Sister to the Serious Octupus Contest Entry

I could’ve sworn I posted this on here. Anyhow, here’s my entry for Kaitlyn’s Contest. The task was to use the phrase “I am sister to the serious Octopus”. I think I accomplished that. Let me know what you think.

Sister to the Serious Octupus 

Despair filled the air in the cold, decaying, windowless basement in a building whose crowning achievement was it’s status as a bomb shelter during the Cold War. Women cried and men wrung their hands at the utter hopelessness that filled their very beings. Off in the distance a baby wailed. So it goes at the Department of Motor Vehicles.


“Next,” said the woman behind the MDF-topped folding table. Her manner was so bland and forgettable a moment later most in the room would not even remember that someone had spoke. An old lady, 4’9” tall if measured while standing on another old lady’s shoulders, looked left, then right, then slowly stepped forward, her smile a sight more rare at the DMV than an Oil Executive at an anti-war rally. The woman behind the desk sighed.




“I am sister to the serious Octopus,” replied the old woman.


“OK Sister Octopus,” said the woman behind the counter, scribbling on an official looking form. “Fill this out and give it to the photographer when your number is called. You’re 4,242.”


“No,” replied the old woman, still smiling. “I am sister to the serious Octopus.”


“I’m sure you are. Next.”


The woman sat at the front of the mass of gray steel folding chairs, her hands resting gently on her lap. Occasionally, someone would be called up to the camera, attempt a smile, then gloomily watch as they were presented with the worst picture of themselves they had ever seen. The old lady simply sat and smiled.


Occasionally someone would introduce themselves, but the reply was always the same. “I am sister to the serious Octopus.” This was usually followed by the questioner slowly getting up from his or her chair and quietly sitting as far away from the old lady as physically possible. Still she smiled.


“4,242?” said the photographer, in a tone that could be likened to Nails on the Chalkboard’s Greatest Hits. “Do we have a 4,242?”


The old lady stood, took a few steps forward and said, “I am sister to the serious Octopus.”


“That so?” replied the photographer. “Says on your form you’re 4,242.”


The old lady closed her eyes and when she opened them all that remained of the photographer was a steaming pile of dust. A great cheer rose up among the gathered, rejoicing in their collective victory over “the man”. A record number of sixteen year olds passed their driving test that day, buoyed by a hope that was surely present, but could never be explained. Rumor has it that a single ray of sunshine impossibly penetrated the darkness of the cold, damp room.


Never again did the old woman, who was sister to the serious Octopus, receive mail from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

9 thoughts on “Sister to the Serious Octupus Contest Entry

  1. I’m reading my first Terry Pratchett right now since you praised him so highly. I can see similarities in his style and yours.

    Funny and creative. Good luck with the contest.

  2. SzélsőFa – that was kinda vague. Basically, the old lady is magical and made the photographer disappear or disintegrate. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    Hoodie – thanks! That’s a huge compliment. I hope you enjoy the Pratchett novel. Which one?

  3. I finally got around to reading this, and I loved it. Really great. My favourite of your pieces so far. The old lady was really interesting, and you did a good job of creating an eerie atmosphere with her repetitive speech. The humour was what made it, and it fit with the story very well. Didn’t seem out of place.

    Good job!

  4. I really liked this until the part where she closed her eyes. Thereafter, the story seemed to have closed its eyes on itself.

    But at the same time I must say you’ve the makings of a good prose writer. Just try not to rush to finish things off.


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