“Joe The Piranha” By Mark Anderson (9th Grade)

So my mom came out to visit a few weeks ago and brought with her a piece of Anderson family folklore I hadn’t thought about in a while.

The year is 1985: Coke changes its formula, “Out of Africa” wins best picture, and a freshman Mark Anderson sits in Mr. Moore’s creative writing class in Eldridge, Iowa.

To be honest, I don’t remember how the idea came about, but I decided for my next assignment to do a children’s book. But not just any children’s book, one of those read-along ones that used to come with the little 45’s. (My favorite was a Spider-man one where he battled some sort of dragon creature.)

I wrote and illustrated a weird little tale about a piranha that attacked his victims while they sat on the john, and, with the help of my family, recorded a read-along cassette with page turning noises, music, and everything. It was a hoot!

Well, “Joe the Piranha” was well received by Mr. Moore, and was apparently a big hit in the teacher’s lounge as well. I was even asked to transfer the book to those clear overhead projector sheets and present it at a local school writing conference thingy. It was a big hit.

Anyway, my mom had kept the tape all these years and recently had it transferred to CD so future Anderson generations could experience my weirdness.

And it’s in that spirit that I present to you, loyal blog readers, my 9th grade creative writing project, “Joe the Piranha.”

Listen to “Joe”

(BTW, I think I still have the overhead sheets in the garage rafters somewhere, but I can’t find them yet. But, honestly, the audio is the best part here.)