One of the difficulties in writing parody is that it’s hard to exaggerate how bizarre the world actually is. Case in point: Bookninja directed me to yet another great article from the masters of dark humor at The Onion:
This Short Story About A School Shooting Is Actually Pretty Good
Being a 10th-grade English teacher can be frustrating. I work hard to help my students improve their writing, but when it comes time to sit down and grade their assignments, I’m often left wondering why I bother. Once in a while, though, a student hands in something that is an absolute delight to read.
A student like Brian Petersen, who wrote an incredible short story about a deadly school shooting and how nobody picked up on all the warning signs until it was too late.
It’s just fantastic!
So here’s the thing. Three months before he took part in the Columbine massacre, Erik Harris turned in a short-short story about a massacre. And his teacher liked it. Not as much as the fictional teacher in the Onion article, but she did have kind words for it.
The story was part of the 10,000 pages of documents about the school shooting released by the sheriff’s department in 2003. It describes the aftermath of an alien invasion of a moonbase manned by marines (it’s based on a videogame - Doom or Quake, I think). Harris describes the scene:
Bullet shells sprinkled the floor, on top of a carpet of blood.
Arms, legs, and heads were tossed about as if a small child turned on a blender with no lid in the middle of the room.
Harris’s teacher gave him a C+ (apparently averaging an A- for the content and a D+ for the mechanics of the writing). The teacher’s comments are priceless:
Yours is a unique approach and your writing works in a gruesome way.
Good details and mood setting.
The story, as released, is below. (I originally posted the story on The Memory Hole in January 2003. You can see a larger version there. An article about the story is at the Rocky Mountain News, and the 10,000 pages of documents are posted here.)
Dylan Klebold wrote a story for school about “a man walking into a town and ‘blowing away’ all the popular kids” (according to a post-massacre statement from his creative writing teacher), but the story itself has never been released, as far as I know. This story did upset the teacher, as her statement shows:
I told Dylan the story was violent and unacceptable - viscious [sic]. Indeed I made a copy for his counselor (Brad Butts). I also talked it over with his parents. Dylan simply remarked , “It’s just a story.”