Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The INSIDE Magazine Fiction Project

We asked IU students and staff to put their heads (and their words) together, and we wrote a story, line by line. It’s charming, it’s bizarre - it kind of makes us rethink reader participation … We love every word.

1. He wasn’t sure if he could remember all of the circumstances that had led him into the unusually wobbly kayak, but the fortune cookies, he knew, hadn’t been there long.
- Allie Townsend, senior, INside Editor

2. “Zarvox!” yelled a large mystery woman as she shook the kayak.
- Austin Williams, freshman and Kodi Thornton, freshman, both androgynously named females

3. After the mysterious woman shook the kayak, a platypus suddenly appeared next to a pile of fortune paper slips.
- Amanda Eldridge, sophomore and IMU Back Alley employee

4. Oh no!
- Matt McCurdy, freshman and other IMU Back Alley employee

5. Billy Shears sprang from his pillow, shot his eyes to the alarm clock (3:45), and let out a long breath–thinking to himself, “That damned ‘Zarvox’ dream again…”
- Brian Janosch, graduate, founding INside editor and editorial assistant at The Onion

6. Meandering out of the bedroom, stumbling over empty pizza boxes and aluminum cans, the sirens wailed in the distance announcing the oncoming storm as Billy swore under his breath.
- Luke Fields, senior, president of the IU Student Association

7. As his memory of the past 12 hours seeped back, he suddenly fisted the many fortune cookie slips out of his pant pocket, realizing not only had he actually robbed the Dragon Express of some of those crunchy cookie cartons, but he had then ransacked the union’s kayak storage facility. All for the love of one singular platypus.
-Elizabeth Rauh, senior

8. The sirens were closing in. Time was growing short. Billy just had to see her again before getting caught, simply had to. Against his better judgment, he threw caution to the wind; this would be a tumultuous day.
-Yun William Yu, senior, and “boy genius” featured in INside’s Smartest Issue Ever

9. So he picked up the phone…
-Carrie Albright, Assistant Manager and barista at Soma Coffeehouse

10. And dialed the number of his long lost love, the platypus.
-Dylan Galyan-Wilkerson, Soma coffee sipper and senior at Bloomington High School-North

11. Billy stared blankly at the loosely gripped phone in hand, sensing that the platypus was only a strand of his own fiction. Panic washing over the entire room, images of pirated kayaks and hijacked Chinese food swell and suffocated his thoughts. Rummaging through his pockets, Billy finds a single untouched fortune cookie in his shirt pocket. Reflexively he snaps it in half, popping the pieces in his mouth; while unfolding the cookie’s quotation, Billy grins. “Enjoy life! It is better to be happy than wise.”
-Troy Mottard, senior, artist featured in INside’s Art Issue

12. It’s the buzzing that brings him back from his fortune haze; two mechanical rings, then the click of someone at the other end…
-CJ Lotz, sophomore, INside departments editor

13. “Hello,” she said, sounding like a woman who had walked too long and too fast in a long, tight skirt, and he realized–too late, as it turned out–that he had gotten food poisoning from the massive amount of Chinese food he consumed.
-Amy Cook, IU professor of Theatre History

14. “Oh, you have a prescription for Zarvox? Certainly!” He thanked the large woman.
-Danny Walsh, former IU student and patron of Upstairs Pub

15. And then it was responsible for more than the usual celestial mechanics. Ordinarily I find that people tell me how to relate but if naught else is available, I will make this demonstration. The planets describe elliptical orbits; this much is dear. I know how obvious it is to the masses, but I hope in the end, Kepler’s laws of planetary motion will be common knowledge, Zarvox not withstanding.
-Brendan Granger, expected M.A. Applied Mathematics, written at 1:31 a.m. at Nick’s English Hut

16. (He couldn’t believe that the Zarvox was making him think such crazy–but intelligent!–thoughts.) “Man, this stuff really works!” he said to himself, before popping another pill.
-Ashley Wilson, senior, INside features editor

17. The pills effects became stronger. Everything seemed clearer now, the robberies, the “Learn your own Chinese” on the back of his fortune cookie, his obsession with celestial movements, and the Platypus. That Platypus. What a dame. The girl whose legs seemed to go on forever. He wanted to stare at her for hours. He’d robbed the restaurant for her hadn’t he? And yet it all seemed like years ago; a jumbled mess of a hundred stories told by an asphyxiating narrator who had obtained a dozen personalities before the end of his incomprehensible tale. Despite the pills drowsy effects he had to return to her. He had to give his love with the platypus tattoo the money before the bulls or the feds got him and locked him up. After that he didn’t care what happened. He pulled out his father’s old .38 service revolver and kicked down the door. He never expected to see what came next…
-Luke Fisher, Eigenmann resident assistant

18. As the dust from the broken door settled, Billy was greeted with a sight that he once again blamed on the mysterious Zarvox pills he had downed with fervor. A group of 20 men, dressed in bedazzled pink raincoats grabbed him by the shirt and threw him into the back of a black, stretch limousine parked behind the entrance of the restaurant. Utterly shocked and overwhelmed, Billy who continued to brandish his father’s revolver, could not determine if the colorful men were his saviors or his enemies.
-Lesley Brooner, sophomore

19. Most of the men in the raincoats vanished into the night. The jolt of being thrown around disoriented Billy, but when his eyes adjusted to the mood disco ball lighting of the limousine he realized he wasn’t alone. Five diamond-studded raincoats surrounded him. They sat in silence on the plush leather seats. One handed Billy a glass of champagne. They slowly took down their pink hoods. The Fab Five of Queer Eye greeted Billy warmly and with disgust about the plaid flannel shirt he was wearing. They were going to help him find his love in style.
-Katherine Fay, sophomore

20. Billy was confused. Instead of paying for cable, he had decided to spend all of his money on Zarvox and Chinese takeout. As he reached out to grasp Carson Kressley’s manicured hand, the revolver fired.
-Sarah Hutchins, sophomore, INside assistant features editor

21. “OMG!” the other four men screamed! Kressley had been shot in the chest and was now bleeding a great amount. The limousine quickly raced to the hospital. Fortunately by the time they reached the overhang of the ER both McSteamy and McDreamy were waiting outside for them.
- Sara Stombaugh, senior, Homecoming Queen 2008

22. The pure beauty of McSteamy and McDreamy stopped Billy, and everyone around him, in his tracks, but Kressley’s shrieks brought him back to reality. He raced with the doctors into the Emergency Room.
- Haley Adams, sophomore, INside editorial assistant

23. Caught without his insurance card, it looked at first liked he might not be treated. Then he remembered he could put the expense on his Bursar bill.
-Dick McKaig, dean of students

24. To do so, he needed to swipe his ID card at the front desk. So he reached into his pocket and pulled out his student ID only to find that the face on the card was not his, but the face of a sloth. And the writing on the card was in Russian! “Is this a joke? Am I dreaming?” he thought.
-Bryan Payton, senior football player and INside associate editor

25. He looked to his right and looked in the mirror—and was greeted by the sight of a sloth. Yes, a sloth. He brought his hand to his face and let his fingers trace through the hair that gloved his face, “What the—”
-Justine Carlotta, Union Board’s Canvas Creative Arts Magazine director, model for INside’s Art Issue

26. After his hand slowly moved through the thick coarse hair covering his face, he then suddenly remembered to swipe his card and check on his friend who appears to have suddenly caught a case of gangrene.
-Jessica McComb, junior

27. “Oh, no”! he yelled. You have gangrene and it’s a dreadful thing to have—it means you might lose a limb, but hold on don’t lose your head, help is on the way!”
-Bernadine Payton, mother of INside associate editor Bryan Payton and Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne graduate student

28. “What’s help gonna do right now?” asked Kressley. “I got gangrene and who knows what could fall off! There’s so many things that I haven’t done in my life, like finally getting Beyonce off Jay-Z’s old WRANGLY ASS HANDS.” Right as this argument continued to get worse and worse Beyonce came in and broke his heart. He thought he was dreaming when she stepped through the doorway, but she came in and started hatin’, telling him, “If you liked it then you should’ve put a ring on it!” and told him him that “I may be rich but I’m not paying no damn hospital bills!”
Kellen Lewis, senior, IU football starting quarterback

29. The few remaining Zarvox pills rattled vigorously in Billy’s weakening grip as he reinspected the label’s instructions: Adults 12 and up, take once upon a time as needed for dreams. “Fuck,” he thought, “I must’ve already popped about 35! Maybe I can even this out with a little more wisdom.” He eagerly chomped his last fortune cookie, almost choking on the paper. “Call 911,” said the salivated fortune. He took out his phone and dialed. “Hello, Kelvin Sampson here! Gung hay fat choy, Billy!”
-Nicholas Peters, owner of Gunz n Butter Produtions, featured in INside’s Art Issue

30. “Kelvin! Sorry, I dialed the wrong number. I was trying to call Japan! Oops,” Billy said, confused.
-Claire Burke, senior, INside assistant departments editor

31. After snapping his phone shut, Billy ransacked his mind for the one who could show him the path to wisdom. Aha, Billy frantically dialed Mr. Miyagi. The ringing was driving him mad, until Mr. Miyagi answered and simply said, “Man who catch fly with chopstick accomplish anything.”
-Carly Bassen, freshman, expert cartwheeler

32. As the Zarvox-induced cloud in his brain slowly coalesced into the shape of the purple birthmark on Mikhail Gorbachev’s forehead, Billy exclaimed, “Holy Oktober Revolution! Now I understand.”
-Claude Cookman, IU journalism professor

33. Billy wept.
-Michael Sanserino, senior, Indiana Daily Student Editor-in-Chief

34. Billy, drying his eyes on his plaid sleeve, tried to man up and quit crying. He whimpered and looked to his left. And then the inevitable occurred.
-Erin Wright, junior, INside associate editor

35. Billy had to take Zarvox again because he started to cry after Mr. Miyagi’s phone started to ring again.
- Kelley Douglas, sophomore, Gamma Phi Beta Little 500 team member

36. Just as the phone started ringing, purple panthers zoomed across the window, frightening Billy.
- Kara Robinson, sophomore, Chili’s employee

37. And then the panthers killed Billy.
- Saad Saghir, junior, President of Sigma Chi

38. Mr. Miyagi was crushed when he learned of Billy’s death, and he vowed that he would find the panthers that committed this vicious crime. When he received a tip that the panthers were running through the Arboretum, the chase ensued.
- Shannon Burruss, sophomore, INside associate editor

No comments: