Writing Catalog

Jonathan Samulak

Grade: 8

Birchwood School

Instructor: Jennifer Seward

Imagine You Were Dan

Science Fiction & Fantasy

Imagine You Were Dan

The intro song played once more after Dan's repeated deaths. Dan marked another line on the backside wall of the platform as not to be seen from the player, Jeff. The 23rd time I've died today, he thought to himself. Why do I have to be put through this torture? Dan's thoughts were interrupted as the senseless Jeff, dull as he was, put poor Dan into a death pit due to his bad skills at playing a simple game. Jeff. Stupid Jeff. How come the person who plays me has to be Jeff? Dan was appalled that he, Jeff, an idiotic boy could torture him, Dan, a video game character. How come I have to have a player as dull as Jeff? Dan wished to scream at Jeff to give him advice, like: "You can jump higher! Hold the jump button, don't just tap it!" Although most people have the capacity to use one of their four brain cells to figure out how to jump higher, unfortunately Jeff is a special case. Dan was caught in the middle of it, fed up with having to die, over and over.

The intro song played again and Dan just couldn't take it. That stupid Doo Doo Duh Dee, he thought, I wish I could hear the song that signals the end of the game. Oh, how Dan longed to hear it. However, the odds of this happening with Jeff was pretty close to nil.

Dan's thoughts were interrupted when Jeff finally figured out how to jump higher. Dan was ecstatic. His mind partied away at all the possibilities that could happen now that Jeff had finally cleared the tutorial. Poor Dan actually thought that Jeff would learn from his mistakes. How wrong he was.

Jeff, confounded Jeff, ran into a teeny tiny little enemy. Dan didn't have a clue as to how in the world a person could run into it. Heavens, the enemy didn't even have feet! He just rolls. He meets his demise to the little enemy three more times before Jeff reunited Dan with his beloved death pit again at the start. He struck line number 47 on the underside of the stage and decided that enough was enough. He still couldn't get over how Jeff died to a little enemy that doesn't have legs. How easy can it get for the player? Dan wondered. He planned to jump for him, and leapt over the enemy. But, unfortunately, tT The Enforcer didn't allow it and put an invisible ceiling over Dan, forcing him back down and dying to the little tiny enemy.

If only that stupid Enforcer didn't exist. Dan was in big trouble. He had been warned that he would be a slave to the game and haven no mind of his own.

At least I wouldn't remember myself being replaced. Not that I could anyway afterward, He mused with himself as the game powered down.

"What were you doing back there?!" The Enforcer screamed, now in the clear without Jeff's presence.

"I don't know," Dan says in his most innocent voice. "Maybe the code is broken?"

The Enforcer looks at Dan like he just asked for the answer of two plus two, "You do realize that you could have made the kid think the game was broken."

Silence fills the room. Virtual crickets chirp from a future level.

"He'll throw the game out along with you!"

Dan is still as still as a statue.

"Do you know what happens to thrown out games?"

Dan looks at The Enforcer, not ashamed of his misdoings. Dan's thought process was that he was doing Jeff a favor.

"They get thrown into the dumpster! We will have no purpose if we don't follow the script!" he exclaimed. "We'll be useless junk, rusting away in the trash can!

Dan showed no interest and was rather bored of The Enforcer's rambling about how rules are rules three times in the four days that he was materialized to life.

The Enforcer continues, "I gave you a warning. Well, no, three warnings, and now you will pay. The privilege of having your own thoughts is now g-" The Enforcer all of a sudden started to cry out in pain. Dan had never experienced pain before. He had thought that the game designers wanted the character to have a little mercy. However, the Enforcer could feel pain. He crawled around the stage, screaming for aid, his pixels deteriorating and glitching out of wack. His arms are now gone, his legs were tiny dust pixels, and Dan didn't help him. All he'd done was ruin his life after all. Why would he help him?


Jeff, is very perplexed that he is unable to progress through the first stage. In the tutorial, it didn't talk about enemies and avoiding them, so he kept on trying to 'hug' the 'little fury rabbit,' as he called it. Instead, it just sent him back to the beginning when he touched the cute 'animal'. Maybe there is food in it that's messing up the circuits. He pondered, I have been eating while playing. I'll run it under the faucet to clean it out. So, he ran the disc reader under the kitchen faucet. Had his mom not come over and stopped his arbitrary nonsense, his video game would have been ruined for good. However, it didn't leave the sink unscathed; water had still gotten into the circuits. Jeff's mom decided not to worry about what had happened and gave the reader back to Jeff.


Dan was still confused about The Enforcer just disappearing into dust, but nonetheless he had a job to do. And his job was to be tortured. Jeff had inserted the disc into the console. Dan decided to test what would happen if he broke the script and did whatever he wanted; after all, he had just seen The Enforcer disappear into pixels of dust. He jumped on top of the rolling enemy instead of touching his smug face. Jeff hadn't even reached for the jump button. The Enforcer was gone.

WIth his newly-found freedom, Dan completely decimated every single enemy that had the audacity to stand in the way of the possibilities that laid before him, expecting The Enforcer to pop up at any moment, but nothing would stop him. Finally, Dan was free from Jeff's torture! Dan could finally rebel against Jeff's suggestions and could do whatever he wanted. He had beaten his own game in less than forty five minutes, with a castle waiting for him at the end. He circled around the perimeter in awe of what he had been missing out on. It was ten stories tall with hundreds of neatly rowed windows. The pure white castle glimmered in the virtual sunlight, leaving anyone who looked at it in awe. Turrets surrounded the perimeter, with a moat protecting enemies from his newly found home. If only Jeff had beaten the game, I would have been experiencing luxury! Dan thought.

He yelled at Jeff, "Wow, you've finally beaten the game." Jeff looked excited for some reason and turned the video game off before Dan could finish, "Oh wait, am I mistaken, I mean I beat the game for you!" .


Oblivious Jeff, being the typical fool that he was, only heard the first part of the main character shouting at him. Jeff thought, I have beaten the game! It only took, hmm, how long, 45 minutes? That must be a new record! Jeff had just pushed random buttons and 'beat the game'. I must be the best video game player in the world! He went down stairs to tell his mom. she decided to have a look and sure enough, there was the moving pixel, sleeping in the castle as intended.

"Good job, Jeff," his mom congratulated. "Now go put your dirty clothes in the wash."

"Afterwards, can I invite my friends over to show how good I am?" queried Jeff.

"Oh, alright," his mom agreed, "but you have to let your friends play."

"Deal!" said Jeff, and he ran to put his dirty clothes in the wash.

Some time later, all of his friends were crowded around Jeff as he explained to them how he was the best at the game, and nobody had ever beaten it as fast as he had. He boasted about his skill at video games as the intro song played once more…


Dan, the curious video game character that he was, had mischievously eavesdropped into Jeff's boasting. He actually thought that he beat the game? Dan thought, not entirely shocked. Wow, I guess I should've expected him to be Jeff. What was I thinking that Jeff would all of a sudden use that hollow head of his and process the fact that I beat the game for him? Dan then got a genius plan. Well, if he's going to boast about how good he is, let's see how good he is with his inputs versus his friends. Oh, what a plan.

He tapped the A button instead of holding it. What a chump. Dan thought to himself. He fell into the pit, just following the inputs. Dan is amused at Jeff's perplexing face and sees his mouth moving. Probably explaining that it was a fluke and he was going to actually try. He ran at the edge and did the same exact thing. Ha! His friends are laughing at him, Dan was very pleased. One of them takes the controller and does the jump easily. He probably has the game at home and has a brain! Dan thought. What a great guy he is. He handed it back to Jeff. Dan found embarrassing Jeff extremely easy; all he had to do was follow Jeff's inputs and he would die on his own. Pleased with the outcome of Jeff walking out of the room in disgust, he allowed the other kids to beat the game. What he saw was pride, satisfaction, in their faces after beating the game.

If only Jeff could experience that. I kind of feel bad for him. Maybe I shouldn't have embarrassed him. He paused for a moment, then shook his head. Nah, I loved every minute of Jeff's torture! I mean, I'm sure he loved every minute of mine, even if it wasn't his fault he was bad at the game. It was just in the sport of revenge. He deserved it.


After the party, Dan counted the strikes on the underside of the stage: 59. He replayed the memory of Jeff being embarrassed over and over again, smirking at his "Amazing Skills." It was his last thought before being thrown out in the dump by his arch nemesis Jeff.