"An Exquisite Corpse" is a work of art/poetry/storytelling created by a collection of people who have preceding parts of the work hidden from them. Patrons at the Northeast Library were given the opportunity to build a story based on two rules:
- Add only one sentence to the story (this was loosely followed.)
- Try not to read more than one sentence ahead, but at the very least do not turn to the previous page (this seems to have also been loosely followed.)
Below is the story that was created during the month of June, transcribed as closely as possible to the original text.
Amy left her tiny studio apartment on foot and by the time she noticed that the air smelled musty and dense, just like it does before a good rain, it was too late. It started pouring on her. She was late and had no time to run back and get an umbrella. She ran to 8th Street and was thinking, "only three more blocks to go." Wet and cold she finally reached her destination, Burbington Diner. Makeup running down her pale, white face she finally sat down in front of a man. He looked about 5’11’’, had deep blue eyes, curly dark brown hair, and a penetrating smile.
Amy hated it when there were no available empty seats. Her favorite seat was the one facing the window, with no facing chair. She certainly had no interest in a good-looking man, penetrating smile or not; not today.
In fact, she found herself put off by his gaze, and quickly crossed the room to avoid him.
There she found Claudia, a welcome companion. Always quick to laugh, Claudia was easy to talk to.
“Geez, you’re a mess!” Claudia said, laughing as she reached out and touched Amy’s wet hair. “Don’t you know that guy is Oliver? The one who’s here to talk to us about the opportunity?” Amy looked embarrassed, then burst out laughing.
“Hey,” she finally said. “I guess I’m not going to take any chances!”
“What do you mean? He’s a sweetheart. Just don’t believe anything he says.”
“What do you mean?” asked Amy.
“Well, the cover of a book is not what you get inside.”
“Well, come on, I guess we’ve kept him waiting long enough.” Amy dragged Claudia by the hand and together they fell into the booth opposite the man, Oliver.
“Hello again,” he said.
Just then there was a deafening crash - someone or something had catapulted through the giant picture window’s glass.
“Oh my God, it’s his Ex! They call her Hilda the Brick Thrower!!!”
I haven’t seen Hilda since… the Accident.
“Oh my God! The Accident. Hilda fell off a cliff into a Hornet’s nest?”
Oliver suddenly jumped up from his booth and said, “I’m leaving, I don’t want to hear this!!!”
People jumped out of his way and dodged around the broken glass. Everyone whipped out their phones to call the police. One woman even started to pick up the brick.
“Guess that’s over with,” said Claudia.
“Come on, I’m not staying if the police are on their way!”
But the police were not on their way: they had stopped for donuts and lemonade at Aunt Rose’s famed donut shop.
All was well until Officer McClurkin choked on a raspberry bismark.
Just then, an angel descended from the sky and saved the officer, it was his guardian angel.
However, a Shinigami, a god of death, had written the officer’s name in his notebook. The officer became unsavable. He died before the guardian angel’s eyes. Gracefully.
Suddenly, Oliver appeared, with torn clothing and a shredded notepad, which read, “Who dares awaken me from my thousand-year slumber?!” The final syllable rolling like thunder.
Amy awakened the next morning in a cold sweat. Was it all a dream?
The words of the God echoed endlessly in her mind.
How are we supposed to know if we are receiving messages from The Universe? Maybe she had the flu or Lyme disease which was making her sleep so poorly. How could she know?
Only the children know the answer if only they had someone to listen to their voices.
Amy decided to meet Claudia and Oliver, to talk and find out the truth. Why do weird people come to the library?
They sat at the library table, across from each other and spoke their minds. Their minds could of been truths, could of been lies.
Each one spoke in turn, what they felt in their heart.
They were not meant for each other. They remain friends in the end.
Epilog: Years later they reconnected on an online chat board over their mutual love of pecorino cheese (“Drunken Pecorino” was her favorite).