We try to write every day to practice our craft.  The act of writing or struggling to write keeps our pens in shape.  But today I felt like writing a cohesive article would be impossible. The focus wasn’t there.  The dedication wouldn’t last more than a paragraph at most.  So, I wrote a paragraph.  And then I asked some friends to contribute some paragraphs of their own.  Here’s what we came up with.  (Words by Ori Fienberg, Barbara Ohrstrom, and myself)

*****

Geoffrey the snail lived a very difficult life.

There are a few obvious problems with being a snail, like having to carry your house around on your back for your whole life, or looking like an especially lifelike snot, or having a top speed of a mile every hundred years or so.  But today, Geoffrey had more serious problems to think about.  Zombies.

At first, Geoffrey thought he would get along with the Zombies.  They had a lot in common.  The Zombies were slow beasts, and, aside from their lack of shells, they shared a similar aesthetic.  They shambled along the sidewalks, trailing drool, and other, bloodier manners of slime.  Unlike the humans they had replaced, no Zombie ever flicked Geoffrey away from his favorite meal of partially decomposed cabbage.  In fact, there was more partially decomposed cabbage than ever before.  All would have been fine if Geoffrey and the zombies had been left to slime the neighborhood in peace.  But no.  They had to bring napalm into the picture.

Geoffrey wasn’t too familiar with napalm, but when he saw the first firebomb dropped in the distance, he guessed it wouldn’t do his cabbage any favors.  It cast a reddish haze through the dark clouds of zombie breath that coated the horizon, and Geoffrey’s antennas picked up a stench of chemical smoke on the breeze.  He could only guess that the napalm was the doing of The Government, or at least the remnants of governing power that had resisted the zombie hordes and survived with brains intact.  Geoffrey cared about two things.  He cared about cabbage, and he idolized John Wayne.  And so, when his food supply was threatened by fire, there was only one reasonable course of action—the The Government had to be eliminated, or the zombies did.

While the napalm had put an effective end to Geoffrey’s favorite cabbage patch, it had done precious little to deter the zombies.  Their sizzling, yellow, heat-rendered fat dripped on the sidewalk, but they continued to shamble around the neighborhood.  Only zombies whose heads had taken the brunt of the napalm were still.  Their brains boiled and liquefied forming twin snail trails leading out of their nostrils, over their swollen purple lips, and down their putrid grey necks.  Geoffrey appreciated the effect, but reasoned that if he had a colt .45 he could bring about the desired result much faster.  He set off West, in the direction of the town’s gun shop.

Geoffrey went to the gun store, bought the biggest shotgun and fastest double draw cross rig he could find, and started blasting away, using nothing but himself and raw guts to bluster through the day and defeat the zombies.  Unfortunately, the zombies didn’t cooperate.   If napalm hadn’t done them in, a few shotgun blasts and 45s weren’t gonna do it either!

He needed something bigger, more powerful.  John Wayne always had a trusted horse, and Geoffrey figured that since he couldn’t ride a horse since he was a snail, he needed something better than a horse.  He peeked his antennas out of his shell and waved them around, searching for a worthy steed.  They took in the surrounding area, the barn at the edge of the cabbage patch, the farmhouse, the cabbage silo, and, at the bottom of the silo, a rusty, hulking, yellow bulldozer.

The bulldozer was the most beautiful thing Geoffrey had ever seen, though to be fair, Geoffrey didn’t have much by way of long-term memory.  But Geoffrey had a problem, his antennae were too small and too weak to access all of the controls necessary to operate the bulldozer. He needed to find something smaller, but just as lethal…

*****

Now, dear readers, please feel free — no, encouraged to post an ending of your own.  Write Geoffrey a few words to ensure the survival of his species and the continuation of his cabbage consumption.

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