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Magnets and Wires, Hatchets and Backpacks

It is 1983. You are smashing apart a large stereo speaker that a neighbor left out for trash pick up. This is not an act committed solely to drink the juvenile intoxicant of destruction; it’s there of course, you feel it working on you, but what you are really after are the magnets and wires behind the diaphragm. When you’ve freed these components from the cabinet, you take them to the woods near your house where your time machine awaits final assembly. You duct tape the magnets and wires to your time machine and climb aboard. A backpack and a hatchet are at your feet. You can not take both with you. Please choose one.

It is 1985. You are disappointed your time machine has propelled you only two years into the future. You are even more disappointed where the time machine has placed you. Mrs. Moynihan’s 5th grade class in the middle of a math quiz. You reach into your desk for an eraser, but instead remove a book that if you don’t put back right away, will define your life for years. Your first adult book. You will read sex for the first time (a hand job more precisely); you will read grief, death, and terror. On the cover is a craggy stone staircase set against a wooded backdrop. There is the black silhouette of a cat at the bottom of the stairs, and a makeshift crucifix at the top. Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. Math or the macabre? You have no choice here. You hurry through the quiz, set your pencil down, and even though you just arrived, when you pick up the book and open to the bookmarked page, you are fully conscious of the ancient Indian burial ground that is hidden in the overgrowth just beyond the kid’s pet cemetery. You’ve been here before.

Moynihan. Here she comes with white foamy flecks of spittle in the corners of her mouth. She looks at you and your book. With thumb and forefinger, she scrapes away the spittle:
“Should you be reading that book?”
“I finished my quiz,” you respond.
“I don’t think you should be reading that book,” she says.
“My Mom said I could,” you say.
“You are not to read that book in my class again,” she says.

If you chose the backpack, please open it, and place Pet Sematary in alongside your Time Machine, Search for Dinosaurs book and your peanut butter and jelly sandwich. After school, go home and tell your mother what happened. You will argue with her about injustice, how evil Moynihan is, and she will ground you from reading for one week. You will then go up to your bedroom and smolder, never forgetting the rage you felt when adults took your books away.

If you chose the hatchet, hide inside the audio visual closet. When Moynihan comes in for a tv, hit her with the hatchet. There is a trap door in the floor that leads below the classrooms; open it, drop Moynihan down, and drag her body behind and old bake sale sign. Return to the audio visual room, close the hatch, and roll a tv over it. Then go back and read about nice things that die, and come back to life weird and scary

6 responses to “Magnets and Wires, Hatchets and Backpacks”

  1. Avatar angelatav says:

    Oh, Barry, this is awesome. And just FYI, I SO would have picked the hatchet, without even knowing the amazing result. Awesome, awesome.

    • BB222 BB222 says:

      Thanks guys, I wanted to provided a few more choices, and a few more "adventures," but to (roughly) paraphrase Ang's post sometimes what is in your head doesn't come out on paper.

  2. Avatar McKnight says:

    I love this: a Choose Your Own Adventure blog post. I used to cheat by sticking my fingers between the pages so I could go back and try the other options. Happily, I didn't have to do that here.

  3. fent11111 fent11111 says:

    Fantastic work.
    I had all but forgotten about these type of books amidst a fog of Xbox and high-sugar snacks.
    Thanks for the memories and the thoughts of bludgeoning a maths teacher.

  4. Avatar tee says:

    I'm on the side of Ang's here… And I have come up with an absolutely fantastic idea… why can't we find someone to get inside our heads, and write down what each of us sees? Wouldn't it be wonderful have to it flow the way it does inside your head… like a movie? (oh oh.. I think there have a few too many episodes of 'Fringe' this week….)

  5. Jason Jason says:

    I hope this is just a teaser for a later version of this story that is fully blown-out. We're on the web, for God's sake, an environment that seems custom-made for choosing your own adventure. And thank you for your description of what Pet Semetary meant for a young lad–more than the weird and scary, everyone of a certain age remembers reading about the hand job. I feel slightly less perverse now. Slightly.

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bb222 About bb222

The Cup of Procrastination: Drink bloody mary Clean house walk dog check email open word document play with fonts pretend computer crashes take hallucinogenic mushrooms (or tab of acid if really looking to kill time) go for walk think about all the great pieces you’ll write someday when you have the time.

Read more by this author on 30POV .


December 2010
November 2010
On My Honor
October 2010
Witch Hunt
September 2010
If, Then.
May 2010
Small Crimes
April 2010
February 2010
"It's Complicated"
January 2010