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  • Donald J. Bingle, Writer on Demand

GISHWHES and 25 Stories


This is actually a combination of two posts originally posted in August of 2014:

GISHWHES, the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen, is run by Misha Collins each year to bring people worldwide together for fun, camaraderie, and to assist in his charitable efforts. More about them can be found at https://www.gishwhes.com/. This year one of the tasks (apparently number 78 on a long list) was as follows: "Get a previously published Sci-Fi author to write an original story (140 words max) about Misha, the Queen of England and an Elopus. -59 POINTS" For those of you not in the know, an Elopus is an elephant/octopus hybrid which is the mascot of the competition. So, of course, many, many of the GISHWHES participants worldwide have started asking their favorite published scifi authors to provide a story. Many have declined, decrying the inundation of emails and the imposition of time on their schedules. I, on the other hand, just finished up my latest work-in-progress, am a fan of Supernatural (an awesome show, on which Misha portrays the fallen angel, Castiel; the show airs on The CW and is about brothers fighting supernatural creatures), am a fan of Misha (and fellow alum of The University of Chicago), and use as my marketing tag: Writer on Demand TM. If you use a tag like that, it seems you should be able to dash off a story on demand, especially one of 140 words or less. I also qualify as a published scifi author. Not only do I have many published short stories re time travel and other scifi topics in DAW and other anthologies (many collected and reprinted by genre in my own ebook series), but my first novel, Forced Conversion, was near future military scifi and was published in hardback by Five Star, an imprint of Gale/Cengage, and later re-released by 54-40' Orphyte in ebook form.

Heck, Pat Rothfuss does scads and scads for charity through his Worldbuilders organization. I can at least pen a few short, silly stories. Accordingly, here are the twenty-five, yes twenty-five, different stories I gave to various GISHWHES teams. My posts included 3 poems, 1 rap, 2 episodes of Supersleepy for all of you #brolandos out there, and one elementary school reader. I've posted them all below, in order of writing, to make them easier for you to peruse. Happy to include them, too, in a compilation with other authors for charity and, if nobody else is working on that yet, let me know. Best wishes to all the Gishers! A Trunk Full of Time Dmitri Tippens Krushnic was leaning on Henry Moore’s “Nuclear Energy” sculpture at The University of Chicago at the moment the New Madrid fault shifted, cracking the brass behemoth. A giant Elopus sprang Cthuluesque from the cracked shell, the by-product of lingering radiation and DNA scraped long ago from the shoe of a biology student. “You,” said the Elopus, “Queen Victoria requires your services.” Before Dmitri could reply, the Elopus trumpeted and Fourth Dimensional waves blasted forth, enveloping Dmitri and transporting him to the bedchamber of Queen Victoria. “Who are you?” demanded the Queen, her blankets pulled tight to her chin. Dmitri knew better than to use his real name. “I ... I am ... Misha. Misha Collins. I am here to service you.” After one night with Misha, Queen Victoria swore off sex forever. Rhythmic Motion I never thought that I would see, An Elopus gone off to sea. The beast was with the Queen eloping, It’s every tentacle moving, groping. But Misha Collins set the stage, These GISHWHES tasks are all the rage. Some require weird confections; Others demand celeb connections. Published scifi author though I be, This story consists of poetry. Although I suppose you might do worse, Than this tale of flowing verse. With Misha at the storm-tossed helm. The waves the ship did overwhelm. But Elopus can survive the ocean; It saved the Queen in one swift motion. By trunk aloft, she searched for land, A firmer place on which to stand. At dawn she spied a large atoll. Her treading beau didn’t mind at all. They wed amidst the swaying palms; Their love so certain, they had no qualms. Symbology “Tell me,” the Queen demanded, “the alternatives for England’s new royal symbol?” “First, the Elopus. Part octopus, part elephant. Eight legs to grasp disintegrating remnants of our empire and a trunk to trumpet our greatness.” “Sounds vaguely disgusting,” sneered the Queen. “True, but rare.” “My other choice?” “Misha Collins.” “Why him as the symbol for our greatness?” “Born Dmitri Krushnic, a Russian-American, he became an intern to President Clinton ...” “Gracious!” exclaimed the Queen. “Not the one with the stained dress, I hope.” “No, Ma’am.” “He then turned to acting and has used his celebrity to bring people worldwide together in camaraderie to raise money for charity.” “Ahh, more rare than a silly Elopus,” said the Queen. “Will he sit for sculpting?” “His minions will sculpt him in any medium you choose.” “No medium. The Empire requires extra-large.” Mis-hap “Verily,” sayeth the Queen, “my treasured Elopus is missing, stolen by Scottish separatists, alien abductors, or GISHWHES fanatics. You, Castiel, must find him.” Misha looked down, fidgeting with his phone, hoping to surreptitiously send a SnapChat of his royal visit. “Uh ... my name is actually not Castiel. Castiel is a character. I’m Misha Collins.” “Lies from a lying liar!” shouted the Queen. “MI-6 tells me your name is Dmitri Tippens Krushnic.” “Well, I was so called when born,” admitted Misha. “So, this Misha is a character, a vessel no more real or imaginary than Castiel, your latest moniker?” “In a way ...” “Then I believe you to be, and have the angelic powers of, Castiel. Go to it. Find my Elopus.” “But I’ve lost my grace, Your Grace.” “Gracious! Then gracefully exit.” “Again. No grace.” “Oh. Bollocks.” Apolitical “I’ll never understand Americans,” complained the Queen. “What kind of political party has as its symbol a tentacled creature with an elephant’s head?” “Republican Cthulhu cultists?” ventured Prince Charles. “I rather fancy the large ears.” The Prime Minister rolled his eyes. “It’s an Elopus, the symbol of GISHWHES, the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen, run by that madman, Misha Collins.” “But what is his agenda? Power? World domination? Free love?” “I never pay for love,” mused Prince Charles. The PM eyes rolled the other way. “No politics, save freedom to have fun and goodwill toward all.” “Ah, a libertine populist,” sneered the Queen. “Hardly a monarchist, Your Highness,” replied the PM. “They say he battles the King of Hell.” “Oh, a Californian, then?” “If they can elect a Terminator, Ma’am, they can elect an angel.” The Governangel Governor Misha Collins bowed to the Great Elder, Elopus the Weirdly Effective. “Oh, Great One. You have given me California. I ask now for America, then the world.” Elopus stopped shoveling peanuts into his maw with all eight arms and his prehensile snout. “You had the world, Misha, when you ran GISHWHES, uniting all in camaraderie and goodwill, but threw it away. And for what? Love? Sex? A tryst with the Queen of England?” “I have this grandmother fetish, especially when they wave from balconies. How could I know she’d been replaced by Disney animatronics in 1972? ” “You’re recovering, with my assistance. Now I demand tribute.” “More peanuts?” “No, Carter sends those. I require souls ... millions of souls.” “You want me to convert people?” “No. I want the film industry moved back to L.A. from Vancouver.” Hot Water “I didn’t expect you to wear your crown,” crooned Misha, slick and soapy, to the Queen of England. “One must maintain certain proprieties in my position,” she responded, luxuriating in the royal tub. “There are many other positions ...” replied Misha with a wink. “Misha, have you lured me here for nefarious purposes?” “I cannot tell a lie,” replied Misha, then paused. “Well, actually, I can. You should see my resume’: Camel jockey; martial artist; gymnast; professional actor on television. The lies are endless.” “Tell me true,” trembled the Queen. “Why am I here?” Misha shrugged. “GISHWHES scavenger item. Get the Queen to witness an otherwordly creature signing your bare belly in a hot tub.” An Elopus surfaced, a pen in each tentacle. “Elly is ready.” He turned away. “Line forms on the right, folks. No pushing.” Elopusnado Storms raged over Buckingham Palace, flashes lighting the Queen’s frightened countenance. “Global warming has brought hurricane-like storms here,” said the Royal Meteorologist. “I have lived long and prospered,” replied the Queen, a secret Trekker. “Alas, the storm travels from the sacred grounds of Stonehenge, where be a creature best hidden from view.” “You mean,” trembled her advisor, “we may get an Elopusnado? Those loathesome, hideous beasts use foul tentacles to sucker all that is good and innocent, feeding the children into the horrible, flaming mouth beneath the terrible, prehensile proboscis of the foul beast, where its giant Dumbo-esque ears can savor the wails of the soon-to-be-devoured.” “Yes, there is no doubt the Elopus leaps tonight. But, worse yet ...” “Yes?” “... I’m told the winds picked up Misha Collins, filming a sequel to Stonehenge Apocalypse.” “Aiyeeee. The horror.” Plop. Guest Star “Okay,” said Guy B., “for the 29th season finale, the network insists on some stunt casting.” “But,” said Jensen, “in this episode we finally confront the Elopus, the big bad that destroyed demons, angels, Leviathans, Buffy, flying monkeys, Jefferson Starship, and the Ebola/Croatoan hybrid virus. Dean gets to cry.” “Sam wants Elopus’ blood,” seethed Jared. “Besides, we need a strong finish to be renewed. I have grandchildren to feed.” “He’s right,” said Jensen. “And, they’re all taller than him. Even the toddlers. Yikes!” “Who’s the guest star?” asked Mark Shepherd, moseying over in his hover-chair. “The Queen of England,” replied Guy B. “Bollocks,” said Mark. “Son-of-a-bitch,” snarled Jensen. “She’d better not get my nude scene with Mark,” whined Kim Rhodes. “I used to date her,” said Misha. “Let’s have her possess Sam,” said Jared. “I can imitate anyone.” Epic Poetry One day, as author I sat writing, My next plotline I was sighting, When came an email quick requiring, One forty words of plot inspiring, ‘Bout Elopus and England’s Queen, Plus Misha Collins of TV screen. Blared the Elopus: “Do not bore.” An odd combo to compel a story, Yet I told them not to worry. On demand I write poems and prose, On paper white, the toner flows, In response to GISHWHES asking, Such a plot I will be tasking. Says the Elopus, “I’ll keep score.” When England’s Queen did Elopus slay, She became a hunter real that day. And called on Misha to explain, How to remove dead monster stain, Misha trained the royal lass, Asking her to call him Cass. Slay all monsters, then kill more. Less-Than-Epic Poetry When England’s Queen kissed Misha pretty, His response was winsome, witty. He swore to give the matron royal, Script secrets SPN to spoil. The lines, the blocking, effects, too. Plus guest stars, which the scenery chew. Says the Elopus, “She’s warned fore.” When network learned of this accord, They brought forth both axe and sword, Swearing they would plug the leak, Misha’s head they all did seek. Fallen angel was just the start; They eliminated Misha’s part. Says the Elopus, “Act no more.” Now Misha roams the street so lonely, A distant Queen his one and only. His TV time a past-tense treasure, His memories his only pleasure. Of Queens and tentacles he dreams, With nothing left but Facebook memes. Quoth the Elopus, “Forevermore.” Nutcracker! “Hi, I’m Ayisha Tyler, Host of American Nutcracker, where everything is stupid and the points don’t matter, except to the privates of the contestants. Tonight Misha Collins faces the Queen of England.” “It’s not fair!” screamed Misha, struggling with his bonds. “She’s got no balls!” “Tell that to the Argentinian military,” scoffed the Queen. “First Question: “Where did Misha encounter ‘Dick Roman’? Was it Supernatural? Stonehenge Orgy Apocalypse? Or the dorms at University of Chicago?” The Queen buzzed. “All three.” “Correct. Next question. What is the sexiest attribute of the Elopus? Its slimy tentacles? Its grabbing suckers? Or its manipulative snout?” “All three?” squeaked Misha. “Sorry,” said Ayisha as the nutcracker walloped Misha’s groin. The correct answer: Its promotion of GISHWHES, fostering fun, goodwill, and international cooperation.” Misha nodded, unable to yet speak because of the pain. Elementary Reader Look. Look. See. See Misha. See the Queen. See Misha kiss the Queen. Kiss, kiss, kiss. Go Misha. Kiss the Queen. Wait. One. One, two, three. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine. Months. Wait nine months. Look. Look, look, lookity look. See the baby. Goo-goo baby. See the baby’s tentacles. See the baby’s big ears. See the baby’s enormous trunk. See baby Elopus. See Elopus with Misha and Queen at the park. Look. See people staring. See people pointing. Stupid, stupid people. Stupid people have no tolerance for different. Stupid people have no tolerance for weird. Run, Elopus. Run, run, run. Chase the stupid people. Kill. Kill, kill, kill. Take that, stupid people. Die, die, die. Look. See Elopus smile. Big happy smile. See Misha and Queen. Kiss, kiss. More Elopsus soon. Heh. Heh. Heh. Misha Collins, Private Dick Misha leaned back in his chair and watched a shadow approach his door. It was a dame. It was always a dame. She entered without knocking. Cool. Confidant. A tiara in her hair. “I need you to find my pet,” she cooed, her voice as sexy as her tiara. “I can pay.” “I don’t do pets,” growled Misha. “I don’t care if you’re the Queen of England.” “I am the Queen of England,” she pouted. “Call Ace Ventura,” he snarled. “But you don’t understand. The pet is rare and magical. My pet Elopus has escaped. Who knows what terror he is causing.” “Okay.” Within days, Elopsus was home. “How’d you do it?” asked the Queen. “Hunting skill?” “No,” gruffed Misha. “Put an ad in Variety re casting for Elopus vs. Sharktoconda. He came in to audition.” Elopus vs. Sharktoconda “Quiet on the set!” shouted the Queen. It was her first time directing. She didn’t know you had PAs to do that kind of thing. “Wait just a minute,” whined Misha Collins. “What’s my character’s motivation for this scene? I mean, I know I’m a professional actor on television, but I need direction if this movie is to do better than ‘Stonehenge Apocalypse’ or ...” he shuddered, “’Devour.’” “Hey,” shouted Jensen Ackles. “Don’t make me come beat your ass.” “Shut up,” snarled Misha, “and get back into your Sharktoconda outfit.” “This sucks,” growled Jensen. “Mmlfjsddjlkd sldjdlkj,” said the Elopus. Then the Elopus used two tentacles and removed its head. “Try playing the Elopus. I’ve got Mark and Kim below moving extra tentacles and they’re naked.” “Oh, Mark.” “Oh, Kim.” “Oh, dear,” said the Queen. “That’s a wrap.” Rap Sheet My name is Misha, And I’m so pretty. My GISHer pals All think I’m witty. I court the Queen, with lashes winking. She winks right back, What must she be thinking? With Champagne flutes, I propose a tryst. My sexual prowess Mustn’t be missed. I bring a friend, For a menage a trio. Some tentacle sex. Ahh, this must be Rio. My Elopsus buddy Is quite a date. He comes quite often. He’s never late. We hit the tub, We do some soaping. The next I know, There’s tentacle groping. Ahh, the things I do, For charity. But the work is fun, And the prose is free. Escape Explosions lit the thin, alien atmosphere, as Misha dragged the Queen shipward. “Stop waving and concentrate on running,” he yelled, batting a grenade away with his free arm. “The Elopsus infantry is approaching on our flank.” “My hero!” fluttered the Queen. “Sorry to have gotten us into this mess. Who knew there was a difference between declaring war on the Falkland Islands and The Falkland Federation of Elopsus Thugs, and Murderers?” A tremor assaulted Misha’s ears, his most sensitive body part, except ... well, you know. “I hear the crevulations of the troop carriers,” he shouted. “The Elopsus will bellow their charge soon. If you hear the tintinabulations of the bellows, bellows, bellows, hit the dirt. But, until then, run.” “If we survive,” the Queen gasped, “I’ll knight you, I promise.” “And, I’ll night you, too, sweetcakes. Now run!” Supersleepy: Episode 1 Dean snatched up his cell as the Headless Horseman charged. “Sam! How do I kill this thing.” “Well, first you need to kill the four horseman ...” “We already did that!” “Sometimes dead characters come back to life ...” “Besides us?” Dean snarled. “That’s ridiculous. What is this, a frickin’ soap opera?” As the Horseman’s axe swung towards Dean’s stubbled neck, a tall black man nearby waved one hand and the Horseman disappeared. “What the ...” “It’s me, Dean. Castiel.” “But, but you’re black.” “My prior vessel was inferior. People said it reminded them of Misha Collins. And he only pretended to have a deep voice.” “Okay.” “You need to retrieve the Elopsus, sent to America by the Queen of England.” “But a king ruled in revolutionary times.” “People were so judgmental about lifestyles then ...” Group “So, tell me Misha. Why do you think you are the angel Castiel?” Cass looked the therapist in the eye. “Because I am. I’ve been Castiel for as long as I remember.” “Show me some angelic powers, then.” “They’re gone. I’ve fallen. I’m stripped of power.” “Isn’t that convenient,” replied the therapist, making a note. Cass narrowed his eyes at her, then pointed at a group member. “She thinks she is the Queen of England,” he shouted. “But, I am, dear,” said the kindly old woman. “Charles sent me here when I turned eighty-five. Senile, you know. Him, not me.” Cass pointed at the next patient. “And he thinks he’s an Elopus.” The therapist raised her eyebrows. “He has eight sucking tentacles and an elephants head and can teleport at will, trumpets sounding. Hmmm. Maybe he’s the angel.” Supersleepy, Episode 2 Ichabod strode toward Cass and Dean. “Let me guess,” said Dean. “You’re LARPing.” “I’m what?” “LARPing. Dressing up in funny clothes and pretending to be someone beside who people think you are.” “I’ve heard of this. It’s called ‘theatre,’” replied Ichabod. “I watched a strange documentary recently about Stonehenge ...” Cass spoke up. “Starring Misha Collins. I used to be him.” Ichabod shook his head. “Not even remotely ...” “Enough,” snapped Dean. “We must find the Queen’s Elopus.” Ichabod frowned. “I’m not familiar with that ... lady part.” “It’s a soul-stealing, eight-tentacled, elephant-headed harbinger of death.” “Miskatonic University is nearby,” mused Ichabod. “Perhaps we could summon something ...” “And just sit back and watch, SyFy movie style!” exclaimed Cass. “Get some popcorn,” said Dean. “And don’t forget pie.” “3.14159,” replied Ichabod, puzzled. “It’s a universal constant.” Obsession “Listen up, scalliwags,” declared Captain Misha, “we be stalking the ephemeral blue Elopus. The first of ye spots it will get a prize worthy of a king: dinner with the Queen of England, traveling aboard the vessel surreptitiously so as to sit for sculpting of her bust on our ramming spar. She craves meeting British seamen.” “But, we’ve a hold full of Elopus, Cap’n. They can ne’er resist the dulcet sounds of crew karaoke night on the deck. They swarm us, flinging themselves aboard for slaughter and death and then more slaughter.” “Aye,” sayeth the Captain, “but those be pink Elopus, common as Jefferson Starfish. I be seeking the elusive blue Elopsus, to match my eyes.” “And when you catch it?” “Tis the game of wits, not destination, which pleasures me. Catch and release. I’ll set it free.” Lifeboat “My unremitting apologies,” said the Elopus. “I had no idea my spaceship would sink your ship.” “Your ship was the size of a city,” complained Misha. “Do you understand the concept of displacement?” “Now, now, boys,” clucked the Queen of England. “The ship was named after me, and I’m not complaining. Why can’t we all just get along?” “Because,” scowled Misha. “We only have provisions for two. One of us must sacrifice their life to save the other two.” “Well, I can’t,” said the Queen. “What would my subjects and colonies do without me?” “Move toward democracy?” murmured Misha. “Well, I can’t,” said the Elopus. “I am mankind’s first contact with alien life.” “I’ll jump overboard,” said Misha. “I can tread water for an hour and by then the GISHWHES minions will have drained the ocean, if I request.” Elopus’ Complaint “I hate my job,” the Elopus complained to the Wooster. “I’ve got no substantive responsibilities.” “Now, dear,” the Wooster replied, “I’m sure that’s not the case. After all, you are on the masthead of GISHWHES 2014.” “But I’m just a figurehead, like the Queen of England. All pomp and circumstance and meeting school children for pictures and opening new bridges. I want the real power. I ... I ... want to overthrow Misha Collins.” “You want to portray Castiel on Supernatural? That would be more unsettling than the two Darrens on Bewitched or the constant turmoil in Batmen.” “No, I don’t want to do television. I want the real power. I want to order people to do silly things through GISHWHES.” “Well,” said his winsome Wooster wife. “I’m a silly thing ... do me.”

Fade to black. Cass-A-Bunko They held each other as the fog rolled in over the moors, the Queen grasping at Misha’s trenchcoat as if life itself depended on it. She pressed her head against his chest. He tried not to wince from the stabbing points of the crown. “Of all the heavily guarded royal estates in all the world, you had to ride your slithering Elopus into mine.” “He’s hard to control. With eight legs, he can turn on a dime or a shilling or euro or whatever play money you’re using here now.” “Let’s be together forever,” she sighed. “The Elopus doesn’t share well. Besides, if I don’t leave, you’ll regret it. Not now, but when GISHWHES starts up and I spend a solid week tweeting and putting out PR fires and internet glitches." “Fine, then let’s shag. The Elopus can watch.” Alphabetical “Action,” yelled Guy B. “Bollocks,” snarled Crowley. Cass held the angel blade to Crowley’s neck. Demon Dean interrupted: “Wait.” “Excellent suggestion,” squeaked Crowley . “Fair trade,” said Dean. “The Queen and the Elopsus for Crowley’s life.” “Got a bromace thing?” hissed Cass. “Hell, no.” “I think otherwise,” said Cass. “Jerk-off,” muttered Dean. “Kiss my ...” growled Crowley. “Line?” squeaked Misha Collins, breaking character and looking off-set. “Misha, damn it! Cut!” yelled Guy. “Not again,” everyone moaned. “Only Misha is unprepared,” complained Jensen. “Let me guess, fooling around with GISHWES til all hours.” “Pardon me,” replied Misha. “I’ll take it from where we broke.” “Quiet.” “Rolling.” “Sound.” “Take 23.” “Until 24,” muttered Jensen. “Very funny,” snarled Misha. “Where’s the Queen and the Elopus?” continued Cass. “X-Elopus, you mean. Body disposal required a bit of imagination.” “Yeah?” “Zoo, of course,” sneered Dean. Thanks for reading.

Aloha, Don

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