Thursday, June 28, 2012

Everyone Together, Now

I just had this slightly zany, fun idea. Let's all write a short story together! This is something my siblings and I have done in the past; we call them "committee stories."

Sooo... I shall start the story below, and then y'all can begin adding to it via the comment section! Some things to think about:
  • Don't hog the story. Let it flow where it flows even if it's not what you had in mind.
  • Don't hi-jack the story. Keep your section to a reasonable length, pretty please. :)
  • Do read everything that has happened so far in the story before adding your section. This way you can be sure to maintain continuity.
  • Do invite your friends, family, blog followers to contribute their two-cents worth.
  • Do subscribe to receive follow-up comments by e-mail.
  • Do have loads and buckets of fun!
I will eventually close commenting and try to bring the story to some kind of ending--so hurry with your two-cents worth! Let's write together and see where it goes...

It all began at the library. Diana Smith and her older brother, Carter, were looking up books on camping and wilderness survival. Already, they had picked out a good-sized stack.

"Here's one more that looks good," Diana said from the computer kiosk. She jotted the call number down on a scrap of paper.

"Good," said Carter, "then maybe we should call it quits for now. We do tend to overdo it on researching something that interests us." He grinned. It was true; the siblings were famous for their mounds of library books--famous with the rest of their family and with the librarians. There was the time they had read all about Egyptian heiroglyphics, and another time AKC dog shows (even though their own dog was a mutt).

The two scanned the shelves for the book and located it quickly. Diana took the big hardcover off the shelf and flipped through the pages. "Looks interesting!" she said approvingly.

"Quite!" Carter agreed, looking over her shoulder. "Oops," he said, stooping as a dirty white slip of paper fluttered out from between the pages...

The fine print...
All comments, additions to the story will be subject to moderation. I reserve the right to not publish any comment that I deem inappropriate for any reason.


  1. "What is that?" Diana asked, leaning forward to look at the paper he was reading and careful not to drop her large stack of books.
    "I'm not sure, it is really scribbly and hard to read. Mom says I am the king of bad handwriting, so I should be able to read it, but I can't its so messy," Carter said, squinting to look at the small words.
    "Here let me try," Diana offered. It took a little while to transfer her books to his stack and get the paper in her hands without dropping anything, but finally the switch was made.
    She turned the paper around and around, trying to dicipher the weird characters on the paper. Carter could tell she was thinking hard from the wrinkles that appeared on her forehead. He watched carefully, his chin resting on the tall stack of books to hold them in place.
    "It's a code," she pronounced, solemnly, "I can smell it."
    "What?" Carter cocked one eyebrow.
    She giggled, "You look riduculous with all those books, you'd think you were going through college or something."
    "You tell me, hurry and figure that out so you can take your share back," he grinned, "What was that about smelling something?"
    "I smell a code. Truly, these letters aren't normal English ones," Diana said.
    "We could get a few books on foreign alphabets to look through, just to see if it is foreign," Carter suggested.
    "More books?!"
    "Yeah, I guess you are right, we probably have already reached our limit of what we can check out today," Carter laughed, "Let's ask the librarian if we can keep this paper and work on it more at home."
    "Sounds good!"
    They inched their way along to the library desk and set the stack of books on it.
    "Hello, we were wondering if we could check some books out," Carter said, stretching his arms releaved that his load was temporarily gone.
    The librarian turned from the books she was sorting and arched an eyebrow behind her glasses. The siblings immediately knew what she was thinking and grinned sheepishly.
    Regaining her composure, she began to check out their books only commenting about the fact that they looked too young to be in college. That made Diana give Carter "the look".
    "Would you like a bag?" the librarian asked.
    The siblings exchanged glances and chorused, "Definately. Thank you."
    While the woman packed up their books, Diana found the courage to ask, "We were also wondering if we could have this piece of paper that was in one of the books."
    The librarian took the paper that the girl held out to her. Scanning it critically she muttered, "Certainly."

    Walking home slowly, the siblings discussed the "mystery" as they had begun to fondly call it.
    "After dinner let's use the codebook to figure this out," Carter said, enthusiastically.
    "Sounds good," his sister agreed, as they neared the front door of their house.

    After dinner, they put their heads together and began to explore the wonders of the codebook. After getting lost for half an hour in it enticing pages, they found something that looked similar to the characters on the scrap of paper.

  2. "Do you think this is it?" Carter wasn't so sure.

    "All we can do is compare it to the paper and hope it is the right code. There are sooo many different codes out there," Diana shrugged. "We might not be able to find it." She stopped, realizing Carter wasn't listening but was already at work.

    Looking up he grinned, "Oh, were you talking to me? Sorry, I only heard the end."

    They grew silent as their eyes wandered from page to page.

    Carter scratched his head, "Hmmmm, almost all of the letters in this first word are like the ones in the book."

    For a moment there was a silence as they tried to decipher the next letter.

    "I guess all but this one..." Carter's voice had a hint of puzzlement.

    Diana studed the object. "Oh weird! It looks, I guess to me it looks like one 'J' with another 'J' written too closely."

    Just then Carter sniffed the air. "Ooh, smells like Mom's making bread for tomorrow!" He tilted his head and looked at the symbol closely. "I think it looks like...

  3. "An Egyptian hieroglyph! They aren't J's, they're the hieroglyph for the letter B!They just wrote them really close together." Diana finished for him. "I can't believe we didn't recognize them before though!"

    "Two b's in a row?" Carter sounded even more puzzled. "That doesn't make sense."

    "Let's see... What does the code say when it's translated?" Diana asked.

    Carter bent over the papers scattered on the table. "Uh... 'B B needs bananas. They don't have any left. Leave at six.' That's it."

    "That's it?" Diana raised her eyebrows incredulously.

    "That's it. What do you think?"

    Diana cocked her head to one side, then slowly smiled. "I think it's a code within a code.Maybe B. B. is initials for something?"

    Carter nodded. "Let's go show it to Dad!"

  4. The Panda PrincessJuly 6, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    Dad listened while the two explained how they had come by the encoded note. Then they asked what he thought. He frowned in concentration.

    "It's so hard to say," he said, "without any other clues. It could be almost anything." He thought a minute longer. "But reading it out loud--B B needs needs bananas--sounds almost like the way your little sister says 'baby.'"

    "That's true," said Carter. "We hadn't thought of that. But suppose it was 'baby'... what then?"

    Diana sighed. "Even if it does mean 'baby,' I don't think we're any closer to understanding what this message means."

    Right at that moment, the phone rang. Both siblings jumped to answer it, but Diana got to it just a second before her brother. "Hello, this is the Smiths... oh, hello! Yes--yes--we did. There is? I understand; excuse me just a minute..." She covered the phone with her hand and stage whispered to Carter and Dad, "It's the librarian! The one who told us we could take the note home. Well, there's a man there who was asking about it; he realized he left it tucked into the wilderness survival book he had returned to the library. He seems awfully anxious to know if they've seen it."

    Dad decided the right thing to do was to take the note to the library and return it to the man.

    "Too bad we didn't get to solve it, though," Carter said to Diana. She agreed.

    But what they didn't know, was that the adventure was far from over. Waiting at the library desk was a man who looked youngish except that his face was partly hidden in a beard.

    "Hello," said Dad. "Are you the man looking for the code?"

    "Yes!" the man said, jumping forward to shake hands with Dad. "Do you have it? Is it safe?"

    "My children found it," Dad explained. Carter handed the scrap of paper to the bearded man.

    "Oh, thank you! You said, 'code,'" the bearded man noticed. "Does that mean you have decoded it?"

    "We were working on it, but the message didn't make any sense. Something about a baby needing bananas but they were out of them and to leave at six," Diana told him.

    "Wonderful!" the man exclaimed. He lowered his voice, remembering they were in a library. "But it does make sense!" He grinned. Dad and the children leaned in closer as he lowered his voice even more...

  5. "You see," he said, "You've decoded the letters, but you haven't decoded the words.  I have a hunch that 'BB' and 'bananas' aren't literal.  I found it in an old history book I bought recently.   It was stuck in the section about the Navajo code talkers.  They used a lot of code words.  For example, bombs were called eggs."

    "So bananas could be anything!" Diana exclaimed.

    Brow furrowed, Carter stood with his hands buried deep in his pockets, staring at the troublesome scrap of paper.  Mr. Smith offered his hand to the stranger.

    "I'm Dan Smith.  These are two of my children, Carter and Diana."

    "I'm Shane Lassiter," replied the stranger.

    "Mr. Lassiter, do you still have that book?" asked Carter.

    "Call me Shane.  The beard makes me look old and gruff, but I'm only 21.   Yes, I still have the book, but it's back at my apartment."

    "You know," said Mr. Smith, "Our interest is piqued.  Would you mind if we joined your search?"

    "Actually, I'd love the help," Shane answered.

    "Why don't you come over for dinner some evening and we'll all take a peek at the book?"

    "Sure, that sounds great!"

    Mr. Smith scrawled his phone number and address on another scrap of paper and handed it to Shane.


    "That works," said Shane.

    "Well, it was nice to meet you, but we've got to go," Mr. Smith pointed out as a librarian began shutting off lights.

    "Yeah, I look forward to solving this with y'all!"

  6. Friday night arrived as Diana and Carter anxiously waited for their new friend and guest.
    Finally the doorbell rang as Diana and Carter ran to the door, anxious to start their new mystery.
    "Hey kids!" Shane said as they answered the door.
    "Looks like you are excited to start the mystery!"
    "Definetly," Diana said nodding to Shane.
    "Oh yeah," Carter agreed as they stepped into the kitchen. "I've been waiting for this day to come!"
    "Well hello!" Carter and Diana's mother greeted.
    "We are glad you could come! I'm Melissa. Nice to meet you," she said as she shook his hand.
    "Well dinner's about ready."
    "We'll have to talk about the mystery during dinner," Carter whispered to Diana.
    During a dinner of steak and potatoes, Diana asked Shane, "Did you bring the book you were telling us about?" she asked hopefully.
    "Yes," he answered while he scooped more potatoes on his plate.
    "Good," Dad said. "Then let's get down to business."
    "Well, Carter and I found something on the internet on how to crack Egyptian Hieroglyphs.We thought it would be helpful to us." She looked at their partner in code hopefully.
    "I'm sure that will help greatly to finding out the whole story." he said, passing the apple pie to Dad.
    After dinner, they sat in the Family room discussing the mystery. Diana came out carrying the laptop with her.
    "See," she said as she showed it to Shane.
    "Hey!"He said, raising up the excitement in the children. "This is proving that...."