Posts Tagged ‘elopus’

My stories for GISHWHES 2014

Now that the scavenger hunt known as GISHWHES is ended for this year, it’s my pleasure to share with one and all the four pieces of microfiction that I wrote for various teams.

The terms of Item #78 were to obtain from a previously published sci-fi author a story of no more than 140 words that included Misha Collins, the Queen of England, and an elopus (an elephant-octopus chimera, the mascot of the hunt).

The first three I gave to teams what had one of their members send me a selfie with one of my books, just so I could know I was supporting folks who were my fans. The fourth I sent to a German GISHER who wrote me such a heartfelt letter that I couldn’t let her down, with or without a selfie.

It was a pleasure to write these tales, and I was glad to help some folks in their quest for GISHWHES glory. Let’s do it again sometime.

Now, without further ado, I present the stories … such as they are.


“The People’s Queen”
© 2014 David Mack

Cold wind swept over the bridge. The pistol trembled in Charles’ hand as he aimed at Diana and her lover, Misha Collins. “You’ve cuckolded me for the last time!”

Diana sprang forward, arms wide, to shield her inamorata. “Kill me, but don’t hurt Misha!”

“Save your breath. You’ll need it after I throw you in the Thames.”

He tensed to fire—then the elopus’s violet tentacle lurched over the side of the bridge and snared him in its fearsome grip. Caught in the beast’s trunk was the corpse of Charles’ mother. In a blur they both were gone, pulled down into the gray dredge of the river, their bones breaking like dry twigs in the monster’s embrace.

Misha looked at Diana. “If they’re both dead, doesn’t that make you Queen of England?”

She was positively giddy. “Yes, I believe it does.”

(written for GISHWHES team Lumptacular, requested by member Jenna Carodiskey-Wiebe)

“The Cliffs of Dover”
© 2014 David Mack

“Majesty, we’re ruined! The Spanish Armada nears our shores!”

The Virgin Queen gazed east from the Cliffs of Dover, her mien placid. “Fear not, Walsingham. I have matters well in hand.”

“But Raleigh is slain, your grace! His ships are ablaze! We must retreat.”

“Spanish feet will not touch England’s green and pleasant lands, Sir Francis. Stand fast.” She pointed into the smoky distance, toward a churning vortex in the middle of the English Channel. “Look there. Our salvation arrives.”

Walsingham’s eyes widened. “By all that’s holy! Majesty, is that—? Can it be?”

“Yes—it’s the time-traveler Misha Collins, astride his invincible elopus Gishwhes. See how its tentacles crush our enemies? The forces of King Charles have blundered into our trap.”

“It’s a miracle!”

“No, Walsingham. It is victory by design. Prepare a feast for Misha and his monster.”

(written for Team Leaphard, requested by member Daniel Leaphard)

“The Gift”
© 2014 David Mack

“What is it, Mister President?”

“An elopus, Your Majesty.”

“Begging your pardon?”

“An elopus. An elephant-octopus chimera.”

“If you insist. Pray tell, what is it doing in my throne room?”

“Eating the prime minister of Canada, I believe.”

“Allow me to rephrase: Why is it in my throne room?”

“It’s a gift. From the United States to the people of Great Britain.”

“You shouldn’t have.”

“It was our pleasure.”

“You mistake me. I spoke literally. You should not have brought this abomination here.”

“My apologies. Excuse me. … Steve! Pack it up. We’ll give it to the French.”



“I hate it, but I’ll die before I let the French have it. … Sergeant Major? Put it in Loch Ness.”

“Yes, Majesty.”

“Now then, President Collins, let us retire to the castle for dinner.”

“Please, Your Majesty—call me Misha.”

(written for Team E=MCHammeredLoves37027, requested by member Paloma Figueroa)

© 2014 David Mack

Misha Collins points across the fog-shrouded heath. “There.”

I focus the binoculars, and I can’t believe my eyes. A tusked, trunked, tentacled behemoth scuttles and slouches across the moor. “What the—?”

“Isn’t it magnificent? It’s an elopus.”

“I’d call it terrifying.” I spy the surrounding area. “What kind of bait-and-switch is this? You promised me exclusive photos of the Queen of England.”

A diabolical smirk distorts Misha’s handsome face. “There she is.” He notes my confusion and nods at the creature. “Elopi are shape-changers.”

“The queen’s been replaced by an elopus?!”

“She’s always been one. The entire House of Windsor is elopi.”

Visions of the front page dance in my head. “We’re going to be rich.”

I feel the tentacle around my throat and realize I’ve been deceived. Misha is one of them.

Damn him. Damn him to hell.

(written for GISHER Marina Ginsberg and her team with an impossibly long name)

Micro-stories for GISHWHES

For those who don’t keep up with such things, GISHWHES is an acronym for “Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen.” It is an annual charity event organized by actor Misha Collins, who (among other roles) plays angel Castiel on the CW series Supernatural.

One of the items requested this year of participating teams — GISHERs, as they call themselves — was to procure a story of no more than 140 words in length, from a previously published sci-fi author, about “Misha Collins, the Queen of England, and an elopus.” (An elopus is an elephant-octopus hybrid, and the mascot of the event.)

Many GISHERs took it upon themselves to tweet, direct-message, and e-mail various authors, whether they knew them or not — and whether they were fans of those writers or not — to ask them to tap out original works of micro-fiction for their respective teams.

As one might imagine, more than a few authors got their noses out of joint over being asked to write for free, even if it was for a charity event. I suspect that most of the authors who were so aggrieved were likely far more popular and critically lauded than I am, and thus were deluged by an exponentially greater number of requests. To which I say: Cry me a fucking river, you prima donnas. We should all have your problems.

For my own part, I joked at first about my reluctance to work for free, especially at a time when I’m busy trying to beat a looming deadline. I tweeted:



Then I was asked by friends to record videos to help fulfill a different GISHWHES challenge: “Get a NY Times Bestselling Author or a Tony-award-winning actor or actress to record on video a dramatic reading from the California DMV Driver’s Handbook chapter on right-of-way.”

A ham at heart, I recorded two videos and had a blast doing it. Energized, I went to my computer and wrote three short stories just for GISHWHES:

“The People’s Queen”

“The Cliffs of Dover”

“The Gift”

Today I gave them to people who sent me selfies of themselves with my books, and I wrote a fourth — “Scoop” — specifically for a German fan who wrote me such a nice letter asking for my help that I couldn’t turn her away.

Next week, after the contest is over, I’ll share those stories and videos with the world here on my blog, and on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere.

And you know what? I’m still going to hit my quota on my manuscript today; I’ll still make my deadline; and even though I gave away the equivalent of about $88 worth of fiction (based on my current per-word rate), I am still able to pay my bills and not whine about the injustice of being asked to help strangers without the recompense of a profit motive.

And I’m okay with that.


UPDATE, 8.10.14: I’ve added links in the text above to later posts that feature the four stories and three videos I created for GISHWHES.