Mark powered through eight tricky questions and has been crowned the ultimate Brain Game champion this season. His creativity shone through as he added depth and nuance to every entry.
Below are the top five entries that received the most votes and love from our readers.
I’m the last surgical face mask available and I’m not going to last long. My brothers (the blue chaps) and sisters (the Hello Kitty ones) were lost to the bad breath and phlegm of frantic people who think we can save them from the coronavirus – I fear I’m next. Yes, you need to protect yourself, but we surgical masks can’t do it all (that’s a job for my high-tech cousin, the N-95). So I beg you humans out there, keep clean, don’t fight over us, and don’t use us as currency. Don’t “wear us out”!
Picture this: a seasoned pickpocket slips his greedy fingers into the pocket of an unsuspecting victim, only for them to come out clutching pieces of lint. Out of the corner of his eye, he spots a young ruffian slipping away into the crowd with what can only be his mark’s cash.
TikTok, the young ruffian, thrives off ads that sell you a “six-pack pill”, or offer to help you “find the guy/girl of your dreams”. These ads have been snatched from Instagram, the seasoned pickpocket, who has a long-running history of click-baiting people into finding out “how a man in Wan Chai made millions with one click”.
Instagram is now in a sticky situation – all the good ads have snuck away to lure the Renegade-dancing teenagers of TikTok. So, if two of the biggest social media platforms ever break into a fight, it’s probably going to start with Instagram shouting, “Hey, that’s my money!”
“Earth to Google – you awake?” asks Zoom.
Google Classroom lets out a yawn, glancing at the clock on his dashboard. “Crikey Zoom, it’s two in the morning! What in the world is keeping you up?”
Zoom chuckles. “I couldn’t contain my excitement. At 8am, students from all over Hong Kong will be logging on to me for virtual lessons! They’ll be meeting their friends, getting work done, but mainly just making TikToks behind their teachers’ backs.”
Google Classroom sighs. “Can’t relate. Students will be hopping onto my portal, only to be greeted with a stack of worksheets from that maths teacher they loathe”.
“I don’t want to bang my own drum, but Covid-19 has really brought me a lot of attention! Before the virus, the only people who used me were those call centre scammers,” says Zoom. “Though, I have to say, I’m a bit worried that I won’t be able to withstand all this new-found popularity.”
“Now, Zoom, remember this. Covid-19 isn’t just affecting you, it’s affecting all of us.
Skype, TeamViewer, the whole lot,” replies Google classroom. “And that means when you malfunction, we’ll be there to pick you up. We’re all in this together, buddy! Now get some rest. We’ve got a big day tomorrow.”
The Catbus is deep in slumber under a shady grove. The spire of a castle can be seen in the distance, cloaked by a layer of mist. The Catbus purrs and rolls over – it’s in a state of bliss. If anyone were to interrupt, the Catbus would be quite the grouch.
So its eyes twitch and its whiskers flinch as it hears what sounds like a deranged lunatic scream in the near distance.
“Catbus! I need help!” wails a man wearing lavish clothes.
The Catbus’ yellow eyes flicker. It bellows out a yawn. A cloud of gas emerges from its rear end. The man can’t tell whether it signifies the engines starting up, or whether the cat just had some bad sardines for dinner last night.
“My name is Prince Charming,” he says. “I met this awesome chick at a dance yesterday, but now she’s vanished! I have this glass slipper, and I think it’s hers. But I’ve got no clue where she is. Apparently, you have some magic powers or something – you can take people to whatever destination they need. So here’s a tenner – can you take me to the gal who owns this slipper?”
The Catbus blinks. “私は英語が話せません” – “I can’t speak English.”
Prince Charming groans. “Darn, I forgot you were made by those Ghibli guys! Hold on a second.” He pulls out his phone, and fires up the translation app. In a robotic voice, his phone says, “この靴を持っている人を見つけます” – “Help me find the person who owns this slipper.”
The Catbus’ poker face stretches into its iconic smile. Its bum shudders as the engines fire up, and the Prince’s face scrunches up in agony as he realises what the plumes of gas are. The windows of the bus open up to let the Prince in.
“あなたは決して聞かないと思った,” it says. “I thought you’d never ask.”
And with that, the Catbus shoots away into the night sky.
I’m woken up by the throbbing of my own head. My eyelids feel glued shut and it takes all my strength to pry them open. I roll over, fumble for my phone, and squint at the screen. It’s dead. But a curling Post-it note stuck to the bathroom door gets me out of bed, fast. It has the words “Carpe diem” scrawled on it in red marker. I remember why.
“Carpe diem!” my heart sings, despite my headache. I’ve been called many things – fat, lazy, foot-in-mouth – but never a girl magnet. So I was blown away when a girl agreed to go on a lunch date with me today. I’ve booked a table at the most romantic restaurant I know (Pizza Hut, of course) and stocked up on cologne. Today’s the big day!
I step outside, fresh from a 30-second shower, my body smarting from the slathering of Old Spice. My clothes, fresh off the dirty pile, feel loose. Perhaps I’ve lost weight in my sleep. Brilliant!
As I speed-walk, I focus on practising my opening lines. I’m so engrossed that I hardly notice the hovering cars and flashy skyscrapers that seem to have sprung up overnight.
I get to Pizza Hut with a minute to spare. It looks oddly new and less tacky than usual.
“Hi, I have a reservation,” I say, then add with emphasis, “for two”. The usher eyes me nervously.
Before I know it, he sticks a Q-tip into my mouth, swirls it around, then removes it again.
“Let me confirm your DNA and you’ll be good to go, Mr…”, the usher glances at his screen, then narrows his eyes. “Whoa! You’re completely off the grid! Who are you?”.
I chuckle nervously. “Dude, be serious! I have a date here!”
“A date? At Pizza Hut? Sir, you be serious. The last time someone ate here was in 2020,” he says.
And just like that, I’m overwhelmed. The display on the wall flashes the date: 20/03/2030. Carpe diem: seize the day. But the day has seized me.