Things are coming together for Can Stuart Henry Zhang Save the World? which will complete the not-so-great choose-your-own-adventure trilogy that Daniel and I started with The Adventures of Whatley Tupper. Soon I’ll have the artwork complete and in not much longer I’m hoping for a pre-release version that will be available for free or at most 99 cents at Amazon. I really can’t see how the final version won’t be ready too far into 2014.
And below is the first section and initial choices. If you see any typos, either ignore them or make a comment below. It’s amazing how errors can slip past me so easily…
Stuart Henry Zhang’s pharmacy was as tranquil as a man on Paxil until someone started rattling the locked front doors. Alarmed (and a little annoyed), he stepped out from his alcove and attempted to peer through the window at the opposite end of his long and narrow store. Someone was pounding on the glass, although at this time of night he couldn’t tell exactly whom. And frankly, Stuart wasn’t in a rush to figure it out. The townsfolk hadn’t always been particularly kind to him in the three years since he’d moved to New Blackpool—especially when drunk, especially at night. Just two blocks down Mainstreet was The Black Lung, the only bar in town, and surely this person was just another inebriated and disreputable citizen who thought that calling a man of Chinese decent “Chop Stuey” was equally witty and gratifying. Stuart shook his head and waved both hands to ward the person away. “The pharmacy is closed!”
The person did not listen, now striking the window with both fists while yelling something unintelligible like an ape. Stuart pulled off his glasses and winced, still unable to make out anything but a frantic silhouette of what he presumed to be a man. “Come back at ten in the morning. Otherwise…” he stopped. He was about to inform this stranger that the Walmart pharmacy was still open but quickly decided against this. The last thing Walmart needed was any more business.
After one last and feeble knock on the door, the ruckus abruptly ended and the Zen-like calm of Stuart’s pharmacy was restored. Surprisingly, his words had worked. He slid his glasses back on and returned to the bottle before him, secure in the knowledge that as a pharmacist, his work was pivotal to livelihood of the community.
A second later a scream shattered this fleeting calm. It was quick and jagged and most definitely a desperate cry. There was then the unmistakable sound of shattering glass and Stuart feared for the worst; someone might have damaged his truck. He questioned why he didn’t have a gun on the premises—sure, he had some powerful narcotics available, easily strong enough to pacify the wildest man, but unless he could jam them down the perpetrators throat (or insert them anally) they would be of little use. He grabbed a carbon-fiber cane from the shelf and marched down the center aisle, past glossy cold remedies and pastel colored allergy medications, and buttoned up his white lab coat before twisting the deadbolt.
He swung the door open. He stepped out into the darkness. Mainstreet was deserted, quiet, and barren. No one was around. Just a few feet away, his jacked-up Ford F-150 pickup truck, as red as a Tylenol eZ tab, was thankfully untouched. He breathed a sigh of relief… until noticing a handprint of blood that streaked across his storefront window.
What should Stuart do?
Should he call the police?
Should he investigate further on his own?