Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Choose Your Own Adventure - The Mendigans

Do you remember those old "choose your own story" books? I used to love them!

So, Barry Northern decided to create a collaborative project between bloggers, in which you, the reader, decide what the main character, 14 year old Michael, will do. Each decision leads to a different blog and another installment, or an ending? ;)

If you like, start the story from the beginning at Barry's blog, or go backwards to Tony Noland's blog, Landless and track it to where it all started.

On the other hand, if you came from Tony's blog, you've chosen Option 2: Listen to Taylor Swift to learn about the secret plan.

Either way, have fun! ;D

Thin Clumsy Hands

The man fumbled in the stacks of CD’s. They winced at the falling CD cases and harrumphings; Latoya grabbed Michael’s arm.
He finally noticed their wide eyes, “Oh, sorry about that. It’s Janine, the girl who used to work here. She was the one who kept all the stuff organized.”
The teenagers relaxed a bit, but Latoya didn’t release Michael.
The brown bearded man continued, “You see, I let her go this morning. She was… you know…”
He shuddered vigorously, making his whole body shake like a wild snake. Michael and Latoya stifled a laugher.
The man’s eyebrows came together, “Sorry about that. Maybe I should present myself?” he said changing the subject, “My name is Toby Brown.” Looking down he extended his bony hand.
Latoya titled her head to look straight in his eyes as her father had taught her, but seeing the crimson raising in his cheeks she grabbed his hand rigidly and said looking at his neat nails, “Nice to meet you Mr. Brown, my name is Latoya--”
Michael elbowed her in the ribs, giving her a hard look, “I’m Michael. Nice to meet you sir.”
He took Mr. Brown’s hand like a grown man would do. The man flinched and Michael was surprised by the lightness of his handshake.
“Right, I should get back to work… I don’t understand why I can’t find Taylor Swift. She’s so popular!”
“Sir,” said Latoya attemptively, “I’m sorry to ask, but are you sure you’re looking in the right section?”
“Yes, yes, I sold her album just the other day. The country section should be right here!”
“Maybe there are more albums in the back?” tried Michael, “Do you have a storage room, sir?”
“You’re a smart boy, Michael. Why don’t you go over the country section again, just in case? I’ll be right over there,” he said, motioning to a narrow door behind them.
As they resumed the search, Latoya questioned Michael about his roughness, “What was that about?”
“We shouldn’t trust him just because he says he saw the aliens. Besides he looks a bit queer, don’t you think?”
This last remark got him a pursed lip, "Yeah, emo-boy," she snapped.
"I'm no emo, ok?" he whispered between gritted teeth, "I just think we should be more cautious, that's all. Besides, who's this Baa-guy anyway?”
“Do you think this could be a trap?”
“Shush!” he whispered, stepping closer.
“There! I got it!” yelled Mr. Brown from the door, startling the conspiring couple and provoking a girlish yelp from both Latoya and Michael.
"I’ve found only a few copies of her last album, but this should do."
It did them no good. It was all fragmented; all they could hear were sparse and broken words, “bewa… invasion… horrible… must…”
“There’s nothing we don’t know already!” said Michael, punching the floor where they’d all seated, "We've heard everything twice but nothing comes out of it!"
"Maybe we're missing something," said Mr. Brown.
Latoya tapped a finger on her lips, drawing Michael’s attention to them. Then she snapped her fingers, bringing him back to reality.
“What if they have been planning this invasion for a long time, and they are infiltrated in all music stores, destroying the messages put in the songs?”
“We’re listening,” said the men in unison. They looked at each other automatically; Michael looked back at Latoya, who was elaborating her idea.
“I mean, maybe they couldn’t get to the bigger stores, but the smaller ones would be an easier target, wouldn’t they?”
“So, we’ve reached a dead end,” said Michael, sighing. “This can't be happening!”
"Calm down emo-boy, I--"
"I've said I'm no emo." He pointed a stiff finger to his own head.
They all silenced. Suddenly Mr. Brown started humming. It seemed that he was battling against himself.
“Mr. Brown?” asked Latoya, with her sweetest voice. She didn’t want to startle him, setting up another snake fit.
“I have a friend from Wyomissing," said the older man, "we haven’t seen each other for a long time, but he knows the Taylor girl. He used to get all her albums in first hand; some were even signed as 'your friend Taylor'. I saw one myself. He lives a few blocks from here.”
Latoya’s face brightened.
“Or we could try the mall,” interrupted Michael, narrowing his eyes, “where there's a huge bookstore with CDs and DVD’s of all kinds.”
“So,” she asked, “what do we do?”
They all looked up as the door opened and an alien police officer entered.
So, what will you do?
Note: The fun image of the tentacle cupcake I found here. Psst! There's a recipe in there. ;)

Edited to add: If you felt a bit lost as to which thread leads where, Barry, the creator of this whole thing, made a graph to help us out (I'm confused too! lol). You can check it out here.


  1. This is an ongoing project. Our goal is to have all links set up by Friday the 9th, so please be patient?

    Also, I'd love if you commented on the project and maybe on this installment? :)

  2. This instalment is great, I love the way this story thread is going, and I'm looking forward to the links becoming active! (Tony hasn't linked to this yet so I put the link in a comment)

    And the tentacle cupcake : I may have to suggest that to my wife: Mummy Cupcakes

  3. This was fun Mari - This is the first post I've seen of the whole project. When I have a bit more time (gotta get to work now!) I'll check out some more! :)

  4. Quite fun!

    Loved the image of the man shuddering like a "...wild snake in a fight."

    Can't wait to read all the linked work.

    Wonderful, Mari-girl!

  5. This is a great section! I'm sorry that I don't have the time to participate, but I'm looking forward to reading all the links!

  6. Gah! They better make their choice quick before that Mendigan Officer reaches out with his tentacles.

    I like the twist of the aliens destroying the messages in music. Distorting. It's actually a philosophical thought. Don't we humans do this today?

    Very cool installment, Marisa. Can't wait to see where the next two take it. ;-)

  7. >> Barry: Thanks! I'm most curious too! ;)

    re: cupcakes: Your wife's website looks yummm. I can't stay for long there, or I'll stop writing and go to the kitchen to try and make one of those, heh.

    Please share with us the result, if she decides to give it a try.

    >> Jemi: The project should be complete by Friday. I'm sure you'll have a blast! heh ;P

    >> Marisa: Thanks! :)

    Poor thing; this wild snake doesn't seem to be able to do much besides shuddering, lol. Let's see if he reveals himself something different further on? I'm soo curious!

    >> Laura: Thanks! I'm sorry too, that you couldn't join in, but I'm sure you'll have fun!

    It looks like that there will be other editions though, hopefully! ;)

    >> Jodi: Hey, thanks for stopping by! :)

    The Mendigan Officer was a last minute addition, heh, I'm glad you liked it. :)

    Indeed we do. Maybe that's why we have all these conspiracy theories flying around, and the deep need to be saved. (from ourselves?)

  8. Great continuation! I love the emo-boy teasing.

  9. >> Tony: Thanks! Teenagers are much fun to write, aren't they?

  10. I love your installment - good dialogue and that old man has got to be up to something - or under the power of the aliens - hehe.

    My installment is coming up soon! This is really fun! Can't wait to follow all the threads.

  11. >> Anne: Thanks! I think I'm becoming aficionado for dialogue. So much can be revealed with it! ;)

    Yeah, I agree that the old man is quirky. How knows what he's up to? heh

  12. This was fun, great installment Mari! :)

    Now I'm also wondering how the mall part will lead us.

  13. Nice continuation to the story! What a fun concept this is. It was fun writing an ending to your thread. It's up now at

  14. >> Estrella: Thanks so much, and thanks for participating! I'll let you guys know when the mall installment comes up. ;)

    >> GP: Thank you for joining us! I too had much fun! heh

  15. Those aliens are so clever- nice penning here, and terrific dialogue.
    Thanks for joining in the fun - great pic.

  16. Great start to the story. Can't wait to read more!

  17. >> Erin: Thanks! Indeed, very cunning these Mendigans, eh? heheh

    I had much fun with the project! Can't wait to read the other threads and arrive in your post. Will be there soon. ;)

  18. >> ganymeder: Hi! Thanks for stopping by!

    I'm glad you liked this installment, but it's not the actual beginning?

    If you want to read more, may I suggest you go to the start at Barry Northern's blog? Have fun! :D

  19. Hi Mari,
    What fun! I've posted my "Go to the mall" segment here:

    Hope you all enjoy it!

  20. >> Margo: Hi, thanks for stopping by! You're linked and I love your installment! I'm sure everyone will have fun! :)

  21. Fun installment Mari! I too like the emo teasing bit. I hope I'm reading these in order, (it's a bit confusing), but even if I'm not the ones I've read thus far, (Barry's, Tony's, now yours), are great as stand-alones.
    I wish I'd had time to participate in this project. It seems like such fun. Maybe we'll do another one soon? Hint-hint Barry, (but then I don't do sci-fi all that well).

  22. >> Deanna: Thanks! I was preparing a small guide to help you finding your way in our little labyrinth (heh) but Barry anticipated me (thankfully!) and created an awesome graph of the threads. (see note to add on the original post)

    Agreed, it was much fun! Maybe we could do something in a different genre? If I hear something I'll sure let you know! ;)


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