Great Lake Review - Spring 2018

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Great Lake Review - Spring 2018
Series Title:
Great Lakes Review
Kirsten Staller ( Editor-in-Chief )
Kirstin Swartz ( Managerial Editor )
Francesca Leparik ( Secretary )
Joseph Bandru ( Treasurer )
Lilly Kiel ( Public Relations Coordinator )
Marissa Specioso ( Publication Designer )
Emilee Crane ( Head Editor of Drama )
Evelyn Sokolowski ( Head Editor of Fiction )
David Drake ( Head Editor of Nonfiction )
Joseph Sigurdson ( Head Editor of Poetry )
Laura Donnelly ( Advisor )
Winnie Blackwood ( Editor )
Mic-Anthony Hay ( Editor )
David Manke ( Editor )
Luz Robles ( Editor )
Zach Taylor ( Editor )
McKayla Temple ( Editor )
Harrison Mark ( Editor )
Merlin Tiiser ( Editor )
Jenna Uryevick ( Editor )
Haylie Wood ( Editor )
Zariah Aldrich-Banks ( Editor )
Nelson De Los Santos ( Editor )
Kristen Manahan ( Editor )
Edward Sourby ( Editor )
Alexandra Zubrick ( Editor )
Nirdishtha Raj Sapkota ( Editor )
Rose Banks ( Editor )
Ashley Cavallo ( Editor )
Sara Costello ( Editor )
Sally Familia ( Editor )
Kirsy Guzman ( Editor )
Sky Hochberg ( Editor )
Peter Humphreys ( Editor )
Laura Panagis ( Editor )
SUNY Oswego
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Collected for SUNY Oswego Institutional Repository by the online self-submittal tool. Submitted by Emily Mitchell.
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Great Lake Review is SUNY Oswego's student-edited literary and art magazine. Great Lake Review is published, in general, every semester, and contains primarily student art work, poetry, fiction, and other literary works.

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THE GREAT LAKE REVIEW SUNY Oswegos Literary Magazine Spring 2018 Editor-in-Chief Kirsten Staller Managerial Editor Kirstin Swartz Secretary Francesca Leparik Treasurer Joseph Bandru Public Relations Coordinator Lilly Kiel Publication Designer Marissa Specioso Head Editor of Drama Emilee Crane Head Editor of Fiction Evelyn Sokolowski David Drake Head Editor of Poetry Joseph Sigurdson Faculty Advisor Laura Donnelly Drama Editors Winnie Blackwood Mic-Anthony Hay David Manke Luz Robles Zach Taylor McKayla Temple Fiction Editors Harrison Mark Merlin Tiiser Jenna Uryevick Haylie Wood Zariah Aldrich-Banks Nelson De Los Santos Kristen Manahan Edward Sourby Alexandra Zubrick Poetry Editors Nirdishtha Raj Sapkota Rose Banks Ashley Cavallo Sara Costello Sally Familia Kirsy Guzman Sky Hochberg Peter Humphreys Laura Panagis SPECIAL THANKS Laura Donnelly Creative Writing Department


LAKE REVIEW 2018 by Great Lake Review. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any written, electronic, or recorded form without written permission of the publisher or author. The exception would be in the case of brief quotations embodied in the critical publisher or author. Although every precaution has been taken to verify the accuracy of the information contained herein, the author and publisher assume no responsibility for any errors or omissions. No liability is assumed for damages that may result from the use of information contained within. Interior Design: Marissa Specioso Publisher: Great Lake Review Printed in Syracuse, New York 85th Edition State University of New York at Oswego


Located at 19 W. Bridge Street in downtown Oswego, the Rivers End Bookstore is GLRs off-campus home. Every year the Rivers End holds the release events for our fall and spring issues. All of us at GLR would like to extend a special thank you to everyone at our favorite independent bookstore, especially Bill and Mindy. THANK YOU RIVERS END! Page 3


TABLE OF CONTENTS ART Untitled by Michael Laverty ................................ Cover Create by Rachel Futterman ....................... Rivers End Page Fade to Grey (Cooperstown, NY) by Peter Wendler .................. 8 A Sign From Above (The August 2018 Solar Eclipse, Nashville, TN) Starburst by Carrie McIntosh ................................... 11 by Peter Wendler .............................................. 15 Draped by Kaitlin Alexander .................................... 18 Chicken Nuggets by Susan Fox .................................. 28 Architecture by Rachel Futterman ............................... 33 Floater by Miles Petersen ....................................... 35 Crater Lake by Danielle Benincasa ............................... 54 Purple Blanket by Scott Keselring ............................... 57 In the Woods by Danielle Benincasa ............................. 69 Before the War (1941 Buick Special, Oneonta, NY) by Peter Wendler .. 77 The White Knight of Old (1939 Ghram, Northeastern Classic Car Museum, Norwich, NY) by Peter Wendler ........................ 80 Envy by Victoria Jayne ........................................ 96 Through the Window of Night (Oswego, NY) by Peter Wendler ..... 102 Greed by Victoria Jayne ....................................... 106 Cloud Boy by Miles Petersen ................................... 113 Sea Life by Miles Petersen ..................................... 117 Coopers by Emily Goleski ..................................... 119 Whats in the Cup by Danielle Benincasa ........................ 123 DRAMA Sobriety by Emily Shaben ....................................... 17 Radio Silence by Leslie Ann Velez ................................ 37 Chalkboard Shenanigans by Angelina Perrone .................... 81 Emergency Services by Alex Franceschi ......................... 108 FICTION Dominoes by Cate Seaman ....................................... 9 Ripped Jeans and Hazel Eyes by Jessica Wickham ................. 20 Dads Jeans by Cody Young ..................................... 34 Family Portrait by Keturah Hancock ............................ 56 The Criminal by John Ross Thompson .......................... 59 Icebreaker by Gina Duffy ....................................... 78 Your Face is Beautiful by John Ross Thompson ................... 96 The Charred Man by Cody Young ............................... 98 The Greatest Risk by Emily Shaben ............................. 104 Gerald by Benjamin Greco ..................................... 114 ASH by Kevin Sun ............................................ 120 Page 4


NONFICTION My English Teachers Greatest Lesson by Mary McIntyre ........... 13 Piano Man by Breanne Beightol ................................ 30 Wings by Alexandra Borowsky .................................. 70 I Wont Fret by Mary McIntyre ................................. 99 POETRY Chocolate Milk by Susan Fox ..................................... 7 Dear John by Kerri Shea ........................................ 10 Ode to a Piece of Spearmint by Nicole Ehmann .................... 12 Bedside Manner by Emily Goleski ................................ 16 Concrete Swamp by Cate Seaman ............................... 19 Roots by Beatriz Rosa .......................................... 29 Ugli Fruit by Danielle Sherman .................................. 32 Quiet Passage of the Ship by Cate Seaman ....................... 36 Fishing by Anna Chwiejczak .................................... 55 Rain or Not by Cate Seaman .................................... 58 175th & University by Alex Franceschi ............................ 75 False Honor by Cody Bateson ................................... 79 Below the Kitchen Table / What Human Hands Can Do by Alex Franceschi.. 91 Wrapped in Piano Strings by Yenifer Garcia ...................... 97 Ode to Son Hop by Ashley Kirkland ............................. 103 Lake Ontarios Freckled Shore by Danielle Sherman ............... 107 Clingstone by Jack Goodfellow ................................. 116 The Craft of Staying Dry / The Art of Getting Wet by Susan Fox .... 118 Packing Up, Moving Along by Alex Franceschi .................... 122 Page 5


Page 6


Chocolate Milk Susan Fox You no longer drink your chocolate milk From the spoon, Or blow bubbles through your straw. Instead You chug As if youre trying To stain your perfect white ribs To drown out the beat of your heart Until its gone. Page 7


Fade to Grey (Cooperstown, NY)Peter Wendler Page 8


Dominoes Cate Seaman Im almost asleep next to my boyfriend when I hear a knock at the front door. He turns the screen of his iPhone off One sec, he says before making his way through the dim, messy room. When hes gone, I think about him. Who is at the door? Does he not want me? Wed fought earlier today about the way he doesnt talk to me. He returns a few minutes later with a box of pizza. Its Dominos. The smell of grease seeps through the box when my boyfriend sits down on his bed. He opens it and starts to eat. My stomach growls. Its bacon and sausage, like always. I cant tell whether its my eyes or my mouth that starts to water. Sometimes my eyes can get bigger than my stomach. Sometimes my mouth can get bigger than my eyes. Can I have some? I ask, looking up. Well-uh, he says, I kinda got this for me. I say nothing. He eats, and I feel tense below him. My chest and throat are tight, and I dont want to look up at him anymore. I sit up and inch my hand towards him. Then I take a slice of pizza. Sorry, I say. My boyfriend looks at me like Im a stranger. I grin at him and bring the trophy pizza closer to my face. It glistens golden cheese. Holding the crust, I can feel it lighten the moment the cheese falls off. I can hear my boyfriend gasp when the tomato sauce splatters over my leg and his sheets. I take a bite, and Page 9


Dear John Kerri Shea Before we were in your life, you had a Tom Selleck mustache. And you talked like Kenickie in Grease. Before you wore a suit and tie, you wore a Lynard Skynard jean jacket. Before you became a mechanic, you had dreams of being a teacher. Before you had cancer, you were on the varsity baseball team. Before you beat cancer, you were afraid of being a failure. Before you succeeded, you hated little kids. Then one, two, three you loved us Page 10


Starburst Carrie McIntosh Page 11


Ode to a Piece of SpearmintNicole Ehmann Reduced from your former sugary glory to an unrecognizably chewed mass of tar left behind on the sidewalk, tossed carelessly over the shoulder, baked into the cement from the harsh glow of early July evenings and Your once slim and elegant silver wrapper stuffed forgotten into the back pocket of some worn pair of Levys, crumpled and frayed, the foil run through now with wrinkles like spice leaves hung up to dry. The hands that once kept you cradled close reach instead for another; the ghost of your minty presence waiting idly on skittish lips and lingering on the caustic breaths of teenagers to be replaced with the bite of bubblegum and the slow burn of red hot cinnamon as you lie in wait on the brittle asphalt, darkened by smog and cityscape shadows, watching the skys subtle shifts from orange to amber to blue to black. Page 12


My English Teachers Greatest LessonMary McIntyre I didnt believe Mr. Gilchriest when he told me that he the moment that he opened the cover of The Kite Runner, that all changed. The next thing I knew, I was a young kid competition, the glass on the string of my kite cutting into my hand as I took down my opponents with each gentle tug. Then, vomit down my throat. Next, I was an adult, looking members of the Taliban in the eye and laughing until it felt like that was the only thing that I knew how to do. Finally, I was darting in from the sky. Mr Gilchriest closed the book, rushing to the next one. The following trip went back to Vietnam War, and I was a growing soldier in The Things They Carried. I started out trying to abandon Americas army draft, leaving the country behind like a burnt out cigarette on a crumbling sidewalk. Then, I watched a fellow soldiers girlfriend get swallowed by the jungle, overtaken by the welcoming air, and disappear from feeling of killing a man, wanting to sink to your knees, knowing the outline of his inanimate face would be what his wife would only be able to imagine. Helplessly, I watched the people I once called friends fade into nothing. Their bodies were lifeless Lastly, we took a tour of a mental hospital in One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. I witnessed a new patient try to take down the institutions most infamous nurse from the top of the hierarchical pyramid. Remaining silent, I saw the shining trip and we had a basketball team that wouldnt quit bouncing around the court. I could see the wards newest resident try to lift more than his determined body could hold. I couldnt tear my eyes away when he failed to win the power struggle Page 13


most recent victim couldnt accomplish with the nurse and put him out of his misery, post-lobotomy. Mr. Gilchriest closed the I traveled across the world into previous decades without help but dodge other students and race past them up the wondering how my teacher was going to revolutionize my world during third period. I sat in my assigned seat next to the cabinets on the side of the room away from his desk. He had books, but before each class, the thing that I couldnt tear my that his past students had planned to attend. I didnt know what I would be studying or where I was going to end up a year from that time after my graduation. I didnt realize how much Mr. Gilchriest had affected me until I checked the intended major box that said Creative Writing when I applied to go to college. Mr. Gilchriest had made me fall in love with the stories that he discussed in class to the point where I couldnt imagine not wanting to create my own characters for other readers to become enamored with too. I dont know how long hell keep teaching, but I hope that years from now, hell be in class, holding a book that Ive written in his hands and smiling to himself because the girl from the back of the class made it and something in him always knew that she would. Page 14


A Sign From Above (The August 2018 Solar Eclipse, Nashville, TN)Peter Wendler Page 15


Bedside Manner Emily Goleski I awake to trickling water. In the corner, he is peeing. This is not the bathroom. Page 16


SobrietyEmily Shaben INT. BEDROOM NIGHT The lights are out except for a thin strip coming from the random items of clothing. A pair of jeans are hanging half off the bed. From the door, a MAN, 25, leans against the frame and looks into the room. His hand is over his mouth. Hes disgusted. His shoulders slump and he sighs. The Man is not surprised. The Man glances around. He sees the empty glass liquor bottles in the trash by the dresser. On the bedside table, a shot glass is on its side. Another is right side up, resting on what could be a coaster. Its hard to see. He steps into the room. He nudges aside vodka shooters and clothes. From the bed a WOMAN, 24, stirs. THE HALF-HANGING JEANS FALL ON THE FLOOR. She does not get up. The Man shakes his head. He tiptoes around to the Womans bedside table. He carefully lifts the knocked-over shot glass. He brings it to his nose and cringes. THE SHOT GLASS HAS A DROP LEFT. The Man gently places the glass back onto the table. He turns towards the bed. The Womans hair is visible beneath a mound of blankets. The Man stares at her. His lips are pressed tightly together. His gaze wanders down the bed. One of her legs is sticking out. He nudges her leg back under the blankets. The Man turns back to the side table. He carefully picks up one shot glass and reaches for the other. Upon lifting it, he notices... ...THE SHOT COASTER IS HER AA SOBRIETY COIN, MONTHS. He stares at it. He picks it up slowly. He rolls it over the tops of his knuckles before catching it in his hand. He clenches it and looks defeated. Page 17


DrapedKaitlin Alexander Page 18


Concrete SwampCate Seaman You live in the concrete swampA mechanical spider sits atop a black-eyed Susandrippingits eyes blink red-yellow-green. Walk. Dont walk. You dance over the road thinking cars cant hurt me. Pools of jungle juice bubble in the gutters. syrup canal. Predators creep from the bushes they hide inside to harvest A creature made of mostly meat: you are a trick or treat to them. Vomit glitter from last nights dinner at the asphalt by your feet. with bodies, where the air is hot from breath. When every has-been has been had, eke screams from your team until youve had enough. Then standinside an empty cavern you call home, outside sounds reach and away from the echoes that follow you. Leave the cave and pick queer fruit from a tree nearby. Eat the fruit and your speech turns into fractals. You share it with your friendsspeak fractals with your friends. Do you understand? At the end of the night, a lost boy from Nowhere crashes on your couch. Hes crying bullets over something you cant understand, and your only gift is sorry. His cheeks are stained green with a rash from the road. You apply a poultice but it burns his face. Tired, you kick him out to the street, telling yourself he was drunk anyway. You wake up the next morning to one text message that you delete before reading through. Stuck inside the concrete swamp, your lost boy is lost to sour hours and miles between. Page 19


Ripped Jeans and Hazel EyesJessica Wickham February 3rd, 1:04 a.m. I kissed him. And he kissed me back. Shit. I stare at the palms of my hands as I sit by my bed. Idiot, idiot, idiot. I try to think about where it went wrong, though its hard with the February 2nd, 11:23 p.m. across the screen. Nope, I think, swiping him away. My phone I hear a knock on my dorm room door. I toss my phone on my desk, stand up, and walk to the door. When I open it, hazelblue eyes stare back at me. Shit. Dan, I manage to get out. I shouldve known better than to shut him out. Dan cares too fucking much to let that slide. He gives me a concerned look. Vick, whats going on? he asks from the doorway. on. Super busy. That papers not due for another two weeks. Shit. Leave it to Dan to remember due dates. Since when do you try to get a head start on things? He eyes me skeptically. Can I come in? I sigh. Fine, I nod, standing aside to let him in the room. He looks over at my empty desk. Homework? he asks, a sigh in his voice. I just say nothing. What can I say? Its obvious Ive been avoiding him. I sit back down in my desk chair, and he leans against the top shelf. Victor, he says to me. Please, tell me. Whats going on? Its not like you to be like this. Nothing, I answer. I dont want to talk about it. He nods. Alright, he agrees. You still look terrible, though. You want to smoke? I look up at him, casually letting his weight rest on one foot as his Red Hot Chili Peppers shirt drapes across his thin form. His brown, shaggy hair falls around his ears, and I have Page 20


Getting high with him? I think. Last time I did that I sigh. If I say no, hell just keep worrying, I reason. Okay, I say. Sure. February 3rd, 12:23 a.m. On the walk back to the dorm from his car, I feel it start to needed, I think. Dont mention it, Dan says. I look at him strangely. Did I say that out loud? I ask. Yeah, he answers. Dont worry about it. to the scanner to let us into the building. We ride the elevator head back to my room. I put one foot in front of the other until I collapse in my bed. I roll over until Im sitting up on its edge. Dan stands by the bed, giving me a small smile. I know you said you didnt want to talk about it, Dan says, taking a short breath. But youve been acting weird for the past week. Are you okay? Can you at least tell me that? I only half understand his words, and I opt for a simple nod to avoid losing track of my train of thought. I worry about you, sometimes, Dan says. something fun? Okay, he reluctantly agrees. He eases himself on the bed next to me, and I feel my heartrate accelerate beyond what it was already at. I try not to move, just so he doesnt realize how nervous I am. Calm down. Zanes got a new song idea. I nod. You gonna go for it? I ask. Not sure, he admits. I dont want it to seem too clich, you know? Dan, youre our best writer, I tell him. No way can you create a clich. Our songs were never as good as they got when you came along. Youre the one who recruited me, he points out. Page 21


I remember it well. Dan used to be this kid that blended in. Somewhere along the way, other kids saw him playing guitar after school, and his popularity went way up. He just shrugged it off, though, in his casual humble way. I just knew I had to have him in my band, especially after Cole, our guitarist, moved to Nevada. Our bands popularity has been increasing ever since. Yeah, because I saw how good you were, I tell him. I wave his comment off. Thats only because Im the lead singer. Girls love the bad boy with the green hair and ripped jeans. You seem to like them, too. I pause. I guess. You guess? Theyre mostly just hookups. You know that. Yeah, I know. Youve never been one to settle down. Yeah. I look down at my hands, then up to him. I look at him, and every aspect of him seems brighter. Shit, I think. beating faster at the sight of his eyes. I know it cant be because of the high, either. Youyoure a good friend, Dan, I say to try to distract my thoughts. Thanks, he says back, shifting his hands back and forth from his knees to his side. I watch them go back and forth, and I act before I can stop myself. I put my hand on top of his right, and he looks right at me. The thought crosses into my mind, and I lean forward. them on mine. But I dont pull away, and neither does he. I grab his t-shirt with my other hand, pull him into me, and kiss him hard. I feel every wrinkle in his shirt, every crack in his lips. Everything Ive wanted to feel for so long, all happening so fast. He kisses me back, matching my pace. Shit, I think, but dont stop. I move my hand until I feel the bottom of his shirt, around his hip and pull him even closer, feeling my desire growing. Page 22


Dan moves his lips to kiss my chin, and I lift my head. He I pull up his shirt, and he lifts his arms to let me take it off. Time speeds up and slows down all at once, and I feel his hands on my back, gripping me hard. I rip off my tank top and toss it aside. I move my lips to his neck, feeling his stubble on my tongue. His breaths are heavy in my ear, and I almost cant believe this is happening. I had imagined it plenty of times, but I never expected it to actually happen. I push my body against his slightly, trying to get him to lie down. His movements are slow, but he eventually repositions himself until Im on top of him. I feel his erection against my jeans, and it only makes my heartrate quicken. I kiss him everywhere. Every inch of him, smooth and warm. I move my hands to his jeans, and fumble with his button. His breath stops suddenly, so I stop too. I look up at stare at him in horror and scramble off him. My body hits the drop. I slowly stand up as all my adrenaline whooshes out of me. When I look over, Dans sitting up on the bed, trying to get his shirt back on. He stands up off the bed and looks at me. Dan I start. Im sorry. I He shakes his head, that look of anxiety never quite leaving his eyes. He walks past me, opens the door, and leaves without another word. I collapse against the bedframe and try in futility to stop the hot tears from escaping my eyes. February 2nd, 2:03 p.m. Come on, just do it, a part of me urges. Today is the day. Cant it wait? the other part of me argues. What if she acts just like Dad said she would? This could devastate her. She wont act that way. Dad was a total dick. He probably lied. She wont understand. Sure she will. She has to understand. Otherwise, I can never be with him. I take a deep breath, in, out, and push dial on my phone. Page 23


I hold it up to my ear and listen to the dial tone sound once, twice. Victor! Mom shouts from the other end. I cant help but smile. She always loves hearing me call. How are you? What are you doing? Hows school? As usual, her questions come too fast for me to answer. call to catch up. Her voice noticeably drops. Whats wrong? Youre not in trouble, are you? No, nothing like that, I tell her. I can do this, I think over and over again. I just want to tell you something. Its really important to me. But you have to promise not to get mad at me. Sure, of course, she says quickly. But what is this? Whats going on? Im I hesitate. Ive rehearsed this what mustve been at least ten times before even picking up the phone, yet I cant seem to get the words out right. Bisexual. For a moment, all I can hear is my heart threatening to burst through my ribcage. Mom? I call, worried she mayve lost signal. What did you say? she asks. Didnt you hear me? I ask. I said Im bi, Mom. Bi-sexual. I dont understand, her voice sounds frustrated, like when she encounters an atheist by chance. Im coming out to you, Mother! I shout into the phone. Calm down. I let out my breath. Listen, Mom, I just wanted you to know, okay? I like guys and girls. Its not that big a deal. Yes, it is a big deal, she says back, her voice angry and raised. I cant believe youve been hiding this from me. Youre gay? and start pacing my dorm room. I shake my head. This cant be happening, I think in a panic. Im not gay, Mom! How long have you known? she asks, clearly ignoring my response. Since Jeremy, I tell her. Page 24


But Jeremy was your best friend. He was my boyfriend. Silence hangs in the air. I cant believe this, she tells me. This isnt you. This isnt the Victor I raised. You need to get help. Mom, I dont need help, I scream at her. I need you to understand! The line goes dead. She hung up on me! Fuck, how could I be so stupid? I raise the phone in my hand, ready to throw it at the wall. I stop myself, tossing it on the bed with a sort of heaviness I havent felt since Dad found me with Jeremy. February 4th, 10:30 a.m. Its been over 24 hours, I realize as I lie in bed with my hand in my hair. I check my phone once again. He hasnt said a word to me. Maybe I should talk to him. No, bad idea. I cant even look at his face right now. our conversation. was the last message from Dan, before he showed up at my dorm. I wince, but decide to press on. expecting him to never respond. he messages back exactly 18 minutes after me. Shit. How do I even explain that? I take a deep breath. Page 25


I sit up in bed. I actually start to feel lighter. A whole 30 seconds pass. My chest sinks. I cant help but chuckle. he reminds me. I shake my head. I shouldve seen this coming. Another 30 seconds. I breathe a sigh of relief. February 5th, 7:18 p.m. You guys all set? I ask, looking around to my bandmates. They nod. Okay. Lets start with My cellphone cuts me off. Normally, I leave if off during practice, but I forgot to today. I immediately recognize my moms ringtone. Why the fuck is she calling me? Just a sec, I say, setting down my guitar and walking into the kitchen from our drummers garage. What? I say when I accept her call. Victor? she says back. Im sorry I hung up on you the other day. I just wanted to call and let you know I hear her taking a deep breath. I, um, looked up what you said. I still Page 26


dont understand, but You dont have to understand, Mom, I tell her. Just dont hate me. Of course I dont hate you, she assures me. No matter what you do, I could never hate you. Its justthis was rather sudden for me, hun. It just came out of nowhere. I told you Ive known for a while. I try to keep the edge out of my voice. I know, I know, she says hurriedly. But why tell me now? I, um I sigh. It all seems kind of stupid now. Fell in love with my best friend, again. Who? Danny? she asks, the surprise clear in every word. Yeah, I answer in a whisper. Look, Mom, I dont really want to talk about it. Is he your I can just see her wincing at home. Boyfriend? No, Mom, I tell her. She sighs in relief. But that doesnt mean I stop liking guys. I pause, then quickly add, or girls. Alright, she says, though its clear shes trying to shut me up. Well, um, Im here for you. If you ever go back to what you were before, just let me know. Is that her way of saying this is a fucking phase? I just shake my head. Dont get into it now. Sure, Mom, I agree to agree. Ive got practice. Okay. She goes silent for a second. I love you. Love you too, I say as I hang up the phone. Hey, Vick! Dan shouts from the garage, his voice just loud enough for me to hear. You coming? I put my phone in my back pocket, take a deep breath, and turn back toward the garage. Yeah. Page 27


Chicken NuggetsSusan Fox Page 28


Roots Beatriz Rosa I emerged from blood and chocolate. Cocoa beans are the best kind of poison. Hot breath exchanging compliments and control and cries to God cause it feels so good. Warm skin shielding cold souls and sucking the liquor off his bottom lip as if he is the only thing left to drink on the island. Rafael and Ciriaco could never be friends, not here nor in Santiago. They might have met each other at a bar in carajo land. Cocoa beans are the best antidote. Loving a man will make you a holy thing or a quiet siren or it just means you choked in darkness. Hot breath exchanging curses and control and cries to God cause he wouldnt stop. The bed reeked of silence. pure. That woman sure knows how to die China heard the gardenias say to the roses that lay on the pavement. El que no sabe engaar no sabe gobernar, and he sure governed you to believe that dark chocolate is the kind you could never bite into. It reduced the enchanting taste of bleach and it was not worth healing your sore throat and dared you give your heart to someone less cavalier? Hot breath exchanging crude comments and crooked views of kinky hair. Hot breath full of lies his lips fed you. Suck the salt from your tears like its love in the 60s, when tyrant meets chocolatier. Cocoa beans are the best heirloom. Page 29


Piano Man Breanne Beightol halls of the theatre as I stood against the wall waiting for my audition. My vocal coach, Mr. Wilson, had assigned me a song in a foreign language that was completely out of my range and comfort zone. I could hear his words of wisdom echo in the back of my mind as I looked over the crumbled sheet music. Challenging yourself helps you grow as a singer, hed say. I tapped against my leg, keeping a steady beat, as I mouthed the words to this wretched, unfamiliar song. I wasnt nearly as prepared for this audition as I shouldve pressure from Mr. Wilson to challenge myself made it seem as though there was no other option. Singing was something Id always done for fun, but I dreaded how these auditions turned it into some type of competition. I didnt want to be harshly graded on breathing in the correct places or using my diaphragm to support high notes. I wanted to sing to make the people listening feel something real. Most importantly and myself feel something real. Singing was the one thing that gave me a rush and reminded me I had a pulse. As I checked my watch and noticed the minute hand creeping steadily toward my audition time, I longed to be in my sanctuary: alone in my car. I pictured myself driving a little faster than I should be, singing along to a Billy Joel song I knew by heart. I would roll down my windows and sing over the pounding wind as strands of hair cycloned around my face. I could let go without any fear of making mistakes. I would let my voice crack and laugh at myself when I got the harmonies wrong. After a few minutes, a heavy-set moderator wearing too much makeup popped her head out of the door in front of me, inviting me in. Mr. Wilson was already inside sitting at the piano as he rearranged his sheet music. He smiled as I walked to the center of the room. This encouraging gaze awakened a pang of guilt in the pit of my stomach as I acknowledged how Page 30


and asked if I was ready. All set, I lied. The moderator plopped in the front row of empty seats and asked me to begin. The opening notes rang through the room as I took a deep breath and began singing my piece. completely blanked on the lyrics. It was hard enough that the song was in a different language, so I couldnt even fake my way though it by making words up. The moderator scowled at my awkward fumble and scratched a note with her red pen on her clipboard. Desperately, I looked to Mr. Wilson to give me a clue on the words that had suddenly left my brain. He tried to come to my rescue by mouthing the lyrics, but this hardly helped as Im I hummed along to the piano as my knee shook nervously. My throat began to tighten the way it usually does right before I start to cry. Forgetting the words was embarrassing enough, so I bit my lip to make sure this moment of weakness never made its way to the surface. Eventually I found my way back through the piece, thanked the moderator as I avoided the defeated look in Mr. Wilsons eyes, and left the room. I darted outside to the parking lot and unlocked my car. A sigh of relief escaped from my lungs as I slumped in the drivers seat, eager to belt Piano Man on my drive home alone. Page 31


Ugli FruitDanielle Sherman After Li-Young Lee those Page 32


Architecture Rachel Futterman Page 33


Dads Jeans Cody Young My dad was the type of man to push away problems until they bit him on the nose and when he went over to my grandmas house one day to see her sprawled out on the couch in his favorite relaxin jeans, it was the equivalent of a nibble. He let her keep the jeans. She didnt remember absconding with them, but was adamant that they were my recently deceased grandfathers. Why not let her stay in dreamland? The next pair didnt stay long before they went MIA. Rinse and repeat. Each time Dad bought a fresh pair, within days they would vanish from the house. Grandma was a geriatric Robin Hood. We tried locks and chains, but the old lassie was far too clever for that, even in her current state. She either had a vendetta against my father that involved swiping his denim or thought Grandpa was alive and storing his jeans at our home. Dad was really bad at confrontation. You could call what he did giving into a delusion, but that didnt matter. When he went thing running through his head was the woman who raised I didnt think Grandma was lucid enough to appreciate the gesture, but Dad kept it up, even played along sometimes, Page 34


Floater Miles Petersen Page 35


Quiet Passage of the ShipCate Seaman I could sing a poolside psalm About the sleeves that hide your palms from Early springtime goosebumps. Fingertips Nervous twitchSplayed out and downward dipped Into the pool below. Then up again, and Cupped full, You drop the water back. The waves you make, This pool must be a trench inside the sea Where upturned ribs of sunken ships Lay empty chests To rest. Now, both our breaths turn into fog And wordlessly, you say: Never drown but drift away. Page 36


Radio Silence Leslie Ann Velez CHARACTER NAME. BRIEF DESCRIPTION. AGE. GENDER. DR. NORMAN Main doctor. The boss. 50s Male DR. MARCUS Second in command. Does most of the dirty work Late 40s Male RAFAEL A new patient. A lot of his dialogue includes prerecorded narration. Late 20s Male HIDEO Another patient. Failed. 30s Male AVA The only successful patient. Early 20s Female The ANNOUNCER Radio speaker. N/A Male SCENE ONE. RAFAEL sits at a large desk waiting patiently as DR. NORMAN NORMANS side of the desk aimed directly at RAFAEL. After a moment, DR. NORMAN clears his throat. DR. NORMAN So, Rafael. You passed our medical examination Marcus that you have no history of serious you are a perfect candidate for this trial. RAFAEL Thats great. When can I start? DR. NORMAN Preferably today if possible. You just have to sign a few forms before we can move you into a room. Page 37


through a desk drawer. He notices RAFAELs slightly concerned face. DR. NORMAN Is there a problem? RAFAEL Nothing. Its just Im alittle bit confused as to why theres a camera. DR. NORMAN The cameras for your safety and mine. RAFAEL Safety? DR. NORMAN Past participants have tried to sue us so in order to avoid any future legal issues we have decided to record any and all meetings. Does it bother you? RAFAEL Not too much. I was just wondering. DR. NORMAN Alright then. Now, Rafael, have you participated in an experimental trial before? RAFAEL No. DR. NORMAN Excellent. Have you any outside responsibilities that will require your attention within the thirty-one day time frame of this trial? Page 38


RAFAEL Like a job? (DR. NORMAN nods) No. DR. NORMAN Do you have any family and friends that will be worried about your absence? RAFAEL shakes his head. DR. NORMAN Are you an avid believer in religion or the occult? RAFAEL (Laughs awkwardly.) Cant say that I am? DR. NORMAN Finally, do you understand the terms and conditions of this experiment? That you will one room when not examined? RAFAEL I understand. DR. NORMAN Do you agree to be a part of this experiment? RAFAEL Yes. LIGHTS FADE OUT. Page 39


SCENE TWO. The sound of a lock being opened is heard before the lights fade back in to three rooms set up on stage, each room partitioned with a wall. A man lays in the bed of the center left. DR. MARCUS and RAFAEL enter from stage right into the DR. MARCUS This is where youll be staying. You have a bed fresh clothes, though they are all the same. RAFAEL Its a bit small. DR. MARCUS We do our best with what we have. Now (He points at the radio.) Everyday youll be required to listen to the broadcasts on the radio and write in the notebook provided any thoughts and analysis of said broadcast. RAFAEL (Noticing the metal shutter in the wall.) Whats that? DR. MARCUS Oh that. That is an automatic window. It will be open every morning and every night for one hour. That way you can talk to your neighbor. We understand that some people can experience cabin fever in solitary so thisll help ease some of that tension. RAFAEL I see... Page 40


DR. MARCUS Well, I must be on my way. Ill leave you to get settled. Dinner will be served in an hour. There will be a medication with that that you must take. DR. MARCUS leaves as RAFAEL examines the room around him. A lock is heard. He moves to sit down on the bed. A moment passes and the sound of straining metal is heard. The window is opened. The man from the center room can be seen getting up from his bed and walking toward the window. HIDEO Hey, newbie. RAFAEL (Awkwardly.) Hey. HIDEO Names Hideo. RAFAEL Rafael. HIDEO This is a trip, huh? What made you agree to this? RAFAEL I need the money. HIDEO Ah, yeah. Me too. Hey, do you know what happened to the guy that was in that room before you? Page 41


RAFAEL No. HIDEO Thats weird. They never change rooms. The guy was a maniac, I wonder if they kicked him out of the program. RAFAEL How long have you been here? HIDEO A week maybe, cant really tell. Its not so bad. The only thing is the radio is kind of weird. RAFAEL How so? Before HIDEO can answer, singing interrupts them. RAFAEL Whats that? HIDEO Oh. Thats Ava. Shes on my side. Shes a fucking weirdo. RAFAEL What do you mean? HIDEO Well, I dont wanna freak you out or anything but sometimes at night I hear her talking to herself. Not in English either and its not some language I can recognize. I think shes been here for too long. Any way, Ill let you get settled in. First nights not so fun. Nice meeting you though. Page 42


HIDEO lays back down on his bed. RAFAEL looks around the room. AVA can still be heard faintly. LIGHTS FADE OUT. SCENE THREE. The stage remains dark as static can be heard. THE ANNOUNCER Todays broadcast starts with an armed robbery reported at a local gas station just outside the city. While no one was hurt, what makes this encounter especially bizarre is the victims detailed account of the crime. Lights fade in on RAFAEL sitting at the desk, pen in hand, listening intently. RAFAEL (Narrating from offstage.) The radio is my only contact to the outside world so I kind of enjoy when it comes on. One things. Seems boring but-THE ANNOUNCER The victim, forty-two year old Edward Hill, describes the robber as pale white, wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt and leather gloves. When Hill went to open the cash register, the robber pulled a knife on him and demanded that he get on his knees and pray. It was then that Hill noticed the knife, which he describes as a very large titanium hunting knife, was already stained in blood. Hill did what he was told, fearing for his life, when the robber began to laugh and just stare at him. It had been a few moments before the robber turned and ran off, having taken nothing. Hill then is quoted as saying that the robber had black eyes, almost as if he had no eyes at all. Page 43


RAFAEL (Contd) This is new. LIGHTS DIM. More static before the lights come back on again. RAFAEL is now sitting on his bed with no shirt, back against the wall, notebook propped on his knees. A stack of papers sit on his desk and a half eaten food tray sits beside it. RAFAEL Its day ten. THE ANNOUNCER A wealthy family in the suburbs awoke in the middle of the night to a shock when their home security system went off. The father in their home before the system was abruptly cut off. The father quickly woke his wife and their two young children and retreated to the homes panic room where they were able to see the intruders via the homes CCTV system. The father is quoted saying there were three masked intruders inside with shotguns. He says they roamed the house, damaging expensive furniture and various family items. The family, being religious, had various decorative crosses hanging on their walls which the intruders took the time to turn each upside down. In the time span of half an hour, the intruders managed to cause sixteen-thousand dollars worth of damage and took nothing. One of the intruders was recorded taunting the family through one of the cameras. No leads as to who the intruders are. RAFAEL writes in his notebook. A shadow passes by quickly until the lights dim. Page 44


SCENE FOUR. There is an examination table now on stage as the lights come back on. RAFAEL sits on it as DR. NORMAN checks his heart and lungs. RAFAEL looks a little paler than he was before. RAFAEL (Narrating.) I havent been feeling myself lately. Cant sleep most nights. SometimesI get cold sweats and the room feels too hot and other times it feels too cold. Food doesnt taste the same anymore. DR. NORMAN takes off the stethoscope and puts it around his neck. He takes a penlight out of the pocket of white coat. He checks his eyes. DR. NORMAN Open wide. (He checks the back of his throat.) Close. Go ahead and put your shirt back on. DR. NORMAN pockets the penlight and scribbles something on a note pad as RAFAEL slips his shirt back on. DR. NORMAN Well, I dont see anything wrong with you. Youre completely healthy. Have you been taking the medicine with your food and sleeping well? RAFAEL (Nodding.) Ive been taking the pills but I havent exactly been sleeping well. DR. NORMAN This actually is something that happens with all of our patients around this time. The closed space takes a toll on the mind. I dont blame you. Page 45


RAFAEL (Sighing.) I just feel on edge and sometimes I swear I can see things moving in the corners of my room. I cant eat, I cant sleep. Sometimes I feel like I cant breathe. DR. NORMAN These are common side effects, as bizarre as they may seem. There is nothing you should be worried over. RAFAEL studies the doctors face. After a moment, he sets his jaw and looks away. RAFAEL Fine. LIGHTS FADE OUT. SCENE FIVE. Dark stage. Static. THE ANNOUNCER A freak accident closed off Kennedy Drive today on the West Side as a police van collided with a school bus in front of Saint Vitus church. The van was going a speedy ninetymiles an hour while the bus was just a little over the speed limit. Witnesses at the scene said they saw a man in a black suit walk into the street just as the van was pulling up, causing the van to swerve directly into the bus and pushing them both onto the sidewalk and nearly up the church steps while the bus was pushed onto its side. The drivers of both vehicles were pronounced dead on the scene. There is no sign of the man who caused the accident. More static. Lights fade in. RAFAEL paces the room with no shirt on. He stares at the ceiling, rubbing the back of his neck Page 46


with both hands. RAFAEL I cant remember what day it is. If its day spent a year in here and I wouldnt know...I havent slept...Theres a tray of untouched food on the desk that could probably grow legs and walk out of this room. I havent been able to keep that stuff down. I can feel my ribs through my skin and something else. Something crawls under it and I know that I am not alone...The room is growing too small and the window hardly ever opens anymore. Just for an hour at a time, it seems like only a few minutes. I need Hideo. I need him to tell me Im not losing my fucking mind. Metal is heard and the window slides open. RAFAEL rushes toward it. HIDEOS side of the stage is lit and you can see how trashed his room is. Theres strange markings and writing on the wall. RAFAEL Hideo? Hideo? HIDEO is seen on the other side of the wall crawling toward the window. HIDEO Whos that? RAFAEL Its me. Rafael. Talk to me, man. Im losing my mind here. HIDEO You cant lose what you never really had. He looks like hell. Hes become so skinny his clothes hang off his body, his hair has grown into a mess of darkness on top of his head and covering his face. His skin is pale, eyes red, and his knuckles are stained with dried blood. Page 47


RAFAEL Shit, man. Are you okay? HIDEO sits with his back against the wall underneath the window. HIDEO Sleep awhile. Youre looking tired. RAFAEL What are you talking about? Are you okay? be seen looking at him from her window. HIDEO Hey Raf? RAFAEL Yeah? HIDEO I saw God today. RAFAEL What? HIDEO Shes the most beautiful thing Ive ever seen but... Her teeth.. Her nails. Something not to be trusted. To be afraid of. RAFAEL Oh, Jesus. Youve lost it, dude. HIDEO Might be. Stay alive, Raf. Theres nothing on the other side. Page 48


HIDEO stands and walks toward AVAS side. She can be seen smiling widely up at him. He leans into the window and touches her cheek. RAFAELS window beings to close. RAFAEL Wait, no! Hideo! FADE OUT. SCENE SIX. The stage remains dark. RAFAEL (Narrating.) My human soul, no longer able to take the silence, the emptiness, the dark things creeping around in the corners. The walls swallowing the voice I no longer have. What must I look like? Alone. Afraid... I fear Im no longer alone. back and forth in distress. The noises begin: rattling metal, creaking wood, the sound of heavy footsteps. Slow, breathy gasps, a baby crying. Radio static, nails on chalkboard. AVA laughing in distortion. AVA praying low and fast. The noises alternate and melt together as RAFAEL begins to throw things agony as the radio static becomes even more intense. He grabs the radio and throws it to the ground. It shatters. The noises stop. The lights cut out. SCENE SEVEN. RAFAEL, now calm though incredibly disheveled, sits under the window which is now open. AVA stands over him from her side. She has now moved into HIDEOS old room. Page 49


AVA Pretty boy. Pretty boy... RAFAEL Where is he, Ava? AVA Hes in Hell. RAFAEL What happened to him? AVA Hes dead. RAFAEL He isnt-AVA Such a pretty boy. Such a pretty, bad, bad boy. Gone off to Hell. RAFAEL Shut up. AVA starts to laugh as she keeps repeating the same thing. AVA Hes in Hell! Hes in Hell! Hes in Hell! RAFAEL For Gods sake, shut up! AVA God... Page 50


RAFAEL Please. AVA (Laughing.) All of your friends are dead. LIGHTS FADE OUT. SCENE EIGHT. Radio static. RAFAEL Oh no... THE ANNOUNCER Abel Nolan was known to family and friends as a loving husband and exceptional father to three children. He did his best to keep his family comfortable, working hard and dedicating time to spend time with them. So multiple distress calls at the familys home. Abel was seen coming home late and going into the house with a twelve-gauge shotgun. Those who knew him knew his distaste for police arrived, they found him sitting on the front steps with the gun under his chin. When approached he began muttering the only me is me before proceeding to shoot himself. Inside, the bodies of his wife was found on the stairs, two of his children in the living room, and the youngest in a bedroom. No survivors. why the seemingly happy man snapped but neighbors reported seeing strange men visit the house three days in a row prior. No further information is given at this time. Page 51


RAFAEL The only me is me. The only me is me.. LIGHTS FADE OUT. SCENE NINE. DR. NORMAN and DR. MARCUS enter RAFAELS room. RAFAEL is sitting in the corner staring straight ahead. He doesnt seem to notice them. DR. NORMAN crouches down in front of him and examines his eyes with a penlight. RAFAEL is unfazed. DR. MARCUS Conclusions? DR. NORMAN Failed. Hes gone. He stands. DR. MARCUS That was quick. Ill administer the dosage. DR. NORMAN Dispose of the body. Correctly, this time. DR. MARCUS Of course. DR. NORMAN exits and DR. MARCUS prepares a syringe. AVA watches. He smiles at her before he crouches and injects the needle into RAFAELS throat. DR. MARCUS (To AVA.) How are you today, beautiful? AVA giggles creepily as he stands. You should be proud. Thirteen subjects so far and youre our only success. Youre quite special. Page 52


AVA That pretty ones in Hell now. DR. M ARCUS Yes, he is. But youll help us with that now, wont you? Yes, I suspect you would. LIGHTS FADE OUT. Radio static. THE ANNOUNCER the Devil is no easy feat but bringing down Heaven? Pulling God back onto Earth? Its even harder. Hell is already up here, spilling through the cracks and rising up from sinkholes. The but a god? Thirteen failures and only one success. Oh yes, dont be fooled. We have succeeded. We have found God. The static cuts out. END. Page 53


Crater Lake Danielle Benincasa Page 54


FishingAnna Chwiejczak Water the color of a Paraiba tourmaline gem scintillates as waves lap against the Hokulea hull sailing past the reef Scintillates as waves lap our island afar sailing past the reef Our island afar bone hooks on lines and feed the village Bone hooks on lines for lime colored mahimahi and feed the village where they meekly wait For lime colored mahimahi and silver ono where they meekly wait the surface of the open ocean And the silver ono against the Hokulea hull the surface of the open ocean water the color of a Paraiba tourmaline gem Page 55


Family PortraitKeturah Hancock Youre so pretty, he said under his breath. It wasnt the my best friendshe was pretty all the time. But it was different now. The words stumbled out of his mouth. He knew he wasnt supposed to say it and he couldnt take it back now. He said it so low that I probably wouldnt have been able to hear it if I wasnt lying right next to him. Youre drunk, I told him. I had been drinking too, but not enough to be as honest as he was. I was drunk enough to be somewhere I shouldnt be, but sober enough to be ashamed of what I was doing. His hands were warm and I wondered how good it would feel if they were under my shirt, unhooking my bra. My breathing became uneven, I let go of his hand. He Dont go. He reached for me. Please. We cant. I moved away, but pulled back too far and knocked something off of the nightstand. I was too late trying to save it. The frame had shattered all over the ground. Page 56


Purple BlanketScott Kesselring Page 57


Rain or Not Cate Seaman Theres this blonde guy with his legs crossed. He tells me hes a real ladies man and Im dying to smoke a joint outside. Theres this girl with curly hair shes got apocket book check book calendar date to make, and Im dying to have a joint outside. Ladies man tells me hes real, man, we have no idea about the kinda girls hes known. Girls like you cant imagine, he says, girls you wouldnt believe. Curly-haired girl rolls her eyes, crosses her legs tooyou get the picture. She packs her things to leave. Curly-haired girl wont spend time with a ladies man in a two-bit bar. Now Im alone with ladies man. He tries his best not to see me, so I help him out and leave the room, too. I hope you know a good day when you see one, man, you could join us for a joint outside. Page 58


The Criminal John Ross Thompson The small, white car threw sand behind it as it coursed through the cooling desert. Forgo sat in the drivers seat, his eyes closed and his breath steady as the car drove itself His mothers wish was almost complete. He played with the three dice in his right hand, listening to them clack and clank against each other as he rubbed their coarse bodies against his hand. The car came to a stop and Forgo heard a ding. Destination reached, a sweet, robotic voice said. He opened his eyes and looked ahead. The remnants of Asylum Carnival glowed in the light of the setting sun. It looked like a trailer park mashed with a campsite: makeshift tents and vehicles attached to them. The townies had told him itd be on the outskirts of the city, but he didnt think it was this far out. Who wouldve thought that people didnt want to pay those theyd ostracized to do some deadly tricks for them. Even though it was as rundown as it could get, just the fact that it was a carnival disturbed Forgo. He hated carnivals. He hadnt been to one in eighteen years. And Id promised myself that Id never go to one again, he thought. He had only been a had thought that introducing him to people like them would be helpful. He knew that she regretted that decision even to the day of her death. He scratched the dice against his palm before rolling them across the dashboard. They were six-sided and made of bone, as all fate-readers dice were. A symbol was etched onto every face of the dice in the language of their people. Every symbol stood for a word or meaning, six per die, eighteen in total, but each symbol could mean something different in the context of the situation. Its like reading cards, his mother had told him when he was a child. Everyones fate is different. He looked down at the symbols on the dice now, the symbols for living, present, and here. He exhaled a deep breath, Page 59


put the dice in his pocket, and got out of the car. He felt his leg shake as he took his starting steps towards the carnival. Hello, he practiced to himself, his voice unsure of itself, as he walked towards the carnival. Hi, Im Forgo Tech. He held out his hand as if to shake someone elses. Forgos the name. Im here to see Purivian. He was shaking. The closer he got, the more he felt his stomach churn and his mind yell for him to turn back. When he I cant do this. He turned around. Three years and hed found it. You have to do this. Its Moms last wish. He glanced back at the carnival tents up high though he saw nothing but benches inside. No, he said. I cant. He took a few steps back towards his car when he heard someone running towards him. Hey! Wait up! a voice yelled. He turned back to see a woman, a tall hat on her head. She wore a purple suit and a beautiful smile covered her face. A wand, whether real or fake Forgo couldnt tell, was in her hand. She reached him, out of breath, and placed a hand on his shoulder. You, uh, she inhaled a deep breath, you lost buddy? We could help you here. For a little fee. Forgo stared into her violet eyes the eyes of a mage from the old lost land of Jaceldia and shook his head. Her eyes eased him. Knowing that he was among gifted people like himself always helped to calm him. No, not lost. I was searching for this place. The townies back at Cyroth told me youd be here. She smiled. My, my, I didnt think anyone had any interest in us anymore. Please, come with me! She put an arm around his shoulders and led him into the carnival. We dont have any attractions anymore, weve been pretty down on our luck. All we got is a stage and a whole bunch of chairs. Every once in a while, we get a rich family or two who want to show their kids the old wonders of the world, but thats about it. It was empty. Sand and vehicles and tents. He saw the benches and the chairs, all in front of a small stage with a red and yellow checkered canopy over it. That was it. No food, no Page 60


animals, nothing but that. It looked nothing like it had eighteen years ago. Nothing like it had in his dreaded nightmares. He felt fear lift off of him in tiny pieces, but he still felt its uneasiness upon him. This is what theyve done to you? Forgo said. She looked at him, wonder in her eyes. What do you mean? He pulled a card from his wallet and gave it to her. My kind deserves to thrive. Her face lit up as she took the card. She held it in both hands and read it over. Forgotten Kings Incorporated. She glanced up at him. Where are you based in? Kinetia, he said. Ah, the land of the future. She looked him up and down and then dropped to one knee. I never introduced myself. Im Canela the Great. She took one of his hands and kissed it. What are you? Who are you? Say it. Say your last name. Tech, he thought. He knew the name would bring fear to her heart and tell her exactly why he was here, but he couldnt bring himself to say it. Forgo. Im a fate-reader. Her smile became even larger and brighter, so full of hope. It pained him to look at it. It was the same smile that had been on his mothers face that day that she had crossed over to the other side free from her pain. We have a few fate-readers here, kind sir. Theyd love to meet such a rich and humble man like yourself. Forgo chuckled. Happens to be that thats exactly why Im here. To meet a man. Well, we have many. Theres Harvy and Yrgos, fatereaders from the Crescent Isles No, I hadnt come for them Well, we also have Bond the Juggling Clown. Hes amazing. He chooses a person that hes seen and then starts to juggle his three balls. Once he drops one, that person dies. Hes been juggling for this one guy for eighteen years now, its real torture. Poor guy probably doesnt even know it. Forgo turned away from her, a grimace on his face. He had Page 61


no care to see Bond. He knew how creatures like Bond worked. They needed no sustenance other than death. They lived off the remains of the promised lives that they had wrongfully ended. Hes no fate-reader. Hes one of Deaths minions. Demons like him shouldve never been created. Even Deaths minions can be fate-readers. Not the one Im looking for, Forgo told her. Which one are you looking for? He couldnt bring himself to say the mans real name. The Criminal, he settled on. It was the closest he could get with her still knowing whom he was referring to. Her face froze. He saw a long stare in them that went nowhere other than the deep depths of darkness. Theres no such man, she said. Hes wanted all over the world. Why would we have him here? Ive been searching for him for three years. I know hes here. She shook her head. No. Hes not. Forgo exhaled heavily. He was here. He was inside now. will search for him myself. You dont want to. Every time he meets someone he rolls his dice and tells them when theyll expire. You dont want that do you? I already know when Im going to die. Bring me to him. She nodded. Yes sir. She led him to a small black orb-like vehicle: an escape pod with wheels. Attached to its back was a tent. She stopped in here. I still advise that you not go inside. I must, Forgo said, his eyes cast on the ground. Call my people as soon as you can. Tell them that you spoke to me and I told you that the dice have been rolled and the ball is falling. Those exact words. They will help you all from there. She pulled a pad out from her back pocket and wrote down the words quickly. Thank you, sir. He nodded and entered the tent. Page 62


He heard bone dice clank against a tiled mat as he entered. He looked down at a man, no older than twenty, sitting with his legs crossed on the ground. The Criminal wore tattered clothes and had muscles that brought an essence of power and strength to him. His face was chiseled and his eyes brown. His skin was like mottled leather, very similar to Forgos own. He was a handsome man. He looked exactly like Forgo, minus the physique; his mother had told them that theyd looked quite identical. Fourteen days, the Criminal said, looking down at the dice. I know, Forgo said. His eyes moved to Forgos face and paused. Forgo nodded and sat down in front of him. Who are you? the Criminal asked, looking him over. Forgo. He didnt need to say his last name. At least he thought he didnt. Why are you here? could help me with that. He saw a look in the Criminals eyes, as if searching for something to say. A name, Forgo realized. Her name. All the Criminal would have to do is say Forgos mothers name and, based on Forgos reaction, hed know who he was. But, Forgo knew that his father was just as reluctant to face the truth as he was. His mother had told him he would be. Just say it, Purivian. Her name was Lisadelia. You know it. You loved her, you old prick. Forgo nodded. Of course. The Criminal. The Forgotten King. The great Purivian Tech. The Criminal laughed. Havent heard those last two in a while. Its about time you had. The Criminal nodded. Did anyone ever educate you on why they call me those things, or were you spoon-fed lies like the rest of them? Purivian Techs your name, of course, but they call you the Criminal because of your multiple charges for burglary Page 63


and your charge of regicide. And youre called the Forgotten King because you were a usurper and had ruled for three days before they overthrew you. You freed Kinetia from a horrible king, and they repaid you by kicking you off the throne, placing the kings kid on it, and forgetting about you altogether. I helped them. That kid is a great king. I wasnt planning to keep the throne. I wanted him to have it where I could be by his side advising him. I did it for him. Of course you did. He was your nephew. The Criminal couldnt help but to smile. So, you have father? Forgo wanted to tell him right there, but he knew the Criminal had to know already. Hes toying with me, isnt he? He shrugged it off and looked the man in the eyes. Maybe he is as scared of the truth as Mom said. By doing what you do best. Answering some questions of fate. The Criminal swooped up his dice and shook them in his hand. Spit away. Im here to help. Forgo wanted to laugh as the ridiculousness of the situation hit him once again. There was no need for any of this. They both knew who each other were. There was no reason not to accept it. Say her name, Forgo, he thought. If he wont say it, you must. Come on, now, the Criminal said. Ask me your questions. When will I meet my father, Forgo said. The Criminal rolled the dice. They clacked against the mat and stopped. The symbols for living, present, and here illuminated the room. Seems like youll meet him here, probably soon. Hes in this camp. tongue. The Criminal nodded. You fool. Tell him. When will I meet him again. The criminal rolled. The dice landed on the symbols for death, never, and nowhere. Never. This will be the only time. Forgo exhaled and nodded. When will my father meet my grandson. He rolled. Fifteen days. Page 64


Thats good. Hed love to meet him. The Criminal picked up his dice. Is that all? I think you have a father to meet. break Forgo. When will my father die? The Criminal rolled. Never. The Criminal looked up into Forgos eyes, uneasy. Sounds like someone else I know, Forgo said. You cant die, can you? Im not one of Deaths minions, if thats what youre thinking. That religion is old and deadly. I have no part in it. I didnt ask that. You wouldnt be foolish enough to sell your soul to him. But you would be foolish enough to sell yourself to the KloVee. The Criminal turned away. They are actual gods. Souls of the lost. People like me. They help people. I can die, but when I die, I will be reborn. I have been reborn. Twice. I gave them theyd do that too. Not everyone wants to live forever or give themselves to some absurd force of nature. Gods or not. The Criminal glared at him. Why are you here? You know why Im here, Purivian. I dont have any money, and theres no reason to kill me. You know that Ill come Not why Im here. Forgo pulled his dice from his pockets and showed them to the Criminal. The Criminals eyes focused on them. Forgo could see fear in those brown eyes, so similar to his own. Ask me anything. Im not as good as you, but Im good enough, Forgo demanded. The Criminal peered down at the ground, then opened his mouth. When will I escape this place? This exact place, or the carnival itself? The carnival. I want freedom from it all. When will I have it? Forgo rolled the dice. Seven days. You will move back to Page 65


Kinetia and get out of this place forever. When have dice been able to tell you all of that? I know more things than they do, Forgo said. Next question. When will I see my wife again? Forgo hesitated before he rolled. He knew that he shouldnt, but he did anyway. He already knew what the answer was going to be. Never. Shes dead. A weakness struck the strong man, a weakness that even unsettled Forgo. He saw a tear come to the Criminals eye. She said that you told her youd be back one day. The farther you ran, the more lost from each other you two got. You were a wanted man, and you couldnt go to her in your state. I wager that after several years you found this place with with so many of Deaths minions around you. All immortal and deadly, able to kill anyone else without hesitation. This is your safe haven, yet its the only place you never wanted to be in. The Criminal looked up at him. How do you know all of this? Dont avoid the facts anymore, Purivian. You know the truth. Dont neglect to see it. He couldnt look at Forgo. One last question. No more questions One last question! The Criminal shook, whether with anger or fear Forgo didnt know. When will I meet my son? Why are you so scared to believe that Im Just roll the damn dice! Forgo threw the dice onto the ground. Purivian read them himself and then looked at Forgo. Im sorry... He turned away from Forgo. How long have you known? Forgo found his fathers glance and stared deep into his eyes. Always. Your wife, my mother, Lisadelia, had always you. Its just considerably hard to search the entire world for one lost, wanted man. Page 66


--The Criminal stared at Forgo, speechless. She had named me after you was, but your name brought too much negative connotation with it everywhere we went. I changed it to Forgo, short for Forgotten. Forgo Tech. Its a much better tribute to your name, dont you think? I believe that we all are out own forgotten kings. He stayed silent, his eyes on his sons face. Say something, you fool! Accept me! Why are you so scared to see the truth? Im your son. Your and my mothers genetic material. Im not here to kill or chastise you or ask you for money! I just wanted to meet you before I perished and could no longer complete my mothers dying desire for me to meet you. He took a few breaths and calmed down. Purivian, I want my wife to meet you. I want my son to meet you. The Criminal rose from his seat. Forgo did the same. Im not afraid. I just, its alarming. To have you see me like this in the worst state of my life. Itd be much easier if you were some guy who was just looking for his father. Not my blood. To have my son know that Ive been nothing but a failure to him as a father and his mother as a husband She loved you. Well, I wasnt there to love her back. Tears were crawling down his face. Forgo, Im sorry for never being there. Im sorry for Dont apologize to me. All I wanted was to meet you. The Criminal nodded. He gazed off past Forgo for a second. Do you know how youre going to die? Death will take me like he had so many before him. Sometimes, peoples hands get tired and they have to just let go of a ball or two. The Criminal exhaled. Forgo knew that he understood without him having to say more. Silence enveloped the tent. The two stared at each other for what seemed like minutes. He hated that hed have to miss it. Of all the moments in life, he wished he could see the moment where his son met his father. Forgo looked at the ground. The time had come. Hed met Page 67


end. His mother would be proud. It was nice meeting you, Purivian, but I need to go now. The Criminal reached out and grabbed Forgos arm. Take me with you. Breaking fate would harm us both. Wed be caught. I cant risk putting my family in danger because of you. You cant just leave me here. Dont fret. Youll be out of this place in a week. I need to go see my son and wife before my end. What about me? Ill work on clearing your name as soon as I get back. Ill try as hard as I can to get you allowed back into Kinetia. My people will protect you, if no one else. Youll just have to be careful, as always. The Criminal nodded. Thank you. The two hugged and separated. I look forward to you meeting my son. Hes going to love you. Forgo turned to leave. Will I ever see you again? The Criminal asked. You know the answer to that. Son, your dice. Forgo didnt bother to turn around to look at them left on the ground in front of the Criminal where he had thrown them. Give them to my son. Say theyre from you. Hell like that. I already gave him my childhood pair. Getting dice from both his former king grandfather whod been a king will be much more treasured than his foolish fathers. Oh, and tell him to never to go to a carnival. Theyll end his life. He left his father there, inside of the makeshift tent that had been his prison for longer than Forgo wanted to imagine. He walked out of the empty carnival back to his car. He got inside and shut his eyes, closing the door behind him. Take me home, he said. It started and drove off, throwing sand behind Page 68


In The Woods Danielle Benincasa Page 69


WingsAlexandra Borowsky They rustled like branches on a windy day; they smelled as if those trees were rotting from the inside out. They skittered and multiplied, as fast as lightning, and when I talked about them, they created thunder. Booming roars of distaste, questions which always ended in why? They were foul, malodorous, nauseating, repugnant, unpleasant, and I loved them. I loved their controversy; I loved their smell. I loved their rapid procreation; I loved their beady little eyes. I loved the squeals of the disgusted; I reveled in the grotesque. And grotesque they were. Roaches. Bins and bins of different species. Lobster roaches, dubious roaches, and discoid Their backs were shiny, brown, patterned and insectoid. Their legs were hairy and carried their bodies with electric quickness. I ran with energy, unlike the other kids. It was an incessant fervor, one which out-casted me, which set me aside. I was a wisp of a child, one who played with worms and dirt and jumped off tree branches. My stumpy legs carried me farther and farther into myself; blonde tufty shocks of hair stuck to the sweat that collected on my cheeks. I ran in circles, I ran around trees, I jumped and sang and didnt pick up on the whispers of my peers as they judged me. I went to summer camp, designed for smiles and sunshine and pools and sticky ice-popsSure, I was weird. I used mud and water fountains to make tribal paint, I drew from my imagination; I couldnt understand the lemmings around me, sounding the same, being the same, dressing the same, telling the same rumors, laughing in the same cadence. My father was a tall, thin, balding inventor with a revitalizing sense of childlike wonder. His eyes gleamed with the intent to grasp; he was a starving man, one ravenous for knowledge and new experiences. My father was just like me. Running where the wind carried him, a weirdo. Small. Dirty. Happy. Look Alexandra, we got the roaches! From inside a cardboard box he was holding, came a stirring sound of promise. I couldnt wait to open it! From under the sliced duct Page 70


tape emanated the smell of life. Thick, rank, and reeking of life alright; at least for the ones that werent slated as reptile food. Growing to love them even more, I wished to show them off. It would be a great idea to take one to camp with me! My feet padded excitedly into my parents room, I had a big question! It would be great, everybody would be so interested! My head swirled as I held the playtime bug cage in my petite hand. The dawn was just cracking through the blinds, almost an hour before the camp bus would whisk me away. Lazily my parents stirred as they detected their loud childs intrusive steps. They were elephants feet; stomping up the strategically carpeted stairs, through the doorway, all the way up to my fathers side of the bed. My father, the unresponsive leaden sleeper, snored and rolled over. No good. No good at all. I sighed. I breathed heavily. I stared right at his little bald patch maybe it was true maybe he did have eyes on the back of his head! I stared and stared and my eyes started to water. I squeezed the handle on my little cage; it was lined with purple ribbon. The bugs had to be happy they needed some dcor! I sighed a second time; I directed my breathing right on his little bald patch. It would get cold, he would feel it! No avail. Not fair! I knew he would be mad if I woke him up, but it Daddy? I have a reeeeaalllyyy important question for you. He grumbled and groaned, and then seemingly emerging from hibernation, he stumbled out of his sleep to help me. The room zoo, and a shooting range. A computer desk held a gargantuan monitor, with tangled up wires, external hard drives, and tons and tons of mechanical pencils. Legal pads held my fathers fervent scribblings, the ideas he spilled from his brain. They were incomprehensible to anybody but him. The wall had pounds to thirty. They were too heavy for me. Above the teach me to shoot them out the window, aiming at a little target in the backyard. My mothers protest would be to wear headphones because of the blasts. The bullets were stored in little plastic drawers with desiccant to keep them dry and fresh right next to the bearded dragon enclosure. Page 71


Darwin, her name was. She preceded Edison, the frilled lizard, and Newton, the leopard gecko. Lizards are reptiles! My dad told me. They arent like mammals; they are cold blooded. So we need to take extra special care of them by giving them heat, rocks to climb, and live food. Darwin refused to eat the roaches, however so did Edison, and Newton was too small On the other side of the enclosure were the roaches. They were kept in plastic bins. He had cut holes in the top of them, and hot-glued wire mesh under the lid to keep the roaches from climbing through. My mom complained; the smell was noxious. What breed do you think will be best? he asked me. Of course, I chose the largest one the discoid. He helped me open the lid, where the colony of hundreds of discoids were milling about, weaving in and out of their egg cartons, drinking from the squishy water crystals we provided them. Picking up wavering up and down, side to side. His little eyes glistened; I thought he looked intelligent. He didnt run, he just stared at me, complacent. We placed the water crystals and a little food into the cage, and I closed the door. He was going to come on an adventure with me! The short camp bus belched angrily when it parked in front of my house. I was armed with my little blue backpack, my muddy white sneakers, and my discoid roach in a cage sat in the back I could look out the window and watch the trees and cars and the road and pretend there was a little man running after the bus he would never catch up, but he hop on peoples cars; the little mans legs never tired. That day however, that day I didnt watch the little man. I watched my roach. I watched as he climbed up the side of the cage, I watched as he jostled with every bump of the bus, I watched his hairy legs very close, I saw how they attached themselves to the wallsI wondered what it would be like to have six legs. It would be pretty hard to walk! We pulled into camp. The kids hated my roach. Megan hated it the most. Kids are cruel you see, and Megan, well, she was the cruelest. They called him gross, they called him diseased. I guess I should Page 72


have known they would yell at me for digging for worms, and swimming to the deep end of the pool to save drowning Japanese beetles, their little legs struggling futilely above the nine feet of water. Once safe on the edge of the pool, Id watch as their slow debilitated movements gave way to the spreading of waterlogged wings, a slight green sheen to their safe place. My satisfaction was a shell around me I saved a life. They would give me strange looks when I painted pictures of mice that were rainbow and glittery, that I chose the things they did not. My counselors face curled up in detestation. Megan. Her pin-straight blonde hair framed her scowl perfectly; her blue eyes oozed hatred for me. I knew she didnt like me much; I was looking forward to her displeasure. Her legs were shiny and hairless, her head constantly turned toward the male stalking around, using her assets for her advantage. What is that thing?! grin began to form on my face, the gap between my front two teeth displayed with glory. The other kids took notice, they practically surrounded me, and I thought it was hilarious. They squealed and yelled and ran away, and I stood there and laughed. (I laughed at their sheer ridiculousness, they were at summer camp!) I shouldnt have been surprised at all by Megan and the childrens reaction. My grandmother and my mother and everybody in-between despised the roaches. Why? They would ask. Why are you letting vermin live in your house? I never understood that word, vermin. werent causing any harm they just lived their lives in big blue bins. They were happy, they did their roachy things, they bred, they made more roaches, and they died. Isnt that what all-living things did? That was the question I had asked as my grandparents came over for a visit. One day they sat on our green couch complaining. Its too cold in here, why wont you let me smoke inside the house? Can I dim the light? I want to watch a different channel. Will those roaches ever escape? If I infestation Ill be very mad. They directed their attention at my mother. Her kind eyes balked at their comments. Why do you Page 73


let your husband and especially your daughter play with those vermin anyway? Its disgusting. Are you sure they wont escape? Please dont let them escape. We cringed through the slew of grandparent complaints, the sickly smell of my grandfathers tobacco stench, and the onslaught of disapproval for our roaches. All of a sudden, the the stairwell. The silence was deafening. My grandfathers labored breathing stopped, my grandmother looked up from her magazine, and my mothers eyes nearly popped out of her head. My fathers hand reached out sideways and snatched the roach out of the air. I exploded. My laughter pierced the room, and suddenly everybody was laughing. My mothers tea dribbled down her chin, my grandfathers smokers rasp gave way to cackles that seemed to rock the house. Chortles and snickers followed him as he took the stairs two by two, away from the scene. Stretching my legs to the point of pain, I also took the stairs, two by two, right behind him. I found my father sitting cross-legged by the bin, staring intently through his impossibly thick glasses. The roach was staring back too, a discoid. He was a huge specimen, one of the largest. His eyes gleamed with a naughtiness that I thought appeared intelligent. Different than the rest. His antennae wavered up and down, side to side; he was returning from an adventure! And in that moment I felt certain this wasnt his Page 74


175th & UniversityAlex Franceschi Any summer day, Speedys voice echoes for blocks--Crab legs! as he pushes that rusty shopping cart with a simmering tub inside it. Arrow couldnt quit the herb for a drug test, so he took to K2 instead. Shit fried his brain so bad I dont think he recognizes me; hes still real friendly though. His smile, crusted and yellowed by the spice turned drug, still shines beneath the crud. Barabuchi survived brain cancer-Twice!-and hes still kicking; nigger still plays softball every weekend & my lazy ass wont go for a run. Miriam was another mother at one point. At any party she grabbed me & swung me around, showering me in Corona & Kisses. To her daughter, though, she was no mother; she sold her virginity & The library groans from loneliness. Possible visitors deterred by Julio Sr. is rarely sighted when he isnt glued to a monitor. His fridge is empty, but his World of Warcraft character has an uber legendary sword, courtesy of VISA. Beer, cigarettes & the game are priorities, But his kids never were. Page 75


Janette, his wife, still tries. She brushes that lengthy brown river until it shines, Julio prefers the computers glare. She swallows pride, for both of them, like a sandy pill when she has to ask friends for a handout. I admire her. Neon signs shine noisily. Hey, over here! We Buy & Sell Gold!-cries out souls if the price was right. Blanca, a Russian turned Ghetto, gets down with the best of em. She slams her dominoes with such gusto that even the old cats say dios mio. Rebecca went to Coachella one year After a handful of mushrooms she preaches how shit works. Youre 20, Becca, shut the fuck up. Eddie walked down the wrong street with the wrong colors, stumbled into its inhabitants. He wouldnt run. After quite the beating, he walks with a cane, to this day. He still isnt pussy though. Me? I came here with an accent thicker than cornbread & molasses-was next, on account of the cat. Trust & Sensitivity closely followed. The block & the people dont really change, but to adapt, I had to. Page 76


Before the War (1941 Buick Special, Oneonta, Ny)Peter Wendler Page 77


Icebreaker Gina Duffy Wayne, Nebraska. Thats the farthest South Ive ever been, back when I attended Wayne State. Yes, this is an actual school. all, but my father forced me. He always had this way of getting what he wanted. At freshman orientation, we had to introduce ourselves to the other kids in the wing of our residence hall. I sat in a circle made us tell two truths and one lie about ourselves. So around we went. We found out that Sally could sing, Mason was adopted, and Nate was a vegetarian. Then I was up. I was never all that great at speaking in front of others, but before I knew it, the words were pouring out of my mouth. Alright. One, I was born in Alaska. Two, my dad killed my mom when I was three. Three, I have a pet lizard. An eerie silence followed before Sally quietly answered: Twos the lie. I only realized my mistake when my classmates started whispering to one another. Oh! Sorry, I forgot. My names Taylor. An uncomfortable laughter ran through the group, and for get to me. As I sat there, sweating in silence, I wondered how cold Calgary had been on the night I was born. My mother would have known. Page 78


False Honor Cody Bateson We pay homage to the natives by naming our buildings after them, erected on their holy land. The dorms where ignorant college kids puke and piss and shit. and by stabbing the ground with green street signs, might as well be driving a stake through their hearts. Half-assed talks of putting one of their faces on a paper bill, backed up by the precious metals we stole from their tribes. Oh what progress weve made. Page 79


White Knight of Old (1939 Ghram, Northeastern Car Museum, Norwich, NY)Peter Wendler Page 80


Chalkboard ShenanigansAngelina Perrone FADE IN: INT. ELEMENTARY SCHOOL MR. PETERS CLASSROOM DAY There are twenty children sitting in rows of desks in an average looking class room. The children are looking at a double-sided chalkboard and giggling. MR. PETERS (56) stands at his desk emptying his satchel. MR. PETERS Today youll be expanding your vocabularies. Take out your textbooks. The class erupts with laughter. MR. PETERS Settle down you hooligans! Remember you are at school, not at home. The class goes silent. Mr. Peters opens a desk drawer and takes out a box of chalk. The students giggle. MR. PETERS And what is so funny?! Mr. Peters turns around. Mr. Peters likes big weiners! is written boldly on the chalkboard. He attempts to wipe it off with his hand but is unsuccessful. The students laugh. MR. PETERS You think this is funny? Page 81


The class goes silent. MR. PETERS Who did it? Hmmm? SILENCE. MR. PETERS Are you scared to confess because of your poor grammar? Hmmm? Mr. Peters takes out a piece of chalk. He crosses out the word weiners and writes weiners. MR. PETERS Because theres no freaking apostrophe! Mr. Peters slams the chalk on the chalkboard then takes a deep breath. MR. PETERS We will deal with this issue later. For now I will review basic grammar concepts, because apparently you delinquents are illiterate. giving a thumbs up. The face is smiling and Mr. Peters is written above it with an arrow pointing down. The class roars with laughter. MR. PETERS (yells) Quiet! Anyone who continues to laugh will be SILENCE. MR. PETERS Which one of you prepubescent little shits did it? Hmm? Page 82


No response from the class. MR. PETERS I know its one of you. You might think youre safe if you keep quite. But I swear to you, none Mr. Peters turns his back to the class as he attempts to erase the drawing. TOMMY (11) and BILLY (10) exchange glances and giggle. Mr. Peters swiftly turns around and looks at Tommy. MR. PETERS It was you wasnt it? TOMMY Wasnt me. The class laughs. MR. PETERS TOMMY But I didnt do anything! MR. PETERS (points to the board and yells) You call this nothing? Billy raises his hand. MR. PETERS What, Billy? BILLY Well actually the correct name for that is a penis, sir. We learned about the reproductive system in science class. Page 83


MOLLY (11) and SARAH (11) giggle. MR. PETERS turns red. MR. PETERS Thats it! The four of you to the principals Billy, Tommy, Sarah, and Molly get up and exit. MR. PETERS The rest of you are to sit here quietly until I return. Is that understood? THE CLASS Yes Mr. Peters. Mr. Peters drags the chalkboard as he exits. INT. ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PRINCIPAL LARRYS OF FICE There is a desk with a name plate that reads, PRINCIPAL LARRY. PRINCIPAL LARRY (26) is sitting at her desk. The four students enter. A moment later Mr. Peters enters, out of breath, with the chalkboard. PRINCIPAL LARRY Hello everyone! What seems to be the issue Mr. Peters? Mr. Peters points at the chalkboard. Principal Larry examines the board and covers her mouth as she giggles. PRINCIPAL LARRY Well this is...creative? MR. PETERS Its juvenile! And someone has to be punished! Page 84


PRINCIPAL LARRY Calm down Mr. Peters. The person who wrote this could be saying you enjoy hot dogs. I dont think this is as bad as you think it is. PRINCIPAL LARRY Oh. Well...ok then. This is quite a situation. MR. PETERS I want someone to be punished for this, Larry! PRINCIPAL LARRY This is a very inappropriate picture, and there will be consequences for the person responsible. MR. PETERS There better be! PRINCIPAL LARRY Kids, this is a very serious offense. If you did do this...drawing, please step forward so that we can deal with this and move on with our day. None of the kids respond. PRINCIPAL LARRY If no one speaks now were going to have to call your parents and speak with them. Still no response. Mr. Peters gets frustrated. MR. PETERS One of you little nose pickers had to have done it and there will be serious consequences for all of you if no one confesses! Page 85


PRINCIPAL LARRY I can take it from here Mr. Peters. Why dont you go back to your class? Mr. Peters exits. TOMMY Thank you. PRINCIPAL LARRY Now that hes gone, can you please tell me who did it? MOLLY Well I didnt do it obviously, so can I go now? TOMMY How is it obvious, Molly? Molly glares at Tommy. MOLLY Because Im not some people. TOMMY Well I didnt do it either. And Im NOT gross! PRINCIPAL LARRY Ok? BILLY Principal Larry, I didnt do it. I wouldnt do something so stupid. SARAH Its not me, I dont even know what a pen-is looks like. Page 86


Tommy points to the chalkboard. TOMMY It looks like that. Billy giggles and Molly rolls her eyes. MOLLY It had to have been a boy. Girls dont do gross things like that principal Larry. PRINCIPAL LARRY Lets talk one on one. Billy you sit down, the rest of you go sit in the hall. Molly, Tommy, and Sarah all exit. Billy sits. PRINCIPAL LARRY Billy, I know youre a bright kid. BILLY Thank you. PRINCIPAL LARRY Did youdo you know who wrote this stuff on the chalkboard? BILLY I dont know who did it. But I do know that if Mr. Peters did like weiners it would be ok, because gay marriage is legal so he can get married. Principal Larry smiles while trying to hold in her laughter. PRINCIPAL LARRY Thats right, Billy... you can go back to class now. Can you tell Molly to come in please? Page 87


BILLY Ok. Billy exits and Molly enters. PRINCIPAL LARRY Molly, can you tell me about the chalkboard? MOLLY Yeah, I didnt do it. PRINCIPAL LARRY Do you know who did? MOLLY No. But it was probably Tommy, hes a gross boy. PRINCIPAL LARRY know it isnt nice to call others gross. MOLLY But its the truth and my daddy told me to always tell the truth. PRINCIPAL LARRY Thats true, but sometimes its just better to not say anything. MOLLY Whatever, can I go now? PRINCIPAL LARRY Yes, you can go. Tell Tommy its his turn. MOLLY Fine. Page 88


Molly exits and Tommy enters. PRINCIPAL LARRY Tommy youre the funny kid in your class, everyone knows that. And if you drew on the board its ok to tell me. TOMMY Principal Larry, I know Im the class clown but as funny as that is, I didnt do it. PRINCIPAL LARRY Tommy, if you drew the penis just tell me so we can get this over with. TOMMY I didnt do it, I promise. You wanna know why it wasnt me? PRINCIPAL LARRY Why? TOMMY Its so funny that if I did it I would admit it, because I would be proud of how hilarious it is. PRINCIPAL LARRY I guess thats true...and since theres no evidence to prove you did itjust go back to class Tommy. Tommy exits and Sarah enters. PRINCIPAL LARRY Hello, Sarah. SARAH (quietly) Hi. Page 89


PRINCIPAL LARRY Do you know who drew the picture? SARAH No principal Larry. It was on the board when we came into the class this morning. PRINCIPAL LARRY What? SARAH It was already there when we got to the class room in the morning. INT. ELEMENTARY SCHOOL JANITORS CLOSET DAY JANITOR ONE (20s) is standing and vaping as JANITOR TWO (20s) sits on a bucket playing with his phone. JANITOR TWO Thanks for covering my shift last night. I owe you one. JANITOR ONE Dude. Janitor one exhales the smoke from his vape. JANITOR ONE Working the night shift is awesome. Janitor one takes a hit of his vape then exhales. JANITOR ONE I got so baked before I came in, youll never guess what I did. THE END. Page 90


Below the Kitchen Table / What Human Hands Can Do Alex Franceschi My too tiny legs dangled from a too high chair as I traced the elaborate grain with my human hands carved the patterns into the table (they didnt). Human hands did make & set the meals I took for granted the way only kids can. The table was where I played, until my father, sharpened by the days labors, would give me only a glance that said Rally your plastic troops and go. The kitchen table was a refuge; when the sky grew dark & angry, hollering for the entire world to hear, I would crawl between the tall oaks for pegs, & hold my knees to my chest. One storm gave way to another; his grip on her arm tighter than miles above my head. The screen door groaned as he pushed her against it. The storm argued in Spanish, so Angie & I couldnt understand it. Dejame, Luis, ir me voy. No me importa, pero se quedan aqu. Its a wonder they didnt see me below the table, but then again, I was a hide & seek veteran. I waited out the storm, tracing the grain with my too little carved the pattern into the wood (they didnt). Page 91


Your Face is Beautiful John Ross Thompson *Excerpt* The karaoke bar rumbled with each beat of the song. Ria sat on a bar stool and sipped on a martini. She watched her friend sing and dance to one of Rias own songs on stage. She glared at her friend. How dare she steal all of the attention? Woo! Go Maggie! Andrea yelled at the top of her lungs. into the air along with the beat of the song. Everyone in the bar cheered, enjoying themselves as they lounged in chairs around the stage. Andrea turned to Ria. Shes doing amazing. Yeahbetter than me if thats even possible. I mean, ugh, look at those dance moves! They watched as Maggie air-guitared vigorously, throwing her head back and forth then back up at the heavens repeatedly. Ria wanted to puke in disgust. Dont you remember when I used to do that? That was my move. Thats everyones move, Ree. Go Maggie! a guy beside them yelled. He sat on the other side of Andrea, chugging down a beer. He was a handsome man, chiseled as if out of a statue, muscular like an Olympian. How dare he like Maggie more than me? Im ten times more beautiful. Andrea laughed and turned back to Ria who couldnt take her eyes off of the man. Dont you love it, though? People are giving Maggie more attention than you. I thought thats what you wanted. I expected opposite. Im the famous popstar here and they are loving her more than me, though shes singing one of my songs. The night is dedicated to you. Everyone heres singing your songs. Besides, dont act like youre hot shit. Youre only 22 and still new to the game. I am hot shit, Drea. You should know that. Every girl loves Page 92


me and every teenage boy wants me. I am the hot shit. Andrea rolled her eyes. Fine. Dont get your panties in a bunch. Jokes on you, Im not wearing any. Ria eyed Maggie as she reached the end of the song. I cant wait for this to be over with. I just want my money. I thought you wanted to get laid. I do, but right nowugh, I just wanna leave. I hate this place. Reeks of B.O. before Maggie got on stage, Andrea said. Ria rolled her eyes and turned her attention back to the man beside Andrea staring idly atRia. He wasnt looking at Maggie anymore. He Finally, someones interested in me. She smiled at him, and he smiled back, his eyes scanning her body. Maybe I will get laid tonight, she whispered to Andrea, pushing her breasts forward. By who? If they heard your mouth just a second ago theyd surely think again. Ria darted her eyes from Andrea to the man beside her back to Andrea. I think hes into me. You said it yourself, youre the hot shit. A steaming pile of it. An applause shook the room. Maggie bowed as the music stopped. Thank you, thank you! she said. She stepped off the stage and ran to her friends. That was awesome! Sure was. Ria rolled her eyes again. Someone else, a man, made. You were amazing, Maggie. Dont let Rees attitude bring you down, Andrea said. Believe me, Drea, Ive been around her attitude so much that it doesnt affect me in the slightest anymore. The man beside Andrea rose from the bar stool and walked to Maggie. He stood beside Ria, letting her bask in his glory as Page 93


his eyes focused on her friend. Hi, he greeted. I heard your name was Maggie. The names Todd. He stuck out his hand and she shook it daintily, Hi, nice to meet you. Ria rolled her eyes once again and tried to push her body forward to intrude in the conversation. I thought he liked me, she thought through slit eyes. Andrea read her face and shrugged. Sorry, she mouthed. I was just wondering if youd like a drink, on me of course. Oh! Well, thank you, but no. I get free drinks here anyway on account of Ria. Todd looked down at the popstar and grinned. There was a twinkle in his eye that made her melt inside. Do you, now? He stuck out his hand to Ria then. Todd, nice to meet you. Never thought Id meet a celebrity in my life. Ria shook his hand, her mind full of confusion. What does he want? Who does he want? Me? Maggie? Both of us? Nice to meet you, too, she said. He paid no attention to Andrea, only turning back to Maggie. Your singing was great, beautiful. Mine is better! Ria blurted. Im aware, Todd said, not even turning to look at her. And your dancing, Maggie, it was just great Those were my moves! Ria yelled. Those are everyones moves, Todd said, but Maggie pulled them off expertly. Maggies face was redder than a tomato. Thank you. The man smiled at her. Now, with all that out of the way- Im not free tonight, sorry. Im going to be spending it with my two best friends. She motioned to Ria and Andrea. Oh, Todd said. Well, when are you free? Can I get your number? Maggie smiled but shook her head. No, Im sorry. Im only going to be in town with my friends for the next couple days. I dont live here. Only came to have fun with these two. Todd grinned and put his hands into his pockets. Its Page 94


alright, I understand. Thanks for being nice about it. He turned and tripped over Rias foot. The trip almost seemed planned, how he fell and his hand grabbed for Ria as if he was trying to grope her. He missed, completely, and grabbed the top of her drink. The liquid lurched, bubbled and sizzled under his hand. He caught himself and stood up, releasing her drink. Im so sorry about that. Ill buy you a new drink. I hadnt meant that Todd smiled and chuckled. Yeah, not a thing. Im sorry about that. It was great to meet you two. Youre both so beautiful. He turned away and began to walk awkwardly back to his seat. He was sweet, Maggie said. Andrea rolled her eyes and looked at Rias drink. You shouldve ordered a new one. Now all of his pervy juices are on yours. Pervy juices? No. He was not a He was into both of you and overtly showed it. I never turned him down. enough to take both of you off of the table. Ria glared at Maggie. Not me. She rose and looked at her friends. Im getting laid tonight. Just spend time with us, Maggie said. You dont have to No, I do. I havent had a break like this. I might as well use it. She walked to Todd with a smile across her face. She stumbled a little with each step. She shook her head, trying to rid of the buzz that had overcome her. Hey. He smiled back. Hey. Whats up? Im free tonight. Ill take you up on your offer. Page 95


EnvyVictoria Jayne Page 96


Wrapped in Piano StringsYenifer Garcia I saw your stillness break the walls, I saw your eyes search for love In the place where it was not sown And your lungs got tainted with The warriors brutality, You made a sidewalk out of their bodies. Watched your being jolt to a stop. I waited for the sound of the bullet striking your chest your remains turned gray and cascaded down the drain. I saw your body crash down with the sun rise, You shook the ground with the force of a feather. You made the sky split in half, made a spotlight on your arms The thorns on your wrist demanded to bleed, you obeyed and turned your arms and hands pink. I saw the seraphims come down They wrapped their wings around your torso Claimed your veins as their roof for their home. I saw them drill bore into your precious head And watched them cut your sockets, They had marked you, it was too late They wanted to taste the chemicals that you created. I saw you reaching out, for me I couldnt reach you, I was wrapped in piano strings I saw the airplane crash down two feet away from me, The crows bombed the earth with sour voices, You were in the air, Up and away. I saw the creatures bathing in soil. I saw your voice exhume all, place the wallpaper back where it belongs. Page 97


The Charred Man Cody Young Skin cream was a luxury to him. It was something he never even considered buying before, but now he found himself a nicety he could scarcely afford, but goddamn he needed it. The pain was always there. Shooting pulses that danced along his nervous system, rendering him incapable of speech but left the nerves perfectly intact? Were they so far buried He saw the looks they gave him. People trying to mask their disgust with a faint layer of sympathy. The layers of clothing could only mask so much, and they always seemed to know just where to look in order to catch a peek at his charred skin. It didnt matter what his story was or how he got there, a The story of it never factors in. There isnt a line of questioning for him to answer, to describe how it happened. Even if there was, hes not sure he would respond. How do you describe to someone the choice made in an instant, the simple answer: you dont. The pig skin grafts never matched up just right. Jagged leaving him resembling a poor mans Humpty Dumpty. Every visit to the doctors bringing more and more rejection. This donor wasnt a match, this skin tone was a tad off, more pig skin it is. He was the hero of 42nd Street. When he was in the parents to local businesses proud to call him a customer. He not as a hero, but as a citizen. The fame was brief, less than 15 minutes. The medical bills piled and continued to pile until they had a suffocating effect. He couldnt afford the mortgage, barely afford to eat. avoid his mutilation, or at the very least prolong it. The cream soaked into his skin, offering a reprieve, just for a few moments. Page 98

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I Wont Fret Mary McIntyre square-like sideburns. His wavy hair was always combed to perfection. I used to think it made him look like a rockstar, which he basically was, but his appearance said everything about him that anyone needed to know. His clean shaven face had no hair out of place. Kyles glasses werent too thick or stains or holes in them. If his shoes had laces, they would be neatly tied, resting on the spotless leather. I could still see him in my mind as I was sitting at one of the chairs in the local Applebees, huddled over a glass of frozen lemonade. The walls were covered with pictures of people that I had never met. Waitresses and waiters bustled around the tables, disappearing into the kitchen every now and then. The place wasnt packed, but the infrequent roars of noise made up for it. My mom sat across from me and my sister on my right. Usually, we split a chocolate lava cake, dividing it down the center. It was a few days before when Kyle had said he was leaving. One of his friends stopped to say goodbye during my lesson, so he stepped out for a minute. I sat there, practicing for the end of the year recital while my leg bounced up and down with impatience. He came back in and it all spilled out of him. He was going to California with his wife; they had just been offered an opportunity that just couldnt be passed up. Kyle must have thought that I had overheard him. So, the teardrops in my eyes probably let him know that I was oblivious to the conversation outside the door. Kyle sat there; a blur through it all. Through the clarity of my tears. Its not like Im dead, Mary. I know that, but it doesnt make it any better because you still wont be here. I told him that I understood. I didnt understand. Do you want to stop playing? We started the song again. This time, the song had new between his strumming and my frantic plucking at the frets. My mothers voice brought me back to Earth. She began to ask me how I was doing. I gave short answers while stirring my Page 99

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Honey, why are you so upset over this? The person that taught me to treasure music. He named the chord exercises that he wrote after me. He saw me start as eventually grow to be sixteen. He taught me guitar solos and songs that I never thought I could play. Kyle wasnt just my guitar teacher. Kyle was who I wanted to be like when I was older. He would never get to see that. He would never see me grow again. Mom, people are supposed to make music with the people that they care about. I cant ever make music with him again, I told her while looking down at my cake. After we divided it, I began to shovel it into my mouth. You can still try to do lessons with him on video chats, she reasoned. I dont want to do video chats; I want him here in Liverpool. You know that I hate change. Yeah, I guess we could, I said in between bites. If not, then I dont ever want to play again. Mary, you cant do that. That would make him feel terrible. He wouldnt want you to stop playing after he leaves. I want him to feel terrible. I want him to realize that this is going to change the rest of my life. Mom, I dont want to play without him. Honey, I know. Do you want to talk to him again before the recital? I can call him right now, she said. No, I dont want to. Kyle said that he wasnt dead, but it sure felt like it. I had never mourned the loss of someone who was still alive. It seemed like he was already gone. His sights were set on the beaches of California, the vast coast and all the beauty that was included in it. His feet were still on the ground, but his mind was on boarding the plane, putting the for sale sign in front of the house, and trading the snow for the ocean breeze. My mom stopped talking and let the noise of the restaurant take over the conversation. I excused myself to the bathroom. On the day of the recital, I showed up and it was mostly like usual. I had to tell my grandma that she couldnt sing along Page 100

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during the show. The stage had two chairs. Kyle counted me off. I only messed up a little bit. This year, the program director handed him a bouquet of grilling utensils as a parting gift. After everyone congratulated me, Kyle and I took pictures together said that she would miss the way that I would nod my head and feel the music that I was playing. They went on to talk to other students and friends. I handed my guitar to my dad and walked out the door; my family crowding around me. That was the last time that I ever saw him. He never called us back about the lessons. He never said goodbye. After a few months, my friend referred me to a teacher that had a music studio. Finally, I agreed. I was itching to play, but I didnt want to move on. My new teacher didnt have prominent sideburns. He wore jeans and a button down shirt. Billys glasses were made to ukuleles, drum kits, and a piano. Bob Marley posters hung on the blue walls. He wasnt similar to Kyle apart from the love for music. I knew it was just what I needed. A change. Occasionally, I wondered how my life would have gone if Kyle hadnt left. He taught me so many things about how to be a musician. Sometimes I wished that he had stayed, but then I remembered all of the things that came from Kyles departure. I remembered when my new teacher taught me how to play recording. Most of all, I remembered our last recital together. It was normal. There was one chair. My grandma wasnt there, but she wouldnt have known any Bob Marley songs to sing strings. Id like to think that everything happens for a reason. In the moment, I couldnt see that everyone has to do whats best for them. It always hurts, but you move on. I cant see the future, but theres one thing that I know for sure. When my new teacher gets his big break and leaves, Ill be sad, but Ill pick myself up. Im going to keep playing my music because it can only get better. The change will be hard, but otherwise, I know I wont fret. Page 101

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Through the Window of the Night (Oswego, NY)Peter Wendler Page 102

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Ode to Son HopAshley Kirkland As a young man of color trying make it in this world is impossible. Youre already doubted by many, almost all. You just trying to survive; My young strong brother. Years of oppression will try to suppress you. Get next to you. Flex on you. Mess with you. Say the they F witchu. Get in bed with you. I get the attitude. The Team, Mi Familia, the tribe; all your souls keeps. I am your fuck the racist white man hatred, in your words punching beats. See I get the restless night sleeps. You got to make it stick your head down; push your shoulders through streets and pull on the concrete. Count your mornings, because death is near as you pray your soul to keep. But I keep. While you keep taking to the beat for rest on nights your spirit weeps. May these beats assure your mind, soul, and body rests in peace. ~ Your Mother Hip. Page 103

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The Greatest Risk Emily Shaben The Golden Gate Bridge is approximately 1.7 miles long, ninety feet wide, and 750 feet high. It takes thirty minutes to get to the center and only 4.2 seconds to hit the San Francisco Bay water below. Im not saying that Ive calculated, but Ive calculated. Now here I am, sweating through my off-white t-shirt and pressing my hands into the rust colored railings of the bridge. I may have actually miscalculated; I can feel the pounding of my heart and the heat on my skin. I must have made the walk in at four degree air stings my nose and sits heavily in my lungs. Even though the minutes pass, my heart doesnt slow. The view of the bay doesnt sooth me as much as I hoped it would. I lean precariously over the railing to get a better look below me, watching the churning wa-ter and waves smack against one another. Strands of my hair cut across my eyes, the wind picking and pulling at my weak attempt at a braid. I didnt put that much effort into it anyway. I never put much effort into anything. Except risks, I put a lot of effort into risks. I love cutting looking for trouble. My favorite past time is seeing how many cigarettes I can chain smoke before throwing up. I like to ask myself, how close can I get to the edge before teetering over? How many times can I sidestep away from cars before letting one run me down? But this, I dont even know if I would call this a risk. Standing here on this bridge with its $1.5 billion dollar funding and its 1,600 ghosts, I dont think Ive felt any less empty. I press my hands even harder into the railing where the parts have begun to deteriorate. My palms slip and I notice its the raw and bloodiness of my own broken callouses that make me lose my grip. I convince myself that now would be a good time to improve my view. If I stood up a little taller, sat a little higher, maybe I could see something on the horizon line I couldnt see now. I suck in another deep breath, hold it, and hoist myself up onto the rail. I tremble to keep my balance, the slickness of my hands making me falter, but only for a second until I settle myself. My legs feel weightless dangling beneath me; why wont my heart stop pounding? Page 104

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people jumped to their deaths from the Golden Gate Bridge. That same year I learned that a pack of smokes was $5 and the best place to cry was in the shower. Its weird how lives parallel themselves like that; so many people took the leap the same time my life did. I wonder if it took them ten years to get here The tug of gravity on my legs is comforting, soothing. I swing my feet a little and watch my loose shoelaces trace zeroes in the empty space. I wonder if I kicked one sneaker off, distant, unkempt shore. Theyll probably end up tossing it in the trash, or kicking it back to where it came from. I wonder if the headline tomorrow will read, WOMAN JUMPS FROM GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE, SEARCH BEGINS FOR MISSING SHOE. I wonder if people will actually look for it. I dont hear the shrieking breaks behind me or the sound of the car door. Someone clears their throat, but I dont bother giving them any attention. Will they judge me tomorrow if they no-tice my shoes are off-brand Sketchers? I perk up at the sound of speaking, at the sound of him speaking. youre not gonna like the outcome, kid, he says. Dont take the risk. I smile, but I know he cant see it; I cant pull my eyes away from the great expanse of freedom below me. He says something again as a gust of wind hits me, carrying his words along with it. His stare is drilling a hole into the back of my neck and I can sense hes afraid to approach me, or maybe hes just simply afraid. This isnt a risk, I say, mostly to myself and for myself. I jump from the railing, my feet hitting the cool pavement. My knees wobble and blood rushes to my head, making it spin. I take a step forward and steady myself on a nearby light post. The air tastes different now, almost sweet, and not as cold as it was before. When I look at the stranger, I realize hes slouching against his car with his face in his hands. For a moment, I feel everything. The greatest risk is to choose to live, and I did. Page 105

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Greed Victoria Jayne Page 106

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Lake Ontarios Freckled Shore Danielle Sherman From the grass, the rocks below look covered in barnacles. Do those live in freshwater? I wonder if the tides are caused by the wind that blows faster than the local speed limit, or if the Great Lakes are big enough to be affected by the moons gravity. Down the slope, on the shore, those are not crustaceans at all. Thousands of elongated, spotted beetles dot the shoreline. I scoop them into my hand and bring them to my face, watching as they scurry in a disturbed frenzy. They squirm down my throat, and their wings get stuck in my teeth like popcorn kernels. I wonderbecause Ive seen a ladybug before, this is not what theyre supposed to look likeif its the wind that makes them so long? Page 107

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Emergency ServicesAlex Franceschi INT. HYBRID NIGHT JANE (28) is a fairly attractive blonde despite being visibly jumpy. She scans the dark stretch of road ahead of her as she listens to the radio. RADIO HOST -and a solemn hello to any of those just joining us. We have an update on the string of late-INT. RED PICK-UP TRUCK NIGHT BILLY (43), a gruff looking middle aged man, lights a cigarette as he listens to the same radio program. RADIO HOST A trusted source says that the person behind these disappearances poses as an emergency FOCUS ON PARAMEDIC JACKET RESTING ON BILLYS PASSENGER SEAT. SPLIT VIEW OF INT. OF BOTH CARS JANE & BILLY Fucking psycho. RADIO HOST Its scary to think we have to be wary with those who are here to protect and serve. Well be back at the top of the hour with any updates on the story. Stay safe out there. Page 108

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INT. HYBRID NIGHT Jane scoffs in disgust and changes the station. Paul McCartney & The Wings Let Him In plays loudly in the background. JANE Ok Jane, lets not freak ourself out right now. She takes several deep breaths and leans back in her chair. She starts bopping her head in tune with the song. INT. RED PICK-UP TRUCK NIGHT CLOSE UP ON BLOOD STAIN ON THE SLEEVE OF HIS SHIRT. the wind blows it back in. BILLY God Damn it! The cigarette lands on his lap while still embered. He frantically swipes at his crotch trying to put it out. INT. HYBRID NIGHT Jane has really gotten into the song and is enthusiastically swinging her head back and forth. She doesnt notice the red pick up truck that has swerved into her lane. SIDE VIEW OF THE TWO CARS COLLIDING HEAD ON EXT. CAR WRECK NIGHT (CONT.) Jane has her head pressed on the steering wheel, her forehead pressed into the horn. She slowly lifts her head up and touches a gash on her forehead. BILLY (shouts from car) Dont move! You can have whiplash! Page 109

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Billy looks dazed and slowly asses the situation. He reaches out of the truck and limps toward Janes car. BILLY (CONTD) (whisispers to himself) What the fuck?! What the fuck?! Jane is gathering her bearings when she sees a strange man walking to her car with a small case. She begins to hyperventilate. JANE (startled) Billy knocks on her window and motions for her to lower it. BILLY Dont worry, Im trained for this. Im a paramedic. Janes eyes widen at the news. She double checks that the door is locked. JANE Honestly, I think Im ok. You can just leave your insurance information on my windshield. BILLY Mam, Id be doing you a disservice if I dont at least check you out. as creepy. JANE Listen man, Im telling you Im OK. Im ok to drive. I just need to catch my breath. Billy looks taken aback. Page 110

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BILLY You are in no condition to drive. If youd just unlock your door, I can make sure youre not concussed or hemorrhaging. JANE Some ID? BILLY What? JANE Can you provide documentation proving that youre a paramedic. BILLY My wallets in my truck. Im just trying to help here, lady. HEADLIGHTS SLOWLY GROWING BRIGHTER AS A CAR PULLS UP ON THEM. AS THE CAR GETS CLOSER, YOU CAN SEE ITS POLICE CRUISER. OFFICER Someone called in an accident? the cruiser, then at Billy, then back to the cruiser.She slowly lowers her window. BILLY refuses medical attention. OFFICER Thats sadly understandable. People have been going missing in these parts lately. Page 111

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BILLY concussed and-OFFICER Thatll be all, sir. Mam, will you be needing a ride tonight? Jane considers his offer for a beat and meekly nods. She unlocks the door and staggers out. Billy tries to help her get to her feet, but she reels away from him. She makes her way to the passenger seat of the cruiser and collapses in it. OFFICER (CONTD) (smugly to Billy) Now you have a good night. Billy staggers to his truck and sits down. He lights a cigarette when suddenly the radio broadcast cuts back on. RADIO HOST Were back with an update on the missing persons case. Apparently, the abductor has Please take care and have a good night. BILLYS POV: THE CRUISER MAKING ITS WAY DOWN THE DARK STRETCH OF ROAD. Billy squints and sees a leg sticking out of the trunk. BILLY Who called in the accident? Paul McCartneys LET HIM IN fades back in. CUT TO: CREDITS Page 112

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'f I I I I I I I I I I Cloud BoyMiles Petersen Page 113

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Gerald Benjamin Greco Gerald woke up at four in the morning with a terrible headache and a ringing in his ears. He took an aspirin and went back to sleep. When he woke up at seven for work, his hearing was completely gone. He tried to think: Had he eaten anything unusual recently? Was he using a new laundry detergent? temporary deafness would eventually just sort itself out. He got into the shower. The water warmed the back of his was very peaceful. I could get used to this, he thought. he thought to himself: Maybe its not my hearing. Maybe the world just stopped making noise. poured a cup of coffee. He sat down by the window in a patch of sunlight. It warmed his face. He sipped his coffee and felt its All in complete silence. He smiled and closed his eyes. and walked out to his car. It was a beautiful day. The sun was out, and he imagined all the birds must have been chirping. He got in his car and drove off. He went slow, taking his time. Four different people honked at him to go faster, but he didnt hear them. Some new papers were waiting there for him. He skimmed Page 114

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their inputs yet. In the corner of his eye, he saw his boss Beverly ambling up to his desk. He turned to face her. Her mouth opened and closed. It kept opening and closing for about two minutes. Gerald nodded the whole time, smiling. When her mouth stopped opening, he gave her a thumbs up and turned back toward his desk. She walked away. all his reports before two oclock. He spent the remaining three hours of his workday relaxing and looking at the coffee table book that was kept in the lobby for visitors. Beverly was out meeting with a client and all of his co-workers were in their cubicles, so no one was around to bother him. large, glossy pictures of pretty places in France. old churches, twisty cobblestone roads, and medieval split timber houses. None of the pictures interested him very much, until, near the very back of the book, he saw a pristine little footbridge built over a culvert, with a stream of dirty water running underneath. The image wasnt very striking, but he found himself staring at it for several minutes. A huge droplet of water plonked onto the stream, and Gerald realized that he was crying. He closed up the book, wiped his eyes, and walked back to his cubicle. On his drive home, six cars honked at him. While he ate dinner, his phone rang three times. In total silence, he sank into his mattress underneath freshly washed sheets. What a fantastic day, he thought. Within minutes, he was asleep. Page 115

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ClingstoneJack Goodfellow 1. Le march aux puces: Sunday crutch of ripe peaches and soft morning air; a thrifty alley cats prime 2. Docked behind buoyant, sweet neighborly bulletin, the man is solus. His tongue is not the product the fruit buys his family. Page 116

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-~$ 0 ,l Sea Life Miles Petersen Page 117

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The Craft of Staying The Art of Getting Dry Wet Susan Fox June 22 12:03am I wish I could say I dont need an umbrella To swing over my head But here I am, Here it is, Always open, always hovering An inch above my head. Ive just done my hair Or my makeup will run, Its just not a good time. And youll just nod Maybe roll your eyes: Its always something. But even I Who must stay dry Peek out between (Surely) Acid drops And I wonder what its like To put the umbrella back In the attic And stick my tongue out. August 16 11:57pm The umbrella is gone Packed in the attic To sleep under soft sawdust. And here I am, Heres the rain, And I feel it Drip down my spine. I have no more reasonMy hair clings to my neck, I dont wear makeup anymore, And youll just grin Maybe kiss my nose: Youre really something. And even I Whove just stayed dry Raise my face to the (Surely) Sunlit drops And I know what its like To put the umbrella back In the attic Page 118

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CoopersEmily Goleski Page 119

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ASH Kevin Sun Catherine picked up the telephone and dialed the number for the suicide hotline. It rang a few times before greeting her with a familiar message: Hello, welcome to the Assisted Suicide Hotline. Unfortunately, all our representatives are currently occupied. Please hold on for as long as you can. The phone then started to play Gary Jules Mad World. Catherine sighed and laid down on her bed. She slowly sunk into the memory foam mattress, curling up into the same old, tired shape. She stared at the ceiling, trying to make sense of the bumps and swirls in the plaster. Hi, my name is Benjamin, and welcome to the Assisted Suicide Hotline. I apologize for the delay, a voice said. Startled, Catherine dropped the phone and stared at it. Hello? Benjamin asked. answered. Oh, said Benjamin. Were usually very busy. Did you want to request our services? I have other customers on hold right now. Dont want to keep them waiting. Yes, she said. I dont feel anything. I dont want to live anyore, and I dont know what to do. Alright, classic situation, Benjamin said. Ill just get out an APTH form and we can start the paperwork. as the man hummed a tune. Name? Catherine Murphy. Age? 37. How would you like to die? I dont know. How does this work? You give us your preferred method of death, and if its Page 120

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within our means, we will accommodate you. Catherine thought for a moment, and then asked: Can you burn my house down, with me in it? We sure can! Give me your address and Ill send our Firemen over as soon as possible. She told the man on the phone her address, gave him her credit card information to pay for the services, and hung up. Catherine lay in bed, hands clasped together against her chest, and waited. Eventually, she fell asleep. ~ Catherine awoke to the sound of liquid splashing all around her. Three men in thick, heavy, grey hazmat suits were men gave Catherine a document for her to sign. At the bottom, it read: I, ___________________, hereby relinquish the rights to my life to the Assisted Suicide Hotline. I am of sound body and mind, and make this decision willingly and conscientiously. Catherine signed, and returned the paper to the man. He nodded and motioned to his colleagues that it was time to go. for a few seconds. He hesitated for a moment and looked Catherine in the eye. Then he dropped it, setting the room on closer, Catherine began to feel the heat against her skin. She felt herself slowly becoming ash. Page 121

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Packing Up, Moving AlongAlex Franceschi I was never the big man on campus never aspired to be. I pack to go home for the last time; skim through the drawers. Loose change mingles with expired condoms, but heres to hoping. something non-incriminating. Ear plugs to combat my roommates snoring. Band-aids to stop the bleeding. Beaded bracelets to cover these bony wrists, Chamomile tea brought sleep, but not rest, Beer koozies to hug my drink, and remind it, Everythingll be okay. Half used chapsticks that couldnt Ever cover this liars lips. No. I was never the big man on campus, But maybe I wanted to be. Page 122

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Whats in the Cup?Danielle Benincasa Page 123

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We're Nice People Were Nice People