Monday, March 28, 2011


All right, let's keep this short and simple:

Congratulations to
Lo When she touched it, a genie popped out
jennykellerford No. It's because I'm burning, I'm burning, I'm burning for you.
Michelle Merrill "Oh, forget the freakin' nuts," Gena shrieked. "Where's my unicorn pack? It's time to finish what I came here to do."

Email me with your treasure of preference to claim your prize!

And now, for your reading pleasure, the complete saga of Gena the Unicorn Hunter (edited just a tad for reading ease; deleted sentences don't mean your entry wasn't included, just that they didn't follow the main story):

It all started off so simply.
But Gena had learned never to take simple at face value – like the time she set her bra on fire. Luckily, she'd carried her unicorn preparedness pack in her backpack. Problem was, that unicorn was too quick for Gena. But she wouldn't have that problem this time. A shaker of salt, a lime, and a knife was all she needed.
She slipped the backpack over one shoulder and forged ahead, pushing aside palm leaves as she headed toward the island's interior, staggering under the weight of her weapons.
She reached behind her into her backpack, feeling around for the items, thinking this situation might be better handled with a shovel. It seemed her best option at knocking the unicorn out—and knocking the unicorn out was the only way she'd ever get the unicorn to drink the margarita. Margaritas are, after all, unicorn kryptonite.
But she'd lost her shovel the last time she decided to wander away from the safety of her home. Fortunately, the pack also contained an iron frying pan and everyone knew an iron frying pan was as good as a broadsword.
She reached for it, not noticing that her hand strayed too close to the magic lamp in her side pocket. When she touched it, a genie popped out .
She was far too distracted to notice right away. Two weeks had passed since the unicorn coalition's vicious overthrow of the centaur dynasty, two weeks of mass chaos and unspeakable bloodshed. Those two weeks took a beating on her. She hadn't slept in days and really wanted to be able to walk around without weapons.
Right as she thought that, a lion confronted her and Genie spoke.
"Don't tell me you forgot your unicorn preparedness kit again."
A rather depressed sort, Jim the Genie generally spent most of his time craving chocolate and listening to soap operas while in his lamp. He thought Gena was ridiculous.
"Your warm lamp melted my frozen maragarita," she told him, annoyed at his criticism.
It was useless. Unfrozen margaritas would have no effect on the particular species of turquoise unicorn she was hunting. "I never forget my unicorn preparedness kit." She reveled the kit, showing it to the genie. "Why are you asking me about the unicorn preparedness kit, genie, when clearly there's a vicious lion in front of me, ready to gobble me right up?"
Jim rolled his eyes. "So what do you want me to do about it?"
"Um, obviously? I want you to distract him by braiding his mane into cornrows," Gena replied. "You suck as a genie. Save me and refreeze my margarita."
Jim laughed. "You don't have any wishes left!"
Gena exasperated, "Do I have to do everything around here?" She belted out her biggest "ROOOOOOOOOOOOOAR" at the lion.
She grabbed her shovel, slammed it into Jim's head, stole the lamp and ran.
But she didn't get far before the lamp stopped her in her tracks, freezing every muscle in her body. The lamp pulled itself from her grip, the cold metal vibrated hot and hit the ground with an unearthly sound. The lion was coming at her, and the unicorn was getting away.
Why coudln't the damn genie help for once?
She suddenly shrunk down to the size of a caterpillar and slithered into the lamp's opening. Now-tiny Gena quickly turned away with cheeks flaming when she saw what was inside the lamp --the genie was taking a bath.
Jim the genie turned to her, loofah sponge in hand. "Since it seems so easy to you, we'll see how good of a genie you can be!"
She noticed a small rubber duck floating in the water near him and noticed its eye glimmering. Inside the lamp, the air smelled musty. Exotic colored throw pillows dotted the floor. A purple parrot squacked in a gilded cage while a tiny black and white television blared old soap operas. A tea kettle whistled on a small 1950's white stove.
At least she could think for a minute within the safety of the lamp. Or, she could have if Huey the neighborhood bully hadn't found it at that moment.
Snatching up the lamp he shook it like a polaroid picture. Huey kept shaking the lamp, making the water splash out of the tub.
Gena slapped her hands over her eyes, not wanting to see anymore of the genie than she had too.
The rubber ducky sluiced over the side of the tub and began to grow in size. "QUACK," the duck said. "Quack, Quack QUACK!"
"What the heck is it saying?" Gena cried, her feet stumbling backwards as the thing grew to the size of Big Bird. "I don't speak duck!"
And then it died.
Gena grabbed a pink pillow tassel and yanked, unraveling it into a long rope. She bungee-jumped out the opening of the lamp, yelling, "COW-a-BUNGAAAAAA!!!" But there was a problem not even the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles could handle, a small problem--she was still the size she'd been in the lamp, exactly 2.5 inches.
Jim yanked the pink rope, pulling her back up into the lamp. "We're trading places. I've had it with being stuck in a lamp. You'll have my power, but you can't use it until someone else rubs the lamp."
As she peered through the glass lamp, she saw a fire-breathing unicorn step through the bushes and aim his horn squarely at Jim. Her eyes flicked around the soft, plushy interior as she searched for a weapon.
Crap. Nothing but velvet.
She looked outside. Instead of running, Jim scratched the unicorn's belly. It let out a high-pitched purr the way turquoise unicorns do.
Gena jumped on the unicorn's back, holding on to its mane, and leaped into the mysterious Pond of Normal Size.
"I'm normal-sized again!" she yelled, which only made the unicorn angry, because as everyone knows, Unicorns, turquoise or otherwise, can't swim.
Just as she thought it would trample her, a muscular pair of arms grabbed her and pulled her to safety. The lack of golden bracelets told her, these arms did not belong to Jim or Hugh.
Huey held tighter on his new precious find sans genie inside. "Gena, what are you doing?" He asked.
"Tryin' to rid the world of this freakin' unicorn," Gena said. "I always did hate turquoise."
The unicorn whinnied, insulted by the turquoise comment.
"Gena, wake up," her mother screamed from a very faraway place, "you'll be late for school. Today's the class trip to the Unicorn Museum, isn't it?"
"Don't listen to her," chattered a nut-weilding squirrel as it jumped onto Gena's shoulder. "It's a trick!"
Gina blinked in confusion as her eyes flicked from the squirrel to the nut. "Hmm?" she wondered to her self. "Squirrel? Nut? Squirrel? Nut?"
"No more freakin' unicorns in my life!" Gena kicked and flailed like a toddler. "I'm into fighting dragons now."
She was so distracted, she completely missed seeing the lion take off Hugh's head with one mighty swipe of his paw.
But where was her pillow? She scrambled toward her bed, but the squirrel reached the pillow first.
"Damn pillow-stealing squirrels," she said. What did they DO with all those pillows they stole? Now Gena was utterly confused. Unicorns were extinct because they'd missed the ark, right? So how could she go to a Unicorn Museum, or fight a unicorn?
Gena glanced at the mural on her bedroom wall and watched in horror as the genie, the lion, and the unicorn advanced on each other.
"Squirrel, help me," Gena squeaked out. "Throw your nuts at the genie. He's allergic!"
The squirrel sat up on it's haunches and replied "Lady do you know how long it takes to gather nuts? Get your own." The squirrel squeaked out what sounded like some expletives then spit a nut from its mouth. And the nut pinged around a bit like a pin ball before coming to a rest just barely touching the dragon's tail.
"Oh, forget the freakin' nuts," Gena shrieked. "Where's my unicorn pack? It's time to finish what I came here to do."
But before she could get her wits together and find her pack, the dragon roasted the nut with its fiery breath, then turned to face Gena.
"Here you go." The dragon handed her the nut. "I know you like your nuts toasted."
Gena resisted the urge to kiss the dragon with her fist. She had better things to do with her time - like break up the possibly apocalyptic fight between the lion, the unicorn and the squirrel. She took a deep breath, summoning every ounce of her courage...
"Thank you," Gena said. She winked and blew the dragon a kiss - which promptly turned him into a large, shrewish woman wearing a dress made entirely of flowers and what appeared to be a bedpan on her head.
"My God!" Gena cried, eyeing the bedpan. "How did you know the one thing I feared more than turquoise unicorns or selfish squirrels was PUBLIC BATHROOMS?"
Gena snatched the bedpan off the odd woman's head, stuffing it into her backpack to use the second she found an ounce of privacy.
"Gee, I wish I had an ounce of privacy," Gena said, "'cause I really have to go."
The genie appeared, waving his arms like a lunatic. A droplet appeared in Gena's hands. "What's this?" Gena poked it.
The genie, still naked from his bath, smiled. "An ounce of privacy, of course. Personally, I would've requested a gallon at least."
But really, what were the chances of privacy when a fight with a lion, a really annoying turquoise unicorn, and stupid squirrel spun her head in circles. Or is it her head?
Her stomach flipped over, signaling to her body that all is not right with the world, she may need the bedpan for something other than pee...
Like protecting the orphans from the naked raving genie! Luckily, Gena's psychic tummy senses alerted her to their danger. With bedpan in hand, she ran off to their rescue!
Little did she know that she would literally run into, and trip and fall over the short, stout and pimple-face Prince Littlehorn and his traveling minstrels. Overcome with joy at finding the love of his life, Prince Littlehorn dropped to his knees, grasped Gena's hand and burst into a rousing rendition of I've Been Working My Way Back to You Babe.
Gena preferred the classic "I Got You, Babe," by Sonny and Cher. She was unimpressed by Prince Littlehorn and his less than manly name.
He did, however, look rather sexy in tights. But only if he shed the golden wok worn as an armor. Unfortunately, his hot pink underwear, which could be plainly seen through the tights, spoiled the look.
Gena decided she'd rather pick the naked genie over Littlehorn any day, not that she'd tell him that.
"I've got to go, I need some privacy," she said, tearing her hand from his.
"But I've got a burning love inside!" he cried.
She too had a burning in her chest, which she found out later was only heartburn.
He groveled before her. She bit her lip, paused, and whopped him on the head with the bedpan. Then she searched his pockets for Tums and magical golden birch leaves. Either her heartburn or her troubled relationship with the Birch King was going to change, and now.
Digging deeply into Prince Littlehorn's right breast pocket, Gena discovered the charm she'd been seeking. This charm would rid the entire world of turquoise unicorns, if she but said the correct incantation.
While the Phoenix (who had suddenly appeared) continued to swoop over her head, she tried to remember the incantation.
"Squirrel's acorn scorn unicorns undone begone from under the sun, you dig?" Gena grabbed the tail of the Phoenix but it only burned her hand, and when ran to douse it in dirty Genie bathwater, it left a turquoise mark in the shape of a unicorn horn on her palm.
Just then the dragon flew in.
UGH! She was close, but pronounced dreveritum as derviratum. The turquoise unicorns where gone, but they had not disappeared.
Now they were fuschia!
Gena closed her eyes tightly, repeating the words. When she opened her eyes, the dragon was fuchsia too. This just wouldn't do.
The dragon snorted, and his hot breath curled her hair. Gena turned to the magic mirror on the wall and decided that curls really did suit her after all.
Then turning back to the fuchsia dragon, she told him to settle down quietly while she told him a story.
"Kiss the prince or I will roast you on a spit," snarled the dragon.
Gena didn't know whether to be afraid or disgusted by the rotting, chunks of flesh stuck between the dragon's teeth.
"Why don't you kiss him?" Gena asked. "Frankly he doesn't really do it for me."
The dragon turned an even darker shade of fuchsia. His eyes shifted from side to side; his forehead sweated. "I don't want to kiss the prince-- what makes you think that?"
"Because you are blushing," laughed Gena. "I think you're in love with the prince."
“No. It's because I'm burning, I'm burning, I'm burning for you.”
"Fine," Gena said lightly. "I will kiss him." And she did.
The Prince disappeared in a puff of glittery pink smoke, leaving behind another mythical creature~~one that was far more disturbing than the turquoise unicorn.
Gena coughed (she'd inhaled a good deal of glitter), then bellowed the most appropriate thing she could think of for a girl in her situation.
For what before Gena did suddenly appear? A pink glittering Santa and eight tiny hot pink reindeer!
Gena then knew that magical genius she thought she possessed was not going to save her tonight. She climbed in the sleigh, threw some more glitter in her hair, and said "What the hell, I'm probably dreaming all this anyway."
Without warning or even so much as a battle cry, a flying Night Mare dove into sight. The reigndeer bucked wildly and the sleigh took too sharp a turn. Suddenly, Gena was flying.
"If only I had an in-flight margarita," she thought. "With all these goings-on, a girl could really use a drink."
Suddenly with a giant POOF the famous and fabulous FABIO appeared in a flight attendant uniform with Midori margaritas and bowed while handing her a sugar rimmed glass full of the elixir.
One of the hot pink reindeer sneered, "I wouldn't drink that if I were you."
Right then, Fabio got hit by a wild Canadian goose right across the cheek and flew out of the sleigh.
It was then that Gena remembered why she really needed the margarita-to vanquish the now fuschia unicorns!
Midori margaritas happen to be particularly effective against fuschia, which she realized Fabio must have known on a subconscious level. She vowed to some day return the favor, but first she had to land the sleigh pulled by the hot pink reindeer and find the evasive unicorns.
Tugging on the reins, she pulled left towards the Bahamas. The Bahamian skies were always pink this time of year. They'd disappear against it, like their very own invisibility cloak. Beating the suns fall would be the trick, but if they timed it right, they would glide in unseen to where she already knew the unicorns waited, amongst the lurking shadows of a turquoise sea.

Can I just say that Gena is kind of awesome? ;)


  1. Too much fun - thanks for the contest and congratulations to the winners!


  2. This is one of the funniest stories I've read in a long time! It just reiterates how crazy writers are. :-) Thank you for putting together this relaxation exercise. It was a lot of fun, and I have to say I laughed out loud several times as the story unfolded. Great stuff!

  3. Not kind of awesome, she's rockin' awesome! What a great story. Thanks Natalie for that hilarious adventure. Congrats to Lo and Jennykellerford. And thanks, Natalie, for recognizing my ounce of wit :) I'll send an email with my favorite treasure of choice.

  4. Okay, you should post a warning not to eat or drink while reading this story because I so almost snorted coffee on my computer. Congrats to the winners!

    I have two combined questions which have been driving me nuts and are totally unrelated to Gena's ridiculously outlandish adventure.

    1. If an agency says specifically DO NOT personalize a query to any specific agent at that agency, as they prefer to share queries among each other, how exactly should one address the query/greeting? Agents expound on how they want to know you've done your research, and why you're querying them, so should you literally write 'Dear X Agency, Do to your high representation of novels involving rogue pickles, I'd like to offer my 56,000 word YA 'Rampant Pickles of the Riviera' for your review.'?

    2. Second question, related to the first, if an agent at a particular agency is closed for unsolicited submissions, but that agency states not to address queries to any specific agency anyway, is the agent who's closed for submissions still likely to see anything submitted? Or are they really genuinely not even glancing at what comes it for that time period?

  5. Bwahahaha! Awesomely hilarious. :D Congrats to the winners. And to everyone else who put this story together.

  6. Lol A. Grey:

    1. use "Dear Bradford Literary Agency" and assume it's for Ms. Bradford, as it's just the two of us and I'm closed.

    2. I actually see EVERYTHING that comes in as I'm currently doing the first reads on slush.

    Just thought I wouldn't pussyfoot around the point of your questions. ;)

  7. Ha! I didn't really try to hide the point, but I felt it would be presumptuous to blatantly blather it out :D Thanks so much!

  8. Loved it, Natalie! That actually was a pretty cute story. Thank you for editing it into a cohesive whole. :-)