11.17.2013

A Writer's Game: Pass The Paragraph



I'm on a tour up the east coast, visiting friends on my way up to my for-the-holidays-home home in Boston. Tonight, I'm stopping in Carrboro, NC where my friends Heather and Fraser live. Heather is a writer and Frasier is a talented photographer... And very Scottish.

We decided to play a writer's game I kinda halfway just invented: Each person writes a paragraph, then hands to the next writer. The next writer can only read the last sentence of the previous paragraph. After three pages, the Scotsman narrates the whole thing.

You can play this at home. All you need is a pen, three pieces of paper, and a Scotsman.

Here's what we came up with. Blue = me, Orangish = Heather:

If you could measure disappointment in pounds and ounces, then Mick would have weighed so much, the chair beneath him would shatter. He had been sitting at that table for hours, waiting... Waiting. Alas, the only thing that had arrived that he expected was the tater tots. 

He was determined that this time, it would work. Previous attempts at ingesting anything, solid or liquid, had only ended in the employees inviting him to leave and not come back. It was endlessly frustrating to contemplate. His clothes appeared to be made of the same stuff as the rest of his body --  The outfit he was wearing as his life ended abruptly -- but while the pockets could hold whatever he shoved into them, the body just... Didn't. Whatever went into his mouth ended up in a pile on the floor. Today was the day though -- he was determined he would eat now, or never try again.

He knew if he never tried to eat again, he'd die. That's how much it meant to him: he was risking starvation for this to work (of course, he also knew hunger would probably override his dogmatic conviction to his hunger strike and, if he happened upon a stray piece of cereal or a rogue french fry left beneath his seat, he'd give in and eat it. That is, unless you could measure disappointment in dry weights and his chair broke and he crushed it before he could eat it... So let's thank God that's not how THAT works...

He might be dead, but at least he could enjoy something about being stuck planet side. Honestly though, he found that he didn't see what all the fuss was about. Memories from his former life were hazy and fleeting, but he knew a good meal when he saw one. The consequences were sure to be... interesting. But his new mission in un-life was to find the actual best ones ever. 

"These ones are the ones of princes and kings!" he would exclaim... If and when he found them. Other ones would be inferior. And ain't nobody want some inferior ones, you know? I mean... Fuck that, right? Only the BEST ones will do. He will settle for no less. This is what he thought while sitting there, well into his third hour, waiting... Waiting. And not crushing his chair, thankfully. Also, he might have been drunk.

Damn, it was great to be drunk. Way too munch is free to bounce around your mind and fuck you up when you no longer have to spend so much energy just maintaining a body. Being dead is enough of a bummer. Being dead AND depressed, you don't even want to go there. Drunk though... Drunk was good. He was numb in every sense of the word. The only thing to do now was test the limit. Could he actually pass out anymore? 

He sure hoped so. There was an entire bowl full of Halloween candy left. If he couldn't pass out any more, he'd be forced to eat it all himself. And thus, as three hours turned into four and the weight of his disappointment grew and his chair strained to hold him up, he began picking out the best ones: Snickers! Kit Kat! Reese's! "These brats... They make me wait and wait... THEY GET THE MILKY WAY! THEY GET THE THREE MUSKATEER'S! Mr. Goodbar, Smarties... They get ALL THE INFERIOR ONES!" 

Discrimination! That's what it is! His... Life-ism! "Fucking zombies had to ruin it for all the rest of us. And don't even get me started on Vampires!"

"Fucking Vampires..." he said aloud. He took another drink. "Laziest costume next to ghosts... Just roll around in some glitter and put in plastic fangs... I swear, if a SINGLE Vampire shows up, I'll--" Just then, the alcohol and the fun-sized candy bars kicked in and he fell over into a diabetic coma, and consequently broke his chair, ultimately from disappointment.

THE END
What's interesting is that, with two writers, you see continual loopbacks into their particular thread -- with Heather, it's undead, and with me, it's absurd notions of crushing disappointment and fun sized candy. It's also interesting that, when the theme became halloween, both things made sense somehow.

I laughed out loud when I read the Vampires bit. I am 90% sure that if I published this, middle-aged unsatisfied housewives would buy this and masturbate to it by the census-load.

If you play it, please share your results!!!