Work Sample: The First Tandem Story

For the program’s final project, my group decided to write a journal of bad fanfiction, some of which will be reproduced here.

An early goal of the journal was to incorporate all of our input into a single story. To do this, we drew inspiration from one of the earliest Internet jokes, a “Tandem Story” supposedly created by two opposite-gender college students with wildly different ideas about what makes an engaging story. Known affectionately as Laurie and Advance Sergeant Carl Harris: The Case of Chamomile and Skylon 4, this inspirational tale derives humor from inconsistency and depth from chaos.

For our first attempt at creating a story, we established a rule that each person could only read the previous paragraph of the story when it was handed to them. We would hand it around the circle three times and publish whatever emerged. We were allowed to draw from every work covered in the program, including:

Alice in Wonderland
The Wind in the Willows
Voyage of the Dawn Treader
The Fellowship of the Ring
Howl’s Moving Castle
Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban
The Golden Compass

The days of October grew longer. The River grew colder, and leaves gently fluttered down from the eaves like orange glistening raindrops. They hardly went out onto the River now; what had seemed so joyous and exciting in the summer months now seemed only a cold shadow of its former nature. Mole used the time for self-reflection – thinking about all the people from his past life, all the opportunities he once had. “If I from ten years ago had met me now, would I recognize me? Would I approve of what I’ve done?” He looked at Rat, sleepily lounging on his bunk. He had no answer.

Lyanna Romanoff:
Rat’s thoughts were a mess, making him toss and turn in a troubled sleep. What had happened between him and Mole haunted him. Rage in a fight transformed into passionate lust. Things hadn’t been the same since them. Rustling by the door made him wake. Mole was leaving. To what end, Rat did not know. That is, until a tall robed figure entered. Dumbledore took off his pointed hat and sat, gazing at the Rat over his half-moon spectacles. “Hullo, Rat,” said Dumbledore.

“Hello.” Rat was wary. How much did Dumbledore know? Everything, it seemed.

Black Knight:
“I saw Mole leaving on my way in,” said Dumbledore. Is there anything you wish to tell me?”

Rat sat sweating in his armchair by the hearth. He still couldn’t tell how much Dumbledore knew, or what he would say if he confessed. Dumbledore peered over his half-moon spectacles at poor Rat, eyes twinkling with a knowing sparkle. Silence fell between them, deepened, extended. Rat began to feel very uncomfortable. He fidgeted in his chair. What could he say? He didn’t want to confess to what had happened between him and Mole – but he was uncertain if Mole would ever return. He needed advice, and who better to give it to him than Dumbledore? The sound of the river gurgling in the spring floated into his home. He jumped from his chair. “Would you like to go on a picnic?”

At that moment, Alice fell in through the ceiling, landing directly onto poor Rat. His dream of a picnic would never come true, as his story has now reached an unfortunate end. Alice, oblivious to her incident, gazed around the world around her. “Curiouser and curiouser,” Alice said to herself. She gazed into the eyes of the man in front of her. “Pardon me, sir but could you tell me where I am? One minute I was drinking tea with the Hatter, and the next thing I knew, I was-” Alice was cut off by a loud popping noise. The old man was nowhere to be seen, leaving Alice alone in the mysterious study.

“Oh well,” said Alice. “There’s really nothing more to be done, I suppose.” At that moment, she saw a ring on the desk in front of her gleaming faintly in the light coming between the crack in the curtains. She felt an overwhelming need to reach forward and touch it. It was warm, and she felt like she would never let it go.

Just then, Professor Trelawney appeared along with a huge cracking sound – although Alice didn’t know who it was, of course. “Don’t do it!” she said. “Great devastation – war, plague – cold tea-”

“Oh, bother,” said Alice. “Everything I do seems to be wrong these days.” She withdrew her hand, though the ring still glittered seductively. Alice studied the professor in front of her. She was taller than Alice, of course, and had large classes that made her eyes look like those of a bug. “What should I do then?” Alice asked the stranger.

Lyanna Romanoff:
“There is something I see. . .” She trailed off in her misty ethereal voice.

“What is it?” cried Alice. “What must I do?”

“I see a future with you, and a figure. . . it’s fuzzy. I see beautiful hair, and. . . and. . .” Her face screwed up with distaste. “The nag. That usurper.” Alice looked confused.

“Firenze,” Trelawney sighed. “I see you with Firenze.” Alice looked at the sparkling gem on her left hand. A small price to pay, she thought, for such a beautiful stone. And with such magical properties. . .

Black Knight:
Alice looked out of the window of the tower. The vision rippled as Saruman withdrew his hand and stepped away from the seeing stone. “So,” he thought, “that girl has the stone.” He began to pace back and forth. But how to get it? That tower, it belonged to a castle, a castle far too powerful in magic for a direct assault. “Firenze. . .” Saruman repeated. It seemed this Firenze was the key. If Firenze had access to Alice and to the stone, then Saruman knew he had to get to Firenze before they met. He wondered where to find Firenze and who he was. An orc captain entered his chamber. “Take your orcs,” Saruman commanded, “and find this Firenze.” He thought for a minute. Nag, she’d called him. “He may be a horse. Bring him to me alive.”

As Firenze walked through the Forbidden Forest, he began to hear strange sounds emanating deep within the trees. The forest held many strange, magical creatures, but having lived in the forest for so long, he was used to their sounds. This was something entirely different. This sound was vile, filled with pain and destruction. What was most troubling to Firenze, though, was that the sound came from multiple voices. Firenze paused, and before his eyes appeared Dumbledore and the Mole. “Come with me,” said Dumbledore. “The orcs are after you, and we must get back to my tower to save Alice before Saruman’s plan comes true!”

“I don’t think so,” said Firenze. He didn’t know Alice, but he had a bad association with the name. His ex-hairdresser’s cousin was named Alice. He shuddered at the thought and turned back into the forest. In the meantime, deep within Azkaban, the Cheshire Cat had been mustering the forces of darkness. “They must be made to understand,” he said, with steely resolve, “that WE ARE ALL MAD HERE. We march at dawn.”

He turned to his hastily-appointed lieutenant, Toad. “Are the inmates ready?” Toad nodded, regarding the grinning cat with big, hopeful eyes. “Good. The demtentors will not detect us so long as no humans are in our numbers. Alert whatever orc can still stand and tell them to give their guards the slip as soon as light hits the horizon. At 3 AM or whatever that is.” The Cheshire Cat stormed off, leaving Toad hastily scribbling down orders and wondering when his commander would ever love him.

Lyanna Romanoff:
Cheshire slinked back into his tent wondering what would happen. It seemed likely that their plan would be a success, but on the other hand. . . it was just so risky. The dementors were so well known for their brutality. A success here would mean the downfall of both the Order and the Fellowship, a goal that Cheshire had been working towards for some time – ever since those bearded old fools had showed up in Wonderland claiming “magic” powers. They seemed to know *too* much about Cheshire’s world, a fact that made him deeply uncomfortable. He was supposed to be in charge here, a fact he guaranteed when he subjugated the Queen all those years ago. Sure, she wore the crown, but he was the real authority. He’d made sure of that.

Black Knight:
First light brought first blood. At first things seemed to be going Cheshire’s way. Both the Order and the Fellowship were on the ropes. But the presence of the dementors was proving detrimental to both parties. If things continued as they were, both sides would be too weakened to continue. Cheshire knew a quick victory was necessary – he had to crush them, now. But as he made his move, the earth rumbled. Great fissures appeared in the ground. The sky turned dark and sickly as great clouds of smog rose out of the ground. Over the crest of a hill a figure emerged, towering, black, horrible. In its right hand it held a mace, and on its finger glittered a gold ring. Cheshire saw Frodo of the Fellowship clutch at the chain around his neck. Frodo screamed; the Fellowship knelt in despair. The last thing Cheshire saw before the dragons and Balrog devastated the field was a great lion appear at Sauron’s side. Then everything ended for Cheshire in darkness and flame.

Rat opened his eyes. The last thing he remembered, he had been speaking to Dumbledore in his study about Mole, and the world went black. He looked around at his surroundings. He was in a great field, filled with vibrantly colored plants and luscious wildlife. The land seemed to sing around him. “Where am I?” Rat asked to himself.

“You’re in Aslan’s country,” a high pitched voice said behind him. Rat turned and faced what appeared to be another rat, wearing a large hat with a feather, and a sword in its scabbard on his hip. “My name is Reepicheep,” he said warmly to Rat. “Let me show you around.” Rat and Reepicheep wandered off into the countryside. Behind them, a cat with a large grin appeared behind them.

Many years later, the sun stopped creating nuclear fusion. It went cold over a period of millions of years, and the earth became a barren wasteland, hurtling lifelessly through the universe. Eventually, the heat death of the universe led to the end even of Aslan’s country. In all ways, it was THE END.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>