I think one of the highlights of this retreat for all of us was when we played the Story Relay Game. We each wrote a blurb of a story beginning and we all built on it. We laughed so hard at the surprise endings, completely opposite to where we thought they'd go. Consider as you read it was sometimes challenging to keep the stories straight while straining to read the authors hurried handwriting. Enjoy the results of our game.
They laughed their heads off, then put on their hats and headed for their cars. The first one to cross the flooded parking lot, Lillie, gamely waved at the others as she waded up to the door of her Jeep. Still giggling, Mellie slogged into the ankle deep water wearing her flip-flops.
“Do you think we’ll make it?” Lexi asked.
Brycen grabbed Mellie as she slipped, barely keeping her from sitting down in the water. “Better leave your car here and go with Lillie in the Jeep. It’s higher.”
Lightning forked over the shopping center followed by an almost simultaneous crash. Mellie was still laughing, but Brycen grimly steered her to his SUV.
Brycen wasn’t laughing anymore. He squinted his eyes at the pouring rain and saw the water rising quickly. A few more minutes and even the SUV’s wouldn’t make it out of this low parking lot.
“Mellie, stop! We have to get out of here now.”
Mellie heard the serious tone Brycen used and stopped laughing. Already the water was climbing, almost reaching the bottom of the SUV. She saw panic in his eyes. She quickened her pace fealing now a current of water underneath her trying to take her down. She looked around to call to Lillie, but she was nowhere in sight.
He was already trying to start the engine. It wouldn’t start. Mellie looked around. The others were already driving on higher ground.
It still wasn’t starting.
“Maybe we can make a swim for it!” Brycen yelled over the rushing water. He grabbed her hand. They trudged through the waist high [water] together.
“We have to get out of this valley!” Brycen yelled.
Mellie’s hysterical crying was making her a dead weight.
“Come on, Mellie!” Brycen dragged her forward. “A levee must have broken.”
Water came rushing into the parking lot from over the rise.
They both stared from the water to the hill in front of them. They didn’t have a choice. They had to make it! The water rose higher with every second. The hill was too far away.
“Got to swim!” Brycen kicked off his shoes and started to stroke.
“I can’t swim!” Mellie yelled as she began to be pulled under. Brycen pulled her onto his back, swimming forward. The swirl of the water pulled him away. Mellie was so heavy.
He blinked the water out of his eyes. Pumping to keep their heads above water. His legs pumped as much as he could. But the water was stronger.
The green corn stalks rustled in the windy air. Bunnies hopping in between the rows. Black crows flying around. The sun beating down on the backs of ladybugs grazing on green leaves. Then, the quiet silence was broken by, “Grrrr.”
The sound sent the birds swarming, ladybugs flying, bunnies scrambling, and the cornstalks shaking.
Slowly, a burly brown bear emerged from the cornfield. He stood up on his hind legs surveying the lazy garden. Out of the corner of his eye, the bear caught a tiny flicker of black and yellow. Before he finished another step forward, his head was surrounded by a swarm of angry honeybees.
Tucker and I watched and waited, high above the waving cornstalks, hidden by the leaves of the sugar maple at the edge of Ma’s garden.
“Ya think the bees’ll win or the bear?” Tucker asked.
“Dunno,” I said. Truth is, I didn’t much care as long as neither one got us.
“Ma’ll tan our hides if we don’t get back with that corn pronto.”
Ma was small, but she could swing a paddle awful good if you didn’t hop to it quick. She wasn’t one for loafin.’
“It’s okay,” I said. “Got me a plan.” I worked myself around the tree and slid down the side away from the bear.
“Don’t move, Tucker. I’ll be right back.”
I raced as fast as two legs could go. Panting, I reached the garage. I rummaged through pa’s old car parts and picked me up a hub cap. Then I opened his tool box and picked me up a screw driver. Then I headed on back.
The bear was still there swattin’ at them bees. I took a deep breath and gathered up all the courage I could muster, hub cap in one hand and screw driver in the other, I banged the two together and hollered as loud as I could.
Tucker screamed louder than me and fell out of the tree. That bear got him a scare to gettin’ it in stereo and all, and raced off quick as lightening.
I looked over at Tucker, and he glared at me. I saw why. The whole front of Tuck’s pants were wet.
I dropped to the ground and laughed so hard I cried.
Green Haired Monster
The back door screeched as Waldo pushed it open, stepping out into the night. He could see nothing but blackness in every direction. Suddenly, he heard a piercing scream come from the east, it had to be the Bockenhalks farm.
Inside, his heart skipped a beat. He knew what it was. He raced out, praying he could get there in time.
Waldo’s legs flew across the dry dirt, then over the brown grass. The drought prevented him from sneaking.
“Please, please, God—no!” Waldo’s words couldn’t come out. He stumbled in the blackness and kept running west. Sliding into the Bockenhalk’s farm yard, Waldo saw his sister.
Her hair was bright green, and she lunged toward him, shaking her fist.
“How could you do this to me? My friends all hate me now! I’m gonna get you!”
She grabbed him by his ears, and as she pummeled him, Waldo tried to explain.
“Look, Sal,” he pleaded. “I didn’t know that peddler was crooked. He said it’d make your hair black as a crow.”
“I’ll crow you, you scamp.” She dragged him toward Evie Bockenhalk, whose eyes bugged out into the night.
“What are we going to do to ‘im, Sal?”
“We ain’t twins for nothing.” She gritted her teeth to hold Waldo as he squirmed helplessly in her grasp. “Come Monday morning when school starts, I ain’t gonna be the only green-haired Johnson in class.”
Rudolph and Theodore
I turned my head to see who had yelled about the same time that Dozer Macmillan’s fist connected with my jaw. The next thing I remember, I was looking up at the school nurse.
“Do you know where you are?”
I glanced around the room allowing my eyes to focus. What happened? Why was my head throbbing? And who exactly was I?
“Rudolph? How do you feel?”
Rudolph? What kind of name was that? My name couldn’t be Rudolph.
“Where am I?” Rudolph’s youthful voice cracked.
“You don’t know where you are?” the nurse asked.
“If I knew, I wouldn’t have asked.”
The nurse almost took a step back from his forcefulness. “You’re at school in the nurse’s office.”
“That’s what you do all day.” She shot back.
Rudolph walked out of her office.
“Come back here!”
He kept walking, his eyes wildly looking around, not recognizing anything.
“Are you hurt? I have to look at your head.” Her steps quickened to catch up with him. Rudolph pointed to the metal covered walls. “What are these?”
“Lockers. You know, they hold your stuff.”
“Where is mine?”
At that moment, Dozer’s bloody-nosed face appeared at a classroom window. It started coming back to Rudolph. I knew that face, and I knew his name.
“Oh, forget about it,” I said, and spun around to confront Dozer through the window. “You better not call me Rudy again, or I will not be your best friend any more.”
He hissed through the door. “If you ever call me Theodore, I’ll take out your other eye.”
“Okay, so it’s back to Dozer.”
“And Blip, I won’t say the ‘R’ word ever again.” He smiled and high-fived the glass.
I high-fived him back. It was pretty cool to have had amnesia and a black eye on my first day back in school.