This is a literary experiment/game not a commentary one.

Please read all the way through the rules first and follow them as closely as possible.

So here's the idea. It's based on an older surrealist game called "Parallel stories". Here are he rules I've come up with, READ THEM carefully, if you follow the rules then this experiment/game will remain pure.

1. Write a single fictional paragraph containing the hard linked words from the previous write up, in the order that they appear in that write-up.

2. The ONLY LINKS of any kind in your write up will be the words you want to appear in the next write-up.

3. No more than twenty(20) and no less than ten(10) words should be linked in your write-up.

4. No User names in the stories.

5. No preamble or foot-notes. Just the story. One short paragraph, no extra comments outside of the story.

6. Tense and other minor grammatical changes may be made to help your story flow.

See the first entry by me as an example of a correctly executed write-up.

Good luck and keep it pure.


Start Entry (using the words from the rules):

As I was listening to the commentary of the professer, he was going over the rules for the class, I became aware of the woman next to me, and, based on her older appearance, was inclned to follow her after class. I have a thing for older women and I was hoping she was single. I was kind of nervous and when I approached her but wanted to seem less so. Even though she was about twenty years older than me, she was beautiful . It took some time but after some small talk and exchanging names, I was able to get her to agree to lunch, but just. During lunch we commented on the changes that were made in the class schedule and the conversation flowed well from there. Entry into more of her life was going to be a little difficult, but I had already taken the first step and with luck would take a few more.

So here I was listening to the briefing. The client had gone over it once already. He had no class, I expected better than that. The next
day after lunch I had the hit all lined up. I was hoping it would all go well, but I was still nervous. I approached it the way I would any other job. I took a deep breath and went in, guns a' blazing. After a brief exchange, it was done. I went to meet the client at the cafe we had agreed on. I made conversation and went my own way. Taking life isn't a difficult job, at least not after the first one.

"Here," said the secretary, handing the doccument to the old lawyer. Before him in the lobby wait his last client, not only of the day, but of his carreer. When he was asked to draw up a will for a woman diagnosed with terminal cancer he expected to see a frail husk of a shell, or perhaps an even worse sight which might make him expell his three martini lunch. On the contrary, the image of this seriously ill woman hit him totally by surprise. She might have been all of 25 years old, still glowing with youth and vitality. She was accompanied by her two small children, both as lovely as she. Sure, he'd had to perform this part of his job countless times during his 43 years at the firm, but this final time seemed to take his breath away. It just wasn't fair. He'd had a nearly blazing practice, which he was now turning over to his two oldest sons. He'd been happily married for over 40 years to the sweetest lady one would ever hope to meet. His challenges and blessings had been many; his sorrows had been fairly few. He was looking forward to a comfortable retirement. But life wasn't as kind to the woman before him, or her two children who would too soon miss their mommy. "It's a lovely day, Ms. Ryan," he began. "Can I treat you and your kids to some ice cream? There's a nice cafe just across the street." The young woman gratefully accepted. Taking the children by their hands, the small party went on their way. As they walked the old lawyer thought to himself that it was the least he could do. After all, life had been good to him.

For me, Wednesday has never been quite a day in itself, more like an excuse to summon up the will to make it through to the weekend. This particular Wednesday was no different, except that it seemed to apply to my life in the larger sense. I caught myself examining the frail lines running down my fingers that had been exposed by the harsh light of the office, wondering where they had come from. I guess this should not have been a surprise to me. The immortality of youth has to end sometime, doesn't it? Or doesn't. A thought occured to me, there, in that office on that particular Wednesday. I was positively glowing with excitement. The thought was this: what if I gave up aging? I mean, it wasn't working out the way I thought it would, so why not drop it like a bad habit? Under the harsh light, I studied the wrinkles in my hand for one final time, and then decided that I was up to the challenge of eternal youth. I was going to be immature until the day I dropped dead, dammit! At that very instant I packed up my briefcase and went to buy some ice cream - but not just any ice cream - no, the really expensive kind of ice cream that has an orgasmic dance party in your mouth when you least expect it. God, was that ice cream ever good. I told myself at that moment that I would never waste another Wednesday in quiet anticipation.

It was late, and I needed some excuse to troll Namd. I mean, here it was, 3 days 'til the weekend and everything, and I needed a quick XP hit. And if you're on Everything, and you have any sense at all, you know the only way to get XP is by trolling Namd. I'd already done this about 10 times in the past 45 minutes, so I was wondering how to troll again without making it look conspicous(which would earn me immortality as an XP whore). At first I thought I could just find one of his "I hate the the Communist USA but not Communist China" nodes, and criticize that, but then I remembered that no one really cares about his psuedo-Authoritarian leanings, so out of habit went to gun control, and "Psychotic Fucks With Guns." This was a bad choice, because Everything is full of geeks, who in their youth think that guns contain much redeeming social value. To buy a gun with all their VA IPO money just gives them orgasmic joy. So in retrospect, I should have trolled elsewhere.

I recently joined an organization called the NAMD--the National Association of Medical Doctors--mainly because my old gig with the band--the EXPextorants--was not paying off. See, after I graduated from medical school, everything just got so crazy. No hospital would hire me after that rather conspicuous tryst with that whore in Texas Stadium. I'd never been called so many names in my life as they led me off to jail--communist, degenerate, creep, some stoned guy even called me a "pseudo-authoritarian". I was lucky the judge didn't think I was some psychotic like the rest of the country did--he just sentenced me to some community service social work down at the local IPO office. It was tough, but--hey, in retrospect, this story has nothing to do with the National Association of Medical Doctors. Sorry.

Wednesday I met with the lawyer for a Title search and to get a will drawn up, a hard lesson learned for me, I wanted to spare my sons, be better prepared for them. After that odious task he invited the boys and I for a pleasant time at the nearby Ice Cream Staduim And Emporium catty-corner to the the Creep County Jail. He had helped us out once when I had problems with a neighbor who was constanlty getting stoned and using our tree as a community toilet. I toughed it out the winking afternoon sun waiting for a study date. In reminisce I play it over and over again: I heard the kitchen drawers slaming open and shut. I told him to wait, that I would fix him a sandwich as soon as I put the groceries away. Rounding the corner I saw the knife clatter and bounce on the floor, and he was lying there ashen faced. They said in CPR class that I would most likely use this skill on someone I knew, just not him. With no sense of organization I pushed air into his mouth hoping I was doing this right, the muscles in my shoulders burned and shook long before the first firetruck arrived. Papers flying, shoving needles into his arms these urban doctors from the hospital refused to let me give up hope. Two years later of empty night trysts dreaming fearfully alone, reaching and not touching his arm for succor, no longer would I hear the comfortable sound of his snoring by my side. He walked on the ground I worshipped.
I've since cleaned out his side of the closet, donated his clothes and shoes, experienced the true smells musing around me in mirthless abstractions. Setting aside the bowl he jingled change out of every day. I wrapped that and his jewelry case carefully, painfully planning to give one to each son . Unable to bear the empty closet and so many memories, the boys and I decided to sell the house. The false alarm from the doctors of a cancer diagnosis had spurred me along. He always said he would out live me. He had never been sick a day in his life. With the dance of a woman's logic I berated him , damn you for lying to me and damn you for dying first! Now as an attempt to move on I decided to take a class at the nearby college and with some hesitation agreed to meet a classmate for a second time. Expressing how sorry he was for his tardiness I noted the young man's Tyrian purple dress shirt similar to the one I had wanted to get Ned for Father' Day. I had thought it would go well with his color, compliment his salt and pepper gray hair. The necktie he wore was a pearl gray with a small geometric designs shaded to match the hue of the shirt. I studied the shapes and thought an art class would be nice. As we approached the door his long arm swept leisurely around me opening the door. I became cognizant of his hand, it had been a long time since I watched a man's hands. Usually it was the first thing I took notice of. It was dynamic and full of energy and character, yet easygoing. Suddenly from this unexplainably sweet act I felt a real smile reach from the my tattered heart to the corners of my eyes.

It was one of those things that I wished didn't have to be done. Definitely something to be put off to another day. Any other day. Just not now. It was an odious task at best, I was charged with cleaning out the room that was catty-corner to mine. It was summer camp again, and the campers were off at their myriad of activities. I was their counselor, charged with being a role model and with keeping their daily lives running smoothly. The heavy weight of the noon-day sun glared at me, winking silently through the window panes. I reminisced about my days as a camper. Did I ever think of what hardship the counselors had to do for me while I was gone? Probably not. I can remember one time, running wide-eyed through the forest outside of our cabin over the ashen ground. I had tripped and fallen flat on my face, scraped up pretty badly if I remember correctly. Hoping for any sort of succor I called out for my counselor to come help me. I hadn't been very far from the cabin. He had been writing in his journal, a book of musings he frequently wrote in. He dropped it and ran out the door, expecting bloody murder. His face was mirthless as he slowly approached me. He gave a scowling glance at my untied shoelaces and berated me for running too quickly outside and not paying enough attention to where I was going. I thought he had been my friend. I remember bursting into tears. For my kids, this summer, I had tried to be a good counselor: supportive, caring, and gentle. As I began the thankless task of cleaning out our cabin, I glanced outside at the tyrian-colored flowers blooming haphazardly by the stoop. As I swept up the room with the pearl-colored broom I was suddenly cognizant of the splendor of summer camp. A time for kids to be away from their parents, to enjoy the outdoors, to be care free. A dynamic time in their life, where they could begin to feel the first inklings of who they are and what life is all about.

You must thing I'm just bonkers. And why not, eh? I've rambled on now for twenty minutes at least, telling you myriad tales that make hardly any sense at all. You'd like to find a charge that would stick, I'll bet. Smooth operator, aren't you my lad? It's clear as a pane of glass to me. But I won't do time for those murders; you can be sure of that. Living in this mental ward is hardship enough. You probably should be going, if you don't want to meet the same fate as others who've crossed me. Why all wide-eyed all of a sudden, eh? It's bloody difficult it is, to keep on pretending to be mad. But when a murder charge is as good as sealed against you, well, tell me, what would you do? You've got me here you mirthless bastards! Isn't that enough? Let me tell you something. I could cut out your eyeballs with a shoelace, right here, right this second, if only the orderlies would let me wear shoes. But I can't expect you to shed a tear, can I? No. Not with what I did to your mother. It's thankless work, mine. And anything can trip you up. Anything. Something haphazard, like forgetting which leg to limp on. That's how they found me out, you know. I stooped down to pick up a paper one morning, in front of my house, and some busybody across the street noticed that I was limping on my left leg, not my right. Tell me, why are people so goddamned nosy, huh? Suburban effing splendor in the effing grass, if you ask me. Don't think you're going to trick me out though. I've got an inkling of what your game is, son. Don't forget that.

The final sign that I was going bonkers was, undoubtedly, the cadre of silent floating fetusus outside my window. Twenty in all, I counted them carefully before deciding that I must be hallucinating. I mean, nineteen, surely, lad, but twenty? Definitely a sign of mental fatigue. Although if such was to be my fate I felt I could live with it, but still, I'm getting a bit old for such sudden trips of fantasy. It's difficult to retain a sense of the world around you, when you spend so much of your concentration and energy trying to tell if that world is real and happening. The only answer, natch, is that it's real enough to worry about. In any case, I gave the silent cadre a second look, walking to the window to get a better view. I shed the blankets perhaps halfway there, hearing them fall soundlessly to the floor in a limp pile of linen; that distracted me just enough, and when I looked back to the window there was nothing there. I continued to stare until the thump of the morning paper against the door brought me back to the current real world.

I wasn't exactly sure of where we were going, but the prospect of adventure brightened my otherwise murky thoughts. Her footsteps sounded like brisk slaps in the face as I blindly followed her down a hallway lit only by flickering light from smoke bellowing candles. I was just about to accuse her of speaking monstrous lies when we passed under a sign reading This way to Paradise. Pushing open the door, my eyes widened at the virtual cadre of candy and, of course, illegal firearms. Karen was always so well prepared. I smiled at her knowingly and reached for a caramel covered apple to cure my fatigue, but she knocked it out of my hand before I could take a bite. Apparently they are not safe to eat. I would only find out later that all the candy in the room had been poisoned as a way of finishing the job if the weapons should fail. Bypassing this treasure trove of goodness, Karen leads me to the back room where they were all waiting- Elmer, Floyd, and Warren. I know this sounds absurd, and I apologize for that, but it seems that truth is always stranger than fantasy. Crossing the room, I express my shock at seeing everyone together for the first time in years. It's almost as if nothing had changed. "Natch" is the only word that Elmer can think of to describe the situation. The room falls silent as I launch into a tirade denouncing the stupidity of that word. He always used that word and I hate him more than anything! I grab Elmer by the collar of his saliva encrusted shirt and I would easily have thrown him out the window if there had been one. Still swaying halfway between anger and placidity, I settle for spitting in his face and pushing him to the floor. I was about to hit him one last time for good measure when the loud thump of the metal door stopped me dead in my tracks. It was him- the current leader of our seedy operation. Beads of sweat ran down my neck as the lights came up to fully reveal the danger of our situation. We were in for a long night.

You see, that's the unholy trinity of our existence. Next to what He can do, your little threats of commitment to a mental institution or jail or death are ineffective slaps in the face. (Darn, I've let the saliva dry on my chin. I've got to remember to drool more.) HE promised us adventure, promised to take us away from our mundane lives as bankers, brokers, data-entry clerks. We trained as pilots, assasins, medical doctors, firearms experts, low-grade clairvoyants (who were you with last night, copper? She didn't look like anyone's wife, much less yours. Don't sweat it, copper. Everyone needs a little paradise). Handy skills to have as covers. But the price was steep. You seen the movie Total Recall? Where that guy has his memory erased and he's leading a new life but he's got no idea that that's what his situation is? Well, that was what we were like, little busy bees flying around on our own errands at the behest of our queen, never understanding the operation, never seeing the big picture. And never seeing the little picture, either. We knew our memories had been erased, knew there was no way to get them back. And when you live the series of lies, of bleached out half-lives for that long, you live with constant vertigo, wondering where the facade ends and where the 'real' you starts because there is no real anything. You start to feel like a chrome ball in an executive's desk toy--back and forth, up and down, side to side, pushed by strange forces you can feel and (sometimes) predict but never understand. The only thing you know for certain, deep down, the only solid thing you really have to cling to is that you'd rather munch on every poisoned candy apple and ice-cream bar in our assassin's treasure trove (everything must go!) than face His angry tirade. That is the absurd trinity of our existence--the mundane, the mockery of the mundane, and the seedy scheme you people invent to try to make it make sense! Oh, if there were only a way out of this nightmare, a horny prince with a sly kiss to break the spell so I could just WAKE UP and
not be not me!
I wrote 2, and couldn't choose between them:

1) My friend went to Trinity College Dublin, where her existence consisted of floating around the hallowed halls of the academic institution, being ineffective at her work and all the mundane elements of university life. Never broke, on account of her wealthy parents, her needs were simple: Plan every shopping expedition like a military operation, buy every girlie toy in sight, own everything chic and beautiful in the whole world, and then go to college wearing it.

2) As a child, Sister Magdalene taught me about The Trinity. My cynical young mind questioned the existence of such a thing, but the imposing institution of the Catholic Church tried to push my doubts aside. Ineffective and redundant as it may be in the modern world, Catholicism teaches that God is omnipotent; exists everywhere, even in the most mundane places, such as within a piece of broken bread. My priest believed this, and when he wasn't breaking bread, he would urge us, as parishioners: "Pray for the soul of X, the little boy, who needs an operation," - I used to think that any little boy in his right mind would rather we pray for toys.Everything about Church made me not want to go, and now I'm a grown up, I only go once a year. On Christmas Eve.

He lifted the bawling child out of her high chair and turned toward us, rocking and soothing her, and she went quiet like magic.

"I know I've been a cynical bastard," he announced. "I always talked about the convenience of believing comforting stories. But I think now I was embracing my doubts for the same reason others eschew them: fear."

He paused and thought some more, and there was silence while we all waited. The grandfather clock chimed the quarter-hour, and a redundant cuckoo clock somewhere else in the house echoed back. He sighed and shook his head, as if a timer had gone off and he still didn't have an answer.

"I suppose it's all part of the modern condition. Fear is omnipotent. It drives everything. One day it will drive her, and she'll be ruined like the rest of us."

Speak for yourself, I thought, but nodded my head sadly along with the rest. This was the most glum I had seen him since his daughter's birth, and I wondered what must be eating him. It wasn't out of character for him to wax sullen about the state of the world, but never when he was home. Never with her there on his shoulder.

"Why should I have believed in God?" he demanded suddenly. "Why would He create us in order to give us the freedom to destroy ourselves? How can that be the definition of good?" His eyes were wild, brimming. The child began wailing sympathetically, and he took her downstairs to her crib.

Many years later I met his little girl, all grown up, walking on the streets of New York and looking agape at everything around her. She talked to me with more enthusiasm than I, a ghost from her youth, deserved. She had been five or six when I saw her last. I hadn't seen her father since then either. I asked about him, tentatively, fearing the worst. He was in India, she said. He was healthy, in good spirits. He had a new wife. "How wonderful! That's just super. Really great." I was effusive in my relief. She was watching me carefully as we talked.

"How did you recognize me?" she asked finally.

I realized I wasn't sure myself. I said the first thing that popped into my head.

"You looked like you were lost."

I decided to break rule 1 of the game, by not using a single paragraph. Seems like a silly rule; paragraphs makes things readable and nice. Of course, with the inclusion of this footnote I'm also breaking rule 5. *sigh*

De window unit air conditioner is on high in dis back-water ramshackle excuse for an office. Science is magic stuff dat works or somethin' is how dat sayin' go. Hmmph - ain't even keepin' de mercury south of a hun'red; poor results for such a high-priced convenience. I can still hear him talkin' in de next room, wishin' he would meybe take some of dat advice from another southern gentleman of de past. Eschew all dem extra words delayin' you from makin' your point or other. He's de grandfather of dis whole NAMD cover. He's our Charlie, our Bill; our goram Mario Puzzo - coverin' all de cost of flyin' our team all hither 'n' yon, criss crossin' dis here nation attendin' medical conferences 'n' givin' equipment demonstrations 'n' such. E'ry conference is another job. E'ry job another hit. We know we don't see much de revenue side, but so as I figure de checks keep comin' e'ry first 'n' fifteenth I can stand to know a little less 'bout this operation. Heh. Dis office just a cheap addition to his old house. Walls thin enough dat dey shook when he pounded his desk once. Walls thick enough dat I still can't make out de words passin' back 'n' forth. I hope I don't lose a whole go'ram day out here in de swamp. Drive back on out of here at night - de thought bothers me like I ain't been bothered since de Fresno job. Moon ain't been of no mind to wax just yet dis month, 'n' livin' within dem headlights for six hours... drivin' so late 'n' so dark will destroy your will to stay awake, you know what I'm sayin' now? My ears done perk up wit a wailing coming from his room. Soft, quiet like... kickin' on up like a ghost now. Dare's a healthy sob followed by de retort of a gun 'n' den some silence or other. Shit. Dare ain't no sound comin' out dat room now. Shit. I don't even know who he was havin' a speakin' to. I gotta catch myself wonderin' if he had us queued up for some performance review or other, or maybe one of the guys just had hisself some coop de gracie. Thinkin' gets you dead in dis here business. I gotta get my head outta some here clouds 'n' inna some here plan to get lost. Curiousity killed dem here cats now but me, I always had dis natural curiousity, see. So meybe I just sit here all quiet like, check dat safety off, 'n' draw a bead right dare halfway up again above dat dare doorknob. Meybe I'll sit here just long enough 'n' see if dat dare tiger comes through dat door. Then meybe I'll have me some answers. Then I'll have me some.

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