Remember the book “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”?

“Well, 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. As homework tonight, one of you will write the first paragraph of a short story. You will e-mail your partner that paragraph and send another copy to me. The partner will read the first paragraph and then add another paragraph to the story and send it back also sending another copy to me. 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. There is to be absolutely NO talking outside of the e-mails and anything you wish to say must be written in the e-mail. The story is over when both agree a conclusion has been reached.”

The following was actually turned in by two of my English students: Rebecca
(last name deleted), and Gary (last name deleted).

(first paragraph by Rebecca) 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.

(second paragraph by Gary) 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 bluish 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 cockpit.

(Rebecca) 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.

(Gary) 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 missiles. The dim-witted wimpy peaceniks who
pushed the Unilateral Aerospace Disarmament Treaty through the 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 missile 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 poor, stupid, 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!”

(Rebecca) This is absurd. I refuse to continue this mockery of literature.
My writing partner is a violent, chauvinistic semi-literate adolescent.

(Gary) Yeah? Well, you’re a self-centered tedious neurotic whose attempts at
writing are the literary equivalent of Valium. “Oh shall I have chamomile
tea? Or shall I have some other sort of f*****g TEA??? Oh no, I’m such an
air headed bimbo who reads too many Danielle Steele novels.”

(Rebecca) Asshole.

(Gary) Bitch.

(TEACHER) A+ - I really liked this one. Only group to get an A