Donald Barthelme

In my ongoing attempts to turn each of my creative writing courses into a Donald Barthelme story, I walked into class last Thursday and wrote this on the board:

“This is death.”  The man reaches into his chest pocket, extracts a black balloon, places it to his lips, and begins to blow.  As the latex inflates, a white skull swells and begins to take shape.  “This is death,” the man repeats, tying the end.  “Be back in twenty minutes.”

I then pulled from my chest pocket and inflated seven black balloons printed with white skulls (surplus from Halloween), divided the class into seven groups, gave each group “death,” and sent them out of the classroom with the instructions to be back in twenty minutes.  When they returned, I had them finish the story…

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