Great Lake Review - Spring 2014

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Great Lake Review - Spring 2014
Series Title:
Great Lake Review
SUNY Oswego
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serial ( sobekcm )


Editor-in-Chief Beth Schneider, Managing Editor Kathryne Davis, Treasurer Graham Molella, Online Editors Brittany Sperino-Horsford Chris Valentine, Faculty Advisor Brad Korbesmeyer, Drama Editors Nick Altaro Kelli Atherton Liz Collins Lauren MacBlane Sandra Marin Nicole Matarese Jennifer Norris Ann Pallifrone, Fiction Editors Ethan Gormley Emily Klingbeil Danielle Minnick Graham Molella Olivia Pexton, Fiction Editors Continued Brandon Riese Matthew Tebaldi Chris Valentine Megan Weiss, Nonfiction Editors Rita Aliperti Elizabeth Arnone Liz Collins Lauren MacBlane Sandra Marin Tamara Scretching Brittany Sperino-Horsford, Poetry Editors Eunseo “Amber” Bang Hannah Dennison Yadira Junco Olivia Martinez Dani Walters ( , )
Scope and Content:
ART Oswego Fragmented by David Owens..........................cover Invocation by Lana Slinkard.................................................7 In a Cave Near El Matador, California by Calvin Nemec....15 Downtrod by Emma Johnson.............................................21 Dorm Monkeys by Joel N. Dodge.......................................25 Yaddo by Breana Iannotti...................................................37 February View of Bridge Street by David Owens...............49 Rage by Emma Johnson....................................................51 Untitled by Breana Iannotti.................................................60 Microns by Lana Slinkard...................................................71 Debaser by Alex Hollowell.................................................78 March Looking North by David Owens...............................81 Looking Ahead by Breana Iannotti.....................................83 Thirteen by Naomi Chalfin..................................................92 Thoughtful by Taisha Laird................................................101 Archibald in His Natural Habitat by Brigid Myers..............110 Flagellation by Lana Slinkard...........................................122 With a Bow by Joel N. Dodge...........................................132 Scream Until You’re Gone by Breana Iannotti.................155 Woman by Taisha Laird....................................................169 Sake Tanuki by Alexandra Peretin...................................179 Bored and Horny by Joel N. Dodge..................................184 Good Thoughts by Nikki Hitze..........................................195 Slander by Taisha Laird....................................................211 Synthetic Man (With Detail) by Lana Slinkard..................214 Cleeoh by Alexandra Peretin...........................................220 Beautiful Anguish by Breana Iannotti...............................224 Momo by Breana Iannotti.................................................227 Guatemala Beetle by Michelle Stiles................................250 Whisper by Emma Johnson.............................................261 4 DRAMA Lamentations by Dylan Woods...........................................18 Jesus Breakup by Harry Christopher Moore.....................38 No Chance in Hell by Megan Mullen...................................52 Photos by Ji Wang..............................................................84 New Girl by Julia Brennan................................................104 Liebe Krieg und Opfer by Aaron Golish...........................133 Stuck With You by Megan Mullen.....................................172 The Amulet by Dylan Woods............................................180 Sidekick by Elmer Beriguete.............................................188 Last Night on Earth by Veronica Pysnack........................198 Doyle Knows Best by Tyler-Simmone Bowman..............217 Girls Spec Script: We Need to Talk About Ray - Excerpt by Victoria Diana.............236 FICTION Flesh by Amy Lipsky.............................................................8 I Sat Here Thinking About A Title for This Thing and Your Face Came to Mind by Tom Kline.......................................15 The Unwanted Visitor on the Beach by Collin Henderson 22 Saying the Name by Jessica Ekert.....................................35 April Showers by Jeanne Marie Pungello..........................42 Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now by Susan Velazquez...61 Choice by Tom Rigney........................................................77 Starstruck by Amy Lipsky...................................................81 Public Viewing by Mike Bifaro...........................................100 Farewell by Jessica Ekert.................................................103 Realism in Video Games by Tom Kline.............................110 Used Books by Christianna Miller....................................113 Recovery Plan by Desiree Alcala.....................................123 Death of the Game by Mike Bifaro....................................158 The White Party by Tarin Bonvino....................................170 Seven Minutes by Mike Bifaro..........................................182 Second Date Questions by Todd Robert Stark................186 Free to Be Me by Laurie Jackson....................................194 5 FICTION CONTINUED George by Jessica Ekert..................................................197 They Say You Die Three Times by Tarin Bonvino...........212 The Laborers by Jessica Ekert.........................................215 The 28th Day by Veronica Pysnack.................................222 NONFICTION Copsucker by Christianna Miller..........................................9 Ten Fe by Olga Reyes.........................................................26 So Long by Cassidy Carroll................................................50 Road to Revelations by Luke Parsnow..............................73 Dining for Memories by Amy Popper..................................93 The Monster Underneath the Stairs by Samantha Feldman ..........................126 H2NO by Summer Cluette................................................159 Convenience Store Personality Test by K.M. Alleena.......228 Migration by Marian Holmes.............................................252 POETRY Mirrors by Mareena Razik...................................................16 jack the tripper - in love again by Daniel Land....................24 Snapshots of Papa by Jacqueline Blocker-Marshall........36 Encounters With an Omnivore by Naomi Chalfin...............59 Asking For It by Linne Ebbrecht.........................................72 I Bet It’s Snowing in Houston by K.M. Alleena....................79 Faded by Leah Cunningham..............................................82 Kokoro by Aaron Golish.....................................................91 Isa by Cassidy Carroll......................................................102 Dancing Phalanges by Laurie Jackson............................111 a quarrel between lovers by Daniel Land.........................120 Familiar by Sarah Fessler.................................................125 Propaganda by Leah Cunningham..................................154 For Jenny by Breana Iannotti...........................................156 Woman Indisposed by Jenn Moss....................................168 Words From a Willow by Jacqueline Blocker-Marshall..171 6 POETRY CONTINUED short lived by Daniel Land................................................178 Collecting by Kayla Lappino.............................................185 First Grade by Olga Reyes................................................187 Fainting by Phoebe Lamont..............................................193 Will You Laugh With Me Tonight by Shelby Coyle............196 Venom by Sarah Fessler...................................................210 ode to the real fairy queen by Daniel Land.......................213 Becoming Us by Julian Daley...........................................216 EdGore by Kayla Lappino................................................221 In Poems by Olga Reyes...................................................223 The Tides of Time by Luke Parsnow................................225 Snow Day by Laurie Jackson...........................................226 SQUABBLE, SQUABBLE… fate grabbers by Daniel Land ..........................248 Pa’s Wooden Spoon by Phoebe Lamont.........................249 New York is Cold and Full of Poetry by Shanna Fuld.......251 Journey’s End by Shelby Coyle........................................256 Never So Gracefully by K.M. Alleena................................258
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Were Nice People Great Lake Review Spring 2014


1 THE GREAT LAKE REVIEW OSWEGOS LITERARY MAGAZINE SPRING 2014 As the 2013-2014 school year comes to a close, we want to thank those of you who were brave enough to submit your work to us. To those who were accepted and published, congratulations! Your hard work and dedication to your craft, whether writing or artwork, has paid off and we are so proud to have you featured in this semesters edition. To those whose work was not chosen, we want to tell you that this is not the end. Your work deserves to be submitted over and over again until you are completely done with it as a piece. Not being accepted for this semesters publication does not mean that you should give up on the piece(s) that were submitted. Instead, it means that you should have a new goal in mind: keep submitting. Submit as much as you can to as many places as you can, and do not count your work out from our publication. Try again next semester. Pursue your publication dreams. The literary world cannot exist without people like our submitters and whether or not you were accepted for this edition, we want to thank you for your dedication to your work. In addition to those who submitted, we also want to thank our editors. This journal and the organization, as a whole, would not be possible without their continued hard work and desire to put together the best book possible. We thank you, editors, for being wonderful. To end, you have work to be proud of. Please always remember that and go forth knowing your work is worthy. We wish you the best of luck in whatever you hope to achieve with your craft. Please tell your friends and continue to submit to the Great Lake Review. Without your submissions, this journal would not exist. Like us on Facebook: /pages/Great-Lake-Review @greatlakereview on Twitter @greatlakereview on Instagram The Great Lake Review is part of your SA fee. No copyright infringement is intended.


2 THE GREAT LAKE REVIEW OSWEGOS LITERARY MAGAZINE SPRING 2014 Editor-in-Chief Beth Schneider Managing Editor Kathryne Davis Treasurer Graham Molella Online Editors Brittany Sperino-Horsford Chris Valentine Faculty Advisor Brad Korbesmeyer Drama Editors Nick Altaro Kelli Atherton Liz Collins Lauren MacBlane Sandra Marin Nicole Matarese Jennifer Norris Ann Pallifrone Fiction Editors Ethan Gormley Emily Klingbeil Danielle Minnick Graham Molella Olivia Pexton Fiction Editors Continued Brandon Riese Matthew Tebaldi Chris Valentine Megan Weiss Rita Aliperti Elizabeth Arnone Liz Collins Lauren MacBlane Sandra Marin Tamara Scretching Brittany Sperino-Horsford Poetry Editors Eunseo Amber Bang Hannah Dennison Yadira Junco Olivia Martinez Dani Walters


3 THE GREAT LAKE REVIEW OSWEGOS LITERARY MAGAZINE SPRING 2014 TABLE OF CONTENTS ART Oswego Fragmented by David Owens ..........................cover Invocation by Lana Slinkard .................................................7 In a Cave Near El Matador, California by Calvin Nemec ....15 Downtrod by Emma Johnson .............................................21 Dorm Monkeys by Joel N. Dodge .......................................25 Yaddo by Breana Iannotti ...................................................37 February View of Bridge Street by David Owens ...............49 Rage by Emma Johnson ....................................................51 Untitled by Breana Iannotti .................................................60 Microns by Lana Slinkard ...................................................71 Debaser by Alex Hollowell .................................................78 March Looking North by David Owens ...............................81 Looking Ahead by Breana Iannotti .....................................83 Thirteen by ..................................................92 Thoughtful by Taisha Laird ................................................101 Archibald in His Natural Habitat by Brigid Myers ..............110 Flagellation by Lana Slinkard ...........................................122 With a Bow by Joel N. Dodge ...........................................132 Scream Until Youre Gone by Breana Iannotti .................155 Woman by Taisha Laird ....................................................169 Sake Tanuki by Alexandra Peretin ...................................179 Bored and Horny by Joel N. Dodge ..................................184 Good Thoughts by Nikki Hitze ..........................................195 Slander by Taisha Laird ....................................................211 Synthetic Man (With Detail) by Lana Slinkard ..................214 Cleeoh by Alexandra Peretin ...........................................220 Beautiful Anguish by Breana Iannotti ...............................224 Momo by Breana Iannotti .................................................227 Guatemala Beetle by Michelle Stiles ................................250 Whisper by Emma Johnson .............................................261


4 DRAMA Lamentations by Dylan Woods ...........................................18 Jesus Breakup by Harry Christopher Moore .....................38 No Chance in Hell by Megan Mullen ...................................52 Photos by Ji Wang ..............................................................84 New Girl by Julia Brennan ................................................104 Liebe Krieg und Opfer by Aaron Golish ...........................133 Stuck With You by Megan Mullen .....................................172 The Amulet by Dylan Woods ............................................180 Sidekick by Elmer Beriguete .............................................188 Last Night on Earth by Veronica Pysnack ........................198 Doyle Knows Best by Tyler-Simmone Bowman ..............217 Girls Spec Script: We Need to Talk About Ray Excerpt by Victoria Diana .............236 FICTION Flesh by Amy Lipsky .............................................................8 I Sat Here Thinking About A Title for This Thing and Your Face Came to Mind by Tom Kline .......................................15 The Unwanted Visitor on the Beach by Collin Henderson 22 Saying the Name by Jessica Ekert .....................................35 April Showers by Jeanne Marie Pungello ..........................42 Heaven Knows Im Miserable Now by Susan Velazquez ...61 Choice by Tom Rigney ........................................................77 Starstruck by Amy Lipsky ...................................................81 Public Viewing by Mike Bifaro ...........................................100 Farewell by Jessica Ekert .................................................103 Realism in Video Games by Tom Kline .............................110 Used Books by Christianna Miller ....................................113 Recovery Plan by Desiree Alcala .....................................123 Death of the Game by Mike Bifaro ....................................158 The White Party by Tarin Bonvino ....................................170 Seven Minutes by Mike Bifaro ..........................................182 Second Date Questions by Todd Robert Stark ................186 Free to Be Me by Laurie Jackson ....................................194


5 FICTION CONTINUED George by Jessica Ekert ..................................................197 They Say You Die Three Times by Tarin Bonvino ...........212 The Laborers by Jessica Ekert .........................................215 The 28th Day by Veronica Pysnack .................................222 NONFICTION Copsucker by Christianna Miller ..........................................9 Ten Fe by Olga Reyes .........................................................26 So Long by Cassidy Carroll ................................................50 Road to Revelations by Luke Parsnow ..............................73 Dining for Memories by Amy Popper ..................................93 The Monster Underneath the Stairs by Samantha Feldman ..........................126 H2NO by Summer Cluette ................................................159 Convenience Store Personality Test by K.M. Alleena .......228 Migration by Marian Holmes .............................................252 POETRY Mirrors by Mareena Razik ...................................................16 jack the tripper in love again by Daniel Land ....................24 Snapshots of Papa by Jacqueline Blocker-Marshall ........36 Encounters With an Omnivore by ...............59 Asking For It by Linne Ebbrecht .........................................72 I Bet Its Snowing in Houston by K.M. Alleena ....................79 Faded by Leah Cunningham ..............................................82 Kokoro by Aaron Golish .....................................................91 Isa by Cassidy Carroll ......................................................102 Dancing Phalanges by Laurie Jackson ............................111 a quarrel between lovers by Daniel Land .........................120 Familiar by Sarah Fessler .................................................125 Propaganda by Leah Cunningham ..................................154 For Jenny by Breana Iannotti ...........................................156 Woman Indisposed by Jenn Moss ....................................168 Words From a Willow by Jacqueline Blocker-Marshall ..171


6 POETRY CONTINUED short lived by Daniel Land ................................................178 Collecting by Kayla Lappino .............................................185 First Grade by Olga Reyes ................................................187 Fainting by Phoebe Lamont ..............................................193 Will You Laugh With Me Tonight by Shelby Coyle ............196 Venom by Sarah Fessler ...................................................210 ode to the real fairy queen by Daniel Land .......................213 Becoming Us by Julian Daley ...........................................216 EdGore by Kayla Lappino ................................................221 In Poems by Olga Reyes ...................................................223 The Tides of Time by Luke Parsnow ................................225 Snow Day by Laurie Jackson ...........................................226 SQUABBLE, SQUABBLE fate grabbers by Daniel Land ..........................248 Pas Wooden Spoon by Phoebe Lamont .........................249 New York is Cold and Full of Poetry by Shanna Fuld .......251 Journeys End by Shelby Coyle ........................................256 Never So Gracefully by K.M. Alleena ................................258


7 Invocation Lana Slinkard


8 Flesh Amy Lipsky Children were always the hardest. It always sucked to see these small, helpless creatures with once porcelain skin now rotting off the bone, hair falling out in chunks. Olivia was a more intact zombie than most. Her skin was tinted green. Her once yellow dress was now muddy and torn; once blonde and curly hair was now pasty white, freshly dead. Or risen. Whichever you prefer. And as of right now she had her legs locked around at his neck. I watched, numb, as my little niece worried at yellow dress. Olivia tore a chunk out of Pearsons neck and I knew he was a goner. After he sunk dead to the ground, Olivia sat her mouth. She snarled, leaping towards me as I raised the barrel of my sawed-off shotgun, aimed, and blew a hole right It occurred to me as I approached her that I had I doused them in gasoline and lit the match, ignoring bodies.


9 Copsucker Christianna Miller home in the San Francisco suburbs. It was never discussed when or where the phase began, but Kaila was all about thug culture. She loved rap music, wore a bandana around her California blonde hair, and frequently rolled her shirt over her pale midriff to expose a variety of temporary tattoos. I found it unusual, however, that Kailas music collection consisted mostly of Shania Twain despite her bedroom being decorated with posters of 50 Cent, Ja Rule, and several nobody rappers. Kaila warned if I ever told anyone about her love for Shania Twain, I would never see the light of day again. Once I tried to inquire more about the pile of CDs that rested on the window sill in her room, but Kaila pretended she didnt know what I was referring to. Most of the time we spent together consisted of Kaila assessing my appearance and trying to make me cooler. She would give me pictures of her to have for inspiration. It was not thug to be seen with a chubby girl who had an unintentional Beatles haircut and a wardrobe of overalls, but Kaila slowly began to make appearances with me in public. Kaila would stand slouched to one side with her right hand in her pocket and the other on her hip. She would demonstrate the thug facea look she trademarked as her the bottom lip. One afternoon, she and Ellen Hartley taught me in a bathroom mirror as a way to prepare me for public appearances. Ellen was the Puffy to Kailas Biggie; I needed her approval as much as I needed Kailas to integrate into their clique. Ellen looked like a shriveled version of Kaila. She was appear as tall. Kaila would often write Thug Life on Ellens belly with a blue sharpie. The two would simultaneously kiss the television screen when their favorite rappers performances were broadcasted. The screen wasnt big enough for three people, therefore, I would often be stuck watching them. Ellen had also undergone the transition into Kailas


10 group, so she did her best to help me assimilate into thug culture. She gave me lessons on her three favorite rappers: Chingy, Cassidy, and Nelly. She also gave me several items of clothing that she thought would help with my appearance. One was a red t-shirt with Curious George. I didnt understand how Curious George was considered thug, but I didnt question it. She even spent one morning trying to make me look sexy by applying eyeliner and making an attempt to pull my short hair into a ponytail. Eventually, she gave up and tied a yellow bandana around my head. My light blonde strands poked out from the bottom of the fabric. I looked like a Backstreet Boy but if Ellen dubbed it sexy, it was sexy. Every recess, Kaila, Ellen, and their friends would gather at the side of the basketball court. After all, basketball was thug. When anyone scored a goal, Kaila would lead the group in a cheer. Not too loud though, because too much enthusiasm was not thug. I looked out of place in my denim overalls and beat up sneakers. Perhaps that was the reason Kaila would encourage me to sit a few feet away from them. My dishonorable discharge from Kailas clan happened on the afternoon we watched a group of sixth graders shoot hoops. They would often miss completely and Andre Bustamante, the male version of Kaila. I dont know if it was the Nike symbol that was shaved on the side of his head or his baggy jeans held up with a Gap Kids belt, but He demonstrated his charming demeanor by aggressively bouncing the basketball into our group. Several girls let out startling squeals, dismissing their thug personas to defend themselves from a charging ball. Kaila wasnt impressed. What the hell, Andre? she yelled. The harsh language startled me more than the attack of the ball. Andre acknowledged her with a smug expression as he mocked Kailas famous thug pose. What, bitch? he yelled back. War had commenced on the elementary school basketball court. Andres friends laughed while Ellen stood sat down faster than she had stood up. Kaila summoned me over to her. Excited, I ran over and nestled myself in between several other girls. We watched Andre make the next shot. He is such a pussy, dont you think?


11 I had never heard of the word before, but I quickly nodded. What Kaila said was considered the gospel. Walk over there and call him that. When I asked why, she shook her head and let out an exasperated just do it. I stood up, dusted off my overalls, and walked over. Intimidated, I yelled the word and then ran back to the Kaila. What was that? No, go back over there and this time, say that he is a cocksucker. Never had I heard of that word either, but the way Kaila said it, I knew it couldnt be good. I went back over. Andre, still laughing with his friends, stared at me. He waited in anticipation for the message I had to deliver. Copsucker! I exclaimed. I stood there, knowing I had said the word incorrectly but I still positioned into the thug pose. Hopefully, he hadnt heard of the word either and would think it sounded intimidating. Your mama is retarded and so are you cause that probably runs in your family. a big smile and his teeth advertised that his lunch included lettuce. I should have seen the comment coming. My mother had made an appearance at school earlier in the year. Even though Id know it would be social suicide to bring my handicapped mother to a school event, I had refused to be embarrassed. It hadnt been easy adjusting to the version of my mother that came back from the hospital a few years earlier. During the birth of my brother, she had suffered a stroke. My father, who had brought a camera to memorialize the birth of his son, continued to snap photos under the impression that the alarm in her eyes and her gasps for air were attributed to the pain. My mother came back unable to construct a coherent sentence, operate her limbs, or remember details of my childhood. The way I saw it, my playful, free-spirited mother had died and was yet to return. I didnt want anyone to remind me of that, especially someone who peed his pants in the third grade. Retard! Retard! Retard! Andres posse chanted in unison. Andre chanted with the most clarity until he broke the rhythm. Thats probably why shes ugly, he yelled over his shoulder. All retards are ugly. Ugly! Ugly! Ugly! It was hard to concentrate on maintaining my thug


12 face when I could feel the stickiness of a tear on my cheek. Kaila. Oh my God, are you crying? she sneered. They made fun of my mommymy mom, I mean, they made fun of my mom. She still calls her mom mommy? a girl giggled. Oh, they made fun of your mom because shes a retard? Kaila asked with a mean smirk. Considering she was my neighbor, she knew about my mothers condition, but she never brought it up. She laughed and was quickly joined by the others. I was smart enough to know they were laughing at me, but not smart enough to walk away. More tears began to form and they were noticed before I had a chance to wipe them away. What a baby. I am not a baby, I pleaded. So, you are going to let them make fun of your mom? Kailas tone had transitioned into one of concern and disgust. What can I do? Stop crying because only babies cry. I cant be seen talking to a baby. I wiped the tears with the palms of my hands, which only spread them thinly over my face. Now, thug face. She waited momentarily while I adjusted my face. I was sure the redness of my eyes and my splotchy cheeks were not considered thug but I hoped Kaila would let it slide. Okay, go over there, she paused for dramatic effect while looking at Ellen, and spit on him. Her other friends gasped; Ellen reacted with a reluctant expression of satisfaction. I, I, cant do that. Thats gross. So? Kaila laughed. He made fun of your mom. If being retarded. A stupid, ugly retard. Go do it or I dont want to see you again. Scared at the thought of losing the approval of the declared a retard, I turned on my heel and marched over to Andre and his clique. My armpits stuck together due to the nervous reaction of my sweat glands. Look, the retard is back. Shes still ugly too. His friends roared with laughter. One wearing a rayon running suit went so far as to hold his belly overdramatically. I inched closer to Andre.


13 One more word I thought, one more word I gathered saliva at the tip of my tongue, making sure not to show any jaw movement. I was going catch him off guard because no one was going to talk about my mommy like that. Andre incorporated my mothers condition into a lewd remark about the sex life of my parents. My tongue catapulted the saliva through my puckered lips like a rock being released from a slingshot. I watched as the wad descended from the air and landed in the nook of Andres tear duct. There was a brief glimpse of surprise and he quickly had to close his eyes to protect them from the clump of spit, which slowly rolled into the split of his eyelid. He was safe now, but he knew as soon as he opened them, his eyes would be subjected to the ooze of my spit. Andres posse let out a few gasps. I turned back towards Kaila. She and her friends were no longer stationed on the other side of the court. This was supposed to be the for all I knew, Kaila might have missed the whole thing. My glance was diverted by the orange hue of a leopard-print hastily marching towards us. Miss Rast could invoke a degree of fear in her students that could make the Devil shiver. Certainly not one born for a career in education, she dedicated more time punch line of much playground gossip, mostly because of her gaudy wardrobe that temporarily distracted attention from her lazy eye. I watched her come towards me as the wind made her wispy, over processed hair sail back. Her multiple beaded bracelets clanked together as she pointed You get over here! I was going to die. I looked behind me again to assure that Kaila was still gone. Before I could turn back around, Miss Rast had snatched a strap of my overalls and placed me a few feet away from the group. I didnt do anything, Andre shrieked with his hands up. She spit on me, Miss Rast. Wipe that off for Gods sake, she said with no sympathy. His mouth gaped in horror while his eyes remained clenched shut. He reluctantly rubbed the spit with the hem of his shirt. Not so thug now.


14 apologize for this disgusting behavior. He called me ugly! He called my mom a retard! Enough, Miss Rast interrupted. Her voice assured me that she was not to be tested. Apologize for what you did. I looked at her; she stared back intimidatingly with her left eye while her right glanced into the distance. She was close enough I could smell the heavy aroma of her perfume. Tears emerged again but I didnt bother holding them in. My mother wouldnt be able to come and defend me to the principal or the wretched Miss Rast. Kaila had abandoned me after my efforts to assimilate into her clan. She and Andre had won; evil had triumphed over good. I was alone now. What trouble lingered ahead? Apologize, Miss Rast demanded with more hostility in her voice. impressionable girl with a vulnerable mother. I didnt regret the spit. He deserved it. Say it, she bellowed as she adjusted the grip on my I was going to say it and this time, I was going to say it correctly. Youre a cocksucker. Miss Rast clutched my clothing causing me to stagger as we walked. Being dragged behind her made it so I walked through her perfume trail. parents, she began to lecture, If you act in this crass fashion, I can only imagine your mother. No you cant I thought. She couldnt imagine my mother. My mother would twirl in the kitchen with a mixing bowl in her arms while The Cure played on the radio. and costumes so I would better understand. My mother would probably treat me to McDonalds for standing up to Andre and over french fries, she would discuss effective alternatives for defending myself. Miss Rast couldnt imagine that a mile away, the same woman lay bed-ridden in a dark room.


15 In a Cave Near El Matador, California Calvin Nemec I Sat Here Thinking About A Title for This Thing and Your Face Came to Mind Tom Kline We hated each other I mean, HATED for the longest time, before I realized the horrible, terrifying, beautiful truth: you and I, were exactly the same.


16 Mirrors Mareena Razik I like the snow, falling Outside as it is now, or was Hours ago; Slow, Deliberate, Moving, Descending in clusters. Matching the cold. Digging Into our Clothing, like Broken Shards of glass, with Beautiful jagged edges. Here They Come


17 Raining down From the shattered mirror that is The sky. Seven years bad luck. Thats what they say, But I dont believe In any such superstition. Their downward assault On each of us Below.


18 Lamentations Dylan Woods A JUGGLER walks onto the stage, carrying four balls; two are average juggling size, and two are small. JUGGLER Welcome. Tonight I will tell you about my family... He holds up the four balls. JUGGLER With these. He holds up the two average-sized balls. JUGGLER These two are my parents. He indicates the small ones. JUGGLER And these are me and my brother. He begins to juggle the balls perfectly. JUGGLER In the beginning, when we were young, all was well. My parents loved each other and they loved us. We were happy. (beat) Then, at an amusement park, my brother went missing. He throws one small ball off-stage and continues juggling.


19 JUGGLER It was horrible. I was young, so I didnt fully understand.Id stay in bed at night and wonder when my brother was coming home. My father blamed himself.And my mother blamed him too.It was on his watch that my brother disappeared. He throws one average ball off-stage, and a larger one is thrown back. He catches it and JUGGLER It tore him apart. He took to drink. Hed sleep on the couch, if ever. My parents would argue all the time. His guilt weighed down and almost destroyed our family. (beat) (MORE) JUGGLER (contd) Then one day my dad was gone. My mom found a note and she cried when she read it, but she never told me what it said. He throws the large ball off stage, then continues juggling.It still appears to be balls as far as possible from one another. When one is high in the air, the other is at its lowest point. JUGGLER My mother and I grew apart after that. She hardly spoke to me anymore. Hardly spoke to anyone. I grew older and became a cop. My mother passed away some years ago, her death as quiet as her life.


20 JUGGLER off-stage. Hes left with one ball now, which he throws and catches with one hand.He watches it rise and fall, sadness in his eyes. Its just me now. He catches the ball, then exits. Lights.


21 Downtrod Emma Johnson


22 The Unwanted Visitor on the Beach Collin Henderson Rudy slapped his hand down on the bar. Ill be seeing you guys later. Im outta here. The other bar keep and the waitress wished him a good night as he punched out and left through the back door. Outside, he was standing on a wooden seating area that would be populated with beach goers and locals. But now, in the early September air, the days of tourists, of beach goers, of pretty girls in bikinis, of young kids tossing sand at one another, of teenagers swimming out too far into the water, of six packs under an umbrella, of laughing couples enjoying a glass of wine on their back porch while the sun sets were over until next May. Rudy traversed a few wooden steps and down into sand. The water was rolling up onto the shore and the breeze blew gently as the sun turned a dying deep orange. He began to make tracks as he walked across the shore, standing right on the cusp of the water, toward the restrooms that sat at the edge of the sand. It was a small, rather bland concrete building, built a long time ago with the plumbing to show for it. Most wise people avoided it, but every once in a while, one of the regulars at the bar would tell Rudy an absolutely hilarious third toilet from the right, really, you just had to hear it. And Rudy would listen if for no other reason than traditions sake. But he didnt have to use the bathroom. Rather, he was getting his weekly soda from the vending machine of summer before it started becoming too cold to walk the stretch anymore. He put a few coins that he received as tips into the slot and punched in the numbers for some root beer. It fell to the bottom and he grabbed it from the machine. Psst. Rudy looked around. No one there. He twisted the cap and took a sip. Psst. Hey. Hey, buddy. and saw nobody. Down here, jackass. He looked down. Sitting in the sand was a face, staring up at him with black holes in the place of eyes. The


23 grains of sand that made it up were constantly shifting as it moved, making it hard to perceive a shape. What the hell? Dont give me that look. Close your mouth, youll toes jammed up their nose. What, you havent heard the stories of the ghost on this beach? How long have you lived here? Rudy said nothing, only stood with mouth agape. Whatever. Listen, guy, I got one, very important question to ask you. You ready to hear it? Nothing from Rudy. Well, are you? Rudy tried to say No, but it came out sounding like a I got a fanny pack full of acid and condoms. Wanna get weird? The face began to laugh. It was horrible, working its way into Rudys head and clawing at the inside of his skull. He turned around and leaned on the vending machine, until dropped the soft drink and began to run, totally neglecting to get into his car. He ran home to his apartment, slammed the door and locked it. Breathing heavily, he climbed into bed and pulled the comforter over his head and cried himself to sleep. He heard the laughter of the Sand Face in his dreams that night.


24 jack the tripper in love again Daniel Land Behold this ginormous, fantastic spectacle, complete with and charmed verge of the corner; stone unturned twice and its spot on, man. Its gorgeous too. In fact, its a beautiful she and shes becoming for my eyes, twisted around the world experted little gal, insanely cool and theres a drumbeat so very intense -the man that man on the moon. The mood is kind and its broken fresh, copied light, smothered down to the viscous, visceral core; down to the pious, gruesome heart that shines to me from talk of her. through the air, spurs nature to nothing less than its climactic peak. See me laying here, spotless manifold of mind? Is it worth my un-daunting sufferlust to keep me tongue tied to the rug? Do I at least get a blanket to shade me from the mild mesh of rain, the rag-tag splendor dust? Quickly, it becomes trinkets of my inner peace which splash me constantly, straight in my indifferent face. Wet, while my voice changes to hers, but without her knowing. Why? Because Im happy enough. Happy to see her, and so very glad to see her


25 happy with him. Because sometimes to care less about it. Dorm Monkeys Joel N. Dodge


26 Ten Fe Olga Reyes There was brain matter everywhere. The mans eyes were closed and his white T-shirt was drenched in deep red blood. I had never seen so much blood before; I wondered how much blood that really was. One barrel? Two? Barrels entire barrel. He had a large tattoo of the Virgin Mary on his arm. That meant he was in a gang. Vamonos my mom said to my sister and I. She covered our eyes and led us back to our tiny house. She turned on the TV and started to pray. *** I lived in El Salvador from 1992 to 1998. It was just my older sister, my mom and me. We lived in a small neighborhood in San Salvador, the capital. The houses were all close together, separated by thin tall fences and brick walls. Our windows were barred, cockroaches roamed the kitchen counter (and my bed at night), but I didnt mind them. The ants were intrusive and lizards were eavesdroppers. In El Salvador, going to church was the thing to do. Everybody did it. Everybody believed in God and everybody preached His word. I loved going to church. I always got to sleep and wear pretty dresses and eat. They always had vendors who made empanadas out of plantain and rolled in sugar. Those were a treat for my older sister and me. The church we frequented was big. The walls were white, the doors were black and Jesus Christ graced us with his presence on the cross hanging above the pastor in the front of the room. It was a huge cross and every thorn, every nail, every drop of blood was detailed. Even His tears were blood. The crown of thorns looked menacing on His head. I was always scared by that man on the cross. He looked so sad. Although we visited the same church every Sunday morning, my mother always found other church events throughout the week. One day, she signed us up for an overnight church event that took place right outside the capital. We packed blankets, sandwiches, pillows and of course, my rag doll. The bus ride was long. We always took the bus everywhere we went. Smelly old men always sat in front of


27 us and loud young women behind us. I sat on my moms lap, while my sister had her own seat. I didnt mind, my mom was always warm and I was always cold. It was early in the morning so the bus was packed. I held my rag doll tight with one hand and held my sisters hand with the other. My moms arm was tight around my waist and her other arm was around my sisters shoulder. The bus made so many sharp stops that I felt sick before the hour was up. One sharp stop in particular almost threw me over the edge. I remember it so vividly: the bus stopped so sharply that my body slammed against the seat in front of me. Watch it! the man in front of us said. His breath smelled like the dead rats in the sewer next to my school. His breath triggered bad school memories along with nausea; I felt myself almost projectile vomit on the back of his head, The Exorcist style. Were almost there, my mom said as she rubbed my back. *** Brothers and sisters, take out the Bibles, the pastor said at the beginning of the session. We bowed our heads and said a prayer. I knew I was talking to God and I had to close my eyes every time I prayed, but I was deeply distracted by a multi colored blanket that was spread across multi colored, but it also had tiny bears on it. I suddenly felt a sharp tap on the back of my head, followed by a familiar low growl that uttered, Pon atenci n! I closed my eyes, bowed my head and apologized to my mother. And God. *** We sang songs, clapped our hands and stomped our feet. That was my favorite part of church. I loved dancing with my sister to the music. We got rowdy. Hold my hand and lets spin, my sister said. She was always the instigator and I always followed her lead. We I was lying on top of the multi colored blanket with the tiny my mothers low growl, which I could still hear in the room


28 *** Monday morning rolled around and my sister and I were dressed in our usual sky blue uniforms. We were enrolled in a private Christian school and the dress code T-shirt tucked into bright blue track pants so everybody knew that you had gym that day. But on that Monday morning, we waited for our bus, which was really a van with the word autobus scribbled on the side, in our traditional sky blue blouse and skirt combo. We waited on the sidewalk across the street from a small store. I loved getting lollipops from that store. Sometimes my mom would let my sister and I go to that store with our neighbor during the day. We would buy ice cream, chips or candy. I watched people go in and out of that store every time I waited for the bus. I didnt see the man with the white T-shirt and the Virgin Mary tattoo walk in. There was nothing special about him that stood out to me. Everybody had that tattoo on their arm. The men who raped, killed and stole had that tattoo on their arm. Maybe they prayed too. It was really early in the morning. Too early to hear men yell. Too early to watch the man with the white T-shirt and Virgin Mary tattoo get shot by a man in black. Too early to see brain matter go on for miles and miles down the street, but maybe that was just the angle we stood in. Dios mio! my mom said. The Virgin Mary was covered in blood, no longer visible. My mother carried my sister and I back to our house. Winnie el Gran Osito. She began to pray. My sister and I just sat on the couch, glad we didnt have to go to school that day. *** Oh my God, are you okay? Stephanie asked. Nobody had ever asked me that. I didnt know what to say. Yes? You saw someone get shot when you were 6 years old. Are you okay? she asked again. It was chilly outside. We smoked cigarettes as I painted a visual of what brain matter looks like, from a 6-year-olds perspective. Pink, mushy, kind of like a really slimy pink slug but drenched in blood.


29 She seemed alarmed, and maybe it was alarming but it didnt phase me. It still doesnt. I wasnt scared, I wasnt concerned. I was six. I was glad to get a day off from school. I was so accustomed to hearing gun shots and witnessing time. Stephanie didnt ask me to go into detail and describe every single blood cell, every single skull fragment that I saw that morning. Maybe she was squeamish, or maybe she feared that I would break down and have an anxiety attack over something that happened so long ago. But now and then I think about it. Not because I wonder if itll ever hit me that I saw someone die, but because I wonder how he died. Sure, he was shot. But for his brains to be splattered on the dry pavement sounds a bit dramatic. One shot doesnt splatter brain matter everywhere, it just creates a small hole in the skull with tons of blood. Except this wasnt just one shot. My ears rang whenever I thought about it. It was several shots. Maybe the entire round in the pistol. But it was a lot, and it was loud. It was like the man in black wanted to deliberately display losing, gross brain matter all over the damn place because he kept shooting and shooting until he got what he wanted. Yes, he ran away, but not after admiring his work, even for a second. It was sick, really. I think I saw him smile, but Im not too sure, that may be years of warped memory or years of not thinking about this shooting. Either way, pink slugs drenched in blood oozed from a broken skull on the streets in front of my favorite shop. Before my mom picked my sister and me up and sheltered us away, I looked at his eyes. Two little black stars, faded away. You want another drink? Stephanie asked me. A Gin and Tonic? Yes, but make it a double. *** Everything we did revolved around our religion. My mother never allowed us to watch TV shows or movies that had any characters who were evil. I didnt actually watch The Little Mermaid until freshman year of college. Apparently Ursula was too evil. I remember we used to watch Full


30 House a lot. I always thought Tio Jesse was the most handsome guy on the planet. It was one of the only shows, besides Winnie The Pooh that my mom allowed us to watch. It was light hearted, it taught us very valuable lessons and it was age appropriate. It had Gods stamp of approval. My mother always made us watch religious movies. Jesus Christ, which scared the hell out of me. She made us watch it every Easter. It was very graphic. Blood and all. Close-ups of the wrists being nailed to the cross. Very graphic. Its probably why I have a wrist phobia today. Seeing Jesus getting nailed to a wall every year up until I was 7 was really traumatic for me. To this day, whenever I see Jesus nailed on the cross, or even a painting of Jesus, it scares me. But that movie was supposed to make us appreciate life, sin-free and all. He died for our sins, so we had to be good and preach Gods word and go to church and do good things for people. We prayed every single night before going to bed. We prayed in the church attached to our school. We prayed during my moms religious meetings where she invited every kid on our block, even the ones I didnt care for. There was this one girl in particular, Andrea, who really just made me want to pull at her pigtails. She was loud and rude and she didnt even have a bible with her. I always felt bad whenever this animosity arose within me toward Andrea, especially during our prayer groups, but I couldnt help feeling that way around her. She always sat next to me too. I think she knew she bothered me because she would always hit my knee as she did it. It never failed. Bow your head down, my mom said as she began the group prayer. I closed my eyes and began to pray. tu nombre I felt a tiny foot touch my tiny knee. Dont open your eyes. Venga tu reino. Hagase tu voluntad en la tierra como en el cielo Another tap of her foot to my knee. Dont break the prayer. Danos hoy nuestro pan de cada dia. Perdona nuestras ofensas This time, the tap was harder and I couldnt stand it. I opened my eyes and slapped her foot away as it made its


31 way for another offensive round to my knee. Ow! Andrea cried. My mom looked at me, fury building in her eyes. I knew that look all too well. So I bowed my head, said Perdon Dios, and threw a tiny punch at Andreas arm. I me the look and I wanted to show Andrea that I wasnt scared. But I was. Later that night, my mom made me pray for what seemed like a really long time. She made me pray for Andrea, which I didnt care for but I did anyways. Then I prayed for school to be shorter. My prayer then turned to a conversation with God, as I prayed for more art supplies, more Esmeralda and Princess Jasmine printed underwear, prettier backpacks and more shoes Velcro shoes, because I admitted to being lazy and not wanting to learn to tie my own shoes. As I talked to God, my stomach grumbled, so I said one last prayer: I prayed for more food. Sometimes bread was our dinner, sometimes we had nice warm pupusas and empanadas as a treat. Sometimes our neighbor invited us over her house for dinner, sometimes there was no dinner. But it was all part of Gods plan. He wanted us to appreciate what we did have. He tested our patience and we passed *** You mean you actually like this food? Tiffany asked. Her nose wrinkled at the smell of the food creations in the dining hall. Cooper Hall isnt particularly known for its gourmet meals. Yes, I appreciate this food, I always responded. I know sometimes you didnt have food when you were younger, but damn, she said. I swear this shit aint edible sometimes. It was pasta night at Cooper. The sauce smelled questionable, but tasted like sauce regardless. I poured some parmesan cheese on top of the sauce, mixed it with my fork and savored it. The bread was a bit hard, but it I just cant believe youre eating that right now. I appre I know, I know. You appreciate this food.


32 *** Everybody in our neighborhood loved my mom. The woman who lived across the street from us owned a bakery. She used to give us free cakes when it was our birthday. Sometimes she gave us leftover treats she didnt sell that day. We made those treats last for days. It was better to savor the treats than to indulge. My mother used to sew couch covers and sell clothing out of our house. She was very handy with the sewing machine. The women on our block used to knock on our door with ripped garments and broken hearts. My mother always sewed both of them up just right. The ladies loved her so much that they always attended our religious gatherings. Once a week my mother hosted a Christian night. She invited all the kids on our street, along with their mothers, to join us for a night of prayer and fun activities. I was excited to see the kids on my street, but I was more excited to taste the hot chocolate my mother always made for these meetings. She made it from scratch. It was truly Gods work. One day during our regular meeting, we heard people talking and yelling outside our house. We all walked to our front door and saw a crowd looking up at the sky. It was almost sunset. The crowd pointed at something in the sky. background. It was tiny but the lights were bright. Son extraterrestres! everyone said. lights for what seemed like hours. It stayed in one spot. We were so caught up with the saucer that the sound of our house and dropped soldiers with parachutes to the site. Soldiers were always parachuting from the sky. I used to lie on the pavement in my backyard and pretend that I caught them with my tiny hand as they fell from the sky. But this time was different. It was urgent. They fell and the saucer disappeared. They still fell hours later. Lets go inside, my mother said. She guided us all inside our house for our last prayer as the sun set and soldiers fell. *** It could have been an unmanned aerial vehicle,


33 Justin said. But that would have scared me if I saw it. I dont know what it was, I was really young. Id like to think it was an alien, I said. I asked my mother about the incident but she said she didnt remember it. Something in her eyes told me she did. *** When we moved back to the states where our dad smaller than the ones in El Salvador. Less people were in attendance and those who were physically present were mentally gone. Nobody clapped, nobody danced and body sang. They asked for donations before, in between and after prayers. They asked for donations while we dined in the small dining room in the basement of the church; they asked for donations while we ate dessert and drank juice; they asked for donations while we walked out of the church. We never returned after that. *** to do with ourselves. We went outside looking like big We stuck out our tongues as my dad snapped pictures of us. We grabbed handfuls of snow and shoved it in our mouths, thinking it would taste like the snow cones from El Salvador. Dont eat it! my dad yelled at us. He snapped another picture and we spat the snow back out. We laughed and played and made snow angels until it was dark outside. That night my sister and I prayed before going to bed. I prayed for more snow, but this time, I wanted it to taste like the snow cones from El Salvador. Porfavor Diosito, more tasty snow, I prayed. *** Great, more snow, I said as I looked out the window. This Oswego weather is too much for me. It was the day before Tiffanys birthday on a cold February day. She always does something unexpected for her birthday, and this year, she had her mind set on a tattoo. We talked about what kind of tattoos we wanted and why we wanted them. We discussed placement and size before


34 journeying over to a tattoo shop in a mild Oswego storm. As Tiffany explained what she wanted, I had an impulse to get the tattoo I had planned to get for a while, that night. It was time and long overdue. Can I just get mine tonight? I asked Stacy, the tattoo artist. Tiffany looked at me with a surprising look. I always think everything through. I always dissect every possibility of a situation. I always think of things that can go wrong, and things that can go right. I never do anything on a whim, Im always cautious. What are you looking to get? Stacy asked. I want the words Ten Fe tattooed on my wrist. What does that mean? Have faith. And with that, I always carry my childhood church days and El Salvador with me because maybe that was Gods plan all along.


35 Saying the Name of God Jessica Ekert Swaying along with the rhythm of the trains motion, my sister sat in the window seat, sleeping, her forehead pressed against the glass. I wondered how many other sweaty New Yorkers foreheads were plastered up there before hers. My mother sat between us, her phone out in front of her, engrossed in another game of solitaire. A lady on the other side of the train car kept shouting on her phone at a boyfriend. There was always that one intolerable passenger everyone silently wished would get off at the next stop. A few seats ahead of me two Arab men sat together. They conversed with each other in hushed voices. I couldnt make out what they were saying until the older man said Allah, and I knew it wasnt English. Under his seat I noticed a black bag, which was curious because he was holding a backpack on his lap. I stared at that abandoned bag; there was something in it. I was sure there was something in it. Above the two men a sign read, If You See Something, Say Something. Nobody else seemed to notice. Everyone was listening to music or sleeping with their heads cocked to the side. Say something, say something I told myself. The train came to a stop. The doors opened and the man reached down for the other bag and walked off. Thank God, I whispered, wondering what on earth the man had said.


36 Snapshots of Papa Jacqueline Blocker-Marshall 33A.D. The humidity hung heavy at The Skull. Pins, Needles, and Thorns pressed against your braincase. Your open wounds soaked up brackish water. Obedience gripped agony, as you clung to that wooden base. Stripped and Humiliated for all to see. Then not present; Paid all for me. 1991On the Gritty B cart with the red tassel hanging, as we bypassed each station. Bike repairs and candied apples, these were no match. 1993Tubes of the unknown streaming through the fear, and confusion crammed our ventilation. duct until I saw a light. Your lips pressed against my cheek as you uttered I Love You. 1986It did not envy, boast, nor was it proud. It never failed. Love. 2008Black and blue roses in the garden, my hind-sight transparent. Sealed with more than just a kissed, I was hemmed in. Way beyond bosom buddies. Rescued from muck and mire. 1989Sliding down the wonder tunnel, right before my cranium hit the seat of this four wheel pickup. His protg, a caramel chunk, birthed. 2012I absconded from his presence, a prodigal child. He uttered heart wrenching parables of grace through my ears. And they followed I am the vine and you are my branches. Remain in me, and then you will bear much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing. 1995You were ghostNo eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind could fathom Until we reconvene.


37 Yaddo Breana Iannotti


38 Jesus Breakup Harry Christopher Moore EXT. GOLGOTHA DAY Jesus hangs on the cross. Mary is below looking up at him. JESUS Im so glad youre here with me, it helps take my mind off the pain. MARY Yeah...about that. JESUS What? MARY Look, Jesus, we need to talk. JESUS Oh no. What is it now? MARY Im breaking up with you. JESUS WHAT! MARY Its just not working out. Youre like really committed to this messiah martyr thing and... JESUS But, baby, I told you. Im coming back. MARY Yeah well...I cant wait that long.


39 JESUS This is BULL CRAP, Mary! BULL CRAP!Of all the days to spring this on me, too. You couldnt let me just die peacefully knowing that were still together. No,you had to go and ruin my day. MARY Theres someone else. JESUS WHAT! Who? Someone else? When did this happen? MARY Its been going on for some time. I mean Jesus Christ, what did you expect? Im a prostitute. JESUS Youre still Hooking? I thought you stopped all those crazy shenanigans. I expected a little more gratitude and loyalty from a girl I cured of all sexually transmitted diseases just from my touch. Thank you very much! Who is this guy? MARY Its not important. JESUS Is it Judas? I bet its Judas. I know he doesnt like me and Ive seen the way he looks at you. MARY Stop. Its no one you know. Hes not even a Jew. Hes a Roman, okay? JESUS What does this guy got have that I cant give you. MARY Umm...I dont know. I mean hes like older, rich, he drives a chariot, his place is huge


40 and stuff. He doesnt live with his mother. He like has his own business. You dont even have your carpenters job anymore. JESUS world. Im doing this for you. You said you wanted me to be more ambitious. MARY I never asked for this. Besides, youre dying and I need a man who is gonna be around and take care of me. JESUS I said Im coming back. God! You never listen to me. GOD Yes, son. JESUS Not now, Dad! Im talking to my girlfriend. GOD Sorry J.C. A Roman Centurion walks over. ERECTUCUS Sup. MARY give us just a minute? ERECTUCUS Cool. Hey...nice abs. Ill be in the chariot. JESUS He seems nice.


41 MARY I gotta go. JESUS Mary, wait. Dont go. MARY Im sorry, Jeezy, but I gotta turn the other cheek. JESUS Mary! Wait! Hey! Who was always there for you? Who turned water into wine for you when you were too broke to drink and wanted to get hammered? Huh? MARY Jesus, would you get off my back already? Its over. JESUS You know what? This is great...this is just great. The worst thing to happen to me today.


42 April Showers Jeanne Marie Pungello Every step resulted in a small burst of white around licks and wisps of mist would jump up, occasionally poking at his kneecaps, and evaporate into the stale air. John glanced at his feet and grimaced. He used to think the jumping tendrils of fog were fun and interesting, but the novelty of his workplace had long since worn off. Now it was just an interaction he didnt want, a reminder that hed have been happier without. Mornin, John! I hear its gonna be a wet one! John looked over his shoulder and offered a halfassed smile and a nod. The source of the voice was George, a rotund little man who was responsible for blowing hats off of the heads of people in Southern California. He always had a smile on his face, albeit a devilish one, and John associated him with some cross between a cherub and a leprechaun. Always is. Johns stride was consistent and stoic. It wasnt that he had a purpose in his direction so much as hed rather he was, or how anyone else was, or if it was going to be a scorcher in Dallas. A haphazard wave would spasm from one of his hands every now and again, accompanied with some insincere response to some question from some person in some doorway. It was the same thing every day, and in the years that hed been doing what hed been doing especially after his most recent promotion he had lost the energy engage with these people. John hated his job. It wasnt always that way. He used to have dreams, real ones, but his expertise with water kept him from the sunny future that hed always morning dew to fog, from fog to sun showers, and from sun showers to thunderstorms. He worked to obscure sunlight, not to provide it. Back in the days of dew all he worried about was making grass look prettier than it already did. He organized iridescent gems on foliage. He made sure everything was gorgeous for the groggy commuter and morning


43 occasionally rush through the wet grass when he was running late, nobody complained about dew. John didnt care time in cubicles or schmoozing beside water coolers that it wasnt like they would ever appreciate what he did. Anyway, it wasnt for them, it was for the happy people. The smiley, content people the ones who looked forward to waking up early and actuallynoticed the little things on the way to their unimportant jobs. Fog had been a little harder to deal with, but John managed. He loved making it roll in, slow and thick, as if it were the star of an old western. He always pictured fog to be the surly cowboy with a penchant for good whiskey. It never moved quickly, and while it was an interesting presence to bask in and examine, people always took their time with it. It gave commuters, parents, and even airplanes pause. Then it would retreat, curling and rolling in sluggish heaps and bounds, disappearing into the sky or simply continuing its trek to who knows where. The fog that came after rain was Johns favorite. The way it rose out of asphalt and tumbled down the sidewalks, like a hoard of trapped spirits rising from their paved graves and grasping clumsily at the overcast skies. It was really just fun to choreograph. At that point, John was somewhat wary of his future. He loved what hed been doing, as fog wasnt really all that intrusive and he wasnt responsible for any particularly treacherous terrain, but it still wasnt partly cloudy days. Or picking the color pallets out for sunrises and sunsets and bickering with the art department over which gradient should come when. Then he was promoted to sun showers. The best of both worlds! was the departments motto. He didnt mind these so much, they were interesting. A little bit of rain never hurt anybody, and it was always only a little bit of rain. Every now and then he got to collaborate with the rainbow people; those were his favorite days. The entirety of They belonged on the cloud that they worked on. John spent quite some time in sun showers. A step in the right direction, he had told himself. After all the word sun


44 was in the name of the phenomenon he was responsible for. He was happy with himself and happy with where he was going. He was so happy he even looked at the faces of the people who waved to him in the mornings. Half of the time, John was the one doing the initial waving. Then John was promoted to thunderstorms. when it came to waterworks and they decided that they absolutely needed him in the thunderstorm department. They knew it hadnt originally been part of his career path, that he He did not. Now, he crossed over into this department, and everything seemed darker. Grayer almost, like color wasnt allowed to exist in this part of the building. This happened whenever anybody crossed the threshold. In the beginning he tried to continue wearing his colorful cableknit sweaters, but even those seemed muted in the department. His sense of style only continued to deteriorate, and he now only found solace in bland grays and washed-out browns. The thunderstorm division of the Waterworks responsibilities. It was where the quiet writer-types would be scooped up, alongside the constant complainers, philosophers, and borderline sociopaths. There was a division for every personality type and this one in particular was where those who didnt have the stomach for The Department of Natural Disasters would end up. Thats what it was known for anyway, people who had a weird fascination with sitting in corners but would never even kill a bug. himself, but now that hed been there for the better part of the three years he wasnt so sure. He accepted it, got quite good at it, and lost himself somewhere along the way. Nature, in spite of its necessity, was an erosive power, and seemed to affect more than just the earth. Towards the beginning of his time in the division he asked Corporate if they thought he could be replaced at some point. They would usually nod their heads and give some kind of vague response, but three years later it was obvious that theyd never let him out. John kicked his door open and let his coat fall lazily to


45 he sat down, now that it was tepid and bitter, and logged in to the system. As the hourglass icon appeared on his screen, turning every now and then in an attempt to reassure him that some progress was actually being made as far as his logging in went, he leaned back in his chair and glanced out of his window. White cottony expanses for as far as the eyes could see. Chunks and tendrils of white would escape into the crisp air, twirling away or diving lower than Johns world allowed access. All over there were people, bustling and hurrying. They looked much like what John assumed a colony of ants would look like, little and full of communal purpose. He wondered how many colonies drowned as a result of his work over the past few years; he grimaced. The ever changing landscape provided new walkways and stairwells every few minutes, paths to different portions of the sky-islands would open up and disintegrate, and everyone seemed to know exactly where they were going in spite of the constant movement. another one of those things that he would never have to deal with. The idea of getting around without the help of your surroundings, the idea of living on the surface of the earth, he had no idea how those people lived for more than two weeks. A sort of cry came from the speakers of his computer, a mangled mix between a bleating and the song of a malfunctioning printer. His eyes were torn from the hustle and bustle of his world and pasted instead on the screen of his computer, where he expected to see the Doppler radar he was to send to the earth below in a few hours, peppered with dark green systems. Instead, there were blotches of black and white. through the screen, but nothing changed. He tried a second and a third time with the same lack of results. Within a few moments John had summoned one of the IT guys. These folks were responsible for lightning bolts ridiculous part of their employment was that a handshake from one of them would almost always include a static shock.


46 This ones name was Travis, and he was as sweatervested and stout as one could expect. He was very chipper, and punched John in the shoulder as he waltzed into the bleak space, What seems to be the problem, Johnny mboy! Im in Thunderstorms. This computer, he gestured towards his screen, jabbing at the monochromatic swirls, is giving me the wrong instructions. Travis glanced at the monitor, pursing his lips, You sure youre in thunderstorms? Yes, Travis. You sure they didnt promote you? Yes, Travis. Well Im not! This heres a screen for hurricanes! I mean, it is that time of year again. Or, wait, maybe its rainbows? I, uh, hold on... The little IT fellow swung into Johns chair and set to work, shrugging off Johns silent protests, I always get such a weird feeling when I come to Thunderstorms, you guys are all so, like, monochromatic, he continued typing, and I feel like half the lights dont work. I mean, rains not that bad, is i ah! See! He gestured at the screen and pushed back from the desk, the wheels of Johns John looked at the monitor. What the shit am I looking at, Travis? The IT guy beamed and leaned back in the creaky old chair, Well John, it looks like you won. ...Won? Won what, Travis? You get to be whatever you want today, John. Youre not in thunderstorms, youre in the Division of WhateverTickles-Your-Fancy, Travis grinned and turned back to the computer, You get to be todays chaos factor. So, what, Im responsible for random torrential downpours or something? I mean... yeah... if thats what you want. Or youre responsible for an unforeseeable hail storm, or a weird morning frost, or making it the sunniest day of the year. I think you can do just about anything that isnt a natural disaster you get to be the dude who makes everybody hate the weatherman! John was still for a moment. John frowned slightly and brought a hand up to his stubbly chin, So... anything? Even if its not water? Yep! Anything! A handful of chaos-factors are


47 randomly selected throughout the year. I think its just a way to remind the little people that they really have no idea whats going on. John scratched his face and nodded, keeping silent until it was uncomfortable enough for Travis to want to see himself out. Which was almost two full minutes. John remained sedentary for quite some time. He had a decision to make. He had a bunch of decisions to make. He was in a and he had legitimately no idea what to do with it. Eventually, he sat back down at his desk. He started scrolling through the plethora of commands and options that were suddenly available to him, pausing every now and then on commands for departments he didnt even know existed. He could increase the dew point, change the types of clouds in his part of the sky, hurry El Ni o up a tiny bit, and even redirect currents of wind that birds were making their annual thousand-mile-trips on. His screen was soon overtaken with the Department blue as he looked over the numerous prompts, and some to his desk with a few childlike footsteps and drummed his Something resembling hunger colored Johns face, and he set to work making his portion of the globe the sunniest it had been in quite a while. Hours passed as he clicked away. The drenched clouds for which he was usually responsible dissipated into nothingness. Mid-sixties took the place of frigid forties, several rainbows popped up here and there, and everything was rather pleasant for the little people of his region. His face started hurting about halfway through his work day and only then did he realize that hed been smiling. Soon enough John found himself trying to fend off the sunset-division with some rather conspicuous clicks, but was eventually overcome by the supposed natural order of things and his computer returned to the rainy settings he was accustomed to seeing. His screen returned to normal, but John didnt have a personal reset button. His brow wasnt quite as furrowed, his sleeves were unevenly rolled to their respective elbows, his feet were unable to stop tapping. Hed gotten a taste of something that hed forgotten he ever wanted, and now he didnt know what to do.


48 He stared at his screen for a little bit, and the blue evaporated from his irises. He began to roll his sleeves down, straightening his cuffs, and reached again for his murky cup of joe. The mug had a smiling storm-cloud on it, with the words Three years! written underneath. John looked at his mug. He read the words and inspected the nonsensical cloud. Three years... They were never going to let him go. He knew this, somewhere in the deepest netherregions of his heart, but it only really came to the surface just then. Hed been in the division for three years, with no sign of leaving, and only a cheesy mug and an identity-crisis to show for it. He rolled his sleeves back up. The blue ran back into his eyes. John opened up his computers word processor and started typing, the same smile from before pulling at the corners of his mouth.


49 February View of Bridge Street David Owens


50 So Long Cassidy Carroll You sat quietly, the air tank clicked with every breath you took. You used to come outside and watch us swim in your pool, but it became too hard. You used to bring us kids out for lunch. Youd pop the top off your jeep to let the warm air swarm around us. You used to walk me to the garden and explain how to pick vegetables by the root, and when explain they were ripe. I never told you I already knew how because my mother taught me, and you taught her. At Thanksgiving we made sailboats out of walnuts, just sat there and stared at the mini boats we made, so proud of our work. At Christmastime we poured maple syrup onto snowballs and devoured them like ice cream. pool cleaner couldnt pick up. When my aunt and uncles came into town we went out for ice cream at Stewarts every day, multiple times a day, always trying different chin, just watching us laugh and talk. I cleaned your Hoveround. It was like magic, turning And then we sat on your porch and drank lemonade with crushed time. I remember all these moments but I wish I could forget how I didnt spend more time with you at the end. I wish I would forget how my mother had told me to clean your Hoveround and how I said I didnt have the time, when I did. I wish I came over to play cards more or asked to go out for ice cream even when relatives with you before you retired, when you were still a pilot. on my shoulder. Youre a good kid, were the last words I heard you say.


51 Rage Emma Johnson


52 No Chance in Hell Megan Mullen INT. BENNYS BAR NIGHT Its a slow night with just the regulars lined up on the bar stools. The A BLOND GUY,looking barely legal, stands out amongst the older lot. Hes boyishly handsome with nerdy glasses,and is overly dressed given his location. He sits alone on one side of a booth, nervously glancing at his watch. He checks his breath while nobody is looking, and runs a hand through his mop of hair. He sips from a Peach Tea Snapple, eyes constantly on the door. BLOND GUY Just... calm down, Matt. Matt(Blond Guy) takes a deep breath and exhales,steadying himself. He picks at his cuticles,biting at them between glances at the door. A BELL DINGS as a HOT CHICK (25) clad in black leather and scarlet lace strides into the bar. Shes wearing steel toed combat boots,dark skinny jeans, and chains around her neck. Her shirt looks shredded,revealing glimpses of her cami and lingerie beneath. Her leather jacket is perfectly form angle. I n one swift motion,she crosses the room, puts out her lit cigarette in the bar


53 ashtray, grabs another mans shot of vodka, downs it as she strides, and SLAMS the EMPTY GLASS down on the table in front of Matt as she halts, meeting his eyes. HOT CHICK Wanna fuck? Matt stares up at her wide eyed. MATT What? Are you serious? HOT CHICK No, you caught me. Im really selling Girl Scout Cookies. Hanky Panky is just a brilliant a metaphor for Mint Chip. Matt recoils. He looks disgusted and a bit disappointed. MATT I guess this is what I get for thinking a blind date could actually pan out. Nice going, Matt. He starts to stand up, shaking his head. MATT Look, this clearly isnt going to work. I have toThe Hot Chick pushes him back into his seat and sits down across the table. HOT CHICK (sarcastically) Aw, dont be cross, Sweetie. The night is young. You cant leave yet. (eying him up and down) And certainly not alone. pointed in a triangle, studying him. Her


54 MATT (attempting to be polite) Look, honestly, Im just doing this because Justin said I should. And although Im... dont think youre the type of person for me. HOT CHICK What makes you say that, hmm? You dont even know my name. For all you know, were the next Christian and Anastasia. He visibly cringes at the reference and throws up his hands. MATT No. Never. For starters, you didnt even read my bio! It clearly stated that I do not drink, smoke, swear, or fornicate. HOT CHICK (laughing) Fornicate? Seriously? Who the fuck even calls it that anymore? She leans back,arms draped high over the back of the seat. Her leather jacket is open wide to show off her breasts. MATT more straightforward that way. HOT CHICK An asexual? Youve got to be kidding! (making crude hand gestures) Reality check, youre a man. Its your natural duty to hump, bump, screw, bang, nail, pork, boink, and fuck every dude or gal you can. Matt pinches the bridge of his nose, scowling and annoyed. MATT Your total ignorance is maddening! What is


55 wrong with you, Alex?! ALEX (HOT CHICK) I cant help it. Im a demon. Guess I left that bit out of my bio. (placing a hand over her mouth, she looks up at him innocently) Oops. Matt runs a hand through his messy blond hair as he exhales. MATT Youre mocking me for being an asexual, yet youre claiming to be a demon? How am I the one out of touch with reality here? Alex scowls back playfully, clearly bemused at his frustration. ANGLE ON UNDER THE TABLE A thick shadow emerges,taking the shape of a black devil tail beside Alex. The tail snakes under the table, reaching into Matts coat pocket. It produces a wallet, carefully sliding it through until retrieving a drivers license. The tail slithers back with the ID, CLOSE ON DRIVERS LICENSE NAME AND ADDRESS states his full name to be Matthew G. Taylor,and his address as 36 Clayton Ave. #17, Glennsbrook, NY 13895. BACK TO SCENE The tail replaces the wallet and ID, but snatches a tiny journal in Matts bag, placing it on the booth seat beside Alex out of view. The tail dissipates back


56 into shadow. ALEX Well, youre never going to get laid with that attitude. MATT Thats kind of the point. (standing) Look, Im just going to go. ALEX So soon? Dont you want some company, Matty? MATT thanks. All I need is a good book. Heck, even a bad one is better than you. ALEX Suit yourself then. But I swear, youll come for me, sooner than later, Sweetie. She grins devilishly. ALEX All men, and women, fall victim to my MATT Not while Im still breathing. Theres no chance in Hell. Im immune to smut and cheesy demon seductresses. ALEX Ouch, dont go breaking my cardiovascular system so soon, love. MATT love. Youre just like all the other women! ALEX Nah, Im much prettier than them.


57 his temples. MATT Why is everybody with a sex drive such an idiot! Alex smiles a bit. She blows back her bangs and reaches forward to grab Matts Snapple, drinking a few mouthfuls before replacing the lid as she listens. MATT about love or romance, about truly caring for someone, or having a true relationship.You just dont understand. He looks away from her, folding his arms across his chest. MATT Ugh, I hate this! Why cant I just meet a nice, logical, romantic, asexual?! Alex leans back, scratching her chin, pretending to ponder his rhetorical question ALEX Maybe its because love, in reality, never quite lives up to your imagination. She leans in towards his face as she speaks, emphasizing each adjective slowly. ALEX Face it Matt, were all just Dirty. Skeezy. Lust-bitten. Horny. Fucking-machines. Searching for a temporary escape from our boring ass lives. Alex moves forward to kiss him, but Matt jerks his head away in time, wide eyed he shoves her and steps back. MATT Youre insane, clinically insane! I... I


58 need to go. Matt staggers forward,hands fumbling to collect his bag and push past her. Alex just waves, grinning as he storms off. ALEX Ta ta, Sweetie. Until we meet again. CLOSE ON ALEXS LEFT POCKET contains Matts tiny leather bound journal. bookmark. BACK TO SCENE Matt ignores Alex as he shoves past a SHORT WOMAN entering the bar. He keeps his head down in a rush to escape. The Short Woman is knocked to the side. She dusts her jacket off, bringing it closer to her chest as her eyes scan the bar from behind thick glasses and straight cut bangs. She frowns, as she checks her phone for the time. With a sigh, she walks further into the bar, passing Alexs booth. ALEX P.O.V. CLOSE ON SHORT WOMANS JACKET is maroon and pressed. Over the left breast pocket is an embroidered name. It says ALEX. END SCENE


59 Encounters With an Omnivore Your beard smells like bacon when my bare chin skims its bristles. And though Ive forgotten I punish myself with visions of my childhood bedroom. Lavender carpet, lavender walls and clusters of pink stuffed pigs; easy souvenirs and gifts. You bought me one too. --The concrete wall is abrasive to the grass alongside this river, but smells of thirsty Tempera paint, childrens visions. With abandoned chalk I add ears, eyes and a nose to an incomplete paintingI pause my own senses activated. Getting chalk on your right hand, you block the view to our left. Punctured, squirming --Olive oil bubbles under tempeh seasoned with onions, garlic pepper and expectations. I think the texture is just right this time, will you try some? I cover the pan, set it to simmer, glaze


60 your brown corduroy belt hoop on my way to the spices. But youre steady, cutting the skinned avocado in uniform slices. I was always going to, you reply, now washing my swine-shaped cutting board in soapy warm water. Untitled Breana Iannotti


61 Heaven Knows Im Miserable Now Susan Velazquez O Great One, we thank you for your boundless mercy, Maite prayed as she knelt before the sacred shrine. We are not worthy enough to be in your presence. Thank you for the blessings you have bestowed upon us. And were sorry for not converting to vegetarianism sooner, added Sylvia Thomas, Maites best friend. Although I think I might be becoming anemic. She squirmed as she tried to shift her weight from one knee to girls, let alone the elaborate display Maite made to show her love for The Smiths. The closet was getting stuffy so Maite decided to wrap it up. In Morrisseys name we rock, amen, she said, crossing herself. Sylvia handed her the concert ticket as they stood up and Maite pinned it on the board, next to her favorite clipping of Steven Morrissey, the lead singer for The Smiths and Maites all-time favorite person. I cant believe were going to get to see them for real! squealed Sylvia as she threw herself onto Maites bed. Maite grinned, a rare occurrence for the usually deadpan teenager. Maite and Sylvia both discovered The Smiths in eighth grade and felt a connection to Steve Morrisseys voice that neither of them could truly describe. Its like Im not alone anymore, Sylvia explained once, and Maite felt that was the best way to describe her feelings about the band. It was pretty easy for them to feel alone tooKimball High was still pretty segregated between the black and white kids, and especially hard for Sylvia, who was half-white, so she and Maite formed their own group. Do you think well get close enough to give Morrissey my letter? asked Maite as she slid onto the bed as well. I dont know. Were kinda in the back, shrugged Sylvia. Maybe you can go up in the aisles and like, throw it like a paper airplane. I cant throw a paper airplane at Morrissey! Thats so disrespectful. I dont know why you care so much. Hell probably never read it anyway, said Sylvia, sounding bitchier than she intended to sound. Whatd you write anyway? Nothing Id show you, snarked Maite. Truthfully, she hadnt written her letter to Morrissey yet. She wanted to pour


62 her heart out to Morrissey and let him know exactly how much each note and each lyric meant to her but every time she put a pen to paper, her words came out in embarrassing clichs. She wanted to sound cool, not like a psycho fan girl. Just then, the door to Maites room opened to reveal her mother Ansiedad carrying a basket of laundry. What are you doing here? she asked in Spanish. She seemed surprised to see the girls even though Maite and Sylvia had been hanging out in Maites room after school for the past three years. Mo-o-m, why cant you knock? whined Maite in English as she took the basket away from her mother. Why should I knock? demanded Ansiedad. What are you girls up to? Nothing, they chorused together. Ansiedad surveyed the room and she saw nothing out of the ordinary except for the crooked crocheted table cloth on Maites dresser. She straightened it, which made Maite roll her eyes. Put away your clothes. Nicely she told Maite before leaving. Just to spite her mother, Maite scrunched up the tablecloth. I hate when she does that, she complained. Shes not so bad, said Sylvia as she reached over to Sassy magazine on Maites night table. You dont live with her. She can be so annoying about the house. Maybe she should get a job or something. To like, give her a purpose so she doesnt freak about stuff like that. She doesnt want to. I think shes embarrassed that her English isnt good enough. That blows. Tell me about it. Sylvia checked the clock on Maites nightstand and then sat up. Well, I have to go home now. Did you ask your mom if you can spend the night yet? Nah, Ill do it tonight. Are you sure your parents are going to be out of town? Uh-huh, said Sylvia as she put on her backpack. Theyre going to my aunts wedding in Oklahoma so theyre going to spend the night there, so we can come from the concert whenever we feel like. Awesome, breathed Maite. This is going to rock. Bye Mrs. Martinez! called Sylvia into the house. Dont forget to ask your mom, she reminded Maite as Maite escorted her to the front door. I wont, promised Maite. Ill do it right now, actually. See you tomorrow night then!


63 Maite waved good bye as she watched Sylvia walk to the end of the block to catch the bus to her side of town. permission to spend the night at Sylvias. Maite had been waiting for the right time to ask since their sleepover wouldnt actually be a sleepoverMaite and Sylvia were planning on staying out all night after the Smiths concert with Jimmy Blane, a neighborhood punk kid. Neither girl particularly liked him but Jimmy Blane had a car and he was going to the show too and so it worked out if they just carpooled together. Plus, Sylvias parents were going to be out of town all weekend so they could come back any time they wanted, no questions asked. It was going to be a kick ass night. Maite couldve technically asked her father but he would have just said, Did you ask your mother? Everyone in the Martinez household knew that Ansiedad held the real power when it came to stuff like this. Therefore, Maite had to make sure her mother was in a good mood where she would say yes to anything and distracted enough that she wouldnt ask too many questions like, Is Sylvias mother going to be there? Does she want you to bring something? Let me talk to her mother and let me see if she wants you to bring something. It had been a lot harder than Maite anticipated since Maites grandfather, Sergio, was dying of cancer back in Mexico. All week, Ansiedad had been in an anxious mood hours, trying to stay updated on her fathers situation and debating about whether or not the Martinezes had enough money for her to make a trip to Mexico to see her father one last time. Maite didnt really know her grandfather; she only mother was his favorite and the two had a very close bond. My mother died, when I was about thirteen, Ansiedad had once told her. So I had to take care of my brothers and sisters like I was the new mother because I was the oldest. I had to drop out of school and get a job You got a job when you were thirteen? interrupted Maite. And they didnt try to make you go back to school? Who wouldve? Nobody cared; we were in a small town. Everyone had to work to make money. I had to work to help out with the kids. There were six of us and I was the only one who could work. We didnt have


64 everyone ready for school by six, and then I was at work by six thirty and I worked all day and then came back to the house to make dinner. Why didnt Abuelito help you? Because he was working in the mines all day and he was too tired to do anything. But every day, he would buy me a piece of candy or a chocolate just for me. I didnt have to share it unless I wanted to. And? Cmo que and? Ansiedads eyes lit up and she pursed her lips, annoyed. It was his way of showing how much he appreciated me. He knew it was a big responsibility for me to take at thirteen. I would have stayed with him for the rest of my life, if he wanted me to. But then you married Papi, right? asked Maite, furrowing her brow. Why did you leave home then? Well, everyone was growing up and everyone was able to take care of themselves so they didnt need me to do everything as much. And Abuelito didnt want to me be a Cmo se dice? Like an old maid? Uh-huh. Una soletera. So when Miguel asked me to marry him, my father told me, Go with him. Hell take you to America and you can have a better life there. And did you? Are you, I mean? I dont know, mija. I dont know yet. A little insulted, Maite had let the conversation topic change back then. After all, she was supposed to be part of the better life in America. Looking back on it, she realized that it was probably the most personal conversation she and her mother ever had. Most of the time, Ansiedad and Maite were like strangers who happened to live in the same house. smell dinner cooking, but her mother wasnt there. Next, she tried her parents bedroom where she could hear her mother talking on the phone. She quietly tiptoed closer to eavesdrop and was pleased to hear that her mother wasnt on the phone with her siblings from Mexico for once. Instead, Ansiedad was on the phone with a telemarketer, trying to explain in broken English that she did not want a timeshare in Amarillo. Ma? Maite poked her head into the doorway. Can I spend the night at Sylvias tomorrow night? Her mom already says that its okay and I dont have to bring anything. Ansiedad nodded and went back to her conversation. Maite doubted that her mother would remember this but she


65 wasnt going to push her luck. She went back to her room Dear Mr. Steven Morrissey... No, that was too formal. Dear Moz... No, that was too informal. Maite couldnt even remember if Steven Morrissey liked being called Moz. Dear Morrissey That was better. Maite took out her nicest pen and Sylvias. She heard the phone ring and ignored itit was probably for her mother, anyway. Maite heard the distinct click of the phone being picked up and could make out the quiet murmur of her mothers voice. She turned her attention back to her letter and tried to think of a way to tell her favorite musician that she loved him with all of her heart and soul without sounding like she needed a restraining order. Then, there was a knock on her door. And then a pause. That was weird. Ansiedad never pausedshe just barged into Maites room whenever she felt like it in the annoying, presumptuous way that all mothers did. Come in, said Maite, a little confused and for some reason, a little afraid. Something bad had happened, she could tell. Ansiedad appeared in the doorway and Maite could see that her eyes were red from crying. Maite, your grandfather is dead, she whispered. Oh Mami, Im so sorry. Maite sprung up from her desk to hug her mother, something she hadnt done willingly since she was eight. Was hedid heWas he okay in the end? My sister told me that they went to the hospital and Maite felt another surge of affection. Oh, Mami. Pobrecita Maite murmured as she hugged her mother again. As she held her, Maite wished that her father hadnt decided to work that day. Now how was she supposed to leave for Sylvias when her mother was like this? You cant spend the night at Sylvias tonight, said Ansiedad, as if she could read her daughters mind. Maite pulled away, confused.


66 Why not? Because your grandfather died. You cant go out. I made a promise to Sylvia! protested Maite. Weve made plans for weeks! I have to go! Your grandfather died, how many times do I have to tell you I didnt even know him! snapped Maite. Why do I have to be sad for someone I didnt know? Because I told you to! Ansiedads face was turning The phone rang again but neither one of them moved to answer it. They just stared at each other, neither willing to back down. Let me go, let me go, thought Maite furiously. This isnt fair. You cant do this to me. Finally, Ansiedad turned away and Maite hoped this meant that she won but then her mother said, You can spend the night at Sylvias some other time. She left the slammed the door closed. Goddammit! she cursed quietly, as she fought back the tears. Maite dove for the telephone on her nightstand and dialed Sylvias number. Hello? answered Sylvia. She sounded cheerful and happy, like she didnt know the world was completely over for Hey, its me, she managed, trying to keep her voice from shaking. I have some shitty news. What? What happened? My grandpa died today. Or last night. I dont know when, but we got the news just now. Oh shit. Im so sorry, Mai. Thats not the worst part. Now my mom wont let me go to your house because were supposed to be in like, mourning or something. Youre kidding! Uh-uh. She totally wigged out on me when I tried to beg her to let me go. But this means you cant come to the concert! God, I know, sobbed Maite. Dont remind me. Well, cant you sneak out or something? I bet I can get Jimmy to pick you up a block from your house and then we can go to the concert and well bring you home straight after. Your parents wouldnt even know you were gone! be so smart sometimes. All she had to do now was make nice with her mother so Ansiedad wouldnt try to do some


67 thing annoying, like come into her room in the middle of the night to lecture about the importance of family. She smiled into the receiver. Yeah, Ill try. Ill call you to let you know if I can do it. Okay, well if not, I bet I can get Jimmy to bootleg it and then Ill bring you it and we can listen to it together. God, youre like the best friend ever. Maite felt herself cheering up already. If you cant come, do you want me to pick up your letter for Morrissey? No, because then youll read it. And I am coming, so dont get your hopes up. Ill call you in an hour. Maite hung up, feeling determined. She had been waiting for this concert all her life and there was no way she was going to let anything stop her, not even her mother. She sat up on her bed and prepared to make nice with her mother. She was going to pretend to be very sorry, and then make an excuse to go to bed early so her mother wouldnt try to talk to her for the rest of the night. She left her on the phone with her Mexican relatives. No, she took it very well, her mother was saying in Spanish. Maite made plans with her friend but then she cancelled them to stay with me. Maite furrowed her brow, confused. That wasnt what happened. Why was her mother saying all that stuff? No, shes a very good girl, Ansiedad continued. All the American girls so spoiled, but not Maite. Papa would have liked her. I wish he could have seen her one more time. That explained everything. Ansiedad was just trying to have liked. Maite felt simultaneously guilty and annoyed with her mother. Guilty, because she felt bad that she wasnt the good girl her mother wanted and annoyed because who the hell said she had to be a good girl anyway? Maite decided that if she did get caught sneaking out, she would refuse to feel bad. Even if her mothers father did die that day. She tapped on the door lightly and poked her head into the room. Ma? Ansiedad noticed her and said, Ill call you later, into the phone before turning her attention to her daughter. What is it, Mai? Shit. Maite had completely forgotten what she wanted to say. Uh, I justI mean, she stammered. I just wanted to see how you were doing?


68 Maite thought it was a dumb, generic thing to say but her mother must have thought it was the sweetest because Ansiedad enveloped her daughter in a big hug despite their argument earlier. Maite resisted the urge to squirm out of the embrace. Be nice, be nice, she instructed herself. She allowed herself to be pulled to sit on the bed next to her mother. Oh, I dont know, sighed Ansiedad. I know hes gone but a part of me thinks hes still in his rocking chair out on the porch. Or sitting on the couch watching soccer with my brother. Or eating in the kitchen. Or here. Why are we alone so much? asked Ansiedad. What do you mean? Its so lonely here, sighed Ansiedad. Nobody knows each other like they did back home. Everybody just passes each other on the street and they dont even look at each other. Nobody listens to each other. I dont know why Miguel thought America would be so great. There are some good parts here, argued Maite. Like what? Like me, for instance. Im American. No mija Youre Mexican. Youre Mexican, corrected Maite. I was born here so that makes me American. Pero whose language do you speak? What culture is yours? Whose food do you eat? You think they make chilaquiles in McDonalds? Then maybe Im both, compromised Maite. Although I dont like being both. Why not? Because people dont let you be both. You have to pick one or the other. Cmo? Maite shifted awkwardly in place. Like, the kids at school. You know, me and Sylvia like this kind of music but the Mexican kids dont like it so they tell us to go with the white kids because they listen to it but the white kids say we cant like that music because were Mexican so we should go listen to the Mexican music. What kind of music? asked Ansiedad, her brow furrowed. Maite opened her mouth to explain but then she decided to show, instead of tell. Wait right here, she told her mother. She got up and


69 went to her room and looked through her records before she had to pay extra money to special order since it was only released in the United Kingdom. She also went into her closet and unpinned the concert ticket from her board to take the picture of Morrissey along too. Maite arrived back to the other bedroom where a very confused Ansiedad was sitting and waiting. Maite placed the record in the portable record player that her mother had on the nightstand and lifted the needle to play it. Heaven Knows Im Miserable Now Please like it, please like it she begged silently as she watched her mothers face. Who is this? Ansiedad asked. Maite went to her mother and showed her the picture of Morrissey. Who is this? repeated Ansiedad. Is this your boyfriend? No, Ma. Look at him, he has funny hair. Ma! And hes too old for you, continued Ansiedad but she was smiling so Maite knew she was joking. Well anyway, his name is Morrissey and he sings the music that I like. He makes me feel less alone. I thought maybe youd like him too. Whats he singing about here? Well, um Maite bit her thumb-nail as she thought of way to translate the song meaning in Spanish. The song is about how like, he thought he was happy for a little bit but he knows deep down inside that hes sad. He just sees people who are like, way happier than him and the people around him dont treat him nicely and hes just likesad. And it kinda makes me happy in a weird way that Im not the only sad person in the world. She and Ansiedad listened to the song for a little bit I like him. I can see why you like him. He has a nice voice. Yeah he does, doesnt he? They looked at each other for a moment and Maite hugged her mother once more. My poor mother, shes all alone in the world. No, Im not. Does he sing anything else? Maite let her go and asked, Do you want me to get


70 his other stuff? S. Maite went back to her room to gather her Smiths her desk. She grabbed a pen and hastily scrawled down what she wanted to say before she forgot. Dear Morrissey, she wrote. I wanted to write you a letter to tell you how much your music means to me. I bet you get a lot of letters like this but I just wanted to tell you my story anyway. Youll probably never read thisin fact, the only person who will read this will probably be my friend Sylvia even though I told her not to. Anyway, my mom and I dont always get along. She moved here from Mexico when she was young cause she got married and she misses home a lot. She doesnt feel like she belongs anywhere, really. Kinda like me. I dont always Anyway, today she was sad because her father died and she didnt get to see him one last time so I played her one of your songs because I thought it would make her feel better and you know what? It kinda did. I think it made her feel less alone, especially from me. Its something that we can both share now. I have to go because shes waiting for me in the other room so we can listen to more music together. I hope that if I cant see you in person than maybe this letter will get to you. Thanks for the music, Maite Martinez


71 Microns Lana Slinkard


72 Asking For It Linne Ebbrecht When people choose not to believe the words You stop believing them, too. Everything you say is a lengthy novel titled, This is Me: Asking for Attention. The thing about attention, is that its usually needed and when its not given, you usually abandon yourself, too.


73 Road to Revelations Luke Parsnow For seventeen years, this road had run by my home. This black, cracked slab of asphalt called Route 38 that lies next to my front door had taken me many places in my time. It had always been there. In one direction lay two big hills and a Christmas tree farm before rolling into the hardlyexistent hamlet of Sterling. The other passed trees, a few houses, a mailbox shaped like a bear head, and a whole lot of nothing before coasting down hill into North Victory. And yet it had always remained a stranger to me. So one day, I decided not to drive on it, but to walk it. I realized that I had never actually walked down the road whose name I had written countless times under the address bar on college applications and those emergency contact This October day was blessed with June winds and a July sun, almost like the world wanted me to see something that I had missed during the summer months. I decided to walk. I strolled, one of my feet on each side of the faded white lines. I thought, how many times have I traveled down this road riding in a car, concentrating on what lies ahead of me instead of where I am at that moment? There is so much that I have passed by. I walked up a steep, short hill and all of a sudden, I was a foreigner in a different land. I couldnt believe how hour. It wasnt like clearing up a blurry vision, but like I was Had that green house always been there? Hey! I know that old lady that always has a bun in her hair. Shes a substitute teacher at school sometimes. Has she always lived there? I didnt know there was a brown pond behind that wall of parsnip. How long had that red Mercedes been for sale? I walked down a long hill and stepped around the numerous gambled all it had to make it across the road in time, and lost. Everything was rather quiet and still, the norm for living so far from anything that might be considered a village. I passed by the dusty forgotten path that disappeared into the family of apple trees, all in neat rows like soldiers at


74 attention. The aroma of harvest time was everywhere. The red blinks from the light at the top of the cell tower miles away barely hovered above the tree line and the wires of the telephone poles glistened in the sunlight. I saw something ahead of me and noticed that it was a worn out tan-colored hat. It had a picture of an animated mushroom on it, with Nintendo: 1985 written beneath it. Not too far from it was a yellow and purple doughnut box with Bayside Deli written on it, the colors drained from rain, no doubt. I couldnt help but notice the amount of holes and cracks in the road, the victim of too many harsh winters and too many cars. They had just repaved this road the summer before I started kindergarten. Could it be this far gone already? I wandered about a mile and a half into the unexplored territory, and then decided to turn back. I passed the orchards and dead animals once again, from a different view, and back red Chevrolet raced by me, and I felt the wake of the air it sent out hit my face and shake the tall weeds behind me. Those people were missing it all. They were only seeing a fragment. They were just skimming pages of lifes book of beauty. As I walked back, I saw people. I walked past a green and white house with an old wooden swing set out in the yard. There was a tall thin man who looked to be about thirtyplay on the swing set. I studied the mans face closely but I houses down the road from them and they could mind as well be strangers I pass on a street in some city. Five more minutes, Hunter. Then well go in and see if Mommy has dinner ready, said the man, who then saw me passing by and waved. I waved back. Then the little boy waved to me as well, quickly so he could re-grasp the chain holding the swing. It made a high toned squeak every time the boy reached his feet toward the sky. I went on to pass the next house, an older gray one, and as I walked by, I almost had a heart attack when I heard a dogs bark erupt from the nearby bushes. I had no warning that there was a dog in my presence. Then I heard a rustle in the bushes and a chocolate lab started running toward me. It wasnt long before the chain attached to his neck snapped him back into his territory. He yanked at the chain but the tree


75 that it was tied to was not going to let go. I was almost by the house when I heard a cry from inside the house. Tucker! Shut up! The dogs bark lowered to a whimper I never knew a dog lived at that house. I had never heard a bark come from the yard before. Then again, I probably wouldnt hear it rushing by in a car all the time. I passed a woman I didnt know puttering in a garden and a man I didnt know stacking wood. And then, I saw it. I was nearly in sight of my own home when I looked autumn leaves that had already fallen to their deaths. mailman wouldve seen, if they happened to look at all. But if they looked closer, slower, they wouldve seen a driveway. Part of a driveway. I looked at my feet. I saw that blend of the newer fresher tar of the main road, and then the older, grayer tar of a beginning of a it was followed by about four-and-a half feet of sandy rocks and dirt with small patches of grass popping up from the earth. After that, it was followed by only tall green grass, the point where nature had re-conquered, had hidden the manmade driveway. This driveway used to lead to a house. Yes, there used to be a house here. It was a small, light blue double-wide mobile home. Complete with a worn front deck where a cigarette-smoking woman sat, rusted panels along each side of the foundation, a white swing set, four dirty windows, and a small red car parked in the dusty driveway. This house had a family. A small brown-eyed girl with brown hair was part of that family. Despite the warm, blowing winds, I shuttered for a moment while standing there, and in my memory I heard a large school bus engine roaring. It was the fall of 1998. I had left my toys and games behind and begun kindergarten. I dont exactly remember when I met her. But she was the girl who lived in that warm house. She always jumped off the bus at that driveway, which was a darker black color back then. We often sat with or near each other and we talked all the time, me in my tiny jeans and her in her velvet dresses and tall stockings, swaying our young feet as they couldnt


76 school. Day after day, season after season, we would see each other and I would see her walk off the bus and skip up the driveway to her mother who was waiting on the front porch with a cigarette. Her little heels kicked up clouds of dust in September, splashed through puddles in November, dug through snow in January, and left mud tracks in March. From September leaves to June buttercups, she and I shared our stories of our simple lives every day on that bus. I cant even remember what we talked about. I remember journey to maturity. I never saw her again. When September rolled around again and that yellow school bus drove down that steep hill to pick me up, I couldnt wait to see her again. But she wasnt there. No more did we engage in conversation after a day of kick up dust as she ran to her waiting mother. A year later, the house also vanished. A year after that, my feet didnt swing anymore. They touched the ground. And as learning letters changed to writing papers, counting one to ten changed to long division, and cops and robbers changed to boys chasing girls, it was like she had never existed. A strong southwest wind against my face and a horn from an approaching tractor trailer brought me back could still see the worn front deck where a cigarette-smoking woman sat, rusted panels along each side of the foundation, a white swing set, four dirty windows, and a small red car. I couldnt believe it. I had passed this spot every day for years riding the same school bus and had never even stopped to remember her. I couldnt even remember her name. It may have started with a KKailey, perhaps? Katie? I dont know. I looked at her driveway, fresh and strong, then a emptiness. Time had let me forget. But this one moment had helped me remember. Nothing ever just fades away. Nothing is ever completely gone. There are always remnants, memories, and clues. And I wonder. How many other faded driveways have I walked by?


77 Choice Tom Rigney Why do today what can be done tomorrow? Its time. Time for what? You may ask and it would be wise to ask it. It is time to get your shit together. No procrastinating now, it was the time a minute, an hour, a day, a week, a month, a year, and more ago. Just do it already, time only moves one direction for you earthly creatures and youve just lost another minute reading this. Too much for you? Too melodramatic for you? Too metaphysical for you? Fine, try again tomorrow. Not making one is making one I wake. I get dressed in the same uniform as yesterday, the same one I will wear tomorrow. I get in my car, I drive the same route I drove yesterday, the same I will drive tomorrow. I get to work, park, walk inside, and punch in. I setup the department as per company standards, the same setup as yesterday, the same setup as tomorrow. I help the usual customers. I leave when my relief shows up. I go to the bar and drink, the same bar as yesterday, the same bar as tomorrow. I go to bed drunk. I sleep. I wake. Its easy; its already laid out before you He rows against the current feeling his muscles burn with each stroke. The GPS cut out and he missed the fork in the river. Now that its back on, the cursed thing shows him hes well passed it. To get back on the proper route he needs to go back upriver and against strong current.


78 Stroke, breathe, stroke, breathe, str... He stops. He lets the kayak drift a moment. He wonders, drifting back down, where does this branch lead ? He tosses his GPS into the river and points his kayak downstream. Debaser Alex Hollowell


79 I Bet Its Snowing in Houston K.M. Alleena I tend to take gambles. There are long odds stacked against me. If were talking the tiniest chance that close to the Gulf of Mexico Ill advocate for it. I stand for the underdogs. I root for those who are convinced their time to shine has long since passed. In that sense, I am the skyscraper tall, steely, daunting that will stand time and again after earthquakes, strayed far from where they belong, You know Ill even bet that this urban sprawl so out there so foreign to a Northerner has a voice of its own, a collective, a choir and until now, no one thought to listen. You see I take gambles; place bets I can barely afford. Im the one giving second chances,


80 seeing some spark in such darkness. I pick those most in need of favor. I always do. Someone has to.


81 Starstruck Amy Lipsky We are looking directly into the past, I told her, stretching my arms wide to the starstruck sky. She grinned at me because she understood, we understood, that we were looking at more than just holes in the sky, more than just the lost sparks caused by two people brushing up against each other. We are made of star stuff. Later I would catch her in a moment of vulnerability, rubbing her forehead as she wondered out loud the pros and cons of closing the gap between our chapped lips. As she sighed, offering her hand to me, pulling me in to close the space between us and with her hands at my waist and my if she knew that she also was just a half of a whole. I was a puzzle piece, the dark side of a yin yang, shaping into each other, our sides worn smooth from years of abuse. I couldnt meant to be come from the same stars. And she smiled, because she knew that they did. That we do. March Looking North David Owens


82 Faded Leah Cunningham Begin pen to paper and the ink runs dry. The loops and curves of every word so smooth, until I get to you. Only the imprint is left with a black splotch at the top of the Y and Im not supposed to verse between the blue lines of a story untold, blank of imagination, let our ending be anything, and nothing all at once. Let our story become something between 8.5 by 11 inches of dead trees, layers by layers. But were not done yet, just dug in scratches from a broken pen, never ready to face the end.


83 Looking Ahead Breana Iannotti


84 Photos Ji Wang EXT. NEW YORK 103 STREET DAY A nice sunny day. Several people are out walking their dogs on the clean street. A MAN(30s)steps out from a Mini Cooper, and then walks on the street.He wears a clean shirt with a striped tie and black pants. His left hand lifts a business bag,and his right hand stays in the pocket of his pants. When the Man goes to cross the pavement,AN ELDER in rags appears from another street. The Elder staggers in front of the Man. The Elder has messy hair, with a beer can in his right hand. He drinks and looks up to the sky. He closes his eyes. The sunbeams shoot on his wrinkly face. He shakes his right hand up and down to check if the can is empty and then throws it over his head. to the Mans foot. The Man stops.He bends down to pick the can up and walks to the nearest trash can. At this moment, the phone rings.The Man quickly drops the can and grabs his cell phone in his bag. He slides the call on the screen. MAN Hi Linda...Yes, I know... Dont be afraid to jump the gun. The reasons to buy are certainly here... Yes...Pay more attention to Sonic Corporation. Its shares jumped 2.31 to 23.23. The net income rose under this kind of harsh winter weather... Yes, just do what


85 I said. Okay, bye. The man puts his cell phone back into his bag and continues to walk. He sees the Elder sitting on the stairs of a small restaurant, smoking. MAN A nice day, isnt it? The Elder ignores the man and focuses on smoking. The Man sits down beside the elder. MAN Today is the best day in my life. Theres no better day than today. The Elder still has no reaction. MAN Do you know why? Because I gained a project today. As a foreign worker on Wall Street, its a big gift to have such a project! Dont you think? The Elder keeps smoking. MAN Believe it or not,one day,Ill be one of the best VC(Venture Capital) managers on Wall Street! If I decide to, nothing can stop my steps to success! The Elder breathes the last cigarette and throws it on the ground. He steps on the cigarette with his shoe and stands up. A wallet drops from the Elders pants pocket. MAN Hey, sir. The Elder keeps walking and doesnt look back. MAN


86 You left your wallet. The Elder still walks forward. The Man catches up with the Elder and stands in front of him. MAN Hey, you left your wallet. The Elder seems nervous when he sees what is in the Mans hand. He grabs the wallet immediately and opens the wallet. ELDERS POV There is a black and white photo in the wallet with a handsome man and a beautiful woman,and a child who is standing in front. BACK TO SCENE The Elder looks at the photo and doesnt say anything. MAN Are they your family? The Elder takes the photo out from the wallet and touches the womans face, along with the childs face, with his dirty thumb. After a while, the Elder looks up at the Man. He takes ten dollars out of his wallet and gives it to the Man. MAN (smiles and shakes his head) No, you dont have to give me money. another two ten-dollar bills, giving these three ten dollar bills to the Man.


87 MAN (smiles and shakes his head) You dont need to give me money. Really. The Elder takes back the three 10 dollar bills and frowns. Then, he takes out all the money in the wallet and gives it to the Man. The money is dirty and altogether is no more than one hundred dollars. MAN Did you hear what I said? I really dont want your money. The Elder puts the money back in the wallet. MAN But, can I have a look at the photo? Can you believe it? The woman in the photo looks so much like my grandma. The Elder doesnt move. The Man pats on his pockets and then takes out his wallet. He opens the wallet and shows it to the Elder. MAN You see, this is my daughter. So pretty,isnt she? This is my son, who is now eight years old. This is my wife and her sisters. The Elder looks at an elder woman in the photo the whole time, not moving his eyes. MAN She is very beautiful and elegant. Attracted by her, are you? Its my grandma. She was more beautiful when she was younger. The Elder still looks at the the Mans grandmas face on the photo. He slightly touches the face of the elder woman, and then takes out his photo from the wallet, putting it beside the Mans photo.


88 Tears roll down from the Elders eyes. backpack runs across the street, towards the Man. MAN Emily! Be careful! (Picks up Emily and kisses her cheek) Oh my sweetie. How was school today? Was it fun? EMILY (nods) I learned how to read on my own today. MAN Grandma picked you up today? Emily turns her head to look at GRANDMA, who is crossing the street. The Elder looks straightly at Grandma, trembling. MAN (yells across street) Were over here. Grandma turns when she hears the Mans voice. She looks at the mans direction. Upon seeing the Elder, she stops walking. A surprised expression appears on Grandmas face. She keeps walking, crosses the street, and stands face to face with the Elder. GRANDMA Michael? The Elder cant help crying. The grandma hugs the Elder. GRANDMA God bless. Youre still living. The Elder cries harder.


89 GRANDMA (looks at the Elder and cries) I was afraid you would die at that time. Where did you go these years? Are you okay? THE ELDERS POV The Grandmas lips moves slowly without any sound. BACK TO SCENE The Elder opens his mouth. ELDER (tries hard) Marr... GRANDMA Michael? ELDER Marr... EXT. VIETNAM CAMP DAY (1960S) SOLDIER(the Elder)s ear. SOLDIERSS POV Everything becomes blurred. The ear was buzzing. A bullet shoots directly to the body. The world becomes dark CUT TO EXT. NEW YORK 103 STREET DAY The Elder and Grandma stand face to face.


90 ELDER (tries harder) Mar-ry. Tears roll down from the Grandmas eyes. The Man takes out his photo. On the photo, there is a big space beside his grandma.


91 Kokoro Aaron Golish In the spring-time valley. Between mossy hills. I spot a gentle rabbit: alabaster, and bounding through bountiful botanicals and into a thicket that gives way to bright drones wistfully overhead. Their sweet nectar intoxicating. The small rabbit; her heart races, as does mine. I lay my head upon her plush, downy breast. Our hearts beat in tune; a most beautiful symphony. Warm rosy cheeks and shallow breaths betray her shy demeanor. I ask for a kiss, only a kiss. One kiss is all I ask for. Though she is silent, no words are needed. I coyly rest my lips upon hers. Silken as chrysanthemum petals. Soft as a turtle doves coo. With our mystical cavort, we gallivant the night away.


92 Thirteen


93 Dining for Memories Amy Popper We arrive at the same diner every couple months, and although we have been coming here for seven years the menus have not been updated. The pink fake leather seats still stick to my bare legs and I move around uncomfortably looking down at the black and white ads on the placemats. His navy jacket hangs on the side of the plastic booth, and I wish this time around that he would have gotten a haircut. The faint smell of tobacco and paint fumes lingers through the air from his coat, and although I hate cigarettes I love the smell. The smell reminds me of him, and I wish I could dinner. He grabs my hand and I look at the dirt encrusted days have not been easy, and I hold on tightly attempting to let him know these dinners will not stop. You look more and more like your mother every day. He states, staring deeply into my eyes. I cannot tell if that stare is him feeling proud or sad. in me wishes that I could love him for that comment, but a feeling of emptiness overcomes me. If someone says something enough, does it make it true? When I looked in the mirror that day, I didnt see my mother, but a little girl going out to another dinner. He starts to drawn on about how he wishes I went to school closer. He even offers his one bedroom apartment to me again, saying that I will always have a place with him. I wish I could shake him at this very instant and aid him in understanding that a one bedroom apartment is no place for a twenty one year old girl and her father, but the love in his eyes never ceases to amaze me. Our in ground pool took over most of our tiny yard on Long Island, and our back gate was left open for the neighbors who would be swimming in it before we even arrived home. My mother never cared, she enjoyed the company. My father had just lost his job and explained to me that he wanted to have a summer home. This summer is about spending time with you and your brother, no more dinners without your father. I couldnt help but feel lucky. This summer my mother would be waking up for work in the morning, and my father


94 would already be by the pool playing the Beatles top one hundred songs as he read one of his books. My father would wrestle my brother down in the pool with a wacky noodle, and I anxiously would look for the quarters that my brother I heard my mother asking my dad that night when he was going to quit relaxing. She needed his help and I sat by the door listening. My brother left on his bike that night, counting the street lights knowing he could only go so far. Although I knew my mother would not have had a problem, he always went out his back window. Its almost as if he didnt want to have to tell anyone, or say goodbye to me. As I heard my father state that he would look for a new job when he was ready, my mother slammed the door only to see me sitting there. She picked me up and hugged me hard and my father walked out behind her. He picked me up over his shoulder threatening to throw me in the pool. I squealed with laughter. Put me down! I will never let you go until you say it. I have the best Dad in the world. Are you two ready to order? The waitress looks pleased to see us back again. Her brown curls hang loosely in front of her face with her hair pulled back in elastic. Her frills aligning her apron add to a pleasant tackiness, the kind you expect to see at a diner. He always tips generously at these dinners, calling the waitress sweetheart and bragging about me. My daughter is on the Deans List my daughter is to Australia, shes traveling the world. Compliments make me extremely uncomfortable, and I cant help but think that these dinners have aided that. The thought of having someone tell a complete stranger any form of success you have had recently makes me wonder how that could possibly make them feel. The same waitress has been here since my seventeenth birthday when we came here in late June. She probably doesnt even remember my name, but I know she has to be tired of hearing my accomplishments as much as I am. I havent seen her in a couple months, and now my baby is leaving me to go halfway around the world. He states while squeezing my hand on top of the cold counter top. I smile, and wonder if I even told him that I went


95 on spring break a couple months ago. Did I even mention my latest trip to California? Most people tell their parents the moment they book an airplane ticket, but I cant even remember if I bothered him with that information. Independence is something Ive grown to value, but sometimes the word itself sounds more riveting than it actually is. Independence can have its dark days too, not having anyone to tell you that what you are doing is not the best. Maybe I too, just want him to tell me no, to stay home. You are so incredibly lucky to have such a great girl. The waitress smiles at me, and I cant help but smile back. I walked home from school and the sun was blaring down my street and he church bells accompanied that weather, chiming their 3:00 reminder. I lived around the block from my school, and my mother picked me up when it rained, letting me walk home if it was nice. My fathers car was in the driveway, and the back of the truck was left open. I could see him from down the street walking up and down the gravel pathway. He was packing up his things, and although I knew this was coming I had blocked it out of my mind. He was getting ready to move into a house on the other side of town. Starting next week I would start spending weeks on and off, switching between my mother and father. I walked towards our fence and my father ran up to me, hugging me and then pushing me away grasping my shoulders. School was great today? Did everything work out as planned? my best friend the night before. I had crawled next to him on the couch and cried, saying I didnt want to go to school the following day. My brother blatantly told me to suck it up while my father put down his book and wiped away my hair. The one thing I learned in life is that girls are plain mean Amy, and thats why I am raising you to be the opposite. I will take the French onion soup and a side salad. I said, closing my menu and handing it to her. Are you sure you dont want anything else? You laminated book towards me. Im sure. I rearranged the utensils in front of me nervously.


96 and although I knew he didnt have the money for us to go secure. The waitress took the menu out of his hand and he sipped his coffee, completely black. I used to hit the button on the coffee maker in the morning before leaving for school, knowing that black coffee was the way he started his day. I wonder who has the responsibility of doing that for him now. I want to come up to your school for your graduation in the spring. I have been talking to your brother about it and we all want to be there. I would love that. As those words rolled off my tongue, I knew they were completely true. I would love to see him in the audience, standing up proud with the same navy jacket draped over his shoulder. I knew my brother and his wife would be there, probably a couple days before to over compensate for absent family members. As he spoke, I could see the crows feet next to his eyes and it reminded me that we were all growing older. His face was tired, but longing for my approval. He too, would love to be in the audience. For a second while the waitress came back to hand me my soup, I think we both truly believed he would be there. The smell of homemade mac-n-cheese drowns the dining room and kitchen. My Pop-Pop brings down several dishes to the dining room table, wiping the sweat off of his brow, displaying the hard work he had accomplished in the kitchen that afternoon. Do you mind me asking when the last time you talked to your father was? My Pop-Pops wife Joanne asks as she tossed the salad at the table. Joannes nails are longer than most, fake plastic but just boisterous enough that you couldnt help but admire her ambition. Tossing a salad with large fake acrylics was a daunting task. Her died platinum blonde hair is teased three inches above her head and the dark red lipstick imprint rests on the tip of her glass. My Pop-Pops wife is not one to necessarily hold back. If Amy doesnt want to talk about it then dont make her talk about it. My Pop-Pop is always weary about these situations. However, if the question is already brought to the table, how can it be truly avoided? I would say a couple weeks ago. I said while scooping the salad onto my plate. I wish this conversation would end. My father is my Pop-Pops son, but he too was


97 done with his antics. I never knew the exact moment when him and my father had stopped talking, cut all ties, only to leave me as the middle ground. After the divorce my father had moved town. He stayed in his old bedroom, which only made me depressed. I could never understand how one could have a home, children, and wife to only revert back into the bedroom they grew up in several years later. Years seemed to just be eliminated from his life, as if he was back to square one in the four walls of his room. The walls hadnt changed since my father moved out, and you could still see the shag carpet seeping out of the closet door. The carpet never left, and it almost seemed that neither had my father. We went to dinner, right after my birthday. I was attempting to justify him. Did you get a card? Anything from him? You know, he owes everyone a lot of money, its just a shame. My PopPop says, and I can tell there is more to this but he too is carefully choosing his words. I never even thought about the fact that I hadnt received a card for my birthday. I hadnt expected anything but a dinner with him. I tried to remember the last time I received a gift, and no present came to mind. I didnt feel any anger. A card is the last thing I could possibly want. I couldnt help but picture my father in his old bedroom down the hallway and I wish I could have walked in to see him there, tell him that this room was temporary and there is always a way to make this all work out. Work just wont give me a raise, and its been four years since they have even brought it up to me. I just need to get out of New York. Maybe move to Pennsylvania to be closer to your brother. He cuts his burger in half. Im sure there are job opportunities in Philly. Remember the signs you built for the Disney Store in NYC? I bet if you showed pictures of those you could make a portfolio and as my words trailed on I knew I brought this up every dinner. Last time when I arrived to New York, they had taken those signs down and replaced them with newer improved logos. When am I going to meet your dad? The awkward relationship question I was attempting to avoid. I knew I couldnt much longer. I assumed that for any boyfriend it could possibly be a blessing that they dont


98 actually have to meet a father. I dont know, I dont know the next time Ill actually see him. Hasnt he been calling you though? The truth is my father calls at least a couple times a month. He calls me his princess, tells me how proud he is of me and showers me with compliments and I tell him how much I love him right back. The phone calls mask anything that I could possibly be feeling, but the love I have is not a lie. If he doesnt actually meet up with you more than a couple times a year, why arent you mad? You answer the calls like nothings wrong. I hated these pressing questions. Inevitably I felt he family issues; however I could hear the concern in his voice. He didnt want me to be upset, he just wanted answers which after a year of dating I assumed he was entitled to. To others family relationships seem simple, black and white. You cant be mad at someone for being sick. Where did the time go? People ask me how you and your brother turned out so good, and I wonder myself. He running away from home. I dont know. Sometimes a parent can do everything right but it still comes out wrong. I said. I didnt know what advice he truly wanted from me. Promise me you will send me a postcard from Australia. I need proof of these accomplishments! I nodded and smiled in agreement. Although I would love to send him a post card, I knew at that point in time I probably would not know his address. control who I told my story to. No one knew that my father who once was a large part of our neighborhood had turned to drugs over a summer home in the in ground pool. The neighborhood used to buzz around my fathers disappearance, to the point that my mother needed to get out of the area. A place she once enjoyed thoroughly, she the court hearings and child support battles, trying to shy me away from any form of uncertainty in life. I heard the telephone calls, and the long morning talks she would have

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99 with my Aunt over coffee and bagels. I could tell she had a strong hatred toward him, for leaving something they had built together. Part of me always feels as if she missed who he once was, strumming his guitar to the Beatles and sitting me on his knee. Did your parents try and visit too? Its crazy my parents will be here in only a couple weeks. Leah put her sunglasses over her eyes, attempting to mask the sun. Australia was warm, dogs walking leash-less down the city sidewalk, and people cheering at their nearest pub. She knew nothing about my personal life, but only the things I had accomplished in Australia. My parents wish they could come, I think taking off of work is just a lot for them this time around. I totally get that, my Dads so lucky he is retired. Simple as that the conversation had ended. I had no open ended questions that I was attempting to tip toe around. However, even if the question was asked what my father was doing for a living, or where he was at the moment, Leah would know just as much as I did that very moment. The meal was coming to a close. The waitress came I just love this diner here because of the service. You go to these higher end restaurants and they just want to rush you out. I love diners because you can get breakfast at any time. I stated in return. I hated breakfast food but I was attempting to make conversation. I hated that I was attempting to force conversations while the words were just so easily coming out of his mouth. He squeezed my hand again, a sign that the dinner was over. Before he went to put on his coat, he looked at me. Amy, you hate breakfast. Every time I made you breakfast you would weasel your way around the food and politely throw it in the trash. He said nonchalantly. He knew, and knowing such a miniscule detail I saw his eyes change. Right then and there he was my Dad, and I hugged him, taking in the smell of paint and tobacco.

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100 Public Viewing Mike Bifaro Monday, the funeral parlor. Jack and I arrive and skip the holy water. Not many people here. What a god damn disappointment. But, then again, it is getting late. injuries, the burns on his face, the broken limbs, the eyes scooped out of his skull with surgical precision, These lessons-in-keeping-your-mouth-shut stay hidden. We kneel, say a prayer, bless his passing soul. Jack smirks. Behind us, somebody sobs. Older lady. Looks real torn up about the dead kid. Must be his Ma. A younger guy, almost my age, dressed in a shitty thrift store tux, puts an arm around the old broad. He comforts her as she looks up. Our eyes meet...and suddenly Im upset, a foreign feeling, a brief glimpse of clarity. Suddenly Im fuckin I look to Jack next to me and my eyes start to water. Jack looks back, stone-faced, cold, indifferent. Jack puts his hand on my shoulder. He leans in and says, Motherfucker had it coming.

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101 Thoughtful Taisha Laird

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102 Isa Cassidy Carroll The rhythm of your breathing, So close to my own, I cant imagine you leaving, But you have to go home. So small and plump, Your face in front of mine, I remember you were just a bump But soon youll be wearing Calvin Klein. You smell of baby powder, And a hint of your mommys milk, She couldnt be prouder, You precious baby, with skin of silk. Picking you up, your dark hair drips sweat, But you dont care, Oh; and your diaper is wet, But Ill change it, I swear. Youve exhausted me, Little sweet pea, Ill miss you when you go, And it will always be just so.

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103 Farewell Jessica Ekert That night the shore was deserted except for the but I ran. I ran and I ran, following the tire tracks left in the sand. With every stride I dug and I curled my toes in the cool sand, as if to hold onto the skin of the earth itself. Under the cloudy night the moon hardly lit my path in front of me. Soon following the tire tracks didnt feel good enough anymore. I closed my eyes, quickened my pace and allowed my feet to take me where they wanted. They took me in a large circle that became smaller and smaller with every lap until I ran into the sandcastle Id built that afternoon. I tried to make it the way that dad taught me, except I couldnt remember how he made the castle windows. My castles will never be like dads used to be. It wasnt something my mom could teach me. I stayed there in the sand, out of breath and exhausted. My hands were grasping the remains of the sandcastle. I held on tight. I looked up in front of me; my mother, a dark silhouette in the nothingness of the night, arms wrapped around her knees. She sat there staring past turned around to see that I had fallen down. She got up and walked over to me. Youre okay, she said. She picked me up off the ground and held me in her arms. Well be okay.

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104 New Girl Julia Brennan INT. HIGH SCHOOL CLASSROOM DAY sit at their desks, gossiping and comparing homework answers. LONDON(15) sits alone in a corner. She is by Ralph Lauren. detailed graphite depictions of various spiders. She pulls out her iPhone 5s and takes a picture of her latest spider drawing. She sends the picture in a text message to her father. Her text reads: Thinking about entering these into the contest. JILL (14) walks over to London, accompanied by DAN (15). Jill picks up the sheet of drawings and looks at it, as Dan peers over her shoulder. JILL Ew. What the hell? Dan snatches the sheet away from her. DAN Damn, new girl. This is sick. JILL If by sick you mean, like, megadisgusting, then yeah. Its sick. DAN Get a grip, Jill. Its cool. Dan gives London a crooked smile. London puts

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105 her hand out LONDON Id like that back, if you wouldnt mind? DAN Oh, sure thing. Dan goes to hand London back the drawings, but then quickly pulls the sheet away from her. DAN Hey, actually, you think you could draw one of these for me? Itd look totally sweet on my locker door. London puts her hand back down on the desk. LONDON Youre asking favors and you dont even know my name.Plus, you snatched my drawings up from my desk without asking my permission Jill takes the drawings from Dan. JILL Um, I think we should be asking who you are, new girl. Whats your name? And why are you so good at drawing this freaky spider shit? Jill holds up the drawings and points to them. LONDON I dont think youre entitled to either of those answers until youve given me back my drawings, which youve very rudely taken from me. Ive been patient so far, but it can only last so long. JILL Excuse me, bitch? Fine, you want these back? Jill rips the sheet in half and crumples

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106 them up. She tosses the pieces into the trash. JILL Go get them. Jill walks away. DAN Jill! What the hell? (to London) Look, Im really sorry about her. Shes kind of a bitch. LONDON Really. And what gave you that idea? DAN Well, shes usually pretty LONDON Sarcasm seems to be a lost art these days. Jill turns and glares at Dan. DAN Uh, see ya, new girl. Dan hurries away. LONDON Typical. London goes over to the trash and pulls out her crumpled drawings. She walks back to her desk and tries to smooth them out. LONDON That bitch. She sighs and pulls out her sketchbook. She continues working on her other spider drawings. The teacher walks in, and class begins.

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107 CUT TO: INT. HIGH SCHOOL HALLWAY DAY London approaches Jill at her locker. LONDON So, Jill, I was wondering. For exactly how long have you had that stick up your ass? JILL Im sorry,what? I dont speak freak. LONDON Id like an apology. JILL For what? Oh, for your little weirdo bug drawings? Yeah, I dont think so. LONDON Theyre arachnids, actually. JILL Whatever. Get out of my way, new girl. Jill tries to walk away, but London steps in front of her. LONDON Apologize. JILL What are you going to do? Web me to death? LONDON Was that supposed to be funny? This generations speech, in all forms, is severely lacking. JILL Um, yeah, I dont know what youre talking about, but really. Back off. LONDON Not until Ive gotten my apology.

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108 JILL Youre really starting to freak me out, freak. But yeah, whatever. Sorry. Now will you get off my ass? LONDON Sure thing. But theres actually something I wanted to give you. As a peace offering. London reaches into her backpack. JILL What? Okay, yeah,sure. Just hurry it up, new girl. After fumbling a bit in her backpack,London pulls out her hands, one cupped over the other. JILL Uh, you want to show me? Hurry up, I have cheer at three. London opens her hands to reveal a tarantula. Jill screams, and London tosses it at her. It clings to Jills shirt and crawls up towards her face. JILL OH MY GOD! YOU PSYCHO BITCH, GET IT OFF! GET IT OFF! LONDON Id be careful if I were you. If you squirm too much, he might bite. Jill jumps around even more. JILL YOU FREAK! GET IT OFF! PLEASE! LONDON Apologize. For real.

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109 JILL IM SORRY! LONDON Look at me when you say it. And calm down. JILL IM REALLY FUCKING SORRY! LONDON If you dont calm down, Im not going to take him away. Hes going to get nervous. And then hell bite. Jill stops jumping around, but she still JILL Im sorry, okay? I-Im really, really sorry. LONDON Apology accepted. London takes the tarantula from Jills shirt. Jill cries. JILL You freak! LONDON Its London, actually.

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110 Archibald in His Natural Habitat Brigid Myers Realism in Video Games Tom Kline You cant hit the X button to reload a gun in real life, dumbass.

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111 Dancing Phalanges Laurie Jackson trying to move to pick up to grab hold. Printed unique to each individual. Swirls this way looped around seen up close and studied. From there, indented at knuckles bend and wiggle cross hatched down to the palm. Long life, great wealth reading lines and ones in between. Washed under soft, bitten down nails, which occasionally get dirty from who knows. Time takes its toll. Crinkles of age, the skin detracts slowly from pink fresh to gray mush. Telling many stories that

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112 Move Pick up Grab hold, with the hand that swings next to you in the toll of time.

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113 Used Books Christianna Miller Edgar ventures into central London, his physical appearance slightly out of place among the well-dressed barefoot on the cobblestone, the dirt embeds under his toenails as he passes carriages and store fronts. Women in casual dresses and veiled hats call after their children whove run ahead. A ships horn echoes from the Thames as it prepares to dock into the harbor. Bakers advertise baguettes by waving them in the air. London has not changed since Edgar was thrust aside. Its simple as he remembers, but no longer can he enjoy the charm the village has to offer. London is no longer a land of prosperity. It has grown into a cruel caste system reminding him of his failure. Edgar reaches his destination, London Printing Company, the publishing house that gave him his break years before. Edgar grasps the copper door handle, catching The interior is exactly as he remembers. The wood paneling of the walls lacks shine and the lone window in the back offers a bleak view of the alleyway. The smell of newspaper wafts through the building, trumped only by cigar smoke coming from numerous ash trays scattered around Barney. Cmon in, Barney calls from inside. Edgar walks readjusts his belt buckle before Barney looks up from a pile of papers, his glasses resting on the bridge of his nose. Well, Ill be damned. Barney rises from his seat and extends his hand. Edgar immediately feels embarrassed by his appearance but shakes Barneys hand regardless. Barney offers a confused smile and motions towards a wooden chair. Take a seat, kid. is oblivious to Edgars discomfort, placing his glasses on top of his head before tidying his desk. Signs of aging have crept onto Barneys face since Edgar has last seen him. His stomach now bulges over his trousers but despite the minor changes in appearance, his mannerisms do not differ. What can I do for you? Barney asks, leaning back in his chair while propping his feet on the desk, prepared for a

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114 reason regarding Edgars visit. Edgar sits silent, his emotions feel lodged in his throat, restricting him from speaking. I want another opportunity, Edgar blurts. I cant go on living like Im living Barney, I just cant. Im homeless, Im hungry. I am nothing, just nothing. I need to be published again, I need your help. Can you help me? Please, Barney, please. It is not the most articulate request but it was all Edgar can manage. Barneys eyebrows rise, clearly surprised by Edgars eagerness and desperation. What happened to you, Edgar? Pardon? You stood tall and you had a solid handshake. Now I look at you and I cannot help but think where did that go? I mean, son, what has happened to you? I dont know, Edgar shakes his head. I got caught up with the rewards of labor and in the process lost sight of my integrity, I guess. But I promise you, Barney, if you can give me another chance, I will hand you the best damn story ever written, you can be certain of that. I have it in me still, I Leaning forward on his desk, Barney clasps his hands together and rests his chin on his ink-stained knuckles. Have you written any stories since I last heard from you? Completed pieces? Yes, Edgar lies. I dont have them with me but Barney raises his hand as a gesture to silence Edgar. Tomorrow morning, I want one on my desk. If not, the opportunity is gone. Edgar cannot celebrate yet. He does not have a story in his possession, or even in his mind. Perhaps the newly granted chance is enough to ignite an idea but tomorrow is too narrow a time frame. I might need a little time more time than that, Barney, just to polish Nine years and you still need time to revise? Barney interrupts with a cackle, Tomorrow, bring me what you got. Take it or leave it, kid. Now, excuse me, I need to go to lunch. Barney rises from his seat, grabbing his suit jacket from the coat hanger. He places a light slap on Edgars back ****

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115 Nine years ago Edgar reached the societal limit of a writers potential. Riches were his and his name was the toast of London. He was fresh off the release of his novel, Agony a piece he devoted much of his adult life to writing that eventually became the subject of conversation among with his new found fame. He grew accustomed to the daily compliments from strangers, the lavish parties for the wealthy and respected, and the envy other authors had over his success. But as time proceeded the novelty of the book wore off as did praise. It wasnt too long before Edgar was unable to keep a grasp on the extravagant lifestyle his novel talent, but through his success. No longer did he write with passion, if at all, and dedicated his focus to keeping alive his appearances with Londons upper class. By 1940, his careless spending left him with little wealth and the attempt to maintain his luxurious lifestyle left him as a penniless man roaming the streets. Every night Edgar went to a church for shelter and left before dawn, not wanting to risk being seen by anyone. The church was always unoccupied, providing him with much needed solitude. He would occasionally attempt to write, but his words were lost. He had been unable to reinvent a story The wind often beat against the bricks and lifted drapes into the air. Edgar would lie on his back, gazing through the open window. One evening a lifeless bird lay on the sill. Insects burrowed into its body. The population was large enough for Edgar to observe the movements of their march along the carcass. I can no longer live like this, he whispered. A gust of wind extinguished the candles scattered along the church alter. Edgar was left in the dark, except for the moons luminosity spotlighting the bird. **** After leaving the London Printing Company, Edgar rushes to the town library a few streets west. It was sure to be a secluded place to write. The library is dim, similar to Endless shelves covered with thousands books border the walls. Edgar has never liked libraries or more so what they representedyears of effort and imagination only to end

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116 up on a shelf forgotten. However, he dives into the stacks immediately, skimming the book titles until he comes to a familiar one. The bind of the book is worn from frequent use but the title still stands out. Agony Edgar E. Edwin. London Printing Company. Call number FIC ED 1935. Edgar the back. His book has not been checked out in ages. He continues to roam the walls until his eyes creep upon an unusual red notebook, clasped shut with a gold buckle. Charred pictures fall from the pages as he removes the pictures back in their place without much of a glance. His attention comes more from boredom than inspiration. The texture of the book is smooth. The carved engravings of nonsense on the front are only noticeable when Edgar scratches his nails against the cover. He thumbs through the pocketbook, gazing over the tiny notes in the margins and then turning to the front. With a half-hearted sigh, he props his weight against the shelf end. Edgar is pulled into a world of fantasy, grasped by the characters and pushed through by the content. The beauty him with such force that for hours he is unable to break from it. Without looking up when done, Edgar intensely scans the no address, no marking of ownership. The writer responsible is one to generate awe and Edgar cannot conceive a reason why such a powerful work would go unclaimed. It would have been sure to bring the writer much praise. An idea bothers integrity. He lacks a moral compass due to desperation. **** The two years that follow are a whirlwind for has catapulted back into the elite society, much to his satisfaction. His appearance replenished, his reputation restored, his happiness rescued. An afternoon reception is hosted in Edgars honor by the London Printing Company, where wealthy attendees toast to his name and he is unable to travel even a few paces before stopping to engage in fond exchanges. Barney, instantly intoxicated by the book when Edgar eagerly slapped it on his desk two years prior, is drunk from the wine and the sensation of being surrounded by his cohorts. With

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117 his arm wrapped around Edgars shoulder, his belly jiggles violently as he ruptures into laughter at anything said by Edgar that has even the slightest undertone of humor. When the festivities begin to calm, Edgar makes a graceful departure so he is not the last one remaining at his own banquet. He feels the frigid weather while making his way through the lobby; the glass doors of the entrance have continually pushed cold air towards the marble walls. Edgar, energized from the adoration, closes his jacket and puts his leather gloves on before braving the weather. Before leaving, Edgar notices the library across the street. A chill overcomes wind. For a reason unknown to Edgar, he makes his way across the street to the library. Good afternoon, Mr. Edwin, sir, greets the woman at the front desk. Edgar nods. There is not much that has changed in the library since his day of desperation. He walks, at a slower pace than he did his prior visit, over to the thousands of books. He occasionally pulls one off the shelf and thumbs through it. A green cover catches his eye and he grabs it while perching himself against the stack. chapter. My father loved that book, says a meek voice from his right. Edgar glances to a scrawny young man sitting at a nearby table. His eyes are tired and his hair stands in every direction. His clothes are dingy, his coat missing several buttons and the elbows patched together with pieces of fabric. Pardon? My father loved that book, the young man repeats as he clears his throat. Oh, Edgar nods, rolling his eyes. He turns his attention back to the book. You are Edgar Edwin, no? Yes, I am, Edgar says with a tone expressing superiority. Im Arthur. The young man extends his hand but Edgar ignores the gesture, still unwilling to engage in conversation. My father read that book close to a hundred times, he was always reading the same things continuously. Arthur chuckles at the thought. He loved reading and writing. He cant do either anymore. Hows that? Edgar asks with no enthusiasm, hardly lifting his head from the book.

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118 He died. My condolences. Edgar replies, insincere but distances as he bites his lower lip, holding in his thoughts. One mans expectations can drive him to absolute madness. Cant you imagine? He tried, oh goodness, how he tried. He mustered every word, every situation, every character but could not conclude with an adequate story. Do you know of the book Pens & Pencils by Eugene Staples? Yes, I know of it, Edgar states, Very successful story years back, spectacular even. The book was the toast of the literary world for months. Not a single person that I know of is unaware of that book. Eugene Staples was my father. Edgar turns on his heel, fully facing Arthur, his eyes wide with inquiry. Arthur refrains from looking directly at Edgar; the exhilaration in Edgars voice was too much for Arthur to confront. He knew once he had confessed his over him. Edgar had that persona, the kind of man who only respected the respected. The kind of man who chose to only converse with the successful, the elite, the people who had Your father was brilliant! That book holds a predominant position amongst the literary community, even to this day! That book holds an indirect standard for us writers. It is such a pleasure to meet you, son! Edgar reaches for Arthurs hand. Tell me, son, what was your father working on when he died? I am intrigued. Edgar pulls a chair and takes a seat. Arthur still withholds eye contact, He hadnt written anything substantial in years, or so he told me. The last year of his life he used to come here every day and write in a journal. He loved that journal, Ill tell you that. He used to tell me of this story that he was working on, he never disclosed the plot but I remember the grin emerges on Arthurs face as he recalls the memory of his father. He left that journal behind in this library, one that he hid amongst the books. Thats why I come here; I can feel his presence amongst these desks. In some ways, it gives me a sense of tranquility. He always hid his writings; my mother didnt offer kind words towards his work, even after he obtained success. She believed that real men relied on hard work to

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119 bring income into the household, not on pure talent. So, he came to this library to write in peace. However, he couldnt. The voices in his head were too dominating, forever torturing him with his past success and how he would never write another celebrated story. He felt like a failure for most of his life. He died feeling like a failure. Edgar hesitates but his curiosity cannot be composed. How did he die? Arthur grimaces. Hehe...hung himself. Bowing his head almost in respect, he sighs. He had been suffering from writers block with his story, some days he would only be able to string together several sentences and for the following hours he simply sat here and tried to think of new ideas. But he couldnt, writers block drove him to insanity. The night he hung himself, he had come back from here, enraged because his journal had gone missing. He turned this library upside down, he looked everywhere. He took it as a sign to stop writing. All signs led him to believe he was not supposed to write. His battle with a lack of ideas and then his beloved journal, though may not have held much, had vanished. Edgar is paralyzed in his seat. Eugenes adored journal rest in his coat pocket. Barney had returned it to Edgar once the book had been released. Eugenes journal had brought Edgar back to life, but killed Eugene. He used to tell me every man has a purpose on Earth, but when my father realized the passion he had lived for was no longer his divine purpose for being alive, he didnt see a reason to live any longer. Arthur continues chipping the white paint from the table desk, oblivious to the guilt in Edgars body language. Edgar sneaks several glimpses at his coat pocket, wondering if he should return the journal and confess to Arthur, and himself, that his newfound success was an act of thievery. I must offer you my praise though, Arthur says. Me? you. It was a beautiful piece of work, indeed. Arthur pauses. My father would have loved your story.

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120 a quarrel between lovers Daniel Land Suddenly, you were glowering and prancing alone as I lean back in the chair, disappointed for a change. But in that last ditch effort, you grab me up and force me in tune with you, and for a minute, it was more than I couldve ever dreamed for. But your constant poking me in the chest pushed me back and caused me to wobble. Eyesight again sharp and pulsing with realization When something doesnt work, it quickly becomes clear, and something was certainly amiss. I notice you pointing out how much Im sweating, and how harsh my breathing is, but I quiver away and fall into the chair again, shaking and I dont mean to shake, but Im pretty much urged to. Looking down, I shed my last tears for you, and it hits me once more. Pulse, leaving rings in my vision; breaking that mold into a really bad headache. Is this how it should be? You stand there, all stern, waving puffs into the air. Telling me to clamor down. But it wasnt happy, like it used to be, wasnt playful. Pulling myself up, I feel my heartbeat; a crowded street, and all the hustle and bustle getting quicker and

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121 quicker Hard breath. Sweat in my eyes. Drowsy a bit. I could fall asleep in an instant. Is this the heartbreak?

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122 Flagellation Lana Slinkard

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123 Recovery Plan Desiree Alcala Youre very lucky to be receiving this opportunity. The nurse sticks a needle into my hand. She connects the IV to my supply bag. Only a few are given this amazing chance, Meeka. Of course, she smiles, there arent many who have done what you have, either. She wags I growl at her and tug on my restraints, but the titanium cloth keeps me down. The nurse shakes her head, tightening the straps with the push of a button. I was like you once, I think. Rebellious. Soon that wont matter anymore, dearie. No more war, treacherous parents...dead siblings to mourn. I bare my jagged teeth at her as she looks away, tugging on my restraints. They creak under the force as I smile at her, licking my lips. I can feel my eyes dilate, becoming thinnervertical. Im gonna rip your mouth off your face. Im gonna cut your head off I laugh, banging my head against the cold steel table. When Im done with you, Welcome. Its not the nurse whose talking, the voice is too masculine. I look up and a screen appears from a hidden panel in the ceiling. Meeka Namar, Plague of the former planet Devka, presently colony of the Muren Empire. Age: sixteen, parents: Dont you dare say his name! You are convicted of mass murder, torture, and cannibalism. You have therefore been selected for our for displacement. My eyes narrow. What do you mean by displacement? Itd be such a waste to simply execute you, sweetie. The nurse points to the IV supply. This solution is going to erase all the naughty things youve done, along with your personality and...unusual skill-set. I smile tauntingly for a moment, making sure to show her every jagged, sharpened tooth. She stares at my teeth and shivers visibly, but smiles all the same. My face

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124 drops when it hits me what she meant. Like hell. I pull against the restraints, the titanium bonds creaking and bending against my face. The nurse is already across the room when I get my right foot free. The room door opens and the guards swarm in. I break my right arm free as a guard jumps me. I scratch his face, leaving deep furrows with my black talons. Grabbing the collar of his uniform before he can run, I sink my teeth into his neck and A sharp pain hits my hand and I look down. A blue IV. My body suddenly drops on the edge of the table No more baby brother to mourn. Four. scream at the screen. Three. A hammer pounds in my head. Two Kill me, but I wont let you take him from me! One Benny.

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125 Familiar Sarah Fessler Sitting in this place, The air, Crisp and Cold, I can feel time rewind. The wet grass beneath my feet, Brings me back to greener times. Until the frigid cement where I sit, Grounds me back to today. But then the familiar scent, Of cologne, Once adorned by a long lost lover, Snaps me back to nights, Filled with endless moonlight. With wishes that never came true, Turned to broken promises And broken glass, scattering our world. When soft, sweet whispers, Turned to Blood curdling, (Silent) Screams. Suddenly the heartbeat, In my ears, Distracts me for a Moments time. Slapping me back, To this moment, right here, and now. To the taste of bitter menthol, Inhaled deeply, Contrasting the sweet sip of wine.

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126 The Monster Underneath the Stairs Samantha Feldman A petite, frail woman stands before me on a stage with a twisted microphone on a long, narrow stand. Her hair is freshly combed and as dry as the half crooked lips that lie on her pale tinted pink face. She must have power in her warm house to have been able to dry her hair; unlike my mother who had to go to work this morning with a soaked head. I realize she got to go to work today; unlike the teachers from my old elementary school whose grade books lie somewhere house, a job and nothing to do on a Monday but stand on a high school auditorium stage next to a twisted microphone on a long narrow stand. Our principal tells us to give this women our attention but all I see is water We moved into our 100 year old colonial home in a half bathrooms. I remember walking into my new home for The most special part about my new castle, however, lay underground. My mom and dad led me and my twin in between each step and I could feel wind passing through each of them. It made me shiver. Thats the laundry room, she said as she pointed to the left. And thats your new playroom! she said as she pointed to the right. The meatballs I made were lopsided. I couldnt master the perfect ball like my mother could. For Gods sake, the woman was on the phone and watching TV yet her meatballs were the perfect shape and size of a tennis ball. I kept mashing the meat between my greased up hands and starting again. Slowly rolling back and forth just as she had taught me how to do years ago. Whats the matter with you? she would joke every time I wasnt completely happy with my creation. It probably didnt help that while we were rolling our is in effect for all Long Island residents south of Sunrise Highway.

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127 It took only the unloading of a few moving trucks for Barbies Dream House laid next to NASCARs racetrack and Fisher Prices City Hall connected the two territories in peace. Zach and I spent hours on end playing in our own It was our world down there, our safe haven. We only stayed until nightfall hit and my mom would yell down that dinner was ready. We never returned until daylight the following morning. I used to love going outside on my bike, where I would chase the canal that surrounded my little neighborhood. Not counting my house as a starting point, I would set myself a mile down north on my long narrow street to where only beach could be seen behind houses. My bike would guide me as Id ride that same mile in the opposite direction, peeping my head over the tightly spaced houses and trees to see the water rise closer and closer in sight. Id know the chase was over when street and side walk was replaced by docks and boats. Breeze would escape through the tiny holes of my helmet and I would think how beautiful it was to live here. They say its just going to be a tropical storm, Sam, relax, my mom promised. I know Ma, but what does that even mean? A lot of rain and a lot of wind. I think we can take it, dont you? Yeah I guess. But I think we should still evacuate. They dont stop saying it on the news. The meat became mush in my hands once more. I promise. We are completely safe here. Look. She grabbed the meat from my hand and in seconds made a perfectly round ball and splashed it into the homemade sauce. This sauce will last us for a few days if we cant leave going to be okay. When the sky grew dark, I used to have nightmares that there were monsters under my basement stairs. I feared could, the monsters would drag us through the wide slots in

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128 between each stair. I used to wake up in a cold sweat only to hear the stairs that haunted me. They creaked so loud tucked under my blanket, afraid to move from safety, until I room asking if she heard the noise that rattled me to my core. One night they creaked so loud from the wind escaping through a basement window that I ran out, only to Good morning, she says. The room grows more silent than it was before. There is no need for her to touch the tangled microphone. My name is Dr. Rosen. I am a grief counselor. quietly. The girl next to me giggles uncomfortably. Your school has asked me here today to discuss what has happened to your community over the last few months. What happened? I have no idea, I mutter to myself. The girl next to me has no response. Her phone has replaced me for her entertainment. Ive placed microphones in both of the aisles. If you feel comfortable enough you can just walk up the microphone and tell a story about Hurricane Sandy. The entire senior class twists uncomfortably in their seats. Since Im only one person, I want this to be an open environment, where we can help each other heal, she says. Shes kidding me right? The girl next to me looks up from her Twitter feed for a moment and then shrugs her shoulders. She must wish she had chosen somewhere else to sit. My family sat on our enclosed porch that night together for hours, given a clear view of the destruction entertainment became Long Island News channel 12 and placing bets on how high the water would go up the stairs outside. Within every hour, all four of us lost our bets until the and we stopped playing. Food passed the time. Cookies and milk, nachos and salsa, anything that took our minds off the fact that this was no tropical storm.

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129 We told stories about our beautiful, dysfunctional basement, almost in memorial. We laughed about the nights all day. We told horror stories of the mornings after a big rain storm where we would have to hop over wet patches just to get to our freshly washed clothes. water down there, but then again no one had checked since the last batch of nachos were consumed. Our spirits were high, so high that we even laughed when the lights went out. I know we are going to be okay. Everyone at school said they werent evacuating either, I said. Did they evacuate for Hurricane Irene like we did? my mom said. Not really. We were one of the only ones who did. See? And the news said to evacuate for Irene too and nothing happened. It was just loud rain. I rolled the last hunk of meat into perfection and plopped it into the sauce. My mouth was watering from how good everything looked. Take the sauce downstairs and leave it in the basement fridge. Ill heat it up tomorrow, my mom said. 7:00pm on October 29, 2012. We lost power in the entire house. It was so dark, I couldnt even see my pale hand in front of my sweat soaked face. We all knew we should have left. We huddled together on our small couch until my brother jumped up and screamed, My keyboard! I left my keyboard down there! Within seconds he was running towards the basement, my dad quickly ran after to help. My mom and I kept watch of the porch, unable to move. Deb! my dad screamed. My mom and I sprinted towards the stairs. Theyre breaking, the windows are broken, oh my God, shit, shit, Deb! All of the water is coming in. All I heard next was screaming, but I didnt know it was coming from me. I cupped my hands over my eyes and collapsed. My body felt like it was drowning. It felt like I was drowning and no one would be able to save me and I couldnt breathe. I couldnt breathe. I wanted someone to save me. All I saw

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130 was water slowly coming up the stairs and into my living room and no one would be able to save me. I wanted it out of my house. But this monster was real, not just a creak in the stairs that could be vanished by a blanket and hugs. This had the momentum to destroy anything beyond my worst fears. My childhood nightmare had come true. My mom ran me to the sink and I dry heaved until an wouldnt have to hear the running water coming from the four broken windows of my basement. So I wouldnt have to hear my brother cry when he realized all the things he stacked on the highest shelf was now buried under six feet of ocean. So I wouldnt have to hear all three of my car sirens go off and then suddenly stop. So I wouldnt have to hear the sewage spewing from my basement toilet. So I wouldnt have to hear the crash of my fridge being completely turned upside down by the force of the water. So I wouldnt have to hear the creaking from the stairs stop because the water simply had no where else to go. When Zach and I would make it to our mothers room she would hold us tight until the fear subsided. Its just a scary noise, shed say. No monsters will ever hurt you. The water continued to spin and shift, destroying every proof of existence prior to its arrival. When it reached my 111 year old mansion, we had nothing left to do but go to house. My mom contemplated how we would get on the roof keyboard. I only hoped that Barbie evacuated her Dream House. I woke up at approximately 10:00am on October 30, 2012. My dad told me when I walked out of my bedroom that most of the water had receded, but yet it left a scum incrusted line marking seven feet in my basement. I refused to go see it for myself, instead I walked outside desperately hoping that my perfect neighborhood was unscathed. I made it to the sidewalk and found myself in a new world of destruction. Oil piles lay fresh in the street next to

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131 my head south towards the canal only to see tree branches leading to broken docks and upside down boats. I ran back inside to my family who sat hovering over a battery operated radio. We heard from the news channel that they were calling it a category one Hurricane named Sandy. in months and Im being suffocated by this silence. Dr. Rosen has not stopped rocking back and forth on the stage. Its clear she doesnt know what to do. I guess the death of a home, not necessarily a person isnt in her forte. Two minutes pass, no one moves from their seats, no one speaks and Im about ready to walk out. Finally the creak of an auditorium chair forces all of our heads to move at once. A large red headed boy from the last row stands up and walks down towards the mic on my right side. I recognize him as my neighbor from down the road. He used to throw rocks at any car that passed his house when we were young. My eyes follow him the entire walk down the steep aisle. He turns on the microphone and Dr. Rosen is overjoyed at the sight of him. Whats your name? she says. Mike. Nice to meet you Mike. Go ahead and share your story when youre ready. Mike takes a deep breath and looks down. I hear his stammering through the microphone. I dont really know what to say. Say whatever you want to say, Mike, we are all here for you. Mike takes a deep breath and begins. Well, Im homeless right now. My water damage wasnt so bad but the power company turned my power on and... he steps away from the microphone and looks up towards the light; almost for guidance on what to do next. said. His head tilts back down, now looking straight at Dr.Rosen as if the reality had just hit him. Yeah it did, Mike agreed. I know nothing about this woman standing on stage in front of me. Maybe she had aspirations of doing more on a Monday morning than talking to damaged high school students who cant see past the pictures in their mind to

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132 listen to her. Maybe she sat on top of her basement stairs with her twin brother, wondering when the monsters will underworld between the slots. Maybe whenever she drives down the streets of her neighborhood she thinks of the pile of lost possessions that once paved the sidewalks. Maybe a year later from today, shell sit on her newly renovated stairs without slots and wonder if the monsters are gone for good. Maybe whenever something traumatic in her life happens all shell see is water. With a Bow Joel N. Dodge

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133 Liebe Krieg und Opfer Aaron Golish EXT. OUTSIDE NAZI GERMAN WORK CAMP NIGHT PRISONERS in white striped uniforms sprint through the dark. Snow falls. We hear indistinct shouting. Then silence. A gunshot pierces the night. We see a beautiful violet-eyed FEMALE PRISONER(22). A FADE TO BLACK: INT. MESS HALL DAY A large, bald, and imposing superior OFFICER (40) hails for WILHELM STEIG (20), a slender young guard with mousy brown hair and grey lighter hue from wear. OFFICER Wilhelm Steig? WILHELM Yessir. Wilhelm salutes. OFFICER Alright new guy, one of the guards at the gate is sick. You are ordered to supervise the incoming prisoners in his place. WILHELM At once sir! few rolls into his pockets before hurrying to the gates. EXT. NAZI GERMAN WORK CAMP GATES DAY

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134 processed without incident, Wilhelm has a defeated look in his eyes as he shifts about uncomfortably. The cries and yelling of the incoming prisoners drown out most other sounds. Wilhelm watches as some children and elderly are dragged off, begging for their lives and sobbing profusely before being shipped off to another camp. EXT. NAZI GERMAN WORK CAMP LATE AFTERNOON Wilhelm turns around and begins to walk through the camp. He walks by a couple of GUARDS harassing a FEMALE PRISONER. She is the Young Female from the opening. GUARD 1 So where in the hell do you think youre going? Guard 1 shoves her. She looks at the ground and doesnt respond. GUARD 2 Why dontcha fuckin answer him? GUARD 1 Yeah! Quit being such a bitch. Guard 1 rests a hand under the Female Prisoners chin. GUARD 1 (contd) Dont you know copping an attitude like this could get you killed? The Female Prisoner continues to avoid eye contact. Guard 1 breaks away and hollers. GUARD 1 (CONT.) Look at me when Im talking to you.

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135 Wilhelm turns his head towards the commotion. Guard 1 raises his hand over his head. Wilhelm prepares to intervene. He is interrupted by Guard 1 smacking her across the face. face of Guard 1, causing Guard 1 to fall to GUARD 2 What in the hells wrong with you! Guard 2 takes a swing at Wilhelm, landing Wilhelm swings at Guard 2, landing a punch in the gut as Guard 1 stands back up. GUARD 1 (rubbing his jaw) Youre gonna regret that. Guard 1 punches Wilhelm in the side of the head and as Wilhelm falls over, Guard 2 catches him and pushes Wilhelm back towards Guard 1. Guard 1 kicks Wilhelm in the gut, causing him to double over. Guard 2 kicks Wilhelm over so that he is facing up, and Guard 1 stomps his nose. There is a sickening crunch. WILHELM (in a blood curdling scream) AHHHH The Young Woman backs away as the superior

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136 OFFICER (enraged) What in the hell is going on here? GUARD 2 He just came up and... OFFICER ... Can it. OFFICER (CONT.) Just get the hell out of here. He looks at Wilhelm, sprawled out on the ground. OFFICER (CONT.) (contd) And you. Get the hell up, dust your ass off, and go see the damn doctor. walking off. Wilhelm sits up, using one hand WILHELM (nasally) Sorry about that. He stands up and offers his bloody hand to shake. His nose is bent at an unnatural angle. He quickly realizes that his hand is covered in blood and switches hands. WILHELM (contd) My name is Wilhelm, Wilhelm Steig. Whats your name? She pauses for a moment before answering; looking at her forearm.

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137 YOUNG WOMAN 1-4-2-8-5-7. WILHELM No. Not your number. I mean your real name. YOUNG WOMAN Why does it matter? WILHELM It just does. YOUNG WOMAN Whats your angle? WILHELM Theres no angle. He steps closer to her. WILHELM (CONT.) I just saw someone who needed help, so I helped them. YOUNG WOMAN But youre just one of them. Wilhelm looks sad and faces the ground. The Young Woman lets out a small sigh. YOUNG WOMAN (contd) My name is VIOLETT BRAUS. WILHELM See, thats much prettier than 1-4-2-8-5-7. She lets out a bit of a laugh but tries to hide it. Wilhelm smiles. There is blood on his teeth, and still some blood running down his face. His eyes are beginning to blacken. VIOLETT You should probably go see the medic.

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138 WILHELM Yeah, I guess I should. Ill see you around then? VIOLETT I cant exactly go anywhere. Wilhelm covers up a slight chuckle. WILHELM You should probably hurry to your barracks. Wouldnt want anymore trouble. Wilhelm stands up unsteadily, and waves before leaving. INT. MEDICAL BARRACKS LATE AFTERNOON Wilhelm stumbles into the medical barracks holding his nose. He is getting blood everywhere. The DOCTOR walks in and sees Wilhelm bleeding. DOCTOR Ahem! Excuse me. Youre making a mess. WILHELM Sorry. The Doctor walks up to Wilhelm and tilts his head back. DOCTOR Jesus! What happened to you? WILHELM I... fell. I tripped and fell. The Doctor gives him a puzzled look of disbelief. DOCTOR should probably get this taken care of?

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139 sits Wilhelm down and turns to the medical supplies on the wall. He grabs some tools and bandages and turns back to Wilhelm. DOCTOR (contd) This might hurt a little. Alright, on the count of three. One. Two... The Doctor quickly snaps Wilhelms nose into place. WILHELM (in pain) Ow ow ow ow ow... The Doctor plugs Wilhelms nose and makes a splint. DOCTOR Sorry about that. The Doctor turns around and grabs a bottle of pain pills and tosses them to Wilhelm. DOCTOR (CONT.) Thats going to hurt for a while. You should take some every few hours or so. Wilhelm palms the bottle and looks down at the label. WILHELM Thanks! I owe you one. DOCTOR Ill say. How about you start by mopping up your little mess out there? Wilhelm stood, a little dumbstruck. The awkward silence is interrupted by the Doctors laughter. Wilhelm joins in. DOCTOR (CONT.) Dont worry. I got it. Its not even the

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140 worst thing thats been dragged in here. Just make sure you come back if you need anything else. the barracks before laying down to rest. His eyes close as he drifts off. FADE TO BLACK: EXT. NAZI GERMAN WORK CAMP MORNING Wilhelm is on a beat around the camp. He messes around with the nose splint. His eyes are black and swollen. He stumbles onto a FRAIL LOOKING MAN (35) coughing and wheezing. He is on all fours. Wilhelm helps him up. WILHELM Are you alright? FRAIL MAN (with disbelief) Yeah, I just... I just havent eaten in a while. WILHELM (with concern) Why not? FRAIL MAN Well my... Wait. Why do you care? WILHELM I just want to make sure everything is alright. Please. Tell me. FRAIL MAN Well, my daughter. You see, shes sick. Ive been giving her my share of food. Shes... Shes not getting any better. The Frail Man begins to sob. Wilhelm consoles him and offers him a roll from his pocket.

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141 WILHELM You still need to eat. You need to be strong for your daughter. FRAIL MAN I just dont know what to do. WILHELM What are her symptoms? FRAIL MAN Well... CUT TO: INT. MEDICAL BARRACKS EARLY EVENING Wilhelm is sitting in a chair. He is facing The Doctor in a somewhat worn lab coat. His hair is slicked back and his glasses are resting on the edge of his nose. DOCTOR Back so soon? So, youve been experiencing fevers, restlessness, vomiting, and?... WILHELM ...Body aches. DOCTOR Okay then. some medicines. DOCTOR (CONT.) it could be anything from a common cold to pneumonia, so Ill just give you these to help with the symptoms. Let me know if this doesnt help. We may have to try something else. The Doctor hands Wilhelm a bottle of pills with instructions.

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142 WILHELM Thanks! I should have mentioned it yesterday but... Wilhelm points to his nose. WILHELM (CONT.) I was a little preoccupied. DOCTOR You may want to take a break and rest for a while. WILHELM Cant do that. The boss would kill me. They both chuckle as the Doctor turns to exit the room. DOCTOR You should lay down for a bit. After the Doctor leaves Wilhelm sneaks some medicines into his pockets after carefully choosing. After a few minutes he walks out WILHELM Sorry, Id love to stay but Ive got work to do. The Doctor waves goodbye as Wilhelm leaves. CUT TO: EXT. NAZI GERMAN WORK CAMP NIGHT medicine to him, carefully looking over his shoulder to make sure nobody is watching. The Frail Man shakes Wilhelms hand before giving him a quick hug. FRAIL MAN Thank you. This means so much to me. I only wish that more of them could be like you.

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143 Wilhelm offers him a smile before retreating. FADE TO BLACK: INT. MESS HALL DAY Wilhelm sneaks a few rolls into his pockets again as he is leaving. CUT TO: EXT. NAZI GERMAN WORK CAMP DAY Wilhelm is on his usual beat. He encounters the Frail Man from earlier. He is looking a bit better. He comes up and shakes Wilhelms hand. FRAIL MAN Thank you so much. WILHELM Is the medicine working? FRAIL MAN Shes still sick, but its starting to clear up already. I dont know how to thank you. WILHELM Wilhelm puts a hand on his shoulder to comfort him. WILHELM (CONT.) Ive gotta go. You take care now. Wilhelm and the Frail Man part ways. Wilhelm continues his route through the camp. He sees a group of laborers breaking up rocks and carrying the rubble. There are several guards armed with MP38 sub machine guns. A couple of them turn to look at Wilhelm.

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144 As one of prisoners trips and falls, all of the guards turn to face him. One of them raises their gun. Wilhelm continues as they yell indiscriminately. EXT. NAZI GERMAN WORK CAMP DAY Wilhelm passes out some food to some of the more elderly prisoners and collects letters from a few of the other prisoners. Wilhelm passes out some of the stolen medicine to the prisoners. Wilhelm thumbs through the prisoners letters before placing them in his jacket pocket. EXT. NAZI GERMAN WORK CAMP LATE AFTERNOON He walks up to the fence as a LITTLE BOY (10) rolls up on a bicycle. Wilhelm looks around before handing him the stack of letters with a German Reichsmark on top through the fence. LITTLE BOY Thanks. My pop will get these out as soon as he can. Ill be back next week to pick up the next batch. WILHELM Same time? LITTLE BOY (smiling) Same time. WILHELM (smiling back) You should probably get out of here before they catch you. The Little Boy tips his hat and begins to

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145 pedal away. Wilhelm waves. EXT. NAZI GERMAN WORK CAMP NIGHT Wilhelm stumbles into Violett. She has a smile on her face as he bumps into her. VIOLETT Oh, there you are. I never got to thank you for yesterday. Wilhelm and Violett walk through a secluded area of the camp. They sit down and look up at the full moon. WILHELM You know, I never wanted this. My dad fought my country. Id rather have been put on the front lines. But here? After seeing all of this? Id never wish this on anybody. VIOLETT had a little dog. He was a little black WILHELM After my father died my mother ended up in a hospital. After that I joined the military and Ive been sending just about all of my pension to cover her bills. VIOLETT I havent seen my family in two months. Violett turns to look Wilhelm in the eyes. She has tears in her eyes. VIOLETT (CONT.) I never even got to tell them goodbye. I dont even know if theyre still alive. Wilhelm places a hand on her shoulder to comfort her. She turns to Wilhelm and embraces him.

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146 They stand up and hug each other again. Violett plants a small kiss on Wilhelms cheek. They are interrupted when a GUARD comes around a corner. Violett and Wilhelm separate from each other. The Guard clears his throat. GUARD 3 Excuse me, is everything okay? Wilhelm turns to face the other guard nervously. WILHELM WILHELM (CONT.) Escorting her to the prisoners barracks. GUARD 3 Well you should hurry. Its getting late. The Guard tips his hat before turning around and walking away. Wilhelm and Violett sigh with relief. Wilhelm walks Violett back to her barracks. EXT. PRISONERS BARRACKS NIGHT As Wilhelm opens the door to let Violett in, they interrupt a couple of the FEMALE PRISONERS in the middle of their conversation. FEMALE PRISONER 1 -and then we can escape. All weve got to do is... She notices the others looking shocked and

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147 looks over her shoulder. FEMALE PRISONER 1 (CONT.) (slowing down) ... get some others to help us. FEMALE PRISONER 2 Oh God no! The Female Prisoners cower into the back of the room. WILHELM Oh no no no no. Its not what you think. I was just walking Violett back. The other prisoners are still cowering. WILHELM (contd) I wont say anything, I promise! The prisoners look confused. Violett steps forward. VIOLETT Its okay. We dont have to worry about him. Hes with me. FEMALE PRISONER 1 How do we know we can trust him? VIOLETT Hes the one thats been helping the others. And he saved ME! Wilhelm stands silently and awkwardly near the door. WILHELM Um. If you dont mind, Ill be leaving now. Wilhelm starts to leave.

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148 WILHELM (CONT.) Ill see you later Violett. Wilhelm leaves and starts to walk back to his barracks. He ends up at the barracks and lays down to sleep. CUT TO: EXT. NAZI GERMAN WORK CAMP NIGHT In a dreamlike sequence, we see Violett turning in slow motion, smiling. Wilhelm embraces her. CUT TO: INT. BARRACKS NIGHT Wilhelm is sleeping. There is a large grin on his face. FADE TO BLACK: EXT. NAZI GERMAN WORK CAMP DAY In a montage we see Wilhelm helping various prisoners. He is assisted by Violett. They give out food and medicine. They also help the prisoners send and receive mail. Between helping prisoners, Wilhelm and Violett talk and hold hands. When he brings her some violets, she springs forward and throws her arms around him. The montage ends as the season transitions into winter. There is frost on the ground. OFFICER Good morning soldier. WILHELM Morning, sir.

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149 OFFICER I have a very important job for you. Follow me. OFFICER (CONT.) It seems as though weve had a thief. Medical supplies have been disappearing from the facilities, and weve found contraband on several of the prisoners. Wilhelm gets noticeably nervous. OFFICER (CONT.) (contd) We are trying to get them to rat out the perpetrator, so we are having them dig their own graves. They arrive in front of several scared looking prisoners. Violett is among them. One of the other guards hands an MP38 sub machine attention to the prisoners. OFFICER You have three days to dig your graves. If you try and run away; you will be shot. If you refuse to dig; you will be shot. If you disobey these guards; you will be shot. At the end of the three days, if you still havent ratted out the one who has been stealing from us, you will all be killed. Now start digging. The PRISONERS start to dig. Some of them are emotionless, while others sob quietly to themselves. frozen soil. Day quickly transitions to night. EXT. NAZI GERMAN WORK CAMP NIGHT

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150 The prisoners are dismissed and Wilhelm leaves as they are climbing out of their holes. Wilhelm goes to retrieve his mail. He is uneasy and grey in the face. INT. MAIL ROOM NIGHT There is a letter from a hospital. There is a cheerful expression on his face. It is reads its contents. Wilhelm falls to his knees sobbing. He drops the paper and we can see a large red stamp reading DECEASED on the letter. Another guard pats him on the shoulder to try and console him. FADE OUT: EXT. NAZI GERMAN WORK CAMP DAY Wilhelm is back to watching over the digging prisoners. He has an empty look on his tear-stained face. There is a changeless expression on Wilhelms face as there is a transition from light to dark. EXT. NAZI GERMAN WORK CAMP NIGHT After the prisoners are dismissed, Wilhelm follows Violett. He puts his hand on her shoulder. WILHELM Listen. Im getting you out of here tonight. Im going to help you and the others escape. Violett gives a slight nod and smiles.

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151 WILHELM (CONT.) I need you to get everyone to meet up at the south gates. Ill unlock it for you. VIOLETT Well meet you there! Violett kisses Wilhelm tenderly on the lips. WILHELM Please dont get caught. VIOLETT Dont worry, we wont. The two separate and run off. Violett heads deep into the camp while Wilhelm runs towards the gates. CUT TO: Wilhelm standing at the south gates, slightly winded. CUT TO: Violett frantically collecting people to escape. VIOLETT (contd) Come on! Were getting out of here! CUT TO: Wilhelm unlocking the gates. A heavy snow begins to fall. As he waits for the escapees, whistles start to blow and guards can be heard shouting. The prisoners bolt through the open gate. Violett is close behind them.

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152 Violett stops in front of Wilhelm. Before she can say anything he pulls her up tight to his body and kisses her hard. Flashlights are now noticeable in the distance. WILHELM Go. Go now before they catch you. A single tear rolls down his cheek. WILHELM (CONT.) Ill see you on the other side. Violett runs through the open gate as Wilhelm closes it. He locks it, tosses the key, and removes his swastika armband; using it to tie off the gate to slow the guards. Several Guards rush up to the scene just as GUARD 1 I shouldve known the goddamn traitor was going to be you. Guard 1 pulls out a Luger and points it at pistol out of the Guards hands and continues to point it at Wilhelm. OFFICER (yelling) Do you have any idea what youve done? Youve committed an act of high treason! Youve betrayed your country. WILHELM (yelling) No. My country betrayed me! OFFICER Halt! The punishment for your crime is death.

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153 Get down on your knees. Tears start to roll down Wilhelms cheeks. WILHELM No. I will die standing up like a man; not down in the dirt like one of your loyal mutts. Wilhelms forehead. CUT TO: EXT. OUTSIDE NAZI GERMAN WORK CAMP NIGHT A group of escaped prisoners are running through the dark. The snow is falling hard. As a gunshot pierces the eerily quiet, cold night air we zoom in on Violett as she turns screams. VIOLETT NO! She wipes away tears as she is forced to continue running in the cold, dark, night. FADE TO BLACK:

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154 Propaganda Leah Cunningham Between the 13th and 15th of February, 1945 during World War Two, 722 heavy bombers of the Royal Air Force, and 527 from the Americans, dropped more than 3,900 tons of high explosive bombs through 4 air raids, destroying 15 square miles of the city of Dresden, Germany. Bombs fall, with victorious song. stamped with heroics, and a royal salute. blacked out skies, eclipsed in your eyes drop on evil homes found bare. silencing you beasts with burning tongues. death canvassed streets bury your young. decay slaps your face as the skin on your limbs, slowly slips away thats all we see, our grand victory. while turning blind eyes, away from the men dressed in ties and women with babies and childrens loud cries. as their families burn alive,alive,alive... a city turned rubble 30,000 dead, no trouble no blame. one lonely door standing tall on a heap, a note on the knob claiming for keeps.

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155 Scream Until Youre Gone Breana Iannotti

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156 For Jenny Breana Iannotti We once were young Without any worries My big sister My best friend Years passed Later the nights became Id wait up for you to get home With your arms punctured and bruised Youd stumble in and whisper, Dont tell mom and dad Iron bars became your new view The only thing I feared was losing you No longer home, no longer free You were no longer with me October you came back home I wish I couldve been there so you didnt feel so alone The addiction set back in We all knew your body wouldnt win You told mom you put your clothes in the dryer And stated that you were going to take a bath Who knew that it would be your last Seven missed calls in the early November morning Mom said they found you, broken and blue A needle on the ground A tub of cold water now surrounding you The sun doesnt seem to shine as bright with you gone My dark dampening days continue on I cant seem to shake these terrors at night I think of your voice and all the words you once spoke I think of how youll never see me dressed in all white But mostly, I think of that contagious laugh of yours

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157 Oh, what I would give to hear that glorious laugh just once more That we all lose in the end You just lost too soon I live vicariously through you I feel you with me everywhere I go I carry you on my back and in my chest Youre not heavy, youre my world And may I see you again where the skies are brighter Living a life Rest In Peace, Jenny. Dedicated to the Putzer Family

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158 Death of the Game Mike Bifaro There was something to be said about the day the end came. but he was late. We were all starting sixth grade that year, mattered much. All we really cared about was ball. Id pitch and Stevie hit while Goober, Jon John and Bucky covered bases. It was all we needed until Stevie hit the ball over the fence. Ill go. he said, and hopped over to get it. He didnt come back right away, but when he did he was grinning much too wide. The next day he did the same thing, smiling like a mad man the whole time. The day after, she showed up. Her, Natalie Baker, snapping her gum and winking at Stevie from the bench. Nobody could catch a damn ball that day. Stevie walked her home that night and every day since then she was there. Then today, Stevie was late. After an hour of waiting Goober started to sweat and decided to quit. Assholes gone Awol. he said and stomped home. Jon John left after, leaving me and Bucky to walk home together. Along the way we passed Natalie Bakers house and Bucky said, You think hes in there? but I didnt respond. The game was over. There was nothing else to say.

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159 H2nO Summer Cluette Water and I are not friends. Id describe our relationship as that kid who all your friends love and you just sit there glaring at them thinking fuck that kid, but youre forced to spend time with them anyway because all your friends like them. But yknow, maybe water and I could have been friends if it wouldnt have tried to kill me as many times as it has. Trust me, its hard to make friends with something that is out to get you. taken it easy on me. My mom had taken me and her new boyfriend to the beach on a rather windy day. Usually, Lake Champlain is pretty calm which makes sail boats a common sight but that day, the waves were high and lifeguards were advising people not to swim out too far. My mom told me not go past my knees in the water while her and her boyfriend went out for a swim. I was stubborn. And not too much of a fan of my decided after a few minutes they had spent too much alone time together and I needed to go and get them. So I waded into the water and right away, my trusted doggy paddle failed me. The waves were strong and had knocked me over when I was just up to my knees. My feet were unable to touch the sand, it was hard to make it far without going under. I knew how to swim underwater, thankfully. I was told to blow air out of your nose to keep the water from going in and swim like the surface. But the waves were overwhelming and every time I managed to get my head above the water I would be pulled back under by another wave. Pretty soon, I wasnt able to get enough air when I broke the surface and I started to breathe in water. Which burnt, it burnt like something I had never felt before. I tried to yell but no one could hear me under the water. What I remember most wasnt the feeling of drowning. It wasnt the crushing weight on my chest or my vision fading or the ringing it my ears. It was the fact I could see people when I was under water. I could make out the shape of legs in the muddy water was; they had to be close to me. But they werent helping. Here I was, about to drown and these

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160 people were off going about their merry way. And props to that lifeguard who forgot how to do his job. I was lucky though, Im not even sure how but my mom must have seen me trying to get to shore. I was suddenly lifted out of the water, coughing and spurting while my mom did this little laugh and carried me to shore. I dont remember much else from that day. My mom told me I kept crying until we went home. If I ever bring it up, shell say Im exaggerating and I didnt almost drown. But either way, I havent been able to swim since. Not even doggy paddle, which I was such a pro at. Score one goes to water. Although lets be honest, keeping score when it comes to water isnt entirely fair. What would we base it on? I took a successful shower this morning so is that a point to me? I drink water a lot. Which turns into pee. I make water into something gross, theres that on my scoreboard. Although, sometimes I choke on it so that probably comes out as a tie. The water not the pee. I dont drink that. Anyway, what Im trying to get at is being enemies with water is a losing game and keeping score is almost impossible. Sometimes I slip and fall in the shower, so water might win those rounds. But I have more successful showers then failed ones so water is in a severe losing streak now. I dont know why keeping score is so important. But Ive been doing it ever since that incident with the beach. I slip and fall into a puddle? Id yell out dramatically about how water won that round and get forced laughs from all the adults around. It was just a game when I was a kid, but now if I fall into a pool or get caught in the rain I make a mental note to add a point to waters chart. Not that there really is a chart, but if there was, I would like to think Im in the lead. But, as you might have guessed, its not just large bodies of water that is out to get me either, oh no. Water Determined little shit. Again, I have to give water some wiggle room because in this case, I was doing something fairly stupid. My cousin, Brittney and I were both 10 and one of our favorite games was to get on the four wheeler, tie a toboggan on the back and see how long it takes for someone to fall off. We hadnt broken any bones yet, but thats not without having tried. After Brittney did this splendid wipe out by going six feet into the air and landing in a snow bank, it was my turn to get on the toboggan. We were both bundled up well. Snow pants, winter jackets, gloves, helmets, snow boots. All that not only helped against the snow but helped

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161 cushion the fall. She didnt start me off with the jumps right away. Instead, we went on a pleasant ride through the 86 acre frightening. One time, we had been doing something just like this and ran into a bear. And let me tell you, being on the back of a toboggan at night while going 40 miles an hour away from a bear is about as fun as it sounds. But, there mice. It was rather dull. I spent half the time trying to grab dead plants out of the snow as we went by them. When you grow up in nature, you can only take in the beauty of it so many times before it becomes uninteresting. When she looped back to the front yard for the jumps, And for awhile, it was all going well. I was doing a good job hanging on, which was without a doubt irritating Brittney. She I was hit with the icy water. I tried to yell a few insults at her but she couldnt hear me over the sound of the four wheeler. Her tricks were paying off, the next jump I went off the toboggan and it was only lucky that had me landing back on it. The water was making my hands cold and I had already been damp from the snow. Brittney had one last trick up her sleeve. She picked up the pace on the fourwheeler, going around the house and aiming for another puddle before wed hit the speed bump her father made with the snowplow earlier. Clearing the pile would have been a challenge in itself, which was why she had been going as fast as she could in the snow. But unfortunately for me, I wouldnt make it to the pile. Despite the warm weather, the large puddle we hit had iced over. Which, combined with the sharp turn my cousin took, caused my toboggan to miss the pile and instead slammed me right Oh, almost forgot my favorite part. My helmet had fallen off from the sharp turn earlier. So I hit the corner of the hour. I promptly blacked out. I dont remember much of what happened next, exactly. It was all black but I could hear the yelling. I felt someone pick me up. Then I thought oh, shit I must be blind and then I started crying. The rest of the night was uneventful. I had a concussion but good ol redneck logic was I could just walk it

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162 off if I didnt sleep that night. So thats what I did, I spent the night watching Disney movies and being poked and prodded by aunt and uncle to keep me from falling asleep. My mom and I discuss my feud with water a lot. It came more into play when she bought a house on Lake Champlain and I came to visit. We were sitting on the patio overlooking the lake when she asked, Do you ever think youre going to go swimming in the lake again? Probably not. Plus, what about Champy? He lives in there. For those not native to the Clinton County region or arent up to date on monster lore, Champy is the rumored lake monster to live in Lake Champlain. There is no proof he is actually there, the idea of a lake monster itself is almost laughable, the lake probably isnt deep enough for a lake monster of that size and who knows what he could be living off of food wise. But do I believe in him? You bet your ass I do. My mom, meanwhile, didnt react. She was a little too used to my smartass replies so carried on like I hadnt said anything, Were going to have most of your cousins over today to go swimming. You really dont want to join them? The oldest one going to be here besides me is twelve. Im cool with sitting on the sidelines, I replied. Maybe if it was a pool or something. Then again, with my luck Id get my bottoms stuck on the grate and drown that way. And I feel like theres a lot of pee in pools. I dont want to swim in a giant toilet, personally. Youre so unreasonable. Most of the time. My mom took a drink of her wine while I leaned back in the beach chair, putting my feet on top of the outside table, much to my moms dismay. She slapped my legs a few times until I put them back down on the ground. Brushing the grass and dirt off the table from my shoes, she asked, I dont see why you put up such a fuss. You know how to swim. Youve been in swim classes since you were young. And I never passed to the next level, I sighed. This was a topic brought up a lot and I was growing tired of explaining myself. I was twelve and swimming with six year olds. You went to a girl scout game in the H20 lovers section! I dont know how I got into that one, I quickly defended. Plus, I was in the lowest class. I was lower then the low. You were not.

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163 Mom, I said, seriously. There were three groups. Tunas, sharks and dolphins. I was so bad at swimming, they made a new group for me called tadpoles. I wasnt allowed in the water past my ankles. I was eleven. My mom took another sip of wine. After thinking it over, she just nodded and said, This is pretty pathetic. I know. It always makes me wonder when people tell me how obsessed they are with swimming or water sports or boating. In sort of an unnecessary side note, water sports is also apparently a really weird sex thing which also helps prove my point that water is bad. Getting back on track, there are people out there who make their living to do with water. Even though they can very easily drown. Or get eaten by a lake monster. And that simply blows my mind. Why would anyone want to willingly want to go deep sea diving and risk having something go wrong and you die a horrible death? Some people are weird. What boggles my mind more is when people willingly go to water for their death. I was at work the other day and we were talking about something that happened last year. I overheard one of my co-workers talking about how strange it is he has to drive over the bridge someone once killed themselves on every day. So curious, I perked up and asked, Which bridge? The one right out the window, he said, pointing toward it as he spoke. It caused me to groan, since I had to walk across that bridge to get to work every day. The rushing water below me already bothered me and I didnt want to think about someone jumping off of it. What happened? I asked, knowing whatever the answer was I wouldnt like it. But I would rather know then make up all these terrible situations in my head. Nobody really knows. Not like we can ask him, my co-worker replied. I think his girlfriend dumped him that day. And something else happened and it was too much. So he just took off his shoes and jumped. Which is sad. Sad was a bit of an understatement. I didnt reply and let everyone else go back to talking. They mentioned how his mom used to come into the store a lot. After the death of her son, my co-workers said it was awkward to cash her out because they didnt know what to say. She eventually stopped coming to the store. I wondered if she stopped coming because she moved away or because the cashiers made it awkward. I wouldnt want to come to a place either where people stared at you and the only thought in their

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164 mind was her son killed himself. I had to walk across that bridge that night. It was ten past ten at night and there wasnt a car on the street. The fresh snow from the day had been pounded down into a rough path by everyone who had walked across it today. Which got me thinking, how many people walked across this bridge and had no idea someone had jumped off it and died? That this was the last solid surface someone had stood on before dying. That thought is what made me stop in the middle of the bridge. I pushed some of the snow off the railing and leaned over to look down at the water. It was loud, fast, and completely black. Endlessly black, it seemed. It made my stomach turn just looking at it. Seemed weird to me that someone could choose that way to die. I spent my whole life avoiding water and the thought of falling into something like that was my worst fear. He choose that death over all the other ways to go. Maybe he thought it was painless. Or he thought it was fast. The thought made me sick so I kept walking. When I got home that night, I sat down and googled something that had bothered me about the story. The shoes. What did it matter he took off his shoes before he jumped? Its not like he should be worried about them being ruined. Google bluntly told me that there was no real way to know why people take off their shoes before they kill themselves bodies easier or it was sort of a last attempt to leave a mark on the world. It brought me back again, how do we keep score on water? Did water really win anything in that mans case? He choose that way. Water just helped him along. Either way, I decided trying to decide a point score on that was wrong and probably insulting to the mans memory. Still, the idea of it all still bothers me. I think fate agreed, because karma gave me a nice big bite on the ass when I came into work the next day. Nobody was talking about it, it was old news to everyone but me. The snow from the night before had melted which made the vestibule of the store slippery and the rugs drenched. So I was sent out with the rug doctor to dry the rugs. All easy enough and sucking all the water out of the rugs and watching them come out completely dry was really satisfying. But the problem came when I went to unplug the rug doctor from the extension cord. I was rolling up the cord to the rug doctor, unknowingly pulling the extension cord out of a

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165 puddle of water it had been sitting it. I started to unplug the rug doctor from the extension cord when it happened. I got a really nasty shock. Literally. I was unable to let go for several seconds and when I did, my left arm was completely numb and unable to move. My heart rate had increased and I felt like it had dropped to my feet. I even swayed for a second but was able to catch myself on the nearby bottle machine to keep from falling onto my rear. But I didnt panic. My arm was completely limp at my side and I was just staring at the extension cord, which had been Then I gave my shoulder a little wiggle and thought to myself, wow I hope I dont lose that arm because that will be really inconvenient. I went to pick up the cord with my movable hand, which in hindsight wasnt a good idea. I think I was still a little in shock over the whole thing. But when I moved the cord out of the way to keep any customers for hurting themselves, I realized the stupid mistake that caused me to get shocked. The extension cord had been sitting in a puddle of water. I hadnt been paying attention when I dropped it down after plugging it in. But of course water, my old friend, would have a part to play in this. Angry, I went inside to let my co-worker, Kristina, know the extension cord was dangerous and that I couldnt move my arm. Which everyone else was more concerned about than me, but I stubbornly refused to go to the hospital and instead spent the rest of the night bagging groceries with one hand until the feeling in my arm came back. How are you feeling? Kristina asked when it was getting close to closing. Pretty good, I answered. I have Electric Avenue stuck in my head, though. I cant tell if thats in bad taste or not. She chuckled and ticked away at her calculator for a few moments. Kristina had been working here for so long, she didnt have to look at the calculator anymore. She away without ever checking her work. Every now and then, she was look up at me. I think she was hoping Id start up a new conversation, so when I didnt she tried herself. It is weird going across that bridge now that you know what happened? I paused. Was it? I had to think on that. I dont think walking across the bridge itself bothered me. It was the

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166 thought of what happened and the shoes that bothered me. But the fact I had to walk across it every night made me think about the story more than I normally would. Truthfully, I answered, I dont know. A little, I guess. Dont let it get to you, she replied. He wanted to die. His girlfriend left him, what more did he have? Well, in his mind, yknow? I bit my lip to hold back a reply. Kristina was one of those people who meant well but had a very untactful way of going about things. I didnt want to point it out, so I said nothing. I turned to pretend to sort through slips on my register. But after two minutes of holding back my tongue, I exactly. What? I mean, like, I turned to look at her. Do you know how busy Utica street is? Even at night, there are tons of cars. He took off his shoes, he jumped on a busy street Maybe he didnt want to die but hoped someone would save him. You think he did it for attention? She asked. No, I stammered. I wasnt sure how to get out exactly how I felt about it. I started to backtrack. Just maybe he didnt mean to. Maybe he was thinking about and fell I trailed off. That didnt explain the shoes. Kristina, not understanding my sudden dismay, worry about it. Its all said and done now. Its not like you knew him. Thats true Now what was that song you were singing? I knew she was trying to cheer me up, but it wasnt working. Still, I didnt want her to know how bothered I was by this. I forced a smile and started singing the chorus to Electric Avenue. I was always a pro at masking it all with a smile. It was a tough walk home over the bridge that night. awhile, but it felt completely normal now. Which was a relief. I might not have panicked, but losing an arm would have been a huge challenge I wouldnt have been happy to deal with. Arm woes aside, I stopped at my usual spot on the bridge to look over it again. I still couldnt shake the idea of someone wanting to willingly jump into something like that. I had just got shocked thanks in part to water and had enough

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167 of it for one day. This guy let himself be surrounded by it in his last moments of life. It was just beyond me. My roommate had mentioned the other night, in an attempt to cheer me up, that maybe the guy had been a swimmer or a boater. That he felt safe in the water and it wasnt some scary thing to him like it was to me. So when he jumped, he felt safe in the water and like he was at home. So his last moments werent of dread and terror but of peace. Watching the water now, I could see some of what she said. The sound of it, the way the waves curled, the colors it made when it hit along the rocks. It was calming in a way. I could sort of see what she was talking about. That was until I saw a few ducks land in the water and instantly get pulled under by a wave. That made up my mind. Water was scary, dangerous and there was nothing beautiful or calming about it. It was dangerous in all shapes, sizes and forms and the fact anyone could feel any peace or calmness is beyond me. The fact people swim for pleasure why. People can go swim all they want, Ill stay on the sidelines where its nice and dry. Up until water decides to have another go at me.

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168 But when I stop and noticeI am disgusted. The burning of a beautiful mane meant to be free. Stings my senses. The consistent clamping Strains and pulls, Strains and pulls. She paints herself a new fa ade. The slurp and click of her mascara, Again, again. Ready to be presented. If only she knew that she Was worthy, But she only knows how to exist When she feels wanted. Like a barren lake after a strenuous drought. I know girls who are playing Russian Roulette with death. This one is tongue tied, But when I stop and noticeI realize we arent all that different. Woman Indisposed Jenn Moss

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169 Woman Taisha Laird

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170 She is worried about ashtrays. Shes never had to think about ashtrays. Thirty years of evening gowns in eggshell, ivory, and cream. Thirty years of diamond bracelets dripping from slender wrists, thirty years of linen tablecloths Never once has that whiteness been disturbed by smoke. But times are changing. The dinner has been prepared, its waiting in the wings. Pristine porcelain, like hardened silk, is positioned on every table. Wine glasses with fragile stems stand at In the end, she decides on a clear crystal ashtray. The and expectant. Guests arrive. She greets each one the same, an air kiss to both cheeks. She expects to identify the smokers immediately, to pinpoint the slight bulge of a cigarette pack in pocket or purse, but she is surprised some hours later to discover a young blonde hovering over the ashtray. It is smothered by dozens of spent cigarettes, smeared with red and onto the tablecloth. The White Party Tarin Bonvino

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171 Words From a Willow Jacqueline Blocker-Marshall Dark Bark Creek Eerily Strolling around the lake Released through your draped curtains Tapping the ground 40 ft. tall your open crown. I admire your beauty For we are one. Your allure through the rose window No snapshots or water based paint could gift such wisdom. I knew you werent sleeping, When you invited me to dwell under the shadows of your limbs, Entwined by those tickly tear drop leaves. As you nip the waters with grace, I offered to listen and you spoke My stalk grey and strong, my astringent fragrancealike, Speaks balance in all things. As I stretch my feather veined branches over you They sway Flowing in sync with the song of the wind, In pliancy we withstand the pressures of life Be Rooted 50ft. deep Anchor your life Impressive I uttered. I knew grace rarely made sense for those on the outside looking in.

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172 Stuck With You Megan Mullen INT. HOTEL ELEVATOR DAY SHANE (23) stands in a tuxedo with a boutonniere in his breast pocket staring at his Blackberry phone. He doesnt look up as the ELEVATOR DINGS and three other passengers get on. Two men holding hands, GARY and JERRY, (early 40s) dressed in suits board the elevator with a young blond woman wearing a quirky orange dress, JESSYKA (20). The doors close and the elevator starts rising. Jessyka stares at SHANE as he CURSES at his phone. He looks up. SHANE Oh, fucking perfect, just the faggots I wanted to see. No wonder this day has gone to Hell. GARY What did you just call us, you little shit?! Jerry places a hand on Garys shoulder. JERRY Easy there, Gar-Bear. You know how he feels about us. GARY Do you honestly expectJESSYKA Fuck off Shaneon. What, our dad isnt good enough to go to your wedding? Thats such horseshit. SHANE Dont call me that! My name is Shane

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173 dammit! (laughs a bit harshly) Our dad? Read my lips, bitch. I. Dont. Have. A. Father. Jerry looks at Shane, his expression crushed. JERRY But Shane... You used to call me Dad all the time when you were little... I know I was with your mom then, but I havent changed. I just have Gary now. Gary visibly tenses and grits his teeth, GARY We should have never bothered coming. Let the bitch-spawn have his cake and eat it too. JERRY Gary! That isnt helping! I came to see my son get married, and Im not leaving until he does. glares at Gary. SHANE (sarcastically) Well, Id love to make all your dreams come true, but if you cocksuckers hadnt noticed, the elevator stopped and the piece of shit isnt opening. All four turn to look at the elevator doors. The pushed buttons are no longer highlighted, and and blank. JESSYKA Ugh, look at what you assholes did! All of your negative energy has corrupted the system!

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174 All three guys look at her like shes crazy. SHANE (rolling his eyes at Jessyka) Shut the fuck up, Jess-psycho. (sarcastically to Jerry) Well, oh father of mine, go ahead and do this. (mutters) Hell knows Im already missing the march. JERRY Okay. We all just need to calm down and STATIC BLARES from the SPEAKER SYSTEM as Gary pushes the Elevator Assistance button. GARY Hello? The elevator stopped moving. It appears were trapped. More STATIC. JESSYKA I told you, this is Karmas way of telling us we need a change. I read it in the lobby tea leaves. Gary spins on his heels to face Jessyka and Jerry. He scowls hard, face turning red. GARY A change!? Funny. You mean like the one Jerry underwent, going from fucking women to fucking men? Like some... some... Gay Betrayer!? JERRY Well, whos being the bitchface now? Maybe Im just attracted to you because you act like a twat ninety percent of the time, Gary!

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175 background. They arent paying attention to Shane or Jessyka anymore. SHANE So, Jess-psych-a, regretting inviting them yet? Stupid bitch, ruining my wedding day. JESSYKA Ruining your day? You should be thanking me! At least you had parents that cared about you growing up! Me and the other orphans werent that lucky. You heartless shit. SHANE Boo hoo for the little Orphan Annie! (yelling over everyone) You know,Id rather be in Hell than stuck in this fucking elevator with you psychos! vortex beyond. A grisly scythe shoots into the elevator. The blade hooks around Shanes right ankle and locks like a shackle. SHANE SCREAMS and jumps back, but the scythe yanks him forward, causing him to lose his Shane claws for anything he can hold onto. He grabs Jerrys pant leg as hes dragged past. SHANNON Help! What the fuck is happening?! The force of the scythe has Shannon half in, and half out of the elevator. His grip on Jerry is dragging the man with him. JERRY Dont worry, son, Ive got you. Just hold on to me!

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176 Jerry braces himself, grabbing one of the elevator hand rails, trying to keep them both from being sucked away. JESSYKA You tempted fate, Shane! You brought this upon yourself!! (making the symbol of the cross) The power of Christ compels you! Begone, demon! Jessyka continues her frantic hand gestures, glaring at the scythe as Jerry and Shane struggle against its grip. GARY P.O.V. ELEVATOR BUTTONS are glowing again. Gary glances out at the vortex and the solitary skeletal hand holding the scythe. His eyes linger on Shane who is already waist deep in the blackness. He returns his gaze to Jerry. CLOSE ON JERRYS HANDS are slipping as sweat slicks his palms. He loses his grip on the hand rail BACK TO SCENE Gary mashes the Close Elevator Door button as Jerry is catapulted towards the vortex with Shane. The doors start to close,forcing Shane to let go of his father. SHANE Shit, no! Dont let it take me! Dad! The vortex swallows Shane whole. HIS SCREAMS still echo as the door completely shuts. The elevator begins moving upward again, SOFT HARP MUSIC playing from its SPEAKERS.

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177 Gary steps towards JERRY, holding him and kissing the top of his head as he begins to CRY for his son. reads TOP FLOOR. The ELEVATOR DINGS as the doors open to reveal a blinding white light. NEWS REPORTER (V.O.) ... Our next story. Tragedy struck today as a groom got cold feet, in fact, very cold feet. Our reports indicate that he and three others were found dead on their way to up to the wedding after an unfortunate elevator crash... CUT TO CREDITS

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178 short lived Daniel Land People. People. Please. We have no pleasure because pleasure is human. A form -and so obtuse a mind, the glare she gives the broken shade. A thought she hands you as the beggar, little girl beggar. This pleasure, such a contrary; brittle bug. Condemned bit, this pleasure-bound, party shrug, screaming hard. Grabs you in all the wrong ways, becomes a pleasure cruise. Becomes your noxious name. Name your very fears fear like the merrily used prostitute girl. Simmered shyly down.

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179 Sake Tanuki Alexandra Peretin

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180 The Amulet Dylan Woods The entire stage is pitch black except for one spotlight which illuminates a kitchen. ISAAC is searching frantically through the cabinets, pulling drawers out and turning them upside-down. In the darkness there are strange noises: claws scratching against the ground, like some enormous dog is walking around, and strange sucking noises, like tentacles gripping the ground and being pulled off. Theyre scattered, a few seconds apart. Isaac is dressed in a disheveled suit and tie, like a professor that got laid off and spent the night making regretful decisions. He stops for a moment and watches the surrounding darkness with mounting fear. Each second seems to bring them closer, like theyre picking up on his trail. Isaac renews his search with vigor, tearing the table and checks its underside; he tosses chairs aside and lifts the rug. Its then ISAAC (whispering, chanting) And he who owns the amulet of jade shall see Theres a scratching at the door. It sounds like a dog that wants to get in. Isaac backs away slowly, clutching at the amulet.The becomes pounding, like the creature is throwing itself against the door.The sucking sounds of the tentacles are all around and constant now, echoing throughout the room. Isaac faces the door and prepares to throw

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181 the amulet at whatever is on the other side. At once: the door bursts open, Isaac throws the amulet, and the lights go out. Cabinets crash and items are toppled. Isaac screams. A dog howls.

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182 Seven Minutes Mike Bifaro Here we go, kids. Round two. Chad says with a smirk. I watch him grip the bottle, testing the torque with his wrist, giving the thing enough momentum to really humiliate game of Russian roulette. The bottle starts to slow and Ashley bites her lip. Charles starts scratching at his chin and glances nervously from Haley to Jane. Chad just lifts his chin and smiles triumphantly. I watch this madness take place, taking in their fear ridden faces, almost appreciating the sick humor of the scenario, until the bottle stops. Equal sighs of relief and anticipation ease into the air as the unholy mouth of the Budweiser bottle points at me. Lucky man. Chad mutters. Alright, choose wisely. I glance around the circle. Hayley glares back and Jane is playing with her cell phone. Ashley looks cross eyed at the stray lock of hair on her forehead and swats at it relentlessly. I stop on the mousy girl staring wide eyed at the Stacy. Ill go with Stacy. Alright, seven minutes on the patio. Get out there. Chad shoves me through the door. He squeezes my shoulder and I look back in time to see him air humping the wall. Stacy follows and the door slams. I take a seat in a lawn chair and she starts to blush. Look, Jesse, we dontsave you from...Chad. Oh, yeah. Thanks, hes a creep. She sits and stares at the ground. I try to think of something to say. I stand suddenly and she looks up. I can feel my face burning. So, do you know where youre going next year? What? She says, confused. Like, for college. Oh. No, I dont know yet. Yeah. Me neither. I turn and stare into Chads backyard. The sun is setting. I take a deep breath and spin around. Stacy stares at me. She smiles and pushes a lock of hair out of her face.

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183 My palms start to sweat. Do you want to... My voice trails off. No, she says quickly. Not, like, unless you want to. I mean, its just a game. I sit next to her. She starts to blush. I move in closer. She whispers, Just dont make it weird, okay? I stop. What do you mean make it weird? Like, just dont be weird about it. Its just a kiss. Why would I be weird about it? Youre the one being weird. Me?! Youre the one being all awkward and shit. Why dont you just kiss me? Fine! Then do it! We both glare at each other. I lean in. Our lips lock for a few seconds. Finally I pull away and she starts to giggle. She smiles and says, You really suck at this.

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184 Bored and Horny Joel N. Dodge

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185 Collecting Kayla Lappino I like to collect things Have ever since I canWas conceived. The joke is I collected All those serpentile, wiggling, tadpoles, From my father And maybe an entire ovary To create myself. Thats why Im an only child. I remember, Collecting. Not dolls Or trading cards Though I had a few of both. But grass stains Tummy aches Imaginary friends Talking shadows. I remember, Collecting. Hours in front of the TV Made up games Silence Tears on my pillow. I remember, Collecting. Bud pulltab bouquet Sheets of rolling paper to burn A drug store Bruised holes up my arms Music to play at my funeral

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186 Second Date Questions Todd Robert Stark The restaurant is crowded but intimate. We talk over salad and tilapia, laid out on a tablecloth as red as our wine. Things are going well. I believe in past lives, he says shyly, I feel such a How about you? How do I feel about reincarnation? Im nervous. It was easier earlier on; being questioned about favorite foods and movies. I do believe in itjust not in the usual way. Is it something more New Age? he asks, resting his chin on his hand in that eager listener pose I like. Sort of. For me dying is like going to sleep and being born is waking up again. I cant remember all the details of Wow. His expression is entirely earnest. Whats the farthest back that you can remember? Uh, the late Paleozoic era. What? I think I was an amphibian. His smile is fading but I keep talking. Or maybe a reptile, its hard to tell. You think my beliefs are funny, huh? He gets up angrily, but I dont notice. Im watching the water, waiting patiently for movement. Somewhere in my tiny, dark, lizard-brain comes One day my meals will be served to me, and my biggest worry will be having no one to share them with.

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187 First Grade Olga Reyes The taste of vomit lingered in my mouth, threatening to trigger a feeling I did not want to show. Their lips moved But I did not understand. Why cant they speak Spanish? and plastic smiles lingered in my mind like the scent of my vomit waiting to trigger something I did not want to show. Why are they calling my name? Their words were pushed together like Scrabble letters in a bag. My heart, no longer in my chest, turned to lava that burned my stomach. Small bodies stood in a circle, as if a ritual to the Gods was about to begin. Broken crayons and pencil shavings lined the edges of a table as if it was an offering to the Gods. Their lips moved But I did not understand.

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188 Sidekick Elmer Beriguete EXT. ROOF TOP DAY AMAZING MAN Where have you been Fantastic Boy? Ive been looking everywhere for you. FANTASTIC BOY My apologies Amazing Man, Its just that I got held up at the grocery store buying our dinner for tonight. AMAZING MAN Why on earth are you shopping for food? You know our licensed super hero butler does all of that for us. FANTASTIC BOY I know, I know. Its just that I thought it would be nice to make something for a change. AMAZING MAN So this has nothing to do with your arch nemesis Iron Snake looking for you? FANTASTIC BOY What? Of course not, I had no idea he was even in town. I should really defeat him soon then. AMAZING MAN How about now.. I just saw him in front of the town hall, hes holding the Mayor captive. FANTASTIC BOY Thats horrible, why dont you take this one today, Ill stop him next time. Im real

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189 ly excited to cook this meal. I swear youre gonna love it. AMAZING MAN Really.. What are you cooking then? FANTASTIC BOY Umm.. Well the thing is. Its a surprise dinner and you cant know what were having. AMAZING MAN The Mayor only has a few minutes before Iron Snake bites his head off. Im sure you can cook up this amazing meal afterward. FANTASTIC BOY How about this, I create a diversion and you can attack Iron Snake while hes distracted. AMAZING MAN Im not helping you on this one Fantastic Boy. FANTASTIC BOY Why not! AMAZING MAN I cant carry your weight all the time. Its time for you to start being a team player. FANTASTIC BOY But I am a team player. Im your sidekick! AMAZING MAN More like a cheerleader. I havent seen you starting to wonder whats so fantastic about you. FANTASTIC BOY

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190 Are you serious? How about my fantastic awareness. I can see anything coming from a mile away. AMAZING MAN Can you see that mother breast feeding her baby four blocks down. FANTASTIC BOY Of course I can. Which direction? AMAZING MAN East, from that blue car over there. FANTASTIC BOY Yup, I see her alright. AMAZING MAN Trick question, there is no breastfeeding mother. FANTASTIC BOY (laughing) What? I totally knew that. I was just joking around. Thats all. AMAZING MAN Okay then, why dont you jump off the ledge of this roof. Im sure someone with such fantastic powers can manage to survive the fall. FANTASTIC BOY I dont do heights, it was on my rsum. Remember? AMAZING MAN Youre jumping off regardless, your superhealing should keep you alive. As I recall that was on your rsum correct? FANTASTIC BOY Cant I just make our surprise dinner? Theres gonna be bacon!

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191 AMAZING MAN I commend you for using my love of bacon as a bargaining tool. But I must refuse your offer and ask that you jump off this roof before I push you down. FANTASTIC BOY butAMAZING MAN You have ten seconds. FANTASTIC BOY You cant do this. Im your sidekick, remember? AMAZING MAN Ten. FANTASTIC BOY Remember that time I took a video of you pulverizing that giant squid back into the sewers. You loved that! AMAZING MAN Nine. FANTASTIC BOY Snake, alright? AMAZING MAN Eight. FANTASTIC BOY Why are you still counting I said I would go. AMAZING MAN Seven. FANTASTIC BOY Are you deaf man? I said Ill go defeat Iron Snake.

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192 AMAZING MAN Five. FANTASTIC BOY Wait, what? You just skipped six. Thats not fair. You have to say six. AMAZING MAN Three. FANTASTIC BOY Youre not even counting down correctly. Why arent you counting down numerically! AMAZING MAN Zero. FANTASTIC BOY Oh come on. You didnt even say one! AMAZING MAN Looks like Im in need of a new side kick.

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193 Fainting Phoebe Lamont Primroses appear in my garden, red and blue With yellow eyes, in the springtime. They seem to and then my eyes, a thousand for every drop of rain in a spring cloudburst, a white black bright colored glory that brings me to the ground, my head off my shoulders and tongue and throat blank, dry. My skin becomes clouds, and then dazzling gray dots everywhere.

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194 Free to Be Me Laurie Jackson Only three minutes left. I take another bite of my blue raspberry popsicleBrain freeze! My lips and tongue are blue. People might think Im extremely coldI could get sent down to the nurse, but who people. First in line, I burst through the doors. Running fast over the quicksand, jumping to the ladder, which slowly sinks. Im the monkey queen. Hanging upside down, I pull myself up in between the two bars and crawl on the top, making my way to the castle. I go down the ladder, pushing the others out of my way, zipping across on the bar over the lava. I reach the log bridge, shaking up and down. Arms out, one foot in front of the other, dont look down at your doom. I jump onto the raft, going up the slideI hear the teachers protest, but they cant stop me now. I reach the top of the tower, slide down the spiral river slide. At the bottom, Im caught, taken by the hand. The lunch lady says something, but I cant stop staring, her hands are so wrinkly, like mush, and old. She wouldnt even make it across the quicksand, let alone work her way over the lava. The wooden picnic table, where I carved my name, awaits. I take a seat, and think about tomorrow. Ill make it to the swings.

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195 Good Thoughts Nikki Hitze

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196 Will You Laugh With Me Tonight Shelby Coyle Will you keep me safe tonight Keep me in your light always Crackle, crackle, crunch, consume At my back, please always loom Follow in my trail of dread Will you laugh with me tonight

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197 George Jessica Ekert his big round glasses, trying to wipe a smear off the lens. When he puts them back on, they immediately slide down the bridge of his nose. Above the frame there is an absence where his eyebrows once were, but its been years since theyve disappeared. George picks up the newspaper and returns to his skips over the untouched one next to his. Thank you, Rose. She puts her hand on his shoulder before she walks away. The bell above the front door jingles with the entrance of a new customer. He looks up, his eyes widen, but he is disappointed when he sees who it isnt. sets the paper down next to his coffee. He shifts his legs around, grabs for his cane and stands up in a slow, aching way. On his way toward the door, he walks up to Rose and away. Rose begins to clean up Georges table when she glances at his crossword. There, across and down, is the word Joan. Joan, Joan, Joan. Joan is the answer to every question. Rose slips the newspaper into her apron pocket and stares out the window, somewhere past the grim sky.

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198 Last Night on Earth Veronica Pysnack (BRADEN sits on a beat up couch in the basement at JIMS* house. There are voices and music in the background, indicating a party taking place upstairs. BRADEN checks his phone.) BRADEN Less than ten minutes to midnight. Cheers. (BRADEN takes a long drink from his glass. The basement door opens. Enter ASHLEE with a drink in her hand. She looks confused when she sees BRADEN.) ASHLEE This isnt the ladies room, is it? BRADEN Uh, no. Its not. ASHLEE (giggles) Well, of course not. There arent any other drunken skinny ass sluts in line to puke out their brains before they go and get it on with any random guy up there. BRADEN Um, you do realize that you just called yourself a drunken skinny ass slut? ASHLEE You wanna know a secret? BRADEN What? (ASHLEE looks around, then hurries over and plops down next to BRADEN.)

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199 ASHLEE (whispers loudly) Im not drunk, and Im not a slut either. BRADEN Oh. Good to know I guess. ASHLEE Im Ashlee by the way. BRADEN Braden. (They shake hands.) ASHLEE So what are you doing down here by yourself, Braden? The partys upstairs. BRADEN I could ask you the same thing. ASHLEE BRADEN I just wanted to be alone. ASHLEE Alone? On a night like tonight? BRADEN You know its most likely a hoax, right? ASHLEE Yeah, but at the same time what if it isnt? BRADEN Oh God. Dont tell me you actually believe in that stuff. ASHLEE You wanna know another secret? (Before BRADEN can respond, ASHLEE continues on.)

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200 No. (A beat) Well, maybe. But still you have to wonder: could this really be our last night on Earth? BRADEN Ugh. Forget this. ( BRADEN gets up. He goes to open the door, but the door wont budge. He starts pounding on the door.) Hey! Anyone there? Im trapped down here! ASHLEE Were trapped down here. BRADEN Hello?! Anybody?! HELLO?! ASHLEE The musics too loud up there. No ones going to hear you, Braden. (BRADEN checks his phone.) BRADEN Great. No service. ASHLEE Dont make it sound like its a bad thing. BRADEN And Im supposed to be rejoicing that Im going to spend the rest of my night with some drunk girl who claims shes not? ASHLEE Oh, well if you say it like that then its Hey! I only had one of these. (She holds up her glass.) Or was it two? It couldnt have been three. Or was it?

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201 (BRADEN sits back down on the couch.) BRADEN Well, what do we do now? ASHLEE We could talk. BRADEN Talk? About what? ASHLEE I dont know. Maybe, just maybe, about things. BRADEN I dont think we have anything in common. ASHLEE Thats where the whole point of talking comes in. BRADEN Fine. Lets talk. ASHLEE Great! So what brought you to the party tonight? BRADEN Its my friends Jims house. He decided to ( BRADEN laughs, but stops when he sees ASHLEES serious look. He clears his throat.) I, uh, came here with my girlfriend. ASHLEE Oh And where is she right now? Shouldnt the two of you be getting it on before? BRADEN Her other boyfriend came and she decided to

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202 spent tonight with him. ASHLEE Ouch. That sucks. BRADEN sitting on the bleachers as she cheered our team on and ASHLEE Okay, new topic. Any hobbies? BRADEN I play lacrosse. ASHLEE Besides that. (She points to the jersey that BRADEN is wearing.) I meant outside of school. BRADEN I ASHLEE Cmon, just say it. We might die anyway. No one else is going to know if you like to watch porn. BRADEN What?! No! Thats not what I was going to say! ASHLEE Then what? BRADEN I like to read. ASHLEE Interesting. A bookworm among the brainless lacrosse players. Whats your favorite book? And please dont say Fifty Shades of Grey.

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203 (BRADEN looks away, twiddling his thumbs. ASHLEE looks disgusted.) Oh dear God! (BRADEN laughs, raising his hands in surrender.) BRADEN Im kidding! I just wanted to see your reaction. ASHLEE (mumbles) And hes a smart ass, too. BRADEN Anyway, I have too many favorites. Uh, how about you? Any hobbies? ASHLEE Not too many. Im in the Drama Club at school. And I play paintball on the weekends. BRADEN Wow, thats interesting I guess. (BRADEN checks his phone.) ASHLEE Am I really that uninteresting to you? BRADEN What? No. Im just checking for service thats all. ASHLEE You mean so you can escape from me and my weirdness before the world comes to an end, right? BRADEN No, I ASHLEE Yeah, whatever.

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204 (A beat) What time is it anyway? BRADEN 11:55. ASHLEE Oh, boy. How do you think well go? Will we all have a heart attack at once and die? No. Maybe well see a bright light right before we are blown to bits. Or will there just be pitch blackness that engulfs us and well go peacefully? Personally I like that better than being eaten alive by zombies. Oh! I already have goose bumps! (ASHLEE looks over at BRADEN, sitting quietly.) Braden, why arent you freaking out? (BRADEN gets up from the couch.) BRADEN Because the world isnt going to end! Dont you get it?! They just want to get everyone all hyped up,ready to take their overdose with vodka, and for what? Just to add another God damn hoax! (Several moments pass.) ASHLEE (quietly) Wanna know another secret? BRADEN No, I dont want to hear any more of your God damn secrets! I just want to get out of here! ASHLEE Fine. Tell me one of yours.

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205 BRADEN Give me a reason why I should! ASHLEE I dont know. Maybe its because we could die within the next few minutes. Maybe I just want to know what kind of person you are since youre the last person Im going to see before it all ends. Maybe its because I dont want to think about the world ending, and talking about anything is the only way to take my mind off of it. Hows that for a reason, asshole? (ASHLEE turns away, hiding a tear she is wiping away.) BRADEN (sighs) ASHLEE What? But you said BRADEN Because I was trying not to think about the possibility of my life ending just like that. Theres so much left in my life that I havent done yet. ASHLEE And you think Im not in the same situation? (BRADEN sits back down on the couch.) BRADEN Youre right, Im sorry. (A beat) So tell me, what havent you done yet? ASHLEE Well, I havent gone to Disney World.

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206 BRADEN I have. Its all right. ASHLEE Dont be that person right now. BRADEN Sorry. Its the most wonderful and magical place on Earth! ASHLEE Now youre just being silly. BRADEN Dont want to ruin your thoughts about Disney in your last minutes remaining. ASHLEE Yeah, I guess I can accept that. How about you? What havent you done yet? (BRADEN looks uncomfortable.) Are you okay? BRADEN Ive never had a home run. ASHLEE Oh, Braden, its okay. Im sure there are plenty of professional players who havent gotten a BRADEN Thats not what I meant. ASHLEE Huh? But Wait, dont you play lacrosse Oh! So youre still a BRADEN Yup. ASHLEE Huh. Well, if it makes you feel any better,

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207 BRADEN (laughs) Youre so weird, Ashlee. ASHLEE Yeah, well, guess thats the last thing youll think of me. BRADEN You know we still have a couple of minutes left. (A few moments pass.) ASHLEE What are you suggesting there, Braden? BRADEN Nothing! Just you know maybe we could ASHLEE How about we just hold hands for a while? BRADEN (ASHLEE gives BRADEN a look.) Sorry. I would really like that. (They hold hands.) ASHLEE This is nice. (From upstairs, JIM is heard shouting over the noise of the party.) JIM All right guys! Ten seconds to midnight! (Everyone upstairs begins the countdown.) BRADEN Well, least we got to know each other before

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208 this. ASHLEE Yeah. It was nice getting to know you, Braden. (Just as everyone reaches ... 2... BRADEN and ASHLEE lean in towards each other. But before anyone can yell out One the LIGHTS go out suddenly. After a few moments, the sound of a door being broken into is heard. searching. The LIGHTS come back on. JIM, with door, hanging off its hinges.) JIM Damn house cant take all this high tech stuff! Stupid breaker, stupid door, stupid uh. (JIM spots ASHLEE and BRADEN tangled up in a loving embrace on the couch. JIM clears his throat loudly.) ASHLEE (screams) Ah! Who are you? Dont you know how to knock? JIM Excuse me? This is my house. I should be asking who you Braden? (BRADEN gets up from under ASHLEE, who falls off the couch with a cry.) BRADEN Hey man, whats up? JIM What are you doing down here? BRADEN Well, the door got stuck or something, so

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209 or JIM No, I did not. Now get your head out of your ass and get it upstairs. Elizabeths looking for you. (JIM exits. BRADEN groans and covers his face.) ASHLEE Whos Elizabeth? BRADEN My ex-girlfriend. ASHLEE (bursts out laughing) third! (A beat) I dont feel so good (ASHLEE ducks behind the couch and pukes.) BRADEN (groans) Oh God. Why didnt the world end like it was supposed to? (Blackout.) The End

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210 Venom Sarah Fessler Words are venom from the mouths of snakes, Snakes speaking soft sincerity on saturdays. Spittle splashes as the words hit my face, The smell of crisp wind blown salty air reminds me of Ocean waves and the tastes of summer. The words tasted like red, rolling off a hiss, The hiss of the past, spitting venom as if the words were sweet whispers of love. But words arent really venom. Sitting on cold pavement, The snow falls on my face like shooting stars in the night, While Smurfs dance exotic in teardrops from clouds. Because they are blue they are sad. To be or not to be The cold rain of love Gives way to broken pieces, So, We ran fast like cement to escape the words, And ended up walking through walls. Humans can be so careless with words, To bright nights and dark moons. I will forget to not forget, Aus schaden wird man klug. The boulder says move me. Snakes slither silently through sleepy grass during silent nights.

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211 Slander Taisha Laird

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212 They Say You Die Three Times Tarin Bonvino I know what that is, he told his mom after she hung It happens in movies. Especially to soldiers. They get hit and they lose the war. It happened to Mufasa, too. He got trampled, then he couldnt be Simbas daddy anymore. He released her hand and bounded over to the snack cupboard. He snatched up the fruit snacks and waved them in the air. Can I have these? he asked. His mother didnt answer. She was sitting very still, like he was supposed to during story time at pre-school. The phone was in her lap, but she wasnt calling anyone. She just stared at it. He shrugged and tore open the fruit snacks. I dont get one thing though, he admitted, popping the fruit snacks into his mouth. Why didnt they just get up afterwards? He talked with his mouth full, but she didnt say anything. She just stared and stared. She was supposed to be sad, but mostly she was cold. January air, bitter from not belonging to a more interesting month, blew through the mausoleum and attacked the mourners, tearing at hats and black coats and carefully-styled hair. Old women always spent too much time on their hair, she thought. She tore her eyes away the middle of the room. It was pretty she could admit that much. The wood was a deep, dark brown, natural looking but impressive, with ornate gold handles carved in the shape of going to be shoved in the ground, but she supposed that old women were entitled to their little indulgences. Three years ago to the day, shed received a phone call in the middle of the night. Afterwards, shed stayed up for hours, gasping out his name in desperate, choked whispers. Shed fall asleep for seconds at a time, always awakened by said his name every day, wrote it in notebooks and told it to strangers, whispered it while she lit candles and before she got in her car. Two years ago, this anniversary was one of the most important days on the calendar, circled accordingly. A year ago she still thought about him every time she saw a cross on the side of the road. Now she only remembered it after she blew out candles, when the smoke began to slowly dissipate, twirling and spinning through the air. It was almost noon before she realized what day it was.

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213 ode to the real fairy queen Daniel Land How does it feel to hold the sun in something of a timid grasp, Miss? Does it do well to warm the spirits, or calm your elation; brighten your pale face to match the glow? You yourself are an image, and it sets length to motion... A circular breeze that pushes a birdhouse in lock to a whole vivid mesh, while still spinning slow enough to prove itself against the calamity. How do you mean to carry life in a dress, and where, by chance, is the one moment you What becomes of you? In the springtime, youre holds you proper. Yet when the sun is gone, the sky in your hair melts into the horizon north to meet you again.

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214 Synthetic Man (With Detail) Lana Slinkard

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215 The Laborers Jessica Ekert Grease Finally, break time. They remove their hard hats and hold out of the steel mill into the yard. Underneath the thick rolling clouds of smoke the men eat their lunches. An old man standing in line for the food truck sifts through all of enough, sir. The ham sandwich has been raised to a dollar more, the man in the truck tells him. The old man looks at his trembling, open hand of nickels and dimes and slowly lowers it. Missed Memories Her husband carries their son into the room so she can see him before she leaves. In his hands hes holding that toy car he loves so much. He raises it up to her and she knows he wants to hear her go vroom vroom when she revs the engine but she really must be going or her boss will give her hell again. She laces up her work boots and ties them tight. On the bed, the boy drives the car up and down the comforters mountains. He guides the car to her pillow and as it climbs to the top, he makes it vroom vroom on his own. Underground It was the last wall-control bolt Ron had to install before the end of his shift. His back ached from hunching over in the small mine shaft. Exhausted, he leaned up against the dirt wall and slid down to rest a few moments. He felt a tremor and quickly got to his feet, but it was too late. A solid piece of coal and cap rock fell right on top of him. The men heard and came running. The lights on their heads bounced along the rock off of him but it was too late.

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216 Becoming Us Julian Daley With time, our emotions grow. In spite of them, passion escapes. The bubbles in a shaken bottle of cola Your nervousness matches mine. Intertwining hands squish from the sweat. We smile. Then the usual sighs of relief because through the awkwardness of our bodies, we need no words as we watch the movement on the screen. I reserved, your lips curl up into a smile. We connect. And then you walk me to the doorstep and I run inside. But with time, I stop running and well just be happy.

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217 Doyle Knows Best Tyler-Simmone Bowman INT. PLANET FITNESS GYMNASIUM DAY DOYLE Youre twenty minutes late. Nobody keeps DOYLE waiting, ever. KELLY Im so sorry Doyle. I had to drop the kids off at soccer practice. DOYLE The kids, the children, thats all you ever seem to care about. Dont you care about me? About this? About us? KELLY, baby I thought we had was special. KELLY Oh,honey, you know I care very much about us. DOYLE Lies. Doyle senses lies. Look, honey, if this is going to work, Im going to need 110 percent dedication from you. KELLY No, Doyle I swear, Im 110 percent dedicated. Its just... DOYLE What is that smell I smell?... Do I smell Oreos? Do you know what happens to females who eat Oreos? KELLY No. What happens? DOYLE They get fupas. Fat upper pussy areas. Do you want a fupa, Kelly? KELLY No.

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218 DOYLE To the treadmill. Ive had enough. INT. PLANET FITNESS GYMNASIUM TREADMILL STATION DAY DOYLE Youre going to need to run an extra three miles to get rid of all of those Oreos you ate. KELLY I... I... I just took a couple when I was getting the kids snacks together for practice. DOYLE Again with the kids. This is so much larger than those little boogers you call your kids. This is about the art of working out. This is about trainer, client trust and Im sorry Kelly but youve broken that trust. It can never be gained back. KELLY Doyle, Ill try harder. I can do better I promise. DOYLE Its time for abs. INT. PLANET FITNESS GYMNASIUM AB STATION DAY DOYLE KELLY Doyle, youre killing me. DOYLE You should have thought about that before

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219 KELLY Okay. DOYLE the day. Ive had enough. Doyle does not like to have his time wasted. CUT TO: EXT. PLANET FITNESS GYMNASIUM PARKING LOT DAY DOYLE Look, Kelly, Doyle does not think this is working out. KELLY What do you mean, Doyle? DOYLE Doyle means hes done with you. Take your ten dollars a month elsewhere. KELLY But, Doyle, why? I dont understand. I swear to never eat another Oreo again. DOYLE This is larger than Oreos Kelly. This is about the art. Look, its not me, its you. KELLY Please, just give me one more chance. DOYLE Sorry toots, second chances are for suckers and Doyle is no sucker. Now leave. Doyle has a 3:30 appointment with a dedicated client.

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220 Cleeoh Alexandra Peretin

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221 EdGore Kayla Lappino I have a gremlin living inside me. I dont mean this metaphorically. He lives in my gut, turning my innards into a hammock, grumbling in his sleep. I call him EdGore. He is a rambunctious house guest. Punching a hole in my stomach. He eats my desserts. Once a month, for a week, EdGore sharpens his claws on my uterine lining, chewing my ovaries like gum balls. When EdGore gets bored, he uses my bladder as a trampoline. My lungs are heave bags, to punch and kick. Every so often he reties My intestines in to a new bed. Squeezing my kidney Using it as a pillow for his head. He growls and rawrs Throwing a general fuss, For EdGore late night snacks are a must.

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222 The 28th Day Veronica Pysnack I wipe the counter clean of any leftover chocolate Something hits the window. I glance upwhy did I look?and see them. Hordes rumbling as they pound and claw at the glass. I swallow; look at the clock and at the calendar beneath it. Its time. Uh, George? I holler to the manager, my voice shaking. George comes from the kitchen, wiping his hands clean on his apron. What the hell is it, Dan George stops when he looks out the window. Never in my life have I seen a grown man on the verge of shitting himself. All hands on deck! George yells to the back of the shop. Han and Bill rush in, cowering and shaking. It cant be, Han cries, shaking Bill beside him, it just cant be! We did it last month, we can do it again! George says. Where are Alyssa and Jackie? Bill asks. Theyre out there, I say, pointing them out. Yesterday they were so normal and beautiful; now, looking like they crawled out of the goddamn grave. Thats it, were done for! Han sobs. Gentlemen, its time. George goes to the window. See you on the other side. door. We brace ourselves. Ding goes the bell. All the women in town swarm in. We are surrounded.

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223 In Poems Olga Reyes In Spain in 1919, they told Lorca, In poems, you have to give voice to a soul. Any soul. So he wrote about widows who lost their husbands in a war. Nunca volvieron. And the widows tears stained the pages, leaving a sweet taste on my tongue. They told Lorca, Poems must emerge from the depths of the heart, even if its dark. So he wrote about the widows gripping my throat as their love lingered on each word. But in the end of each poem, they told Lorca, Words must paint a picture of dead soldiers and widows tears that stain the pages yellow. And Lorca wrote more poems about the widows and their carrying swords against their chests, marched to their husbands resting place and drove the sword through their solemn hearts. And Lorca wept, perhaps, an action out of mercy.

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224 Beautiful Anguish Breana Iannotti Anguish is something we all face at some point; it may be emotional, physical, or mental. Whatever it may be, its real. Disregarding all the agony we once felt, weve all experienced something beautiful in our lives, something euphoric. But it goes away, and then we are spiraling down into oblivion once again. The darkest of places in which we create ourselves; there is no light, no hope, no mercy. Nobody understands death nor what lies after it...thats why in our heads we create own perceptions about what happens in the afterlife. We all need something to believe inwithout hope and faith we are left with empty hearts and hands. No matter how evil the world may seem, the monsters whispering in our ears at night cant reach the beauty we contain inside. We dont let them. Death is very evident and very real, it happens everyday and it doesnt mean a thing to us, we wont even think twice; our days will linger on. But when a loved one is lost, some part of them will always remain with us: the beautiful part.

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225 The Tides of Time Luke Parsnow Do we know the lonesome sound? Do we know how much is lost? When the tides of time come crashing down There will be a cost Forgotten history put to sleep Do we know how much is lost? Under an ocean of eternity, buried very deep The great ideas, beliefs, and powers of man Forgotten history put to sleep And when the water hits the sand They roll back to sea and never return The great ideas, beliefs, and powers of man They will crumble and burn That will be their end They roll back to sea and never return To forget the forgotten, we cannot pretend Do we know the lonesome sound? That will be their journeys end When the tides of time come crashing down

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226 Snow Day Laurie Jackson The snow is taken by the frosty air, design that I never repeat. Just a brush of my skin, help create your sledding fun, with forts The rise of your goosebumps on your skin make you go in. Red noses, bright in my blue white night. The lights turn on, warm with hot coco. Bundled up, I pass by, no one seems to see. You think Jack and his Frost touches your leaves all on his own? Just wait. I create that whirlwind of snow that lands on your houses, your trees. I help Jack paint your Pretty leaves.

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227 Momo Breana Iannotti

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228 Convenience Store Personality Test K.M. Alleena I. Sonoma Reds My boss dramatically throws his pack of cigarettes onto the counter. Its a busy Sunday morning, and Im at that stage where if one more person asks why were out of newspapers, Ill snap. Camel Turkish Royals? Stopped buying the Southern Cuts? I comment. He grins rather stupidly, exactly matching the photo of a much younger version of himself depicted on his drivers license. Both are good. Doubt it, I answer, and grin back. Camel Turkish Royals is the kind of person who would rather joke around than complain about the dismal job. I appreciate this, especially on a day like today everyone else seems to be in a foul mood. After I hand him his receipt and he goes off for a smoke break, I busy myself by wiping down the counters, Carhartt jacket walks in; today he is also sporting a red and unshaven and perhaps mildly unkempt but with a mixture of dust and snow on his shoulders, today it seems much worse. He is a regular here, and of the worst kind. I grab his cigarette order Sonoma Reds. He doesnt say a word, just grunts and tosses a twenty on the counter, crumpled. I just need your I.D., I tell Sonoma Reds. His No, you dont need my I.D. Im forty-six freakin years old, for Christs sake! Not again. I sigh and close my eyes for a fraction of a second before speaking. We need an I.D. To scan in order to process the sale, sir Like Hell you do! This is just the goddamn government checkin what Im buyin! Camel Turkish Royals walks back in the store, and stops with his back against the door. He pulls a face of feigned terror, and I roll my eyes at him. Sir No! Bullshit! This is total bullshit!

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229 Duh! he answers, gesturing wildly and laughing in a sarcastic manner. I start to feel the anger building up in my stomach, and try to reign in my attitude. Well, I need your I.D., I say, pausing while Sonoma Reds blusters and fumbles his drivers license out of his faux-leather embossed Duck Dynasty wallet. He is still swearing under his breath as I process the sale for him. He begins to unwrap the box a small one with a silhouette of a mountain. Its funny how the cheapest cigarettes tend to have the prettier packaging. Sonoma Reds slams the exit door open, tossing the up, and walks toward my counter. I lean in and whisper, The government is spying on his government issued I.D. Camel Turkish Royals feigns surprise and leans away, shaking his head. A new kind of bumpkin, right there, he notes, pushing the cigarette wrapper towards me. I throw it away, advertising and deals that arent really deals. Sometimes I really wonder if its worth all of this frustration just for a smoke break. II. Two Newport Shorts Im working with Pyramid Red 100s tonight, who is complaining that we dont sell her brand again. She is holding a pack of USA Gold Red 100s and debating her purchase. Its slow, and I dont remember the last time I had a line build up. The way she is tapping her I.D. on the counter is irritating me a little but I dont say anything. She is the second assistant manager, and if I am nice to her, Ill get to head home early. I take a sip of my iced coffee and wait for another minute. Oh, forget it, she says, pulling the last cigarette out her pack. She hands me the USA Golds and her debit card, Ill survive. As she waits for her receipt to print, she crushes the Pyramids soft pack and watches it pop nearly back into shape, before throwing it away. Finally, as Pyramid Red 100s is leaving with the load of cardboard to be recycled during her cigarette break, a customer walks in another regular. She is short and blonde, and very nice to all of the cashiers. Nothing special, but a nice customer is rare these days.

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230 Hi honey, she says, digging around in her Coach purse, Just two Newport shorts, please! Her voice is oddly high pitched. She carefully sets her drivers license on the counter, scan-side up. I turn to the cigarette wall, which is now full of holes because of the day shifts sales, forgetting what she just asked for. You would think I would remember your order, I start, turning back, you are in here every day. Two Newport Shorts laughs and repeats herself, while quickly darting over to the other register to pick out a lighter a plain black one. I cash out her order. She leaves, wishing me well and assuring shell see me tomorrow. I wave without telling her that Friday is my only day off until next Wednesday. When the left hand door opens, so does the right one as Pyramid Red 100s drags the recycle bin back into the store. The draft of cold air reminds me how lucky I am to work in front of a pizza oven. Dont lean there, Pyramid Red 100s scolds, as she walks back up into the box, cellphone in hand. She hangs up behind her as she returns to her register. III. Marlboro Ultra Lights 100s Hey, I knew I recognized you, says the very tall man internet yesterday. Today, his cap is switched from company garb to Boston Red Socks same as always. His voice is calm, but quiet. Marlboro Ultra Lights 100s, yes? I ask, turning to the cigarette wall behind me. Ah, yeah. Make it two; snowstorms coming. Mighta with the weather. I half-smile, handing Marlboro Ultra Lights 100s his cigarettes. Well, thanks for your optimism, I say sarcastically, and he laughs, tucking two boxes of cigarettes into the inside pocket of his coat. Hey, honestys the way to go. I nod, noticing a line starting to build up behind him. Now, if only work would take it well if I smoked in the van during storms, he muses, also half-grinning. Have a wonderful day, sir! I say enthusiastically, as an old man rudely pushes his way up to the counter.

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231 As I wait on other customers, I notice Marlboro Ultra Lights 100s smoking by the windows near the trash can outside. Hes not talking to anyone, just looking up at the sky as snow lazily drifts to collect on frozen ground. IV. Fortuna Menthol 100s Flash the best smile youve got in your arsenal next time youre in line waiting to buy something. In all retail jobs I have ever worked, this is key to snapping me out of Cashiers Stupor, so it must work for others; I make mental note of this as a middle-aged African American man walks through the doors. Another regular customer, with a dependable demeanor which means at least for a few minutes, I am saved from monotony. I already have his cigarettes on my register. Fortuna Menthol 100s has a stereotypically smooth jazz voice; practiced and perfected. He smiles brilliantly, and turns to Camel Turkish Royals at the other register. Dont even have to ask anymore, man, he says. Camel Turkish Royals laughs nasally and continues drinking red bull while reading Reddit on his phone. I judge him silently and cash out Fortuna Menthol 100ss order, which also contains a chocolate chip cookie. He unwraps the cookie, and takes a bite before pointing it in my general direction. Dont see the point in going anywhere else. See you folks tomorrow! He begins to hum as he walks out of the store, placing his pack of cigarettes in a pocket, pulling out a battered, nearly empty pack of the same brand at the same time. Trudging through the snow, he somehow manages wind blows the hood of his black jacket up over his hair, but I notice him place the cookie wrapper in his pocket. A V. Marlboro Reds about the customers who assume all cashiers are mind readers, and also should know better than to question such logic or lack thereof. I had never seen Marlboro Reds come into the store before, so at this point its safe to assume he is not a regular. He is a large, red-faced man, who seems out of breath

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232 mini-van to my register. I am busy switching the pizzas in the case, and rush over to greet him. He wears a scowl, and leans on the counter, both elbows lining up evenly with the Jack Links advertisement mat stuck there. Ill have the reds, he grunts. His voice is obnoxious in between wheezes. Which reds? Marlboro reds? Sonoma? Fortuna? The USAs? Dont get smart with me, Marlboro Reds snaps, You know, the reds. His accent is akin to country music stars, but with during the span of half a second. There are a lot available for sale, sir. Marlboro Reds is visibly irritated by the swords creeping into my voice. There is a long, angry moment of silence as he stares at me, eyebrows knit. His eyes are an natural state of being. Shitty. He sighs angrily, the air escaping his face with the stench of fermenting jalapeos. I back off a step. Marlboro it and his license, he says, soft pack, thanks. The end of his sentence drawls sarcastically. I snatch the box of cigarettes off of the counter and trade it out for him. After the sale is complete, Marlboro Reds meanders towards his van. Just after he lights a cigarette, he crawls a number, and begins to drive away while talking on it. I continue to change out the food in the pizza case, when the phone rings The receiver is out of reach for me, so Camel Turkish Royals picks up the one by his register. I continue to work, and listen to the sound of his voice drift over the incessant humming of the oven near my ears. my work, he is laughing. Probably right at me, as is the norm with him. Your customer complained, he says jubilantly. Marlboro Reds?

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233 Ah, yeah. Says he is unhappy that his cashier is, and I quote stubborn and incompetent. I cross my arms and give him an indignant look. You heard that nonsense! What do you expect?! Calm down, calm down. I told him youd be spoken to, but still havent heard a more accurate description of you yet! Shut up! I joke, enunciating both syllables. I move to elbow Camel Turkish Royals in the ribs, who darts out of range and into the corner of a cabinet door. He exclaims half in pain, half in surprise. Karma. Im not in trouble? I venture after a moment. Camel Turkish Royals shakes his head. We take these opinions with a grain of salt. VI. Newport 100s The license says she is eighteen. A Floridian, too. Tan, with self-consciously straightened black hair. The dark eyes match her photo. I raise an eyebrow as I look up at her. She smiles, sort of. Her expression is small and her eyes seem distant. Newport 100s, then? I ask, setting her I.D. Scanside up on the counter. She looks to me to be much younger, but the eyes gave away the she is older than her actual age. I know the feeling. Still, she smokes this person displaced from toosunny Florida to too-snowy Oswego, New York. As a cashier, its not really protocol to ask why the drastic change of scenery or what happened we arent the therapists; the cigarettes we sell are. But I cant help wondering anyway. I cash out Newport 100ss sale, and she walks away, staring down at her feet, both hands in her pockets. Damnit, she mutters. Her voice is quiet and seems weary, like a certain heaviness hangs on the art of pronouncing. She turns to me and sighs shallowly, her shoulders scrunched up to her ears. She takes one hand out of her pocket and pushes a stray strand of hair away. Lost my lighter. Theres a bunch on the other register. out of our cheesy-looking display. When she sets it on the counter, it is barcode-side down the design is light blue vertically typed in white down the left-hand side. I look up and Newport 100s half-smiles again. I ring

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234 up the purchase for her, and she leaves. Outside, she lights up a cigarette, takes one puff and lowers her hand to the side as she trudges away through the snow. She ashes the cigarette once, takes another puff, and continues to walk like that into the darkness beyond the lights of the gas pumps. VII. Blu Menthol E-cigs The most common cigarette I sell is Newport 100s, with the next being Marlboro 27s. Sometimes we sell cigars, but hardly ever do I get questions about the electronic cigarettes. They are a new fad, one Big Tobacco probably on the bandwagon. E-cigs are the weapons of choice for those who deem real cigarettes too mainstream. For some, they are the least of several evils; for others, they are the cure to a life-long addiction an answer for the liminal stage between having quit and still being called ash-tray mouth by their motherin-law. To still others, they are a secret they dread for even us cashiers to know come on, who really smokes e-cigs anyway? Surely losers, right? Surely? e-cig etiquette, but I do notice how the customers who buy them squirm uncomfortably as they carefully formulate their questions so as not to sound like they dont know what theyre talking about. Today is one such day with one such customer. It is an ugly Saturday morning, with more slush than necessary tracked all the way to the beer coolers and back to my register. To make matters worse, the sun is too bright as it into my pupils. In the store, my transition lenses are about 33% shades now. A young man walks in wearing a grey sweatshirt emblazoned with a green Oswego State logo. He ponders a minute while leaning on my counter. I move out of the way for a second to let him see the cigarette wall. He stares at me for a split second, and I knit my eyebrows. It feels as though he is staring right through me. You guys sell the Blu starter kits, right? he asks, some sort of Asian accent slightly audible. Yes, of course, I answer. I point right at the obvious display on the far right. Can you tell me about them? Of course I can, I answer jovially, beginning to rattle

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235 off what I know. The fact that they are made by the Newport customer. I tell him how they come in one piece disposables for those who havent tried e-cigs before. He isnt interested, so I ramble about how the cartomizers work and how the act of using an e-cig is known as vaping in some circles. I tell him how stupid I think that sounds. No reaction. Can you tell me about the green one again? he asks. His head tilts ever so slightly to the right, as if to read the box on the shelf. The green box only comes with menthol cartridges if you want the other kinds, youll have to buy a pack or choose the blue starter set. dollars poorer. Camel Turkish Royals leans on my counter, grinning like hes withholding some information I should know. I lean in close to his face, a faux-irritated look on mine. Since when do you know so much about e-cigs? he inquires, voice lilting in an annoying fashion. I exhale and roll my eyes ceiling-ward. Its just part of the job, thats all.

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236 Girls Spec Script: We Need to Talk About Ray Excerpt Victoria Diana INT. HANNAHS APARTMENTBEDROOMDAY Hannah and Adam sleep. Hannah takes up most of the bed and has all the blankets. The alarm on her phone, resting on the bedside table, RINGS. Hannah wakes up. She checks the time. Its 6:00AM. She puts on snooze. The alarm RINGS again. Its 6:05AM. She rolls over. HANNAH (Groans) Ughhhh. ADAM (Groans) Ughhhhhhh. voice... ADAM Shut that fucking thing off. He falls back to sleep. Hannah reluctantly gets up. She sleepily gets dressed, attempts to put on skinny jeans, and falls over. INT. SUBWAYDAY The subway car is crowded. Hannah holds a bar near the door, and dozes off. SUBWAY INTERCOM (V.O.) Stand clear of the closing doors please! The sound jolts Hannah awake. INT. SUBWAY STATIONTUNNELDAY

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237 Hannah waits to get on a different subway line. She kneels in front of a homeless man, mid-way in conversation. Hes clearly not into it. HANNAH Well, see, sir, I do have a very successful magazine job. Do homeless people read magazines? Can you read? Anyway, I still consider myself a starving writer working on my craft, so you see why I cant give you any money. HOMELESS MAN You dont look starving to me. HANNAH Thats really rude, sir. A train breaks up ahead. A condensed crowd stands up, and runs towards the closest doors. From inside the subway car looking out, the door closes on Hannah right before shes about to get on. End of tease. CUT TO TITLE FADE IN: INT. CAFEDAY Marnie, Shoshanna, and Jessa sit at a cute, eclectic cafe for breakfast. They drink coffee. The only sound is the CLINKING of their mugs and silverware. Hannah bursts through the doors, clearly late. She walks over to their table, and sits down. MARNIE Oh, thanks for showing up.

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238 HANNAH Well, I mean, if we met in Brooklyn once in a while... MARNIE Well, you work in HANNAH Yeah. At 10, not 7 in the morning riding in with all the maids and construction workers. MARNIE (Sarcasm) You poor thing. HANNAH Thank you. My thoughts exactly. So next time...Brooklyn...9 am? MARNIE Shosh has an 8AM! Which is why we picked this time! Marnie points to Shoshanna. Shoshanna drinks her coffee, and turns her head back and forth at Hannah and Marnie like shes watching a tennis match. MARNIE (CONT.) Are you going straight to work after this? HANNAH Yeah? MARNIE Oh. HANNAH What? MARNIE Nothing.

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239 HANNAH What? MARNIE Youre wearing skinny jeans to work? HANNAH I have a hip magazine job. I can wear skinny jeans. MARNIE They have holes in them... HANNAH See, this is exactly what I was talking about when you-JESSA Ahem. The two fall silent and turn to Jessa. Jessa raises her eyebrows. The two compose themselves. HANNAH ( Strained voice) I feel like you feel the need to control everyones lives, and then when you cant, you freak out. (Break) Which hurts my feels. (Break) And is rude. MARNIE (Strained voice) I feel like you have no sense of time, you show up whenever you feel like it, which then hurts my feelings. (Break) And is very rude. JESSA Better? Jessa turns to the waitress, who stands

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240 there awkwardly, not knowing what to do. JESSA (CONT.) Ill have the eggs benedict please. And a Bloody Mary. (Beat) Non-alcoholic. The girls eat in silence, the only sound being the silverware CLINKING as they eat. Shoshanna looks around the table contently. SHOSHANNA This is just like Sex and the City. INT. GQ MAGAZINECONFERENCE ROOMDAY Hannahs co-workers Joe, Karen and Kevin sit around a table. Hannah walks in, with a bag of Sun Chips. Hannah sits down. She opens the bag, which makes a POP noise in the silent room. Kevin glares at her. She eat the chips, but her heart is not in it. The CRUNCH CRUNCH CRUNCH echoes throughout the room. KAREN HANNAH Yup. Eats another chip. CRUNCH. KAREN Even the smell just makes me want to vomit. JOE I can get you a ginger ale? Joe stands half-way up, then sits back down and slumps. The chips in Hannahs mouth

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241 HANNAH It tastes like cardboard dipped in cheese powder. KAREN Or those stale crackers they give out at communion. KEVIN You know, you could just stop eating the Sun Chips. HANNAH (To Karen) I used to hoard those crackers under my tongue then spit them out once mass was over. Karen laughs at Hannahs comment. Joe stares amorously at Karen. shakes his head, staring intently at Hannahs face. KEVIN Your face. I just, I just want to punch it. HANNAH Im...sorry? Their boss, Janice, walks in, and everyone stops talking and straightens their posture. INT. GQ MAGAZINECONFERENCE ROOMDAY The meeting has ended and everyone stands up and heads towards the door. Janice remains seated. JANICE Hannah, please stay seated. I would like to speak with you privately.

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242 Hannah exchanges a side-ways glance with Karen and Joe as they walk out of the room. HANNAH Yeah, of course. Whats up? Hannah sits back down in her chair. JANICE You have been excelling lately. HANNAH Thank you. JANICE A spot has opened up last minute in the August issue for an essay. I told Mr. Nelson we could use one of yours. HANNAH Wow. (Beat) Yes, yes, of course, I would love to. JANICE If he likes it, you could earn yourself a monthly slot. For the time being. HANNAH Yes, that would be great. Thank you so much for the opportunity. JANICE Have it to me by tomorrow. HANNAH Ok. Again, thank you so much. Hannah stands up, walks towards the door and opens it. JANICE Hannah, one last thing... Hannah pauses and turns around. Janice peers

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243 over her glasses at Hannahs jeans. JANICE (CONT.) This isnt Tiger Beat... Hannah stares down at her pants. HANNAH Oh. Okay. INT. GQ MAGAZINEHANNAHS CUBICLEDAY Hannah sits down at her desk. She has a smile on her face. The phone rings. HANNAH Hi, Joe. INTERCUT WITH: INT. GQ MAGAZINEJOES CUBICLEDAY Joe sits at his desk, two cubicles away from Hannah. JOE So, what was that about? CUT TO HANNAH. HANNAH Jenna...has...offered me an essay slot in the August-CUT TO JOE. JOE Do you think Karen is back with her boyfriend? CUT TO HANNAH.

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244 HANNAH Oh, God. CUT TO JOE. JOE When we were waiting for Janice to show up, she got a text and smiled at it. CUT TO HANNAH. HANNAH (Sarcasm) Yup. Youre right. Shes probably back with her boyfriend. CUT TO JOE. JOE Oh no! What should I do? CUT TO HANNAH. Hannah has one hand on the phone and the other massages her temple. HANNAH I dont know. Proclaim your love? Commit seppuku? Read Sylvia Plath? Im hanging up. You have a problem. CUT TO JOE. He has a crazed look of determination. JOE So you think I should proclaim my love to Kar-Hannah hangs up. Joe tilts his head out of his cubicle. JOE (Whispers) Pssst!

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245 Joe waits for a response. Nothing. JOE (CONTD) (Whispers) Pssssssssst! Hannah tilts her head out of her cubicle. HANNAH (Whispers) What?! CUT TO HANNAH. JOE (Whispers) Did you just hang up on me? HANNAH (Whispers ) You do not need a co-workers help. You need a therapist. JOE (Whispers) You need a therapist! HANNAH (Whispers) Real mature! JOE (Whispers) Well, (Beat) at least I dont buy my jeans at Abercrombie and Fitch! The bitchy pre-teen called, she wants her jeans back! HANNAH (Whispers) Theyre grunge! Like the Indigo Girls!

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246 INT. KITCHENNIGHT Hannahs parents lean over the kitchen counter. A cell phone on speaker rests on the counter. LOREEN Congratulations, sweetie! TADD We love you, Hannah-Banana! EXT. SIDEWALKMANHATTANNIGHT HANNAH Bye, guys, love you too! LOREEN, TAD (On Phone) Bye! Hannah hangs up. She scrolls through her contacts. She slows over Marnies name. Pauses on it, then scrolls over it and up to Elijahs contact. She clicks on his name. Holds the phone up to her ear. INT. PALS APARTMENTLIVING ROOMNIGHT Elijah sits cross-legged on a chic couch in a posh apartment. The apartment looks like it belongs to a Real Housewife, but with a hipster, artsy touch. ELIJAH Look at you! With your life together. Congrats, sweetheart. HANNAH Aw! Thank you! ELIJAH Where is Hannah Horvath and what have you

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247 done with her? Elijah LAUGHS. HANNAH Im just happy my life is going well for once. ELIJAH Next youll tell me youve lost 20 pounds! Elijah LAUGHS. HANNAH Yeaaaah. Hannah LAUGHS uncomfortably.

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248 SQUABBLE, SQUABBLE fate grabbers Daniel Land I fold down the shades and pack up my window. Suddenly click the receiving end of my days are puckered. Dammed shut, and the presence of levity becomes the force to latch that door forever. A glimpse to the inneris lost to the shadowscape and I turn in spite of it. Rendered, I am. The rabble so short, it keeps in a verse of tiles, it patterns me, letting me feel again. Its easy to drink in, and Im struck stupid for a little. Regardless of the system, Im drunk. Ganged upon. For the life of me, Im weeping at the solace of each tiny form of emotive charge. Grouped in layers beside a choir of me, all situated in front for excellent panning motion. Im so I almost ask to be excused. Bruised context. A limp, corroded gush, just in time to be pummeled until drafted into shape. Into lovely, lively shape. And when I wake up, Im in a bed in a room. Between walls and a roof. The world is lighter from the lack of my thoughts, and outside I watch opinions ruin yet another nice spread.

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249 Pas Wooden Spoon Phoebe Lamont It was inconspicuous in the metal bowl with All the other cooking utensils: Twisted whisks and spatulas crowded around The worn dark wooden spoon, with stripes of light Wood like shadows across my bedroom walls When cars drove by in the night. It felt grainy in my hand, not worn as it is now. I had to stand on the blue stool To reach the bowl when we made cookies: I liked mixing the butter and sugar together best, They reminded me of packed snow beneath my feet. The dough thickened until I couldnt Stir anymore, and I gave the spoon to my I left when he spooned out the dough, Ball by ball, onto the cookie sheet And later, he would come into the living room With the bowl and spoon, and give them to me And I would lick the spoon clean, it was still warm With melted butter and the place where my father Held it was as smooth as his wedding band.

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250 Guatemala Beetle Michelle Stiles

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251 New York is Cold and Full of Poetry Shanna Fuld I got a call from a friend. He said, hows New York? New York is cold and full of poetry, I said. The words are in the scars of my once broken wrist. The rhymes are in the teetering leaves outside. The print is in the chalk on the sidewalk. The music is in the briskness Its a tickle that reminds me of the song, That all New Yorkers are singing. This here is an isolated place and its 20 less than Id like, I go read Kerouac in the library chair, I got this phone call and I realized that New York is Cold and Full of Poetry.

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252 Migration Marian Holmes The summer that I was eight years old, the monarchs came. endlessly overhead. Flora and fauna connected by the color wheel. People came in droves, cars lining the already narrow streets of our usually-forgotten town. The every-day A soon-to-be third-grader, I sat alone under the tulip tree which shaded the expanse of our front yard. I was tall for my age that summer; a growth spurt, arriving early, had me creeping steadily above my peers, but still, the boughs seemed to kiss the clouds where the tulips budded each spring. In late autumn, the helicopters would fall from these heavens, littering the grounds in anxious hope of pollination. by the wind for means of fertilization. They are dull in color and texture, bark-like and dry. They are offensive to bare feet. At one end of their length, tulip seeds sport a sharp barb for the purpose of rooting and attaching themselves to animal pelts. The weight of this appendage causes the seeds to fall in spiral formations, imitating the blades of helicopters descending steadily. Much of my childhood was spent bare-footed and wincing as I reached down toward my sole(s) to release both seed and pain alike. Still, Id sit under my tree, in awe at the show of falling I have always housed a curious mind. Over-curious some may say; my parents did for a time, sending me to several summer camps a day just to get me out of the house. You ask too many questions, they claimed. At camp, my hyper mind and un-edited mouth were someone elses hassle to handle. Still, they did their very best, buying me books and spy kits, sending me to programs where I was engrossed in art and inventing, and even once, gifting me a metal detector, which brought about endless items quickly

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253 to trinket territory. My birthday came just two days before Christmas, and I learned early to be wise in present choice as I, unlike my peers, would not get a second-chance that same year. I had one shot to get it right. December 23rd, 1999, my tiny hands ripped the paper from my very own microscope, complete with glass slides, the kind a kid could cut themselves on, and a regulation-sized scalpel. My parents hardly ever kept the world from me; tools were not something to be feared, but something to respect. Sharp edges had great purpose when yielded correctly. I had waited anxiously for spring, the rebirth of the everything beneath its concentrated beam of light. When school released us that June of 2000, I could not wait to spend each day magnifying my world at forty, one hundred, four hundred times my normal eyes ability. I set up my lab each morning, claiming the front porch with a spread of tools and notebooks. I always brought my microscope out last. The black, metal frame made it durable, Marian-proof, yet heavy, and my developing muscles would strain slightly from its weight. By August, I could have sworn it was but a feather. An orange, construction-grade extension cord stretched from our living room, winding through the vestibule, to the wicker table my microscope rested on. The neighbors grew accustomed to my constant presence. Id wave hello to each person bringing trash bags to the curb. Re-emerging mid afternoon to get the mail, theyd ask about the advancements in that days experi ments. Today Im dissecting wild mushrooms. Id speak to any who would listen, utilizing science jargon from the instruments instructional guide and the books I checked out of the library each week. I was a chubby, self-reliant, budding-scientist, constantly clad in mismatched clothing, and I had become a staple of the neighborhood. cannot withstand the cold, and so, in hordes of glorious or and I remember all the news sources speculating. Anchors and authors alike debated this winged coincidence. Humans miss so much by over-thinking. I did not care to answer the

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254 why, perhaps I should have given-up on science then and there, but the other Ws, the who, what, where, and whens, brought me running to my yard. and colors, wingspan, noise, and wind. I took to my notebooks, jotting conclusions and crude drawings of both individual specimen and rabble alike. A multitude of swarm. People traveled to see them. Scientists and nature observers, families with children and parents parallel in crowded our town. And in a few days time, they vanished, leaving barely a trace behind them. Spectacles wear off The monarchs came. The people came. The people left. The monarchs died. My tulip tree morphed to mass grave less than a week after their arrival. I do not know what caused the fatalities, but my lawn became a site of both horror and wonder in my eyes. I remember waiting a day, respectively, before I picked I walked slowly to my laboratory, a one-woman funeral procession in the midst of the suburban grind. I placed the creature gingerly, and stopped a moment in consideration before reaching for my scalpel. The summer of experimenting had brought me steady, precise hands, and the wing was severed in one quick motion. To touch, it was like silk or sting-ray. Smooth, and soft, and slightly comforting. Yet fragile in a way Id never witnessed. I rubbed chitin and scales disintegrate between thumb and pointer. I cried a bit. serving the different parts of the monarch, dissecting slowly, placing pieces on slides to be gazed at under the micro scopes beam. But their wings still haunted me. Each time Id overestimate necessary pressure, Id cringe. The silent ripping of the naturally exquisite fabric seemed to tear at me as well. I could not overcome the delicacy, no matter how many wings I observed. Even at forty, one hundred, four hundred times my eyesight, the patterns of their surface distorted to a point beyond recognition, no thought remained but that of my power to destroy the wing with ease. Already dead, I could, if I chose to, maim this

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255 creature further, and the idea of humans choosing to do so, that some humans do as I had observed the monarchs, someone, someday scrutinized the human race? Who? What? Where? When? These were not my concern so much, as what they would discover to be the why.

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256 Journeys End Shelby Coyle Hello, my dear, a woman says, I spin to look around. On this empty country path She appears without a sound. Would you mind some company? She says in friendly tone. Why not, say I, with a smile, Much better than walking alone. And so we travel down the path, From one town to the next. She tells me ceaseless wonders, Riddles which leave me vexed. And as we speak, she skips ahead And draws me in to dance. The low sun circles overhead, In this manner we advance. We laugh and play and make our way, I loop her arm in mine. I feel Ive known you quite a while, Oh, I have seen you many times, In many different faces. I have met you everywhere, Through a history of places. Another riddle, here I laugh, And she chimes in as well. We took long our joyous time, Where darkness shortly fell. We should hurry on ahead, The next towns surely near. I lead her on and hear a breath, Oh, my precious dear. We carry on with stars above, The moon lighting our path, And in the nearing distance The hand in mine grips tighter, She pulls me off the way, Please, my friend, she whispers, How has been your day? Has it been all that you desired, Though you never quite reached town?

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257 Please, hurry, answer quick, I do not wish to let you down. My day has been quite wonderful, The best Ive ever had. But, come, we must escape this path, These men here seem quite mad. I pull her hand and turn to run While hoof-beats, cries, and madness Wrap us all around. Oh, my ancient friend, she sighs, That we must do this again. There is no use in running now, You cannot escape these men. Then, for a moment, in my eyes, And for the last known thing Id see, Oh, was it a sight.

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258 Never So Gracefully K.M. Alleena For Gramma Jo Ann We have all been dying each year with each step and each breath, but never so gracefully as you. Now, you exhale with the promise to give Death our regards, quoting songs from the lips of your guardians, angels or beings yet unseen. You keep saying youll be a whisper; the pictures in old, dusty frames a memory. You tell us to smile and blink away the storms in our eyes, raining down our cheeks to your bedside. You remind us all of your generations that it was you where our strength in our genes comes from; a direct line, traceable.

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259 You daydream of your sisters who had the patience to go before you in the sunlight, waiting for the day youd grace them with your presence. Telling their stories, you fold the corner of the page in the book youre reading, and set it down. Weakly you wink dark brown eye shining green for just a moment. Ill be back, you know; a wailing kid. They said so, anyway; your Great Aunts, I mean. Can you imagine? Reincarnation? What a thing! We hear the nurses claim enough is enough for one day, and they tuck you in snug; hospital blankets white like clouds. You cough, but your face is peace. You smile,

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260 while the rest of us weep from our inability to be as optimistic in our weakness as you can.

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261 Whisper Emma Johnson