Funny Ha Ha: The High School Humor Writing Challenge - Text Entries

Funny Ha Ha: The High School Humor Writing Challenge

We’re looking for great humor writing from high school students, and at the end of the summer, writer and actor BJ Novak will name a winner on our show. Here’s the catch — your piece must begin and end with these sentences:

FIRST LINE: The sun rose and everything fell.
LAST LINE: Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

UPDATE 8/27: Our winner is Emma Callahan; the runner-up is Dylan Kapstrom. A big thank you to everyone who shared their work with us!

July 22, 2015 09:30:24 PM





The sun rose and everything fell. "Everything" of course meaning all hopes, dreams, and general happy thoughts of all people employed at the mid-sized bread factory Yeasty!
Yeasty! had been, until that point, a fairly successful bread factory producing, ironically, only matzah, the traditional unleavened Jewish bread baked sans yeast. Occasionally, Yeasty! would spit out some communion breads, also made with no yeast. The main and in fact only reason it was fairly successful was because it was the only bread factory producing solely matzo (probably because matzo is kind of gross and eaten purely for religious reasons).
The reason for all the downtrodden-ness of the general public inside that doughy haven was the announcement of the opening of a large-sized bread factory that, too, would only produce matzo. And so, for the first time in Yeasty!'s admittedly short history, it had competition.
Alex sat in her office, doing that thing where her forehead wrinkled like a raisin or some other similar dried fruit because of all the stress. A little information on Alex: she was not exactly the kind of person one would call “adventurous,” “outgoing,” or “the main character in a short story.” She was, for lack of a better word, painfully boring. Her favorite food was rice. Her dream car was a Prius. Her favorite book was the dictionary, and her favorite movie was a six-hour long documentary on washing machines. There were only two things in the world she was passionate about: owning a mid-sized bread factory specializing in matzo production and velvet pantsuits. This had been her dream job ever since she came out of the womb, and she was about to lose it.
The only possible way to save her factory, Alex knew, was to branch out from matzo and communion bread production into something possibly involving actual yeast. The thought tormented Alex so much that she banished it from her mind.
Alex hated change. She had hated it ever since she was in the fifth grade and her gymnastics teacher told her to try the balance beam instead of the bars and she slipped and fell and bruised her derrière so badly her mom had to come and drive her to the emergency room to have it looked at and all of her classmates laughed at her and called her Achy Ass Alex for, like, forever.
No, yeast would never enter Yeasty!, Alex decided. Yeasty! would remain a yeast-free zone as long as she reigned.
Things quickly declined. Alex was forced to lower her employees' pay from a mid-sized salary to minimum wage. She was also forced to diminish her workforce from a mid-sized one to a small-sized one. She could no longer afford to get the gas tank used to power the matzo oven fixed, so occasionally carbon monoxide would leak and cause hallucinations and such.
Finally, after several weeks of this madness, Alex had a vision. An honest-to-God vision. Not a stupid vision, like one of those dreams where she was a gynecologist in New Jersey or something, but a legit vision.
It was a Wednesday. Alex had just been approached by her fifth worker that week encouraging her to branch out. One would think she would seriously consider it, given it was her fifth complaint that week, but Alex had a skin as thick as Fort Adams, or a very calloused water buffalo.
Anyway, she was quite frazzled, and decided to take a walk. She strolled around her factory when a voice from one of her matzo vats sounded.
"Come here, child," it said.
Alex approached the vat. The matzo dough inside slowly formed a face. It smiled at her like a kindly grandfather.
"My child," it said. "You must listen. Right now, you are facing a fork in your road."
"Yes, Grandfather," Alex said in a trance. "I am listening."
"If you continue to make yeastless matzo, you will end up penniless, deeply in debt, and one of those cynical old people that yells at young people, like the neighbor in Dennis the Menace. If you use yeast in your products, then you will-"
"Alex!" yelled a worker suddenly. The matzo face dissolved. "There's been another carbon monoxide leak. It's been causing hallucinati-"
Alex shoved him aside and walked into her office. She had seen a vision! She knew her path!
Except the matzo face had never finished his sentence. Would using yeast have her end up worse than continuing on her current unleavened path?
Whatever. That neighbor in Dennis the Menace was a jerk. It was time she bandaged up her derrière and listened to her employees.
A month later, Yeasty! was the proud producer and distributor of matzo and signature English muffins.
Alex took a deep breath and straightened her brand-new red velvet pantsuit. She was prepared. Today was the day her English muffins would be unveiled. The media were waiting outside her factory to interrogate her about them. If the English muffins were successful, she could raise pay, rehire employees, patch the gas tank, and go back to having a mid-sized bread factory. If they weren't, then she was screwed.
Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 22, 2015 08:20:38 PM





"The sun rose and then everything fell apart. She had been trying to lift it up and tie it on that rickety beam above her desk to add it to the solar system and boom! The whole beam and all of the planets came crashing down onto her desk. Then Daisy in the back had the nerve to ask if she had to keep coming to class now since the Solar System didn't exist anymore. Dude, you should have seen the look on Trudy's face-"
"Who's Trudy? Wait, do you mean Miss Thompson?"
"Yeah. Kinda funny really. She calls me Mr. Smith and I call her Trudy. That means I'm the teacher now," he said with a devious smirk, wiggling his eyebrows in a suggestive manner. Alex simply scoffed and shoved the other's arm. "What? Why are you abusing me now?"
"Okay one, you're a pig and two, I don't always abuse you. That's Mort's job anyway." At the mention of Morticia, his face cringed into one of disgust and pain. "What's with that look?" Alex asked, clearly amused with his reaction. Shifting, she moved her book bag from one shoulder to the other, tucking a few blond strands of hair behind her ear.
"Mort's not people."
"What?" Alex's eyes glanced up, intrigued and amused all at once.
"Mort isn't people, I'm telling you man. Girl's got no soul. Bet she offered it to the Devil for a lifetime supply of coffee. Anyone who drinks that stuff black is already not mortal-"
"-Oh don't be like that!"
"No, that's not even the worst part. She reads weird poetry about pendulums and hangs out in graveyards at night while summoning her 'Dark Lord'," he said in a voice reminiscent of heavy metal singing.
"Morticia's a little gloomy but she doesn't summon her 'Dark Lord'. You're buying into stereotypes again. She's just forceful with you because you're always bothering her."
"Okay then Alex," he began as he stood in front of her, arms crossed and lips pursed in a determined expression. The leather jacket he wore worn out from years of being passed down crumpled easily with his movements. His eyes were fixed on hers, blue meeting brown. Alex's steps were now halted."When have I ever bothered her?"
"Well, let's see," she said, placing her index finger to her lip in mock thought. "Oh, how about when we were fifteen. I had a sleepover with all of us, remember? You, me, Mortie, Cindy, Lucas, all of them?"
"Uh, duh. Of course I remember that. Lucas went ham on the s'mores and then kept us all up at night with his snoring. Dude's a walrus."
"Yeah, and do you remember what you did while we were all getting ready for bed?" Right before he answered, she lifted her finger up to halt him. "You took our salt and made a circle around your sleeping bag because you didn't want her to suck your soul out in the middle of the night."
"I was protecting myself!" At this point, Alex scoffed and pushed passed him, hands on her hip as she faced him once more. "No you weren't! What was there to protect yourself against?"
"The Dark Lord!" he added, voice deep once more. "Alex come on, how do you two even get along?"
"Because I'm not you and I don't put milk into her coffee."
"Rude, okay. And it's unnatural to have it black-"
"She's lactose intolerant. Do you ever hear a voice in the back of your head? You know-" she began, waving to her own skull to display her point-" -the one that tells you that maybe you should think things over because you might hurt somebody?"
"You mean a conscience?"
"No." Huffing, she ran her hand through her own hair before sighing a tired smile. "You, my good friend, are hopeless." The blond kept walking ahead, soon glancing behind her to see that Rick was no where to be found. Stopping, she glanced around the neighborhood, standing on her tiptoes to try and see if he was hiding behind any trees or cars that littered along the sidewalk and road. It was odd for him to simply disappear like that. Maybe Alex's words had really upset him.
Rick was an odd boy who Alex could really only describe as having a greaser type personality. He acted tough, wore enough leather to get a lawsuit from PETA, and gelled his hair back often. However,despite being rude and offensive, he was soft. His feelings could be hurt easily, something similar to a kicked puppy expression followed by a devious glare. Then revenge. And he got his revenge, tripping Alex as she decided to continue walking and snagging her foot against his own. "Seriously?" she asked, glaring up at him from the cemented ground.
"I am anything but hopeless. And I, little missy, am a great person. Hell, I'm role model material." His arms were crossed, body leaning against the tree beside him.
"You're a lunatic."
"Again, rude. But you know, out of everyone, I think you're the most normal person in our group. Actually, you're really dull."
"Now you're being rude," she began as she dusted herself off. There was a few scrapes and cuts on her knees but it didn't bother her. She'd just clean them off when she got home.
"No, think about it. Mort's soulless, Lucas is a huge gamer bound to be lonely until forty, Cindy is a hippie who is, and I quote, 'One with the earth and sky', and Hanz is obsessed with Arnold Schwarzenegger to the point where he even attempts to speak like him. You're American born, no need to fake the accent dude, you spoke proper English in grade school!" His hands were waving around excitably, face nearly red from the lengthy explanation. Some hair fell out of place and he reached into his pocket for a comb, combing the rebellious strand back into place. "And what about you?" Alex asked.
"Me? I'm God, that's what. Be honored."
"I think you're crazy. But I'm not really that dull, am I?" In response, he gave her a look of disbelief.
"Your family is more interesting than you. Especially your mom- Ouch!" Alex had jabbed him in the rib, eyeing him with a warning glance. "Your mom's hot, what can I say?"
"I hit you and you still keep going? And my family isn't all that interesting."
"Your dad collects puppets." A pause and she spoke up once more.
"So maybe they are. But someone has to be normal in this backwards world." Then, for a moment, his tone and face was serious. "Well you think everyone's odd but maybe you are. Maybe like, you're the token friend of the group. Seriously, think about it. Everyone around you is some sort of weirdo, plus me, and you're so dull that you kind of stick out like a sore thumb."
"'Token friend'? I mean, I guess if I'm the normal one then that makes me unique? Right?"
"If you think ‘normal’ makes you ‘unique’, go ahead, I'm not going to say anything." Finally, the two arrived at Alex's house, a normal, suburban home that housed two twin demons, a workaholic, and a collector of wooden pieces on strings. And Alex.
"Are you coming inside?"
"I don't know, is your mom home?"
She sighed. "Most likely."
"Well of course I'd want to stay! Alex what kind of question is that? You're my best friend, I love you!" Rick stated in over exaggerated sweetness, complete with an eyelash flutter and puckered lips.
"You love my mom."
"I love you two in two different ways, let's keep it at that." Fixing the strap on her shoulder, she could hear her mother's stern voice yelling at the two Tasmanian Devils that ran rampant throughout the house. With a deep breath, Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 21, 2015 02:12:25 PM





The sun rose and everything fell. By the time the first beams of light had illuminated the East Coast, it was too late. It was March 18th, 2016: a date which would live in infamy if it hadn’t already killed everyone. But the strange thing about the end of the world was that it wasn’t caused by just one event.
The American population was wiped out by a technological breakdown. Apple had recently released a new product known as the iEye, an eyeball that was able to make calls, surf the web, and virtually undress women. Needless to say, it was a huge success. There wasn’t a single person in the country who didn’t have one. On the morning of March 16th, Apple filed for bankruptcy. It turned out they hadn’t had any money for years, which is why all their ads were shot against white. They couldn’t even afford backgrounds. The Apple grid was shut off, disabling the iEye and leaving half of America blind (or alternately, leaving all of America half-blind). Riots broke out, and due to the lack of depth perception, the accidental death rates rose to record highs. Eventually the whole populace was accidentally wiped out. The last remaining citizen died when he accidentally ran into a pole.
The English met their maker when the Queen thought it might be great fun to test her power and tell the population to kill themselves. The effects were unimaginable. Every one of her subjects dutifully carried out her will. Scotland, still firmly tethered to the U.K., begrudgingly followed suit.The Queen herself was killed by Helen Mirren as part of a murder suicide. Mirren was heard screaming “We are one! If I can’t live then neither can you!” at the moment just before shooting.
Greece was struck down by the Gods, who were angry at how they had been portrayed in the Percy Jackson films (which they had recently rented from Redbox).
France and Germany both sensed danger in the air and assumed they were going to war with each other again. After 2 quick and very bloody battles, the remaining French smoked themselves to death on cigarettes and the Germans all shot themselves to preserve the glory of their fatherland.
Russia fell at the hands of its own insatiable leader, Vladimir Putin. He had made it his goal to hunt every single person in his country. The entire Russian population was placed in a large paddock, and Putin managed to hunt down every one in less than 12 hours (due to his “lots of big guns” approach to hunting). He would have survived were it not for the fact that he had yet to conquer his greatest prey: himself.
Ireland had completely drowned itself the day before, owing to the fact that it was St. Patrick’s Day.
The entirety of Asia was crushed by a Godzilla type monster, which was known as God-silly for copyright reasons.
Those who were flying in airplanes at the time all died of laughter while reading B.J. Novak’s collection of stories, which they had all bought at the airport.
Nobody knows what happened in the Middle East, except that it was very very bad and someone probably should have done something about it.
The final blow came at 2:36 p.m. that day. A collection of celebrities had taken refuge inside the Wealth Holders’ Initiative Towards Earth (or W.H.I.T.E) safety pod, located several miles below the Earth’s surface in Nebraska, of all places. Among them were names like Sean Penn, Donald Trump, Walt Disney (having been thawed) and Bono.
“Well,” said Bono, “it’s no good trying to save this planet anymore. We’ve fucked it up real good.”
“We can’t whimsy our way out of this one,” muttered Disney. “It’s all because of those damn-”
Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen glared at him, defying him to continue.
All the men turned to the Artificial Intelligence Executive (A.I.Ex., or Alex). Alex was the greatest of man’s achievements. He was able to make decisions far more complex than any human mind could contemplate. He looked up solemnly.
“Gentlemen,” he said, “there is nothing left to do. We cannot rebuild this world with all the W.H.I.T.E. power in the universe. It is time to give up.” All the men looked at one another, then gazed wistfully towards the door leading out of the pod, a door that would never again be opened. Alex put his hand on the large, menacing red knob labeled “Total World Destruction.”
Sean Penn muttered under his breath “I knew having that knob installed was a good idea.”
Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 20, 2015 08:41:34 AM





The Getaway Vehicle

The sun rose and everything fell. At least that's what it felt like to me, as the whole planet apparently gave an abrupt dry-heave and deposited my whole surroundings and my person onto the floor.
"What the hell, Alex!" I hollered in my post-wake-up hoarse old man voice. I could hear him cracking up in the driver's seat. "What time is it?"
"Breakfast time!" he bellowed back in his radio-DJ voice. A generic-brand Nutri-Grain bar sailed through the air over my head in an elegant parabola and bounced off the back window.
"Where are we?"
"The highway, son! What's it look like?" Alex waggled his eyebrows at me in the rearview mirror. "Welcome to the fair state of Ohio!"
"Oh," I yawned. "Wow. We got far."
He waited for a second, either to relish his own comedy or to give me a chance to recant my statement, and then emitted a cat-like cackle. "Man, you must be tired! I-95 doesn't go through Ohio, Donkey Kong!" The light flicked to green. "We're in New York," he conceded.
"So can I actually drive here?"
"If you can manage to drag yourself up here -- and if you don't mind the lovely people of New York seeing you in your natural state..." he raised his eyebrows at my hair and complete lack of shirt. "Then sure."
See, the thing is this. According to the instructor my mom had for the mandatory parent class at that fine establishment known as McDougall's Driving Academy, Massachusetts is really stupid. By that I mean that apparently none, I repeat not one, of the states next to or anywhere near Massachusetts actually accepts a Mass learner's permit. I have no explanation for this except that New England apparently doesn't like making sense, and I'm not about to ask one of the friendly faces at the Registry of Motor Vehicles for better justification than that, so I guess I just have to be content with the fact that to drive anywhere except Massachusetts all I would have to do would be to pick up my car, fly it to Minnesota -- without touching down in any states on the way, mind you-- and cruise around the Midwest as much as I please, because Massachusetts and the Midwest seem to have some kind of deal or something.
In summation, Alex was making stuff up again. I am eighty percent sure that my permit was not even somewhat valid in New York, or pretty much any of the states on the Eastern seaboard. But Alex had slapped the Supervised Driving Log triumphantly onto the kitchen table just days before, with that gleamy movie-star laser intensity in his eyes that means he's just thought of a perfect "why not" scenario, and had jammed his finger at the headings of the glaringly blank little columns.
"Look. Date and time. Driving time. Day or night. Driving environment, weather conditions, skills practiced -- that's it. They don't ask where you're driving, just whether it's a back road as opposed to a highway. I mean, it's not like anybody's going to pull you over; your driving instructor lady made you drive in Rhode Island when you weren't technically supposed to, right, and nobody cared. And you need forty hours, which is just excessive in my opinion anyway, but..." he looked up at me through his ridiculously long eyelashes. "Why not knock off all forty in one shot?" He leaned back onto the refrigerator, acting like he was running out of points to make but knowing he'd said all he'd planned to say and had already convinced me. "Besides," he shrugged, like it was an afterthought instead of a priority, "It'd be fun. Who else do you know who's done that? And tell me you haven't always wanted to." At that point he pulled up a map of I-95 on his phone and slid it across the table to me, and I knew my summer plans.
"I think Mom probably wants me to try to get a job this summer," I heard myself say.
"I'll talk to her," Alex replied with the self-assuredness of a supervillain, and recognizing his ability to dissolve any potential attempt at parental veto, I knew that would be enough. Two days later we were at Camping World signing RV rental papers, and the day after that I learned how to merge for the first time with what felt like a hundred feet of metal behind me as we hurtled down the highway in a rectangular prism with the size and handling of a smallish single-family home.
That was my introduction to driving. I don't like driving. To me it is a nerve-shattering process of trying not to kill yourself or give other people an opportunity to kill you while in nearly-continuous motion, when there is a fairly strong likelihood that your road-mates are stupid and/or distracted and could very well just fly in out of left field and kill you anyway, to the point where I actually enjoy red lights and completely immobile traffic. This is even more terrifying when you're essentially driving a house down the street and still haven't acquired the instinctive knowledge of where your vehicle ends and everything else begins. Also, for those who don't know our nation's highway system that well, the point of I-95 is that it is a straight shot from Maine to Florida. This was Alex's grand idea that would let me get all forty driving hours that Massachusetts requires for a permitted driver to get their license. I don't think he mentioned once what he actually planned for us to do when we got to Florida, but he's always been very much an "it's not the destination, it's the journey" kind of person. As for me, I couldn't picture an end to our little odyssey in which that cheap, lumbering RV survived in one piece.
"Bro, that Benzo was zoomin'!" observed the second-WASPiest kid in America. "Did you see that guy?"
"Nope," I replied from within the shirt I was in the process of putting on. See, that's the thing about Alex. He's in his last year at Yale and he still sometimes talks like that- not to teachers or adults or anything, usually just people his age or younger. I think he feels like it makes him more approachable than just talking like I do, which he says sounds like a textbook. He doesn't like sounding pretentious. He just knows which people need to be impressed and which ones he wants to get a laugh out of. I padded into the little bathroom and tried to coax my hair into some recognizable shape. "When do you want to switch?"
"I think there's a rest stop somewhere soon where we can pull over," he yawned. He took a casual slurp of his jumbo-sized Cumberland Farms iced coffee and settled back in his seat.
That was when we heard the police siren.
It took me a few seconds of recovery to realize that my sudden-onset deafness came from the fact that the police car was right behind us, just a few sheets of metal away from my eardrum. It took a few more seconds and one exchanged look of terror for Alex and me to absorb that the siren was meant for us.
"What do I do? Do I just punch it?" Alex yelped, his knuckles stretched white on the steering wheel.
"What? No, don't 'punch it'! Pull the heck over!" I leapt into the passenger seat and threw on my seatbelt as Alex shakily guided the RV onto the side of the highway. I gazed with amazement upon this irrational, shaking, ghastly pale kid to which my brother had been reduced. The cop walked up to the window. I didn't actually see him walking, but when I picture it I imagine that it was vaguely reminiscent of a cowboy approaching a duel. "What are you freaking out for?" I laughed, a little uneasy. "You haven't done anything wrong."
"Well clearly I must have done something, or they wouldn't have pulled us over!" Alex whispered shrilly as he slid the window down. A refrigerator-sized, coffee-scented guy straight out of a late nineties episode of Law and Order stared down at us.
"Can I see a license, registration, and proof of insurance, sir?" the cop asked gruffly in a New York accent rivaling Jerry Orbach's. Alex slowly stretched a shaking hand into his sweatshirt pocket for his wallet while I snapped open the glovebox and got out the papers. The policeman brought Alex's license up to his nose. "Alex Giordano?" Alex appeared to make some attempt at speech but couldn't get his throat to work or something, so he just nodded hollowly. "An' you're from Massachusetts?"
"Yessir," Alex finally rasped. His voice sounded like he was eight.
"This your RV?"
"We rented it," I replied, handing him the rental forms for the RV.
The cop nodded toward me. "What's your name, kid?"
"Eliot, Eliot Giordano. I'm his brother."
"Where are you guys headed?"
I decided to take that question too, since Alex still hadn't regained his color or full use of his larynx. "Florida. We're road-tripping down 95. We just left Massachusetts at about six this morning."
The officer's eyes narrowed like he believed us but didn't want to. After a couple years he exhaled and unfolded a sheet of paper from his pocket.
"Have you ever seen this guy?"
The paper had a color picture of what I could only describe as...well, as Alex, basically. The haircut, facial structure, even the eyebrows were exactly the same. The guy looked more plausibly like his brother than I did, by a long shot. Except for the eye color, the layer of stubble, a few distinguishing freckles, and the text box below him saying that he was wanted for robbery, the guy might have been Alex's twin.
"His name's Ryan Girard. Held up two convenience stores and a pawn shop in the Bronx. Some witnesses said he may have gotten away in a large vehicle, a big SUV or a van or an RV of some kind. Sorry to hold up your road trip with this, but..." He gestured at the poster. "I think you'd agree there's some pretty good resemblance."
"Yeah, no, absolutely. Are we okay to keep going?"
"Yeah, of course. Thanks for your cooperation, call us if you see anything. Enjoy New York." He started back to his car. "Better yet, have fun in Florida!" he added, chuckling. "Send us some nice weather."
"Will do. Thank you, sir." I looked over at Alex. "Um, Alex?"
"We can go now. The guy just said." Alex started the RV and got back onto the highway, still not making eye contact. I'd never seen him like that: no retorts, no wit, no character he was playing. And since when was I able to have a socially successful conversation with an authority figure? It felt like we'd switched personalities, like that Freaky Friday movie my mom dragged me to in fifth grade because she wanted to see if it was as good as the original.
I decided to throw the awkward silence to the wind. I cracked up laughing. "I can't believe the cops thought you were a bank robber! I mean, what are the odds of that? Guy who looks exactly like you, driving the same RV..." He let out a whimper like a wounded animal and I broke off. "Just sayin'. Too bad your twin's a bank robber, bro." That got him to laugh. I clicked the radio on, and for about two songs' worth of time we both relaxed a little.
Then I saw a police cruiser through my window. It was parked in the exit of a rest stop, presumably to catch people speeding. I made solid eye contact with the officer in the driver's seat. He said something, still following me with his eyes, and his partner next to him looked up. He raised his radio thing to his mouth, without taking his eyes off me even for one half of a second, and said something into it. He threw it in drive, switched the siren on, and headed into our lane.
"Ohhhh crap. Alex--" He let out this weird, short little barky scream and swung into the breakdown lane. I was genuinely fearing for his sanity at this point. He handed his info to the officer without saying anything, before the guy even had a chance to ask him for it.
"Another police officer stopped us a few miles back," I explained. "We're from Massachusetts, we're on a road trip, and I promise my brother is not a bank robber." The guy laughed, said everything looked legit, and sent us on our way after encouraging us to alert the police if we saw anything. "Well, you guys get full marks for vigilance around here," I told him. "Seems like everybody's looking for this guy."
"You'd think they'd communicate or something, you know? Like, tell their buddies down the road that we're clean and they shouldn't stop us," I wondered aloud as we set off again.
Apparently not, because not even five miles later we were seeing the red and blue flashes in our rear view mirrors again, and I was reasoning calmly to a woman who looked like my freshman year gym teacher that there was no way my brother could have boosted anything in New York when clearly he was a Yale student and would have still been at school when the heists took place two weeks ago. When she tramped away Alex wearily flopped his head down on the steering wheel with such force that the horn beeped a little. We drove on to the next rest stop without saying anything. As we were about to go into the place, one of those gritty little establishments that litter the Northeastern roadside and smell like the inside of a Chuck E. Cheese, he finally spoke.
"Anytime, partner in crime." We looked at each other and I finally got him to smile. He straightened his spine a little, and his head regained some of its kingly carriage.
"And we're never going to bring this up again." It wasn't quite a threat or a question, just an Alex statement. For once I didn't feel that heavy inevitability that meant something would be done simply because Alex said it should be. In all likelihood I would bring it up again. No, I would definitely bring it up again. And I would laugh. A lot. So would he, probably, even though now he was still at the point of feeling the presence of a change and wasn't quite ready to see the singular ridiculousness of the simple event.
"No promises."
Some kind of understanding had been reached, I felt. Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 19, 2015 08:04:08 PM






The sun rose and everything fell. Pots, pans, boxes of cereal, even the ceramic salt and pepper shakers shaped like kittens that Alexei had received for his 19th birthday from his aunt Thelma. All of these items and more came crashing down on his kitchen floor at exactly 7:01 AM daily. Alexei had purchased a system known as the “Kitchen Alarm Clock” from a SkyMall magazine. It promised a “100% fool proof way to come crashing out of your dreams.” Alexei thought that a crashing joke, regardless of the context, was never a good idea when sitting on an airplane, but he decided to purchase it anyway.

As he had been fired from his previous job in a paper warehouse for his lackluster on-time record, Alexei hopped out of bed, stretched and walked into his kitchen and picked up all of the various food items that had fallen out of his pantry. He quickly microwaved an egg-and-cheese biscuit, hopped into his pickup truck and headed off to work, all the while still in his boxers and white t-shirt. This was protocol at his job, at the small aircraft landing-gear assembly plant where he worked. This policy started when Markus, a former employee who always complained about the remarkably high temperature that was the norm at the factory, was told by the assistant day manager Jane, that the warm temperature was imperative for keeping the fine muscles that were necessary for operating the machinery from cramping. About three weeks after he issued a formal complaint about it, Markus was laid off. As a final “screw you” to the company, he permanently set the thermostat to -12 degrees fahrenheit. Markus had studied the particular thermostat and knew the ins and outs of it better than anyone else at the company, so the temperature stayed there. Employees’ fingers and hands were cramping up more than ever even though they were issued full body thermal suits, which had to be put on and taken off in the parking lot--hence the boxers and t-shirt.

Alexei walked into the factory to his work station and began to work on engraving “Air Koryo” in large Korean characters, along with the words “God Bless Kim Jong-Un”. North Korea had contracted with the factory, as all other manufacturers declined to make parts for North Korea’s dangerously unreliable fleet of aging Soviet jets. Alexei however, had nothing to worry about. He loved working at the plant and had one of the best performance records in the history of the plant. After years of futility, he had finally found his niche. Landing gear spoke to him.

As Alexei began assembling his second landing gear extender, he felt a tap on his shoulder. It was Jane’s assistant Tom, who informed Alexei that Jane wanted to see him. He put down put down the assembly he was working on, heaved a sigh and ambled to the office in the back corner of the factory floor. He sat down in the armchair reserved for guests in Jane’s office and was greeted with a big smile from her.
“Hello Alexei,” she said in a soft but calm voice.
“Hello,” he responded, matching her tone.
“You’re probably wondering why I called you in here and don’t worry, you’ve done nothing wrong,” she said.
“Ok, then what’s up?” Alexei asked incredulously.
“I’ve called you in here to let you know that we all think you’re doing a great job,
Kim Jong-Un included.”
There was a brief pause as Alexei blew his nose
“Which is why,” she continued, “you’re getting a paid vacation to Pyongyang and you get to meet the great leader himself!” she said, beaming and exposing a mouth of crooked teeth.

Alexei wasn’t too sure how to feel about this. He had heard the rumors of what a crazy and erratic guy Kim Jong-Un could be, but had also heard that all those rumors were untrue, and he was actually really cool.

After a long pause he asked,“Do I have a choice in going?”
“No,” Jane responded in the exact same cadence as when she told him he was going.
“But you’ll have a great time,” she continued. “He’s a wonderful guy and Pyongyang is beautiful this time of year.”
Alexei looked confused and Jane picked up on it.
“By the way,” she continued, “All that slander you hear about Kim Jong-Un is all bullshit, trust me.”
Alexei sat there very confused. After another uncomfortable pause, Jane said impatiently
“Look you’re getting on a plane to Pyongyang tonight whether you like it or not and that’s final.”

And just like that Alexei was off to North Korea, who coincidentally, had also won the NBA championship that same afternoon, according to Kim Jong-Un.

When Alexei landed in Pyongyang he stepped out of the plane onto the tarmac and saw a black limousine waiting for him. He was quickly ushered in and driven into Pyongyang proper, where he would meet with Kim Jong-Un.

Alexei gazed silently out the window at the city. The silence was intermittently broken when the guide sitting next to him would state a fact about North Korea. About a half hour later they pulled up to Kim Jong-Un’s living quarters, Alexei glanced down at his watch, realizing he had the wrong time, he turned and asked the guide what time it was.

The guide looked at Alexei blankly and said, “North Korea produces the most rice annually of any country.”
“No,” Alexei laughed, “the time, do you know the time?”
“The Juche ideology will prevail and destroy the capitalist swine,” the guide said.

Alexei was about to asked a third time when he was whisked away by a man in a snappy black suit and brought into the building where he went through 4 sets of metal detectors and then finally, arrived into a large colorful room. Sitting in all his glory was Kim Jong-Un himself, tucked into a large luxurious armchair with his bare feet up on a foot stool made of velvet.
“Alex!” yelled Kim Jong-Un in a very deep, hoarse voice and with almost no accent whatsoever.
“Dear Leader!” Alex said back, as they were now within reasonable earshot of one another.
“Your name’s Alex right?” Kim Jong-Un asked. “We get a shitload of people coming
in and out of here everyday. I can’t keep it straight.”
“Actually it’s Alexei,” Alexei said timidly.
“No, your name is Alex now,” said Kim Jong-Un. “We had an Alexei here before and
he was a huge dick so we had to send him off to ‘summer’ camp if you catch my drift,” he scoffed, making air quotes around the word summer.
“Ok that’s fine,” said Alex.
No one had called him Alex in years but if Kim Jong-Un did he wasn’t going to argue.
“Anyways, enough with the small talk,” Kim Jong-Un said. “You must be curious why we
flew you out here.”
“Yes I am,” said Alex, finally relieved that somebody was telling him why.
“You’ve been brought down here to destroy America,” said Kim Jong-Un, looking at Alex who was uneasily laughing.
“I’m not kidding,” said Kim Jong-Un. “I’m sick of America always trying to cramp my style. You know, like, so I don’t feed my people, it’s not their fucking business.” Kim Jong-Un paused to chuckle and clear his throat. “But, I can’t be the culprit for doing it. You do.”

Alex was starting to get scared. Was he really going to be responsible for the destruction of America, the country he’d grown up in? He didn’t want to refuse, or who knows what would happen to him.

Kim Jong-Un continued, “So what’s going to happen is, we're going to say you wandered in here accidentally and and set off the attack. We’ll get it on camera and everything.”
“What will happen to me?” Alex asked, sweat dripping down his forehead.
“Don’t worry about it,” Kim Jong-Un said casually, “we’ll send you off to Russia with a
nice North Korean gift bag and a cool 200 ruble in your pocket. Sound good?”
“Um - well --- I don’t really think...” Alexi was cut off mid sentence.
“Great!” Kim Jong-Un said enthusiastically.
He then barked something in Korean to a man standing in the room.

“Byung will show you to the missile silo,” Kim Jong-Un said. “This is a huge favor Alex, really thanks a ton,”

Alex was about to protest, when Byung hurried him out of the room and down the hall to a gigantic door with large Korean characters roughly spelling out “Danger”. Byung took out a large loop of keys and unlocked the door. There was a long pause. Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 18, 2015 05:43:56 PM





The Icing on the Cake

The sun rose and everything fell. Or, at least, Alex’s bookshelf did. On top of her. Sitting up in bed, Alex stared at the scene expanded before her and sighed. Books were sprawled all over her sheets, while the rest of her body was buried beneath the heavy, brown wood. In the corner of the room, Alex’s cat, Marvin, was hissing. A life-long scaredy-cat – no pun intended – Marvin’s fears ranged from the mouse in the pantry, to the kitchen’s smoke detector, which would go off at even the slightest aroma of smoke.
Speaking of smoke, through the ringing in her ears, Alex listened to the sound of her mother preparing breakfast – or, as Alex liked to call it, A Recipe for Disaster.
“Goddammit, you stupid microwave. Why must you heat the bowl and not the food?”
Alex waited. She was certain more drama would come – it always did.
“Where the hell is the cinnamon? Or the nutmeg? Are we seriously out of thyme?” A timer buzzed. “Alexandra! You have exactly ten minutes to get downstairs . . .”
Tuning her out, Alex grabbed a pair of jeans and a long, red shirt and headed for the shower. She turned on the water and hopped in as quickly as she could, because her mother would freak out if she wasn’t downstairs on time. But then the soap decided to play “catch me if you can” and Alex was on the floor for what seemed like an eternity.
“Give me a minute!” Alex screamed. She reached for the shampoo bottle, only to realize that there was none left. Shit! Oh, well, conditioner would have to do. And that’s when she heard a toilet flush downstairs and the water ran ice-cold.
By the time Alex got out of the shower, she felt as though she’d taken a bath in the Arctic Ocean. “Come on, Marvin,” she said, as she was pulling on her clothing. “Ready to face the day?” Carrying Marvin in her arms, Alex exited the bathroom and descended down the staircase, stopping in her tracks when she heard the smoke detector sound overhead. “Mom!” she called, as Marvin took off into the basement. “What did you do this time?”
Her mom stood in the kitchen with a tray of burnt rolls in her hand. “Oops,” she whispered.
Alex sighed. “I’ll warm up the pizza.”


By the time Alex got to school, she was ten minutes late for health class. She scurried into the room and slid into her chair, shooting an apologetic look at Mr. Bastion, her teacher. “I’m sorry,” she said.
“You don’t need to sneak in the back door,” Mr. Bastion responded. “It’s not so hard to come on time.” Pursing his lips, he shook his head. “Now, as I was saying; today’s lesson may seem a lot harder beforehand, but once you get started, it’ll ease up.”
Behind Alex, Timothy Jacobs snickered. “Can you say that one more time?” he called.
“Mr. Jacobs, I’m not going to repeat myself. And please spit out your gum.”
Timothy smirked. “But it tastes so good in my mouth,” he whined. “So wet and sticky . . .”
“Mr. Jacobs! Office; now!”
“Yes, Master Bastion,” Timothy said under his breath. With his head held high, he sauntered out of the classroom.
Mr. Bastion sighed. “If no one has any more questions, I’d like to proceed with today’s lesson; the Heimlich Maneuver. Jessica, Kayla; if you’d demonstrate for us.”
Jessica stood behind Kayla and wrapped her arms around her stomach.
“Remember, Jessica,” Mr. Bastion said, “spread your legs, bend over, and keep going until what’s stuck comes out.”
Alex had to fight back a smile. Oh, health class, she thought to herself, as Mr. Bastion was booting up his computer, must you be so hilarious?
As if to prove her point, Mr. Bastion cleared his throat. “I had an example online,” he said, “but since my computer is acting up, I guess I’ll give it to you orally.”
This time, no one even bothered to hold back their laughter.


The rest of the school day was fairly uneventful, with the exception of lunch, where Alex had to practice the Heimlich Maneuver on her best friend, Jenny. “Next time,” she’d said, “don’t put all of those M&Ms in your mouth.”
“But it tastes better when you have two in your mouth at the same time,” Jenny had responded. “Thanks, anyway. Even though it sucks, health class can be pretty helpful at times.”
Alex had rolled her eyes. “You have no idea,” she’d said with a laugh.
After school, Alex headed over to her afternoon shift as a waitress at Lord of the Fries. After throwing on her uniform, she hustled to table number two, where a family of three was waiting to order. “Hello,” she said, “I’m Alex and I’ll be your waitress this afternoon. Would you like any beverages?”
“Do you have hot chocolate?” the boy asked.
Alex shook her head. “Not in the summer, we don’t,” she said.
The boy considered this. “How about chocolate milk?”
“We’re all out.”
“Ugh, your restaurants sucks,” he grouched.
“Matthew,” his mother said, “be nice.”
Alex forced a smile. “It’s okay,” she said. “I’ll see what I can do.”
The second adult turned her head to look at Alex. Wait . . . what? She looked exactly like Matthew’s mother – from the freckles on her cheeks, to her deep, brown eyes, to even the ballerina’s bun on top of her head.
Catching Alex’s confusion, Matthew’s mother explained, “this is my twin sister, Mary. I’m Carry, by the way. Our idiot parents thought it’d be cute if our names rhymed.”
“I’m the younger one,” Mary said, “but I’m sure you already knew that.”
Carry nudged Mary. “Well, I’m the evil one,” she said. “One time when Mary was sick, I took her place at school and annoyed the hell out of her teachers. It was a riot.”
“Yeah, your such a twinspiration,” Mary joked.
Alex cleared her throat. “Your orders?” she repeated.
Mary scanned the menu. “I’ll have red wine,” she said.
“Same for me,” Carry responded, “and make sure the glass is clean . . . unlike last time.”
Ignoring her jab, Alex jotted this down. “I’ll be right back,” she promised and hurried away to retrieve their drinks.
“Her shirt is on inside out,” Matthew said a little too loudly when Alex’s back was turned.
“Matthew,” Carry snapped – or was it Mary? – “be nice.”
“Twins, huh,” Alex’s boss, George, said. “Good luck with that.”
Alex smirked. “I don’t need luck,” she said, as she was pouring red wine into a glass. “I got this.”
George’s face paled. “Then look down,” he said.
Alex did. “Shit!” she exclaimed, covering the spilled red wine on the front of her pants. “What am I going to do?”
George tossed her an apron. “Wear this,” he said, “and I’ll turn the temp-on. If you don’t get back to your table, they’ll be asking why ov-you-late?”
“Thanks, George,” Alex said, still incredibly flustered.
“Hey, Alex! Your shirt is on inside out!” George called, but by then, Alex was gone.
By the time Alex returned with the drinks – and her apron – the family was growing impatient. “One lemonade and two red glasses of wine,” she said. “Who ordered the clean cup?”
“Excuse me?” Carry looked mortified.
“I’m kidding.” Embarrassed, Alex quickly distributed the drinks. “Now, what would you like for lunch?”
“I’ll try the bacon burger,” Matthew said first.
“We’re all out of bacon.”
“Girl, don’t go bacon my heart.”
Alex ignored him. “So, a regular hamburger?”
“With lettuce.”
“And ketchup, tomatoes, onions, mozzarella cheese, American cheese, pickles, mayonnaise, avocado, those spicy, green peppers, and olives – green and black.”
“Will that be all?” Alex tried not to sound frustrated.
“Oh, and how about some sauerkraut. That’d be delicious.”
“We’re all out.”
Carry – or Mary – sighed. “I’ll have the pea soup,” she said.
“We’re out of that, too.”
“Bitch, peas. What aren’t you out of?”
“What? I was just asking a question.”
“I’ll have a salad, then,” Carry said. “Dressing on the side, please.”
“Macaroni and cheese for me,” Mary piped in.
Carry laughed. “You always were the fat one,” she said.
“That’s pretty ironic, considering we’re identical,” Mary retorted.
Not wanting to get in the middle of an argument, Alex turned to go place the orders . . . and ran right into a waiter carrying a massive birthday cake. Everyone exploded with laughter, except for the birthday boy, who looked as though he was about to cry.
Alex sighed. Talk about the icing on the cake. “I’m so sorry,” she said to no one in particular.
The waiter had his hand over his mouth. “Must I always walk on eggshells around you, Alexandra?” he asked. “This job isn’t exactly a piece of cake.”
George shot Alex a sympathetic look. “Maybe it’d be best if you left early,” he said, wiping frosting from her cheeks. “You seem to be having a pretty crumby day.”
Alex could not agree more. “Thank you,” she whispered, patting George on the shoulder. Forgetting all about the red wine incident, Alex removed her apron.
“Yo! I’ll have a Bloody Mary over here!” someone called.
Standing up from her table, Mary yelled, “menstruation jokes are not funny. Period.”
A steady flow of applause erupted from the tables around Mary, Carry, and Matthew.
“What?” Mary asked. “All I did was ask them to stop ragging on the poor girl.”
Alex had had enough. “I’ll see you later, George,” she said and raced out the door as fast as her wobbling legs would carry her.
Walking home, Alex was exhausted from the long day behind her. When she finally reached her house, 69 Cumming Street, the sound of shattering plates and religious exclamations sounded from inside.
“What is this, freakin’ Tetris? Hasn’t anyone ever heard of paper plates?”
Removing her ear from against the door, she managed a deep sigh and prepared herself for what she’d be faced with inside of her house. Then Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 16, 2015 11:32:07 PM





Leland’s Wife

The sun rose and everything fell.
“Son of a---”
All 54 blocks collided with the table, producing a sound that must’ve woke the neighbors. Alex’s face contorted into that of a five year old who’d just discovered his favorite action figure, broken. Crushed by the simper of his adversary, Jonathan. Who bore the look of the older sibling who’d twisted the arm off said action figure. They’d been at it all night. ALL. NIGHT. The empty beer cans littered across the room were the scattered remnants of any fun that had taken place. For the past six hours, the four suburban men had been engaged in a high-stakes Jenga tournament.
Peter, who was sitting directly beside Jonathan, fist bumped him, and the two proceeded to growl/scream like football players after a touchdown. Alex didn’t move. Just starring at the empty space where the misshapen tower of rectangular blocks used to be. Leland, a pudgy man with a sweater-vest and a jew fro, broke out into an endless string of profanities.
“Dammit Alex!” he cried. “I thought you had this! I mean, you won the last five consecutive games!”
“I’m sorry man, I don’t know what happened… I guess I was tired and…” Alex’s eyes drifted to the small basement window. Orange light shone through.
“Alright you two. Pay up,” said Peter. He and Jonathan were finished with their small revelry.
Alex shrugged, “I’m out.” The three men across the table all turned their heads to Leland. He gulped.
“What you got?” asked Jonathan. Leland sighed, and went to a box in the corner of the room. He fumbled through some things, and came back with three cd cases.
“I’ve got a Poison greatest hit’s album, Reba McEntire “Starting Over,” and the Friends soundtrack.”
“I didn’t know friends had a soundtrack,” said Alex.
“Neither did I,” said Leland.
“Is it good,” asked Alex. Leland shrugged.
“I’ll take the second one,” said Jonathan
“No! Not Reba!” Leland begged. Jonathan smiled through his Foxworthy-esque mustache.
“Dude, you’re keeping it in your basement. Just give it up,” said Peter. Leland put his head down, and held it out for Jonathan to snatch. He and Peter shared one last laugh, before succumbing to a dead silence. It was as if all four men had suddenly realized at the exact same time just how absurd it was that they’d been playing jenga for six hours.
“Why can’t we play something else?” Asked Peter, breaking the silence. “Why’d we have to stop playing poker?”
“You know why,” said Alex. “It got too intense. Once our wives found out we we’re betting money, we had to stop.”
“I know, but… Can’t we at least play something intelligent?”
“Dude, we tried Monopoly,” Jonathan replied. Leland tenderly placed a hand on his black eye, and glared agonizingly at Alex.
“Why don’t we just switch back? What’s the worst that could happen?” asked Peter.
“Yeah, no,” Alex scoffed.
“I don’t know about you, but I have absolutely no control in my relationship with my wife,” said Leland.
“Same,” said Jonathan. They were quiet again.
Alex yawned. “Hey, does anybody have the time?” he asked.
“It’s a quarter till five,” Peter replied. “Shoot! I gotta get home.” Suddenly, Leland started hyperventilating.
“No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no!!!” he cried. My wife gets home anytime now!”
“You’re wife get’s home at four forty five? What is she a stripper?” teased Jonathan. Leland threw an empty beer can, and hit the thirtysomething square in the face. “No, as a matter of fact, she’s a nurse. She’s working the night shift, and she’ll be very very grumpy if she comes home to find this mess… I- I… She’ll kill me.”
“Kill you?” Alex retorted. “Aren’t you exaggerating a bit?”
“No. I’m not. She will shoot me down like Bonnie and Clyde, and I will be dead.”
“Come on, she can’t be that bad,” said Alex.
“Have you ever met Leland’s wife?” asked Peter. Alex shook his head.
“You know Nile’s wife, from frasier?” asked Jonathan.
“Yeah… But you never get to meet Nile’s wife.”
“No one should ever have to meet Leland’s wife.”
“We’ve gotta go you guys!” shouted Leland. “we have to---”
The small man was silent at the sound of the front door opening on the floor above. He mouthed the words “Oh God.”
“What’s so bad if she catches us down here anyway?” asked Alex. “You can just tell her we spent the night.
“No, I can’t. She already thinks I’m gay and---”
“Leland, everyone thinks you're gay,” Peter admitted. Jonathan and Alex shrugged in agreement.
“LELAND?” called a woman with a voice that sounded like lung cancer.
“Everyone keep your voices down!” her husband commanded.
“YOU KNOW WHAT!” shouted Alex. Everyone shushed him. “You know what,” he whispered, “I’m going up there.”
He valiantly ignored his friends attempts to hinder his passage to the stairwell. He reached the basement door with only one question on his mind.
“Hey Leland, why does this door have a handle, and a knob?”
“My wife can’t use door handles. So we installed a knob.”
“Why can’t she use handles?”
“She’s got Megan Fox thumbs.”
Alex stared at the door handle, and slowly turned the knob.

July 16, 2015 06:55:31 PM





The sun rose and everything fell. The heatwave that poured through the city left urbanites dragging themselves back into their apartments. Plants withered. Trees leaned over and touched the sidewalks. And Alex had been waiting outside the cafe for at least an hour.

It was one of those No-Animals-Were-Harmed, Would-You-Like-Some-Kale-Chips-With-That vegan places. Not Alex’s first choice, but Ginger wouldn’t be caught dead anywhere else.

He wasn’t surprised-- waiting on Ginger was typical-- but Alex’s patch of eczema threatened to malign into skin cancer in the summer sun. The chaffing from his collar wasn’t helping. He crossed his legs. He uncrossed them. Phone buzzed.

*B there in 5*

He swiped the message with his paw. Rolled his eyes. If this were a normal date he would get angry at her. Call her a bitch or something, to which she might retaliate by bringing up their difference in breeding. She was Uptown. He was not.

But this wasn’t a normal date, so when Ginger finally arrived at the cafe, Alex was particularly forgiving. He complimented her little boots (even though he hated when she wore clothes). He asked about her brothers (who were always mixed up in some fight). He even asked about Ginger’s mother (who, after meeting Alex, stuck her nose up higher than God and never looked down since). Suffice it to say that Ginger and Alex had plenty going against them. Today would make that balancing act even more complicated. If Alex wanted to keep Ginger, he could not screw the pooch.

“So,” Alex started, almost lapping up the water in front of him, ”what have you done today?”
Ginger’s lips tightened at the question.

“Excuse me?”

Alex panted for a moment, dissecting the previous for any cause of offense.
“I, uh, just wondered what you had done today.”

She stared at him for a moment. Held eye-contact as she leaned over, dipped her tongue in her drink. Every bad-relationship move he had ever made flashed through his mind. Alex had never cheated on Ginger, but he had an elaborate fantasy about being overpowered by a large female boxer. No way she could have known about this… unless--

“Have you been on my laptop?” He almost mumbled.
“What? No… why?”
“Nothing. What were we talking about?”
“You didn’t even notice my new haircut. I spend so much time grooming and you never say anything about it!”

Alex made a mental note to delete his browser history, and proceeded to give Ginger the whole, “I always think you’re beautiful. Your hair looks so good. Oh wow, so natural.” After a few minutes of this, she relaxed.

“Thank you. I know.”

Thankfully, at that moment, the waiter slithered out to their table.

“Ssso are you two ready to order sssomething? Sssome iccced coffee or sssome sssweet tea?”

Ginger proceeded to compliment the waiter on being, “So freakin adorable! Oh and you dress so snappy too-- I have this friend that you’d be perfect for!” to which he just stared back at her. After a moment of deeply awkward, stereotyped silence, she cleared her throat. Readjusted her collar.

“I’ll just have a Responsibly Farmed Iced Black Coffee and one of your Organic Never Physically-Touched salads.”
“Isn’t coffee incredibly unhealthy for us?” Alex asked.
“And chocolate, but that’s never stopped me before.”
Alex raised his eyebrows.
“I’ll just stay with the water, thanks.”

The waiter nodded and slithered back inside the cafe. Alex stared at the table, the truth turning over in his stomach.
“What’s wrong, Alex? You’re being weird.”
“I just-- it’s nothing.”
“No, you’re acting different. What’s going on?”

The question was less of a “What’s Going On” and more of a “Please Tell Me And Stop Making This Conversation About You.” Even so, Alex whimpered. The hair on the back of his neck stood up. He knew the truth was going to come out at some point.

“What does it mean to be a wiener?”
“Excuse me?”
“I mean,” his voice shook as the words slipped out, “What does it mean to be a wiener dog?”

She looked back at him. Ginger’s face was still.
“What are you talking about, Alex?”
“I just…”

And he told her. And as the truth slipped from his lips, Ginger’s face contorted between confusion, shame, and understanding. He told her everything. Every detail-- the snips, the cuts, the stitches. In his embarrassment, he left out nothing. When he was finished, the silence that hung over the table was whistle-pitch. The two canines sat across from each other, waiting for something to break the tension. Finally, the waiter slithered back out, carrying the iced coffee and salad on his back. Eyes down, he lisped at them.

“Isss there anything elssse I can get for you two?”

Any of Ginger’s previous (and poorly placed) enthusiasm was wiped clean away. She simply shook her head, collar jingling as she did so. The waiter slithered away immediately.

“So you’re a bitch now?” She stared into her super-gross-vegan salad.
“I don’t… I don’t think so. I mean, I still have--”
“But you lost your--”
“Yes. I lost them both. But that doesn’t mean I’m not--”
“We have to break up.”
“Please! I can fix this.”
“Apparently someone already did that for you.”

Alex’s mouth hung open.
“Just give me a chance. I promise I can make this work.”

The whining in his voice was devout and when Ginger finally looked up at him, Alex offered the largest, most sincere puppy-dog eyes that he could muster…

Two days later, Ginger and Alex sat in the Animal Clinic (yes, that sketchy one on the corner of 2nd and 8th). In sunglasses and a scarf, Ginger positioned herself behind an old copy of “Doggy Style.” Beside her, Alex shook in his chair (similarly to the tan, bug-eyed Chihuahua sitting across the waiting room-- potentially pregnant). His tail was frozen between his legs. He almost jumped out of his seat when his name was called.

He looked at Ginger for a second, hoping for some support. When he found none-- she was too busy reading “The 10 Tips To Please Your Stud”-- Alex took a breath, pulled at his collar, and approached the window.

“You’re Alex?” The secretary purred. Instantly, there was something about her that Alex didn’t like. “Please sign these.”

He took the pen from her, fumbled with it a little, but eventually maneuvered it between his two paws. Scratched his name into the medical forms. Pushed the pen and paper back to her.

“And you are here for…?” She placed her claws awkwardly between the papers.

“Uh. Prosthetic, um, prosthetic implants.”

“Okay,” her whiskers twitched, “If you’ll just head through that door, Dr Equus will see you now.”

He nodded. After one last look at Ginger (who was now in the middle of “How To Keep A Leash On Your Guy”), he turned to face his future. Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 15, 2015 05:30:32 PM





The sun rose and everything fell. Except for the sun, which, as previously stated, rose. The falling was mostly done by Alex Jones, and, both luckily and atypically for him, it was good falling. It wasn’t into the unwelcoming path of a vehicle or a body of water, but rather into the blissful rapture of sleep. A few other irrelevant things fell as well, like a nuclear warhead on Yemen and a stupid child into the Grand Canyon, but the most important falling was done by Alex. He needed it. Alex had spent the entirety of the night drafting a letter to his local newspaper, endearingly and coincidentally named “Local Newspaper.” His repeated letters to Local Newspaper had rendered him effectively nocturnal; the best requests, Alex figured, came to him at night.
“Dear Local Newspaper,” it read.
“It’s me again.
I understand your rejection of my most recent proposal, although, admittedly, it leaves me slightly disappointed. If you do not recall this rejection, I’ve reattached your harshly written letter below for further examination, and, perhaps, reconsideration.

Dear Alex,
We do not possess the power to “make hyenas less happy” nor do we understand what that means.
Please stop sending proposals.
Warmest regards,
Local Newspaper

I have a new proposal.
As a child, I was often described as “petite” or “looking like a female.” Other boys would point at my high-waisted hips or my soft facial features and laugh. Often times, following these traumatic emotional punches, they’d raise their wide-set shoulders in preparation for additionally traumatic physical punches. The orthodox male physique is optimal for delivering bruise-causing and, subsequently, skin-lacerating punches.
I had dreams that my fairy-like body would lead me to a life of dancing. I used to spend late nights dancing my cares away at Donna Summer’s Boogie Bonanza Dance Club until Donna died and it was turned into something called "The Unwieldy Penis." I no longer go there.
I thought, perhaps, that I could instead take up the hobby of feeding the ducks at the nearby duck pond. To my dismay, I learned that ducks are profoundly misogynistic. Upon arriving at the duck pond the first time (and every single time proceeding), I find that Juan Carlos is there. He speaks little English, but his sinewy muscles and toned body speak for him. The ducks favor Juan Carlos. Whenever the ducks gravitate toward him, he rewards them by removing his shirt. They cheer and applaud his masculinity (You can’t hear it, but I know they’re doing it). He’s also always sweating. I’ve attempted removing my shirt, but the ducks confuse my frail body for that of a woman’s and therefore tend to avoid me.
With nowhere left to turn, it’s often the case that I’m somewhere in my mother’s house, cradling my knees and whispering the lyrics of Donna Summer’s I Feel Love ever so gently to myself for hours. My mother requested that I “leave her house because she’ll never find a lover this way.”
How can you help me? Good question.
I think it may have been God (or perhaps a member of the papacy) who said, “Bones are a privilege, not a right.” I find this statement incredibly profound. If all bones are removed from every male’s body, members of the daintier crowd (like myself) will finally feel on-par with the masculinity of other males. Biomedical research (that I’ve conducted) proves that this is possible. I understand your concerns regarding my biomedical research, which I’ve additionally attached below for reconsideration.

Dear Alex,
Please do not conduct biomedical research.
Warmest regards,
Local Newspaper

When all men take on this amorphous form, we will become more or less indistinguishable from each other. This way, we will be able to refocus our hateful energies away from feminine men and turn them toward the real problems like ISIS and hyenas. We’ll still be able to enjoy all of the fun activities that have not been forcibly taken from me, like the following:
Did you know that government-ordered executions cost the taxpayers up to 45 billion dollars every year (I’d imagine)? With my new system in place, euthanizing a death row convict costs no more than a shallow pool of water and a heavy lead weight. I recently purchased a baby pool and 30 pounds of lead for under 12 dollars. That’s it. No more squirming or resisting from those pesky bones of theirs. They’ll lie dormant under the surface of the water until they eventually inhale enough water to die.
Women would benefit greatly from my proposal as well. Think about all those abusive husbands back home. In the post-bone era, those classic binge-drinking-followed-by-beating sessions become much more tolerable. And all those vacations to Baja you wanted to go on with your girlfriends? Now your husband won’t be able to physically or verbally protest in the slightest. Plus, no more nights doubled over in the kitchen cooking your husband his favorite meal. His favorite meal is tap water now. It doesn’t matter. What’s he going to do?

Look, the point I’m trying to make is this: I really want this to happen.

Please do this.

Yours now and forever,
Alex Jones”

Alex woke up several hours later, glazed in a post-sleep syrup of sweat and literal maple syrup. He picked the letter up from his desk and read it in the light of a new day. It was good. Too good, perhaps. He was shaking at the sheer power that this letter possessed. It was his best one yet. There was no way that they could reject his request this time. He walked to his door, clutching the letter in his hand.. As he glanced outside at his mailbox, revelling in the imminence of the future, he almost felt bad. “Almost,” being the operative word there, as in, “he never quite got to the point where he even felt remotely bad.” His shaking was due entirely to self-involved excitement. All it took was a trip to his mailbox, and he would be assured a perfect life. It was a cold fact that Local Newspaper would finally carry out his request. Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 13, 2015 06:52:26 PM





The sun rose and everything fell. It seemed like Alex’s mind was a machine, having a meltdown after 16 years of operation. Not that it had ran perfectly, though. His head throbbed as a series of maggots rummaged curiously through the recesses of his mind. It was a Wednesday morning, and Alex needed to hop on the bus, but he couldn’t even lift his lanky figure, nevermind his head. He had special plans for today- show off his new unicorn capris, get an A on his autobiography, “Potato in a Rose Garden”, and..wait, what? One maggot peeled a note from a frontal lobe and read aloud.

“Go to the lab to get the proper ingredients for chloroform.”, Gavin the maggot read. “Then cover a washcloth with it and replace Jeffrey's gym washcloth with it.” The maggot hissed. He knew that teenagers could be a bit odd, but this young man had something off in his wiring. He slipped the note back in and pulled out another one. “Replace the water in the water fountain with the sodium fused tears of my misery.” His face contorted in disgust and he reached for his notepad. Disturbed sadist, he scribed. Alex’s limbic system conveyed that the young man was simmering in a state of confusion. Meanwhile, another one of the bugs plodded into the perhaps most grotesque area yet-the prefrontal cortex. Here, they would be tuned into his history, from the time Alex was a pudgy patootie to his tween years. Alex heard a loud snicker as maggot Bruce hopped onto the play button, the film of an old memory projecting itself onto the walls encasing his brain. I still have that?, Alex thought. The video showed a tinier version of himself, likely 3-4 months old, lying in a crib, clad into a powder-blue onesie that was adorned with trains. His mother’s faced glowed with a grin, reaching for the stoic-faced babe snuggling him close to his chest. The pests huddled together, all eager to see little Alex. A chorus of cooing arose as the woman rocked the child gently, one of the insects even wiping away a tear of joy. The coos turned to clamorous laughter as the infant burped, spilling pale brown liquid on his mother’s cerulean cardigan. Alex gasped, his conscience peering down from the center of his mind. His embarrassment rose as another tape was pulled out, this time dating back to his first day of kindergarten at Pink Meadows Elementary. Alex, who donned a banana-colored tee and black jeans, slowly made his way towards the center of the classroom.

“Hello, young man!”, the middle aged teacher, Mrs. Grieves, greeted warmly.

“H-hi”, Alex murmured shyly, his feet shuffling together.

“May I ask your name?”

“Alex Nuhaven.”, he replied, wide brown eyes darted across the bright red carpet.

“Well, Alex, what would you like to be when you grow up?”, Mrs. Grieves prompted.

“An adult.”, Alex replied with a blank expression.

Mrs. Grieves chuckled. “Why, that will most certainly happen, hon!”, she chimed. “But what kind of job are ye hankering for?”

Alex shrugged. “A delivery man”, he claimed.

Mrs. Grieves looked back at the rest of the kindergarten class. “Why, isn’t that interesting, boys and girls?”, she exclaimed. One child had claimed they wanted to an actor, another a ballerina. She transferred her attention back to Alex. “Why do you want to be a delivery man?”

“So I can you stalk you all!”

The class went dead silent.

“Creepy…”, Ellie White muttered.

“She’s right”, one of the pests agreed, popping some popcorn into his petite pie-hole.

Mrs. Grieves was equally stunned. “That-that’s very neat, Alex.”, she stammered. “You may take your seat now.” The tape stopped. For their final film, the maggots got a glimpse of Alex’s first taste of middle school. 10 year old Alex plopped down at the lunch table at the end, opening his lunch box that was decorated with dank memes. He pulled out a bowl of jello salad, a string cheese, and a pouch of filtered pear juice. Furiously, he tore away the straw wrapper and jabbed at the top hole until he gained access. Alex sipped slowly as he heard footsteps nearby. He saw a lass with bouncy, dark brown curls sit her lunch tray next to his spot.

“Hi, what’s your name?”, she asked, a spoonful of fruit cocktail passing through her fuschia lips.

“I am Alex.” he replied before unwrapping his string cheese. A pang of awkwardness shot through his chest and he began to writhe around in his seat.

“Awesome!”, she squealed. “My name’s Mandy.” She reached her manicured hand out for a handshake. When her hand remained empty, she took Alex’s hand into her own and wiggled it up and down. Alex’s eyes widened and he gritted his teeth. “Nice to meet you, Alex!”

Alex smirked. “I also have some nicknames, too”, he announced.

Mandy beamed. “Ooh, what are they?”, she asked, wiggling around ecstatically. She leaned into his face and purred. “I bet they’re reallyy kawaii!”

“Turdnugget.” he answered. “Jerky Turkey. Butterball. Lemon Head.” He chomped into his jello salad and swallowed. “I am not quite sure what they mean. No one will tell me.”

Mandy cocked an eyebrow, but smiled. “I bet I can find out!”, she insisted. “Trust me, I’m reeaall good at persuading!” Her coppery irises stared Alex’s leafy green ones intently.

Alex simpered gratefully. “Okay.”

“Told you I was good at persuading.”, Mandy said smugly. A weight settled on her jaw. Alex was pressing his head of light brown tresses against hers.

“I’m waiting.”, Alex sighed.

The maggots stopped the movie. “Hold up!”, maggot Salisbury called. “This child can hear voices?!”

“Mmm, sugar bear, that’s right!” The figure of Alex’s conscience was replaced with a curvy woman with plump cherry lips, who whipped her pin-straight, raven locks. “My name’s Suzanne. Nice to meet you, doll-babies.” She shrieked as she tripped over, sinking back into Alex’s brain as a new figure arrived.

“Howdy there, folk!”, he greeted, waving. “I’m Jake Western-and”. The young cowboy pummeled to the ground.

A tiny girl hastened through with pale skin, a corset, and a cotton candy lolita skirt decorated with cupcakes. “I’m Aikino!”, she squeaked. She was promptly nudged aside by an older man, his ecru skin weaving bulging muscles.

“AND I’M RUSSELL!”, he boomed, flexing his arms. “OOHH YYEAAHH!”

The cream-colored bugs shot each other glances. “N-nice to meet you.”, maggot Henrietta managed. The image sooned morphed back into Alex’s body. “Oh, there you are, Alex!”

Alex’s conscience crawled down his brain, utilizing the snarls as a ladder. “Who are you guys and what do you need?” he snarled, hurdling to the floor of his mind.

Maggot Fry flipped open his snakeskin wallet, revealing his business card . “We’re BRATS”, he deemed.

Alex cocked his head to the side. “Thanks you very much for that comment, Captain Obvious.”

Fry shook his head. “Brain Rewirers for Adults, Teens, and Seniors.”, he said matter-of factly. “We’ve gone through your files, and I have came to a conclusion. You’re 68% evil-probably ranking neutral evil on the alignment chart. You’ve lost 90% of your marbles.” Indeed, only a few round marbles were rolling around his brain. “You’re more awko than a taco, and you’re insane in the ole membrane.” With a cloud of smoke, he was dressed as the grim reaper, scythe in place. He waved the scythe, sparks flying through the air. In his mind were 3 wooden doors, one burgundy, one turquoise, and one gold.

“Homo Sapien, choose wisely.”, he cautioned. “If you choose the first one, your memories will be cleansed.” The maggots plastered an artificial smile on their faces, holding brooms and buckets of overflowing, soapy water. “The basics will remain-names, dates, how to masticate, how to pinch loaves, etc. But the unclean acts you have committed will be sent to oblivion, spaghettified by a black hole.” He went to the second door. “This is the door of dreams.”, he stated. “All your evil desires will be fulfilled-but there will be a backfire. Your heavenly pursuits-such as being a meme master or feasting on Kepeche Son, will never come true!”. He motioned to the final door on the right. “This is perhaps the most curious door.”, he affirmed. “If you choose this door, you will be sent to the planet of Shiekdabudei. Like Earth, it has its ups and downs. Shiekdabudei is most famous for its nightclubs, its fuel on cheesy pizza bagels, and its most common career of being an admin. Your mind will be transferred to a body like your own, while I’ll take over this one.” Alex didn’t find the decision an arduous one. Fry was more than welcome to have his body if that’s what pleased him. In fact, in the midst of his judgement, he could feel his younger sister, Dazey, blippng him with his anime body pillow in an attempt for him to get up. If there was a refresh button on his life, so be it! With his punny puns, he could be a grate admin like a litany of the cheesy pizza bagel-loving inhabitants.. Maybe he wouldn’t be a potato in a rose garden; he would leave a copy of his autobiography for people to read his enriching history. Alex pointed to the golden door.

“I’m gonna go with this one.” Alex decided. “Ciao, brats.”

“Patience, youngling!”, Fry shouted. “Are you absolute certain-” Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 13, 2015 01:48:48 PM





From Sunup to Falldown
The sun rose and everything fell. It seemed like it was the theme of my day: falling. As the moon fell away, the sun shined through my white curtains. The light burned through my eyelids at far too early of a hour. I slapped at my pesky alarm clock, until I realized that the sun is what awakened my morning alter ego. If awoken too early, I’m like a cross between a grumpy bear and an angry cat. The only way to rid of my Ursidae side was to get the delicious gold that was being brewed downstairs, which seemed like a thousand miles from my fluffy warm bed. After a self pep talk which consisted of reminders of buttery waffles and warm coffee, I went to rise up and gracefully start my day. One small step for me and — my blanket twisted fiercely around my foot. I face planted into my carpet and luckily received my makeup for the day: rug burn. The blanket then flew over my head and covered me. It was like my bed didn’t want me to leave and it was doing whatever it could to make me stay. I wrestled and rolled until the blanket let go of me. When I was finally successful, I opened my door to the hallway. My eyelids were still trying to break away from the cement that kept them closed. I rubbed my eye profusely because they still didn’t seem to want to open. Now I, being the skilled multitasker I am, kept walking blind through my hallway towards the scent of coffee. I was walking until my foot lost feel of the carpet. I cracked open my eyes only to witness the disaster that was before me. My foot kept going while my body fell backward and down the stairs. THUMP…WHACK…BAM into the wall at the bottom of the stairs.
Now my eyes were wide open. I laid there in shock as my sympathetic cat walked over my body. I’m not a toddler anymore, yet I just tumbled down the stairs. Am I toddler? Do I cry when I’m sleepy or hungry? Sometimes. Do I trip randomly and fall hard? Yes. Do I ever get dis— I wonder if the coffee is ready? With this thought in mind, I once again gathered myself and stood up. I took a careful step forward and looked down. Of course, my homicidal cat was ready to swerve in front of my feet and trip me. “Not today!” I said as I picked him up and walked toward the kitchen. I filled his food bowl to the top because I knew a half-filled food bowl was just not edible in the eyes of a cat. After the task was finished, I drifted towards the flower that held the sweet morning nectar—the coffee maker. I poured and prepared the ideal cup of coffee and sat down at the kitchen table. That’s when it appeared outside my glass patio door.
A human figure darkened by the backdrop of bright morning sun. It was my all-too-cheery-in-the-morning neighbor, Alex. I disappeared before he saw me and ran to the garage. Didn’t I have to go food shopping today? I jumped into my car while the garage door slowly crept open and I was ready to make my speedy getaway. I backed up fast and then braked fast, because one of the many giant oak trees from my yard laid perpendicular across my driveway. “That’s what I came to tell you about. There was a crazy storm last night and your tree fell down! At least it wasn’t my beautiful tree. Did you know my tree is the biggest and tallest one in the neighborhood? Isn’t that just crazy? I mean the power these storms have. It reminds me of the storm I saw while I was in the Bahamas last August. That was just unbelievable. I was talking to my grandma over the phone. I just got the newest iPhone on the market, so the call came in crystal clear. She had just finished mowing her lawn with the mower I bought and then the clouds came and…” This is what he does. He spills his life story and parades his wealth every time he sees a human face. It doesn’t matter who it is, he will find you. When he finds you, he will talk your ear off. He doesn’t even pause to breathe. “…and then my dog was outside trying to go to the bathroom as quickly as he could because he just hates to get his paws —“ “Hey Alex, my indoor plant sprinkler system broke today, so I’m in a hurry.” I don’t even own a house plant. “Oh…well I bet it’s because of the storm last night. Just look at the tree it took down. I bet you—“ I slowly moved my car into the garage. “Okay bye, Alex.” He was still talking nonstop as my garage door shut.
After that disaster of an escape, I grabbed my cold coffee and retired to the living room to watch some TV. I was enjoying one of my favorite shows and the company of my hairy cat. As Prison Mike went on a rant about Dementors, my doorbell rang. “Neighbors!” my antisocial cat and I hissed. Trying not to be seen I peeked around the wall towards the front door. No. There was Alex standing at the door with a group of neighbors behind him. These were the type of people I’d rather not communicate with on a daily basis. You know these people, and maybe you’re one of them. The type of people who try to peek inside your house, or they eye up your new car wondering if they can do better. They watch each other’s kids go by wondering how they can spoil their kid more than their neighbor’s. I realized they knew I was here and they wouldn't leave until they heard enough of their own voices. I slowly walked toward the door and opened it. “Hi there again! Well the neighborhood committee observed that there’s a fallen tree in your driveway. According to the rules of the neighborhood, you are responsible for picking it up within five hours of it falling. Otherwise we will have to charge you money.” I stood there astonished, “Why should I have to pay you money for something as simple as a fallen tree in my yard?” “Because fallen trees and dead plants can tarnish the reputation of this neighborhood. We are known for our clean and perfect lawns.” The things these people worry about in life. “Okay,” I said with fake enthusiasm and my biggest fake smile, “I will get that cleaned up right away!” They apparently heard what they needed to hear and left me alone. I had developed a plan as they walked away.
I painstakingly maneuvered my car around the tree and set off for town. I found the items I needed to get, I called up my best friend, and then I explained to her what we were going to do. I arrived home and she parked near my driveway. I handed her headphones and a leaf blower and I took the chainsaw. “Do you know how to work one of these?” I asked. “I think you just pull the cord or something.” My chainsaw roared to life and it was perfect. It was perfect because it was louder than I had predicted. I proceeded to slowly cut the tree into thin slices, while Sophie waved around the leaf blower. Then I looked up and saw my plan was working. Alex was standing at his window looking very agitated. A half an hour went by and I was still cutting the tree and Sophie was still waving the leaf blower around, when Alex came out of his house. He came towards me and said something but I pointed at my headphones and said, “I CAN’T HEAR YOU, I’M TOO BUSY CLEANING UP THIS TREE!” He then came closer, so I turned around with the chainsaw in hand. He flew back to his house as if he saw a ghost.
Sophie helped me clean up the tree and I rewarded her with a call to the pizza delivery man (we have a weird obsession with pizza). We were anxiously waiting at my kitchen table, when I noticed my bird crazy cat walk into the room and delightfully dropped a very colorful bird at our feet. He looked up with pride as this was his most colorful trophy he had ever caught. “I didn’t know we had those kind of birds flying around here,” Sophie said. “We don’t. I think this is a parakeet.” That’s when we looked at each other in horror. It was Alex’s prized bird that he claimed he bought from the best breeders and he had paid A LOT of money for it. We knew this because he frequently brought up how much money he spent on it. The doorbell rang and I ran to the door to get the delicious pizza. I paid and received my pizza, and I was about to close the door when a foot popped through to keep it from closing. I opened it and saw a very angry Alex. He asked me if I had seen his bird. I was about to reply but then my good-timing cat brought his prize over to show to Alex. Alex’s eyes were bugging out of his head. He looked from my cat to me and said, “I’m going to have your cat euthanized.” He swiped the pizza out of my hand, opened it, and let it fall and splatter onto my sidewalk. I shut the door and ran crying over to Sophie. “He ruined the pizza! The pizza!” I cried. “He also said he would put your cat down.” “That is NOT going to happen.” I took the parakeet and threw it out the window towards his house.
After Sophie left, I cleaned up the house. I saw Alex walking over with papers in his hand and I was going to the door when the trembling started. All my dishes started to jump in their cabinets and the drop light above the table began to swing. I crouched to the floor and witnessed Alex fall over onto the lawn. After what felt like forever, it stopped. I had lost a few dishes and had a traumatized cat running around, but otherwise the earthquake didn't do much. I saw Alex get up again and I walked over to him. With a bewildered face he said,”See these papers, they explain how and why I should sue you for—-“ an aftershock shook the earth once more. After they subsided, he began talking again, “The, uh, the papers explain how I am going to sue you and—“ But I wasn't listening, I was observing how a tree seemed to be stretching further and further to one side. “Alex,” “Your cat did kill my—“ “Alex…” “I guess I could just sue you for money-“ “SHUT UP AND LOOK BEHIND YOU!” He turned around in time to witness one of the largest trees in the neighborhood fall and crash violently through the roof of his house. The roof of his garage that housed his Porsche collapsed. His windows shattered and roof tiles flew everywhere. After all the motion stopped, I watched him stand there with his mouth gaping. Then he strung out a line of swear words as he ran over to the side door to his garage. I couldn't even imagine what his car looked like after that long fall. He stood at the door for a minute, as if he was too scared to enter. I said, “You better hurry and get that tree picked up! It could tarnish the neighborhood’s reputation!” Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 13, 2015 05:54:12 AM





The sun rose and everything fell.
Alex woke up to a series of ‘thumps’ that sounded from all around her. She sat up so she could get a better view, but what she saw had left her in shock.
Everything had literally fallen. Clothes, picture frames, posters; they all littered the floor. Her desk was now clear and her closet empty. Could it have been an earthquake? She knew she hadn’t felt anything. Before she could come up with any other reasonable assumption, she saw something that gave her chills.
Things were starting to disappear. First it was small things, little trinkets, and she was sure her eyes were playing tricks on her. Soon enough, though, her clothes and notebooks and other things were gone. Then her nightstand, and then her desk. Her now empty walls seemed to be staring down at her as she pulled her covers more tightly over herself. And then they were gone. Alex’s walls fell back, like cardboard, revealing a scene that caused equal parts terror and serenity.
It was a large white room, empty of course. Even her bed was gone, and she found herself standing although she had no recollection of getting up.
“Where am I?”
She heard the words aloud even though she hadn’t moved her lips.
“How did I get here?”
Again, her thoughts spread through the air as if they had been spoken.
“Alex, girl, calm down. You are safe, you have to remain calm.” A man had appeared from thin air, a man that she recognized immediately.
“Grandpa?” she was excited, but more scared than ever, “How are you- where are we? You’re not alive. Am I dead? Is this heaven?”
He crossed his arms, “Nah.”
“What? What question were you even answering?” A small amount of annoyance had dripped into her concoction of emotions. Was that all he had to say after all she’d just been through?
“Most of them,” he answered, “First, I’m not exactly your grandfather. I’ve just taken a form that you’ll feel comfortable around. I’m a creator, The Creator. Second, you’re not exactly dead. Today’s sunrise marked your day of judgement.”
Alex suddenly regretted not going to church, since she would have known more about it.
Before she could respond, he spoke up again, “Your beliefs have nothing to do with this. Your life was tested by how you behaved and treated others.”
“Well, how did I do?” Alex thought she was a good person. Still, she didn’t consider herself to have morals up to par with a saint or angel or god or whatever.
“This doesn’t exactly look like heaven, does it? You did alright. Not great. You’ve landed yourself in the in between, Purgatory if you will.” He started to tap his foot, “You have one chance to get to heaven or you’ll go to hell.”
“Okay, what do I have to do?” she was relieved there was a chance for her to get out of this barren land. She could only imagine how amazing it would be to get into heaven.
The Creator uncrossed his arms and a clipboard suddenly appeared in his hand. He looked over it thoughtfully. “Well, it seems there’s been a single consistent mishap. You, dear Alex, have lived your life under the influence of pretention.”
“What? What’s that supposed to mean?”
“You’re a jerk. You lie about who you are and you think you’re better than everyone else. You’re judgmental. You rode your high horse for too long, and now it’s time to make up for it.”
Alex’s head was spinning. She wasn’t judgmental! If anything, everyone else was. She was constantly surrounded by superficial idiots. It wasn’t her fault she’d been born smarter and nicer than everyone else.
“See, you’re doing it now.” He looked smug and she wished she could shelter her thoughts.
“Okay, but how do I lie about who I am?” She was sure there was a mistake on that one. Alex always liked to think that she was honest with herself.
He sighed, “Oh my God, just look at you. You’re wearing a Nirvana shirt right now.”
“What?” she was suddenly quite angry, “How is that dishonest?”
“You don’t even know any of their songs. You like to pretend you do so you can give everyone the talk about you don’t understand today’s music and how much you think it’s garbage.”
All she could think to say was, “I love Nirvana.”
“Name one song.” He was tapping his foot again.
She thought about it and then looked down to avoid his eyes. “Smells like Teen Spirit.”
“Yeah, that’s what I thought.” He laughed, “And I know that’s the only song you know. And you hate 80’s movies, you thought the Breakfast Club was overrated.”
“That movie changed me.” She was upset because he was right and she knew he knew she was lying. “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
A pencil suddenly developed in the palm that wasn’t holding the clipboard, “Okay, I’m gonna add ‘insulting God’ to the list. Anyways, you only have one way out of here, so I’d suggest losing the attitude.”
The Creator scribbled on whatever piece of paper was there while she stood with her hands clasped behind her back. She tried to clear her thoughts and keep her mouth shut to avoid more trouble. The man who looked so eerily like her grandfather used his pencil to gesture to his left, her right. She looked in that direction to find two doors that weren’t there before: one red and one blue.
“Alright,” he said, “I’ll try to make this as simple as possible. The red door leads to Hell. The blue door leads to another room, a room filled with everyone you’ve mistreated with your superiority complex. This includes most of your family, all of your friends, and every single classmate you had in high school. All you have to do to get into heaven is be honest with them.”
“Honest?” she asked, immediately nervous. “What do you mean?”
“Tell them that you were a liar. Tell them that movies from the eighties make you want to hit your head against the wall or fall asleep. Then tell them that you don’t understand 80’s music, and you listen to Taylor Swift when no one’s around. Say you actually do understand this generation, but you feel uncool when they’ve left you out so you developed a fake interest in the past so you could act like you wanted to be an outcast. Admit there’s nothing wrong with the kids you’ve known. Then, in closing, say that no matter how much you ‘don’t care’ about today’s trends or how much you’re ‘not like the other girls’, you are in no way better than anyone else.”
Alex thought about it, disregarding the fact that he could hear her. Did she really want to do that? She had prided herself on not caring what others’ thought, or at least saying she didn’t, but it would be so embarrassing to admit that everything about her was a lie.
She’d spent so many time perfecting her image. Alex would be the girl who was different, because she didn’t want to be different. She wanted to be the girl who didn’t try, the effortlessly cool one. To achieve that look, she hand selected interests that she thought were unique to high school students, to high school girls. She taught herself to play video games that she hated and forced herself to listen to a thousand different bands.
Every day she’d wear the same combination of jeans and a band t-shirt. She’d straighten her hair, just to put it in a ponytail. Alex would look at herself in the mirror and approve. She wasn’t like the girls in the hallways or in the movies, despite being white, thin, and conventionally pretty. No, Alex, was special.
All this work just to be able to say she was special. Not weird, no, Alex was special. And special meant amazing. And amazing meant better.
And no one would take that away.
She had made up her mind. She walked slowly towards the red door.
“No one should be that obsessed with their self-image. Or with themselves in general.” God had spoken, maybe to himself. She knew those were the last words she’d hear him say, but she decided not to respond. The red door was directly in front of her face.
She took a deep breath, knowing she wouldn’t be able to come back.
Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 12, 2015 04:17:22 PM





The sun rose and everything fell. Like, no, literally, everything fell. And there was a lot of shit around. Alex glanced up from where he lay in duck and cover position on the ground to see a frying pan flying.
"There goes my breakfast," he thought to himself. Bits of half-cooked sunny side up egg lay splattered on the floor next to him. The giant Russian dolls that always sat on the shelf above the window now rolled on the floor. Alex kind of chuckled at this: a fat Russian babushka stranded on her backside like a roly-poly, too fat to get up.
Once the shaking stopped, Alex slowlystood. His pants felt oddly clingy. Looking down, he realized he had unknowingly been bathing in a puddle of his spilled morning coffee.
"Damned earthquakes," he muttered to himself. He quickly shimmied out of his pants, now stained with what appeared to be brown piss, and tossed them over the back of the red kitchen chair. He figured he'd wash them later. His Superman boxers were also slightly damp, so he pulled them off too. For a moment it felt odd, standing in his kitchen butt naked from the waist down. Alex contemplated going upstairs for a new pair of pants. But then he decided it was freeing to be completely alone and uncovered. So, he stayed in the kitchen and surveyed the damage. His work papers had gone everywhere, some stained at the corners with coffee. They could wait. After all, if they got damaged, it just meant he didn't have to read them. Alex bent down and picked up the bottom half of one of the Russian dolls, and then began to deposit its "children" inside. Suddenly, there was the distant sound of a key in the lock of the front door.
"Shit," Alex whispered.
Katarina entered the way Katarina tended to enter: loudly, grandly, in a way that bordered on theatrical.
From the foyer she belted, "Oh, darling Alexander, are you alright?" Alex was, in fact, very far from fine, considering his boss was about to walk in on him in a less than decent state. He jumped for the stained pants, which were, he figured, better than nothing. Alex cursed himself. Why in the world had he given his psycho boss a key to his house? True, it was helpful when she had to drop off papers for him at his home office. But now that little key was about to get Alex in a shitload of trouble. Katarina's heels clicked down the hallway, and her big-breasted shadow appeared around the corner before Alex could even get one leg in his pants.
Now it is important to understand Katarina before one can understand her reaction to the scene that awaited her in the kitchen. Alex's boss was eccentric, to say the least. She'd made all her money selling bachelorette party favors. You know those dick lollipops? She invented them. Candy underwear with flashing lights? Patented. There wasn't a silly sexualized do-dad she hadn't had a hand in creating. Needless to say, the woman was filthy rich. In her line of work, Katarina had cause to think about sex a lot, albeit in a playful, rather ridiculous way. Therefore, it was understandable that she was well "researched" on the topic of sex. Basically, the woman was comfortable with dicks. So, when she walked in on her employee, Katarina wasn't appalled, disgusted, or even offended. In fact, as Alex grabbed the closest item to hide his penis (an oversized Russian tchotchke head), she just looked him head to toe and smiled.
"Why Alexander darling, I didn't know you masturbated this early."
Alex stared at her, his look of horror growing. There was nowhere to go. Just him and his cleavage-baring boss with a puddle of cold-coffee between them.
"I-I just got a little coffee on my pants during the earthquake, that's all," Alex stammered as he worked with one hand to pull up his pants. He couldn't quite get his other foot into the khakis, and he began to wobble on one leg. He was going down. Katarina rushed forward to help with her hands flung forward in a dramatic pose, as though she was the heroine trying to save her lover from falling off of a cliff. As Alex teetered to the side, bare toes gripping the ground for balance, hands occupied with dick-covering and pant-pulling, the worst happened. Katarina's heels, those ridiculously tall, bedazzled heels, slipped in the coffee spill. For a moment, it looked as though she would regain her balance. She tried to steady herself, arms out to the side like an ice skater. But it was no use. With a high-pitched shriek, she stumbled into Alex, knocking him over like a bowling pin. The Russian doll rolled away, the painted on smile seeming to smirk at the pair. Katarina had landed flat on top of Alex, her boobs in his face, her perfume smothering him. This was a nightmare.
Katarina began to laugh. She had this loud, shrill laugh that echoed off the walls. Alex had never been more embarrassed.
"Well, Alexander, I must say, I've never flung myself at a naked man with quite so much abandon!" she chortled. She didn't make a move to get up.
"I-I'm so sorry, Ma'am. But if you could please move off of—"
"Shhhh!" she interrupted. "I will hear no apologizes. It has been a pleasure to land on your semi-naked body." With an exaggerated sigh, she rolled off of Alex and righted herself on her bedazzled stilts. Alex literally could not move. "Oh darling, don't just lie there." Katarina grabbed Alex's arms and hauled him to his feet. "You know I've always found you quite handsome," she whispered, slapping his butt. Alex had no words. "Meet me upstairs in ten. For-uhhum-a meeting." With a sly smile, Katarina teetered away. As she turned the corner, Alex felt numb. He looked around him, at the scattered papers and forgotten boxers and separated dolls. He contemplated going upstairs for Katarina's covertly titled "meeting." It wouldn't be that bad. In fact, it would probably be good. Lord knew the woman had lots of practice. And if he did go, he could always sue later for sexual harassment or something and get shitloads of money. If he didn't go, he'd be fired. He'd almost convinced himself it was worth it, but then he looked down at a very flat, flaccid extremity. Nope, he didn't want to go. That's what his body was telling him. So, with some measure of dignity, he pulled up his pants and tip-toed to the front door. He glanced around. Katarina wouldn't see him get away. Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 12, 2015 01:06:02 PM





“The sun rose and everything fell. Just everything! All at once, too; it was a real goddam mess. And real goddam noisy, I’ll tell ya; just a clusterfucking trifecta of clattering and squawking and popping. It was me, all the animals (two ducks, these five huge geeses I found, a couple squirrels frightened out of their goddam wits), like thirty empty cans of domestic beer (real nasty stuff in my opinion. Just tastes bad. Not worth the precious time I used up to cut out the coupons or drink a lot of). Then there was like a champagne bottle… a double pack of Tanner-In-A-Canner… my new Petsmart geeses feed and paddling pool… the outfit I was wearing the day before… some more coupons… all just fell at once, like fucking magic! Landed ass-down on the the goddam paddling pool and popped it, too. We must have been in that tree all goddam night, I’ll tell ya. Like fucking magic.”
I paused and rubbed my chin, looking really pensive and intelligent and handsome. “A weeping willow, I believe. Might have been a maple. Very beautiful, totally fine to sleep naked in. Those squirrels took a shot at my testicles at some point but, ohhh nooooo, I shut that Would’ve-Been-A-Big-Mess down real fast, like some kind of cheetah in his tree-home—like a treetah! Ha! Oh, I’ll tell ya, you should be pretty proud to know someone who could drink the Route 6 Ruby Tuesday’s dry—that’s the fucking heavyweight Ruby’s, too—and still maintain his natural panache, picking a goddam beautiful tree like that oak. Truly a tree worth walking over to from the mall parking lot and drinking in, for sure. Oh, aaannndd sleeping in afterwards, I suppose!”
My chuckle bounced off the walls of the dining room, joyously, gracefully. My God, I am the best storyteller alive. Probably the best storyteller ever born. My family was eating up every syllable, completely fucking speechless, like those people in the park after I fell naked from the elm, winking in the sun like some smooth, glorious peach. Grandma Pat looked almost dead, with her mouth open in awe, her lipliner formed in a crispy coral O of oooo-mazement. Mom was crossing her heart, probably thanking God for giving her such a miracle, such an expressive, handsome, interesting son o’ me. Dad was still holding the gravy boat he had picked up when I started my story, eyes aghast with wonderment and respect for me and my bachelor lifestyle. Yes sirree, this was just gonna be another Thanksgiving dinner made great by Yours Truly.
I flashed a charming smile toward every face at the table, all still starting at me with that look in their eyes that said, “Why, we are just truly blessed. How did we ever get so lucky? Where ever did this magnificent brain, this bright slice of heaven, with such a flair for individuality, ever come from? Indeed, we are really, really blessed.” The only person who wasn’t still gazing at me was Mrs. Peacock, the T-O-T-A-L-B-I-T-C-H from next door, who my mother decided to invite over for our S-A-C-R-E-D Thanksgiving football/dinner marathon. What could be more important in her goddam life right now than my story? Those gross tiny cats her big cat had shit out last night that she couldn’t stop yapping about before? My new geeses could eat those ugly things whole, no problem, and probably do that cool head-thrown-back-swallow thing. Mrs. Peacock probably didn’t ever hear about my geeses. She probably didn’t even know what they were capable of. Distracted bitch. Hey, watch the Discovery Channel sometime, Ch.278, instead of blabbering about your ugly diarrhea cats.
What the hell was she looking at? It didn’t even matter, but I thought I might as well see, just for the record. I glanced offhandedly over my shoulder and saw my sister Alex at the front door, holding a… pecan pie? Holding an apple pie. And my niece Lucy’s hand. No, a peach pie. Alex, like the rest of my family, was gaping at me with reverie, a tear glistening on her cheek, affected by my captivating account of the morning. Somehow, she tore her eyes away from my handsome brown ones and looked at our family behind me. Then down at Lucy. Then back at my lovely eyes. Then at the door. Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 11, 2015 05:21:04 PM





The sun rose and everything fell. It was like we suddenly lived in a different universe. Whenever the sun was out, gravity shifted, making all things that were once up, go down and vice versa. Airports were outrageous. No one could fly anywhere but straight into the ground. Alex, the town's sweetheart, was in for an eventful day. He bought an ice cream cone and was soon surprised when it started dripping upward into his nostrils. He went to throw it away, but he basically just littered into the sky. As he approached a dog park, he began to sweat... or so he thought. It wasn't any more than 70 degrees out, so he became insanely perplexed. Oddly, his sweat didn't smell like it did on average. He soon came to the realization that he was getting peed on by many dogs. This revolted him and he eventually made his way home so he could wash the disgusting smell of urine off of his body. When he finally got in the shower, he was almost shocked, but then he felt like he should've been in the Guinness Book of World Records for "World's Largest Idiot." As you can assume, the water projecting from his showering was heading straight toward his ceiling and ricocheting immediately only to partially flood his bathroom. So many things had gone wrong for him that day that he was practically retired from any more activities he had planned. Soon enough, he heard music playing loudly from his closed door and seemed confused since he was the only one home that day. Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob...

July 10, 2015 07:05:15 PM





The sun rose and everything fell.
How was she ever going to learn to paint the stars? The sun ruined everything, Alexandrea Patton decided. It bullied the moon and made everyone sweat, not to mention all those poor polar bears who were going homeless because of the melting ice caps. Revolutions around the blasted hot thing made children grow up and let Mondays happen. It had GOT to be stopped, and this small, stocky twelve year old with a bad haircut was perfect for the job.
Her plan was simple, but she calculated it carefully. Hitchhike to Europe, climb Mt. Everest, protest the sun. She'd need to pick up a band of followers along the way, as well as a rare steak in case of a necessary blood sacrifice, and of course a new water bottle. She'd probably need to ask her mom for some sandwiches. She was only in sixth grade, after all.
The night before she left she kissed her baby brother on the head, and ate everything on her dinner plate. Her mother had managed to serve broccoli just one more time before Alex flew the coop, but she didn't complain. She sat with her parents after dinner and watched some kind of show she had always put off as boring, but secretly kind of liked. It was always good to let people see you at your best moments, so they would forgive you in your worst.
Or call for a rescue squad if you were attacked by a rogue animal.
That night, a total solar eclipse went into effect. As if she had willed it herself, Alex's moon hid the Sun perfectly in orbit. The utter darkness awoke her early that morning. She slid out of her bed, put on her rain boots, and tiptoed downstairs. Her bag was waiting by the door. She slipped it onto her back, her many utensils of preparedness clanking around. Not knowing whether she would make it to the end of the earth or just the end of the driveway, she took one last look around.
Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 10, 2015 02:16:11 AM





The sun rose and everything fell. Alex stumbled out of her overpriced comforter from Municipal Attires and stared at herself in her mirror. From the mirror, she could see her massive collection of Johann Blue novels like "Searching for Anchorage" and "The Issue with the Sun".
Alex sighed and remembered her experimental rock band Nostalgia had practice today. She played her famous one string bass while her friend Rock utilized a singing technique Alex described as a "yodeling technique- but you're also drowning". They were really struggling to find gigs outside of sympathetic (and later regretful) family member's birthday parties.
Alex rummaged through her drawers of 90's clothing and settled on a vintage muumuu, three different denim jackets, cat socks, and flip flops. She looked insane, but it was for the sake of her look- insane cat lady goth.
As Alex left for band practice, she tripped over a typewriter she had bought from her local thrift store. She pondered whether getting lights installed in her room would help prevent the everyday occurrence of tripping over that typewriter. But alas, that would compromise Alex's strict aesthetic- one she could not completely define. Alex checked herself once more in her mirror to make sure she had no visible injuries when she realized something- she was an allegory for the modern grunge revival movement. She rolled her eyes and made her way towards the door of her bedroom which was covered in ironic George W Bush 2000 election posters- posters from the year she was born. Alex turned the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 09, 2015 07:40:26 PM





School Meets Reality

The sun rose and everything fell. For five days a week, seven hours out of the twenty-four, and +12 years of the 80 years the average human lives in the United States, more than 25% of the US population goes to school. *Man, who did the math? You’d think the person who divided life and school time would actually, you know, make a better ratio.* Ask any student, regardless of what grade, they’ll say school is a complete waste of time. To them, assignments, lectures, homework, etc. are simply… useless tasks. *Yep, sounds about right.*

*If you’ve been out of school for a while, let me bring back some memories.* For this story, let’s focus on one girl- Alex.
6:30 am. The alarm goes off, blaring a repetitive beeping in her ear. Of course, like every other teenager, Alex hits snooze multiple times before actually dragging herself out of bed and into the bathroom. She sorts her needs out and returns to her room to start her “beauty routine”. *If she was a guy though, she would skip the next half-hour or so getting ready as society tells guys they don’t need makeup and such to look good.* First, she starts the extensive process of applying makeup, poking herself in the eye a few times in the process. After making herself “presentable”, she puts her contacts in cause, you know, everyone else got them when they entered high school so she did too. Then, Alex sorts out the rat's’ nest on her head with a brush, straightener, and hair spray, but, when that ultimately fails, she grabs a ponytail and puts her hair up. *Note- it’s not as easy as it looks on TV. It takes a good five-ten minutes to get your hair in order. Then, another two to make sure your face isn’t pulled back because more likely than not, you are gonna make it too tight, causing you to look like a Halloween decoration.*
7:00 am. After gathering herself together, Alex is finally ready to change out of her old pajamas. Unlike many girls, Alex actually sets up her outfits the night before. *Although if we were following one who didn’t, then the whole schedule would have to be push back another hour.* After staring at herself in the mirror though, there is a 95% chance she’s gonna change the outfit anyway. This causes her to go through everything in the closet, making it look like a F5 tornado came by, but ending up on the outfit she started with anyway. *Was I the only one who did this?*
7:30. They say you should have a balanced breakfast every morning but who in the world has time for that! If she’s lucky, Alex will remember to grab a snack bar before getting into the car with her mom, but odds are she’ll forget. *I always did.*
7:35. Her mom drops Alex off on her way to work, barely making it in time before homeroom. She rushes in, takes her seat, and proceeds to stare at the clock, waiting for next period.

*At this point, I’m giving up on going hour by hour of Alex’s day so I’m gonna explain what happens in each class. After all, high school classes are different each day.*

Science. You’d think it would be experiments, labs, and dissections every week, but no. It’s notes, drawing, notes, tests, and more notes. *Did I mention notes?* This is the class that sucks unless you get the teacher that sets everything on fire. It’s also the class you have to remember to bring color pencils and a sharpener. Otherwise, you have a lot of catching up to do tonight.

Math. It stinks. Your teacher gives you a section of the book to read, take notes on, and test on at the end of the week. The homework is a set of problems the teacher glances at to make sure there are numbers on the page, then checks you off. Most everyone learned this by the second week of school, but there was the one person who did the work anyway. *Cough, cough, me.* However, it is good to have this person be in your friend group since, if needed, they would sometimes let you copy their answers. *Sometimes.* The only grades that really mattered were the tests and the projects. Whenever the teacher said there would be a project, the whole class looked at the smartest kid in the class and fought to be in their group.

Social Studies. This was the class you just drew in your journal while the teacher talked about European history or whatever and then used the history book to fill out the note sheets. If you were lucky, you got the teacher that would force the students to do skits on the spot. *Yeah, I say “lucky” sarcastically. I mean unless you were a drama student.*

English. This class was the one you dreaded going to. The first-semester lessons were the same ones every year- theme, plot, characters, etc. Though you realized the second day that you forgot EVERYTHING over the Summer so you were semi-thankful. However, this was also the class you were forced to read “classic” literature and annotate. Even the book nerds admitted to hating writing in the margins. Then, you had to “share with the class” about the book even though half the class gave up and used sparknotes despite the teacher telling them not to. *They annoyingly never got caught though.* English also had vocabulary lessons which no one ever used in their writing unless the thesaurus suggested it.

Physical Education (PE). The worst two credits you were forced to get. Everyone hated changing out into the PE uniforms, being pitted against each other and the actual athletic people, and running. *Especially running.* Then again, if you were one of the athletic people, you enjoyed this class. *How?! Just how?* The worst thing was when your crush was in this class. If you are a guy, you tried to act tough and act like running didn’t feel like internal bleeding. While if you are a girl, you tried to be good at the team games so he thought you were sporty. *If you were me though, you gave up on the whole “impressing your crush”. I felt like I was dying every time I ran and eventually I stopped hiding my pain and collapsed after every run.* This is also the class that you pretended to be sick in order to get out of the mile only to find out you would have to make it up while your crush was there and watching. *True story.*

Foreign language. Some schools require it, others don’t, but you took it because you knew colleges are looking for it. This was the class that friendships were tested. *If you finished the worksheet before me, you better give me the answers or wait for me. We said we were gonna work together, yet you went ahead!* Also, this was the class your tongue decided not to work properly and your brain decided to forget everything.

Electives. You thought these would be the best classes since you got to pick them. Yeah... no. The first day or two was fun, but you quickly realized you had to actually learn stuff that isn’t on the internet and it turned into a nightmare. *When Google couldn’t make gear-clock art and I had to pull out Yahoo or, I knew I was screwed.* Electives were also the classes with the most group projects. You were either stuck with a terrible, non-working group or… no that’s it. On the contrary, when the teacher gave you the freedom to choose your group, you were either with the working friends or the “I don’t care about the project but I care about my grade so I’m gonna criticize everything my group does but not contribute” group. *The worst was when you had no friends in that class or one friend that decides to go to another group. Yeah… We aren’t friends anymore.* It also seemed like these were the classes most people got called in/out of. When your classmates got to leave early, everyone glared at them for leaving us in prison. However, if you came in late, everything stopped and people stared at you like you’ve murdered someone. *Though, I probably murdered two.*

*Anyway, that’s the gist of class credits you have to take to graduate high school. Don’t get me started on extracurriculars and community service or cliches. Believe me, we’d be here until a preschooler graduates twelfth grade. For the meantime, let’s fast forward a bit and keep following Alex, but this time it’s her last actual class of high school before she graduates.*
Yet again Alex found herself lost in the midst of her thoughts. Even if it was her last day in this chair, this room, this school, something deep within her bubbles up- memories. From nervous first days to countless awkward conversations to dances and proms to heartbreak to senior pranks, this school was where she practically grew up. Soon college will come and go too, but then what? She guesses she’ll find out soon enough. Though she’s happy to leave and finally get started on making her own path in life, she’s gonna miss the comfort of having a routine laid out for her, as now the training wheels come off and the big guns come out. *Wait, training wheels to guns! Really?*
Silence swept across the room as all eyes turned to the clock counting down the seconds. Finally, what would be relief on any other day, came a smoothie of emotions. People all around Alex cheered while others, like her, were silent. Then, a smile broke out on her face. At first shy like it was that first day so long ago, then crazy like a madman in an asylum. Everyone rushed out the door, carrying Alex with them, an unstoppable tidal wave. Yet, she managed to break free and ended up being one of the last of her class in the building. Finally, she walked the steps her classmate trampled not long ago. Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 09, 2015 02:36:07 AM





The Perfect Plan
The sun rose and everything fell. Not that I’m crying that the sky is falling or anything, that’s strictly for the movies. Moreover, I’m not a chicken. It was perfectly ordinary day in mid-January, my mood was as normal as a hormone raging 16 year old girl can get. The sun was shining, which itself was a rare treat for Michigan winter day. I woke up as I normally do, jumping out of my bed and promptly falling face first onto the floor. Damn lazy cat. Once I had formally introduced myself to the carpet, I popped up and waltz over to my closet, a beautifully organized piece of underrated artwork if there ever was. I pull out my Coco Chanel white dress to find it had a stain on it. Did that stain know how expensive this dress was? No! Of course it didn’t. Silently cursing with the vocab that would put a dirty sailor to shame, I violently put it back onto its rack. The alternate dress was an alarming shade of lime green, that perfectly matched a pair of neon green pumps that gave me an extra three inches. Never mind that it was January, I was bringing the color of fake grass to Allerson High School if I wanted to. I sashayed down stairs an hour later, my face done up like a barbie. Today was the day that I would get Alex Morris to fall in love with me. A perfect hunk of boy, he was the star quarterback for our football team, which was ranked 132nd in the state but still managed to win every once in awhile to the juvenile detention center down the street. Not that that mattered to me, I was more worried about what delicious product he used in his hair to make it bieber perfect. With every flip of his hazel hair, I died a little of pure bliss. Oh he was the Tiffany ring to my engagement. The tree to my bird. The ken to my barbie. I was in a perfect relationship, and every once in awhile he would make it all the better by glancing my way with a confused look during english. Of course while I was in love, he was lagging a bit behind, though I had the perfect plan to finally become betrothed and cement our marriage directly after high school. We would go on to inherit a huge wad of cash from some mystery uncle and live happily with two children named Princess and Alex the second. They would have my amazing fashion sense and his cute vacant expression that was always present on his face during school.
Alex blinked as the lights came on to reveal a girl in a bright green dress, a crazed look in her eyes. He had just been walking down the halls, trying to remember the way to the cafeteria when a suspiciously tanned arm had yanked him into the janitor’s closet. And now he was racking his empty brain, he knew this girl from somewhere… Ahh, yes, she was the one in english that was constantly stinking up the room with the scent of nail polish. Lulu was her name if he recalled…. no that was the emo one. Rachel? No she was the one that refused to let him cheat off papers. He clenched his jaw at the thought of that idiot girl who had not even batted an eye at his signature hair flip that usually left girls swooning.
“Are you even listening to me?” The nameless girl half shrieked. She had started to sweat, skin toned droplets littered the cement floor.
“I’m sorry, what’s your name?” Alex said, preforming a hair flip.
The girl swooned. “Mrs. Morris.” She whispered with a loopy grin on her face.
Alex blinked. “Ayyy that’s my last name Mrs!” Alex said happily.
Mrs. regarded him oddly. And then a smile returned to her face. “So you like my plan for our future?” She twirled her hair and giggled.
What plan? Alex thought. “Yeah of course!” He said, a seducing smile on his face.
“Eeeeeee, yes!!!!!” Mrs squealed. She planted a waxy kiss on his cheek before skipping out of the room, the door closing behind her.
Alex stood up, his fingers automatically combing his hair as he whipped out a can of axe and sprayed it all over him. Trying to remember how to work the door... Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.

July 08, 2015 07:31:11 PM





The sun rose and everything fell. Everything. Every single god damn thing on that shelf. I told Alex that the shelf he built wouldn’t last a day, and look. 6AM right on the dot. Alex never had a good carpentry skills, so I should’ve expected this. But some small bit of optimism inside of me told me that maybe, just maybe it’d stay up. I guess not.
“Alex! I told you this thing was going to fall!” I called up the stairs, setting down my bowl of cereal and walking over to the mess. I bent down, going to work picking up the mess. A picture frame, a plastic flower pot with a plastic flower in it, a glass die Alex won at an arcade...wait, tape? Did he think tape would hold this up? Honestly
“S’not my fault! You just have faulty walls!” Came my roommate’s voice as he stumbled down the stairs, trying to hike his pants up.
“I don’t think the walls are the problem, so much as this tape. I don’t think this tape would even stick to itself, let alone hold a shelf up!” I shot back, picking up the assorted items and putting them back in their original places around the apartment.
“The guy at the craft store said it was strong enough to hold anything up!”
“Was it Jim.” I asked, but I knew it was. Jim was a friend of ours. We’d known him since middle school, and we knew how good of a swindler he was. He’d swindled Alex, and indirectly me, out of many bucks over the years. That was when I stopped letting Alex handle the money. And our economic standing has gone from “awful” to “bad”. What matters is now we can afford decent toilet paper.
“...Nooooooooo…” Alex lied in that way he did, shiftily looking from left to right. I gave him my trademark Vorpal Stare, and I swear he almost cracked like a statue. “...Yeeees…”
“God, Alex. This tape is thinner than my patience, and you thought it’d hold this up.” I said, plonking down onto the couch with cereal in hand. Alex gave me a cheesy grin, sitting down next to me.
“Aaaawh, don’t be such a sourpuss! It was worth a shot!”
“No it wasn’t.” With that, I clicked on the TV. Some news story about some guy dying from an oncoming train. I watched disinterestedly as they played the clip, munching on whatever sugar crunch I’d poured for myself. I let out a chuckle at the moment of impact as the guy crumpled in a satisfying shower of gore. Alex was nowhere near as excited, burying his face into a nearby cushion with a yelp.
“Guh! How can you watch that!?” Alex grunted through the pillow, and I simply reached over and tousled his bedhead.
“S’just some blood. Quite a trainwreck, really.”
“Like our lives?”
“Exactly.” I snickered. The quiet morning continued like this, as Alex and I finally built up the motivation to go get dressed, Alex making himself some toast in the process. It wasn’t long before the two of us stood at the door, all done up in our button-ups and slacks. Alex stood there for a moment, staring at the doorknob.
“...” He stood there in silence, and I leaned forward.
“...I’m scared.” He said suddenly, and if that wasn’t a tonal shift, I don’t know what is.
“Scared? Why?” Alex pointed suddenly at the doorhandle. I looked at the silver ball, leaning in very closely. There, a spider. Not even a dangerous spider. I reached a hand out, letting it crawl onto my hand. “There, there, little guy. Nothing to worry about.” I cooed, before clenching my fist and putting all my high school baseball experience to use as I threw it down the hall at such a speed that I’m pretty sure I almost put a hole in the stairwell. “Better?”
“Better.” Alex let out a sigh of relief, reaching out and putting his hand on the knob. He gasped when I leaned in and placed a kiss on his cheek.
“Come on. If you open it, you can hold my knob later.” I winked, watching Alex’s face turn a solid pink.
“G-Geez, Mike! I don’t need that when I’m trying to prepare myself for work!” He barked at me, before smiling. He leaned forward and placed a kiss on my lips, before turning back to the wooden slat between us and the outside world.
Alex stared at the door handle and slowly turned the knob.