On Friday, I shared the characters, setting, situation, and character action of a story, which features a cliche master and I invited people to play along with me. People, however, are busy. So I’ve decided to do something different. I’d still like to make this interactive. I’m going to write a scene and I will invite you to suggest something that might come next. Be wildly creative and have fun.
First, I’ll give the characters names. The restless woman in her 70s will be Edith. The easy going and quirky man in his 60s, who speaks in cliches, will be Bill.
All right. Here goes.
Edith was traveling by bus, from Buffalo to a small town in northern California, to watch her oldest granddaughter graduate from high school. Edith was excited to travel cross country, as she wanted to see the great tall mountains of the west. She had seen pictures of them but she had never seen them for real. She had read all of the dramatic stories about cross country trips in the past, especially the story about the Donner party traveling to California by wagon in 1848. As she sat on the bus, she looked out of the window at the changing scenery. She was headed west. West toward what? She thought that it would be an easy trip, but didn’t the Donner party think that it would be an easy trip…
… until they were stopped by a freak storm and spent the entire winter in the Sierra Nevada. It was then that they resorted to cannibalism. Edith was terrified of cannibals, even though she had never met any in her more than 70 years of life. What if the bus should be hit by a freak storm? Would her seatmate, a lanky man who looked to be in his 60s, look at her with hungry eyes, not for love but for nutrition? The man, who held a giant cowboy hat on his lap, had his head tipped back. Suddenly, in mid-snore, the man gulped and his eyes popped open.
“I’m Bill. Aren’t you as cute as a button?” Bill said to Edith. “I was as snug as a bug in a rug. Are we there yet?”
|Not Border Patrol cars but still
cops in vast numbers. (more cop cars on the
other side of the street)
“No,” Edith said. Just then, the bus driver announced that the bus was stopping in Erie, Pennsylvania. The bus went around a few corners and stopped at the station. All of a sudden, the bus was surrounded by Border Patrol agents.
“Once bitten, twice shy,” Bill said to Edith.
Edith, who was very literal, wondered why Border Patrol agents were biting her seat mate. She decided not to ask. Bill talked in an odd way and he seemed quirky, but harmless. He fiddled with his cowboy hat as the Border Patrol agents stomped onto the bus.
“Well, boys will be boys,” the seatmate said.
Edith wondered what her seatmate meant by his comments, which just seemed to cliches strung together. The border patrol agents stomped through the bus and questioned everyone who seemed to fit a variety of ethnic types. In fact, the border patrol agents were beginners and they were openly comparing the faces of passengers to pictures on a card with the words on top: “People Who Look Like This May Be Deportables or They May Be Terrorist’s.” Edith saw the card and wondered why it hadn’t been proofread. Everyone else on the bus saw the card.
“Wow,” said one passenger, who, apparently looked either deportable or like a terrorist. “You’re really blatantly prejudiced. You’re not even subtle about it.”
“I need to see some ID from you,” said the Border Patrol agent. He rubbed his eyes and said, “So tired. We hit three houses yesterday.”
The ever-literal Edith said to her quirky seatmate, “That guy needs to go back to driving school if he’s hitting houses.”
“He’d better go back to the drawing board,” Bill said. Edith wondered where a driving school would place a drawing board but she decided not to ask the man, for fear that he would spout another cliche. Edith also wondered why someone on the bus was shrieking and why the Border Patrol was blocking the door. Edith also realized that she had a strong urge to visit the restroom. She remembered that, in all of the cop shows that she’d seen, no one ever had to go to the bathroom. They never slept, ate, burped, or sneezed. Apparently, this was real life because one of the Border Patrol agents sneezed loudly.
“Hmm, that woman is wearing too much perfume. Also the person third from the left on the Bottom Row looks like he could be her third cousin, five times removed. She must be an Illegal Alien!” Five agents surrounded a tiny woman, who was holding a baby. Her eyes bulged and she gulped in air and gripped the baby.
“Why don’t you pick on someone your own size,” asked Bill loudly. Edith was amazed because she didn’t realize that a man who spoke only in cliches could be that assertive. The Border Patrol stomped to the front of the bus and glared at him.
“You’re obstructing justice. I could arrest you,” announced the Border Patrol agent who was waving around the card that showed pictures of members of the ethnic groups that were most likely to be Undocumented Terrorists or Documented Terrorists or Appearing in Documentaries about Documented Terrorists or Something Like That. Oddly enough, the name on his nametag was “Donner.” Edith gaped at him as he then snatched the cowboy hat from Bill’s lap. Was the descendant of Cannibals actually ethnically profiling bus passengers, she wondered.
“I like the hat. I won’t bother you if you give me a gift…”
Just then, the bus passengers, who were tired of being ethnically profiled and of being prevented from getting off of the bus, started chanting, “Let me off. I have to go to the bathroom” over and over again. Edith, who had little experience of protesting, was astonished that a protest chant would include the word “bathroom.”
At that moment…
What comes next? Please make your suggestions in the comments section below! I will post suggestions in an upcoming blog post. Stay tuned!