawling said...

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 said...

... 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?!?

Cecilia Ortiz Luna said...

Amazon 2 day free delivery of one (1) medium freeze dried Carkoonian Carcass*.

*Corporeal remains of writer souls who perished from excess of asshattery, unquerysharked queries, gross misuse of asbestos underpants, paralyzing self doubt and lethal shark bites sustained after repeated violation of the maximum-100-words-3-comments rule (dystopian decree of August 1, 2017 bonus post). 63% of these carcasses are scraped off from writer-shaped hamster wheels found at the junction between Carkoon and the third circle of hell. Perfect as show- don't-tell visual aid in writer's conferences.

roadkills-r-us said...

It was Colin with a bottle of Scotch and a full. "This is the holy grail of Scotch. William Wallace appeared to me in a vision with this. Read the full and it's yours."

Or (Schrodinger is hard at work today)...

It was record size Alaskan king crab legs. Attached to a record size Alaskan king crab. Still alive. The crab started to attack spidopuss, but fell hard for that fuzzy face. Now they're off on a date with a bottle of Scotch, which Colin is desperately seeking so he can mail himself with his full to the Shark.

Colin Smith said...

... so long, she couldn't see the bottom. The Spidopuss leaned in to get a closer look, and suddenly felt a pull. She tried to resist, but the pull was too strong. The strain on her legs as she pushed back was too great. Fearing loss of limb, Spidopuss closed her eyes and retracted into a ball, allowing herself to be drawn into the depths of the box.

When she opened her eyes, she was staring at white office walls. Bookshelves stocked with neat rows of books. Cubicles occupied with people talking on the phone, or typing furiously--some doing both. The workers were holding bottles of water; not a coffee mug in sight. She could feel the tension in the air. Spidopuss uncurled and slowly walked past the cubicles toward the end office. It all seemed vaguely familiar.

The door was ajar, so she slipped through. The lady in the armchair had her back to the door, so she didn't notice Spidopuss. She was wearing a pink frilly dress and had a red and white polka-dot bow in her hair. The office was painted in rose and magnolia stripes, with pictures of goldfish and guppies dotted unevenly around the walls. The lady's desk was a mess of paper, open books, and uncapped black Bic pens. The books on her bookshelf were either standing upright or lying flat, some with spines facing, some upside down. Spidopuss's stomach turned.

She gently climbed the back of the lady's chair to see what she was typing. It was a letter: "Thank you so much for sending this to me, Jeffrey. Don't worry that it's a month late, I'm sure that won't matter. There were a lot of lovely typos--you're so talented with language. I particularly loved the story about the baseball hate. A keeper, for sure! And don't worry about the length. I'm sure 500,000 words will be fine. I thought about editing it, but that seems like a lot of work for us both..."

Suddenly the lady turned and looked straight at Spidopuss. She smiled a garish, red-lipstick smile at her. Spidopuss let out a shriek, and fell to the floor. She knew that face. She looked up at the door, this time reading the nameplate: "Janet Reid."

*Cue "Twilight Zone" music...*

Steve Stubbs said...

It's a winning query letter. Complete with cookies, powdered sugar, and lots of glitter.

The book idea was crap, the query letter sucked, the powdered sugar attracted ants that came qwith the box, the cookies were a year old, and they were just store bought Famous Amos anyway. What snagged the publishing deal was the glitter.

Glitter will do it every time. If you want a deal, forget the query. Send glitter.

Joseph Snoe said...

This one's easy.

It was a a long day's journey into night.

Bobbie Falin said...

A long look into the future--hopefully with a high degree of satisfaction at the end.

Writer of Wrongs said...

Long John Silver*

*Saber shipped separately

Craig F said...

E-mail gave the double ping of something important so I turned away from the box. Spidey had two legs against the table, two against the bookshelf and four holding the box. The big hippy-shake was about to begin.

I heard a muffled foop sound an looked up. Spidey was nowhere around. It's attention span timer must have run out. I turned back to the e-mail.



Claire Bobrow said...


Dear Sir or Madam,

I herewith return the enclosed wooden leg to your care. Thank you for thinking of me; however, the name of my blog is QueryShark. If you do locate your intended recipient, please inform QueryPirate that my lawyers will be in touch.

Sincerely yours, etc., etc.
La Sharque

Lisa Bodenheim said...

Spidopuss reads the note:

Dear Janet,
A clue. Just for you.
your beloved (but not quite classical) Athenian mystery author,
Gary Corby

"What is it?" Janet asks.

Spidopuss hauls it out, "A rainstick?"

Tipping it, they listen. Janet googles for information.
Spidopuss plays the gentle sounds.

At length, Janet said, "Right. That's enough playing, Spido. We'll keep it. But Mr. Corby will be getting a stern email. This," she picks up the rainstick, "is a red herring."

RosannaM said...

The superambitious writer, having discovered an adventitious and expeditious route to enticing an agent, enclosed a beverage not fermentitious in nature, rather one that required a repetitious triple distillation. Said bottle came in ostentatious elongated sizing requiring a surreptitious delivery on the thirty-first of July, which for the superstitious is thirteen backwards. The writer in question, not wanting to seem pretentious, did not wrap the box of this nonnutritious beverage, enticing Spidopuss to investigate, unbeknownst to the absentitious agent.

Melanie Sue Bowles said...

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.

Barbara Etlin said...

A very long sponge to use with your new shark stamps.

Kathryn said...

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.

Anonymous said...

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.

Do not reach outside the box and pull in the red umbrella. It wasn't included in the purchase price, and you'll be charged extra.

The Sleepy One said...

A shark gun. Because sometimes, even sharks need to shoot nerf balls at both unsuspecting interns and the terminally clueless queriers.

Barbara said...

What is in tbe 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...

Marty Weiss said...

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.”

Panda in Chief said...

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.

E.M. Goldsmith said...

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 said...


Kate B said...

An extendable arm for a thirsty shark to retrieve Bloody Marys from the seaside bar.

Grace Hoover said...

In the box came a shark themed lamp given to you as a gift from aquaman to thank you for your awareness of the mistreatment and unfair judgement of sharks. There was a note taped on the shade of the lamp describing how the sharks come alive every full moon and to feed them during that time, or they will get hungry….

Melanie Savransky said...

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.

Scott G said...

Armed with the exacto, Spidopuss slinked into the box when Janet wasn't looking.


What the-!

Knotty tendrils of fabric curled around each leg, pulling her deeper inside. "Nooooooo!" she yelled, slashing her exacto like a scythe in a wheat field. "I got eight legs. I'll crawl out of here with seven if I have to!"

Slicing her last leg free, she scurried out of the box with Janet's back turned and hid behind the slush pile.

When Janet turned and saw the package, she twiddled her fingers in glee. "Happy Halloween to me!" she sing-songed as she pulled her Trump costume from the box.

"Holy fuckamoli!" Janet gasped, holding the Trump costume by the shredded hair. "And it came with a pre-slashed face. Cool!"

John Davis Frain said...

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.)

kathy joyce said...

After a battle with @byobrooks and @bpoelle over a Reider's manuscript, the Shark needed a new fin. Also, her spoctpus is nosy.

Karen McCoy said...

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.

Megan V said...

Aha! I see the My Critter Catcher couldn't catch the office spider. Clearly, Her Royal Sharkness, the office spider, and the Noble Agents of New Leaf are preparing to snare some unsuspecting woodland critter instead. All hands on deck as it were.