Cold Assassin - This story evolved through the course of multiple, somewhat random, modificational assignments in Mr. Ottley's high school creative writing class.  The final result is a tale told from the point of view of an assassin sent to stop a madman.

Brady Bunch Love - For one of the first assignments in Mr. Ottley's creative writing class, we were to write a story from the point of view of a member of the opposite sex falling in love.  Later, we were to rewrite the story from the point of view of a third person observing the lovestruck couple.  Later yet, we randomly swapped papers with another student and critiqued his or her paper.  I didn't take it too seriously, as I lamely parodied the Brady Bunch films, with Phase I written from Carol's perspective and Phase II written from imposter Roy's.

Kate Monson critiqued my paper.  I thought her critique was amusing, so I've included it here.  Any errors that were in her critique I've left in since it is her words.

In retrospect, I think I could have a lot more fun with this assignment if I had taken it more seriously.

Kiai Aneminal: Cold Abduction - This took the story Cold Assassin a step further, and was the final phase of Mr. Ottley's “story blend” assignment series.  I now had to incorporate the opposite-sex-in-love bit into the story, and somehow include the ghost of Lennie Small from Of Mice And Men.

I ended up writing an all-new story while retaining some of the elements of the previous incarnation.  Some of the changes are that the assassination was changed to a rescue, and the nameless hero was changed to a heroine named Kiai Aneminal.  If you want to make an academic exercise out of it, try to identify every bit that got carried over.

With a perfect track record, Kiai is one of the top bounty hunters in the universe.  She's been hired to rescue a wealthy man's daughter who is being ransomed.

Lightning - This story is about a woman who gains super powers after being struck by lightning.  I wrote it based on notes written by my cousin, Brad Burt, when he was 10 years old and I was 15.  We collaborated briefly, and what you see here is largely unchanged from our last revision from the late 1990s.

Witch's Brew - I wrote this story for Mr. Peterson's 8th Grade English class in 1994.  It was one of those “read the first half and write the second half” writing exercises.

Ned Blake wants to join the high school football team, but can't because Coach Reynolds doesn't think he has the physical build necessary.  The position goes instead to Tony Kay, Ned's bitter rival.  Ned soon afterward discovers an invisibility chemical which he uses to play tricks on Tony.

Sam Brown and the S.A.M. - I wrote this “tall tale” for an assignment when I was in the sixth grade.  The significance of Sam's long name is that it was based on the song “Sama Kama Wacky Brown” by The Brothers Four, a song about a kid named Eddie-something-something-Sama-something-something-Brown who fell down a well and drowned because people were too busy saying his name to rescue him.  (Mr. Broadbent had taught the song to us in the last year or two.)

The S.A.M. is a surface-to-air missile.  I think I had recently seen an episode of G.I.Joe in which Shipwreck announced that a “sam” had been fired at his jet.

Boris & Helga - After reading a tabloid article about the “World's Fattest Twins” to my creative writing class, Mr. Ottley had us write from the perspective of one of the twins telling about his or her sibling getting married.  I chose to write about Helga's engagement from Boris' point of view.

The Super Secret Origin of Kiai Aneminal - Learn about where the idea for Kiai Aneminal originally came from.

Wish Upon a Greasy Star - “When you wish / Upon a Star / Makes no difference / There you are”Ziggy.

I got the idea for this short story after seeing a stupid McDonald's commercial on TV.  A boy and his father are driving down a long stretch of road at night when they see a shooting star.  The father tells the boy that if he makes a wish it'll come true.  So lo and behold, a McDonald's restaurant appears ahead.  Well pooh!  My wish didn't come true . . . for Jack Kevorkian to pop up in their backseat!