The Mousing Gacy Challenge

There are a lot of these “tagging” games going around various social networking arenas as of late. I am sure you have seen them and either indulged yourself in their triviality or felt repulsed by their triviality. I am somewhere smack dab in the middle. I have never responded to one of these threads, however, I take the time to read all the ones that I come across. Whether it is “25 Random Things About Me” or “10 Pictures I Took of Myself in Various Reflective Surfaces” or “The Fourteen People I Would Release as a Sign of Good Will If I Were at the Center of a Hostage Scenario at My High School Reunion”.

I love to read these because I like to learn what goes on inside other peoples’ minds. It is not just about what they think, but it is about what they write to portray what they are thinking. You can truly tell a lot about a person by what they choose to send to all of their friends, casual acquaintances, and people with really high scores in Mafia Wars.

And so, though I do not like to collaborate in this type of thing publicly, I am, right here and right now, starting my own tagging game. And you are all tagged. Yes, even you, dude from Pakistan who found this site with the Google keyword search “Nicole Kidman Full Frontal”. Even you. The idea is to write a short story of your own. It doesn’t have to be too long. The subject of this short story is where it gets interesting.

Every time you log in a comment on someone’s blog or Facebook account, you are requested to enter in one or two words. The purpose of this is so that the computer knows that you are human because of your ability to read typically undecipherable words shrouded behind a Jackson Pollock painting. This is obviously something that a computer would never deign to do. After failing, these computers return to Nigeria to offer support to their ousted Prince. Occasionally, humans cannot understand their own language either. Not too long ago, I was entering in these words and had to refresh the box several times in order to get a pair that looked like something more than forensic evidence. As groan-inducing and frustrating as these words are, I have grown to love them, which is why I have never disabled them on my Facebook account. The words are often misspelled, archaic, or non-sensible. And, when they are paired together, well, thus the fun begins.

Here is your challenge. Take the next two of these words that you come across, whether it is in leaving a comment on one of my blog posts (yeah, I thought that was funny too, like you would ever do that) or on your next status update on Facebook, or your billing information for the Rick Springfield box set you are purchasing off of eBay, and use them as the title or underlying theme to a short story of your own composition.

If you feel that you are not a writer, I simply don’t care. Think of it as an exercise in creativity. Think of it as a team-building exercise. Think of it as an eighth-step in your program to recovery. If you can make sense of these two words, you are more of a writer than Shakespeare, Spenser, Steinbeck, and Steele combined and you are truly worthy of admiration. After you have completed the story, send it on to and I will read it over. If I get any good ones, we’ll have a fun little posting here on Bag Stranded. You can also comment at the end of this column and let us all know what the title of your story is so we will be rapt with anticipation.

Of course, being the instigator of this fun little game, I do not plan on participating in it. I have no idea what kind of engine these words are generated from, but I believe it is located somewhere in hell. I base this off of the past combinations that I have received; namely “666 Shelltate”, “murdereous bazaar”, and “hornfoot allHailSatan”. You tell me if you see any pattern. But none of these compare with the most recent word-recognition request that I received a short time ago while commenting on a favorite music blog: “Mousing Gacy”.

I kept repeating the words over and over in my mind, finding both humor and disgust at their pairing. The resulting image brought back two horrifying events that I both read and listened to very recently. I joined a book club at work where the members alternate novels once a month and meet at a greasy chain restaurant to discuss our intellectual findings. The selection for this month was entitled “The Painted Bird”. For those of you who may not know, the story follows a young boy wandering between villages during World War II, encountering and suffering from various kinds of horrific tortures and brutality. Imagine the worst thing you can think of. Yeah, it is worse than that. And it is spread throughout the book like a thick smoldering of human ashes (yeah, that’s in there to). Well, one scene describes the use of a mouse placed in an upside down jar placed on the bare stomach of an unfaithful wife. You can imagine the rest. When I hear the word “mousing” this is now what I associate it with. It is kind of like reverse “gerbiling” and only slightly less fun. Don’t look that one up.

The second part, "Gacy", reminds me of a Sufjan Stevens song about, well, Gacy. John Wayne Gacy, Jr. to be exact. The song, unfortunately the best on the “Illinoise” album, discusses the serial killer who murdered and buried under his porch 33 boys in Chicago in the mid 70s. He also often had block parties on the same porch where he would regale the neighborhood children with his Pogo the Clown routine. The song is so eerie and creepy and sad that I want to simultaneously cry and shower every time I hear it. Then again, so is the actual accounting of what happened. Then again, so is mousing. So turning “Mousing Gacy” into a humorous story is a feat that I really couldn’t pull off.

Unless of course, the role of Gacy is played by an actual mouse. He puts on clown makeup and kidnaps several hunks of cheese. After taking little bites of them, he buries them in his little mouse hole for safekeeping. Ok, I might have something here. Story forthcoming.

By the way, if you are a member of my graduating high school class who is now questioning going to the reunion, I won’t be there, don’t worry. Now get writing your story!


Brian R said...

The riveting tale of 'Corporated Selections' will be coming your way soon. This is a good challenge, and you should try to publicize it more I think. CAPTCHA's day in the sun is almost at an end, I think, at least this variety.