If you follow this blog, then you may remember that a couple weeks ago we wrote a story together. You can read how it started HERE, but basically I wrote an opening sentence and then different commenters each added a line to continue the story. Today I’m providing the completed story…or at least where it is today. It’s “different”, but reading it shows me how unique our minds work. I never would I have imagined taking the story in the direction it went. Have you ever been in a planning session that went this way? It’s how a team operates.
Here is our story:
Carolyn knew not to question the timing, but she had never experienced anything like this before now. She was anxious that someone so important was interested in her opinion. That she did not know what to say!!
Here she was, in a place that was both exciting and terrifying. And she could not have felt more exhilarated! The CEO, Mr. Jenkins, had asked to see her first thing this morning.
“Carolyn,” he said, shaking his head. “How did we not see this coming?!”
Puzzled, she really had no idea what he was talking about. “See what coming?”
Her mind raced as she replayed all of her hard work over the last month. But knowing about the events last week at the company HQ her pulse quickened. She tried to maintain her composure so as to appear neither excited nor nervous.
“Carolyn, the demand generated for your new book has been off the charts!” he exclaimed.
Her ADD was kicking in, this was important, she MUST STAY FOCUSED! Assured that she had, she struggled to retain her composure and asked to see the report. She turned her head quickly feigning like she was looking for something in her purse, but in reality she was executing a well-timed sniff test. See Carolyn had a history with deodorant.
She sat down, still confused and jittery. …as Mr. Jenkins announced, “You’ll be happy to know you’ve won employee of the year, and you won’t believe what the prize is!”
And then the hardest question of all:” Did I even remember to put on my deodorant this morning?” “What am I thinking? I’ve got to stay focused on the issue at hand”, which now seemed impossible as Mr. Jenkins was reaching for something inside his desk drawer.
However, since she is hardcore ADD, the thought faded as quickly as it came. As she contemplated her deodorant, her mind took her back to the place she most hated. Even though she should be enjoying this success, she felt like she was sitting in her high school principal’s office again.
Her mind wandered back to her hometown of Tribune, Kansas where Mr. Shaeffer had often had to dish out discipline to her and her friend Charlene. Where was Charlene now? Was she still alive….”What was that Mr. Jenkins?”
In that moment before Jenkins answered the question, Carolyn made a decision. It was time for a trip back home. She thought to herself, “I wonder if my name is still carved into the door to the gym?”
Mr. Jenkins answered, ” Oh, sorry…that’s just the new ring tone on my iPhone.” Sugarland’s, “Stuck Like Glue” echoed in the conference room as Mr. Jenkins pushed silence on his phone. The country music ringtone suddenly made all the pictures of Chuck Norris on the walls of Mr. Jenkins’ office make sense.
Her alarm clock was blaring in the background as she slowly woke to face her day. But going back also scared her…it had been so long since she had seen him. A secret only her dog understood. It had all been a dream- but it stirred up the desires in her to revisit her past.
She quickly scrambled to pack a bag and headed home, wondering after all these years if her secret would be revealed. On the plane, she thought more about Charlene, the murder, and of course, him.
The countryside seemed to move by in slow motion; would she ever be home; did she really want to be home? She dialed her phone with trembling hands: “Charlene?–it’s me.”
No one knew she had been there when it happened, and the shame and guilt were sometimes overwhelming. Silence crackled across the telephone wires as she waited for Charlene’s reply. And she wondered, ‘Should I really be here…should I be doing this? Does any of it really matter anymore?’
Sheepishly she pulled into the driveway, brushed a tear from her eye and slowly began to open her car door. Even the sound of the door opening and the wind as it whipped through her hair brought back unwanted memories.
The explosion knocked her to the ground.
Off in the distance a man with wire rimmed glasses looked on through a pair of military issue binoculars. The small device in his hand would ensure that the reunion would never happen. Carolyn raised her eyes up over the porch steps only to realize that Charlene was gone.
The only thing she could think to do was sit on her favorite rock in her favorite bay and think about what was happening. Carolyn was so confused! Everything was gone. Where was she! Who was Mr. Jenkins?
Rolling over in the bed she grabbed her blankets, pulled them up over her head and wished for a few more hours of uninterrupted sleep. Dreams sure have a way of ruining a nights sleep!
Something, perhaps a log floating in the rippling water, perhaps a shadow, reminded her of a long ago trip to Puerto Vallarta…Where she had visited a local Mexican restaurant. The owners, a kind indigenous family, had taken her and Charlene in for the night after their purses, with all their money and personal identification, had been stolen. Could Charlene ever understand the feelings being there brought back?
Suddenly, a gnawing feeling engulfed her as she recalled something…and it hit her: in only twenty four hours, she had left her boss standing in the office bewildered and begging her not to leave at this incredible moment of success, had shot off to see Charlene, had nearly been blown to bits, and then flown to Mexico like some asylum escapee passing into and out of reality, like some character in the first novel written by a writer with catastrophic ADD and way too much caffeine.
Startled by Bobby McFerrin singing “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”, she answers the phone and hears a familiar voice say “I’ve been thinking about you”.
It was her Father; “You shouldn’t have come back!” He said. “You know what will happen now!”
Carolyn started to wonder where all her past friends were, just now, she needed them for support, validation or celebration, she didn’t yet know what Where were all her friends now, for support, validation or just plain help? More importantly, would her ADD allow her to make any sense of what was happening?
Right then, her phone vibrated, it was a text ” I’m not dead, meet me at our spot “. OMG, was all she could think.
The sound of sirens in the distance brought her back to the situation at hand. She knew she needed to leave before she was asked any questions. So she climbed back into the car, stared at the burning house in front of her, and made her decision. She knew that she could not talk to the police just then. She started her car and headed off to find Robert.
Though stunned by the fact that Robert was clearly not dead, Carolyn drove quickly, arriving within minutes to “their spot”– But what was that object he was carrying and why was he waving it in the air?
She pulled into a secluded spot, turned off the engine and got out of the car. In the distance she saw Robert waiting for her. Suddenly she heard a loud BANG! …as the balloon Robert was carrying burst…and she saw the person who had perpetrated this cruel action.
Could it be? “No, that’s not possible; she’s dead”, she thought as she ran to Robert. Carolyn, reached Robert right at the same moment that Charlene did.. Both of them where alive, for years she had lived with regrets that weren’t real, her world was about to change.
Because the helium that was released from Robert’s burst balloon made her voice so squeaky high that she could now sing super-hyper-soprano.
Amid the random, myriad thoughts, the bunny slippers peeping out from under Mr. Jenkins desk jolted her abruptly back into the present.
Bunny slippers, Mr. Jenkins office; what had happened to the day as it was obviously night now and she was alone in his office; alien abduction perhaps?
Carolyn shook her head trying to clear the cobwebs out-what in the world was going on? Has this all been a dream or is it really happening. Confusion took over. She needed to get out, to clear her head. But as she turned her mind saw two men in the shadows, then the same bright light and suddenly it was day and she was in her own bed; or was she?
She pulled back the covers, sat up and shook the cobwebs of sleep from her mind as she went for her bunny slippers, but where were they and where did those muddy footprints come from?
Carolyn felt a cold chill as she realized that the footprints led to the two shadows in the corner–it was Robert and Mr. Jenkins, and they were both dressed in clown suits!
“What are you doing here?”, she called out; “What’s going on?”
She hated clowns, terrified of them since she was a small child because her father dressed for one at her 5th birthday party and screamed so loudly, as he tripped over one of her friends.
Mr. Jenkins replied, “You’re still dreaming. Think real hard and you’ll wake up.” She did and all of a sudden she was awake in her own bed; no clowns or bunny slippers.
She relaxed with the knowledge that heard dear friend Charlene was, in fact, alive. But something was still not quite right.
So she had no other choice but to drop to her knees and pray “Lord, I have no idea what to do or what’s going on. What should I do?” Just then, she felt the Lord was leading her to the one place where everything would be revealed: The deodorant factory where she had witnessed the murder.She had always had a nose for trouble and now she could understand exactly what had been going on.
THE END (At least for now…)
I included links to the people who provided them. If you didn’t leave a link on your comment, to either a blog or Twitter account, or at least your full name, I didn’t assume you wanted credit for helping write this post. I did add a few names who commented frequently here or on my blog. If you added a line and want to be linked here, send me an email and I’ll happily add you. (Or, if you want your name taken out, let me know also.)
Rick Phillips , Jerry Webb, @LemonJazz, Joe Sewell, Lance Morgan, Charles Anderson, Bryan Ruffin, Esther Rennick, Lisa McAuley, Randy Gravitt, Paul Stanley, Ami Dean, and Cheryl Kosec, Felicity Shiro, Lin Pearson, Jon, Kyle Reed, Tom Jamieson,
This was fun…What do you think happens next in Carolyn’s story?
Thanks for playing along…we may try this again sometime.