Beetroot & I #11

April 12, 2011

Ever since I was a child, I loved the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ series of books. I loved feeling like I had a hand in what was going on. In fact, I loved them so much that, for a while, I used to imagine that the grown up novels I started reading in my teens were CYOA books too. “I love New York on summer afternoons when everyone’s away. There’s something very sensuous about it – overripe, as if all sorts of funny fruits were going to fall into your hands.” If you’d like Carraway and Gatsby to attend another high society soirée at the Long Island Mansion and deal with their feelings, turn to page 53. If however, you’d like them to blow off the party and instead go undercover on the streets of Hong Kong to find a diplomat’s daughter who has been kidnapped by Triads, turn to page 9. Much better!

Anyway. Having already done serious work on Tainted Milk and its festive follow up, Tainted Nog. I thought that I should conclude the Tainted Trilogy with a CYOA romp featuring John Garrison. It doesn’t work exactly the same online, but I’ll guide you through how it would work.

Page 1…
You are on work experience in Dairy Tales – Ireland’s premier milk, cheese and butter quarterly. You have just arrived at the office and have yet to be assigned your work for the day. The staff seem tense. “What’s going on?” you ask an old photographer. “The editor and John Garrison are having a blow out” he says. You can see through the smoked glass of the editor’s office, a blazing row is in full flow. Having missed breakfast you feel slightly hungry. You look down and see a packet of Jaffa Cakes on the desk beside you. There is also a banana on the other desk. If you want to eat the banana, turn to page 77. If you want to try a Jaffa Cake instead, turn to page 4.

(Let’s play it healthy and turn to Page 77. We might need that potassium later…)

You take the banana and begin to eat it. You suddenly hear a shout. “Hey! That’s my banana!” You turn and see an angry looking secretary. “How dare you eat someone else’s food? What the hell were you thinking? I think its best if you go home now, you’re fired!” Disappointed, and not completely sure why you decided to eat someone else’s food off their desk, you go home and think about what you did.

The End.

(Hmmm… OK, that didn’t work out very well. Perhaps we’ll go for Page 4 afterall…)

You take a Jaffa Cake. It is tasty. You love Jaffa Cakes. Suddenly the Editor’s door swings open and out strides John Garrison. You recognise him from his from his photo above his by-line. He strides up to you. “Hey pip squeak – you’re sitting on my desk.” His face suddenly turns sour. “What’s that in your mouth? Is it one my Jaffa Cakes?” Garrison pulls a large gun from the small holster on his inner thigh and points it square in your face. If you want to come clean and admit that you did indeed eat one of his Jaffa Cakes, turn to page 7. If you want to lie and tell him that it was a Jaffa Cake that you brought yourself from home, turn to page 6.

(He seems mad. Better tell a little fib, I reckon. Page 6 please…)

“No, its one of my Jaffa Cakes. I brought it from home” you say. He looks deeply into your eyes and… smiles. “OK. It’s a good job you didn’t eat one of my Jaffa Cakes, because I would have shot you in the face without a moment’s hesitation. Anyway kid, what’s your name?” You reply by saying… (Say your own name aloud now)… Garrison tells you that that was his Grandmother’s name and that you remind him of her. “Come on kid, I’ve got a government to bring down! You wanna come with me?” If you want to accompany John Garrison on his mission of danger and adventure, turn to page 10. Or, if you’d prefer to stay in the office and do some filing, turn to page 13.

(We’ve only just got here. I can’t justify heading off without at least checking with the Editor. I need a good report for my module. It might not be glamourous, but I think we should do some work. Page 13 please…)

Garrison leaves and speeds off on his exciting sounding motor bike. You sit down, sigh and begin filing subscription applications for the magazine. You ask the secretary if it’s OK if you bring a coffee from the kitchen and drink it at the desk while you file. She says that usually staff aren’t allowed to bring hot beverages to their desks, but that she didn’t mind as long as you don’t let the editor see it. She tells you a long and only intermittently interesting story about the reason behind the rule against brining hot beverages to your desk. It involves a reporter scalding his hand slightly and being unable to type properly for a couple of hours. You nod politely, not really enjoying the story, but all the time knowing that the longer she talks, the less filing you have to do. You think about Garrison’s offer to accompany him and briefly consider whether you had made a mistake in not going, but you soon dismiss this and get back to your filing. Your job is to compile all the new subscription applications from the last month and put them in the correct folder. The folders are broken up into geographical regions, and the applications are ordered alphabetically within each folder. The first application is from a Miriam Gallagher in Douglas, Co. Cork. You put this application in the G section of the Cork folder. The second application is from Daniel Harrington from Longford Town. You put this in the H section of the Longford and West Meath folder. The third application is from Philip O’Reilly from Dublin. You take the Dublin folder in your hand but are unsure whether to put it in the O or the R section. If you want to file Philip O’Reilly’s application under O, turn to page…

(OK this is going nowhere. Let’s go with Garrison afterall. We turn to Page 10)

You hop on the back of Garrison’s exciting looking motor bike and think to yourself “I wonder if it sounds as exciting as it looks.” As he turns the ignition and starts the engine, you realise that it does. Garrison tosses you a helmet. If you want to put on the helmet, turn to page 11. If you don’t want to put on the helmet, stop reading this book, because you’re an idiot. When it comes to motorcycle safety, there is no decision to be made – A healthy life is the biggest adventure of all.

Page 11… You put the helmet on and speed off – safely – into the city. You arrive at the docks. Garrison points out a massive milk tanker that is leaving port. He says that the tanker is full of illegal milk that is being shipped illegally out of the country. “Illegal milk?” you ask, but he dismisses you as if he isn’t quite sure himself what he meant. “We have to stop that ship leaving the port. What should we do?” he asks you. If you want to suggest driving very fast down the pier and using the ramp on the back of car transporting lorry that you’ve noticed parked at the end of the pier to do a flip in the air and land on deck, turn to Page 14. If you want to suggest stealing a motor boat, chasing the ship and using a whale’s back as a ramp, flipping through the air and landing on deck, turn to page 16.

(Page 16 with the boat and the whale sounds insanely good. Let’s go with that one…)

Your plan worked. You land on deck safely and look around. You are immediately surrounded by …

(I have to admit I’m curious to see if the other plan would have worked too? Let’s have a sneaky peak at Page 14…)

Your plan worked. You land on deck safely and look around. You are immediately surrounded by two dozen illegal milk traders. Judging by their posing and vocalisations, it is immediately clear that they are all experts in karate. “What do we do, Garrison?” you ask him. If you want Garrison to suggest surrendering, go to page 18. However, if you want Garrison to suggest fist-fighting to certain death, go to page 19.

(Given that it clearly says “certain death”. I don’t think we have much option here. Page 18 please…)

“I think we should surrender” says Garrison, but winks ever so slightly as he does so. You both raise your hands and tell the Karate men that you surrender. They laugh at your cowardice and momentarily let down their Karate hands. Garrison takes this opportunity to remove the very large gun from the very small holster under his armpit and begins shooting. He kills all the Karate Milkmen. “You did good, kid. Do you want to continue helping me fight crime, file stories quarterly and stem the flow of illegal milk from the east?” Your eyes light up but you soon look sad and disappointed. “I’m sorry John Garrison, I don’t think I can.” “Why the hell not?” he growls. You smile and say “Because I’m lactose intolerant.” Garrison begins laughing heartily and you join in. The two of you laugh all the way back to into port.

The End.

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