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Another Desert Island Game: Popcorn Fiction
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Jun 23rd 2006 edited

Sometimes, with my middle-school students, I do something called Popcorn Writing. In short, everyone starts with a prompt, writes feverishly for 3 minutes, then I yell, "POPCORN!" Each person passes his story-in-progress to the person behind him, who continues the story from that point, writes for three minutes, until I yell again, and the process starts again. We keep it up for about 18 minutes. The kids love it (8th graders are often a simple folk). Sometimes they write serious stuff, but most often it's funny nonsense stuff. Regardless, it gets them excited about writing, and the end result is always fun to read.

Let's use that method to write our own version of one giant piece of "Office"-related "fan fiction." I'll start here, and the next poster takes up exactly where I left off and keeps the story going. I guess we should probably limit each post to no more than 200 words (although you can just write a sentence, if you want to) so we don't encourage any aspiring novelists to let loose here. No limits (but no exceptionally coarse language or porn, either), but use proper grammar, punctuation and spelling (which shouldn't be too difficult, since a lot of us like playing with words and crafting clever sentences ;-). I can't wait to see where this goes :-)

Let's go:

It was a dark and stormy Monday afternoon at Dunder-Mifflin Paper Company, Scranton Branch. Michael Scott clipped his nails over the wastebasket at his desk and

Jun 23rd 2006 edited

...listened to Jan's cellphone ring once, twice, three times. Then it went to voicemail.

"This is Jan Levinson. I'm unable to take your call right now. Please leave a message at the sound --"

Click. Michael hit the release button on his phone and sighed.

Jun 23rd 2006 edited

"Only other people..."

The words reverberated in his ears. Michael sighed once more.

Suddenly Dwight bursts into the room.

"Michael, there is a very good chance that you won't believe what I just heard!"

Jun 23rd 2006 edited

Talking Head of Michael:

"You know, sometimes it's really difficult to balance being "the boss" with being "the man." As The Boss, I have to deal with things like Dwight's outbursts, with employees' personal problems...with the possibility of Hari Krishnas showing up at reception and pawning off some of their brochures [trails off...]. I mean, these employees look up to me, look at me for guidance regarding what to do in any given circumstance. On the other hand, I am a man, too. I was trying to call Jan just now to make sure there are no hard feelings left over from the awkwardness of Casino Night. I mean, she is my boss, and yet she's also the woman who wants me [big cheesy grin]. So there's a real conflict there. The dichotostomy of being the boss AND the man AND the lover..."

Jun 23rd 2006 edited

"MICHAEL! Question: do you want me to tell you what I just overheard? I promise—you will want to hear..."

"Oh,gah,D-Dwight, FINE, whatever, what do you want?"

"I was doing a little impromptu surveillance on Jim, honing my undercover skills, and I overheard him and Pam talking...he told her he's been talking to Jan, and, well you know those downsizing rumors?..."

"JAN? Jim's been talking to Jan? Why has Jim been talking to Jan? Did she say anything about ME?"

Jun 23rd 2006 edited

"Pam or Jan?"

"JAN!"

"I wasn't surveilling Jan. Just Jim and Pam."

"Who cares about them! I am in a crisis. I have broken Jan's heart because YOU could not handle being my wingman. God, Dwight, sometimes I question making you Assistant to The Regional Manager."

"Assistant Regional Manager..."

"No, no, NOT!"

"Question: If I tell you about what I heard Jim say, will you re-instate me as your wingman?"

Jun 24th 2006 edited

"Yes."

As Dwight left Michael's office to collect the notes he made about Jim's conversation, Micheal held up his crossed fingers behind Dwight's back.

Talking head of Michael:

"Just like the rules of Shotgun, the rules of Crossed Fingers are very simple and very clear. If your fingers are crossed when you say something, then the thing you said does not hold true and you don't have to keep your promise. And, in this case, my toes were crossed, too, just for extra insurance."

[Pan to a shot of Creed at his desk with his shoes and socks off, feet on his desk, flexing his feet and crossing and uncrossing the toes on his four-toed foot.]

Jun 25th 2006

Dwight is at his desk frantically searching for his "Jim and Pam" detailed 3x5 index cards.

"F! Where are my notes?!"

Dwight looks at Jim who is ever so busy...

"Jim, I had some important, security related information taped under my desk. Did you take it?"

Jim looks at Dwight's desk and shrugs.

"Wow, Dwight, that is a GREAT hiding spot. To think you made fun of me for having a hide a key rock at my house... "

Jun 25th 2006

"J-Aw-Dammit-Jim!

In his search for his detailed surveillance notes, Dwight has found most of them, under his desk, stapled together in a giant freeform index card sculpture.

"Yes, Dwight?", replies the artist.

"I know it was you. I am reporting this...this will not stand, do you hear me?"

"Actually it will, if you tilt it slightly to the left..."

As Dwight rushes back to Michael's office, Jim shoots a satisfied smile at Pam, who he notices in on the phone with a concerned look on her face.

Jun 26th 2006

Jim walked over to reception to check on Pam, under the pretense of grabbing a Jelly Belly.

"Hey, Pam, is everything OK?" he asked, popping a buttered popcorn into his mouth.

"No...no, it's not," she stammered. "There's been an accident."

"Oh, my God," gibbered Kelly. "It's not Brad Pitt, is it?" she asked, speaking so quickly that dogs seven miles away tilted their heads and cocked their ears, trying to determine the origin of the unusual sound.

"It's Angela..." Pam started.

At the sound of Angela's name, Dwight froze, paper sculpture dangling in mid-air.

"What's wrong with Angela?" he demanded. "What happened?"

Jun 26th 2006

"She tried to crowd surf and the tied went out." Pam then looked up at Jim and a sly smile broke out over her face. "At a christian rock concert."

"You're joking."

"The sea just parted." She was almost shaking, trying to surpress her laughter. Suddenly, Dwight jumped up.

"That's not funny," he whispered, obviously mad.

"But it's true!" Pam looked now faintly serious. "She did go to a concert last night, didn't she?" She eyed Dwight. Dwight stammered.

"I. . .I wouldn't know."

"So, she is really hurt, right?" Jim asked.

Jun 26th 2006

"Only her pride...and her backside...I guess she's fine. She's on her way in."

Pam feels slightly sorry for having alarmed Dwight about Angela's well-being.

"Dwight, I hear Phyllis brought in some homemade cookies today..." offers Pam.

Dwight pauses for a moment, abandons the paper sculpture on his desk, forgets his urgent resolve to talk with Michael, and wanders dejectedly down the hall.

"Cookies..."

(Jim to Pam) "Sooo...what's this I hear about you having a visitor?"

Jun 28th 2006

"Yeah. Roy's mom came to see me." Pam looked uncomfortable.

Jun 28th 2006

"What could she possibly have to say at this stage in the game?" Jim queried.

Jun 28th 2006

"What do you mean? There are lots of wedding details to discuss...she's always been wanting to know all the details of the plans...what flavor of cake, who is the photographer, what do I think of her dress...actually I don't know why she can't just back off a little bit...I mean, there is just a lot going on with me right now...what with all the plans, and everyone coming, and there's not much time left, and...wow...sorry, yeah, ok, I'm just gonna get a drink of water.."

Jim's hope that somehow Roy's mother would have thrown a wrench into the wedding-works was incorrect, but Pam's words were revealing. Maybe it was just pre-wedding jitters, or maybe it was something more..."

As Pam passes Dwight in the hall, his mouth stuffed with cookie, even he notices that she appears upset.

Jun 28th 2006

Talking head, Dwight:

"Pam and I really bonded a few months ago when I had my head injury. I'm basically her go-to guy for her problems, such as when she needs help downloading songs for her iPod, or when the vending machine in the women's bathroom is out of feminine supplies, and...nope, those are pretty much her only two problems."

Jun 28th 2006

Talking head, Pam:

"I'm not upset. I'm really stressed, I mean, and excited, of course, because...I'm getting married. To Roy. Soon. Roy's mom is really excited."

Jun 29th 2006

Pam's face looks strained as she looks away from the camera.

Her words seems to echo in her ears. "Roy's mom is really excited." Even more excited than Pam feels, when she allows herself to examine her feelings to any real degree, which is seldom. What seems to be overtaking the initial excitement she felt that night on the lake is a kind of...uncertainty?

Pam gets up and leaves the cameraman, putting a forced smile on her face until she sees Jim talking to Kelly, or rather standing facing Kelly as she is talking quickly and ignoring the dazed look on Jim's face. Pam smiles.

Jul 2nd 2006 edited

"Oh my gosh, Jim! Can you believe that Ryan is taking me to meet his parents?!?! I mean, I don't know what I am going to wear! I am going to have to go shopping this weekend to get a new outfit. What do you think I should wear? A skirt? A dress?"

Jim tried to keep looking and listening to Kelly, but after a while her voice became like the teacher's on Charlie Brown.

Jul 3rd 2006

Suddenly, without warning, Kelly grabbed Jim's collar and pulled him toward her to plant a kiss squarely on his lips.

[Sorry, everyone - just trying to stir the pot a little here and breathe new life into our story. Plus, we've already established that Kelly is on the brink of being a green-wearin' ho - nod to Phyllis - and may actually do something like this].

Jul 3rd 2006 edited

Pam's smile wanes. Her face pales and she starts moving backward. She backs up into Ryan who has seen everything.

Talking head of Ryan:

"Well, I don't have to take Kelly to meet my parents now. Do I care that she kissed Jim? No. It's an easy out for me. Maybe now Jim will give me Katie's phone number."

Jul 3rd 2006

Talking head of Jim:

"Katy's number? He still wants Katy's number? Well, um ... sure."

Jim walked back to his desk after completing the talking head. He had a knot in the pit of his stomach. He looked in the direction of the reception area to see if he could find a way to talk to Pam. She wasn't at her desk. Jim reminded himself he was supposed to be moving on, Pam was getting married. The knot in the pit of his stomach grew even larger. He might be sick.

Jul 5th 2006

Just then, Michael's office door swung open so hard that the knob hit the wall directly behind it. Michael, a man with a mission, strode over to reception, walked behind the desk, and spun Pam's chair around so she faced him.

And Michael kissed Pam - hard - on the lips.

[Still stirring the pot here]

Jul 5th 2006 edited

"What the hell!" yelled Pam.

She jumps out of her seat and storms out of the front door. All the while, rubbing Michael spit off of her mouth.
Jim's eyes widen in horror and he gets up to go after Pam.
Michael is left at reception, alone, with everyone staring at him until Kelly breaks the silence.

"Omigod, Michael, you just kissed Pam and she is sooo engaged! Are you going to tell Roy? Omigod I bet she is going to tell Roy right now! He'll probably kick your ass. He's sooo much bigger than you. Remember when he pushed Jim for standing too close? Are you going to run, Michael, cuz-"

"SHUT IT, Kelly, gah, do you EVER stop! Ryan, no wonder you don't answer her calls."

Ryan looks down at his desk and Kelly retreats to hers. Michael goes back into his office. Dwight follows.

Jul 6th 2006

Talking head of Michael:

"Here's the thing...I think that maybe the reason Jan isn't returning my calls is that...well...sometimes a guy can be really romantic and good at a lot of things...as I am...but...he may be lacking in one department. And I'm not sure I'm the best kisser in the world...well...I haven't gotten many chances to work on it...I mean...sure, I get lots of chances with women...but the video tape I ordered said it GUARANTEED that any woman would MELT if I used their techniques. And...you can see it was false advertising. And I still have three more payments of $29.99."

Jul 6th 2006

Talking head of Kevin:

"No, I will not have Michael's back if Roy comes up here."

Jul 6th 2006

"What time are we leaving for your parents house this weekend?" Kelly asks Ryan.
"Don't you think we should talk about you kissing Jim?"
"Oh that? I am just trying to stop a wedding. How am I doing?" Kelly turns and winks at the camera.
Dang, so close Ryan thinks to himself, "2pm".

Jul 12th 2006

Pam suddenly awoke from her dream.

[Just trying to keep it going]

Apr 15th 2007

Wow, this is the best thread I've never read. I don't know what killed it, but I think it's worth resuscitating. We're a literate bunch, no? I thought I might kick things off, but I can't decide whether to continue the current story or start a new one. So much has happened, and so much time has passed with too little happening. Any thought? Bad idea in the first place?

If nothing else, it's worth a read. Some funny stuff above.

Apr 15th 2007 edited

Okay, I'll start one. This begins with a talking head of Dwight.

DWIGHT: I donated all of my weapons to building security. Toby tells me that they're they're all fifth-level blackbelts in ninjitsu. I'm going to have to test that one out . . . somehow.

(Cut to shot of DWIGHT peering around a corner at a bored security guard, sitting at his desk reading Sports Illustrated)

DWIGHT (V.O.): But to answer your question, yes, I do feel slightly naked without them, although I still have a substantial arsenal in the bomb shelter at the beet farm.

(Cut back to DWIGHT talking head.)

DWIGHT: Spoiler warning: Do you remember on Battlestar Galactica when they found out Boomer was a Cylon? That's why I like to have my throwing stars.

(Cut to alternating shots of people in the office working.)

DWIGHT (V.O.): Because it turns out that Roy was a Cylon. And anyone could be one. Creed, or Ryan . . . Andy. Probably Andy.

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