I had a lot of fun doing my little "Beyond Babysitting" exercises (parts I and II), but more than one person joked with me about how I'd written them all as ending up wildly successful. Which, of course I did- they're the BSC! They always come out on top, no matter how ridiculous the scenario (or inconsistent the internal logic). But it did get me thinking- sure, it's easy to write them living happily ever after, but how would I do it if I wrote them as failures? Specifically, how would those same personality traits that I used to dream up endings also be used to create nightmares?
Turns out it wasn't that hard.
Kristy Thomas: Kristy went to school on a softball scholarship, and majored in
business. She worked at the campus gym for spending money, but when that didn't quite cover her expenses she started placing small bets on sporting events. She won regularly enough to make it worth her while, and she kept up the habit even after
graduation, when started doing personal training while she tried to figure out
what she really wanted to do with her life. She got in early on the
whole Crossfit craze, and eventually moved back to Stonybrook to open up
a box of her own. Unfortunately for Kristy, it failed miserably and left her completely bankrupt. In an attempt to get back in the black, Kristy began betting (and losing) more and more money, until she found herself so deeply indebted to various shady characters that she went on the run. She currently lives out of her car, picking up odd jobs where she can, and gambling most of the money away.
Claudia Kishi: Claudia passed up a chance to go to Japan after high school, choosing instead to move to New York with Stacey and focus on her art. Specifically she began experimenting with psychedelic drugs as a way to "expand her consciousness" and bring her work to another level. Unfortunately she wasn't content with what she found, and continued to pursue more and more varied highs, always looking for the ultimate altered state of being. She found it when she died of a heroin overdose at age 23.
Mary Anne Spier: Because her father refused to talk about sex beyond "don't do it", Mary Anne found herself pregnant at 16. She married the emotionally abusive boy, and they had a second child before he ran out on them at age 18. After that she bounced from one manipulative man to the next, and has had four more children from as many fathers. She is currently married once more, this time to a highly controlling man almost twice her age that beats her when he's drunk- but she's afraid to leave the security his paycheck provides her and the children.
Stacey McGill: Stacey returned to New York City to double-major in communications and
finance, with the intention of working in fashion journalism (the
finance was just an easy backup plan). Those plans were swiftly put on hold when she was scouted as a model her freshman year. Her new friends got her into the New York City party scene, with all the drugs and sex that involves- and Stacey liked sex a lot. She ended up infected with HIV by the time she was 20, lost her modeling contract as a result, and died from pneumonia (as a complication of AIDS) at 24.
Dawn Schafer: Like Claudia, Dawn didn't bother with college after high school.
Instead she transitioned from part-time to full-time as a waitress in a
vegetarian restaurant on the beach, where she met a man who got her involved in an "environmental activist group" that actually turned out to be a cult dedicated to Mother Gaia. Dawn was slowly but surely brainwashed and isolated from her former friends and family, until she was finally "allowed" to become a sister-wife at age 21. When she was 29 she sacrificed herself as a suicide-bomber to destroy a logging camp.
Mallory Pike: Mallory got her degree in English Literature from a university in New York, but her writing career never took off. Because she refused to accept any career that was "beneath her genius", she currently lives in her parents' basement and is used as a free baby sitter by her many siblings. She spends her spare time writing embittered one star reviews on Goodreads and Amazon.
Jessi Ramsey: Jessi moved to New York her freshman year of high school, to study
ballet full-time. When she was offered a permanent position in the prestigious dance company she'd been apprenticing at, she took Stacey up on her offer of a celebratory drink- and then made the mistake of driving home. She wrecked her car, killing her dance career before it could truly take off, and leaving herself crippled and in chronic pain. As the years went by she took to drinking and drugs to manage both her physical and emotional pain, until she lost her job and eventually ended up living on the streets. She is currently in rehab for the third time, on her little brother's dime.
You guys, that was depressing as hell. I think I'll go back and read the unrealistically happy endings... and maybe next time I'll try to write something somewhere in between.