At 11:30 on Thursday, 7 August, 2014, I received this email:
In the name of GISHWHES (The Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen), we are looking for a published SCI-FI author to write an original short story for our Team (Team FreeWill) about Misha Collins (actor), the Queen of England, and an Elopus (which is a made-up animal with the head of an elephant and the body of an octopus) The story is limited to 140 words max! Would you be able to do this for us? The deadline would be tomorrow evening. Sorry for the rush but another teammate in Minnesota was trying to accomplish this item and it does not seem to be panning out so I thought I would look into local authors in/around Ottawa to help support local talent.
So at 2:30 PM that day, I sent the following story to Christine.
The Elopus in the Fishpond
(in 140 words)
by Seymour Hamilton for Christine Cholette and Team Freewill
“Your Majesty. There’s an elopus in the palace fishpond, eating goldfish!”
“Goodness me,” said the Queen. “A chimera with the head of an elephant and the body of an octopus? Well, you know what to do.”
“Er, what, Ma’am?”
“Fetch Misha Collins! He’s at Heathrow airport. He just posted on Facebook.”
The Queen texted Misha on her iPhone. In an hour, he was bowing courteously.
“Your Majesty,” said Misha.
“I presume you have handled the unpleasantness in my fishpond?”
“Indeed, Ma’am. The elopus is gone Without a Trace. It was a failed experiment in teleportation by a wizard named Monk. I Charmed the mis-matched parts back together. They’ll be Finding Home near Stonehenge in Seven Days.
“Many thanks, Misha. Sit down, dear boy, recite “Baby Pants” for me, and explain why you named your children Anaximander and Maison Marie.
Christine emailed me later that day to say she liked it.