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1/28/2019 3:15:04 PM
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THE GREAT LAKE REVIEW SUNY Oswegos Literary Magazine Fall 2018 Editor-in-Chief Joey Bandru Managerial Editor Lilly Kiel Secretary Merlin Tiisler Treasurer Harrison Mark Public Relations Coordinator Sara Costello Publication Designer Marissa Specioso Head Editor of Drama Emilee Crane Head Editor of Fiction Evelyn Sokolowski David Drake Head Editor of Poetry Peter Humphreys Drama Editors Olivia Bottari Madelyn Crews Sarah Matticio Anna Michel Emily OBrien Fiction Editors Kiel M. Gregory Matthew Hughes Kaitlyn Stork Rachael Austin-Ferguson Alexandra Borowsky Mary Katherine Moylan Edward Sourby Samira Todd Alexandra Zubrick Poetry Editors Ashley Daring Kirsy Guzman Miranda Phillips Nirdishtha Sapkota Cate Seaman Faculty Advisor Laura Donnelly SPECIAL THANKS Laura Donnelly Creative Writing Department
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. e exception would be in the case of brief quotations embodied in the critical articles or reviews and pages where permission is specically granted by the 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 86th Edition State University of New York at Oswego
Page 3 Located at 19 W. Bridge Street in downtown Oswego, the Rivers End Bookstore is GLRs o-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 4 TABLE OF CONTENTS ART Kerosene Hourglass by Amelia DeJarnette .................... Cover Growth by Maggie DeJohn ......................... Rivers End Page Born Screaming by Macdonell Orelus ............................ 10 We Met on Court Street by Amelia DeJarnette ..................... 15 Simple Pleasures by Leighann McPartland ........................ 24 Violet by Morgan Ciccarino ..................................... 29 Fountain of Love by Adam Sommer .............................. 41 Ichabod by Amelia DeJarnette ................................... 45 Cherry Blossom by Kelsey Cicerone .............................. 57 Peaked by Emily Goleski ....................................... 59 Sanya Transformed by Maggie DeJohn .......................... 69 Outskirts of Ireland by Amelia DeJarnette ........................ 74 Aurelia by Macdonell Orelus .................................... 81 Monarch by Adam Sommer .................................... 99 Natures Stripes by Sabrina Trovato ............................. 104 Juneau by Seaplane by Emily Goleski ............................ 111 Contra by Amelia DeJarnette .................................. 117 Rapid Waters of SUNY Oswego by Kelsey Cicerone ............... 126 Radiant by Morgan Ciccarino .................................. 130 DRAMA Adulthood is a Trap by Courtney Abbe ........................... 17 Dead Flytraps by Amanda Gydesen .............................. 31 Its Easy To Cheat by Molly Sullivan .............................. 43 The Balancing Act by Nichole Bailey ............................. 62 Grandma by Anastasia Grimando West ......................... 83 Perdita by Alexis Lisa Rivera ................................... 105 To Snag a Drag by Madeline Weisbeck .......................... 118 But Not Forgotten by Nichole Bailey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 127 FICTION Blink by John Thompson ....................................... 12 Master Thief by Nicholas Difusco ................................ 25 Two Lines by Emily Montague .................................. 47 Fast by Jessica Wickham ....................................... 71 The Wallet by Cody Young ..................................... 101 Shiner by John Thompson ..................................... 112 Damned by Ellen Weber ....................................... 121
Page 5 NONFICTION Steam: An ABC Memoir by Camrey Whyle ......................... 8 A Memoir for Linda: The Making of a Cat Lady by Samantha V Zerbinos ....................................... 33 Noises in the Night by Chad Ordway ............................. 77 Anatomy of a Fencing Practice Room by Mary McIntyre ........... 124 POETRY Red and Red by Brianna Harrington ............................... 7 Paradise by Leeann Dragos ..................................... 11 Kicking Boots by Emily Goleski .................................. 16 The Dreams I Never Told You by Beatriz Rosa ..................... 27 Family Tapestry by Nicole Hube ................................ 30 Dead Rose by Ellen Weber ...................................... 42 Incomprehension by Emily Goleski ............................... 46 Just Pray by Nicole Hube ....................................... 58 Wait, This Isnt Normal? by Kailey Brown ........................ 60 9:59 by Beatriz Rosa ........................................... 70 Silver Spoon by Derek Bennett .................................. 75 Things My Mother Tells Me by Christian McCarthy ................ 82 Fire Tower by Leeann Dragos .................................. 100 Portrait of Loneliness by Nicole Hube ........................... 110 Ele by Brianna Harrignton ..................................... 116 press play by Emily Goleski .................................... 120 Achieve, Decieve, Percieve by Nicole Hube ....................... 129
Page 7 Red and Red Brianna Harington Red roses; reek of passion and fury Red hearts; pumping for the other beating only to see one more day Red lips; full and ready to absorb his blow Red gowns; rippling off the curves of her The rhythm of love; playing in the background intertwining with the mingling lovers. The story of falling in love; as lovers discover Red eyes; countless arguments put her over the edge. Red nose; still dripping from the last blow wound recovering from the never ending night. Red scars; smooth and tender rest atop a layer of again. Fury from the unknown; there is no reason to his rage and there is never an end. The story of her last breath; she screams shes sorry again and again,
Page 8 Steam: An ABC Memoir Camrey Whyle At the time, nothing stunned me more than strolling into the dining hall for coffee and a bagel and leaving with little more than some spattered remnants littering the tiles and my clothes. Crazily enough, I also managed to snatch a hot accusation of stealing food, since apparently the dining hall only accepts ID these days when your face isnt presented electronically I thought everyone working at that particular dining location knew me anyways; I was the girl with the ID failing to swipe on the daily, always seeming to have some unknown error with the card I had to get over at least six times for different problems. and the magical dripping intoxication of coffee-scent that this special brew were to be shortly ripped from my possession, Jiminy Cricket I would have avoided that tainted space before ever arriving and stuck strictly to killing my hunger and useless hours of procrastination at the vending machines. Like the coffee, the bagel I toasted sang of perfection; I didnt expect it to become the main course of not only my meal but my brewing violation. Never would I have thought to be met by such hate upon biting into glory, but it was openly etched over every one of the staff members faces as I sank my teeth into the steaming prize. And there was the head manager, eyes wild and breath hot, towering over me with quivered lip and telling me I was not allowed to swallow Her grandma voice cracking, hands reaching out with indignation to steal my scavengings and take them to the trash. That food should not be thrown out, I offered, but what could I do as coffee rained down some choice words under my breath and deciding not to look back. I suppose that venturing to the dining hall with such an appetite that morning was the wrong move since it warranted such accusations as Physical Violence and Failure to Comply, but then again the xenial treatment of the staff when dealing with hungry students rushing to eat before class and
Page 9 yielding electronic versions of their faces or null IDs never fails to impress me. The feeling of zero nutrients can be frightening, but as I drank in the fresh air outside, I felt more enriched.
Page 10 Born Screaming Macdonell Orelus
Page 11 Paradise Leeann Dragos The smooth sand separates between my toes. Warm sunshine kisses my shoulders and down my back. The dark blue sea chases children. They run as it crunches again on the horizon. Salty wind brushes my hair I am clean inside and out. A grey blanket rolls in over the dock. And silence trumps the seagulls speech.
Page 12 Blink John Thompson Ive had this weird power for years where I could just blink away my problems. Im not the only one with it, for Ive come across a few others who have it too. In all honesty, I think itd be better if none of us had it. So much better and my problems were gone. Sometimes, one blink wasnt enough, so Id just blink and blink until my problems would go away I hadnt known that blinking could be so harmful. It started when I was in college. Classes were hard, my soon to be ex and I were falling apart, I was running out of money, and I just needed a break. The club seemed like an apt place to go for this; a place where I could dance, drink, blinked, and my problems went away That was it. One blink and they were all gone, though only momentarily until the morning. I was amazed. I wished I could do that every night, or even every day, just blink and blink and blink until I was free of my worries. And I didnt see a problem in it. It had worked once, so why not try it again? I hadnt noticed any danger then, and I wouldnt for years. I was only blinking. So I continued blinking, blinking, and blinking, and time passed by I blinked through school and my grades started to fall, but I didnt worry College would disappear soon enough, and I would have one less problem. My boyfriend quickly began to fear for my health. You cant keep doing this, he told me. All Im doing is blinking, I said. I blink, it goes dark, and all of my issues disappear for a while. And I dont have to worry Youre not blinking. Youre blacking out. Same thing. He couldnt stop me, so he left me. He said his mother warned him about men like me, but I didnt care. He was just
Page 13 another problem and he too was blinked away in due time. Blinked away like the rest. My parents were outraged when I blinked out of college. Id blinked so much that I couldnt even remember leaving college. As if Id never even left, I was at home once again. According to my parents, it had been months since I left school, but it was just one blink to me. I was amazed again at the power of the blink, but my parents didnt see my lovely ability as a gift. They thought I was sick. Just like my ex, they believed I needed help. I thought they were wrong and started secretly blinking. I blinked until the accident. Hadnt seen it coming. Jail wasnt fun. They didnt let me blink through that. Rehab wasnt fun either Back then, I just saw it as everyone colloquially being against me and holding me back from true bliss and happiness. My parents and peers didnt see how not letting me blink and escape from myself and my problems made me even more susceptible to the depression they said I was already experiencing. Sadly, due to my beliefs, rehab didnt hold me back for long. I wish it had. My next boyfriend feared my blinking just like everyone else. He said it turned me into someone neither of us knew Someone cruel and evil. I remember that he always had bruises all over his body Whenever I asked him where they came from hed say, You should know, but I mustve blinked those events out too. He ended up leaving me just like the last. I feel bad about that, looking back on it. I wish he stopped me. Called the cops. Did something. Anything. I blinked until I was in rehab again. Blinked so much that I dont even remember the two years between him and it. All I remember is being physically dragged there by my parents and the cops. Its for your safety, my mother had said. But I already felt safe. I always assumed I was when I blinked. I was wrong. The second rehab journey was three years ago, and I blinked a lot after then too. I blinked and blinked until one day I was in the hospital and they wouldnt allow me to blink anymore. The doctor told me I needed to stop and that my body was in very bad condition. She told me that she was going to keep me here away from blinking for a while to try to cure
Page 14 as much of the pain I caused on my body that she could if she could. You have liver disease, she had told me. Its deadly seeing the tears on my parents faces once they received the news, I noticed my power was a curse. I understood what everyone was saying. I had a problem. I read recently that the average person blinks for a total of Ive barely lived, and I already cant remember the last ten years of my life. I had blinked through a fourth of my existence. I wish I faced my problems instead of blinking. Blinking had only pushed them away and given me another problem a deadly problem with a power too strong to handle. I wish I hadnt abused that power I wouldve never upset my parents or my exes. None of this wouldve happened if I never blinked at all. My boyfriends wouldve never feared for my life or theirs. If not for me, they couldve been in happy relationships, never thinking about blinking or how everything that blinks dies. My parents wouldve never been disappointed in me. They wouldve been happy; maybe with a powerless child that wasnt so susceptible to the nectar that cursed me. A life like this sounds so much better So much simpler A world where my eyes never closed to darkness and opened to ignorance. For in that world, a life wouldnt have been wasted. And it wouldve made the world so much better It wouldve made my life so much better A life where I never blinked.
Page 15 We Met on Court Street Amelia DeJarnette
Page 16 Kicking Boots Emily Goleski Its a rocky beach, I say, driving my jeep down the inverted slope onto the rocky sand, mirroring the Great Peconic Bay You ask about Robins Island, and we joke of swimming there but you dont like water and its the middle of the night. I should have brought my truck, you say, perched on the side of a russet corvette with an unlit cigarette between your teeth, and the sun on the horizon. Maybe next time, I say, pressing my cheek to your collarbone, but August is almost over, and this warm weather wont last. You say goodbye and we part ways, as I watch you in my rearview mirror and that little island on the water I wish we had swum to.
Page 17 Adulthood is a Trap Courtney Abbe EXT. BIG CITY DAY ANGELICA, upper twenties, speed-walks down a busy street. Her hair is PIN STRAIGHT She wears a pencil skirt and a blazer to match. She is carrying a to-go box. We hear a cell phone RING Angelica sighs loudly and retrieves her phone. ANGELICA (into phone) I know, I know Im only a couple blocks away There was a long line. We hear a mans voice coming from the phone. This is KENNETH (53). KENNETH Im not liking this trend. You seem to be coming back from lunch later every day ANGELICA I cant predict how long the line is going to be. If I could I think that would make me more than a regular person with an engineering degree. KENNETH Well no one can crunch numbers like you can. Speaking of crunching, did you get my wrap? ANGELICA Yeah, yeah. KENNETH Well then youre off the hook as long as you are
Page 18 back before it gets soggy ANGELICA Sure thing, boss. Angelica hangs up the phone and puts it back in her pocket. She continues making her way down the street. She comes up to a man playing the saxophone, this is BUCKLEY (64). BUCKLEY Good afternoon, Miss Angelica. ANGELICA Hey Buckley Having a successful day? Angelica nods toward Buckleys open saxophone case laying on the ground next to him. It has a few folded up bills inside. BUCKLEY If I am doing what I love then I am succeeding, my dear Angelica gives him a half-smile. BUCKLEY (CONTD) Do you have a request? ANGELICA (enthusiastic) You know I actually heard this AMAZING song the other day it was calledAngelicas phone interrupts with a DING It is a text from Kenneth. ANGELICA (CONTD) (sighing) Actually not today, Buckley Already late
Page 19 BUCKLEY (raising an eyebrow) Ahh. and waves goodbye. She picks up her pace, coming up to the H. G Wells Community Park at her right. She gazes over at the children playing and laughing. A KICKBALL COMES FLYING AND HITS ANGELICA IN THE HEAD Angelica drops the to-go box on the ground. It opens up, Kenneths wrap bounces out. SELENE (6) races after the ball. Her MESSY CURLS bounce around as she runs. She is wearing a sequined tutu and a teeshirt with MUSIC NOTES all over it. Angelica rubs the side of her head and hands the ball to Selene. SELENE My mom told me to say sorry to you. ANGELICA SELENE Wanna see me do a twirl? ANGELICA Uh, sure. Selene twirls in a circle with her arms in the air The sequins on Angelica claps. Her phone DINGS again.
Page 20 ANGELICA (CONTD) Wow that was great. Have funSelene grabs Angelicas hand, pulling her SELENE Come on! I wanna show you something! Theres a magic dragon! ANGELICA (trying to get loose) Im sorry, kid. Im trying to get back to work. Can you let go of mySELENE (urgent) The dragon is going to eat my friends! We have to save them! ANGELICA I think you can save them yourself. You seem plenty capableSELENE NO! COME ON! CUT TO: EXT. H.G. WELLS COMMUNITY PARK MOMENTS LAT ER Selene drags Angelica to a less crowded area of the park. A WOMAN sits on a bench while talking on the phone. SELENE Thats my mom. Isnt she pretty?
Page 21 The woman on the bench waves to Angelica, not breaking her phone conversation. Angelica waves back. ANGELICA Didnt she teach you about stranger danger? SELENE (giggling) Whats that? ANGELICA Never mind. Listen, can we make this quick? I really have to goSELENE Here is your wand. Its very powerful. I have one too. Selene hands Angelica a stick from the ground. Angelica takes it. SELENE (CONTD) The dragon is going after them! We have to chase him down! Selene starts running, yelling at the dragon and waving her wand back and forth. Angelica reluctantly chases after her Selene quickly comes to a stop, catching Angelica off guard Angelica falls to the ground, landing in a puddle. Her clothes and hair are soaking wet. Selene pauses, looking down at Angelica. Angelica looks back up at her A silent moment passes. ANGELICA LETS OUT A SUDDEN BELLY LAUGH. Selene falls to the ground next to her, their laughs merging together The two then get up and begin running around, swinging their wands, and splashing in the puddles.
Page 22 FADE OUT. INT. OFFICE BUILDING BATHROOM DAY Angelica stands at the bathroom sink, attempting to wash the mud off of her arms and blouse. Her blazer sits balled up on the counter She looks up into the mirror A smile creeps onto her face. HER HAIR HAS DRIED INTO WILD CURLS. Angelica hears a KNOCK at the bathroom door Realization falls over her face. She slowly opens the door Kenneth stands in the hallway, he looks at her in shock. INT. OFFICE BUILDING HALLWAY CONTINUOUS Angelicas shoes SQUEAK as she steps into the hallway ANGELICA (nervous) I can explain, really, I canKENNETH time, Angelica. ANGELICA Can you JUST listen for a few minutes, pleaseKENNETH No, not this time. You KNOW we are falling behind. YOU KNOW THIS! moments pass in silence. KENNETH (CONTD) (quietly)
Page 23 My wrap? Angelica takes her blazer and shoves it into Kenneths chest. The soggy wrap falls from the pocket of the blazer, landing on the ground. She turns on her heels. KENNETH (CONTD) Where are you going? ANGELICA To buy myself a tutu. HER CURLS BOUNCE AS SHE STOMPS TOWARD THE EXIT FADE OUT.
Page 24 Simple Pleasures Leighann McPartland
Page 25 Master Thief Nicholas Difusco In order to become a thief, you are required a special set of skills. To become a master thief, you need to pull off a heist of the ages. Normal thieves have to learn how to be stealthy and agile. Luckily for me, I didnt need to acquire these skills due to being the age of seven. Thats right. At the age of seven, I had already become a master thief without the knowledge of any special skills. It only took one major heist for me to achieve such a high rank at such a young age. Perhaps the youngest of them all. First, I had to think of the location where I wanted to chose the unlucky establishment known as the aquarium. Lucky for me, my grandmother had told me we were going there for the day It was the perfect plan I have ever created. My brother and grandmother were enjoying all the exhibits we went through. As for me, I had other plans. My object of interest was to steal... a shark! tooth. Yes, a shark tooth. One of the most sought-after items in all of America and soon it shall be mine. We continued through the different tanks, seeing all types of freshwater and saltwater tanks. Eventually, we ran into the shark tank where a few different breeds of sharks was thinking of diving into the shark tank and snagging one of the teeth right from the shark, but that plan was put on halt for on to the next exhibit and the second reason was not even place. Once passing the main exhibit with sharks and other deep sea creatures, we came to the gift shop. So many items to select from, but I had my eyes set on the one item the shark It was next to the cashier desk. Shamefully it seemed like all my plans had gone to waste. The table was too high. Then a light bubble appeared brightly above my head like in the cartoons. As my grandmother was checking out other toys, I had asked for her to pick me up, wishing to see the other items on the
Page 26 counter Once she had done so, my hands quickly went to the shark tooth bowl where a bunch of rubber shark teeth laid. I took two, knowing once my grandmother would see, shed make me put it back. With no time to lose, I stuffed one in my pocket and as suspected she told me to put the other one back which I did. With a grin on my face, we left the store. I waited until I got home to play with the new, stolen toy And, as I reached into my pockets, all there was to be found was a hole. A hole big enough for a shark tooth to slip through.
Page 27 The Dreams I Never Told You Beatriz Rosa We wake up under blue satin covers. We breathe into each others necks A cup of tea sits on our nightstand from the night before. We make our way out of bed into the shower and watch our inhibitions swirl down the drain. We wonder if anything was still capable of stopping us from being our true selves. We decided the answer was no The rain knocks at your window begging to come in. You stare at the weather in silence as you sip tea from a black mug. I walk in from the kitchen and sit by your side at the mahogany table. We watch the beautiful mess wash away our fantasies and hard earned pride The wind shakes our perception, causes tears to stain the glass We wonder if anything is still capable of erasing our bond We decided the answer was no My dreams are packed bags and slammed doors. You decide I was too little. I decide you were too much. The decisions made individually carry so much weight. warm with late nights on the couch. We never make good decisions without each other You look at me from across the street, through the caf that shields me from the winter We share hot cocoa and discuss how time rips the soul from our tale of untold feelings and unending hugs. The tale of true love between broken gems trying to put their shards back in place. We wonder if anything was still capable of keeping us away from years of removing sharp items from the shelves, writing notes to each other each morning. Was anything still able to make us forget the orbs of light emerging inside us
Page 28 We decided the answer was no
Page 29 Violet Morgan Ciccarino
Page 30 Family Tapestry Nicole Hube Young child, born from bullets and carved from tapestries of unfortunate family history, it hurts that we must teach you to be violent Their soft violet hues hurt just enough to linger in the space between the next spew of profane revelry manifested from the force of a punch on the playground or force your knuckles back into your stomach, just know that Daddys the real soldier a hell of a lot older, and Daddy told me he prayed you would not grow up to imitate him for Mommys done cleaning up bloody linoleum, and the false promise to put this family together is the biggest lie youll ever hear when she says Elastic can only bend so far until it snaps and the recoil sounds like the fractures of another body hitting the pavement. I know what your bones sound like when they snap. Please, little one,
Page 31 Dead Flytraps Amanda Gydesen (Lights up on a table center stage. On the table there is a venus sits down at the table and sighs.) FRANK You look dead. (FRANK examines the plant, there are two or three dead traps among the green. She picks up a pair of scissors from the table. A pause. She begins to cut.) FRANK (CONT) No, still alive. Sometimes I think maybe youre it, you know? If you werent around, maybe Id just take off already Go home to Joliet, bury myself in the dirt. Sleep. Yeah, Im gonna go take a dirt nap in the tomato patch. Smash a few, smear them on my face like some kind of murder scene. The police will come up, theyll go, dammit, another one. At least she was half dead to begin with. (Pause.) Im glad you dont listen. Youre a good Friend like that. You have a mouth though. You ever tell your bugs about me? Ill give you my rsum so you can get everything right. Judy Frank, call me a Sagittarius and I believe in bad luck, but not horoscopes. Catch me quick before I run off hiring. (She closes the scissors twice, an inch from a healthy stem, then drops them on the table.)
Page 32 FRANK (CONT) I dont want to leave, though. I like Greenhouse Theatre, and Genie, and yelling at Dan. For a lead actor he has exactly the level of modesty youd expect. And those free range hands, I could just chop them off at the wrists. Who like the new set designer and her jean jackets with the ripped off sleeves, too, and that thing she does with her eyeliner Her name...Edie? Yeah. I might even like to get to know some of those people. Except Genie. I already know her After, Jesusten years? Ive told her too much. Shes a listener Worse, she gives advice. Like a shrink or something. How the hell do I give her sound cues when all I ever hear is, your breath smells like Kentucky whiskey, through the headset? From forty paces, yeah, shes just that keen, like a bloodhound, Im sure. Like... (FRANK groans and rests her head on her arms. Her eyes close. Lights down on table.)
Page 33 A Memoir for Linda: The Making of a Cat Lady Samantha V Zerbinos Cats are like potato chips... you cant have just one! one of my Aunt Lindas kitschy wooden signs read. The statement rang true for her In her home there was always one of her cats in her lap, a bit of fur on her sofas, and the modest fragrance of the litter box that had arisen from the basement. She was unmarried and childless when she died, however if you had asked her she most likely would not have considered herself childless. Her felines were her babies and she treated them as you may believe, this was not something to be pitied. You would know that Aunt Linda was coming from a mile able to recognize the subtle scent of hot tar from a piece of nicorette gum that she was sure to be chewing. She was the nuisance in the movie theater, loudly reacting to whatever was on the screen. She was the woman wearing long sleeved shirts year-round, as she was insecure of her forearm that had become bruised and unsightly after countless hours of dialysis. Her swollen feet carried her short, heavy body as slowly as her stairlift carried her up the stairs of the two-story house she had had built for herself. Aunt Lindas house was a tribute scattered throughout the house were a signal to those visiting that she prided herself on her Catholic upbringing (even though she didnt go to church nearly as often as she might have you believe). She was perfectly content being surrounded claiming it was tacky It was her favorite color and she would spend all of her days in it. Her single-person recliner had the best view of the television. She had no shame in giving tours around her house and announcing that Right there, next to the guest bedroom, is Spottys room. Spottys room? Like ... a whole room for your cat, Spotty? the guests would question. Yep, she responded easily My parents and I moved into
Page 34 needed help around the two-story home, and we were more than happy to help out. We stayed there with her over the next three years until she died in July of 2016 at the age of sixtynine. Stereotypes about cat ladies have come to be recognized from television shows, books, and our own personal have assumed that because of her single status and feline-tohuman child ratio that there had to be something wrong with her She must have been agoraphobic, widowed, shrewish, lonely During my long stay in Aunt Lindas home, I learned that what many could have mistaken for loneliness was actually She was able to be extremely career-oriented, despite many obstacles in her way In her twenties she waited tables during the day and went to classes at night. She graduated from an esteemed local, private college with excellent grades and relationships with her professors. When her close friends began to get married and have children, she went into accounting a career heavily dominated by men at the time. When her friends were beginning their second marriages, she worked her way up to establish herself as the executive accountant at a large corporation that manufactured and distributed air conditioning, heating, and ventilating systems. She was highly resented by the men working below her and belittled by the men in positions above her but she was the best at what she did. When it was time for cutbacks, the men of the company attempted to make her working there as inconvenient as possible so that she would quit and they would treated her poorly, but she held her own they eventually gave in and she retired happily She then earned her keep by accounting for many small businesses and close friends. She stayed true to her animal-loving roots by being a secretary rehabilitation organizations. Months after my Aunts passing, my mother and I found a journal among her belongings. We found many fascinating
Page 35 entries, one of which she wrote right after the retirement situation at the big corporation she worked for It reads, I was driving home from church today and thought Who am I?... The person I was is gone, so who is this new person who doesnt have a master plan? I was an accountant manager at Carrier Corporation, planning to work until January 2007 when I could retire a wealthy person. That was me. That person no longer Retired Financially secure Working part time with animals (a lifetime goal) Bookkeeping as an entrepreneur I guess that adds up to a person now free to do whatever brings happiness. Write a book, piano lessons, photography, more time with pets. I think Im going to like this new person . Without having to spend money on children, she had the funds to donate to numerous charities. Every year, as the December snow would to fall, Aunt Linda was sure to receive with photos of tiny animals with eyes as big as the moon as a thank-you for her generous contributions. The sweet sound of sorrowful songs sung by female country artists in commercialspaired with images of suffering animalsbroke her heart. Aunt Linda couldnt help but send a portion of her She also had the funds to travel. Without the metaphorical opportunity to take her literal baggage to the rains of England, the lights and luxury of Las Vegas, the sweltering Florida heat. Her olive, Greek skin would become a golden caramel after her trips to Hawaii and Cape Cod. An entry from her journal reads, The trip to Cape Cod was wonderful. We saw lots of whales this . I hadnt even known about this tiny ladybug she had gotten inked on her right bicep until I was well into my teen years, as it had been covered by her long-sleeved shirts. A getting the shots that I needed to venture off to college. After a particularly painful pinch to my right arm, the kind-eyed
Page 36 nurse put a band-aid on the area. I stopped squinting my eyes, small, square bandage. To my disbelief, the band-aid displayed a doodle of a ladybug. It was in the exact same spot that Aunt Linda had hers. The nurse asked lightly, How was that? Not so bad, I replied with a small smile on my face. While the logical part of me attempted to believe that this was simply an incredible coincidence, the sentimental bits of me couldnt help but admit that I felt my aunts presence in that moment. I decided then that one day Id get the tiny bug tattooed onto myself. When she wasnt spending her checks on trips and charities, Aunt Linda was able to treat her catsand also a dog and a bird towards the end of her lifehow she would have treated her children. In the corner of her living room resided jingling trinketstheir own version of a toy chest. Their soft routinely color treated to give the illusion that her locks were mattress was taken up by animal beds, which they would sleep on at night and relax on during the day Before my parents and I began to live with her, it was not uncommon for a spoiled cat or two to hop up on the kitchen table to keep her company at dinner time. She would let her ivy-green parrot sit on her shoulder as she relaxed, not even bothering to remove him of time. This led to her being slightly hearing impaired in one ear While it was an inconvenience, she didnt hold any grudges about it. If one of her pets passed away, she would pay to have them cremated. She always said that after she passed she wanted to be cremated and have her loved ones spread her ashes, along rehabilitation that she spent hours volunteering at. She would take injured owls for long walks there, and she wanted it to be the place she was released into the universe. About a year after she died, her family and closest friends carried out this wish. There was a breeze in the air and not a single cloud in the sky on the beautiful August afternoon that we freed Aunt Linda.
Page 37 One may have thought that spending ridiculous amounts of money on toys and cremations for pets was over the top, but for Aunt Linda her animals were worth every penny Im fairly certain the reason she had no trouble pampering them was because at one point or another all of them had been strays. Every pet was found on the streetsexcept for the bird, rescued from under a bridgeand given to the veterinary stay with her until a permanent home could be arranged, but this was always a dangerous game. Once Aunt Linda saw the animal walking around comfortably in her home, it was all over Another addition to her family had been made. I suppose she saw her pets as shed seen herself in the past: unwanted. She was never popular when growing up. She was always mocked for being short, for being fat, for being different. Because of this, she most likely found pets easier to trust than people. People had let her down but animals relied on her and loved her unconditionally These were things she most likely recognized about herself. She was always exceptionally self-aware something I admired about her One journal entry of hers from 2002 says, I need to mature emotionally Lower expectations and stop analyzing everything, two things my mom always told me my could happen. I have to accept the fact that life is not always fair and I cannot control it, only how I react to it This was a mentality that Aunt Linda attempted to maintain near the end of her life, especially after she got sick. The road to her diagnosis was one that took years. Doctor after doctor gave test after test and she left every appointment just as clueless as shed been when she entered. She would return home and sit down at the kitchen table with a sigh. She would pull out a piece of nicorette gum from her Vera Bradley bag and tell me that she was sick of being patient while doctors weaker, gaining and losing symptoms as every week came and went. One day she arrived back from an appointment and said nothing. She was already chewing a piece of gum, too stressed to wait a whole car ride without one. I sat opposite her, staring across the expanse of the chestnut table, waiting for something to be said. My parents came in through the garage, having
Page 38 gone with her to the appointment. My mother walked into the kitchen and stood behind my aunt. She placed a hand on her shoulder and said nothing as my Aunt began to cry into her hands. I remained confused for a long period of time. It turns out that actually receiving a diagnosis didnt prove to be less stressful than waiting for one. Her doctor had told her that day that she had stage four breast cancer The next couple of years, the last ones of her life, had many highs and lows. On her good days she would walk around the house and make herself a meal. She would visit an old friend and they would enjoy each others company as they complained about the stressful world around them. While her health deteriorated, so did her sense of independence. She greatly appreciated the assistance my parents and I provided while living with her, but I think she missed having the ability to spend a whole day making her famous peanut butter and Hershey kiss Christmas cookies all by herself. She detested having her stairlift installed, taking attention away from the beautiful design of her cherry wood stair railing and bringing attention to the fact that she couldnt make her way upstairs by herself. I witnessed her hair fade from its frequently-dyed scarlet to a more natural smokey tone as she lost the time and energy to have it color treated. She missed having the strength to change the litter box and give her cats the medicine they needed. Aunt Linda had worked her entire life to gain this independence, this sense of self, and giving it up was a challenge. The last time I saw my aunt was about a week and half before her passing. She felt especially sick that day She wasnt sure if it was the cancer causing her pain, as she had many health complications at this point, so she wanted a professionals opinion. I stood in the kitchen with a terrible feeling in my gut as I watched Aunt Linda slowly step around the house, gathering some of her belongings to take with her to the hospital. Inhaler? Check. Cell phone? Check. Extra set of clothes? Check. I listened to the dragging of her slippers as she sauntered into the bathroom and locked the door behind her She tried to be quiet as she got sick into the sink, but my parents and I heard her the three of us sharing a look of intense worry Not wanting to hear any more, I walked over to
Page 39 the pink carpeted staircase and marched up to my room. My beds old, wooden frame creaked loudly as I laid in it and stared My close friend Abby had invited me months ago to venture to the Adirondack Mountains with her, and we were set to leave the next day I had my old, polka dotted school bag packed tightly with the essentials plus more clothes than I would ever need for a four day trip. I was ready to go, but I felt terrible leaving Aunt Linda when she was in such poor upstairs to grab something and saw me sulking through the opened crack in my door She came in and steadily lowered herself onto the edge of my bed. She could sense something was wrong, and I felt horrible putting my internal struggles onto her when she clearly had enough to deal with. Whats wrong, hun? she asked, trying to look into my eyes. I sat up and scooted over to be next to her I tried to being one to look at someone when I feel my eyes begin to water Im just worried about leaving for my trip tomorrow, much help Id be by staying, but I dont want to not be here if anything bad happens, yknow? My gaze shifted to my leg as she rested her hand upon it and gave a small, comforting squeeze. I leaned my head on her shoulder and lightly shut my eyes as she responded. I want you to go have fun. Dont trouble yourself while back youll tell me all about it. I promise, she assured. She kept this promise. The day before she died I talked to her on the phone one last time. It was a long call, which I came to be thankful for I told her about my trip with Abby She told me about places she still wanted to go, like the Galapagos Islands, and places shed been but wanted to go to with me, like her when she insisted I go on my adventure with Abby She never wanted to be considered an inconvenience, and she hated the thought of people associating her to only her sickness. She shouldnt have worried, however, because when she did
Page 40 pass away she was only spoken of for the things that she had worked so hard to be a traveller of the world, a prosperous business woman, an avid lover of animals. She was so much more than just another crazy cat lady Have you ever noticed how touching A scene of one small child And an aging being, The innocence of the very young Entwined with the wisdom of The aged is a combination for Words there are none; A special quality is had by each Both having something that no one Can teach Before very long the innocence is gone And for wisdom to come takes very long What of the in between? -Linda, February 2001
Page 41 Fountain of Love Adam Sommer
Page 42 Dead Rose Ellen Weber Whispering wishes On a dead rose Where it is hope goes He loves me The foolish desires Of a smitten girl Who doesnt yet understand The ways of the world He loves me not A creeping thought That leaves a hollow soul A ridiculous rejection Attempting to remain whole He loves me Blessed certainty That life rewards The pure foolish love He loves me not When it all sinks in Theres nothing left to say Hoping the heartache Will fade through the days He loves me Whispering wishes On a dead rose The desperate desire To be loved only grows
Page 43 Its Easy to Cheat Molly Sullivan INT. BATHROOM DAY PETER (24), a stressed community college student, changes out of his Petco uniform attempting to wipe the white hair off of it. He puts on a spare pair of clothes. EXT. HOUSE FRONT PORCH DAY DOG WALKER (20) stands outside the door He holds the leash to a Golden retriever next to him. The dogs tag reads: COPPER. The Dog Walker KNOCKS again. Theres no answer The Dog Walker reaches under the doormat, pulls up a key, and unlocks the door INT. HOUSE HALLWAY DAY Copper and the Dog Walker rush in shutting the door behind them. The Dog Walker unleashes Copper Copper sprints across the house BARKING The Dog Walker glances around confused and notices a set of KEYS and a pair of SHOES on the door mat. The Dog Walker follows Copper to the bathroom door and KNOCKS. INT. BATHROOM DAY Peter jumps when he hears knocking. He throws his Petco shirt into the bath tub. Peter opens the door Copper runs forward to sniff him.
Page 44 Peter tries to pet Copper but he jumps back and BARKS. Peter leans down to pet him a second time. Copper Barks again in accusation. The Dog Walker enters. Hes confused at Coppers reaction. The Dog Walker notices the Petco shirt in the bathtub. He looks and sees that it has white animal hair all over it. Dog Walker shakes his head disappointedly, Peter blushes embarrassed, attempting to calm Copper
Page 45 Ichabod Amelia DeJarnette
Page 46 Incomprehension Emily Goleski Oh, gracious solitude caught in the hands of my social counterparts whimpering and wheezing I fall to your incidence Did you hear me? calling through the woods up the cold, spring brook as you sit on the edge, feet in wishing to drown in the shallows Ill still call for you you hid me down, lost and living
Page 47 Two Lines Emily Montague Dont move. Shut up, skank! What did I tell you? You scream, and I kill you, got that? Its as simple as that. Understand? Thats a good girl. Now doesnt that feel good? Doesnt it? Answer me, skank! I awoke with a startle, sweat dripping from my forehead. I wiped it away and took in my surroundings. I was safe in my room. I wasnt in the boys locker room at Plymouth High. I was alone and safe, and nothing was going to happen to me. Olivia? I jumped and hugged my knees to my chest. standing in my bedroom doorway in the dim morning light that was coming through my window It was Margo, my older sister It wasnt him. Thank God it wasnt him. If you say so. Im going to go take a shower Margo closed the door behind her, and I breathed a sigh of relief. My phone buzzed on the nightstand next to me and I jumped again, picking it up to answer, clutching the phone tight to my ear. So, how was your night? my best friend Natalia Woods soothed as they got these days. I had another nightmare. Thats the third one this week, and its only Monday When are they going to end Nat? I whispered, keeping my voice low I couldnt risk anyone in the house hearing. I dont know Its tragic, Liv Especially since you know him so well and hes still such a big part of your life. But it might get better if you told someone. Oh yeah, thatll totally go over well. Hey guys, my sisters boyfriend shoved his penis inside me and told me not to tell you or he would kill me. Can you pass the eggs?
Page 48 Do you really think thats what my family wants to hear over breakfast? I rubbed my hand groggily across my face and glanced at the clock. Dad had already left for work and Mom was downstairs cooking breakfast, something she insisted on hall as she practiced her audition for the school musical in the shower The front door slammed, announcing my older brother Garretts entrance, back from his morning run. Soon, he would start banging on the bathroom door, yelling at Margo to hurry up. It was the same routine every morning, and lately it felt like I was watching it from the outside. Well, you dont have to say it quite like that, Natalia mumbled quietly She sounded so embarrassed. Part of me hated her for acting like I was shameful, for blushing whenever what had happened to me. Part of me wanted to scream at gruesome, but that it was my reality, a reality I had to live with every day At the same time, I knew it wasnt her fault. She didnt sign up to be friends with an assault victim when we met in the second grade. She didnt know what would happen to me. I couldnt blame her for not understanding. No one did. Theyll think its my fault. I ran a hairbrush through my hair, attempting to untangle the knots. If only untangling my thoughts was as easy as brushing hair Olivia! It isnt your fault! You were Dont say it. Just, dont say it, I whispered, closing my eyes. I immediately saw his face and snapped them open again. My breath caught in my throat as I choked, feeling his hands around my neck as if it happened yesterday and not a few weeks ago. Alright, just calm down. You should tell someone though. Think about it: if you got him in jail, you would never have to deal with this ever again. I clenched my teeth at the sound of her words. She had no idea. There would never be an end to this. Even if he was dead, I would still have to wake up every day with the thought of what he did to me. Though it would be nice to not have to see him around school, in gym class, in my house, hanging out with my brother, kissing my sister, and doing it all while watching me with a merciless look in his cold eyes.
Page 49 Even with Devin in jail, Id still have to deal with it. This kind of thing just doesnt go away Plus, Im still late, and Im getting worried. You know how regular I am. I havent been late more than three days since I was twelve. Its been a week and a half. I could feel the tears welling in my eyes. If I really am, this will never go away I tried to push the thought away I thought my life was ruined now; I couldnt imagine what it would be like if my worst fears happened to be true. cleared my throat, cutting Natalia off. She sighed and sat in silence for a moment before trying again. Look, its not your fault. Well talk to Brad and devise a plan to reduce embarrassment. Buck up, sister Smiling is 90 percent of all happiness. I plastered a fake grin to my face even though she couldnt see me. I feel better already, I muttered, hanging minutes later, as I was pulling my sweatshirt over my head, I heard the bang of the front door Natalias here! Margo yelled from down the hall and I grabbed my bag, making my way down the stairs. There she is. Mom smiled, kissing the top of my hair I kissed her cheek in return and turned to see Natalia sitting at our kitchen table next to Garrett. Morning, Liv, he teased, pulling on my ponytail. I swatted him away and grinned. It was our little routine. It wasnt big, but for a moment I felt like that little girl who used to race him to the ice cream truck. He would always beat me there to pay for my ice cream before I caught up and tell me that my ice cream was free. He thought I had no idea that he was paying for it himself. He had no idea that I had snuck money into his piggy bank when he wasnt home. Id give anything to be that little girl again. hated having his hair touched almost much as he hated being referred to as blonde. Natalia gave him a sympathetic smile
Page 50 and helped smooth it back in place. I turned away and made a my brother, but he soaked the attention up like a star For someone who lived to be the hero, when it came to Natalia, he loved playing the victim. Whats to eat? Margo asked, walking into the kitchen. Garrett reached up to tug on her hair and she turned to glare at him. Do you know how long it took to straighten this? Dont you dare touch it. Yes, your highness, Garret said, holding his hands up in mock surrender Natalia giggled, stroking his arm with Good grief, could they be any more obvious? Ew, get a room, Margo sneered, collapsing in the chair next to me. Maybe we will. Can you give us suggestions? Where do you and Devin go? Your room? His room? How about his car? Garrett asked sarcastically Ew, dont tell me, school bathroom? Natalia and I choked at the same time, earning the questioning looks of the rest of the table. I gave Natalia a panicked look and she raised her eyebrows, nodding at Mom. She was waiting patiently for me to explain, in the way that only mothers can, but she was going to have to keep waiting. Were going to miss the bus if we dont hurry, Nat, I mumbled, grabbing my bookbag and banging out the front door with Natalia following on my heels. What was that? You could have told them the truth right then! Garrett set that one up perfectly! Natalia yelled as we made our way to the bus stop. When are you going to stop wallowing and take control of your destiny again? Youre beginning to look depressed, Liv You dont even dress up anymore, its always just jeans and sweatshirts. Remember when you used to wear skirts every day? You used to love dressing up. It always made you so that literally all the time?
Page 51 No, I forgot my life mantra in the past month. Of course I remember Its just that everything makes me feel like a slut, especially anything revealing. Or tight. Or white. Sorry lacking lately Its just I would never feel comfortable in that now . and some guy pulling me aside and doing me in the bathroom, I her lip and shook her head. Sorry, I shouldnt have said that. Ill try not to disturb you with my problems anymore. Its not like theyre traumatic or anything. That looks great on you. I only said that I couldnt wear it. I trudged on the bus and collapsed in an empty seat, barely registering Natalia sitting down gingerly next to me. I looked out the window The whole world seemed to be living without me. The people on the sidewalks were all hurrying to get somewhere, worried about being late to work or getting their kids to the bus stop on time. Or keeping their daughters from dressing like sluts, I inferred from the dad that was chasing down a freshman in a skirt short enough to surprisingly not tripping in her heels. I looked down at my converse and sighed. I just couldnt understand how some people could feel so comfortable in that. A jogger ran by with headphones jammed in his ears. A woman struggled to hold onto a toddlers hand, carrying a baby and talking on her cell phone all at the same time. A businessman walked by carrying a briefcase, not paying attention to the world around him. A couple from school strolled hand in hand, a Jr High younger sibling tagging along behind, rolling his eyes. A senior citizen couple helped each other adorably down the sidewalk. Which one would I be? The slut? God no, Im way too uncomfortable with my body I single mother with the two kids? Would that be me in just a few years? Would I at least be holding a baby? Could that be my life?
Page 52 Olivia, come on. Natalia tugged on my arm and I let her lead me into the school. We headed to our lockers in the sophomore wing. Since my last name was Young and Natalias was Woods, our lockers were almost right next to each other In fact, there was only one locker in between us, the locker that belonged to Alisha Yess, but Alishas boyfriend had a locker down in the Hs, so she switched, with Brad Harrison. Who just so happened to be my best friend. And Natalias too of course. Good morning, ladies. Hows your Monday going? Brad asked, clicking open his locker in one smooth motion. He took off his jacket and a freshman girl sighed as she passed. All the girls at Plymouth loved Brad. Who wouldnt? He was funny, sweet, carefree, and hot as hell. Every Monday sucks, but Olivias Monday sucks worse, Natalia informed him nonchalantly, grabbing her books. Why is that? he asked, turning to face me. I could see shifted uncomfortably under his gaze, rubbing the back of my neck. Im still late, and Im going to have to tell someone, I mumbled, tearing my eyes from his and throwing my bag in my locker Not that kind of late dufus, Natalia said from behind him, smacking him in the back of the head. He winced and I shot Natalia a dirty look. She shrugged and I turned my attention back to Brad, whose brow was now deeply furrowed. What kind of late? he asked cautiously, still clearly confused. You know, the bad kind of late, I whispered, looking around, my face turning pink. Brad still didnt get it. How could I expect him to? He was a guyhe didnt have to worry about it. How come guys got it so much easier? Her period, you idiot! Did they teach you anything in health class? Natalia hissed, and the color on my cheeks deepened. Leave it to Natalia to humiliate me more than I already was. Before too long, the whole school would know
Page 53 Probably I didnt pay attention. I thought it was kind of disrespectful, saying those things with boys and girls together, Brad said, his face turning red. Sorry against his chest. He smiled down at me and I smiled back. I could feel the muscles in his chest rise and fall with every breath, and I tried to match my own breathing to the rhythm of his. Okay, Ill cover up, you freak, he whispered, pulling me into a hug. I breathed in his familiar scent and felt a rare wave of peace pass over me. I placed my chin on his shoulder and saw Natalia standing behind him, grinning at me. I rolled my eyes at her and then closed them again. Youre a special kind of person, Olivia Young, you know that? Id do anything for you, Brad whispered in my ear I pulled back and smiled at him. Ill even wear the jacket. Dont worry, she practically called me a slut this Really Liv? Thats not that bad. I never said anything like that! In fact, I really like your I could go shirtless, Brad interjected. Just these tight, that. He stepped forward towards me and lifted the hem of his shirt so that I could get a peek at his abs underneath. I took a sharp breath and stepped back, glancing away I looked back at him and saw his grin. mumbled and I shot her a death glare. Luckily, Brad didnt seem I have to go, I mumbled, slamming my locker shut. I against his chest, feeling the muscles tighten under my touch. I hurried off, ducking my head, as I made my way through the sea of people, trying to avoid being noticed.
Page 54 ***** I stood in the bathroom of the convenience store, the pregnancy test that Brad had just purchased clutched in my hand. He had just sauntered in, grabbed one and paid like it wasnt weird for a teenage boy to buy a pregnancy test. I guess that people dont question you when youre attractive. Or male. Or both. Natalia had snuck me into the bathroom while Brad was chatting up the salesgirl, who happened to be a friend of Margos. She wouldnt even know the test was for me. Are you okay in there? Natalia asked through the door I snapped back to the present and clutched the taking it from Brad or locking myself in the dimly lit drugstore bathroom. I hadnt had any problem opening the box or even using the test. But I couldnt bring myself to look at the results. What does it say? Brad whispered through the door and I brushed back a tear I knew that whatever happened they were there for me. Positive or negative, good or bad, they were there. No matter what, I wouldnt be alone. opened it. The test looked huge and foreign in my palm. I held it closer to my face, my eyes squeezed tightly shut. I opened them slowly and the test came into focus. It took me a moment to register the results. Two lines stared back at me. Holy shit. Sobs shook my whole body as I collapsed to the linoleum. The door slammed open and a pair of arms wrapped around me, pulling me closer I felt hands on my back, in my hair, soothing words ricocheting in my ears. I dropped the test to the ground, and it clicked against the tile, once, twice, and then there was silence. ***** I sat cross-legged on my bed that afternoon, the test stick sitting on my pink polka dot comforter in front of me. A positive. Ironic how the worst news of my life was labeled as to imagine my life. My mother crying as I told her My father shaking his head, not willing to believe what had happened to his little girl. My sister refusing to believe that her boyfriend
Page 55 would ever do anything like that. My brother walking out on a mission to right the wrong that had violated my honor I tried to imagine going to school. The whispers as I passed by of what had happened to me. The stares as my The rumors that it wasnt rape, that I had wanted it. All the attention, all the twisted truths. But none of it compared to seeing him. None of it compared to the fact that tomorrow night, for Sunday dinner, I would have to sit across from him like I did every week and butter my roll in silence like nothing was wrong. Nothing compared to the fear that when someone wasnt looking he might grab my wrist and grope my ass, smiling that sadistic smile like it was some secret kept between the two of us. Except now there were three of us, and I couldnt let that happen. I stood up, tiptoeing down the hall and into my parents bedroom. I opened the closet, scanning the items that lay at my feet. After years of snooping for Christmas gifts, I knew gun case before reaching down and pulling out an old wooden baseball bat, the one my dad had used in high school. I held it in my palms and swung, imagining it cracking against something solid. Daddy had always said that if I ever needed to protect myself, go for his bat. I brought it back to my room protection, it was now ***** I stared down at my shaking hands. Tears mixed with the sweat dripping down my face and I reached up to wipe them away, smearing blood across my forehead. I closed my eyes and opened them again, looking down. He was still there, Daddy wont hurt us anymore, I whispered, placing my but I couldnt move. I could hear the voices behind me, the heavy footsteps came up the stone steps, the same stone steps
Page 56 over the shards of wood in my skin as I heard them discover the splintered lock. I studied the baseball bat at my feet, tracing the raw spots on my palms where the bat had dug into my skin when I swung it. I listened as their guns clicked, guns that would soon be pointed at the back of my head. The door swung open and I put my hands in the air, the hard wood and bounced twice before settling in a pool of blood. I dropped to my knees, grunting as they twisted my arms behind my back. I glanced back down at Devin, who was lying in front of me, two bloody lines traced across his chest. They yanked me away from him, out the door, and down the
Page 57 Cherry Blossom Kelsey Cicerone
Page 58 Just Pray Nicole Hube I remember the sound of someones tongue speaking in a language nestled somewhere in between lullabies and battle cries words spoken in a warm tone that made me feel not like I was living in someones dominion, but that I was my own kingdom, and I could shape my skin into walls of stone and steel. understand why they cried enough to create another story of Noah to some man they claimed resided in the clouds and the blue sky when all I could see out the window was monochrome. The clouds still havent parted yet, but this warmth is something new
Page 59 Peaked Emily Goleski
Page 60 Wait, This Isnt Normal? Kailey Brown I turn left onto the boulevard I see headlights in my mirrors, approaching until theyre too close to make out I hear brakes screeching, horns honking, and glass shattering behind me I check my rear-view, four times to be exact The glass is still intact, no one is on the road behind me My brain does not shut up, I imagine a wreck every time I turn or change lanes I send a text, nothing too personal or juicy He didnt answer I sent it 1 minute and 42 seconds ago What if I sent it to the wrong person? I have to check. I didnt, okay 2 minutes and 32 seconds What if I made a typo? What if I said something weird? I have to check. I didnt, I dont, this is how I always talk Check one more time Shut up, Brain I start my playlist in the locker room of the gym I turn the volume up all the way up before putting in my earbuds Can the people around me hear my music? I extend the arm grasping the earbuds, I cant hear the music but maybe my hearing is bad I put in only one earbud and walk out to the treadmill
Page 61 I turn the volume down two notches every time someone looks at me Are these things even connected to my phone? What if everyone is laughing at me? Theyre not, but Im gonna turn off my music and workout in silence anyways. What if they can tell Im just pretending to listen to music? Shut up, Brain. My right hand grazes the wall while Im walking to class I resist the urge to run my left hand along it too I make it 7 steps before my brain tells me that I must touch the wall with my left hand too 11 steps I swipe the wall with my left hand, as nonchalantly as possible Shut up, Brain. Why are people are looking at me? I crack my knuckles one by one then all at once, it makes me feel more comfortable. Why did my voice crack like that? Why did I just make eye contact with those strangers? I bury my head in my phone and let out a fake yawn, it makes me feel more comfortable. Why am I walking so fast? it makes me feel more comfortable.
Page 62 The Balancing Act Nichole Bailey EXT. BUS STOP DAY AHMED (29) waits at the bus stop wearing a short-sleeved urge to grab a cigarette from it. EMIL (O.S.) Ahmed ? Ahmed Moghaddam? Could it possibly be? a cigarette, his wide smile displaying his crooked, yellow teeth. His black hair is frizzing due to the humidity Hes wearing a hoodie, a navy blue backpack on his shoulder Surprised, Ahmed puts the token in his pocket. He smiles lightly, giving a slight wave. AHMED Emil. Its been a while. Emil pulls Ahmed into a tight hug. Ahmed winces at the unexpected gesture, he smells the cigarettes on him. Ahmed is EMIL Almost didnt recognize ya in this fancy getup. You going to an interview? AHMED No, prison. Emil gives him a weird look. He pulls another cigarette and lighter from his pocket.
Page 63 AHMED (CONTD) For a Church service, that is. Emil CLICKS the lighter multiple times before it lights. EMIL Church? Like the Christian one? Ahmed CHUCKLES. AHMED Presbyterian Church, actually There another kind? EMIL Nah, I just wouldve expected you to be Muslim Ahmed shrugs. AHMED Not all Arabs converted to Islam. Emil nods. EMIL Sure, sure. But you, a religious man? He CLICKS his tongue. Ahmeds brow furrows. The bus SCREECHES to a halt before them. Emil throws the cigarette behind him, Ahmed has to duck so it doesnt hit him. He hesitates, watching Emil board the bus before following. INT. BUS DAY CONTINUOUS Ahmed shakes his head, trying to make sense of the claim as he trails closely behind Emil.
Page 64 AHMED Whats that supposed to mean? Emil LAUGHS through his teeth, biting his tongue. EMIL Didnt seem like the religious type when I knew you. He scans the area for a seat, shrugging his backpack to the EMIL (CONTD) Certainly not the preacher type. He sits in the seat closest to the window He looks at Ahmed, waiting for a response. Ahmed stares at him. He shakes his head, bewildered. AHMED That was before. Its not like that anymore. Emils not fazed. EMIL Sit down. Ahmed sets his backpack down, sinking into the seat beside Emil. He SIGHS, wiping sweat off of his forehead. AHMED Whatre you doing nowadays, anyway? Like are you doing anything with your life? Emil raises his eyebrows.
Page 65 EMIL Wow, classic Ahmed. Im going to work right now actually Ahmed shrugs. AHMED Funny That doesnt sound like the Emil I knew EMIL like youre just a volunteer Ahmed ignores the remark. AHMED I didnt mean it like that. EMIL Screw you. I got a good gig goin, youre not the only one who can turn their life around. AHMED Emil LAUGHS dryly, looking out the window to avoid eye contact. Ahmed SIGHS, scratching at his hair, contemplating. AHMED (CONTD) (quietly) I... I know things didnt end the best between us. Emil bites down hard on the inside of his cheek, still listening. AHMED (CONTD) I think about it all the time. That night.
Page 66 Emil sneers for a moment, but regains his composure. He refuses to turn around. AHMED (CONTD) On the hospitals pavement. I shouldnt have left you there. Ahmed shakes his head, guilty Emil lowers his eyes. EMIL Can I bum a cigarette? Ahmed furrows his brow, caught off guard. AHMED Do you not already have enough? Emil turns to face Ahmed, his gaze unwavering. EMIL I only have one left. I save that one for my Ma. Ahmed pauses, then EXHALES. Emil watches as Ahmed grabs his backpack, RUMMAGING past the loose Church pamphlets to retrieve the newly purchased pack of Camels. He RIPS off the plastic, handing one to Emil. EMIL (CONTD) (sarcastically) Only the good stuff, right? Ahmed rolls his eyes, putting his backpack down. He cradles the pack of Camels in his hand. AHMED You gonna be okay?
Page 67 Emils eyes fall to the ground, silent. He looks back up at Ahmed. EMIL This is my stop. He rises, reaching down to grab the backpack and draping it over his shoulder Ahmed watches as Emil puts the cigarette between his lips while leaving the bus. He doesnt look back. As the bus departs, Ahmed glances out the window to watch... EMIL LIGHTING THE CAMEL CIGARETTE AT THE STREET CORNER... ...HIS HAND SHIELDING IT FROM THE WIND Ahmed sinks back into his seat, closing his eyes. His grip tightens around the Camels pack, but he doesnt take one out. INT. PRISON DAY Ahmed approaches the CORRECTIONAL OFFICER behind the visitation desk. AHMED Ahmed Moghaddam for the Faith Behind Bars program. He shrugs off his backpack, used to the standard procedure. RUMMAGING through its contents before stilling. His demeanor changes. HE PULLS OUT A PLASTIC BAG FILLED WITH ORANGE PILL BOTTLES... ... THEY READ FENTANYL AND OXYCOTIN
Page 68 Ahmeds brow furrows, momentarily confused. His expression drops, realizing the backpacks navy blue color
Page 69 Sanya Transformed Maggie DeJohn
Page 70 9:59 Beatriz Rosa 9:59 Am or Pm Doesnt matter The blazing heat makes your skin stick to your sweat pants. The moisture of your armpits is more annoying than the drawn out hum of the fan that harmonizes with the fridge to accompany the intrusive thoughts youve been dodging all day Alexis is playing Outlast you wonder how it feels lose yourself in a screen. If it feels good to have an image jump out at you and hold the lines in your stomach hostage. How does it feels to scream? To feel the pressure in your sides and release air so sharp you shock yourself with how loud you can be. You wonder if its more liberating than leaving your room without your keys, gliding down the sidewalk past the nuclear power plant and jumping into Lake Ontario At 9:59 Am or Pm Doesnt matter
Page 71 Fast Jessica Wickham You wake up to a voice screaming numbers at you. 122. Must be 122 today That little stunt last night cost you four pounds, at least. You pinch your eyes shut. Shut up, shut up, shut up. You glance at the clock, begging it to say 6:40 a.m., time to run. 6:38 a.m. Thank God. The alarm rings two minutes later, and you quickly stand up out of bed. At least 1,000, you think, remembering all the sesame chicken and lo mein you shoved down your throat in ten minutes for dinner last night when you were alone. Fucking pig. You strap on your sneakers and tie your shorts tighter are your thighs fat again? You run out the door, forcing half a granola bar into your stomach, though you can taste every calorie adding up to 50 as it lands in your gut. Do you have the time to listen to me whine Billie Joe sings in your ear as you go. About nothing and everything all at once, you mentally sing along as you push your legs to run faster along the wooded trail. Six miles in 60 minutes. 500 calories. It wont be enough. You cant focus on Billies words anymoreglowing red the scale. Run. Faster Cant see that number 8:00 a.m. Youre back at the house now Dont drink any waterit will literally add pounds to the numbers you see.
Page 72 You pull out the scale Mom keeps by her desk. Thankfully, shes at work. 119 Fuck. It was 116. 7 yesterday morning. Damn cravings. Get it back down. You cant see 132 again. Just cant. Fast again. You consider it. Half an apple for breakfast, the other half for lunch. 100 calories total. Celery for a mid-afternoon snack. Obviously 0 Can of soup for dinner 300 calories, 400 total. Done it before. Can do it again. You cant stop the sinking feeling in your stomach. But the hunger And isnt fasting dangerous? Only do it for a day Just to get to 117 again. Then stop. Make sure to never go lower Dont be anorexic. Just make up for a bad day You nod, even though the same thought pattern doesnt seem as comforting as it did three months ago. You go to the fridge and pull out a large apple. You cut it in half, then into slices. Take deliberate, slow bites. Mindful eating. Savor the food. whether to go ahead and eat the rest of it. No Stay below 500 You put the rest away and head to the shower Keep distracted. Dont think about food. You think of what you can do, seeing as its the middle of summer vacation on a weekday Erie Canal Trail? Two hours would probably do it. promise to drink all of it while youre out.
Page 73 Drink water, less hungry thing in the trunk of your car The drive takes 20 minutes. When you get there, its relatively sparse. Good. Bike alone. You set off on the dirt-covered trail, focusing on the surrounding water and woods. An hour passes slowly You make it to the third break in the trailJordan. You ride around the small town for 10 minutes before turning around. An hour back. You jump on your computer when you get back. Two hours. 1,000 calories. Thats better You still cant escape this sinking feeling in your chest, though. Biking normally makes you feel lighter Why do you still feel so heavy? You open another browser You cant be anorexic And you dont make yourself vomit. But excessive exercise, isnt that a form of purging? Your heartrate skyrockets, and you start to panic. Please no You type signs of bulimia into Google, as you have several times in the past. Uncontrollable cravings. Obsessive dieting. Always thinking of food. Finding a way to purge, including vomiting, excessive exercise, fasting, and laxatives. How did you ignore those facts before? You cant believe it, wont believe it. You close your laptop and shake the thoughts away
Page 74 Outskirts of Ireland Amelia DeJarnette
Page 75 Silver Spoon Derek Bennett Shattered hopes and worse of all Broken trust. Growing up hearing how youre supposed to be a role model, How could you do us all so wrong? Childhood hopes raised to the sky, Your beautiful lies, being raised in a godless world, Next to addicts turned thieves. People who will take everything, But you? I never thought Id have to lock everything up. But youd take that too. We may both have prized possessions, Yours? A packet, silver spoon and needle. The result you may ask? Tears streaming down my face, With no one to ask why we were never as important as your next hit. A fear to speak about mental illness, That you found cowardly One thing we have in common though? When I was hospitalized. Couldnt say the same for you.
Page 76 I try to be different, I try to understand. But at the end of the day I cant. I cant understand what would make a parent Pick substance over support. Because my support? Died the day you told me it didnt matter The day you said youd never stop. It died the day you told me That at least your illness was real. Your illness being real? Sure, Ill agree to that. But mine? Fuck I didnt Chose this illness. You fully knew what you were getting into When you hit the pipe, Cut a line, And torched the silver spoon. Being called a coward over anxiety and depression, Really Really, really made my fake illness real. But heres the funny thing, Maybe if you looked into the pool of Poison, on your favorite spoon, Youd see the coward was never me, But you. Youd maybe see the trauma youve caused. Youd see us all frowning back at you.
Page 77 Noises in the Night Chad Ordway Just before I was about to start high school, my family was pet-sitting my grandmas dog Trooper while she was away He was a big black lab, easily thirteen or fourteen years old by that time. He was a slow and lumpy old man, but he still had the heart of a puppy, and we loved having him over One of the problems with having a senior dog like him is that we often needed to take him out so he can go to the bathroom, and during odd hours at that rate. One night, at around ten oclock, my mom was away and my dad was dead asleep, so that meant it was my turn to let Trooper out in the backyard. I went out with him so I could keep an eye on him to make sure he didnt wander off or get was busy looking up at the stars. It was a dark night, but the sky was clear, so the stars and moon shone bright and lit up the whole backyard. I live in a fairly quiet town upstatemore of a hamlet reallyand the houses are far apart from each other Essentially, this means that I have a decently large backyard, surrounded by what might as well be a forest. You can hardly see anything beyond the line of trees even on a bright and sunny day And at night, the effect is like being surrounded by a wall of blackness. I wasnt particularly thinking of that that night though, as I was too busy stargazing and making sure Trooper was still nearby That changed when I heard rustling coming from the in the trees. But when it happened again, I realized that it was too loud to be birds. coyotes, as they had been a problem recently So I called Trooper over to me and then hurried back inside, safe from any prying eyes and gnashing teeth. So of course, about two hours later, I went back outside to do some more stargazing, sans Trooper, the thoughts of coyotes long since passed. However, this time I came out
Page 78 defend myself with if the coyotes decided to pounce. No, I planned to do if a pack of hungry coyotes came after me with it at them and then runaway But what were the odds that the coyotes would still be there two hours later? Surely, I thought, they would be long gone. And even if they werent, surely they wouldnt dare attack a person, especially someone my size. the moon stretching as far as the eye can see. Its like looking at night was warm and still, with not even a breeze. Everything still and quiet. It was very peaceful. Until I heard the distinct crack of breaking branches. come from. To my left, I heard it again. I turned, facing the direction the noise was coming from, and listened. Again, the sound of breaking branches could be heard, this time in multiple directions. Oh my god, its a whole pack, I thought, panic rising within me. But now, unlike last time, there was something added. A new noise that wasnt there to begin with. Something that froze me on the warm night. Chewing. They were chewing on something, devouring it. Probably some hapless creature that had fallen prey to the ravenous jaws of the coyotes. All I could do was stand there and wonder if they were still hungry for another midnight snack. Fear has an odd way of playing with time. Realistically, all of what just happened probably only lasted a few seconds. To me though, it might as well of been an eternity, every possibility rushing through my mind at once. The dread of having to calculate if I could run back to my house before the coyotes could catch me. The likelihood of yelling to either scare them away or attract someone elses attention. So many
Page 79 thoughts and possibilities and scenarios rush through your mind that youre stuck still, partly from the fear, and partly from your brain trying not to shut down under the weight of so many calculations. Then, through the haze, I remembered that I still had the the switch and pointed it in the direction of the noises. And, staring back at me, was a pair of red glowing eyes. I was a goner I was sure that that night would be my last. In the morning, my twisted, partly devoured corpse would When had anyone ever faced something with red glowing eyes and walked away to tell about it? No, this was something evil, demonic, that was coming to get me. Slowly, my eyes adjusted to the bright beam of light, and I could clearly see what it was that would be my ultimate doom. Deer It was a couple of deer, just eating grass. I let out the breath that I didnt realize I was holding in, and nearly collapsed. Everything, everything, that I had thought up in the last minute had been nothing. Nothing at all. Just some sort of wild fantasy spun up in the irrational fears spooked the deer nearly as bad as they had me, and headed back inside. A few days later, I was back in school. Obviously thing that I told my friends about was the deer incident. They, of course, misunderstood the story almost entirely So, youre afraid of deer? What? No. Were you even listening? Sounds like you are. Im not scared of deer, I was just startled by them. Theres a difference. Yeah, whatever, Mr Scaredy-deer I just rolled my eyes and thought of all the ways that I could get back at them. To this day, whenever I tell this story, I still have to clarify that I was only startled by deer, and not
Page 80 scared of them. No nightmares. Nothing. Just wild imaginings on a dark night.
Page 81 Aurelia Macdonell Orelus
Page 82 Things My Mother Tells Me Christian McCarthy My mom has always has something to say, Even now when Im far away Always go to class on time, Make sure your work is nothing less than sublime Try your best to make a new friend, Together, you will make memories thatll cease to end Dont be afraid to occasionally call us at home, Never forget the place you used to roam On a more serious note though, liquor before beer, Remember that one, and most of the time youll be in the clear Dont you ever drink the punch, Because if you do, youll be sure to see your lunch Never pee in a public place, Or the next thing youll see on the police blotter is your face Try to always have a ride back, And please, roll down the window if you have to yack The last thing anyone wants is a car full of throw-up, If that happens, next time, dont expect them to show-up Always remember we will always love you, As long as you keep your G .P A, higher than a 2
Page 83 Grandma Anastasia Grimando West JUNIOR MISSTURRThe deranged son. 15. Cold and apathetic, he thinks he can survive on his brilliant mind alone when the world pushes him down. He doesnt quite know why, but he yearns for some bigger connection. Poor social skills but has a greater range of emotions than hed care to admiteven to himself. MISSY MISSTURRThe twisted daughter 18.. Punk and prep school have had a baby: Its missy Doesnt put up with bullshit. looks out for number one, shell die before she exposes her vulnerable side. **Although Missy is a drinker, at NO POINT should this become a comic relief/sloppy situation. loved by his wife, heels to her does not have any power in the family, but would quickly rise to the challenge of protecting them. MRS MISSTURRThe maniacal housewife. 40s. wants to be waited on, hand and foot. Wears the pants. Level headed alwaysalmost always. GRANDMAThe sweetest old woman on the earth. 80s FIDOThe family dog. 28 in dog years. Wears a BDSM-like getup. SETTING TIME: Vague. Over the course of one summer (periodization does not have to be strict) LOCATION: A suburb in Vaguely, New Mexico. SET: Vibrant and exaggerated 1950s toybox. Missturr foyer in the background. (50s atomic wallpaper) Unit set, and props should be used whenever possible to indicate a set change. LIGHTS UP ON JUNIOR, STABBING A DEAD BODY.
Page 84 JUNIOR (to audience) Im not a bad person, but when I killed Mr Sportsball, I had to cut him up and hide the (JUNIOR starts to hack away at the body, body parts go FLYING) Just to clarify, Im n-not ununstable, or at risk I killed the coach with a clear and healthy mind. Because I was done being stepped onIt was time for me to prove that I could take what I want. Its not like theres any competent police in this town, and I could easily murder someone without my family ever knowing... Not that theyd ever notice me. (Beat) Throughout all the fun, I couldnt help but think about the horrors that awaited me at home: the family reunion. It was a gathering mother decided to throw together to satisfy her weird obsession with familyWas it the worst idea? No. Was I expecting it to work? (stab, and then, re: the body) All you need to catch a murderer is means, motive and opportunity I think I did a good job of hiding mine. LIGHTS DOWN. UP ON THE MISSTURRS LIVING ROOM. THE 4 MISSTURRS WEAR PARTY HATS. MRS DIY SASH HANGS, AND READS: MRS MISSTURRS MAGNIFICENTLY MICRO-MANAGED MISSTURR MEM BERS MEETUP. THEY ALL LOOK MISERABLE. JUNIOR AND MISSY DRIFT ONTO THE COUCH. SPOTLIGHT ON THEM.
Page 85 MRS ... This is it? MR This is it. MRS Where is everyone? MR This is the whole family MRS You mean to say I arranged all of this for the four of us? Whos going to be impressed by that!? MRS puts her head in her hands and sighs angrily MR uses one of those party blower thingies. MRS Seriously? MR (whisper) Im only trying to make things better ... MRS (whisper) Yes! Because that is all you do Try! You dont do MR What do you want me to do Because I will! Ill do it! Ill do anything!
Page 86 MRS a little girl?!? JUNIOR (To audience) I wished Mother and Father would stop. FIDO enters and after going in a circle once or twice, he settles at the middle of the living room, facing them. JUNIOR pets him. JUNIOR (To audience) Thats all I really want. A family like (sigh) its wishful thinking... (to no one in particular) Anyways, this family reunion is... reuniting. MISSY (to no one in particular) The Missturr family reunions tend to be... reuniting, I guess. JUNIOR (to no one in particular) As reuniting as they can be when you barely talk. MISSY One time, we took a wrong turn driving to a funeral and found ourselves at a beach full of happy families. JUNIOR We almost started to talk to one another
Page 87 almost. I was able, however, to observe several other human activities. MISSY and JUNIOR They seemed so... joyous (sigh) MISSY But whatever Its ridiculous. To even think that we couldJUNIOR Its a sick fantasy That we could be happy MISSY But I cant help but thinkJUNIOR Im reaching my tipping point with this family They sigh. FIDO Arf. Arf. Yeah, I hear you guys. JUNIOR and MISSY They look up and see each other Its awkward. Theres as much distance as there can be. MISSY (to JUNIOR) I....havent seen your gray shirt around for a while. Your other gray shirt.
Page 88 JUNIOR Oh. Um. Its at the... shirt cleaner? (To audience) As you know, it was not at the shirt cleaner MISSY Is the shirt cleaner named Wrigley Bigleauges? JUNIOR How did you know Wrigley had my shirt? MISSY Hes my boyfriend. Or, was anyways. JUNIOR Oh. Im... sorry? Awkward silence JUNIOR Did he break up with you? MISSY Youre sooooo dramatic, Junior, he didnt break up with me hes just dead. JUNIOR What? MISSY (to audience) Blast! (to JUNIOR) I mean-Hes in a state of Emotional death. From me, breaking up with him. Yes.
Page 89 JUNIOR Thats... crazy MISSY Perhaps... Awkward silence. JUNIOR So, uh, like. My shirt? MISSY Yes, I have the shirt. If I had left it, it would youre gonna be passing gym this year? You caught a lucky break with that Guy-Denise hack covering Sportsballs classes. JUNIOR Oh, yeah. Guess I got, huh, lucky ... Hey! Did MISSY Oh, yeah. Gnarly Shot in one eye, and the other was plucked out. And hes dead. Murdered. Hey, maybe Mr Sportsball got murdered. JUNIOR (over MISSY) I doubt it. MISSY Who could do such a thing? Probably someone so deranged that they have no friends and are a total spineless loser Like, total scum of the earth. The worst kind of person. I couldnt even SIT NEXT TO a person who would do that. Right, Junior?
Page 90 JUNIOR Yeah. (to audience) Blast! LIGHTS SHIFT TO MR AND MRS. MRS to build a proper family, but yet again you all prove to be a prevalent nuisance! Ever since the kids and moving to this dump I felt so trapped! (slowly turning to the audience) Its like I have no one to talk to! (back to MR) Although, the madness is quite interesting, friend but, the truly numbing thing is, I have to waste my time with you and those dreamruining children! MR (trying to schmooze MRS, she isnt having it) Ah, yes. Its just horrible. We have to spend the whole day with the kids! Oh also my friend yes. Rick, my dear dear friend. A true tragedy, really And to think: only mere hours after the unexplained disappearance of your pal Muriel. MRS and MR (To audience) Blast! Suddenly, the doorbell rings. Jaws theme music begins to play, and a spotlight slowly closes in on the door
Page 91 MISSY (to audience) That dong that just dinged spelled out our certain doom. MR (to audience) There was only one possible meaning to this omen of death. JUNIOR (to audience) Who......... WHATever was on the other side of that door was the most hideous, vile MRS (to audience) Disgusting, truly, truly gut wrenching MISSY (to audience) Evil MR (to audience) Fate-sealing JUNIOR (to audience) Tempestuous MRS (to audience) Repugnant
Page 92 The door slowly creaks open. Enter GRANDMA, with a big box of cookies. GRANDMA A warm, merry Christmas, and love to all my dearies! I made COOKIES! They all collectively groan. MISSY (to audience) The poor delusional bitch. She thought it was christmas in June. MRS (to audience) Wed started indulging her sick fantasies by celebrating every time shed visit. It was the third time this month. (to GRANDMA) Hello, Mother, How very nice to see you! (to audience) What an unbearable hag. MR How was the ride up, Grandma? (to audience) From Hell. GRANDMA Oh, it was lovely! The scenery was just sublime! And it was even more wonderful because I got to see you lovelies at the end of it! GRANDMA laughs sweetly None of them reciprocate.
Page 93 GRANDMA Oh, how big youve gotten, Junior! JUNIOR Hello. Grandmother GRANDMA pinches his cheeks. JUNIOR (to audience.) I, in fact, had not gotten bigger Grandma had gotten smaller, due to the osteoporosis that has been eating away her old, dying bones. Not dying fast enough, if you ask me. GRANDMA Oh, and Missy! My dear Missy! Youve never looked more beautiful! GRANDMA pinches her MISSY Grandmother (to audience) Do I even have to say anything? What an abhorrent, shriveled, harpy The way she intrudes, her sickening old person stench... and that stupid tiny, little, voice... GRANDMA pushes a fresh 50 into each of the childrens hands. GRANDMA Buy yourselves something pretty, dears! Purchase a boogie record, Maybe a new pair of denims!
Page 94 MISSY/JUNIOR (To audience) The communist bitch. ALL (to audience) She had to die. GRANDMA Oh me, oh my, you could all use some meat on those bones, Ill whip up some of my world famous, homemade kiss-erdoodle cookies! Made with a grandmothers love! ALL (to audience) And thus, Grandma Missturr began her descent into my trap. GRANDMA walks into the kitchen. MR runs across the set, setting up a sniper post in another room. MR (to audience) The fossil didnt realise that she was in the perfect spot for me to take a fatal shot. I was soon to be free from her intolerable presence forevermore. MISSY (to audience) To this day, it escapes me, why she felt need to bake cookies after already having brought some over Probably some fever-dream from her deteriorating, old woman mind. This did, however, fall perfectly in line with my plan to kill Grandma. What the old bitch didnt realise was once she opened the oven, shed be....
Page 95 MISSY strikes a match, then smirks. MRS (to audience, faux concerned) She looked so thirsty, the only human thing to do would be to offer her some of my ... New Mexico famous lemonade, with a kick. Its simply ..... to die for JUNIOR (to audience) While that prune was distracted baking her sickening sanctimonious sweet bakes, I had also going to kill her ALL (to audience) And all that needed to happen was my plan to go on without a hitch. MR aims his shot. A scope shaped light closes in on GRANDMA. MR pulls the trigger, and is almost perfect until JUNIOR Father, have you seen my knife? MR AH! Get outta I mean... What for? The scope shoots down, towards the oven. JUNIOR For knife...related.... things.... Why do have that gun? And why did you just... shoot at Grandma...
Page 96 MR Ah uh JUNIOR Ah, yes. Pesky vermin... GRANDMA tries to use the oven, not noticing that it is closer to her trap. GRANDMA Oh! The oven seems to be out of order .... MISSY (to audience) Well then. Better luck next year I guess. Shes like herpes. She always comes back. Not that Id know ... MISSY storms off. GRANDMA Ill have to use the microwave. I suppose it wouldnt kill me! JUNIOR Wellllllll... JUNIOR starts for the kitchen, and raises his knife. When he is about to stab down, Grandma moves over This happens a few times, with Grandma ducking and swiveling out of the knifes range. After, about a round of this, MRS enters the kitchen and starts to whip up her lemonade. Enraged, Junior exits. MRS Mother dearest, youve slaved over that hot, hot oven and also lukewarm microwave for what seems like hours now! Why dont you rest
Page 97 and enjoy some of my famous lemonade! MRS places the lemonade on the table, GRANDMA goes to drink it until MISSY renters. MISSY groans, and sits at the table, obviously annoyed. MISSY (to audience) If I couldnt kill the bitch, the next best thing was to ruin her beverage. MISSY throws the lemonade off the table. GRANDMA Well, family, this has been lovely but I best be off, theres a sale on cookie dough down at the market! ALL adlib feigned concern while GRANDMA goes and kisses each of them. MRS (disappointed) See you soon, Mother (to audience) Unfortunately ALL sigh sadly GRANDMA exits. After a couple seconds of DEAD SILENCE, we hear jingle bells, then a loud THUMP The whole family, concerned, walks to a window JUNIOR Oh. Grandma has been... run overMISSY By some sort of... reindeer?
Page 98 MRS Walking home from our house Christmas eve ... MR You can say theres no such thing as non denominational winter solstice holiday ... ALL But as for this family ... we believe.... JUNIOR But why was there a reindeer in Vaguely, New Mexico? MRS Dont think about it too hard. Itll ruin the magic... JUNIOR (childlike) Of Christmas? MRS No. Of the theatre, son. Of the theatre. BLACK OUT
Page 99 Monarch Adam Sommer
Page 100 Fire Tower Leeann Dragos The metal tower stands tall Above the deep green pine trees Closing in are colors of Fall Whipping and harsh breeze. The higher you scale and climb Fragile steps like a baby bird The rusting silver tone of dime This time will be the third. Friends have come to share this spot In nature it stands, you stand surrounded. Though now that no longer means a lot When its in the earth but not grounded. The fear of heights still stays at large The thought of falling will soon take charge.
Page 101 The Wallet Cody Young Jo loathed the way in which the scrubs clung to her skin. Desperate swaths of fabric that stuck to her body at the many times as she could stomach for roomier scrubs, a size up was all she needed. She didnt have much time to dwell on the thought as the EMTs pushed in another homeless John Doe off the street. It wasnt unheard of to have the homeless camp outside, the city had a problem, too many people and not enough homes. with imaginary stomach aches as an excuse for a hot meal and a warm bed. Jo knew it was irrational to dislike them, but she couldnt help but think those same beds could go to a father of three suffering from a heart attack and not some homeless vet recovering from gut rot. Peter, a twenty-something EMT with a troublemaker smile that would break a lot of hearts, asked Jo where she wanted him. She had to stop herself from saying back outside. Jo adjusted her scrubs as she followed into the room, wondering if Peter had noticed how tight her scrubs were today She hoped he didnt. She sent him away He had better things to do than watch her strip down some unwashed bum. She delivered the typical boilerplate. What is wrong? Where does it hurt? John Doe didnt answer, only recoiled and held his stomach. Oh, great. Another thespian, she thought. Jo tried to remove his clothes but found her hands swatted away Sir, Ive got to remove your clothes to perform an evaluation. She tried to remove his shirt, this time content to rip it to shreds if she needed to, but found the homeless man was deceptively strong, even in his current state. She tugged again, grasping onto the brittle fabric and pulling as hard she could. Jo had lost her patience with this man. She had better things she could be doing. The cloth ripped away, revealing the mans torso. At
Page 102 Everything right where it should be, but something was off. Near John Does stomach where his belly button should be was and the color of burnt moldy bread. The smell was abhorrent. It singed the hairs of her nostrils. In a frenzy, Jo moved to the telephone hanging off the specialist. Before she could press page, a hand reached out from the bed, holding her back. Jo looked down incredulously How was this man even alive, further yet how was he refusing medical help? Theyll take it if you tell them, he stated. Jo was confused. By the old mans thought process, she naturally assumed he was delirious. The myriad of infections that must be coursing through his body Before she found time to belabor the point, John Doe began to reach into his wound and pull crinkled one dollar bills from the gaping hole. He took a moment before setting each and every bill onto the bedside table, and with deliberate care, smoothing out the creases. 7 dollars. The weight of what he had done to himself set in on John Does face. I woke up one morning, found the man I had slept next to for 6 years clawing at my stomach, trying to get at my dinner It was cold that morning. My hands and feet were so numb that I could barely move to shove him off. He left easy at of nights later, waited until I fell asleep then took everything I had. It wasnt a lotjust some cans, a little money I had to hide what was left, he said, breaking into a sobbing mess. other than disgust, pity Had she forgotten her oath, the promise etched in stone that made her swear to always aid? I had to hide it somewhere, somewhere they wouldnt Jo reached down and smoothed back the old mans thinning hair
Page 103 Whats your name? John Doe had to think. The name didnt readily come to him. Lionel. Jo nodded, departing the room and thinking about how much looser her scrubs felt.
Page 104 Natures Stripes Sabrina Trovato
Page 105 Perdita Alexis Lisa Rivera INT. DORM ROOM NIGHT PERDITA I cant believe this... I just want to give up... Ugh... LUCY Just do it and get it over with. ISABEL It just needs... a little more work? PERDITA I was doing my best, okay? ISABEL Are you sure? PERDITA What does that even mean? ISABEL Uhhh... LUCY Either way, the art professor was still unimpressed. ISABEL He is a hard ass.
Page 106 PERDITA I dont know what to do... It feels like no matter how hard I try, my work isnt good enough. Im not talented. What was I thinking? LUCY ISABEL Amen. LUCY You can deal with the consequences later Its not like anyone is going to miss you here anyways. ISABEL Cero, nadie, nada. LUCY Plus you get to be a bum at your moms house, eating chili fries. ISABEL Mmmmm... chili fries... PERDITA I dont want chili fries, they dont sit well with me. And I dont want to go back home to just paint on some kids face at a stupid carnival or whatever ISABEL What about Lyft? PERDITA No
Page 107 ISABEL Uber? PERDITA Why is this so hard? I worked my ass off and stayed up all night painting this shit. ISABEL Not long enough apparently ... Ehem.. I mean if you keep trying you should get better In theory ... LUCY But shes not. She has no talent and she wasted her money for an ARTS DEGREE that shes not even going to get. PERDITA Please... LUCY So why waste even more time? She shouldve just went straight to work after graduation. ISABEL But she didnt. LUCY Shes not doing anyone justice by failing out of college, either PERDITA Im right here... ISABEL & LUCY So?
Page 108 PERDITA Yknow what? Youre right. Something has to change. Im tired of feeling so crummy ISABEL Then the decision is made. PERDITA It is. LUCY Well? When are we going to the admissions PERDITA Just because my life is in disarray, doesnt mean I need to give up. Ive worked too hard to get here and Im not about to let you bitches fuck it up for me, again. I was just upset about my grade for the project but its always with the dramatics. I need you guys to get out. Im done. ISABEL Welp, we tried. LUCY Whatever PERDITA This has to end. You guys cant keep getting back into my head. LUCY Hmph, later Perdie. ISABEL See ya.
Page 109 PERDITA Go away ... PERDITA (20), takes a deep breath, covers her mirror END
Page 110 Portrait of Loneliness Nicole Hube sandpaper hands scrub smooth porcelain dishes as light peeks through old patched-up curtains for a woman who lives all alone her nostalgic daydreams and disquiet nights send unsteady legs down the staircase in fright her locked-away china from foreign terrain hides portraits of faces that all seem the same her rusted brass doorknobs make unsettling noises as bluebirds that hum hold their motionless poises wrought-iron fences and grand garden playmates the only small friendships shell have the kettle boils over these days she walks slower the woman who lives all alone
Page 111 Juneau by Seaplane Emily Goleski
Page 112 Shiner John Thompson I wept the day my wife died. She had only been in her late thirties and looked healthy, though she truly wasnt. No one had expected her death to happen so soon. Back then, forty years ago, she was the sharpest woman Id ever known. As her death neared, that sharpness diminished. She noticed it before the rest of us. She knew what was coming. Spike, she started as she passed me my lunchbox one morning. Plant me under Kinetics Aurora when I die. Then Ill be connected to both your land and mine. I smiled. Phoe, you have at least another seventy years left. Dont worry about death so soon. She smiled, nodded, and let me go on my way to work. It took months before my kids and I began to notice her telekinesis. Then she began to forget the simplest of things: When we took her to the hospital, the doctor said she had a degenerative disease. Your brain will destroy itself soon enough, the doctor had told her Its a disease common in Kinetians like you. Your race just has some problems with dealing with your gifts. She then showed us a of an x-ray video of a persons brain sinking into itself and then altogether disappearing. Its like a black hole, the doctor had said. Her brain will cave in and suck itself into nothingness. There was nothing we could do to stop it. The doctor told us that Phoe should stay in the hospital where she would have immediate access to help if needed. Phoe didnt want to listen and had tried to telekinetically throw the doctor out of her sight. She barely pushed her and that devastated me. I had to convince her to stay I dont even know if she
Page 113 knew who I was. Her brain caved in while I was picking up my kids from school a couple weeks later A nurse told me that Phoe had been doing mental exercises with him when her brain just stopped and her body went still. Just as fast as that, her life had ended. And I wept more than I ever had before. *** I couldnt look at her during the funeral. I didnt want to have one, but her parents wouldnt allow anything otherwise. They didnt want their daughter planted under some Auran Aurora like she had wanted either No, they liked tradition. They wanted me to go all the way to Kinetia, to them, to have the funeral, but I couldnt do that. Not if I wanted Phoe to be happy I made her parents come to me, to the great planet of Aura, to see their daughter off. They told me that theyd only come if I cremated her, as per tradition, and I agreed I would. That had always been the plan. The funeral was packed as Phoe had many friends from planets Id never even heard of: Vallix, Welldon, Soria, and many more. The seats were full of both human and non-human creatures. It was one of the only few times in my life Ive seen us humans get along with creatures like the hive-minded Sorians. It was as if Phoe was a celebrity Or some sort of peace beacon. And I admired her even more for that. At the end of the funeral, we all watched as she was together that day *** I was given her remains in a beautiful urn the color our moon, Shiner The tree was gigantic with two entangled silver trunks and beautiful fruits hanging from it which changed color depending on where the sun hit the urn. Like all Grand Auroras, this embossed one gave off its own aurora above the urn; a yellow one the same color as Kinetics Aurora. She always loved that one, her mother had commented. Mustve reminded her of home.
Page 114 After everyone left, I boarded a ship to Shiner to visit Kinetics Aurora. Shiner was radiant within space, glowing a beautiful violet as I neared it. It always changed colors, being known as a moving rainbow which changed one color a day Each color affected the moods of its inhabitants. Blue was cold or chill. Red was mean, hot, and angry Green was delightful and happy It was clockwork. The moon going through each color of the rainbow as it moved and restarting after hitting violet. On that day forty years ago, it was a beautiful violet; a color both cold and hot. It could mean so many things, but I knew that on this day it meant sadness. Even Shiner was mourning Phoe. When I reached the moon, I went right to the market and bought a shovel, water bottle, and some Grand Aurora seeds. I got a cruiser from there to take me to Kinetics Aurora, holding Phoes urn close to me the whole time. Upon reaching it, I got out of the cruiser and began to dig next to the Grand Aurora which casted it, right under the beautiful yellow Kinetics Aurora which covered the sky above me. It somehow calmed me. It felt like Phoe was with me. I dug a small hole and placed the seeds inside of it. I poured Phoes ashes in the hole, covered it with dirt, and *** I visit Shiner whenever I can just to be with her The trip. Even after all of these years, we still go. We even bring my ten grandkids up there now, too. Everyone enjoys it. We all sit next to Phoes tree, now growing tall and beautiful, under the Kinetian Aurora and feel as if we are with her once again. Theres nothing better than that. Last time we visited, her tree was giving off its own aurora which was constantly changing colors between a dark purple and a bright yellow Ive never been happier *** When I die, plant my next to your mother, I told my son when he visited me on my eightieth birthday All he did was smile and hug me.
Page 115 After all of this time, I still feel her with me. Soon enough, well truly be connected again.
Page 116 Ele Brianna Harrington Striding across the hay Prancing with fortitude Shaking as the chins hit Beads on the head clanking Children roaring in the stands Popcorn soaring from hand to hand Music ringing tones of thrill The stripes of the tent shaking Clean from frigid water Wrinkles on her skin crack Bleeding from deep cuts in her skin Unnoticed by everyone except her She cries for a savior But nobody comes Her skin is torn apart Flesh dripping with blood Stripped of her freedom Her breath leaves her depleted lungs Children weep and parents gasp Music stutters to a halt Popcorn freezes in mid-air The walls halt where they stand A beam of light shines She turns to stone Rustic from age Decorated with deliberate detail from head to toe She now sits on the shelf Pining for dignity
Page 117 Contra Amelia DeJarnette
Page 118 To Snag a Drag Madeline Weisbeck EXT. CITY APARTMENT BUILDING FRONT STEPS DAY A thin lipped LYDIA, discouraged, 32, sits on a stoop. She is wearing a white cotton T-shirt and her left arm displays a nicotine patch. Her shaky left hand holds onto a Dunkin Dounuts coffee cup, as we see her right hand start to tap against her right leg. SHE BEGINS TO FIDGET EXT. CITY SIDEWALK DAY A MAN strolls down the street and takes the cigarette out of his mouth and blows out the smoke. HE TOSSES THE CIGARETTE DOWN ON THE GROUND EXT. CITY APARTMENT BUILDING FRONT STEPS DAY Lydia watches as the cigarette falls to the ground, she puts her cup down and ambles off of the stoop. We see Lydia look around, hesitating until a couple walks by before she crouches down on the sidewalk, grabs the cigarette still smoldering and puts it into her mouth. CUT TO: EXT. CITY SCHOOL BUILDING STEPS DAY DALE, 10, wears a grin as he holds out a piece of paper in front of him. A 100 is circled on the top of the page.
Page 119 EXT. CITY APARTMENT BUILDING FRONT STEPS DAY We see Lydias lips curl up in a smile, she has the cigarette at her feet. We see a childs pair of red converse sneakers facing Lydias slippers, Lydia looks up, catching Dales eyes in hers. We see Dales hurt face as he dumps the paper in her lap and runs up the steps. Her eyes are full of sorrow as the cigarette twitches in between
Page 120 press play Emily Goleski I watch myself drip from your lips, down your chin running over my thighs a pool of desire locked in your raw umber eyes mischievous and lustful, with the pull of your seductive lips into a simper, your presence on my body lingers.
Page 121 Damned Ellen Weber How long has it been now? A month? Two? Years? A few minutes? Time isnt of any relevance here. How long time had been marching doesnt matter if you couldnt turn it around and start from the beginning. I had started pacing. Again, not sure for how long. Ive just been pacing ever since it happened. The pacing keeps me sane. Or does it keep me insane? Or is it all pointless? Im not sure of anything anymore. Except for the fact that I am damned. Im sure of that. But thats okay There are the damned and there are the blessed. Thats balance. I used to be blessed, but now Im one of the damned. Maybe I was always damned, but I just didnt know it. I did something bad, and now Im doomed. Damned and doomed. Demons dancing and devils delighted. He made a deal with the Devil and now Im doomed to damnation and dancing with demons and Sorryoff topic. Its getting harder to stay focused. Thats the whole point. The longer Im locked away in here, the more of myself I lose until Im just gone. And then he wins. Im his only weakness, and he doesnt like weakness. He cant kill me though. He has to wait for me to kill myself, to surrender to him. I cant do that. I wont. Did you hear that? I wont do it! I wont! I wont. So now Im here. Locked away in this little room. Nothing more than a circle of stones, with the dark blood of fallen grace covering the walls. That was his own personal touch; a reminder It doesnt matter much now Im used to
Page 122 itI dont think thats a good thing. It used to bother me a lot. Sometimes I would just stare at the stains and sob. Id curl up on the cold stone and cry and cry and cry forwell who knows. Hours or days or weeks. It doesnt matter anymore. Nothing matters anymore. Sometimes I get glimpses of the outside world through his eyes. My eyes? I dont know if he knows that I can see or if hes letting me see. Hes smart if he is. Its a new kind of torture, to watch yourself do thingshorrible thingsand not be able to stop them. I havent really seen myself sincethen. All I ever really get to see are my hands. They look the same as before. At least to the outside eye. But I can still see the blood. Out damned spot! There arent any scars either No visible ones anyway I feel like there should be. Evil should leave a mark, so that everyone knows to stay away I guess thats not how it works. The only scars now are the ones on our heart. What a shame. I thought our heart was rather nice. Now its all rotten. I wonder what color my eyes are now They used to be blue, and a very nice blue at that. They were as clear as day, bright, happy I dont think theyre blue anymore. Everythings different! He ruined everything! We were happy and honest and hopeful and then he had to go and destroy it! Happy when Heaven was higher than Hell and hopeful that Hades was hiding in his cell. How the heights of hereafter have a headlong fall and Focus! Sorry Things get a little fuzzy sometimes. Do you think I can get out of here? I used to think that I punched the rocks, hoping theyd start to chip. I only added more blood to the walls. I tried to scale the wall, hoping there was some kind of light at the top, but I couldnt stop slipping. I
Page 123 started crying again, but when I went to wipe away the tears, they just mixed with the blood. If I couldve seen myself I But now, well, I think its been too long. If I was going to get out, wouldnt it have happened when I was strong? When I still save him. Can you return to the blessed once youve been to the realm of the damned? Have you been there before? Its not fun. Ill get out of here. I have to get out. If I cant get out whats the point? There is none. I have to escape. Ill be an angel again. Angels are always ascending. An afterworld above awaits the amazing while the abyss is abusing the appalling, and the angels are assigned to aid the anguished, and I am an angel that will abolish his agony I will be an angel again. I will be an angel. Right?
Page 124 Anatomy of a Fencing Practice Room Mary McIntyre room in Lee Hall is the warmth. Sure, there are two measly fans in the room, but that does nothing when youre breaking a sweat. It really doesnt help that the windows encourage the sun to send its rays through the glass. If by chance, you get caught in a daydream and look out the windows, you can see the vines on the tan and brown bricks that are tied together like messy shoelaces. The leaves draped over the window panes the breeze. you can tell that this is not just an old gym. The little ripples in the wood from equipment tell a story Someone else stood exactly where you were just standing, and even though you probably didnt know them, youre witnessing a place where they had a moment. The dark grey streaks that slice through the planks let you know how much this space was loved. If empty sky onto the beams. When you glance at the walls, you can see the milky white cling to the walls, the wood appearing as though a shark sunk clubs are tacked to the corkboard. The cycling machines rest in the back right hand corner A lone phone charger waits to be claimed by the black double wall socket. Navy gym mats are stacked surprisingly neatly next to the ancient boom box. Resting at the side of the mats is an accordion-like divider Along the wall to the left, the equipment closet door stands wearily Faded tape grips the door, stealing a strip of wood every now and then. The doorknob has been touched by countless hands. One would think that its black, but underneath the bleak streaks, the metal duly shines. Scrapes on the door from weapon clashes are etched into the sandy wood. Upon stepping inside, the sweaty, off-white, dirt coated uniforms sit, thrown carelessly onto the shelves. Masks with
Page 125 tiny numbers scrawled into the grimy material the line the walls. Random nuts, bolts, and tools remain on the shelves untouched, save for the occasional movement by a mask being set down and knocking them out of place. The foils, pes, and organization racks. Bulky equipment bags are heaped in the back left corner When you leave the closet, if you look up at the ceiling, youll notice the strangest design ever Mini black dots are scattered across it, with chestnut squiggles, precisely painted to perfection. Straight lines cut across the ceiling, like graph paper Take a look back out the window When you see all of the strangers outside wandering about, look down on them. The grey, crumbling sidewalk. Take in every little detail. You may never want to see another view
Page 126 Rapid Waters of SUNY Oswego Kelsey Cicerone
Page 127 But Not Forgotten Nichole Bailey EXT. SOUTH SIDE CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD NIGHT DIMA (24) stands underdressed in the frigid January weather His eyes are bloodshot, and he looks visibly disheveled. Hes grasping a HEINEKEN BOTTLE loosely to his side, theres maybe a sip or two left. Hes past tipsy Across the street a young HUSBAND and WIFE lift a small girl, wind. Theyre smiling ear-to-ear Dimas expression hardens. Albina GIGGLES loudly The Heineken bottle slips out of Dimas hand, glass CLANKING against the sidewalk. He stills. The Husband and Wife notice Dima. Theyre apprehensive Albina doesnt notice. ON DIMA Dimas aggravated. His brow furrows. His eyes are dark, pensive. ON COUPLE Concerned, the Wife grabs Albina and guides her up the stairs into their house. EXT. HOUSE NIGHT CONTINUOUS The Husband walks up to the edge of his property, standing behind the chain link fence. He glares at Dima. Without breaking eye contact, Dima reaches for something tucked into his waistband. The Husband tenses. Dimas mouth curves into a slight smile.
Page 128 Dima jerks his head to the door as it shoots open, the screen SLAMMING against the side of the house. Albina comes running out, her bare feet THUDDING against the wood on the deck. The Wife is YELLING Albina runs up to the Husband and hugs him by the knees. The Husband scoops her up, eyes nervously darting back to Dima. Dima EXHALES and looks away, ashamed. He quickly turns to retreat from the scene. DIMAS HOUSE ARREST BRACELET BEEPS ON HIS ANKLE. He isnt fazed. It doesnt stop.
Page 129 Achieve, Perceive, Deceive Nicole Hube Intelligence means nothing in the real world when youre not smart enough to use it . Shes quite the anomaly precocious child always one step ahead not the spitting image of her mother or the continuation of her father sweet little prodigy wholl go as far as her feet will take her Every pause between her shy spew of syllables is deliberate as she calculates her battles in her heads to 3 decimal places to minimize the chance for procedural error Constantly fearing failures iron grasp envisioning it as a choking thing When you tell a child shes gifted, shell shrug it off if she believes it and rearrange her vocabulary to make it ring true memorize paragraphs like hymns until knowledge becomes her religion. Shell spend longer time spitting out sentences until her tongue twists anxious stutters Shell waltz through grade school, taken advantage of them
Page 130 unable to understand why that boy in the corner is crying over his empty lunchbox. Shell hope some sort of challenge will one day drop her to her knees in submission and make her feel small and scream for mercy until her mouth becomes dirty Sweet little prodigy has been elevated so much her head scrapes clouds and constellations. Shes unsure of how she plans to fall back to earth. I just hope its gentle.
Page 131 Radiant Morgan Ciccarino
Were Nice People