"It's just like the City of Souls project, only nowhere near as coherent."

It had been a tough day at the cereal factory, and Bobo was ready to go home. So he went to the lunchroom to get his hat, and then he noticed something strange was going on.

And with that, the E2 Collaborative story was off! This story was written by ten of our talented noders, each taking turns to add sentences and paragraphs to continue Bobo's adventure. The catch was, each noder /msged their contributions to me. I then sent ONLY the last contribution to the next noder in line. This meant that each author only knew what the previous person had written, and by the time the story had made a complete cycle, the other eight authors had taken the story in a completely new direction. Although at first everybody started to write a nice, coherent story, things quickly broke down and hilarity ensued.

The contributors were:

Enough talk, here's the rest of the story!


The factory alarm hadn't sounded, but smoke was pouring into the lunchroom, rich with the smell of... what was that smell? It was thick and caustic, but Jim couldn't identify it. He bolted out of the room, but stopped at the doorway with a shock: none of his co-workers had moved; it was as if they were rooted to the spot they stood. He took a few steps back, as he watched his co-workers dissolve into nothing but foamy puddles. It also went through the carpets, and it began chasing Jim of its own will.

Intellectual shock temporarily overrode his fight-or-flight mechanism (malevolent matter melting his co-workers? Wake up Jim!), but momentarily his more primitive instincts regained control and got the dumb loaf moving. He kicked discarded office chairs out of the way as he dashed through the corridors, the disgusting sucking sound of the ooze hot on his heels. A cart around the corner left by some careless mailboy was unexpected.

As Jim dragged his twisted ankle down the stairs, still cursing some careless mailboy, he thought about the red muck left in the wake of his coworkers' demises. They were just atoms, he conjectured: why did only the fleshy bits melt, and not the walls and the floor (or that blasted cart, for that matter!) As he reached the first floor emergency exit, he grimly noted to himself, "You never question science fiction until it's science fact."

Jim pushed his way though the first floor emergency exit and emerged on the fire-escape. Wincing each time he put too much weight on his ankle he moved up the stairs as quickly as he could. Thoughts were flashing through his mind, he sped up, trying to ignore them. Suddenly his foot dropped and he felt a searing pain in his right calf, the rusted metal step had broken and he was trapped, five floors up, with his leg knee-deep in the stair.

Jim struggled to get out, but to no avail; his foot was broken. Just as the pain was becoming unbearable, he heard footseps thundering against the steps. "He's coming for me! Oh God no!" Jim moaned to himself, redoubling his efforts, hearing the ominous footfalls coming closer and closer. Somehow, he managed to extricate himself from the step, but only to land face first before the man who was pursuing him. "Please no!" Jim cried to the man, "I'll do anything!"

"Get off that playground and get inside! The recess bell rang 20 minutes ago!"

Jim had a sudden flash back to reality, and saw Ms. Tozar looking up at him. "I'm not waiting any more," she said. "You get down here right now!" Jim wished he still had his Neutron-disintegrate-o Blaster. It would be so useful right about now. Seeing that she is a rather bumbling and old creature, Jim figured that he had a better chance by evacuating to the other side of the playground and safer territory.

"Don't you run off on me! This is the third time this week! I am calling your mother, do you hear me?!"

The situation ended as such situations usually ended up, with the national guard surrounding Newberg Elementary School and blasting Metallica at 150 decibels. Jim was not without his defenders, however. Phil Collins and Sting recorded a duet called "Let the Laddie Play" and Jon Katz wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times entitled : "voices from the playground"

Col. Anderson ordered his sharpshooters in place and sent the SWAT team in through the red front door. The kids were too tired to put up much resistance. Even Newberg Elementary's sixth grade boys wanted this over with; they wanted nothing more than Big Gulps and PS2 videogames. Jim remained an oasis of calm amid the chaos of battle. The pink elephants floated calmly over Jim's head, as he viewed the whole battle."

Given that he was now at a loss for how to respond, the unperturbed pink pachyderms being the absolute last straw, Jim did what any reasonable person would do in his circumstances. He screamed very, very loud. The battlers ceased suddenly.

Even though Jim was practically exhausted - it seemed like years since he had slept - he continued to scream and, perhaps in an accommodating gesture, began to run away from the melee top speed. The few people out on the street could only stop and stare as a screaming skinny idiot rushed by, followed in cautious pursuit by a gaggle of angry not-so-skinny idiots. (Weeks later, amidst yet another vacation slide show filled with out of focus buildings and rabbit ears, Greg Thurmond nearly gave his Aunt Tina a heart attack with the photo he laughingly captioned "Marathon Man meets Ninja Brigade.")

Jim, however had no knowledge of these events, not that it would have troubled him at this particular moment anyway. Finding reserves he never knew he had, Jim powered ahead of the gaggle, and, sneaking a look behind him, Jim ducked into a newsagents' office. Feeling the need for energy, he grabbed three cans of Red Bull and slammed them down on the counter; unfortunately this had the effect of splitting the cans, shooting three jets of stimulating drink into his eyes and nostrils.

"Oh no," Jim cried, "I can't control myself much longer!" The Red Bull splattered onto his face seemed to have disappeared, absorbed by his skin. Suddenly, the muscles on Jim's arms rippled, expanding dramatically and tearing his shirt sleeves to shreds. His legs seemed to double in size, tearing off his jeans so that only a band remained covering his midriff. He stepped out of the store, ready to confront them.

As the Hulk-like, puke-green Jim exits the store, he crashes through the (now miniature) doorjam, and stomps onto the sidewalk. "Must... Kill... Measly... HUMANS!" he bellows in a rumbling voice. A small child can be heard from down the street yelling "Mama! Mama! Can I get his autograph?" and the response "Not now honey, wait till he finishes killing those people first."

"You bother me once too often, humans! Now I must kill you! Resistance is futile!" Right at that moment, an away party from Star Trek: The Next Generation beams down in the middle of the fray.

The major problem was that Worf could only write out his autograph in blood, and that was troublesome because Klingon blood was a confirmed allergen, much like walnut. Soon, an entire team of trained allergists was playing with walnuts, peanuts, and Klingon secretions. The Klingon secretions were analyzed at the Elementary School's scanning proton-electron microscope, the one with the linear accelerator at the side. It made muons. The muons interacted badly with the Klingon juice, leading eminent physicists to conclude that, sadly, Klingons were made of particles and antiparticles which were incompatible with humans. One of the physicists licked the juice for, you know, "scientific purposes", and vaporized the school and 17 blocks around it, including the new yellow school buses. Local officials were "pissed," in the words of Mayor Jo-Jo Hot Tits Walker.

"Who is going to educate our children?" the remaining parents moaned. The loss of the school had been the worst tragedy the town had seen since 1955, year of the infamous-yet-never-discussed-in-polite-company "Mayonnaise Incident". So the townspeople set to work building a new school, complete with Klingon-proof barriers and a special self-sustaining energy core comprised entirely of fine angora sweaters. Well intentioned though they were, they didn't know that the angora sweaters were alive and secretly strangling them one by one."

One remained who clearly felt that death by sweater would be unseemly, for she launched a brilliant counterattack using a spare dose of Ritalin, a spray bottle, and a very fratchety cat with sharp claws (painful though it was for her!) By the time the fur was done flying, there was nothing left but a puddle of cotton fibers and heavy breathing echoing throughout the room. When the tiny mouse dressed in Shakespearean garb popped out his hole to recite the "Alas, poor Yorick" soliloquy, nobody seemed to mind.

Completing the soliloquy, the mouse took a bow. Unfortunately, due to some inept tailoring, the backs of his breaches split, the noise alerting the cat nearby, who, after rushing through Richard III's speech before the battle of Bosworth, charged at the mouse at full pelt. The mouse attempted to dodge his pursuer but to no avail. Just as he was reaching the dressing-room door, the cat caught him by his ripped pant-legs and engulfed him in the wide maw of his mouth.

Poor Johnny was a undernourished cat, and this meal sure didn't help his digestive tract. After an hour, he ended up spitting out the mouse, for it hurt a lot less to get the vicious claws out of his stomach. That mouse took revenge going down, and then again when he came back up. It was like swallowing pins and sharp rocks, then throwing them up."

Johnny used what little strength remained in his paws to finally tear the life from his the malefactory morsel, but his throat was still too bruised from the ordeal to make another attempt. He fell to his side and began mewling self-pityingly just at the moment two besuited men strode past. They paused, then exchanged glances. "We'll use this one," the taller one said, turning and roughly shoving Johnny into a burlap sack. It smelled like gunpowder and Old Spice. Johnny's back was to an old snub-nosed .038 caliber. He curled his tail around the trigger and squeezed with all his might. Slowly, slowly, the rusty trigger moved, and finally the gun gave its release. One of the men went down hard, dropping the bag. Johnny was winded, but managed to get his tail around the gun again quickly, just as the bag opened, and the malevolent face of the second stranger peered in. Johnny had a surprise for him as well.

He slipped out of the sack and admired his gory handiwork, all while blowing out the smoke across the barrel of the Saturday Night Special, Eastwoodesque. Johnny knew now he'd have to head to the mausoleum to get the final answers about the Torbowsky affair. He caught the 10:22 train to Dayton without a moment to spare.

On the train, people looked like, well, the sorts of people you'd see on trains. Most of them background; grey silhouettes without personality or intent. Just point A to point B, then they were gone and replaced with equally nondescript clones. But there was one person who caught Johnny's eye. And if you caught Johnny's eye, you weren't getting off at the next station. This one was small, female, and an expression that was anything but blank. It was cool but not cold, realistic but not merciless. It was the kind of face that wanted something from the world.

Johnny approached this fine blue-haired woman, and he prompted, "Your ticket. It fell out of your pocket in the aisle, presumably when you went to the restroom." She collected her ticket from Johnny and noted the expiration time: 5:30. "That was two hours ago," said Johnny. She felt rather queasy and sick with apprehension as Johnny leered closer.

"Umm, thanks," she murmured nervously as she brushed away a cerulean lock, but Johnny did not back off. "Looks like you missed it. Need a place to stay tonight?" he murmured as he placed his hand slyly around her elbow. She fought the urge to vomit. Twisting to detatch his arm from her, she attempted to articulate the many reasons she could think of for not wanting to stay with him. Unfortunately, all that came out was a slightly awkward mumble. "Relax," said Johnny, "I won't bite".

Her exertions became more energetic; she wasn't going to stay with him any longer than necessary. His insistances grew more forceful, as he lowered his fangs into her neck. As she got more and more excited by her close contact with the man, she started on pouring the ketchup all over her heaving bosoms. She then spread mayonaisse all over her body, and lightly sprinkled herself with parsley. She was glad that she had remembered to use the condiments. As she got more frantic, her sweat flowed out, mixing with the confections on her bodies. 'Please, please, please, bring out the lettuce!' she screamed.

Man is mortal though, so naturally (his passion inflamed and having missed both lunch and breakfast) he ate her, garnishes and all. Delicious as she was, cannibalism (no matter how deeply erotic) is frowned upon and the policemen who had been looking through the window didn't take too kindly to this turn of events. "...So they put me here," the man concluded, picking his teeth with a bone of indeterminate origin. "Well, that's my story. So doc, you've got a fancy degree. You can tell me... am I really crazy?"

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