Group Grope

(Started by Eric J. Smith)

Here’s the challenge: One of us starts a 1,000-word story. Each participant writes 100-word consecutive chunks of the story. You can contribute more than once, but not twice in a row. When we reach 1,000 words, the story is done so the last person has to tie things up.

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91 thoughts on “Group Grope

  1. Eric J. Smith

    The order is still there–just watered down and much harder to follow. Posts that don’t further the plot (like this one?) lead to chaos. Without discipline the centre cannot hold.

  2. Amy Friedman (Round 3, Part 6A)

    OK, I’ll go sixth.

    I sighed. This was an unexpected monkey wrench.
    “Unfortunately, we do need a full scan for you, otherwise you cannot work for us,” I said gently.
    “No can do,” KJ repeated.
    I exhaled. “Well, we can do an alternate scan.” I said. “Don’t worry – it won’t involve any x-rays or gamma rays, or whatever. Indeed, it’s rather primitive.”
    KJ raised an eyebrow.
    Shifting my knee slightly to the right, I pressed the Button. I watched the air shimmer behind KJ, and two Security team members appeared.
    “Please examine this candidate,” I said to them. “You may find some unusual features.”

  3. Bobby Warner (Round 3, Part 6B)

    [Back to the storyline. Picking up where Marlene left off 5 days ago …]

    “Well,” I said, “Maybe we should take a look at your office, introduce you to some of the other members of our group.”

    “Take a look at the office sounds good, but I don’t know about meeting the others. They were out for my blood a few minutes ago.”

    “Right. Why don’t we have some lunch, then get started.”

    She nodded. I picked up the phone, ordered lunch. “Use the ZimBlim account,” which was our codeword for a nanobot–to X-Ray MJ surreptitiously.

  4. Bobby Warner

    Quite a mix-up here! Apparently Amy and I added our segments virtually simultaneously–which of course resulted in some confusion. There is a whole bunch of loose ends here for somebody to tie up, because I strongly agree with Amy’s remark about the last story; it applies even more so here: “This story has more twists than Chubby Checker.”

  5. Gordon Lawrie

    Eric, I think we can call this true chaos. For the record, neither Amy’s nor Bobby’s versions were there when I posted, even after I’d posted it to the website. I feel I should delete out of deference.

  6. Bobby Warner

    Rereading all this, I see that Amy’s segment fits better than the one I did. Her last line (“You may find some unusual features.”) is a good opportunity for someone to MAYBE reach the crux of the story–after which we can hopefully bring it to a satisfying conclusion. Does this make sense–or does it sound more like wishful thinking?!

  7. Russell Conover (Round 3, Part 7)

    OK. I’m gonna try to piece together the two simultaneous posts into one “next-part” story. Can’t promise that it’ll flow perfectly, but here goes nothing.

    * * *

    “You can scan me if you’d like,” K.J. said mysteriously, “but that may not be in your best interests.”

    I stopped short, staring at h’. “And why is that?”

    K.J. grinned. “I just might have some information that could prove beneficial to your company. But, a scan of me could wipe all that out.”

    I groaned inwardly. Curse these company regulations! I just want to do what’s needed to move to the next step with this candidate. When did interviews become so complicated?

    “It’s your choice, my interviewer,” K.J. said, still smiling. “What’s more important–this interview, or the company?”

  8. Gordon Lawrie (Round 3, Part 8)

    Studying the figure before me, I wondered if KJ’s interview apparel of cloak and top hat might reveal anything. I decided to act on a hunch.

    “OK, KJ,” I said, “I’ll show you the boardroom.”

    KJ followed me to a wood-panelled room adorned with a huge mirror above the fireplace. Pretending to straighten my tie, I checked behind me: sure enough, KJ was nowhere to be seen in the room. I spun round to see my interviewee’s grin now enhanced with fangs.

    “I tried to say that the office staff were after my blood,” KJ said. “Nobody wanted to know.”

  9. Bobby Warner (Round 3, Part 9)

    So that’s the ploy you’re going to use, eh, Gordon? Very well–here goes:

    “I had a feeling I knew you,” I said, the blood draining from my face. Horrified? That’s putting it mildly. I was frightened to the point of passing out.

    “I guessed as much.” KJ levitated two feet off the floor and floated toward me, arms outstretched. She smiled evilly and whispered, “Don’t be afraid. Just give me your neck for a moment. I’ll get the job, and you–you’ll get eternal undead life!”

    But she had underestimated me. I reached into my jacket and whipped out my silver crucifix and thrust it into her face.

    “Unfair, you pig!” she screeched.

    (100 words.)

  10. Amy Friedman (Round 3, Part 10)

    OK .. here we go … 100 words.

    I watched KJ slump to the floor.
    The cloak flattened and flattened, until it was clear no body was beneath.
    Horrified, I stood, glued to the spot. Neither the cloak nor the hat stirred.
    I crouched down gingerly, and tipped up the hat.
    A faint puff of brimstone-scented smoke curled from the hat and into my nostrils.
    Replacing the hat, I heard a voice.
    “And here I am,” it said. “I told you I was a perfect fit for the firm!”
    An evil laugh bubbled through my brain. KJ’s very laugh.
    I have no mouth, and I must scream ….

  11. Bobby Warner

    Shades of Harlan Ellison, Amy! That was a great way to end the segment. Lots of possibilities. Okay, Eric, you’re a good wordsmith. Care to see if you can move the story along another notch???

  12. Amy Friedman

    Thanks, guys :::blush::: just a crazy pastiche of inspiration … I have no idea how the Wicked Witch of the West got in there … anyway, that was #10.
    I think the way the rules are set up for this, once a 10th entry is made, a story is done and a new one must start.
    So … anyone?

  13. Gordon Lawrie (Round 4, Part 1)

    I know Bobby nominated Eric to start a new adventure but he did the first one so I feel it should rotate a little. Hope you don’t mind, either Bobby or Eric.

    So here’s a slight variation on the challenge. It would be nice if we could (slightly) reference the original in each chapter and vaguely keep the order, but other than that you can go where you like. Ten chapters are required – the original had twelve. I’ve no idea how hard this might prove to be, by the way.

    Elise in Computergameland

    Elise was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her brother on the sofa, and of having nothing to do. Clutching his gaming console, Robert gazed unblinkingly at the TV monitor searching for a route through the maze before him.

    “Look, Elise, look!”

    Having been invited to ‘look’ many times before, Elise almost missed the large White Cat on the screen beckoning the siblings nearer. Robert remained seated, but Elise moved forwards, suddenly finding herself through the screen and following the White Cat down a corridor.

    On a table at its end sat a can of Diet Drink Me.

  14. Eric J. Smith (Round 4, Part 2)

    Enter Ralfie Flanagan, dressed in a purple smoking jacket, puffing on–judging by the aroma–a mild Nicaraguan stogie rolled under Cuban supervision.

    “Hello, my young lady. Your brother lose his courage? Or has his continual computer gaming destroyed his intellectual curiosity?”

    “I dunno, mister,” answered Elise.

    “Well we don’t need him, do we?”

    “For what, sir?” She’d become nervous. After all, her mother told her never to talk to strangers. But was this guy for real or some sort of avatar?

    “Why, to explore, watch, and learn my little one.”

    Elise looked back-—her brother was not in sight.

  15. Bobby Warner (Round 4, Part 3)

    Elise feared the stranger was up to no good. She reached for the Diet Drink Me, hoping it would soothe her nerves.

    “Atta girl!” whooped Ralphie Flanagan as Elise shrank in size. He snatched her up and ran to the end of the corridor. “Been waitin’ for someone to come along and take a drink. I’ll push you through the keyhole. You’ll find the key laying on the floor. Push it under the door so I can enter.”

    “Yessir,” said Elise in a teeny-tiny voice. Flanagan stuffed her into the keyhole and she dropped to the carpet beside the key.

  16. Russell Conover (Round 4, Part 4)

    Elise’s mind was racing. How could she get out of this?

    She peered through the keyhole at Flanagan’s hideous face. Suddenly, she grabbed the key, stabbing him in the eye. “OW!” She snatched him and pulled him through the hole, making her way out into real life again.

    Now whatever happened to that white cat? She stood to look.

    Elise heard a “Meow!”, and whipping her head, she saw the feline just yards away. She tentatively ventured closer.

    The cat led her to a giant blue door, pawing at the bottom. She opened it, and gasped in shock and terror.

  17. Marlene Goldberg (Round 4, Part 5)

    There with nooses around their heads, standing on a row of buckets, were the accused of disobedience: the Hatter, the dormouse, the walrus, the mock turtle, and the March hare. All present except the Cheshire cat, whose head, already disembodied, floated, grinning menacingly. The queen was about to give the order to kick the buckets when Alice entered.
    “Take one step and I’ll stomp on you!” said giant Alice, closing in on the royal persons. The red king’s pallor turned white as he crept backwards.
    The red queen’s face reddened increasingly as she fumed, “Off with her head!”
    Unwaveringly, she

  18. Amy Friedman (Round 4, Part 6)

    … marched toward the mushroom where Elise was crouched.
    Elise pressed herself closer to the stem, hoping no one would spot her.
    A long amber-tipped tube dropped slowly beside her.
    “Take a puff,” a voice above her head whispered. “It’ll do you good.”
    Startled, Elise looked up. A pair of eyes peered down at her from a thick furry rope.
    “Aaaugh!” she squeaked.
    “Better keep it down,” the furry rope said. “Queenie-poo’s in decapitation mode.”
    “This is insane,” Elise muttered to herself.
    “Actually, I’m quite sane,” the furry rope said. “Relax! Really, take a puff. And grab a bit of shroom.”

  19. Bobby Warner (Round 4, Part 7)

    Elise stuffed the end of the rope in her mouth and inhaled. She immediately felt better–although more than a little tipsy–when a grumpy-looking man in a stovepipe hat and bristly whiskers plopped down beside her.

    “Mad Hatter at her service, Ma’am.”

    “I feel so strange,” Elise said, staggering around in circles.

    “Oho! I see it now. Plain as day. You’ve been sucking shroom. Guards, come here!”

    Three guards, looking like three playing cards, came forward and hustled Elise away, chanting: “To the Queen we go. Miss, you’ve taken shroom–and the Queen says those who are shroomed are doomed!”

  20. Marlene Goldberg (Round 4, Part 8)

    No room for the doomed when Elise got a whiff of the Cheshire cat’s breath billowing from the haze filled sky. Increasing in size, but with shroom induced lift, she was able to float her way to safety in a tizzy via a shroom propelled blimp piloted by Tweedle Dum and Dee.

    The March Hare always running out of time declared, “I’m late,” stepping on the furry rope in his haste, causing the suction to momentarily cease. Just enough time to jettison Dum and Dee from the blimp and for Elise to float downward, her blond locks parachuting her fall.

  21. Amy Friedman (Round 4, Part 9)

    OK, I’ll go. 100 words.

    Elise landed gently on the grass. The sun shone softly on her shoulders, dappling the meadow.
    Behind her, she heard a muffled “Rum tum tiddly-um, Tum Tum Tum!”
    Tweedledum and Tweedledee, who had landed on their roly-poly bellies, rolled themselves upright.
    “You talkin’ to me?” TweedleDum snarled.
    “Tiddle-um!” the muffled voice replied.
    Turning around, Elise spied a huge yellow bear, a jar bottom where its face should have been.
    The furry rope slithered over and twined itself around her ankle. Lascivious little git, she thought.
    “At your service, mademoiselle,” the rope said, batting its little eyes. “I aim to please.”

  22. Gordon Lawrie

    Just a few themes to pull together, then! Could you all please be patient while I take a little time to edit out around 1000 words??? (Actually, this is my day for childcare.)

  23. Gordon Lawrie (Round 4, Part 10)

    OK, here we go. I’d dearly loved to have to have included a health warning for children about the dangers of smoking furry-roped snakes, but I’m afraid space was too limited.

    * * *

    “Curiouser and curiouser,” said Elise.

    Suddenly, the Queen – now revealed as Ralphie in drag – shouted “Catch her!” whereupon the Mad Hatter, Tweedledum/Tweedledee and the jar-bottom-faced bear pursued her.

    “Run, Elise!” the White Cat called, but Elise – exhausted – hid in a nearby dark cupboard instead.

    Suddenly she found herself back in her living room.

    Her brother, still gaming, stared at the screen. “Look – World Record: Elise, 7,556,434 points. But how?”

    Elise smiled smugly. “The secret’s to throw yourself into it.”

    “7,556,434?? RESPECT!!!” returning to his game.

    Elise sighed. “Fancy a can of something?”

    “Sure. Is there any Diet Drink Me left?”

  24. Eric J. Smith (Round 5, Part 1)

    Celibacy

    “That’s right, dude. Courtney Taylor’s the best lay in Denton, Wyoming. She’s coming here next weekend. You better not blow it, man.”

    That’s what Billy told me before I spent a summer weekend with Courtney. Billy’s girlfriend increased the pressure by declaring, in a matter of fact way, that “Yeah, Joe’s gonna get some this weekend.”

    By reputation anyway, Courtney could drink, smoke dope, and in general provide charming female companionship—when the mood struck her. Unfortunately, a woman known for sexual prowess, both exceptional and profligate, chose to experiment with chastity the weekend she and I were paired off.

  25. Marlene Goldberg (Round 5, Part 2)

    The Denton, Wyoming Retirement Facility had a two to one ratio of women to men. Men, a dying breed, left the remaining few who still could get it up in popular demand. Courtney Taylor’s svelte figure still fit into skinny jeans as she danced the rumba in her spiked heels, never lacking a partner.

    Confident that my sizable bank account and athletic build wouldn’t only land me the “date” with her for the Recreation Center’s Valentines Day Dance, but also fulfill other expectations, I plied her with drinks, poured on the charm – to no avail. Then we danced the tango.

  26. Emma Baird (Round 5, Part 3)

    The tango has always been thought of as a sensual dance – and this time was no occasion. The retirement facility residents looked on in shock (and certainly envy) as we danced. The electricity could probably be felt three states away.

    “Courtney, will you marry me?” I’m usually a cautious kind of dude, but I got carried away in the moment.

    She tilted her head and regarded me steadfastly.

    “No,” she said, finally. I thought I heard a tinge of regret.

    “But the Wyoming Ballroom Dance Championships are coming up. Shall we give it a shot, big guy?”

  27. Gordon Lawrie (Round 5, Part 4)

    “Of course,” I said, jumping at the chance even although I’d no idea where this was leading. “What did you have in mind? A foxtrot? A quickstep?”

    “Why not follow me to my room and we’ll discuss it?” Courtney said, whereupon she led me up a flight of stairs to a surprisingly large room with a double bed in one corner. Immediately, she locked the door and started to remove her clothing.

    “You, too.”

    I did as she commanded. “What now?”

    “To tango correctly, we need to know what every muscle is doing.” She set some music playing. “Let’s dance.”

  28. Russell Conover (Round 5, Part 5)

    The door slammed open, and we froze in shock, trying to cover ourselves.

    “What the devil is going on in here?” a suited man snapped.

    “Uh, just a little dancing,” Courtney stammered.

    “In the nude?” the man demanded.

    I blushed. “We, ah, got a little caught up in the moment.”

    The man motioned to a cop standing outside. The cop entered and rapidly slapped cuffs on our wrists. We gasped.

    “That’s right. You’re coming with me.”

    “But, this is a private room!” Courtney cried. “What’s up with that?”

    “You wouldn’t believe who reported you,” the cop said with a smirk.

  29. Marlene Goldberg (Round 5, Part 6)

    The wife! Eighty years old – still a sprightly old b—–. Selling us the coke we’d inhaled to get in the mood, sending the cops to our private rendezvous – all to get back at me. Well, two can play that game.

    Out on bail, I had to work fast. My trial was set for next week.

    Bingo night was when Dierdre and her cronies gambled a good portion of their social security checks, while sipping booze-laced iced-tea. Being on good terms with the bartender, I was able to mix my own special brand, sprinkled with ecstasy. Courtney helped

  30. Bobby Warner (Round 5, Part 7)

    [Picking up where you left off, Marlene…]

    Courtney and I, dressed as waiters, served the potent drinks to Dierdre and her aged cronies.

    Well into the second game of bingo, several of the ladies began arguing loudly. The other ladies (?) joined in, throwing cards, markers, cigarette ash trays, even their heavily-laden purses at one another, and in general wrecking the joint.

    Courtney meanwhile had slipped out of the room to call the cops. Several minutes later a squad of blue coats came pouring into the room and whisked Dierdre and her menacing minions away to spend the night in the cooler. Payback was such sweet ECSTACY!

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