Choose Your Own Adventure: Social Media Experiment!February 10, 2013 -
I wrote my first “Choose Your Own Adventure” style story in Grade 7 (1991ish). I called my series “Select Thy Personal Undertaking” partly to escape any legal issues (but mostly to sound like a funny dork). In the years since I think I’ve written upwards of 7 of these stories, including for my OAC Writer’s Craft final, and once even as a letter of resignation! If you’re any kind of author I highly recommend you undertake this writing challenge, it’s a pretty interesting process to get into, and always enjoyable to read (note to self: Google Kindle versions).
Last week I decided to do one on Facebook. It was easier in that I didn’t have to write all of the arcs and possible outcomes, but it’s a challenge not to have the ability to go back and edit. This means you’re constantly painting yourself into little corners, which I personally find fun. I would write the part, then in the comments offer the options which readers would “like” to vote on. I also accepted comment-based votes.
I thought I would share the resulting story with the world!
Select Thy Personal Undertaking
A social media experiemt: consensus based Choose Your Own Adventure style story telling
You’re excited to get to work today! This could be the day of your big promotion! Your car is in the shop, so you’ve been taking the bus all week. You’re standing waiting patiently, and passing the time looking at your phone (like, let’s be honest, a doofus). You’re so absorbed in the Facebook antics of your dashing and amusing friend that you don’t notice a black car with tinted windows pull up.
You don’t notice the mysterious car sitting there in front of you (the bus stop is at a stop sign after all) until the window rolls down and a voice calls out from within: “Hey. Get in.”
What will you do?! Get in the car with the stranger, or kindly decline and wait for your bus.
- Do you take the bus?
- Do you get in the car? (most votes)
In vain you look down the road for the habitually late bus, and back at the car. “What the heck,” you think to yourself “what’s the worst that could happen?”
As you slide into the empty back seat an unseen passenger switches on a flash light directly in your face, rendering them completely impossible to see. You throw your hands up defensively from what must surely be one of those impractically bright “million candle” flashlights that no sane person could ever actually rationalize buying. You begin to snarkily formulate an objection when you are interrupted by a tinny, rather fake sounding voice:
“Listen very carefully: We need you to purchase some ‘items‘ for us. You will not need to break the law. We will reward you handsomely. Do you agree to this assignment?”
After some whiney negotiations on your part, your mysterious would-be partners agree to even drop you off at work after your short task was completed.
- Do you agree to do their task?
- Do you feign agreement and begin to plan to obnoxiously do the opposite of what they ask? (the only one that got votes!)
- Do you decline and get as far away from these weirdos as possible?
You stumble out of the car onto a sideway squinting hard trying to regain your vision. Your left hand rubs your stinging eyes while your right still clutches the list you were handed in the car. You don’t know what it says yet. Heck, you don’t even know where they’ve dropped you off!
Soon your sight begins to return and you recognize the local strip mall. Even this early patrons are milling around the hardware shop, pet store and grocery mart. The absurdity of your morning doesn’t really hit you until you get your first glimpse at the list:
- Three large muzzles
- 5 boxes of saran wrap
- White spray paint
- Heavy duty wire cutters
- 15 kilos of premium cat nip, uncut.
- A box of rat poison
- One of those amazing laser pointer things!
Initially you’d planned to hilariously buy the opposites, but some of the items make you second guess yourself. You look back at the dark sedan idling. You steel yourself and walk boldly into the pet store first. You’re standing in front of the small muzzles… it’s not too late to change your mind though.
- Do you just make a run for it?! You can see the back door from here!
- Do you proceed to buy hilarious “opposites” just to see the reaction?
- Do you buy the items on their list to find out what kind of crazy scheme they’re up to?
(These all got the exact same number of votes!!!)
You are of equal minds to do all the ideas you had, so you in fact do ALL of them. You buy the items on the list, you also buy their opposites, and then you make a run for it! Like a weird kind of bandit you sneak out the back of the hardware store with a grocery cart full of these mismatched items.
One thing this plan didn’t account for was getting to work. Still in your crazy indecisive mood, you decide to start cruising to work with the cart (mostly down hill thankfully, and mostly side walk accessible)!
It starts out (as playing with shopping carts always does) really really fun! You’re sailing down the hill arms locked with your feet dangling inches above the ground! Your care-free joy ride doesn’t stay so joyous or care-free for long however.
Apparently the mysterious folks in the car weren’t particularly patient, for they weren’t still waiting in front of the store for you – or so you gathered when the car appeared in the lane next to you and started matching your speed on the long decline towards your work. The window rolls down, and to your irritation you still can’t see the face the voice belongs to: “Where do you think you’re going? Have you got the stuff or not?!”
“Yeah, I got your stuff right here!” you say and throw through the open window what your assessed to be the exact opposite of a large quantity catnip (a jar of pickled beets). The jar smashes somewhere inside and while the driver tries to deal with that and maintain some kind of control of the car, you climb into the cart and begin to simultaneously shoot spray paint and laser pointers like some kind of deranged cowboy!
Whether the driver lost control or did it deliberately you can’t tell, but the car speeds up a bit, cuts clumsily onto the sidewalk and screeches to a halt. Within a few all too brief moments your cart meets with its front fender and you are sent sailing through the air and come crashing back to the earth with a thud (moments later quite a few items also from the cart are showered down upon you!)
You know you have to act fast right now. One way or another this weird tale is going to come to an end soon…
- Do you make a run for it?
- Do you approach the car and see who those mysterious people are… you have the stuff, but you’re pretty sure they’re not going to be too agreeable right now.
PART FIVE! – Conclusion
Shaken (the wire cutters landing on your head playing a big part of this), you stagger to your feet and pull open the passenger door of the mysterious black car that has been the source of your weird adventure. To your shock roughly a dozen cats burst forth and flea into the lightly forested area behind you. Even more surprising is the voice that berates you from within the car!
“Was it worth it, scum?” you can hardly believe your eyes – from the driver’s seat sits one last cat, who appears to be nursing some kind of injury. ‘Maybe I hit my head harder than I thought’ you think you think to yourself (but actually say out loud).
Yet, you weren’t mistaken. The cat clearly turns to look you directly in the eyes, “You ruined everything!!!” Before you can react, the cat pounces, and in one move knocks you over, lands on your chest, and lands several blows to your face. “We had it all planned down to the letter and you ruined everything! …but don’t worry, you’ll pay! We know where you live, and for the rest of your life YOU WILL PAY.” This threat is suddenly punctuated by a collective, and terrifying series of cat noises from the wood behind you.
Enraged, you hurl the cat back into the car and reach for the closest menacing object you can find. You only intended to threaten the cat, but before you can do this you are tackled by three burly police officers! This surely won’t be easy to explain.
* * * LATER * * *
You were right, very very very hard to explain. You sometimes wonder wonder if you should have made a run for it, but the mystery of it all may have driven you mad.
From prison you have a lot of time to think things over, and come up with one plan to make people believe you. Your numerous charges ranging from grand theft auto, to animal abuse, to assault with a brine-based substance will have you locked up for a while. As weird as your day was, you are convinced that all rational people would have made the choices you did! So, to make your true, yet unbelievable tale relatable by your colleagues, friends and family you write out the sordid affair as an interactive choice-based story, encouraging these people to engage and face the same difficult choices that you have.
Your hope is by the time they read this whole story they will believe, back you up, and understand why cats hate you – and join you in the battle against their deadly scourge.
Categorized in: writing
This post was written by ArleyM