"Outside the Box" is a 2010 science fiction short story by Brian Winfrey. It is about a young man who must give a strange, magical object to an unknown person everyday at the exact same time and place.
No Thanks For You!
Have you ever done something just because you are supposed to do it? I mean doing something that will not bring you any monetary gain, and won’t benefit you in any obvious way – you just do it because it has to be done and you are the one to do it. I have and I’m sure many of you have too. Any one who has family, or is an active part of a religious community has most likely experienced this. And while it’s true that there is usually some type of reward (like feeling good or whatever) it’s also true that sometimes it can be a thankless task. Here is the story of a guy who has a very thankless job, and what happens to him when he does what he is supposed to do. (This is another great story I read for this year’s Million Writers Award.)
Non-spoiler Summary in a Nutshell
Charlie Zimmerman has been stuck with a strange yet fateful sort of job. You see, he has a magic box. Yep, and every day at precisely 11:15 AM he must reach inside of it and give whatever is produced to the person standing on the corner of Hollywood and Highland. Nothing else matters – not the weather, not his health, not any plans he has made, not even the person standing there. He just has to convince them to take the object which will eventually change their life. There are several downsides to the job, however, and it is playing havoc with his social life. He has missed some important occasions, he can’t hold a job, and now his girlfriend has left him. As Charlie tells us of his miserable-yet-wonderful life you may not be able to shake the feeling that it is time for his luck to change. Hmmm… I wonder how that will happen.
Interesting Tidbits About This Story:
- Page Count: 13
- Word Count: 5,108
- This seems to be Brian Winfrey’s first published story, and I wasn’t able to find any more information about him. If you can tell us more about this wonderful author please leave a comment.
Where You Can Find Outside the Box:
- This story was first published on November 12, 2010 on the web site Daily Science Fiction – where you can still read it online for free.
Craving More Science Fiction Short Stories?
If you liked "Outside the Box" then you might also enjoy “The Ray-Gun: A Love Story” by James Alan Gardner – about an unpopular teenage boy who finds an alien ray gun in the forest.