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[David Shaw sits patiently outside a grade-school classroom]

TEACHER: Mr. Shaw, we'll be right with you - I'm sorry for the delay, Career Day is running a bit behind. Sonny Dykes was in here earlier, and it's taken a while to clean up the mess.

SHAW: No problem at all, ma'am. Patiently waiting is one of my primary pastimes. It's prudent. It's quiet. It allows for muscle recovery. I'm building mass as we speak.

TEACHER: Oh... kay. Great. As I said, we'll call for you shortly. If you'd like to sit in the teachers' lounge, there's coffee in there.

SHAW: I never lounge. And coffee's too unpredictable a beverage. Could be hot. Could be cold. No, I prefer upright sitting and a nice canteen of room-temperature gypsum milk.

TEACHER: [blank stare]

SHAW: It's a beverage I make myself from crushed drywall.

TEACHER: I'm not paid enough for this.

SHAW: Would you care to try some? It's fresh.

TEACHER: [notices large hole in wall] but... you've been so quiet the whole time

SHAW: [nods, sips from canteen]

TEACHER: I'll come get you in a few minutes. [heads back into classroom]

SHAW: [waits patiently] Mmm. Yes. That's nice.

[he spies a small bookshelf of dog-eared trade paperbacks]

SHAW: Hm. Perhaps I could utilize this time for additional study. Let's see.

[picks up an edition of The Babysitter's Club]

SHAW: I do, as previously mentioned, appreciate firm, upright sitting. But it's no province of babies. I need physical, manly sitting. This won't do. [he eats the book]

[picks up a copy of The Outsiders]

SHAW: We've already played USC, I have no need for further study on them. [he grinds the book into dust]

[picks up a book titled Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Ultimate Peril]

SHAW: Now, this is an appealing concept. I enjoy choosing, houses, and the occasional peril. [he opens the book]

You stand in front an ancient castle. There a tall wooden door. There is a heavy iron door-knocker in the shape of a skull. You notice that, to your left, there is a window to the catacombs underneath, and the bars have been broken wide enough that you could fit through.

To knock on the door, turn to Page 13.

To sneak into the catacomb, turn to Page 22.

SHAW: Well, I think I've positioned myself well, I'm already in front of the castle, there's 80 or so pages left here. I will punt.

That's not an option.

SHAW: [glares at book]

[nervously] okay turn to page 27

Your punt struck a loose stone on the wall of the castle, causing the outer wall to crumble. In the ensuing collapse, both the dragon waiting being the door and the Gorgon in the catacomb were killed. The once-terrified villagers are rejoicing. They wish to name you their new king.

To accept the throne, turn to Page 38.

To leave for in search of treasure, turn to Page 42.

SHAW: Those both sound like fancy trickery. I'm not Leach. Halfback run.

Just turn to page 42, please. I'm a thirty-year-old book.

SHAW: [turns page]

Your run is stopped three yards from where it began, outside the castle gates. As the cloud of dust clears, you unearth an old oaken chest, filled with jewels and coins.

SHAW: This chest is lovely. I dump out the trifling baubles and fill the chest with hand-tools and dried meat.

You didn't even wait for my options. You could've re-buried the jewels for later, or used them to buy a horse for new adv-

SHAW: Oh, I am hungry. I'll buy the horse.


SHAW: [turns to Page 132]

You finish eating the horse and fashion a suit of armor from its bones. The villagers, who moments ago wished to herald you as king, have watched you debone the horse without the aid of utensils. They are now terrified of you, more so than they were of the monsters you previously killed. They have formed a mob with pitchforks and torches.

To run, turn to Page 69.

To fight, turn to Page 73.

SHAW: Well, this seems like a close enough lead. I will call a series of runs and burn clock.

FIREFIGHTER: Excuse me, sir? The school was evacuated hours ago. There's a major gas leak. Have- have you been talking to a book this whole time?

SHAW: That's a fine axe you've got there, young man. I like to see an interest in woodworking and violence. How are your grades? Ever played tight end?