Issue 10, 2023

2023 Countdown Writing Competition Winners

The Countdown Crew

We received hundreds of wonderful entries to our writing competition! After lots of reading and rereading and thinking hard and long, we selected one winning entry and four honourable mentions. Congratulations to everyone who entered—there were so many clever, creative submissions.

Read the story starter below and then enjoy the terrific continuations by our winners!

Bob’s Splurtaceous Horror

‘Well, I’ll be,’ muttered Bob the odd-job otter as he peered into the bottle. ‘There don’t seem to be very much of this engine grease left. And I do need to oil up the spregnockits on the Webweaver’s engine. Hmm, I wonder whether—’

All at once an idea rushed into his otteracious brain. ‘I know! I bet Shasta can be of help. She uses grease and oil in her cooking, ooh, yes indeed! I’ll see if I can borrow some of that slipperiness from her. Oh, Shasta?’ he called.


Bob’s Splurtaceous Horror

‘Yes?’ she said.

‘Can I borrow some oil and grease for my bottle?’ asked Bob.

‘Yes, you can,’ Shasta replied. ‘Let’s cooperate to make the grease,’ Shasta decided.

‘Sure,’ Bob replied. So, they immediately started boiling the grease.

When they asked Captain Ahab where they were going, the grease boiled too long and out stepped a huge grease monster. It was two times as big as seaweed men and seemed more dangerous!

Suddenly the boat shook like an earthquake.

‘What was that?’ exclaimed Shasta.

‘I think it is something bad,’ Bob said fearfully.

When they arrived, the monster was causing a lot of havoc.

‘Whoops-a-daisy,’ Shasta said. ‘I accidentally made a grease monster!’

‘Oh, no!’ shouted Bob.

Bob then threw a broom at the hideous and colossal monster, but it just slid off uselessly. They kept attacking the slimy and revolting blob of grease with their best weapons to no effect, but then Captain Ahab thought of a spectacular strategy. He got the broom a bucket and filled the bucket with water. Next, he wet the broom with water and began splashing the monster with water and soon it slid off.

‘You will see me again …’ the monster gurgled and sank to the bottom of the ocean.

‘Hooray!’ Shasta and Bob cheered in unison. ‘Hooray for Cap’n Ahab!’

‘I guess  making grease wasn’t a good idea!’ Bob said.

‘I agree,’ Shasta replied.

They both laughed at what had happened to the grease!


Honourable Mentions

Bob’s Splurtaceous Horror

‘What do you want?’ Shasta called back as she walked to Bob with a boiling hot pan in her feathery hand.

‘Can you get me some oil … my oil for the squeaky spregknockets has run out,’ Bob explained with a look on face.

‘Sure, I'll go fetch some from my kitchen. Oh, um, by the way, can you hold my pan?’ asked Shasta.

‘Sure!’ replied Bob. He took the pan from Shasta then Shasta walked away. Bob went to the deck and saw something green in the great blue ocean. ‘Am I daydreaming?’ He jumped and dropped the pan. ‘Whoops-a-daisy!’ Bob exclaimed as the pan left his grip. He looked at the green thing again…

The green thing seemed to be an ORCA WHALE! When Bob dropped the pan the orca whale gobbled the meat from the pan, called his pod and figured that there was food on the boat. ‘Ahhh!’ Bob shouted as 50 green orca whales came to feast on something tasty.

‘Uhh Captain Ahab! HELP!’ Bob needed help immediately.

‘Okay, I'm here. What happened, I heard you shouting,’ Shasta said.

‘LOOK!’ Bob shouted.

‘Ay Ay Ay we need to cooperate as a team,’ Shasta said as she saw the orcas.

‘I've got an idea! We’ll take the small life boat with lots and lots of your scrumdiddlyumptious soup to lure them and leave the soup in the sea so that they won't follow us,’ Captain Ahab said all in one breath.

Bob’s Splurtaceous Horror

Shasta came out of the SS Webweaver’s kitchen.

‘Shasta, can I use your cooking oil?’ asked Bob.

Suddenly, there was a sound, it sounded like a weird rasping noise. The SS Webweaver stopped.

Captain Ahab came out of the wheelhouse, and said, ‘What’s going on?’

‘I ran out of oil!’ cried Bob.

‘Come on let’s go down to the kitchen, Bob,’ Shasta said.

So, they went down to the kitchen where something was boiling on the stove.

‘Bob, I can’t give you cooking oil, but I can give you magic oil,’ Shasta said.

‘Okay,’ Bob replied.

Shasta handed Bob a bottle of magic oil. Bob went to the deck to pour it in. Suddenly, the SS Webweaver rocked back and forth. Shasta and Ahab ran up to the deck to see the boat transforming. You could see sparkly silver arms protruding from the wheelhouse and strong legs.

‘Whoops-a-daisy,’ muttered Bob.

‘Hello!’ boomed the Webweaver. ‘Want a hand?’

Bob jumped in fright when he heard the Webweaver. ‘Could you transform back?’ Bob asked quietly.

‘No,’ replied Webweaver.

Then, Bob got an idea. ‘Hey, can you take us to the nearest port?’ he asked.

The giant SS Webweaver nodded and transformed into a boat.

‘Thanks for cooperating,’ Bob said happily. An hour later, they arrived. As quick as lightning, Bob fixed on a shiny red button. Then, he hurried off to buy engine grease. When Bob came back, he explained the button was for transforming in emergencies.

Bob’s Splurtaceous Horror

‘Shasta, can you help me make some engine oil?’ Bob asked as he was walking to the kitchen.

Shasta did not hear Bob, and then there was a loud poof as thick grey smoke came out the kitchen door.

‘Whoops-a-daisy’ said Shasta.

As Bob walked into the kitchen Shasta exclaimed, ‘Oh what a mess. Can you please help me clean up?’ Bob and Shasta could cooperate well together and the kitchen was tidy quickly.

‘Shasta, could you help me make some oil for the Webweaver’s engine? I have been  searching this whole island all day and could not find any,’ Bob asked.

‘Sure,’ said Shasta. ‘Maybe we could use coconut oil. Let’s go collect some coconuts and boil the oil out of them.’ The two tottered down to the beach and found their friend Jimmy the spider, halfway up a tree.

‘Good morning Bob and Shasta, I have been collecting coconuts to make my dinner. It's tough work when you are this little. Can you help me?’

‘We can help each other, we want to get some coconuts to help fix the Webweaver’s engine to oil up the spregnockits.’

So the three friends worked together until they had a huge pile of coconuts to get them all the way home.

‘Thanks for helping us Jimmy’ said Shasta. They got the boiling coconuts into a thick oil for the engine and crossed their fingers as Bob turned the key and loudly the engine coughed into life and they quickly sped home.

Bob’s Splurtaceous Horror

Shasta came running down the boat where Bob the odd-job otter was waiting. She looked a little confused because Bob and Ahab were meant to be doing their work.

‘Shasta, can I borrow your oil?’ Bob asked as they started to cooperate.

‘Sure, you just need to head into the kitchen and I'll grab the pot to start boiling the oil.’

‘Can’t I boil the oil?’

‘Sure you can’.

‘Thanks Shasta.’

‘Time to turn on the oven and—whoops-a-daisy!’said Bob.

‘What happened?’ said Ahab and Shasta as they came running into the kitchen.

‘I put too much oil,’ said Bob.

‘There's more in the back cupboard and—whoops-a-daisy, I forgot we need to turn off the bomb,’ said Shasta with excitement.

‘What bomb?’ said Ahab and Bob together, looking confused.

Shasta said there was a surprise waiting for them outside in the ocean! Shasta grabbed some popcorn and they went outside and watched with excitement as the bomb exploded!

‘The bomb looks like fireworks!’ said Bob in amazement. ‘But can we boil the oil and put it in the engine now?’ asked Bob.

‘Sure,’ said Shasta. After they put the oil in the engine the boat went super-fast and they headed straight to Australia.

They arrived in Australia within minutes!

They needed supplies so went looking for a store.

Bob was able to get everything he needed, including spregnockits!