It all began with a simple question. It was the beginning of twelfth grade, one of those lazy days where you and your friends sat and joked around after finishing a worksheet. Jason, Laferte, Corey, and myself, a band of brothers, were huddled together struggling to fill these empty moments. It had been over a year since I’d finished my last piece of writing, an epic piece of Jimmy Neutron fanfiction entitled The Final Battle. In the past, Jason had penned a few one-page stories that made absolutely no sense in order to make us laugh. Since we had nothing else to do and I considered myself a writer, I figured it was time I gave Jason a run for his money in the absurd humor department.
“Laferte,” I cried out with the roar of a dozen majestic eagles, “Give me a random word.”
“Why?” he asked.
Furious that he had undercut the dramatic tension, I told him I wanted to write a short story and needed some inspiration. He hesitated for just a moment before brusquely whispering, “Spaghetti.”
I cracked my knuckles, touched pen to paper, and watched my classmates eye me with awe as I scrawled my title across the page.
So began the strangest thing I have ever written. At the start, I wholly intended for this be a single page story, a nonsensical mishmash of words to tickle my friends’ strange sense of humor. Yet I could only restrain this beast for so long.
Spaghetti Time‘s epic first chapter.
As I said, it had been over a year since I’d written anything. As soon as I finished those four paragraphs, I knew that I needed to keep writing. I wanted to leave fanfiction behind, but I wasn’t sure if I was ready for a full-length original novel. I quickly realized that Spaghetti Time would help ready me for that task.
Even though this thing makes almost no sense and you really have to have gone to high school with my friends to completely understand it, I nevertheless want to delve into it for today’s post. So settle in and get ready for Spaghetti Time.
It was a normal day at Woonsocket High School. The hyenas were grazing in the cafeteria, Ms. Locke had filled the hallway with cotton balls, and I just wanted to get my friends some spaghetti. That all changed when a group of terrorists attacked. WHS was plunged into chaos, but us students wouldn’t go down so easily. We decided to band together, raid the newly installed armory, and take our school back.
Trust me, the fact that our school has an armory makes more sense than 90% of this story.
This incredibly awesome plot may seem to contradict the insane first chapter you read above, but that’s because it absolutely does. Nothing about Spaghetti Time is stranger (and more amusing to me) than the fact it abruptly and completely changes tone halfway through. I’d wanted this to just be a bit of absurd humor, but after writing the first action scene I couldn’t help but turn this into a serious war story. I love writing fight scenes too much, and I figured after 5,000 words of nonsense the jokes had grown old. So I simply started taking everything seriously, save for a few very oddly placed jokes.
Such as a major character’s corpse vibrating for no reason.
THE MAJOR PLAYERS
- Ryan Fortier (me). Back in high school, I was cowardly, awkward, and weird. So of course, I turned myself into a badass action hero in this novelette.
Complete with amazing physique.
I was humble and sane enough to keep me from being the students’ leader, but there’s no doubt WHS would have fallen without me fighting for it.
- Jason “Hershey” Allard. Jason was one of my best friends in high school. I always admired his good heart, athletic prowess, and easy ability to lead our group of friends. Of course that meant Hershey (all nicknames in this were made up, by the way) served as our army’s general. His skill with a gun was matched only by his tactical prowess; without his leadership none of us would have survived.
The flawless logic that kept us alive.
- Corey “Red Licorice Pill” Brunelle. Corey was my best friend in high school. He helped me get through some tough times with his dry humor and rugged good looks. This meant that throughout Spaghetti Time Corey would serve as my partner; we often teamed up to take down the terrorists on high-risk ops.
Yet still found time for some heart-to-heart conversations.
- Brittany Richer. I had a major crush on Brittany in high school, but was over it by the time I wrote this story. I figured I’d make up for basically stalking her by giving her a decent role in my real life fanfic where she fought terrorists. Quiet yet cunning, her calm and logical manner earned her a spot on the rebellion’s unofficial war counsel. Without her cool head and solid advice, I doubt we would have held our own against Woonsocket’s worst.
She’s also quite the equestrian, apparently.
- Ryan “Pup” Laferte. Laferte was the quietest member of my group of friends. He may not have come up with any unique ways to stop the terrorists, but he was always loyal and did more than his share of saving our school.
Who needs words when you’ve got bullets, anyway?
- Suzy. Suzy is the worst character I have ever written. I made her up for this story and failed to give her any characteristics at all. She didn’t even get a last name. She literally serves no point accept to be my love interest. I screwed up big time with her.
At least she took part in one of my favorite nonsensical scenes.
- Travis “The Asshole” Cournoyer. As I’ve explained, before, Travis was my archnemesis in high school. Just like in my other blog posts, I’ll call him Frank to avoid using his real name. Frank’s main purpose in this story was to be an annoying jerk and comment on the utter absurdity he was part of.
Use your imagination, Travass.
Those are the people who played the biggest role in Spaghetti Time, but nearly everyone I’d spent the past four years with got a chance to shine. My borderline racist friend Anthony got a chance to refuse reinforcements from a Spanish student. I shoved a pistol up my good buddy Veton’s chin. The class geniuses, Karen; Preeti, & Marina, built a bomb out of spare computer parts. If you interacted with me in some way between 9th and 11th grade, you were in here. Unfortunately, I didn’t start talking to my girlfriend Louise until just after I finished writing this, so she wasn’t included.
“Whatever. It’s a stupid book anyway.”
Okay, so now you all have the basics of Spaghetti Time down. Terrorists attack our school. My friends and I fight back. The first half of this book makes absolutely zero sense…
I’m pretty sure this qualifies as negative sense.
…and the second half is a way too intense war story.
The rebellion’s first strike.
So what was the result here? What did I learn? First of all, I discovered the importance of writing something. I hadn’t written anything for over a year before penning this mess, and it served as a great exercise. This got the creative juices flowing and helped me get in gear for when I started working on my first original novel a couple months later.
I also got a lot of practice outlining a story. I’d only done this for one of my previous fanfics, and it had helped a ton. For the first half of Spaghetti Time, I was just writing whatever came to mind. As you might have been able to tell, I wasn’t going for logic at that point in the story; there was only the barest semblance of plot. But once I wrote that first action scene and decided I wanted to actually tell a story, I started outlining the rest of the book chapter by chapter. This helped make the back half of this novelette flow much more smoothly, which only made the dichotomy of seriousness and absurdity that much more amusing.
While my prose was nowhere near professional, I do think I was able to write some effective action scenes. I hadn’t learned all the tricks that I’m currently utilizing in the second novel that I’m currently writing, but I think I at least got across an air of frantic danger.
When I decided to make the back half of this story more serious, I also promised myself that I’d make the last chapter surprisingly heartfelt and dramatic. Again, it was nowhere near perfect, but for a high school senior I do think I was able to make a few surprisingly emotional sections.
Of course, there also some things I learned not to do from writing this. Most importantly, I learned that there are lines you shouldn’t cross with your humor. Especially when you’re openly writing in a classroom about your arch-nemesis being a pedophile.
I have no idea how I didn’t get in trouble for this; one of my teachers read Spaghetti Time. Just to clarify, Frank is not a pedophile and I’m sorry for insinuating he was. Point for you, Frank.
I also probably shouldn’t have stated that our math teacher was killed or mentioned by name the students who died. In a post-Columbine age, I have no idea how I didn’t get suspended or expelled for writing this.
But back to literary points, this was the last time I made zero effort to close plot holes. Now I didn’t intend for this to be a 15,000 word serious story when I wrote that terrorists attacked our school, but I should have made some effort later on to explain why they did this. It was also not a great idea to try to excuse the lack of police involvement by saying that the police were on strike.
And that’s pretty much all there is to Spaghetti Time. Should you read it? The answer is a solid maybe. If you happen to know Woonsocket High School’s class of 2008 or you’re a big fan of absurd humor, it might be worth checking out, it’s available here. I’ll end this post with a few random thoughts:
- My favorite running gag from this story is randomly using trademarked objects and taking the time to put the actual trademark icon in.
- Me shoving the pistol up Veton’s chin was a complete ripoff of Master Chief doing that to the Arbiter in Halo 3.
- I worked for about two days trying to write a sequel to this but rapidly lost interest.
- “Times Square” refers to a busy section of our high school near the lobby.
- Contrary to what some readers thought, the “Walruses” mentioned in the story are not actual animals. I’m not that insane. They are jeeps like in Halo, I just chose a different animal other than “Warthogs.”
- My favorite quick, absurd joke is probably describing how fighter jets could fit in our school. “Their 200-foot wings barely fit in the 30-foot hallway.”
- I always regret Laferte saying “spaghetti” instead of “zoo.” This story would have been a million times more awesome if we were fighting off terrorists while on a field trip to Roger Williams Zoo. We could have ridden actual walruses into battle.
Never a more valiant mount have the eyes ever beheld.
- I realize that this is probably my most self-indulgent post yet.