Today I felt like writing a short, stand-alone piece. I hope you don't mind.
Dr. Mystery’s Magical Gifts
The giant metallic object hummed as its spherical bulk rotated slowly in midair. Little emerald lights danced across its surface. Marcel had never expected that such an odd object could exist, so he certainly didn’t anticipate a delivery van with the words “Dr. Mystery’s Magical Gifts” painted across the side in luminous pink letters.
“What is it?” Marcel asked the tiny delivery man. How someone who barely stood higher than his waist managed to successfully wrangle this massive object into his kitchen, he would never know.
The delivery man shrugged. “Beats me. That’s the point of Dr. Mystery.” He reached into a pocket and pulled out a brochure, offering it to Marcel. “Here. Have a look.”
Marcel was shocked that the pink wording on the side of the truck matched the words on the pamphlet. “Are you tired of shopping for the person who seems to have everything? Are you tired of always choosing gifts that leave your loved ones dissatisfied? Or are you simply unable to refrain from telling your family members what you bought them for Christmas? Then call Dr. Mystery, and our trained associates will select a gift based upon the amount you are willing to pay. You’ll never have to make any decisions about the kind of gift we send, nor will you know which gift was sent to that special someone until after delivery.” Marcel looked up and laughed. “The lazy man’s shopping strategy, in other words. This looks expensive, though. Who sent it?”
“It does indeed come from the top tier,” the delivery man replied. “It’s the most expensive gift we have in stock, in fact. The giver wished to remain anonymous, though.”
“What am I supposed to do with it if I don’t know what it is?” Marcel demanded.
“Oh, I’m supposed to give you this, too.” He handed over a standard issue birthday card.
Marcel lazily flipped the card open and found a note printed inside. “We hope your birthday is filled with surprises. As one of those surprises, we present to you the MegaDrive 3000. Contained inside is a million dollars in cash and twenty pounds of explosives. The MegaDrive cannot be controlled by remote. You must open it manually, which requires you to be standing next to the device. There is a 90% chance that you will not trigger an explosion, and you will become rich. There is, however, a 10% chance that the device will go off when you open it, and the resulting explosion will kill you, level your home, and potentially maim or kill anyone who lives nearby. If you do not wish to take this chance, simply return the device to us. No refunds will be granted. If you wish to tempt fate, kindly allow the delivery personnel enough time to make it to safety before opening the MegaDrive 3000.” Marcel looked up at the delivery man, all color gone from his face. “This is a joke, right?”
“Oh, it’s no joke. They’re very careful about the safety of their employees, sir.” The delivery man smiled. “So, it’s time for you to choose. Are you going to send it back with me, or do you want to take a chance at becoming a millionaire?”