Choose Your Own Adventure: INTERN EDITIONIt's fitting that this is my last topical blog entry for this particular blog, because it may be — and I'm as modest as they come — THE MOST AMBITIOUS BLOG ENTRY EVER. In fact, it is.* It's long, it's elaborate, and I can only credit my supervisor, Julie, for implanting the idea in my head. And also my countless hours of not doing anything more meaningful with my time. Though I had trouble keeping myself from rushing it, I'm pretty proud of this one. So enjoy it. Or don't. Either way, I still love you.
Choose Your Own Adventure books were once very popular. For those unfamiliar, Choose Your Own Adventure books present you with a story by which, more often than not, you play the main character, and ever so often you are forced to choose the direction of the story. And various outcomes and events result depending on your choices.
My older brother, God rest his soul — I'm just kidding, he's very much alive. Little brother-to-brother humor there. Just kidding, big brother. Anyway, my formerly deceased brother owned quite a few Choose Your Own Adventure books, and the genre was sort of on the way out by the time I learned to read. People say 20 is a late age to learn to read, but I not agree. 20 provides a nice comfort zone. It's not too young like, say, a fetus, but not too old like, say, a much older fetus — we're talking a 30 or 40 year old fetus.
But they were a popular draw for children (and one sad 20 year old), and I thought it would be nice (as well as challenging) to create an intern version of Choose Your Own Adventure. Again, it might be long but I think it's broken up enou — oh, for crying out loud, just read it! Reading doesn't hurt you. It's good for you. So, without further delay...
CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE:
I AM AN INTERN
You are an intern.
Your workplace depends on you to
perform the menial tasks no one else
wants to perform.
Will you get all your work done, make
the right decisions, and survive the day?
You gently rustle in your sleep. Slowly, you awaken to another beautiful day in the city. What city? Why, it's New York City. You came here to intern. Remember the internship? The one that requires you show up in the next fifteen minutes? "Oh, shit!" you yell, throwing the covers to the floor and bounding out of bed.
It seems like I'm going to be late no matter what, you think. So, should I show up late, or just call in sick?
If you want to dress and get ready for work, even though you're going to show up late, go to the section marked A. If you want to call in and tell your supervisor you're sick, go to the section marked B.
You quickly throw on some pants and a shirt, even though it smells rotten. As long as I get there relatively quick, you think, everything should be fine. Thank goodness for you the subway was running on time that day and you arrived only twenty minutes late. It could have been much worse.
You enter your building through the revolving doors. As you approach the elevator, you're not paying attention and bump hard into another person who seems to be in quite a hurry. You hold on tight to your bag, but the stranger's things are scattered all over the lobby. "Dammit," the man says under his breath. "Sorry," you say. You graciously help the man gather his items, but he doesn't seem thankful. He hardly looks at you and he's sweating profusely, wildly searching for every last item. A security guard walks over to help, but this makes the stranger gather his things even quicker. And before the guard can help, the stranger has already rushed toward the revolving doors. Odd, you think.
You continue towards the elevator doors. Suddenly, you spot something on the ground. It's off behind one of the planters in the lobby. You casually check to see what it is. Gee-wiz! It's a diamond necklace! This must be worth a gazillion dollars!, you exclaim in your head.
Maybe I should turn it into the security guard. Or maybe I should keep it. After all, they don't pay me anything to work here. I should get something out of this, right?
If you want to turn the diamond necklace into the security guard, go to the section marked C. If you want to keep the diamond necklace for yourself, go to the section marked D.
You reach for your cell phone and dial the number of your workplace. "I'm not feeling very well," you say, throwing a random cough in the conversation here and there. Your supervisor tells you to get well and that she'll see you tomorrow. You end the call with a clear conscience. "Everything turned out fine," you say to yourself.
Fifty blocks away, your supervisor hangs her phone up, rises from her desk, and goes to the wall in her office. On the wall is a board labeled, "World's Coolest Interns." Your name is at the top. But not any more. With a disappointed grimace, she sighs and removes your name from the top slot. You're lowered significantly, placed above the intern who kept inappropriately touching people, but below the intern who came to work once on ecstasy.**
I can't keep this, you say to yourself. You nod in agreement with your Christian upbringing. It's the right thing to do.
You walk to the guard station and holding the diamond necklace out to display to them, you say to the guards, "Here, I found this lying on the floor over there behind that planter."
"Oh, thank you so much," says one of the guards. "We'll notify management." The guard picks up the phone and dials management. He tells one of the executives that he found a diamond necklace in the lobby. The executive is apparently ecstatic because you can hear his voice from where you're standing. He tells the security guard that he'll be getting a raise for this, and that from now on the sky is the limit. "You've got a fine future ahead of you," the executive says before hanging up.
The security guard gives you a condescending look with a subtle grin. What an asshole, you think, once again walking to the elevators. But, at least you'll be going to heaven, and he'll roast nicely in eternal hellfire. You take solace in that as the elevator doors close.
Yes, why shouldn't you keep it? Eternal hellfire can't be that long. Looking around, you place the diamond necklace inside your messenger bag and go upstairs to your workstation.
After you sit down you see one of the other interns — your arch nemesis, to be exact. Evil Intern. He looks at his watch, alluding to your tardiness, and throws you a evil smirk. God, I hate him so much, you think. "Well, it's nearly lunch time, and I've been here for hours, so I think I'll grab a bite." He gets up and leaves for the elevator.
If only murder was legal, you think watching him the whole way down the hall. You go back to your work and try to think of a way to smooth things over with your supervisor. Suddenly, Evil Intern's bag drops off of the chair in his workstation and into the aisle.
Hmm, you think. But should you? No, you couldn't! Could you?
If you want to simply pick the evil intern's bag up and put it back on his chair as if nothing happened, go to the section marked E. If you want to plant the diamond necklace in the evil intern's bag, go to the section marked F.
You don't plant the diamond necklace in Evil Intern's bag. You choose to just pick the bag up and place it back on the chair. Evil Intern goes on to become the President of the United States. And all because you didn't dishonestly ruin his reputation. Enjoy your life of goodwill. Loser.
You quietly grab the bag and transfer the diamond necklace from your bag to Evil Intern's bag. Then, calling your supervisor over to the scene for something completely unrelated, you "accidentally" knock over Evil Intern's bag. The diamond necklace falls out.
Your supervisor has a look of shock on her face. "What the hell is going on?" she yells. "We've had a series of jewel thefts in the past few days — this intern is responsible? Well, he'll feel my fiery sword, that's for sure!"
You try to look as shocked as she is and even throw in a few meaningful quips. "He seemed like such a nice guy," you say. "You think you know someone, and then... this." Your supervisor nods in agreement. "So true," she says.
Well, by comparison, your work is looking excellent, and your supervisor wants to take you to lunch. This is your big chance to make a good impression. You both grab your coats and head out to a nice restaurant down the street. The time comes to order. What you order could have a lasting effect on your professional relationship.
If you decide to order veal, go to the section marked G. If you decide to play it safe and just get a salad, go to the section marked H. If the pressure is too much and you can't make up your mind, go to the section marked I.
You order the veal. But you don't know that your supervisor is a staunch animal rights activist. She slaps you, throws a glass of water in your face, and storms out of the restaurant. "Butcher!" she yells from the doors. Clearly, you've been fired.
You play it safe and order a salad. But you don't know that your supervisor is a staunch salad rights activist. She slaps you, throws a glass of water in your face, and storms out of the restaurant. "Butcher!" she yells from the doors. Clearly, you've been fired.
You can't make up your mind. This lunch may be the chance of a lifetime to make a good impression. You're sweating all over. The pressure to choose wisely becomes too much for you to handle. You have a major panic attack and frantically stumble out of the restaurant.
You don't know where you're going, but you don't care. You just need to get as far away as possible. You clumsily run down a busy New York City street. Too many people. You feel a second panic attack coming and quickly to a deserted alley. The air is cool and stinky, but you're alone, and, finding a comfortable spot against a brick wall, you begin to relax.
Suddenly, you hear a loud bang from an open door in the alley. It's not a sound you've heard before.
If you decide to ignore the loud bang and remain where you are and relax, go to the section marked J. If you decide to ignore the loud bang and try to go back to the restaurant, go to the section marked K. If you decide to go find out what caused the loud bang, go to the section marked L.
You decide to ignore the loud bang. Furthermore, you ignore everything completely. You let all the muscles in your body relax and you sigh deeply as you tune out the rest of the world. This is nice, you think, falling into a pleasant sleep right there in the alley.
You wake up. It's night time. You're in tremendous pain, but you don't know why. Rising to your feet is very painful. The side of your shirt seems to be wet. Oh, Jesus! It's blood! What happened? Running your hands over every inch of your midsection, you come across some stitches. Oh goodness. Your down-to-earth, Midwestern mother was right. This is exactly what she said would happen if you fell asleep in an alley. Someone stole your kidneys.
You ignore the loud bang and decide to go back to the restaurant and attempt to explain your little outburst to your supervisor. But you don't see her. She must have gone back to the office. You've lost your chance. Sitting in the booth, you place your head in your hands and you cry openly. "Little girl" openly. As you reach for the napkin holder to dry your tears, you lock eyes with your supervisor. She's sitting in the next booth over. She quietly removes herself from the booth and, as inconspicuously as possible, rushes out of the restaurant.
You get up and carefully walk over to the door. You feel as if someone is following you, but there doesn’t seem to be anyone in view, so you ignore the feeling. There’s just a curtain hanging down from the top, no physical door. You pull the curtain aside and step in. It’s dark and you can’t see anything. The wall feels like riveted metal. What’s this? Feels like a light switch. You flip it on. A long descending corridor appears. Looks like it goes pretty deep under ground.
You follow it along until you reach an elaborately designed metallic door. Again, you turn around, thinking you hear someone behind you, but no one seems to be there. The door looks futuristic — I’ll bet this thing could withstand a bomb blast, you think. To your right is a keypad and above it there are five small digit spaces. Must be a five digit code to unlock this giant door.
“I should probably go back,” you mutter under your breath. Still, it can’t hurt to try, right? “I’ll try three times to open it and then if that doesn’t work, I’ll give up and go home.” But which three button combinations will you try?
If you want to enter “32183,” your birthday, go to the section marked M. If you want to enter “01110,” the first five digits in the Binary language encoding of the word “poop,” go to the section marked N. If you want to enter the first five numbers off the top of your head, go to the section marked O.
You enter “32183,” the date of your birth, just for fun. “That is the incorrect passcode,” says a feminine computer voice. Suddenly, a tiny panel of the wall opens up to your right. A small laser emerges and waits only a moment before severing your hand from your body. You cry out in pain, but no one will hear you so far under ground. You run frantically away from the secured door. You come again into the alley. You’re thankful to be alive. You have a new lease on life. Now it’s time to go back to the restaurant and show your supervisor that you’re the best intern out there. You should seek medical attention, but you’re far too driven. Who cares if the wound becomes infected? It’ll be the most successful infected wound on the job market.
You reenter the restaurant, keeping your severed hand in your pocket so as not to freak out your supervisor. You apologize for the outburst you had had earlier and tell her it was probably because of something you ate for breakfast.
“It’s not a problem,” she says. “Why don’t we forget lunch and just talk.” JOY!, you think. “I wanted to ask you if you were interested in joining our company softball team. You seem athletic, and we really need someone who can swing the bat.”
You stare deep into her eyes, as if she’s just told you that she shot your best friend. And then used your best friend’s severed arms to beat your favorite dog to death.
You jump out of the booth and run out of the restaurant once again, screaming to high heaven.
You decide to enter “01110,” the first five digits in the Binary language encoding of the word “poop.” You can’t help but giggle as you press the keys. Just as you suspected; it doesn’t work. Nothing happens. “Very funny,” says the feminine computer voice.
It was pretty damn funny. **
Go to the section marked O.
You decide to enter in the first five digits that come into your head. Okay, you think. How about 1... 2... 3... 4... and 6 — no wait, 5. Yeah, “12345.” You take a breath and then enter the combination into the keypad. You hear two beeps followed by a metallic thud. “Passcode correct. Lock disengaged,” says the soft, feminine computer voice.
Incredible. What are the chances? It’s almost as if you existed within a story and the author was simply using inexplicable luck to move the plot forward.
The door is fairly heavy and to avoid drawing any unwanted attention to yourself, you don’t shut it and instead leave it open just a crack. You appear to be in some sort of laboratory or warehouse. There are large crates stacked all over. You quietly come to an opening and see a long boardroom type table with chairs all around it.
To the right you see a giant computer screen and a map of the globe. You can’t really tell what’s going on, but your curiosity has gotten the best of you. You move closer. Coming into the clearing, an entire other area of the complex appears to the left. The place appears to be deserted.
Then, you see it. What is that? Within a large clear chamber, bolted down to an upright steel slab, is some kind of creature. It looks humanoid, but it clearly isn't human. It has two massive horns attached at its temples. There's a bloody wound at its side; that's probably what that loud bang was. A gun perhaps. They must have shot it, whatever it is. It looks like some kind of... some kind of —
" — What the hell is that?!" shouts someone from behind you. You turn to see someone you hoped never to see again. It's none other than your arch nemesis, Evil Intern.
"What the hell are you doing here?" you bark. "Are you following me? Weren't you fired?"
"Yeah," he says. "But I have this strange feeling that you had something to do with that?"
"Don't look at me, jewel thief," you reply. You switch your attention back to the creature. Evil Intern walks to your side to examine it with you. "I think it's being held captive," you say. "Why else would they shoot it?" Evil Intern remains silent.
Suddenly the creature awakens with a weak growl. "RRRRelease me," it says is a hard gritty demon voice. "I mean no harm to anyone. I only wish to return to my home." The creature winces in pain from the bullet wound. "RRRRelease me. If you release me, I will reward you with riches beyond your wildest dreams." It looks very weak now, and it once again goes unconscious.
If you decide not to open the chamber, go to the section marked P. If you decide to open the chamber and free the creature, go to the section marked Q.
You decide not to open the chamber. You convince Evil Intern to let it go and you both exit the complex, never speaking of it again. Except on your resume. What? The demon creature is a viable reference. ... What?
You decide to open the chamber. It hisses and steam shoots out the sides. The creature awakes to the sound and slowly emerges. You and Evil Intern take a few steps back unconsciously. "Thank you," says the demon creature. It wants to bring whoever freed him back to its lair to reward that person for what they've done. You don't really like the sound of "lair."
But it doesn’t matter, because Evil Intern has already taken credit. Evil Intern is too keen on traveling to the demon's lair, but he's so annoyingly proactive, he'll become friends with a demon if it means advancement.
The demon is about to take Evil Intern down to his lair, when he pauses and looks at you. He grins. "Are you sure you weren't the one who freed me?" It's almost like he knew. But what do you tell him?
If you want to tell the demon it WAS Evil Intern who freed him, go to the section marked R. If you want to tell the demon that it was in fact YOU who freed him, go to the section marked S. If you want to tell the demon that NEITHER of you actually freed him, go to the section marked T.
You decide to tell the demon creature that it WAS Evil Intern who freed him. "Very well," says the demon. With a boom, he opens up a fiery prtal and dives in. You can hear Evil Intern's screams of horror.
Finally, things are looking up.
Just then, a hand grabs your shoulder. "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE???" It's a man in a lab coat; a scientist, you assume. He looks absolutely panicked. You now see that there are a group of men surrounding you. Some look like scientists, some look like business men. They grab you and force you in a seat.
"Do you realize what you've done?" says one scientist. You look at him innocently. "You've released a demon back into the world! The end of the world is now going to come thanks to you!"
"I don't understand," you say. "Who are you people?"
"We're representatives from every nation on Earth," says one man, dressed in a black suit. "That demon was holding information that is key to Lucifer's success in world domination! And now Lucifer will get that information!"
"I still don't understand."
"You don't need to understand!" yelled one man. "The demon must be stopped, and you must be the one to stop him. You're responsible. You need to slay the demon before he reaches Lucifer!"
"I can't slay that thing," you say.
"You can with this," says an old priest, carrying a large sword. He slowly walks to the front. "This is the sword of St. Michael, the archangel, used to guard the gates of Eden. We discovered this ten years ago. When we recently had it carbon dated, it turned out to be older than... well, anything. Older than the universe itself. The markings, the style; this is the sword of St. Michael. We're not talking stories of the Bible here — he really existed. You're going to take this sword. You're going down to hell, and you're going to find that demon before he reaches Lucifer."
The old priest kneels before you and holds out the sword. "Will you, or will you not accept this quest?"
To refuse St. Michael's sword, go to the section marked U. To accept the sword of St. Michael, go to the section marked V.
You decide to tell the demon creature that it was you who freed him. He smiles devilishly and tosses Evil Intern aside. He grabs you and you shoot down a portal to Hell. There, he tortures you and steals your soul. You are to die slowly and painfully, but first you ask the demon for one last request. He allows for one request, at which point, you, on the brink of death, say to him, “My supervisor will throw a fit when I don’t come in on Friday... please deliver the appropriate message for me.”
You tell him that neither of you actually freed him. The demon becomes enraged by the utter dishonesty. “I’ve never been so insulted in my whole life! Your were going to reap rewards which you did not deserve?? OUTLANDISH!”
Instantly, you’re both killed in fiery flames from Hell. “I try SO hard sometimes,” says the demon, fighting back tears. “And what does it ever get me? Used and abused, that’s what! This world is SO getting damned!” He sniffles and then descends slowly into Hell.
You refuse St. Michael’s sword and run out of the underground complex knowing full well that you have brought about the end of the world. It’s just too much pressure. What can one little intern do? Oh well. Anyway, there will be very little time left.
Maybe I can still somehow impress my supervisor before this all goes down, you think, running back to the restaurant.
You accept St. Michael’s sword — the sword he used to guard the Gates of Eden — and you accept responsibility for your actions. You need to travel down to Hell and smite the demon before he reaches Lucifer. Holding the archangel's sword in your hand gives you a strength you've never felt before, like the power of God is flowing through you.
A second priest emerges from the back of the group and presents to you an amulet. "This will allow you to travel back and forth between this plane of existence and Hell." You take the amulet and place it around your neck, still not entirely sure about any of this. The two priests back away cautiously.
With a bright explosion of light, you arrive in the Unholy Land, Hell. Immediately, the smell of death is making you want to vomit. The air is filled with ash and you find it difficult to breathe. But your mission is clear and you press on. You come to a long bridge overlooking a vast lake of blood and fire. Then, something you don't expect. There is the demon creature you're looking for. On the bridge. He's waiting for you. He sensed you were coming, and he is too proud to run away from you. His pride may be his undoing.
You walk out to meet him. He pulls a flaming sword from its sheeth. It's somehow dark and blazing at the same time. Truly hellish. With attitude, you remove the archangel's sword from its sheeth. The glare momentarily blinds you. The creature grunts in pain.
Within seconds, he lunges for you, but you block his attacks. Left. Right. From above. Left again. He's trying to over power you, but you're quick. You don't know where the strength is coming from, but you feel it with every swing of your blade. The creature starts to become frustrated. Clank! Crack! Shwing! CLANK! He becomes sloppy and clumsy. You push him back toward the end of the bridge. He's confused now. You're power is too much for him. Just a few more moves. You throw him off balance and sever his sword hand in one clean swipe. His sword falls to the ground with a loud clatter.
He's crying out in pain now. You hold the tip of the blade underneath his chin. Now what?
If you want to spare the demon's life, go to the section marked W. If you want to finish him off, go to the sction marked X.
You decide to spare the demon’s life. You’re Christian upbringing — turn the other cheek — has served you well. But you warn him to forget the vital information in his brain and that you’ll be back if he makes any more trouble. As you turn to leave, he leaps up and grabs his sword, stabbing you square in the back. It’s very painful. You’re Christian upbringing has totally screwed you over.
You place your boot on the creature's throat. So pitiful, you think. With a bright flash of holy light, you bring the sword down hard, beheading the beast.
You stand for a minute, breathing heavily, studying the surroundings. Hell, huh?, you think. But there's no time to look, because a bright flash brings you instantly back to the lab you were started. The group of secretive men thanks you for your work. They take the sword and amulet away and push you out the door with little more said. As you walk out, a younger priest says, "You should know, several days have passed since you left. It seemed instant in that world, but time works differently here."
Oh no, you think. Can I still make it to work today? Will I be fined or suspended?
If you decide not to go to work today, go to the section marked Y. If you decide to go to work today, go to the section marked Z.
You've decided not to go to work, and that, after fighting the Devil's minion, you have a new lease on life. You don't need an internship. Everything is now in perspective. The world seems brighter. Food tastes better. You stopped the end of the world. Take a few days off. But stop walking like a sissy. You beat Satan. Walk like you just beat Satan. No, that's not it either. Forget it. Let's go home, intern... let's go home....
You decide you can still make it into work today. They'll be pretty impressed that you fought a demon and saved the world from Satan. You're walking a little taller now and people seem to notice. "Hey, you, can you copy this for me? Thanks." Ah, what a past couple days it's been. Now, get to work.
* Yes, it is.
** A real person.
*** The word “poop” in Binary is “01110000011011110110111101110000.” The scary thing? Some of you didn’t need to be told.