Received from an English Professor at SMU:

 This assignment was actually turned in by two of my English students:

In-class Assignment for Wednesday

Today we will experiment with a new form called the tandem story. The process

is simple. Each person will pair off with the person sitting to his or her

immediate right. One of you will then write the first paragraph of a short

story. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another

paragraph to the story. The first person will then add a third paragraph, and

so on back and forth. Remember to re-read what has been written each time in

order to keep the story coherent. The story is over when both agree a

conclusion has been reached.



At first, Laurie couldn't decide which kind of tea she wanted. The chamomile,

which used to be her favorite for lazy evenings at home, now reminded her too

much of Carl, who once said, in happier times, that he liked chamomile. But

she felt she must now, at all costs, keep her mind off Carl. His

possessiveness was suffocating, and if she thought about him too much her

asthma started acting up again. So chamomile was out of the question.


Meanwhile, Advance Sergeant Carl Harris, leader of the attack squadron now in

orbit over Skylon 4, had more important things to think about than the

neuroses of an air-headed asthmatic bimbo named Laurie with whom he had spent

one sweaty night over a year ago. "A.S. Harris to Geostation 17," he said

into his transgalactic communicator. "Polar orbit established. No sign of

resistance so far..." But before he could sign off, a blue-ish particle beam

flashed out of nowhere and blasted a hole through his ship's cargo bay. The

jolt from the direct hit sent him flying out of his seat and across the



He bumped his head and died almost immediately, but not before he felt one

last pang of regret for psychically brutalizing the one woman who had ever had

feelings for him. Soon afterwards, Earth stopped its pointless hostilities

towards the peaceful farmers of Skylon 4. "Congress Passes Law Permanently

Abolishing War and Space Travel" Laurie read in her newspaper one morning.

The news simultaneously excited her and bored her. She stared out the window,

dreaming of her youth, when the days had passed unhurriedly and carefree, with

no newspapers to read, no television to distract her from her sense of

innocent wonder at all the beautiful things around her. "Why must one lose

one's innocence to become a woman?" she pondered wistfully.


Little did she know, but she had less than 10 seconds to live. Thousands of

miles above the city, the Anu'udrian mothership launched the first of its

lithium fusion missles. The dimwitted, wimpy peaceniks who pushed the

Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty through Congress had left Earth a

defenseless target for the hostile alien empires who were determined to

destroy the human race. Within two hours after the passage of the treaty, the

Anu'udrian ships were on course for Earth, carrying enough firepower to

pulverize the entire planet. With no one to stop them, they swiftly initiated

their diabolical plan. The lithium fusion missle entered the atmosphere

unimpeded. The President, in his top-secret mobile submarine headquarters on

the ocean floor off the coast of Guam, felt the inconceivably massive

explosion which vaporized Laurie and 85 million other Americans. The

President slammed his fist on the conference table. "We can't allow this!

I'm going to veto that treaty! Let's blow 'em out of the sky!"


This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature. My writing

partner is a violent, chauvinistic, semiliterate adolescent.


Yeah? Well, you're a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at writing

are the literary equivalent of Valium.