Misunderstood Homework Makes a Great Story

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2 years ago

I have been pretty open about my struggles with depression and anxiety and C-PTSD. I haven't talked too much about treatment. Only that I receive professional help.

There's a wonderful program in Amarillo. It's an outpatient program where licensed psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors do group therapy, one on one therapy, and mental health education.

Some of the classes feel silly. But kind of fun.

Isolation is a big issue with people who are depressed. We think we can go it alone. We often don't communicate with our loved ones. We don't do well in social situations or in groups.

One of our classes was a group dynamic/team-building exercise.

We had to form 2 circles of 4 or 5 people. Each circle was given a giant hula hoop. The counselor demonstrated what we had to do with the hoop and set a timer. Whichever group completed the activity the most times "won" the game.

We had to hold hands and not let go. The hula hoop was placed over two people's linked arms. We then had to pass the hula hoop from person to person going all around the circle without unlinking our hands. This meant we had to maneuver the hoop over under our feet and over our shoulders, twisting and turning in conjunction with both people to either side of us. We had to do it quickly.

It was silly and weird and fun and both of our teams were tied. It brought us as a group closer together.

Another group exercise consisting of the same 4 people groups was more to my standards! It was a writing exercise.

Our counselor gave each group a copy of two pictures.

She said the assignment was a writing assignment using both photos and the topic of survival. I pictured each of us writing a story and somehow doing something in our group surrounding our individual stories. Or something.

I misunderstood. I just heard "writing assignment" and ran with it. As soon as I got home, I looked at the pictures and everything just came together. I typed up my story, used the images she gave us, and printed it out.

As a bonus, I included phrases and terms about which we had been learning in class.

The next day, in class, I handed in my assignment. This is when I first understood it was supposed to be a group assignment in class. I got a mini-lecture on isolationist tendencies. Pffft. I'd already failed the assignment and it hadn't even begun.

The counselor read my story, asked if she could make copies, and when we finished our group assignment, asked another person to read the story out loud.

Most of this story is pure fiction. Some of it is true. You guess which is which.

I just came across the document of the story today and thought I'd share it with you all.

Sketch of MorganFreeman provided by the group counselor. Attribution unknown.
Sketch of trees (with faces on them?) provided by group counselor. Attribution unknown.Survival!


Man versus nature

His heart racing Morgan quickly checked himself for injuries as he was yanked across the ground by . . . something. A large something.

  • Ankle - sprained.

  • Knee - dislocated.

  • Side and back - lacerated.

  • Head - possibly fractured, probably concussed.

“Yeah,” Morgan thought. “I have a concussion. I tripped over that root, fell, and hit my head.”

It was the only thing that could explain his sensation of being yanked across fifty feet of uneven ground and lifted into the air by his foot.

“Concussion. Has to be.”

Morgan thought back to the week before. His agent had called him with an unusual proposition. It was another nature show. This one, though, was to be on location by a remote lake in the Nebraska wilderness.

Scientists had discovered a new sweetwater dolphin in the Pine Ridge section of the Nebraska National Forrest. NatGeo wanted to make a special and they wanted the dulcet voice of Morgan Freeman as narrator. After some back and forth, Morgan had agreed. His agent sent over the script and Morgan packed a bag.

Morgan had arrived on location at the lake a little early to get a feel for the place. The producer was already there with the set dressers. Morgan wondered aloud why nature needed dressing. The crew nodded in agreement as the producer instructed them to hang a swing from the tree. Nobody seemed to know what the swing was for. However, hang it they did.

Morgan was directed to walk toward the lake, talking about the new sweetwater flesh-eating dolphin. He looked down at the script. He waved over the production assistant.

“There’s a mistake here,” Morgan said looking down at the script. “It says flesh-eating. Dolphins aren’t flesh eaters.”

“It’s a new kind of dolphin.”

“Yes, but flesh-eating? What kind of flesh? Whose flesh? Are you sure it shouldn’t say fish-eating dolphin?”

“I’m not sure,” said the PA.

“I’m not saying 'flesh-eating dolphin.' My daddy might have been a lowly barber back in Mississippi but my momma was a teacher and neither of them raised a fool. I just won’t say it.”

The rest of the crew arrived along with craft services. It was getting crowded around the lake in the remote Nebraska wilderness. It looked like the entire make-up and costume department was there. They came with trailers and trucks. They brought their gas-guzzling machines and their metal motor homes. What was the generator for? The lights, maybe? Oh. It was for the espresso machine.

Morgan was beginning to feel uncomfortable. Too many people always ramped up his anxiety. His doctor had tried to prescribe medications. He didn’t want medication. He preferred to learn emotional regulation. He was already well into leaving behind any maladaptive coping mechanisms he had developed as a teenager.

The camera crew was set up. They had offered him a mobile teleprompter, but he had already memorized the script (he absolutely refused to say flesh-eating). There was hustle and bustle everywhere. The director shouted for silence on the set and the cameras started rolling.

Morgan Freeman took three steps before everything went crazy. He hadn’t even gotten the chance to not say flesh-eating. Something, a large something, had grabbed him by the foot, pulled him off his feet and yanked him, bumping and scraping across the ground to . . . to, well he didn’t know to where.

He couldn’t believe he could feel the goosebumps breaking out all over his body under the scrapes and bruises but, he did. His breathing became shallow as he felt the top of his head graze the leaves under the tree. Between the pain in his joints, the bruises, lacerations, and joint pain, not to mention his probable concussion our favorite deep-voiced narrator could only sip the air and squeak.

The something, the very large something was actually lifting him into the air by his foot. Change and chapstick fell out of his pants pockets while his reading glasses fell out of his blazer pockets and his mind tried to fall out of his brain. At least, that’s how it felt.

Bark colored eyes stared deeply into his own.

“Betrayer!” a voice that sounded like dry leaves said.

“I I say, Betrayer! Not after you you you promised. You you say you take care of nature. You you put squeaky fish in lake. You you say keep parasites away. You you promise I I safe here.”

Morgan tried to shake his head. He thought better of it as he remembered his concussion. Right? He was absolutely concussed. Had to be. Nothing was making sense. A tree appeared to be talking to him while he hung upside down with a sprained ankle, dislocated knee, and definitely a concussion.

What was the tree saying? He hadn’t made any promises. He hadn’t betrayed anyone! He was a good guy. Everybody knew it. Even the hashtag me too movement had left him alone and they went after everybody! Even good ole Charlie Rose.

“I’m not sure what is going on, uh, sir,” squeaked Morgan. He cleared his throat and tried again, “Who betrayed you?”

Those eyes were still glaring at him. The wind sighed through the leaves. The branches shook and shuddered, dropping bits of bark and moss.

“Betrayer,” moaned the tree. He (she?) sounded sad.

“I saved you from over water. Not enough water not good. Too much water not good. You you too much water. I I save you. Pull you out. You you promise. Keep parasites away. Now you bring them. I I old. I I sick. I I dying. Squeaky fish hungry. Parasites make I I sicker. You you. Betrayer.”

With a huff and one final shudder, the tree dropped Morgan to the ground and became still. Morgan had landed badly (add torn rotator cuff to the list) and took some time standing up. The world seemed to tilt for a moment. He started to call out to the crew but there wasn’t anyone there. Not the director. Not the producer. Not the crew or the costume and makeup people.

Gone. They were all just gone. He, alone, had survived.

In the distance over the lake, he heard squeaky fish laughter.

It was a flesh-eating dolphin after all.

The End

Images: I do not know where the counselor got the images, but I'm sure they were from the internet. If you recognize them and can give proper credit, do let me know in the comments.

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2 years ago


So you were asked to do a group assignment but you misunderstood and did it by yourself alone. But I really enjoyed reading the story you shared.It was fun reading.

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2 years ago

I also had to do the group assignment in class the next day. I just did extra work at home. Lol

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2 years ago

I could feel the sadness of the tree. This is an interesting story to read. It made me feel emotions I'd normally not feel in reading fantasy stories. It has some sense of reality in it.

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2 years ago

Thanks, Michelle. I had this whole back story for the tree. It recognized humans as all one being. I could probably expand this into a full short story.

I might need to change the character of Morgan Freeman.

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2 years ago

I'd love to read the full short story. ♥️

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2 years ago

Very interesting group dynamics, and your very original fictional story.

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2 years ago

It was interesting!

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2 years ago

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2 years ago

Hey, please don't spam my comments section.

Unless you read and tip the article. A lot.

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2 years ago

A great reminder to take care and put more attention on mental health. Thank you for this sis

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2 years ago


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2 years ago