Short Story Contest
All winners
About Elijah Guo
Elijah Guo has shown a creative streak for the past five years. Considering he's only 9 years old now, that's saying something.
Since kindergarten, the multitalented Elijah, now a fourth-grader at Palo Verde Elementary School in Palo Alto, has been making comic books, writing stories and poems, designing video games and drawing elaborate mazes to entertain himself and his family. "I just like creating things. That's the basic idea," Elijah said of his varied talents.
His father encouraged him to enter the Weekly's short story contest. Since he's already enrolled in a writing class at school, he used class time to create "Max the Doorknob." Elijah had little trouble writing the piece. "I just made it up at school," he said simply.
Though he did complete a 20-chapter story when he was 4 or 5, Elijah is most fond of writing and drawing comic books. He has at least 200 of these comics under his belt and continues to work on new ideas. Most of the books are between 30 and 40 pages in length and frequently feature recurring characters "Dumbo" and "Mark." "Dumbo's the dumb one," Elijah confided.
Elijah said he gets most of his creative inspirations from computer games and books. To that end, he relishes mastering Nintendo games at home and perusing his comic book collection, which includes modern classics like "Garfield," "Calvin and Hobbes" and "Tin Tin."
When he's not busy with his writing or drawing, Elijah enjoys playing the piano, shooting baskets and riding his bike.
At school, Elijah is most fond of writing, reading and spelling. Although he is proud to be ranked at the top level in spelling for his class and was obviously productive in his writing class, some subjects fail to thrill him. "I need to work a little more on math," he said. "I don't like it much."
He's already given considerable thought to the future and has already mapped out several career paths.
"I want to be a cartoonist," he said. "If not (that), I want to be a video game designer. If not (that), then an architect."
--Kate Manning

Max the Doorknob

by Elijah Guo

Max was a doorknob to the closet, but he thought it was a boring life. Every school day the kid would twist Max to get a jacket, or the Mom would twist Max to put in some shoe boxes.
One day Max said, "I wish I wasn't a doorknob," when all of a sudden, a genie appeared.
"Hello," said the genie. "I hear you don't want to be a doorknob. I can grant you four wishes."
"I thought only three," said Max. "My boss has given me the power to grant four. Now what's your first wish?"
"I wish I was a human," said Max. "Like everybody else."
"I am sorry," said the genie, " I only have the power to turn you into a regular object."
"Oh well," sighed Max. "I wish I was a lamp. "
"ABRACADABRA!" said the genie. "Your wish is granted."
That night, the boy came to turn him on for the first time. CLICK! "Yow! said Max. That felt like 98 degrees! "Ouch, it hurts! I wish I wasn't a lamp!"
Suddenly, the genie appeared again. "You have three more wishes," the genie said.
Max thought for a while. Finally he said, " I wish I was a banana."
"ABRACADABRA!" "Your wish is once again granted."
But later, the boy wanted a snack and took Max. "Uh-oh, I forgot about this," he thought. First, the boy peeled him. Ouch, that hurt his skin. Then the boy took a bite out of Max. "OOOOWWWW! This really hurts! I wish I wasn't a BANANAAAA! "
When the boy went to the bathroom, the genie reappeared. "Only two more wishes," he said.
"I-OW!-wish I was an umbrella," said Max, jumping around because of the pain.
"ABRACADABRA!" said the genie. "Your wish is granted."
The first day was sunny. Max loved it. But the next day, on Monday, he felt some rain. Soon it was a downpour. It seemed the longer he waited, the longer it rained. Soon it started hailing. That REALLY hurt him. "I wish I wasn't an umbrella!" yelled Max.
One last time the genie appeared. "Be aware," he said "This will be your last wish. Pick wisely."
Max thought and thought and thought. "I am giving you 10 more seconds," said the genie. "10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, -"
Finally, Max said, "I wish I was a good old doorknob again."
"Good choice," said the genie. "ABRACADABRA! Your wish is granted now. Bye!"
"Bye," said Max. The genie was gone. The next day, the kid twisted Max. "I am so proud," said Max. "If they didn't have doorknobs like me, they couldn't open the doors and get things they want." Max felt happier than before.


"A unique idea with good use of words. The author thinks about the sounds of words and communicates it to the reader."
--Katy Obringer, Bruce Balan, Shirley Climo