Tandem Story



Received from an English Professor:
          
This assignment was actually turned in by two of my English students: 
Rebecca
 and Gary 
          
English 44A
          
SMU
          
Creative Writing
          
Professor Miller
          
In-class assignment for Wednesday:
          
Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story.  The 
process is simple.  Each person will pair off with the person sitting 
to his or her immediate right.  One of you will then write the first 
paragraph of a short story.  The partner will read the first paragraph 
and then add another paragraph to the story.  The first person will 
then add a third paragraph, and so on back and forth.  Remember to 
reread what has been written each time in order to keep the story 
coherent.  The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been 
reached.
          
-----------------------------------------
          
At first, Laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she wanted.  The 
chamomile, which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, 
now reminded her too much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, 
that he liked chamomile.  But she felt she must now, at all costs, 
keep her mind off Carl.  His possessiveness was suffocating, and if 
she thought about him too much her asthma started acting up again.  So 
chamomile was out of the question.
          
Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron 
now in orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about 
than the neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with 
whom he had spent one sweaty night over a year ago.  "A.  S.  Harris 
to Geostation 17", he said into his transgalactic communicator.  
"Polar orbit established. No sign of resistance so far..." But before 
he could sign off a bluish particle beam flashed out of nowhere and 
blasted a hole through his ships cargo bay.  The jolt from the direct 
hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the cockpit.
          
He bumped his head and died almost immediately, but not  before he felt 
one last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who 
had ever had feelings for him.  Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its 
pointless hostilities towards the peaceful farmers of Sklylon 4.  
"Congress Passes Law Permanently Abolishing War and Space Travel." 
Laurie read in her newspaper one morning.  The news simultaneously 
excited her and bored her.  She stared out the window, dreaming of her 
youth - when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with no 
newspapers to read, no television to distract her from her sense of 
innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around her.  "Why must one 
lose one's innocence to become a woman?" she pondered wistfully.
          
Little did she know, but she has less than 10 seconds to live. 
Thousands of miles above the city, the Anu'udrian mothership launched 
the first of its lithium fusion missiles.  The dimwitted wimpy 
peaceniks who pushed the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty 
through Congress had left Earth a defenseless target for the hostile 
alien empires who were determined to destroy the human race.  Within 
two hours after the passage of the treaty the Anu'udrian ships were on 
course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to pulverize the entire 
planet.  With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated their 
diabolical plan.  The lithium fusion missile entered the atmosphere 
unimpeded.  The President, in his top-secret mobile submarine 
headquarters on the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the 
inconceivably massive explosion which vaporized Laurie and 85 million 
other Americans.  The President slammed his fist on the conference 
table.  "We can't allow this! I'm going to veto that treaty!  Let's 
blow'em out of the sky!"
          
This is absurd.  I refuse to continue this mockery of literature.  My 
writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic, semi-literate adolescent.
          
Yeah?  Well, you're a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at 
writing are the literary equivalent of Valium.
          
          






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