Story branching test

July 18, 2013

It’s hot. Too hot to be outside. But here you are, lounging by the pool at the Tiki Barge in South Baltimore, watching the ice melt in your half-empty Jack and Coke.

You’d love to take a dip in the pool, if the water wasn’t 85 degrees and covered in a slimy coat of coconut oil from the other 20-somethings nearby. Eww.

Just then, your cell phone buzzes with a text from your friend Evan.

“Dude somebody kidnapped John Waters!”

“Sucks for him, but what am I supposed to do about it,” you text back.

“Dude they’re offering a $25,000 reward if you help find him …”

A series of numbers come to mind: Your student loans, your car payments, the credit card bill. Also, you kind of like Waters. No one deserves to be kidnapped, especially a notorious Baltimore filmmaker. And it’s not like you have anything else better to do. 

Suddenly thrilled by the idea of being a hero and also getting paid for it, you chug the rest of your watery cocktail and leap out of your lounge chair, ready to roll. But where do you start?

Hampden sounds good. Waters filmed one of his movies, "Pecker," there, and he still gets his fan mail sent to Atomic Books. Maybe someone there knows his last whereabouts.

Then again, it might be better to talk to a local movie buff about Waters and his films. Every year, he hosts a screening at the Charles Theatre in Station North. One of the managers could give you some tips about where Waters hangs out, or who would possibly kidnap him in the first place.

Which will it be?

If you want to try Hampden, go to B.

To head to the Charles Theatre, go to I.

Story branch B

Ah, The Avenue. A pack of MICA hipster types chats outside Golden West, dragging on Natural American Spirits while they wait for a table. Across the street, a large woman with knotty hair, a tank top and the tiniest pair of shorts is yelling something unintelligible at a skinny man with no shirt and long, baggy pants.

Suddenly, you grow weak -- too weak to stand. You drop to your knees, wondering what's wrong. Then you remember you haven't had breakfast, or dinner last night -- just drinks. You need something to eat. Now.

Glancing across the street, you spot the giant pink flamingo outside Cafe Hon. So close, but so far away. A HON Burger, with a side of kitsch, sounds amazing right now. But you might not be able to make it that far.

Just then, a woman walking a dog walks by, and stops to let the dog relieve itself on the sidewalk. When the dog finishes its business, she pulls a plastic bag out of her pocket and picks up the droppings with it. Her cell phone rings -- distracted, she leaves the bag on the sidewalk in front of you and walks away.

Famished, you remember the infamous scene in Waters' film "Pink Flamingos," where Divine eats dog doo-doo. She was OK. Maybe you'll be OK too.

Time is running out.

To crawl across the street to Cafe Hon, go to C.

To open the bag and indulge yourself, go to D.

Story branch C

You settle down for a nice meal, but just as the burger arrives, the doors fling open. You hear a string of British expletives, and squint to make out the silhouette in the doorway.

"Look at this place! Have you learned nothing from me?!?!," the man shouts. It's "Kitchen Nightmares" host Gordon Ramsay! In the fall of 2011, he and his crew came to help save the ailing Cafe Hon, and he returned last year to see how things went. But now he's back again, and out for blood.

The first to die is the hostess, who doesn't see the butcher's knife in Ramsay's hand. A server screams, and spills a plate of meatloaf into a diner's lap.

A second later, Ramsay is standing over your table.

"How's your bloody burger?" he asks. 

You panic.

"Hon-tastic?" you offer.

"Not bloody enough," he screams, a wicked smile stretching across his face. He swings down the knife, ending your meal -- and your life.

Maybe you should have ordered the crab cake.

Story branch D 

Your stomach is full, and you feel the spirit of Divine upon you. But it also could be the parasites swimming through your intestines. This is what method actors do, you tell yourself. You hear a voice in your head.

"Come see me," it whispers.

Could it be Divine, calling to you from beyond the grave? Or a hallucination from the e coli?
Divine may be dead, but she does have a statue at the American Visionary Art Museum. Maybe that's what the voice means.

Still, you worry. What if you need to get your stomach pumped? You did just eat dog droppings, after all.

To visit Divine's statue at AVAM, go to E.

To head to Marcy Hospital and purge yourself, go to F.

Story branch E  

A blinding light hits you as you approach this South Baltimore museum. You squint, and then realize it's just the sun reflected from the thousands of pieces of bright metal and glass on the side of the building. But it's a good omen.

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