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It’s Your Choice

A “Write-a-Fairytale” Contest Winning Entry

by Matthew Tan

Part 1: The Dilemma

Once upon a time, in the age and era of live boxes, there was a Box man. His length was a mere one metre tall and his width, forty centimetres wide. His body consisted of a box with a head and four protruding limbs; his body, was a box that could open up to an inside compartment. He was an exceptionally puissant box of good quality and he was proud about that. The Box man had come straight from the North Pole where the box factory was. Now he was plodding to his friend’s house to tell him something very important.  Box man’s master was leaving him!

Box man’s owner was an altruistic and faithful boy named Zack.  Zack was a muscular young boy with lots of enthusiasm and spirit. He played the piano and joined almost any sport he had come across. His particular interest was in basketball, where his height astounded his teammates. Oh, the times they had playing soccer, reading, and even trying to play the piano. Box man’s favourite activity though was riding a bicycle or walking with Zack and just spend time talking. 

But, alas seasons came and went, and the small playful Zack became tough, serious and work-focused Zack. All free time was used up in studies and the Box man was slowly neglected …

A gloomy figure trudged down the lane and into a garden. It walked into the house and met another of his kind and they went in. The Box man and his pal sat at the fireplace and the Box man sighed wearily. 

“What’s the matter?” His friend, Quirk asked inquisitively, though he had an idea of the situation.

“Zack’s going to college, and I’m afraid he won’t take me and I’ll be all alone,” Box man heaved again with another sigh of resignation.

“Don’t be afraid, I’m with you. Just insist on going with him, he’ll relent then,” Quirk said enthusiastically. 

“I’m afraid it’s not so simple; it’s like this, my friendship with Zack has been growing cold, and I don’t have the courage to face the music and confront Zack…” the Box man faltered. “Well… I should be going. I’ve to meet Butch. Bye.”

At the other house, as the Box man told his friend his predicament; he also encouraged him to go along and follow Zack. It was enough. The Box man gave way and he called a meeting at Zack’s house the following morning.    

The two little boxes came trundling down the lane, their arms loaded with plans to get attention for the Box man. First, Quirk said that they needed to first get his eye and he had a plan for that. Next Butch presented the facts that after drawing Zack’s alertness they would have to convince Zack to take Box man along.

They decided that they would put to work the plan the following day, giving them plenty of time to get ready. To the Box man, he still felt an uneasy feeling. 

Part 2: The Strategy

“All set,” Butch announced. The boxes had changed everything needed in order to help the Box man.

“Zack, will you help me water the garden?” Zack’s mother called.

“Yes, mother,” Zack replied obediently.

“There’s your cue, Box man. Get ready to “help” Zack,” Quirk said urgently.

Zack walked into the garden to water the plants. He grabbed the hose and turned on the water. Water spurted out a hole in the hose at his face, and Zack screamed, “Help! Help!” Box man raced around the corner and turned off the water.

Zack grudgingly said thank you, as he did not like the box man anymore and then walked away. “It failed,” Box man mumbled.

“Nonsense!” Butch retaliated, “That’s only the first step. After we are done with all three, you will be the apple of Zack’s eye.”

“Now for step two,” Quirk grinned, his hands rubbing in glee.

The Box man waited in Zack’s room unobserved. Zack turned around to get a book. As he reached into the shelf to grab the book, all the books from that level tumbled!

Box man dashed out from under the table he was hiding and held the books back into place.

“Thanks, Box man,” Zack laughed, “It was as if you were waiting for the books to drop. But then, how could you know?” Box man was too startled to say anything so he fled the room.

“Zack …Zack almost found out it’s becoming too dangerous.” Box man stuttered to his two companions.

“Never mind, now here’s plan three…” Quirk replied in succession.

“My favourite program’s coming up; I’m going to watch now.” Zack declared. The television made an abrupt blast and then went off. 

“Oh no! Now I can’t watch.” Zack cried out in dismay. Box man calmly walked in and fitted the circuit Butch had disconnected. The television flickered to life.

Seeing Zack’s admiration for him, the Box man desperately asked, “Could I go to college with you?” Zack scratched his head and scowled, “Well you will have to prove yourself.”

Part 3: Proof      

“So, if you want to follow me to college, you got to prove it’s worth bringing you along. How can I benefit?” Zack questioned Box man.

“Come on, I’m your best friend. You will get somebody to talk with during free time or when you’re doing your homework,” Box man pleaded.

“But I will have friends to talk to at college. Think up better reasons if you want to go,” Zack said rather coldly, before standing up and leaving the room. Box man was taken aback by this statement and sat here for a while before regaining his senses. His friends hurried into the room. 

“Hey, Box man,” Butch announced, “I’ve just got an idea. Since all boxes have an infallible memory, why don’t you memorize all the stuff Zack will need to study to do his homework?

“That’s a great idea, Butch,” Box man’s other friend, Quirk answered, and then added his own words, “Plus, we could add straps to you and you will become a bag for Zack!”

Box man, the one always with doubts, did not side with his two friends but with much reluctance, agreed to their plans. He borrowed all the books from the library that he needed and started to memorize them. Butch and Quirk attached straps to the back of his body.

Soon, they were ready to face Zack. 


Part 4: Life-Changing Decisions      

Box man mustered himself and bravely walked to where Zack was reading a book. 

“Err…Zack…?” Box man queried. 

“Yes, what? Zack growled agitated from getting interrupted.

“I have memorized all the facts you need to know for college when you do your homework. I can be carried as a bag and you could put books in my body.”

“Really? That’s amazing. Hmm… I think not bringing you to college would be a waste. But, there are conditions, mainly for your safety.”

“What conditions?” Box man piped up.

“First, you will have to stay as a box at all times unless you are in my room and when nobody is around and when the shutters are closed. Don’t talk outside the room unless I talk to you. Ok?” Zack warned.

“Ok, is there anything else?” Box man persisted.

“Yes, if you go to college with me, you won’t be able to contact anybody except some of your friends. Do you really want to go with me after all these conditions?

Box man’s face lit up, “Yes of course. I can read books and do other stuff while you are having lessons. When you come back from school, we can talk and I can help you with homework.”

Butch and Quirk burst out from nowhere and congratulated Box man. Box man was beside himself with joy. He was finally going to college!



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