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NOTE: From January to March 2001, Zach in Sedona, Ariz., and his Uncle Steven in Beijing, China, wrote this story together via e-mail. Each author contributed a short passage until the tale was completed. This is the result of that exercise. The ellipses between segments denote the author is switching. Some mild editing was applied, but otherwise can you tell who wrote what?

Zach and Steven's Great Adventure

by Zachary David Seigleman, age 11
...and his Uncle Steven, age 28

Once upon a time there were two handsome princes, Zachary and Steven. They lived in a huge castle with lots of toys and computer games and a pretty lady named Julie who made their beds for them and fed them. But one day, the pretty lady got mad and didn't want to clean up after them anymore, so she kicked them out of the castle!

Zachary and Steven didn't really mind. They had lots of yummy rice cakes and water, and they decided to go out into the forest and have an adventure. So they started hiking until they saw a big green . . .

. . . peach. They gasped at the big green peach, wondering how it got so big and so green. Steven had said they should take as many of them as possible to put in their bags so they would have a selection of two different sources of food to eat.

After hours of walking through the woods, with almost no water left, they reached a river that they saw as rainbow-colored. They sat down by the river, pulled out the rice cakes and peaches. Steven started on a rice cake while Zach ate some peach, but the peach was so sour that . . .


. . . Zach did not notice the orange magic worm that crawled out of the peach and landed on the ground. While Zach was spitting his bitter peach into the river, the worm crawled up Steven's leg and bit him on the knee. Steven didn't really notice until he saw wings growing out of his back. Zachary turned around and saw that Steven was flying, and he said he wanted to be able to fly, too. So Steven. . .

. . . said, "The worm that you spit out bit me, and now I have wings and can fly." Zach wondered where the worm had gone. He looked up to see Steven and saw the worm drop. It landed on Zach's face and bit him. But instead of getting wings for flying, he was turned into a giant!

They started on their adventure again. Giant Zach, being so big, was able to walk 1,000 miles without rest. When Flying Steven got tired, Giant Zach would carry him in his hand. After a while, they finally reached some trees. (They hadn't seen any trees for a few days.) All of the sudden, some gigantic bears came out of nowhere and started clawing at Giant Zach and Flying Steven. One hit Flying Steven. Steven got a broken wing and fell to the ground. Then it started to rain
and the bears. . .

. . . ran away soaking wet. Giant Zach walked over to Broken-Wing Steven, who was on the ground with a broken wing. Giant Zach picked Flying Steven up, and said, "I see a cave just up ahead." When they got to the cave, Giant Zach put Broken-Wing Steven in it and said that he would take care of him until he felt better. After a few days, Broken-Wing Steven felt so much better that he could fly again. All of the sudden, they noticed in the cave a whole bunch of. . .

. . . secret doors they did not notice before! They were all different sizes and colors and went in different directions. Giant Zach and Flying Steven didn't know which door to take at first, but then they realized only one door was big enough for Giant Zach. So they opened that one and went inside to find a huge brown room. It looked pretty ugly until Flying Steven realized everything in the room, from the walls to the furniture to the elevator, was made of chocolate! So they. . .

. . . went into the chocolate room and started eating the chocolate from the walls. Giant Zach saw the chocolate elevator, and shoved it into his mouth since he hadn't had a snack that was big enough for him since he was his regular size. He saw a chocolate car that could last him at least two days, So he packed the car in his pocket, and yelled to Flying Steven that they should get going. They opened the chocolate door and saw a chocolate man standing in the way. He had told them that the room of chocolate was his, and that they may keep what ever they took. Zach asked the man what was behind the other doors, and he told him that they were other rooms of food. Giant Zach and Flying Steven decided they weren't hungry anyway, and started to leave the cave when all of the sudden . . .

. . . Giant Zach bumped his head against the ceiling of the cave and rocks started tumbling down! There was this huge noise that Flying Steven didn't hear because he lost his hearing aids in the chocolate room. But Giant Zach saw a boulder about to fall on Flying Steven and pulled him out of the way.

"I saved your life!" Giant Zach said.

"What?" Flying Steven said. "Huh?"

Giant Zach started to repeat himself, but Flying Steven was just kidding. He thanked Giant Zach. But then they realized they were trapped inside the cave and would have to go back through the chocolate room. The chocolate man said it was OK for them to pass through, but since Giant Zach had eaten the elevator, the only thing to do was to go down the Hallway of Marshmallow where they. . .

. . . could transfer to different rooms of the chocolate house. The chocolate man said they could stay with him until they found a way out of the cave. So the chocolate man took Giant Zach and Flying Steven into the house. Giant Zach started to look for Can't-Hear Flying Steven's hearing aids since he started to get annoyed when he said something, and Steven would say, "What?"

Giant Zach found the aids and gave them to Flying Steven. Can-Hear Flying Steven put them in, and said, "Thanks!" to Giant Zach. After a few days, Giant Zach got annoyed at staying in the same room, so he asked the chocolate man if they could explore a little. The chocolate man said it was fine. So Giant Zach and Flying Steven went into the marshmallow hall. After a while they were very far away from the chocolate house when Giant Zach slipped, hit the wall, and discovered a secret door. So they. . .

. . . both went through the door, where they found two Courtneys! Flying Steven and Giant Zach were shocked! Both Courtneys were dancing and giggling. The boys didn't know what to do. Then another voice they didn't recognize boomed from above, "One of these Courtneys is real and the other is an impostor! If you pick the wrong one, the floor will open up and all three of you will be eaten by the Giant Nicholas Monster!" Giant Zach and Flying Steven thought quickly and decided to ask each of the Giggling-Dancing Courtneys a question that only she would know the answer to. The question was. . .

. . . "What is the name of your cat?"  They both answered, "Mikey." Giant Zach and Flying Steven realized this would be harder than they thought. But Flying Steven asked them, "Who is your grandpa?" One of them said "Grandpa Nelly" and the other said "Grandpa Neil." Grandpa Nelly? So they chose the one that said Grandpa Neil. Then the voice said. . .

. . . "OK, take your Giggling-Dancing Courtney and get outta here! She giggles too much anyway!"

Suddenly, a golden dust fell from the ceiling. It landed on the heads of the real Giggling-Dancing Courtney, Giant Zachary and Flying Steven. They all blinked, and when they opened their eyes they were in all in the middle of the street in New York City! Just when they realized where they were, they heard the loud honking of a huge truck coming at them so Giant Zach. . .

. . . turned to the truck sideways, put his arms down and lowered his head. The truck drove up his arm, past his head and down the other arm. Giggling-Dancing Courtney was stunned at what just happened. Giant Zach and Flying Steven asked her if she wanted to come on their journey. Suddenly Shocked Silent Courtney, with her mouth wide open mumbled, "Ooo-ok." Or, at least that's what Giant Zach and Flying Steven thought she said. They couldn't quite understand her.

All the Little People were yelling. . .

. . . and screaming because they'd never seen a giant  boy or a flying man! They were running in every direction. Somebody called the police, and they came out and started chasing Giant Zach and Flying Steven. Suddenly Shocked Silent Courtney grabbed onto the hood of Flying Steven's green shirt (which he always wears!) and went for the ride. Bullets whizzed by, but missed as Giant Zach looked for some place to hide.

Suddenly Sick Courtney was getting very, very nauseous and suddenly she. . .

. . . started to vomit. Giant Zach, Flying Steven and all the Little People said "Yuck!"

It landed on the police cars, making them crash into things. All of the sudden, Suddenly Sick Courtney found the orange worm in Steven's hood. It got in his hood somehow when Giant Zach and Flying Steven weren't looking. It crawled onto Courtney's hand and bit her  -- with no doubt of it because she screamed so loud -- and then she fell off Flying Steven. Flying Steven dove for her and saw her light up. She also started to float. She floated toward Zach, almost as if she was running from the cops. Zach and Steven figured that she had got powers. So Giant Zach and Flying Steven asked her to . . .

. . . tell them what her powers were. She just giggled and glowed and floated. "I don't know," Glowing-Floating Courtney said. "I think I can fly, too, like Uncle Steven." So now, with two flying people, Zachary had an idea.

"Say, if you two pick me up, we can fly away from this place!" So Glowing-Floating Courtney and Flying Steven both took one of Giant Zach's arms and they lifted up into the air. The police scratched their heads and airplanes tried to avoid hitting the weird flying object they saw out their windows. Eventually, Glowing-Floating Courtney and Flying Steven grew tired and Glowing-Floating Courtney let go. Flying Steven couldn't carry Giant Zach all by himself, so Giant Zach started to fall. There was a huge ocean down below and . . .

. . . Giant Zach fell into it. "Help!" he cried. Giant Zach knew how to swim but couldn't because of his size and weight. He was sinking deeper and deeper. The, all of the sudden, he was out of the water! Glowing-Floating Courtney had figured out her powers -- she could make somebody rise just by thinking about it!

But after all that excitement, when they got back together, the trio realized they were now in Pennsylvania. They thought to go visit Aunt Sheryl, Uncle David, Siona, and Arielle -- Daniel wasn't born yet -- while they were there. When they got there . . .

. . . Aunt Sheryl opened the door and started to scream because she was scared of how big Giant Zach was. Uncle David came to the door and said, "Boy, Zachary, you've really grown since we saw you last year!"

Glowing-Floating-Giggling Courtney and Flying Steven were giving Arielle and Siona rides. Everything was nice, until suddenly Zach lost his powers! Zach shrunk and shrunk and shrunk until he was the size of a pea and nobody could find him! He called out, but nobody could hear his voice, especially not Steven. He was standing in the driveway calling out to everybody when suddenly a limousine came rolling up and . . .

. . . almost squished Pea-Sized Zach. Uncle David ran inside and got a magnifying glass. When he came back, he started looking for Pea-Sized Zach. Once he found him, he picked Pea-Sized Zach up and started to whisper to Pea-Sized Zach since he knew that if he spoke regularly it would sound like a sonic boom to Pea-Sized Zach. Everyone went into the house, including Pea-Sized Zach, who was still in Uncle David's hand. When Uncle David tripped over Sammy the Dog and found another . . .

. . . orange worm! Uncle David didn't know what it was for a second, but then it bit him on the nose and suddenly he could see everything! He didn't need the magnifying glass to see Pea-Sized Zachary anymore.

Everybody was so tired from all this commotion that they decided to sit down at the kitchen table for bagels. As they were relaxing, they heard a knock on the front door. Aunt Sheryl peeked out the window and saw Uncle Tommy, Garrett and Nicky, who had driven the limousine into the driveway before. They didn't get out earlier because they was listening to a Yankees game on the radio.  They came inside and . . .

. . . saw everyone eating.  So he asked them if they could join in. Everyone at the table said, "Sure!" at the same time. Uncle Tommy sat down, took a bagel, closed his eyes and bit into it. When he opened his eyes, he saw the orange worm on the table! He couldn't believe it. The worm jumped up onto him and, of course, bit him. His arms began to grow. In a matter of seconds, his arms had the biggest muscles you ever saw. Then the worm jumped to Aunt Sheryl, bit her, and waited. Aunt Sheryl started to . . .

. . . sing! She sang and sang and sang. She sang "Rock-a-bye-baby" and "The Macarena" and "MMMBop." She could not stop singing. Whenever she stopped singing one song, it was right on to the next song.

Arielle and Siona thought it was really annoying and kept telling their Mommy to stop singing. Singing Sheryl looked like she wanted to stop, so she motioned to Million-Muscles Tommy to help her, but when he reached for her mouth, he punched her by accident! Singing Sheryl flew through the wall and into the sky until nobody could see her anymore! Million-Muscles Tommy, Flying Steven, Pea-Sized Zachary and Glowing-Floating-Giggling Courtney asked Amazing-Vision David if he could see into outer space, and he said . . .

. . . "I don't know. Let me try."

He thought he saw Singing Sheryl but it was only Pea-Sized Zach's arms.

"ZACH'S ARMS?" Amazing-Vision David yelled with surprise.

And with this, Pea-Sized Zach found out that he had a different power now. His arms could stretch and stretch and stretch. He grabbed Singing Sheryl and pulled her back to the ground. She looked very woozy. She also wasn't singing any more.

Everybody thought that she could sing whenever she wanted. Glowing-Floating-Giggling Courtney used another one of her powers to check Stopped-Singing Sheryl's DNA.

"Your DNA changes when you get the powers," Many-Powered Courtney explained.

Courtney said that Stopped-Singing Sheryl had lost her powers. Stopped-Singing Sheryl didn't mind because she didn't want powers in the first place.

The next day, Pea-Sized Zach, Flying Steven, and Many-Powered Courtney left Stopped-Singing Sheryl and the whole family for more adventure. They yelled "Bye!" and took Million-Muscles Tommy with them on their adventure. (Amazing Vision David couldn't go because he had to work and all the kids had to go to school.) They walked because Million-Muscled Tommy's arms didn't fit in the limo anymore. After walking 30 miles, they came to a big river. They started to chop some trees down
to build a . . .

. . . wooden raft. Flying Steven collected some vines to tie the logs together with while the others found some tree sap to use as glue. Everybody got onto the raft except Flying Steven, who didn't need to because he could fly. They sat on the raft for three days, drinking the water, eating leftover bagels and playing card games.

Then, at the end of the third day, a weird rain started to fall. Big, green globs of rain fell out of the sky and everybody was all green and sticky. They pulled the raft over to the side of the river and ran into the woods, but the green globs dried up and suddenly, nobody could move except Flying Steven, who. . .

. . . pushed his way out of the green globs and pulled everyone else out of it. Million-Muscles Tommy held on to everybody while Flying Steven sailed over the green globs clouds and landed in a huge tree. He climbed it and said to everyone that they were going to have to wait till the storm of green globs stopped. So Flying Steven found a part of a tree with a big hole that was just big enough for them to sleep in.

Everyone went to bed after gathering berries for the next breakfast. The next day, everyone got down from the tree and started walking over the green-glob puddles, which smelled. After they walked about 25 miles, they came to a huge. . .

. . . amusement water park!!! They were so excited because they thought that they would finally have a nice time. They went in and changed into their bathing suits while Million-Muscles Tommy went and bought food and snacks for everybody. Pea-Sized Zach and Many-Powered Courtney slid down the slides, played with water guns and laughed. But then everybody got into one car for a rollercoaster ride and just when the car was about to go downhill, instead it . . .

. . . kept going up! All of the sudden, the car split in half! They were still going up but they were trying to hang together by wetting cotton candy they had and using it to glue the two parts together.  Surprisingly, the plan worked and everybody looked ahead.  They gasped as they saw that they were headed for the ground.

But all of the sudden, Million-Muscles Tommy appeared holding soda and more cotton candy.  Everyone started yelling, "TOMMY, TOMMY!"  Tommy looked up and saw the car falling just above him.  He put the snacks down and looked up again.  The car fell straight into his hands.  Everybody jumped out of the car and landed in some . . .

. . . huge pool. But it wasn't just a pool. It was another river. A very fast-moving river. The whole group got sucked into the water and started going 100 miles an hour along this river. Suddenly-Sick-Again Courtney threw up, but everybody else felt OK and Pea-Sized Zachary and Flying Steven actually enjoyed the ride.

Then, all of a sudden, the scenery changed. They realized they were in Arizona when they saw the big red rocks. They couldn't believe it! They got out of the river at Red Rock Crossing, but Suddenly-Sick-Again Courtney wasn't feeling well.

"I don't feel well," Suddenly-Sick-Again Courtney said.

Zachary said, "I wish Uncle Jim was here. He's going to be a doctor. He could help Suddenly-Sick-Again Courtney." And suddenly, Uncle Jim appeared on the side of the river. He was holding a very wet and soapy Ozzie the Dog. "How did I get here?" Dog-Washing Dr. Jim asked. "I was just bathing my dog and all of a sudden, poof!"

That's when Pea-Sized Zach realized that. . .

. . . if he wished something, it came true!  Pea-Sized Zach was about to tell everyone else when Flying Steven said,"Let's all go swimming."

Everyone said,"OK," at the same time.  Dog-Washing Dr. Jim rinsed Ozzie while everyone else, except Pea-Sized Zach swam in the shallow part of the creek.  Pea-Sized Zach couldn't swim since he was so tiny, so he watched everyone in the deep part and noticed that there were bubbles coming up over there.

All of the sudden, a giant squid monster bigger than Million-Muscles Tommy's arms came up from the bottom of the deep end of the creek. Everyone rushed toward the monster and tried to kill it using their powers, but it was higher than any powers.  No one could even get close.

Then Fearless-Poodle Ozzie jumped from Dog-Washing Jim's arms, ran up the side of the creek, jumped on the squid monster and started biting the it. Wish-Granting Zach then asked for Mikey the Cat to appear, and it popped out of nowhere to land on the giant squid monster. The monster swung one of its giant tentacles at the cat. Squid-Hating Mikey jumped over the tentacle and must have been really mad since Squid-Hating Mikey clawed the monster only once before the monster died.

Dog-Washing Dr. Jim grabbed Fearless-Poodle Ozzie and Squid-Hating Mikey before they fell in the water.

Everyone's mouths were wide open as they headed toward the shore, amazed they survived again. They grabbed their stuff and left the creek. They were mostly shocked that one claw out of Squid-Hating Mikey killed the monster. Everyone except Pea-Sized Zach. Zach was shocked at something else. Pea-Sized Zach was shocked at how Squid-Hating Mikey and Fearless-Poodle Ozzie got along just fine since they usually fight.

A rainstorm had started to come in and everyone was looking for shelter when all of the sudden a lightning bolt came from out of nowhere and hit a humungus . . .

. . . tree, that fell and bopped everybody on their heads except Flying Steven, Pea-Sized Zach and Squid-Hating Mikey. Everyone else was out cold. The two boys looked at each other.

"This is crazy," Pea-Sized Zach said. "We've been wandering around for months and we keep running into these weird problems."

Flying Steven agreed and asked, "Why did we run away in the first place?" They couldn't remember anymore. Zachary felt terrible that everybody was on the ground unconscious, so he wished that they could all go back to their homes and feel better and not remember any of this adventure.

Suddenly, they were all gone and the rain stopped. The uncle and his nephew looked to the sky and saw a plane writing something in the sky. "One more, Zach," it said. Zach and Steven looked at each other. They knew what it meant. It meant Zachary could have one more . . .

. . . wish.  Steven said, "Make it a good one."

Zach nodded and said his wish out loud: "I wish, that we were back home, in regular size, with no powers and that Julie was nice."

All of the sudden, they found themselves back in their castle and in regular size.

Zach's wish had come true. They looked to the door as it swung open. Nice Julie walked in and said, "Hi guys. Where have you been?"

Uncle Steven said, "It's a long story."
And Zach said, "Very."

THE END


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