Document 12575114

Point of View
Literary Editor
Art Editor
David Sussman
Victoria Downs
Literary Advisor
Art Advisor
Frank E. Smith
Paul A. E. Smith
Literary Judges
Art Judges
T. W. Fuller
Heidi Gatz
Allisa Nelson
Kaytee Thrun
Brenda Kay Eubanks
Jennifer L. Farrell
Sam Farchione
Professional Services
Stefan Adam, Photography
Rush Graphics, Printing
Cover Art
A preview of the artists inside
a publication of student literary and visual creative works, is
selected, edited and produced by students. Sponsored by Student
Activities, William Rainey Harper College in cooperation with the Liberal Arts
Point of View,
Special thanks to John Callahan, Harley Chapman, Marlene Hunt, Jeanne
Pankanin, Patricia Paulford, Joan Young.
Copyright© 1994 William Rainey Harper College.
All rights to creative works belong to their respective creators.
Printed on recycled paper
Table of Contents
Victoria Harres Downs
Memories of the Forsythia
T. W. Fuller*"'
The Story of the Bad Little Girl
The Story of the Good Little Girl
(after Mark Twain)
Heidi Gotz
Have You Eaten Your Dead?
The Story of Peter and Wendy
Bryant E. Stuckey *
Man and Grease
Smiles in the Oil
David Sussman
Always Crying
Kaytee Thrun
Canopy of Tree Street
Straws for Earrings
Stacey Collins
Self Portrait in Spatula
Kevin Dillon
Never Alone
Self Portrait
Jeff Doles
Don't Take Life at First Glance
Victoria Harres Downs
A Breeze of Solitude
Brend a Eubanks
Sam Farchione ***
Jen #2
Kristina Gregory
Thread Born
James Haydary
Brad Lenze
Sharon Linder
Stoneware Box
Tim Medema
Rich Mueller
Winner of the Point of View Award *
Sharon Viland
Winner of the Vivian Steward Award **
Winner of the Ray Mills Award ***
Man a n d Grease
Bryant E. Stuckey
In the pink crevice
of the blazing sunset,
The man with iron foot
and rusted leg
snaps and cracks
a harvest through a field toasted beige,
like blond baked hair.. .
. . . and as he reaches down to
straighten the blades
his fingers slick the grease,
and the light twinkles on
a cracked thumb
sticky, sopped.
On the city sidewalk
where streetlights and windshields twing
like cheap rhinestone
and the panting sewers
release their sighing fog
to the dripping taxis overhead,
The man with cashmere trenches
and angled suits
slurges and scratches his way across a
street spilled with shadows
dingy like old sock...
. . . and as he looks for his wallet
the chapped old woman
slides her oily fingers and hands along the man's green lapel
staining black.
Sam Farchione
Jen #2
not her that fou nd the dog, and so
she d i dn't get any money. But one
of the bad g i rl's d i d .
The S tory of the Good
Little Girl
(after Mark Twain)
T. W. Fuller
This good l ittle g i rl named
H arriet believed i n the Bible and
everythi n g that was good and
thought she wou l d have a
prosperous l ife on account of it. But
somehow this was j ust not so.
Everythi n g seemed to go wrong for
her. Like the time sunday school let
O N C E T H E R E WAS a good
out and she was walking home and
passed by the lake and saw a
l ittle g i rl whose name was H arriet
bunch of bad g irls skinny dipping.
her parents wishes, even when they
was not decent or moral to swim
Tilman. S h e wou l d always honor
wou l d tel l her to go stand i n a corner
for a wee k and not to move for any
H a rriet went u p to them and said it
without anything o n , and especially
o n a s u nd ay. The other g irls got out
reason; and this good l ittle g i rl knew
wh ile H a rriet started to recite
was always the fi rst to sunday
motioned for her to sit down on "this
the B i b l e most by heart, and she
sch o o l , and always stayed an hour
scripture , and one bad l ittle g i rl
log over here" and they wou l d all
or two afterwards to tal k with the
gather aro u n d . So H a rriet did this,
wou l d never thi n k to p lay hooky ,
done someth i ng right. But when
sunday school s uperintendent. She
even w h e n some of t h e b a d g irls put
knock out d rops in the school
master's coffee and everyone knew
he wou l d not wake up for a long
time and s o they all left, but not
H a rriet, she stayed and conti nued
her studies. The other g i rl s never
understood H a rriet; she was most
strange. She wou l d never lie, even
when she knew her parents would
thinking that at last she had finally
she went to sit on the log, a bad g i rl
picked u p a dead porcu pine she
had recently killed and placed it on
the l og , q u i l l s and all. And when
H arriet went to sit down she sat
down right on the porcu pine's quills
and she let off with a howl as the
other g i rl s laughed and laughed and
said what a neat trick it was . And
poor H a rriet did not sit down for a
severely whip h e r when she broke
month .
opportunity to blame it on the cat
wanted to do was turn all the bad
moving its tai l back and forth. She
tal king scripture and getti ng them
was good enough for her. And she
that way, n o matter how hard H arriet
the sugar bowl and had an
who was sitti n g on the table and
j u st said lying was wro n g , and that
was the most h onest person i n the
worl d , i t was outsta n d i n g . Even the
time when somebody said she was
the one who fou n d old Widow
McCradle' s dog, and would have
received 500 dollars reward , for the
old lady was rich . But this good little
g i rl spoke right up and said it was
The one thing H arriet really
l ittle g i rl s into g ood little g irls by
rel i g io nized. But it never turned out
tri ed , it always turned out wrong.
Once H arriet saw a bad g i rl
stealing grapes from old farmer S i l l .
And she went u p t o her and said
that there was a command ment
agai nst stealing and to put the
g rapes back and she might be
save d . But i n stead the bad g i rl
laughed and squashed the grapes
l istening to the p reacher p reach his
all over H a rriet and ran away just as
sermon . But not the other g i rl . She
the farm and spied Harriet and took
fly, getti n g closer and close r, until
steali n g from h i m, and when she
the fly. H a rriet noticed this and got
old farmer S i l l h i mself came back to
her and whipped her severely for
told farmer Sill it was not her but
another g i rl, h e whipped her again,
slowly inched her hand towards the
her hand was just about to reach
scared, a n d wanted to do something
but was frozen i n her seat, for she
for h e thought she was lyi n g . And
knew that if the g i rl were to catch
her parents saw the state her
was stil l goi n g on, that g i rl would get
then when H a rriet came home and
clothes were i n they both took turns
whipping her severely and then
th rew her i n scalding hot water to
teach her a lesson; and Harriet cried
and screamed, but she forgave
everybody that did harm to her
because that was her way.
Once th i s good l ittle g i rl saw
a crippled woman standing at the
edge of the street and was peering
down at the other end, but d id n't
seem certai n she could make it
because there were many carriages
and horsemen rid i n g along the
street, and H a rriet remembered
the fly i n her hand whi l e the sermon
struck by l ightn i n g, and H a rriet was
sure to catch some of it to. And
finally the g irl cuffed the fly i n her
hand, a n d at that very moment
H arriet j u m ped out of her seat and
started run n i n g arou nd the church
yelling, "Watch out for the l ig htni ng,
the l ig htning, it's going to strike."
But it never did, and H a rriet was
h u m il iated in front of the e ntire
congregation, and her parents were
so embarrassed that they took hold
of the scream i n g child and brought
her up to the front of the ch urch and
they took turns whipping h er. All the
hearing that good deeds do not go
while they were doing this, Harriet
to t h e woman a n d p u l l e d her across
strike that g i rl when she caught the
unrewarded a n d so she walked u p
to the other side of the road without
any trouble at a l l and smiled at the
wondered why the l ighte n i n g did not
Once when H a rriet was out
woma n and said, "There now, you
i n the wood s on a lovely Saturday
expected a pat on the head and for
sat under a tree, she heard voices
hearted little g i rl she was, in stead
down her Bible and listened u nti l the
horses trough, for she had no
cou l d see a b u nch of bad g i rls
street at all, a n d now she wou ld
hoping she m i g ht be able to
are safe and sound." But when she
the woma n to say what a good kind
the woman pushed her down in the
intention of goi n g to that side of the
have to wait u ntil traffic cleared
afternoon reading the Bible as she
com i n g her way, and so she set
voices were very close and H arriet
com i n g her way. H a rriet was happy,
rel i gion ize at least one of them . But
once more. And when Harriet came
when the bad g i rls came nearer,
wh ipping for ru ining her dress.
and smoki ng and chewi ng tobacco.
that really bewildered H arriet the
started talking scripture to them
ch u rch and she saw a fly land by
dri n ki n g a n d chewin g and how
next to her. H a rriet went right on
g i rls only laughed and cal l ed her
home she received a severe
But perhaps the one thing
most was the time she was in
her on the pew, as did the girl sitting
H a rriet noticed they were d rinking
Harriet, gai ly, went up to them and
about the evils of smokin g and
i m moral it all was. But these bad
names, a n d then one bad g i rl got u p
an i d e a t o pour liquor down her
throat and m a ke her chew some
tobacco. And s o they all took hold
of H a rriet and did just that u ntil she
book. The othe r g i rl s only laughed
and told h e r to g o away before they
tore her u p and used her to keep
the fire going. H a rriet d id not l iste n ,
b u t instead recited her scripture i n
was d ru n k, and then the bad g i rl s
h o p e s o f e n l ig htening t h e g i rl s a n d
forced it i nto H a rrriet's mouth , a n d
people. But then a big g ust of wi nd
took a big p iece o f tobacco a n d
making t h e m a l l g o o d religious
p o o r H a rriet had n o i d e a h ow to
came forth and blew the fire in
swallowi n g a l l t h e juice and much of
caught o n fi re and she ran and
chew tobacco and so she ended u p
the tobacco itself, and if that wasn't
enough it even roasted out her
H a rriet's d i rection and her d ress
screamed , then fel l to the ground
and burned and burned u ntil there
bowels and H a rriet was very sick.
was noth i n g more left of her but
home and her parents fou n d her in
scattered them all across the
i n the outhouse and locked her in
that g ood little g i rl , though she never
And H a rriet spent three days in that
through scripture she really spread
And so when H a rriet finally came
such an awful state they th rew her
there u ntil she was done being sick.
outhouse sitti n g and knee l i n g down
to m a ke herself better, and when
ashes, and the wind took and
country, a n d poor Harriet Til man ,
d i d get to religionize anybody
she was, and her parents came to
get h e r, they both severely whipped
her for g etti n g d ru n k and chewing
tobacco, and also for losing her
Bible, for she was so sick she had
forgotten about it.
N othing H a rriet did ever
came out j ust the way she wanted it
to, and she never qu ite understood
it. Finally, when H a rriet was out
singing the Lord's p raises, she
happened to come across some
bad g irl' s b u i ld i n g a camp fire , and
they were rip p i n g out pages of the
Bible to make the fire g row big and
stro n g . H a rriet wondered why such
an act l i ke this d i d not send down
lightn i n g a n d fire upon these g i rls,
for destroyin g such a book as the
Bible was sure ly some act of
d evilment, and should have caused
the sky to open up and do its worst
on those g i rl s , but for some reason
it didn't, a n d so H a rriet was quite
puzzle d . N evertheless she went u p
to t h e bad g i rls and told t h e m they
m ust be possessed by demons, for
nobody wou l d d estroy the Lord's
Kristina Gregory
Color Pencil
Tim Medema
Pen and Ink
Sam Farchione
Kristina Gregory
Color Pencil
S traws for Earrings
Kaytee Thrun
He was Void
like a blank space in time
a mystery unfolded
in the pages
you stuck together
as a child
tightly pressed
with Elmer's Glue
if you rip them apart
you destroy and create­
that was he
underneath a skirt
straws for earrings
up from New Orleans
or down from everywhere
voice accenting
from a place you have never been
and through him
all the things
someday you will do,
live through,
or part with­
sti 11 sit
bent on the curb
wind rushing by
flesh peaking out
from clothing tears
showing bones
muscles creased
under folds of skin­
through purity
is damageand meat
does not fit
through a straw .. . .
Once she went skinny
dipping o n a Su nday morning when
The S tory of the Bad
Little Girl
she was s up posed to be in church
learning about all that is good. And
while she was having fu n the water
(after Mark Twain)
d id not begin to g et extremely hot
T. W. Fuller
big cramp d i d not bring itself u pon
and boil this g i rl alive. And when
she got to the middle of the lake a
her and make her drown . N o ; in
O N C E THE R E WAS a bad
little g i rl by the name of Annie, and
she was the baddest of all the bad
little g i rl s that there were, and she
was h a ppy to be so.
This bad little g i rl did not
have any sick m other, not after she
put poison in h e r coffee and
fact the water was just perfect and
Annie had a good time of it.
Once she stole the teacher's
chain watch and when she was
afraid it would be found i n her
possession and she would get
whipped, she sli pped it i nto J ulia
Barlow's pocket-poor Widow
Barlow's daug hter, the moral g irl ,
watched her d ri n k it all u p and then
the g ood little g i rl of the village, who
knees. And then suddenly a
would never lie, and loved and
that this was sinful . And then there
the fi rst to s u nday school. And
gasp for breath a s she fell to her
thought d id not cross Ann ie's mind
was not a l i g ht that came and she
d i d not d ro p to h e r knees and pray
for forg iveness.
N o , i nd eed not.
This bad l ittle g irl was glad to be rid
of her mother.
Once th i s bad little girl stole
the key off the l i q uo r cabinet from
her father while he wasn't looki n g .
And s u d d e n l y h e d i d n o t l o o k down
and see that s h e was doing this and
always obeyed her mother, and
adored her lessons , and was always
when the teacher discovered the
chain watch was missing, and when
he ordered everyone to empty their
pockets, Annie watched as J ulia
b rought out the chain watch , and
poor J u lia lowered her head and her
face got all red , and the heart
stricken teacher blamed the theft on
Julia and hauled her u p to the front
of the class by the ear. A n d when
take her and whi p her, and tell her
that switch was just about to come
Annie unlocked the liquor cabinet
the world did not appear at the door
strongest whiskey, and as she
there, sitting way in. the back corner
that it was wron g to do this. And so,
and too k out a bottle of the
poured the wh i s key down her throat
down on her, the holiest man in all
and say, " Let this l ittle g i rl be-for
is the g uilty one. I passed by the
it d i d not create s uch a tremendous
wi ndow when she was in the act,
N o , instead it went down easy as
then A n n ie d i d not cry out i n shame
heat that it roasted out her bowels.
and I saw the entire thin g . " And
pie and it was s o g ood that she
and that holy man did not take J u l ia
her second bottle of whiskey Annie
should be honore d , and tell her to
decided to have another. But after
did not g et s i ck o r d ru n k and g o find
a wash basin to end her troubles.
Everything about this girl was
by the hand and say such a g i rl
come wander the world with him
and spread good all around. No; no
meddling old rot of a holy man came
in to screw everything u p , a n d so
Kevin Dillon
Rich Mueller
' Pen and Ink
the model g i rl J ulia was whipped
and A n n ie was g ood and pro u d of it,
for A n n ie looked d own upon and
despised m odel g i rl s.
Once this bad l ittle girl
named Annie wanted to learn how
her m i n d to h e l p this g i rl , so Annie
j ust watched a s she burned and
burned . And then without noticing it
Annie was s u rrounded by fire and it
was getting ever so hot. This bad
little g i rl d id not hesitate but walked
to chaw, so while her father was out
right through the fire, and when she
opened up his d resser d rawer and
you better bel i eve that fire did not
she went i nto his bedroom and
too k some chewing tobacco, a very
big wad . And as she was chewing
o n it s h e h a p pened to swallow the
j u ice. And j ust then her stomach did
not get q ueasy and she did not feel
did this and the fire touched her skin
inflict any burn s on her at a l l , and so
she came out a l l safe and sound.
And the church came tumbling
down and many people got knocked
unconscious. A n d j u st as Annie
at a l l sick, and so she went on
was a bout to reach the church door
tro u b l e . A n d she remarked how
not fal l right o n her head and make
her dead. No; she made it out
chewing it without the least bit of
god-damn bully it was to be doing
thi s , and after s h e had sweared a
bolt of lightning d i d not come d own
and be safe the church cei ling did
without any scars.
This A n n ie led a very
from the heaven s and strike her
pleasant life. N othing could hurt
statement agai n , and cussed herself
bear' s cave a n d found a big
down, a n d so she repeated her
her. Even when she entered a
u p a storm . And then she looked
ferocious g rizzly inside. And that
passing by and so Annie jumped out
picked her u p a n d held her close to
out the win d ow and saw a good girl
the window and ran u p to the g i rl
and spit tobacco j u i ce a l l over the
bear was mig hty hungry and so he
its mouth and d i d not eat her, but
i nstead threw her to the g roun d , for
good g i rl ' s d ress, which happened
this g i rl smelled someth i ng horrible,
money. A n d when Annie d i d this
never washed a n d she always wore
to b e a new d ress and cost a l ot of
the earth suddenly d i d not open
even to the bear, because she
the same clothes and she never
itself u p and swallow her whole and
waited to use an outhouse, but
this bad little g i rl watched as the
was and not thi n k twice about it.
let h e r fall forever and ever. N o; so
othe r g i rl ran home crying to her
mother and A n nie said it was a
great d ay.
But perhaps the most
stra ng est thing that ever happened
to Annie was the time she started a
i n stead wou l d go where ever she
And she finally grew u p and
left the village and went out to be a
bank robber a n d stole hundreds of
thousands of dol lars and kil led
many people in the process . And
she was never caught because she
fire behind the little church on
was disguised a s a man and
inside. And the wind blew towards
and so she gambled all the money
Easter Sunday while everyone was
the chu rch and it caught on fire and
everyone i n that church was
screaming and ru n n i ng for their
live s . A n n ie o pened the back door
to the chu rch and saw a girl on fire
and a thought d i d not come across
nobody thought it was a woman,
away and the people who won the
money were charged with the
robberies and hanged.
Years later Annie returned to
the village and found it deserted
and so she went to the old widow
Barl ow' s mansion and put on the
loveliest d ress there ever was and
then a man came and asked if she
was the owner of the house and
Annie said yes. And it turned out
that there was a considerable
amount of o i l on the land and so he
bought it from her for ten m i l l ion
dollars and now she i s one of the
most richest and respected people
i n the cou ntry and i s said to have
married a President of the U n ited
States, but if she d i d , I don't know
which one.
Sharon Linder
Stoneware Box
Victoria Harres Downs
A Breeze of Solitude
James Haydary
Canopy of Tree Street
Kaytee Thrun
The car door opened
cracked and popped
from breaking frosthe led me to the street,.
and the curb
was lined
with trees that shook,
leaves that fell,
forgottenand ones still hanging
like tiny silver spoons­
he took one
and slid it into my hand
it glistened
as it melted
into my exposed pores
my skin left ashinehe touched one to my lips
and left me bruised
but the frost falling
from the break
cushioned the painand I sank
beneath the treesbones replaced branches,
veins replaced roots
as the leaves dripped over us
and covered the ground
in spoons
and in the snow .. . .
Stacey Collins
Self Portrait in Spatula
Brad Lenze
readj usti n g h e r baby's position,
moving the baby from her hip to her
shoulder, the young woman spoke.
Always Cryin g
David Sussman
"Well , " she said , "I was just
wondering if . . . wel l . . . I don't
know. I was thinking that maybe we
could g o out to dinner or something.
The young man let out a
T H E YOU NG MAN , the
young woman , and the baby had
deep sigh a n d ran h i s hands
thro u g h h i s d a rk brown hair. "No,
Claire , " h e sai d . "I really don't think
just fi nished having their portraits
that's such a g ood-"
young woman felt that th ings had
the young, wom a n . "I know that you
taken at M itchell Photography. The
gone fairly well. Fairly wel l , that is,
except for the fact that the baby
"Please, Jake , " interru pted
thi n k that it won't work. But, I mea n ,
my God, J a ke. J oey's al most a year
cried the whole time.
o l d . I mean after a l l , he is-"
be cryi ng.
can't. When you called last week,
The baby always seemed to
The photographer told the
young woman that the portraits
wou l d be ready in two weeks and
said that he'd cal l the instant they
were ready. The young woman said
"tha n k you", and with the baby in
her arm s , she headed out the front
door with the young man.
Carrying the baby against
her hip, the young woman walked
"For God's sake, Claire ! I
you said fiftee n minutes . Fifteen
m in utes ! Remember? Wel l , I've
done my part. I came here like I
promised a n d now I'm done." The
young man paused for a second. "I
don't owe you a thing. Not one
damn th i n g , Claire. It wasn't my
decision. I t was your decision.
Jesus ! I did a favor by coming out
here today and you're not even
thro u g h the dirty ice and slush of
g rateful . " The young man opened
young man walked qu ietly
but stopped hi mself. H e simply
the parkin g lot towards her car. The
alongside. When they reached the
car, the young man finally spoke.
"Wel l , " he said, "I guess I'll be on my
way then." And with that, he started
to wal k away.
" H ey Jake," shouted the
young woman . "Jake ! "
T h e young m a n stopped ,
tu rned around, and started wal king
slowly back towards the young
h i s mouth as if to conti nue speaking
turned around and walked away
For some time, the young
woman stood watching the young
man wal k away. She seemed as if
she were in some sort of a trance .
She simply stood sti l l and stared,
frozen , the baby resti ng against her
shoulder. T h e n , suddenly, the
young woman waved her right hand
wo man. H e looked solemnly at the
-th e free one-in the air. "I'm sorry
he asked, tired ly.
sorry. Please. If it was because the
you n g woman's face. "What is it?"
The young woman shifted
her feet a bit and turned s lightly so
the wind blew across her back
Jake , " she s h outed. "I really am
baby cried the whole ti me, he isn't
l i ke that always. J a ke ! "
i n stead of her face. After
S H E S POTTE D H I M i n the
corn e r of the supermarket where
visit family? Or, are you going to
spend the holidays alone, like me?"
The man looked back at
fruits and vegetables were sold . H e
Claire and paused briefly before
noticing h i m in the canned goods
should answer the question from a
was fairly attractive, a n d , after
aisle, Claire M orell i decided that she
might as wel l try. There's no harm
i n at least trying, thought Claire.
With J oey sitting in the child's seat
of her shopping cart, Claire strolled
up a lo ngside her target who was
b u sy trying to pick out a d ecent
head of cauliflower. Claire looked
aro u n d awkwardly, and then
suddenly, a lmost i n stinctually, she
grabbed a handful of broccol i , and
proceeded to run the vegetable
through a n u m be r of endurance
tests, secretly giving the man beside
her the once-over out of the corner
of her eye. After some second s ,
Claire gathered u p t h e cou rage to
speak. "I see you l i ke cau liflower,"
she said.
The m a n beside her didn't
respond immediately. Like words
traveling along rad io waves, there
was a short delay. "I'm sorry," he
said, "Did you say something?"
Claire felt a little flushed in
her face. She really didn't want to
repeat her q uesti o n . "We l l , " she
He seemed unsure if he
stranger. " I ' m going to visit my
parents back East," he said finally.
"I only see them once a year. " The
man paused aga i n , and then added
somewhat cynically: "One ti me a
year is the most I can stand
"Oh, you shouldn't say that, "
said Claire . "You should n't say that
at a l l . You should be glad that
you've got family. Really! I'm
serious. I mean, take me for
instance. I've got practically no
fam i ly. My Dad took off when I was
e ight and I haven't seen him since .
I mean , he j u st took off. But, you
have to understa n d , I was qu ite an
emotional chi l d . I really was . I was
always crying and stuff. And my
mom, she l ives way the hell out i n
Sacramento and there's n o way I
can afford to fly out there. She's
there living with this guy name M ort.
Jesus ! What a character! She met
him about six months ago at some
Claire stopped herself short
said, "I was j ust noticing that you
and started to blush. She suddenly
Claire cleared her throat before
too loudly, reveal i ng a bit too much.
were looking at the cauliflower. "
conti nuing. "I mean , I was j ust
wondering if you l iked cauliflower,
that's a l l . "
The m a n looked a t Claire
puzzled ly. "Well , " he said, slowly
turn i n g his cart around in the
d i rection of the checkout l i nes, "it's
alright, I guess."
The man had almost
com pl etely turned away when Claire
spoke u p again. "So, what are you
doing for the hol idays?" she asked
q u i ckly. "I mean, are you going to
realized that she was speaking a bit
"You should be glad that you've got
family," she conti nued softly, "at
least you're not a l l alone."
The man looked at Claire
and then looked down at the baby
d rooling i n his seat in the shopping
cart. "You're not all alone , " he said.
Claire looked down at her
son. " O h ! You mean J oey?" she
said. "I d i d n't mean alone in that
sense. I meant alone in a different
sense. Do you know what I mean?"
The man was stil l looking at
the baby. The baby was staring
back at him. "Yeah," answered the
The man nodded in
agreement. "Listen," he said. "I
d on't mean to cut you off, but. . . . "
man . " I thi n k I d o . "
The man delicately poi nted at the
from the baby, the man picked up
got to be go-"
Turning his attention away
an avocado and started to examine
it nervously. After turn i ng the
vegetab l e over in his hands several
watch around his wrist. " I've really
"But you haven't even told
me your name yet," Claire
responded rather loudly. "You have
times, the man ventu red a glance
a name, d on't you?"
shoppi ng cart.
and said that his name was Walter.
back in the d i rectio n of Claire's
The baby was sti ll staring.
The man placed the avocado
The man let out a deep sigh
"Well, Walter," began Claire,
"Wil l your daughter be at your
back in its pile and stared down at
parents',whe n you go to visit?"
confessed with a deep sigh. H e
q uestio n immed iately. H e was busy
his shoes. "I've got a kid," the man
Walter didn't answer Claire's
looked up a t Claire . " A girl . She's
watching the baby. The baby was
run n i ng down his fat fingers and
two . Lives out in N evada with her
"Oh! That's wonderful, " said
Claire . "That's absolutely wonderfu l .
sti ll staring at him with grape juice
chi n . "What's that?" answered
Walter, turning his attention back
You know, you look like a father.
towards Claire .
thought when I saw you . I said to
parents' place when you go to
No kid d ing! That's the first thi ng I
myself: 'that man's a father' . I
mean, tal k about coincidences . You
" I said: will Sara b e at your
" N o," answered Walter. " I ' m
l i ke cau liflower; I l ike cauliflower.
afraid I won't be seei ng her."
Strange ! I sn't it? So, what's your
"That's really too bad . But I'm sure
You've got a kid ; I've got a kid .
daughter's name?"
"Sara," the man mumbled .
"Sara? H m m n . That's a
"That's too bad," said Claire.
that you're a very busy man. You
look l i ke a busy man. Believe me!
know what it's l i ke to be kept busy
pretty name. My dad l i ked pretty
with J oey here and my job and a l l .
man, Claire plucked a single grape
a receptionist a t this d octor's office.
names" Turning her back on the
off of a stem and popped it into her
Y o u see, d u ring the week, I work a s
He's kind of a specialist, so it never
mouth . She then plucked another
gets too crazy or anything. But I'm
to the baby. "My mom al most
There's u s u a l l y plenty for me to d o .
grape from the bu nch and handed it
kept pretty busy. I really a m .
named me N ancy. I sn't that j ust
Y o u see, I have this tray o f things to
name at a l l . Do you?" The man
with form l etters, fi le changes,
awfu l ? I don't think that's a pretty
was about to respond when Claire
interrupted hi m . "Anyways, my
mother d i d n't name me Nancy. My
work on and it's usually pretty full
insurance i nformation, stuff l i ke that.
But sometimes! Sometimes, I'll be
at my desk a n d I ' l l have just fi nished
dad d id n't l i ke it. She named me
whatever it was that I was working
prettier name?"
wi l l be completely empty.
Claire i n stead. Isn't that a much
on a n d I ' l l look over at my tray and it
I mean,
Brenda Eubanks
Kevin Dillon
Self Portrait
completely em pty. So, I'll just sit
She was biti ng her lower lip. "Well,"
there because there's nothing to do.
Walter said, "I mean, if it's j ust to
sometimes it does. And when it
the harm i n it.
It hardly ever happens, but
d oes, it' s pretty depressing. It really
is." Claire paused to catch her
breath. " I mean, I know that this
may sound crazy , but, sometimes I
wis h that my tray was always fu l l. I
mean always fu ll. I wish it was so
ful l that I'd never have to leave the
office. I mean, when five-thirty
would finally roll around, I'd j u st stay
there at my desk. I wouldn't have to
go home. I mean, I wou ld n't have to
go home or anything, because the
office would be home . " Claire
play cards, wel l, I mean, I don't see
I'll tell you what. If
you give me your phone number, I'll
give you a cal l."
"There you go," said Claire.
"We'll have a blast. I know it."
Claire started ru mmaging through
her purse. "Oh, Jesus! I don't have
a pen." She looked up at Walter.
"Do you?"
Walter shook his hea d .
Claire l e t o u t a sigh. "Well,"
she said.
, . "If I tell you my phone
n u m ber, do you thi n k that you can
remember it?"
looked down at J oey and let out a
Walter nodded.
wou l d be impossible. But it would
"Wi l l y o u remember it?"
That's all I'm saying. It would be
"Of course I will. I mean . . . of
small chuckle. "Of course, that
be nice if my tray was always fu l l .
"I'm serious," said Claire .
"Yeah," answered Walter.
n i ce . " Claire ran her tongue across
course I wil l . "
Walter. "So, what are you doing for
going to give y o u my n u m ber. You
her front teeth and looked up at
"Okay," said Claire. " I ' m
N ew Year's?"
ready? Good!
Walter. "At least, not at this
part down?" Walter repeated the
" I ' m not sure exactly," said
m oment. Listen, Claire-"
"You're free?" responded
It's Three . . . N i ne
. . . Seven . . . have you got that
numbers out loud to himself and
then nodded . Claire continued.
Claire . " Because, you know what?
"Seven . . . One . . . F i-"
wel l . What we cou l d do is, we could
Claire panicked.
alright. There's n o reason to cry."
say. "Well, I don't know. I d i d n't say
Please stop crying. It's ok.
It just so happens that I'm free as
maybe do something together,
Walter didn't know what to
that I was free. I might be go-"
"You cou l d come over to my
apartment," said Claire . Her cheeks
were becoming flushe d . "You could
com e over and I could make this
wonderfu l dinner and afterwards,
maybe, we could play cards and
dri n k cham pagne . Wuddaya say?"
Walter looked at the baby.
The baby started to cry.
"Oh, J o ey, sweetheart it's
Claire's voice was shaking. "Joey.
Everything's ok. J u st please stop
crying." Claire accidentally dropped
her p u rse which she had been
holding in her arm s . The contents
of the p u rse s p i l led out onto the
white tiled floor. "Joey. Please!
Jesus! Stop crying willya . "
The baby kept crying.
Claire looked at Walter and
The baby was no longer staring at
offered a wea k attem pt at a smile.
H e l ooked back at Claire. She was
him," she pleaded . " Really! He isn't
him. Walter let out a sigh of relief.
waiting nervously for his answer.
"I d on't know what's the matter with
normally l ike thi s . I'm so sorr-
Joey! Please be qu iet a second . . .
I ' m so sorry. Let me fin ish giving
you my phone num ber.
That's when J oey started
crying even l ouder. J oey started
crying so loud that Claire began to
shake . Claire began to shake and
Il l
Claire grabbed a soda from the
refrigerator. It was al most five
threw herself upon the sofa. Curli ng
up into a ball, Claire shoved her
face into the pillow.
But she did not cry.
o'clock, and looking out into the
living room of her apartment, C laire
noticed through the blinds that the
s u n was s lowly setting. I n the
shadows of the l iving room, off in
Claire d i d everything within
her abil ity to p revent herself from
J oey conti n ued to cry.
After a couple of minutes,
the corner, J oey lay asleep i n his
J oey's crying had lowered itself to a
wal ked i nto the l iving roo m , flopped
walked to the cri b . " I ' m sorry , " she
placed her feet upon the coffee
you're always crying. I mean, you're
crib. With her d ri n k i n hand , Claire
herself down upon the sofa, and
q uiet hum. Claire got up and slowly
said. "I'm so sorry. It's just that
table. Claire took a few sips from
always crying. You cried this
a n d closed her eyes. Soon, Claire
then you cried at the supermarket.
m i nutes , her chin d ro pped against
supermarket j ust when things were
her soda, placed it beside he r feet,
felt very sleepy. Within a few
her chest. Seemingly, j ust seconds
later, her head jerked up violently.
J oey was crying.
morn i ng at the portrait studio, and
My G o d , Joey, you cried at the
goi ng so wel l . I had a perfect
chance before you started . I had a
perfect chance." Claire brushed
"Oh God ! " said Claire ,
some strands of hair from her face
body, "not again." Claire raised her
what happens when you cry, Joey?
her temples. "J oey ! " she screamed.
leave when you cry, J oey. That's
before conti n u i ng. " Don't you know
shaking the sleepiness from her
hands to her head and massaged
" For Chrissake ! Shut u p ! "
J oey kept crying.
Don't you have a clue? People
what happens. People leave."
Claire screamed even
louder. "Shut u p ! I'm sick of it
Goddammit. " Claire's face was
changing color. She got up rather
clumsily, accid entally knocking over
her d ri n k in the process and wal ked
q uickly over to the crib.
"Shut u p ! " she hollere d , j ust
i n ches away from the baby's face.
"Shut the hell u p ! You're always
cryi ng. Always! I'm sick of it. Do
you hear me? I'm sick of it. " J oey
kept crying and Claire started
screaming even louder, her voice
C LA I R E G RA B B E D the
phone from the kitchen counter and
p laced it onto the kitchen table.
Claire then sat down and stared at
the phone. She needed to tal k to
somebody. Anybody ! Claire
decided she'd cal l Jake. She knew
that he'd be angry but she d idn't
really care. Claire d ialed the
number and waited nervously for an
answer at the other end. After fou r
ri ngs, s h e heard the answering
machine kick in and hung up. Claire
rising in a sharp crescendo. "Shut
hated answering machines. Claire
S H UT U P ! ! ! "
Sacramento. No one was home.
u p ! Shut u p ! Shut u p ! Shut u p ! . . .
then tried calling her mother in
Aga i n , an answering machine took
over. Claire hung u p. "She's
probably out with Mort , " Claire
T H E P H O N E at the other
sn ickered.
e n d seemed to ring forever. "Come
sat staring at the phone trying to
Finally, a voice answered. Claire
For some time, Claire simply
o n , " muttered Claire. "Come on . . . "
thi n k . Once, she got up to heat a
recognized the voice of the
otherwise, she remained seated.
d ay. "Than k God," said Claire, her
pot of water for some coffee, but
After about five minutes of
d rumming her fingers on the table,
Claire pi cked u p the receiver and
dialed i n formatio n . "Yes," said
Claire. "Ca n I please have the
nu mber of M itchell Photography i n
Larchmont?" Claire scri bbled the
n u m ber down on a napki n . She
then looked at her watch. It was
photographer from earlier in the
hand covering the mouthpiece.
"Hello?" said the voice at the other
e n d . " H ello? Is anybody there?"
Claire cleared her throat and
straightened her back a trifle i n her
chair, as,if her posture, along with
her voice, wou l d be traveling
through the phone l i nes.
two m i n u tes to six. She had to
hu rry.
Brenda Eubanks
Kristina Gregory
Thread Born
Color Pencil
S tones
Bryant E. Stuckey
As I watch you,
the stones
fall farther
Preparing to pass
like a ripened apple in the autumn sun.
Smiles In The Oil
Bryant E. Stuckey
When snow melts black
on cracked spine street,
the children can gander
at face at their feet,
Or look through the sky
and scratch through the clouds,
and pull out the sun
who smiles in the oils.
Have You Eaten Your Dead?
Heidi Gotz
Our break-up came in all of your bad breath
-a collection of yuck unmentionable.
Never a milk carton "have you seen me?" gone by
where I haven't answered no, but I've smelt you
rotting in my lover's mouth
for more than weeks
with 'my' tongue the only visitor
in and out and a scout around
but gone before an instant
to quiver anxious in my 'own' mouth
(among imperial teeth and royal palate)
weeping this milk-soured misfortune,
this fish-rot'fucking of mouths.
Kevin Dillon
Never Alone
Sam Farchione
more than a week to write the
Memories of the
Victoria Harres Downs
out-line, less than a month for the
first draft, and that would leave me
more than three weeks to leisurely
edit and relax. (A month later, I was
still debating on whether to make it
a romance or a m u rder- mystery) .
Miss Danby was standing by
the forsythia bushes, below her
porch (one of those wid e num bers,
IT W I L L BE Spring soon.
This m orni n g, I noticed buds on the
forsythia bushes. A few more warm
from a more genteel age of sipping
lemonade o n a warm summer's
eve), and if those blooms had been
days and they will be ready to burst
another person, I wou l d have said
each day with memories.
standing on my landlady's porch,
out of their s l umber and greet me
It has been al most two years
since Miss D a n by was separated
she was i n deep conversation. I was
typewriter in one hand and a
suitcase in the other, when she
from h e r precious forsyth ia bushes.
turned a n d looked at m e . The clear
about them, l ike I do. Each night,
at me from the ragged face of an
of yellow. T h e blooms are much
eyes that spoke without word s .
I wonder sometimes if she d reams
my m i n d is fi lled with the fragrance
larger in my d reams, and they speak
blue eyes of a young gi rl peered out
old woman. They were mesmerizing
Before I could catch myself. I was
to me. The sun vibrates off their
answering, " Fine, than k you " I
wonder if they spoke to her, Miss
she seemed to take pleasure i n this,
peta l s i n a queer Morse cod e . I
Danby, that way?
I can sti l l see her, as I did the
very fi rst time, caressing her dear
forsythia blooms i n the mid-day sun
bl ushed with embarrassment and
though she d id not smile. She
turned to pick u p one of three
kittens that had been playing tag
arou nd her an kles, and I quickly
of late winter. It was the day I
went inside. Later, I watched her
room (forty dollars a week, meals
walked around her gard en, goi ng
was planning to stay three months .
ten d ing, enco u raging new blooms.
a llowed me this leave of absence to
cat to pet. There were several in the
moved i nto h e r neigh bor's spare
inclusive, n o visitors after 8pm). I
My editor, a t the newspaper, had
from the wi ndow in my roo m . She
from plant to plant, caressing,
H e re and there, she wou l d pick u p a
write the great novel I had always
yard and even more sleeping or
the time and a q u iet place to do it) .
and in windows .
to see for myself that I was no more
l i ke any other old woman tending a
said I could a n d wou l d write (if I had
Now, I th i n k perhaps, he wanted me
than a journ a l i st, and get back to my
bath ing themselves on the porch
At first glance, she looked
garden, a crooked body under a
job with com plete dedication. In any
floral-print d ress, a large crocheted
of time he had granted me; plus, if I
yarn, large calves and a n kles,
case, I was elated over the amount
shawl with lots of dangling pieces of
sent h i m an article now and then, on
covered by thick wool stockings,
me to boot. I figured it would take no
chin with a large satin ribbon. It was
life in 'Smal l-town, U SA' he'd pay
and a large straw hat, tied under her
James Haydary
James Haydary
when she looked at me that I knew
s h e was l i ke no one I had ever met
or wou l d ever meet. Her eyes held
you (or perhaps it's j ust me) i n a
strange trance that was hard to
break. I always felt as though she
that young lady d i d . Why, when l ittle
Miss Danby was born , he said it was
l ike seein the forsythias blooming i n
late winter. And that's how he gave
her her name, Sythia. The mother
died after giving birth , and that child
were trying to communicate with
became the most im portant thing in
never tried to tal k to her, but
flower, she was . He brought her up
forever caught i n that trance, her
of the flowers, l ike her father, and
me. Sometimes I wonder that I
perhaps I was afraid of being
M r. Danby's l ife . She was his l ittle
spoi lt. M ighty s po i lt. She was fond
s p e l l , b e i t evil or good . Every
wanted noth ing more than to spend
from my morn i ng jog, and every
s ister bloom s . And that's just as she
afternoon walk. It never occurred to
Some wou l d say as she wanted to
morning, I passed her going to and
afternoon, going to and from my
me that my daily route cou l d go i n
any d i rection other tha n p a s t M i s s
Danby's house. Something always
d rew me that way. Perhaps it was
s h e . Miss Danby wou l d stare at me;
her days in the garden with her
did. Never wore no shoes neither.
grow roots and become a
permanent fixture i n the garden. I
don't take to that idea though . I think
she was j u st a spoilt little girl , whom
everyone was jealous of and so
her eyes calling me, questio n i ng
wouldn't play with, and so she felt
n ever was certai n .
always bloom with her loving care.
m e , begging, i m plori ng, crying . . . I
I question ed several people,
i ncl uding my l a n dlady, about her,
best among the flowers that would
A n d , of course, there's the cats.
The cats. There's the heart
but was always met with vague
of her problems. People around
town . . . cats d estroying . . . never
about. Only the good Lord knows
accusations; " . . . a menace to this
s peaks to anyone . . . small birds all
gone . . . mad . . . hundreds of cats .
. . hasn't sm iled as long as I've lived
. . . too many cats ! " The only person
willing to talk about her was our
here are tired of a l l the cats running
how many there are. They tear u p
peoples' gardens (cept for Miss
Danby's, of course) , kill small singin
bird s , meow and fight all night . . .
people are j ust tired of them. U sed
dear old postm a n , Mr. Farlow. H e
to, people was more lenient with
and told me all he knew of her:
them was the people who could
wal ked m e home from town one day
"My father tol d me, and he
was a good honest man my father,
Miss Danby about her cats . But
remember h ow this town was al most
destroyed by mice and how the cats
that the Dan by's have lived in that
was their saviors . But people don't
Miss Danby's father, he owned the
remember how mice devoured fields
house for as long as it has stood.
bank and most everything else
arou n d here , h e built that house. H e
married h i m t h e pertiest girl i n thi s
remember that n o more . They don't
of cro p , spread d i seases to the
animals a n d humans alike, and
made it i mpossible to keep food
here part o f t h e country and told her
from one day to the next. Why, they
bring h i m a s much happiness as the
in the bank vau lt.
It was M r. Danby, her father,
that h e wanted a child that would
flowers of s p ring (he was right
partial to flowers) . So, that's just as
used to have to keep stocks of grain
who came up with the idea of
Brenda Eubanks
Jeff Doles
Don't Take Life at First Glance
Pen and Ink
populating the town with cats. At the
time there were only a few cats
a round here , and mostly toms.
What was needed was females that
i n the care of her feline
com pan ions. I thi n k they was just
more flowers i n the garden to her.
As time went by, the cats
wou l d breed with the toms. M r.
and the flowers became her entire
the bank being d estroyed by mice ,
them took u p all her day, from
Danby, who saw h i s i nvestments at
a n d who wou l d have preferred gold
to gra i n in h i s vault, got a couple of
h i s men to go to s u rrounding towns
a n d col lect a l l the female cats they
could get their hands on. They
came back with seven females, and
fifteen fightin' male cats. (Ap parently
they had some problems in
d eterm ining the sexes. The men
came back p retty roughed-up . )
After some time, a n d after
many of the weaker tom s were
d riven away by the stronger, the
l ife . The caring and the feeding of
morn i ng till night, as it stil l does. Mr.
Danby d i ed not long after she
turned of age . H e left it in his wi ll
that the b a n k wou l d a lways provide
for her. And s o we have the Miss
Danby that you see each day,
pulling wee d s , p lanting seeds ,
feeding cats . . . . And, d u ring the
winter month s , you'll find her sitting
in her rocki ng chair by the front
win d ow, petting a cat. She sits there
waiting for s pring, cause that's when
she blooms. B ut, that won't last
seven female cats that had been
m uch l onger."
town already h a d , were all pregnant.
asked .
cats, says my father, as they was to
at the bank, have decided to wash
b rought i n , and the three that the
You never seen people kinder to
"What do you mean?" I
"The powers that be, down
those little mothers-to-be. People
their hands of her. They're tired of
filled with warm blankets , and
cats , and they're tired of trying to
set out m i l k for them, and boxes
pam pered them i n every way.
Withi n a year and a half, the mice
were under contro l . With i n two
years, the m ice was gone
people com p laining about them
deal with her. She won't listen to,
nor tal k to , a nyone, save those cats
and her flowers. For years, the bank
has been payin her taxes , and the
com pletely, and there was nothing
grocer, and who ever else, and I
b i rd s ) . People forgot about the cats ,
with it no more . Yesterday, they
l eft for the cats to eat (cept the little
or mostly j ust ignored them . But not
little Miss Sythia Danby (she was a
guess they j u st don't want to mess
went a n d had Miss Danby declared
u nfit to care for herself. They' re
young girl at the time) . She had
going to send her to one of them
she'd made friends of the flowers.
sad . "
a n d care for her l ittle friends, and
relatives that can be contacted?"
cats wou l d j u st move on out of town
probably outl ived em, if there were . "
d o nothing to stop her. He bent to
land lady's po rch , and I sat there and
watched that strange little old
the s ce nery around here , and Little
dinner. She never looked at me that
made friends of those cats, l i ke
She decided it was up to her to feed
her father, who probably hoped the
once the mice were gone, couldn't
her wishes l i ke a flower to sunshine,
h e did. So, the cats became part of
M i s s Sythi a' s l ife became con sumed
homes for the o l d . Right sad , right
" Doesn't s h e have any
" N o o n e knows of any. She's
M r. Farlow left me on my
person next d oor until it was time for
even ing. Perhaps she knew what
was to come . S h e seemed so intent
smal l-town life was just what I had
forsythi a , saying g ood-bye . . . or
become the kind of writer I wanted
o n her conversation with the
always wanted , a n d if I was ever to
maybe making plans.
to , I had to devote myself. The
my wi ndow as two men in suits , and
for me. The bank let me have it at a
The next d ay , I watched out
a wom a n , very s martly d ressed ,
came to get Miss Danby. She didn't
Danby house was the perfect house
steal . They said it was wantin g
some love a n d care. I didn't th ink i t
arg u e . She d i d n 't speak at a l l . The
was wanting love a t all.
came out with a small bag . The two
i n , I was out in the garden pulling
woman went inside the house and
A few weeks after I moved
men got i n the front of their long,
weeds from among the forsythi a ,
back with Miss Danby. She never
the yard and sat at a di stance
quietly went. As they d rove away, I
eyes. I gave her some food , and
at her gard e n , not at the cats, but
walks the garden each day, and
white car, and the woman got in the
fought them, M i s s Danby. She just
saw that she was looki ng back, not
u p to my window.
People, sent by the bank, I
suppose , came a n d cleaned out the
house, rounded up the cats, and put
a ' For Sale' sign i n the yard .
I never had cared for my life
in the big city, or my hectic job at a
big newspaper. T h e quiet,
when a large yellow tabby walked in
staring at rne with large clear, blue
si nce that day, she's never left. She
spends her afternoons napping
under the forsythia bushes. She
spent last winter sitti n g o n the front
window s i l l , looking out at the
gard e n , deep in slumber.
Sometimes, I fi nd her staring at me,
and I can't h e l p but say, "Very wel l ,
thank you . " I call h e r Sythia.
Victoria Harres Downs
"'What a phlegmatic sot it i s !
Why s i rrah , you're a n anchorite! --a
The S tory of Peter and
Wend y
Heidi Gotz
vile i nsensible stock. You ' re a
soldier-you're a wal king block, fit
o n ly to d ust the com pany's
reg i mentals on ! "'
The class and M r. Leint are
not surp ri sed at Peter's answer. The
class and Mr. Leint are com pletely
H I S FAT, CLU MSY fingers
s u rprised at Peter's answer.
Between the two i n itial reactions no
lulled along his brig ht red face of
one manages to say a word .
slid down the sides. His perspiration
in amazement.
g reen-ye l l ow in the gymnasium light.
s h o u ld be u sed to th is by now.
pimples. T h ey circled the tops then
made them g listen a sickly
Some were enormous, like eggs
breaking through the ski n . Others
were tiny and pointed , coming to a
crusted ti p . The largest of them all
centered itself on the back of his
neck - a long d a rk hair shooting
Everyone sits stone face d , starring
Mr. Leint realizes that he
"Good l uck. F ranelle?"
Roll cal l conti nues. The
mood has changed somewhat as it
always d oe s after Peter has spoke n .
Leint blows t h e whistle , a n d we a l l
scramble f o r different sections of
from its center. Though the urge to
the gym .
keep l ooking was even stronger.
about eleven . Peter sits d irectly to
look away was strong; the urge to
Peter made everyone keep looking.
H e was nothing l i ke the other
My g ro u p , sit-ups, consists of
my left.
Leint comes to the edge of
overweight, body odor p roblem ,
the mat, whistle in hand
halls of J. Jameson H ig h School.
above a 95% today receives
acne faced kids that walked the
Mr. Leint worked down the
aisle between myself and Peter.
"Remember, anyone who goes
honorable mention in the-"
Peter throws a fi nger in the
-Cl ipboard in hand, scribbling who
a i r.
who was n ot. Whistling Andy Griffith
honorable? I don't understand such
was p repared for class today and
(per usual) he qu izzed each of us as
to which of the Presidential Physical
Fitness Tests we would pass today.
" Ebbing?"
" P robably the pull-ups.
Maybe the flexibility ."
" E ldon?"
"'What do you mean by more
expressions in the sense of a
defin ition of human activities. More
h onorable, more high-minded-all
that's sheer nonsense, absurdities,
obsolete cliches which I flatly reject.
Everythi n g that is u seful to mankind
is honorable. I only understand one
" M m m- h m m . "
word-usefu l . You can titter as much
"Ehh . . . flexi bility. "
fin ished, retu rned h i s hand to his
"Spri nts, sir. -I n the bag . "
" F orrester?"
loo ked , tho u g h , straight into the side
"Great. Fa lt?"
Peter's tu rn .
as you l i ke , but that's tru e . "' Peter,
side and fixed a gaze u pon my bare
I fixed a gaze right back. I
of h i s head , hoping to burn the skin
maybe I had solved something or if
g ro u p l oitered b y t h e water founta i n .
j u m ped t o a stand-one knee on the
puckerin g u p the water. His tongue
backpack fell t o t h e groun d , b u t he
away and see to the bra i n .
Sit-up hell e n d e d a n d o u r
Peter leaned i n close, his big lips
was lazy i n its s l u rps and shhlips.
Water moi stened h i s s potted neck.
H i s p i mples grew before my very
eyes with this small amount of
nourish ment.
Tom, the boldest of the
bunch, could n't help himself.
" Move it, fat boy . "
Peter turned slowly a n d
squared h i s puffed u p face only
inches from Tom's . "' I can't stand a
naked l i g ht bulb, anymore I can a
rude remark or vulgar actio n . "'
Peter's retort hung heavily i n
t h e air, u n retu rnable by violence o r
s peech . H e moved through the
I , too , had gone completely mad .
Peter snapped to life. H e
seat and a foot on the floor. H i s
i gnored it. I was closer to Peter than
ever before. I could see the yellow
edges of his teeth. H e looked into
my eyes for a moment and then
asked very q uietly, "'You take
pleasure then in the message?'"
A nother quote --one I d id n't
know, but I wanted to keep up.
"Yeah, I do."
Disappoi ntment washed over
his face. He sat d own again and
looked out the window.
I sat next to h i m now and
started to complain.
"Look. I ' m trying to tal k to
you here. Why do you have to be so
sweaty b unch of u s . J ust before
wei rd all the time? I'm tryi ng to be
the buses were arrivi ng , he turned
of town, for crying out loud. Does
reach i n g the doors where beyond
nice. I'm on a bus to the wrong side
and looked down his nose.
that mean anythi n g to you? Nothi n g .
was gettin g nowhere, but that
friends so you can let an opportun ity
"'When Pi late saw that he
It's n o t like y o u have eight million
i nstead an u p roar was starti n g , he
j ust pass you by. Are you listening?
front of the crowd . "'
took water and washed his hands in
With that he left. Tom didn't
Wel l , I'm sorry, but you have got to
"' Peace ! I wi ll stop your
get a d rink, j u st wiped his hands on
mouth . "'
where Peter had been.
me to him. Quickly, his mouth
upbri n g i n g made me know what line
clumsy C P R rescue becomes a kiss
his pants a n d flipped off the space
I clicked. A devout Catholic
came next a n d out I went to solve
Peter's puzzle . I tried to remember
word for word .
Peter's bus was 255. H alf
empty. I cli m bed o n . No one looked
familiar except, of course, Peter
who sat alone in the center. H i s
h e a d was propped agai nst the
window. I walked to the next seat.
G rabbing my ch i n , he pulls
covers m i n e . What starts as a
amid my flailing arms. I start with
resistance but g row i nto
acceptance. I can taste tuna pieces.
There's a hair on my tongue. For
some reason I let him finish and my
breasts swell with satisfaction. He
turns back to the wi ndow. I jump
from the seat and tap the driver.
"-really embarrassi n g , " I
He didn't even turn .
wh isper i n her ear, "but I got on the
blood . It i s your responsibility. "' I
"' I am i n nocent of this man's
trembled a little waiti n g to see if
wrong bus. Can I please get off,
I'm as East as Middleberry
At 5:08 a . m . I wake up and
Road. This means about three extra
curse myself for being d isg usti ng. I
the wal k to lose the tuna taste and
figuri n g what t o wear. I wonder, just
smarter than all the other kids at
with anyone.
miles before home. I spit a lot during
wonder if Peter thin ks that I'm
school. I bet I was his first kiss. I bet
can't fall back to sleep, so I lay sti l l ,
a l ittle, if he wants it. With me or
he'll remember me for the rest of his
life . . . .
"' B ut, a l a s , he forgot all
about m e . "'
The cafeteria is ear-piercing
and d u mbed. Everyone sq ueaks
and shouts. The cheerleaders "ooh"
as Lisa Radecki d oes the C hi nese
At 4 : 37 a . m . I wake u p
remembering t h e k i s s . Peter's
splits atop the elo ngate d , Formica
table. Chad M i l l i g a n , their
permanent mascot, is palmed by a
tongue was fat, l i ke the rest of
su pervisor just as h i s tongue
wondered if that is not all Peter has
cri n kl e noses as they are d ragged
Peter, a n d it filled all of my mouth. I
that can fill my m o uth . I n the relative
q uiet of h u m id ifier and refrigerator
h u m I imagine it. Certainly not on
reaches her upper th igh . The two
apart. Lunch is Italian Beef
sandwiches. Beef is everywhere
and cu rrently in motion on the new
the bus, but maybe on the gym
cei l i ng fans. Mashed potatoes are in
in the band s h e l l .
table top s . Styrofoam cups are
mats or in the Science atri u m . -Or
eyeg lasses. Gym shoes a re on
ringed with lipstick and g n aw marks.
Sharon Viland
Peter i s fou r people from me
i n the l u nch line. J u st some of us
hear h i m say, "'The arm seized one
loaf of bread and too k it. l sabeau
" Fucki ng freak!"
Food g oe s everywhere .
Peter stands still and content. H is
l i ps are moving rapidly. Getting
rushed out; the thief was making off
closer, I can m a ke it out.
caught h i m . The thief had th rown
anymore . I can't tal k to walls
b leedi n g . It was J ean Valjea n . "' He
talk to my wife; she l istens to walls. I
at top speed ; l sabeau p u rsued and
the bread , but h i s arm was sti l l
"' N obody listens to me
because they're yel l i n g at me. I can't
ru ns off toward h i s usual tab l e ,
j ust want someone to hear what I
wing of the cafeteria. Only Maria,
enoug h , it wi l l make sense. And I
waiting em pty and lost i n t h e back
the server, watches h i m l i ke I do
have to say. A n d maybe if I tal k long
want you to teach me to understand
a n d tries to imagine what, possibly,
what I rea d . "'
h e r tongue at h i m and rolls her
supervisors ru n in ri ngs around him.
d on't know what' s wrong with h i m . "
go around kissing whoever you
h e cou l d be thinking of. She clicks
eyes. " Poor boy , " she says, " I just
My feet stick t o p e a j uice a n d
spilt milk. The sandwich g oe s
The n , more , laughter. Three
"Yo u n g m a n , you j ust can't
please . "
"Your going to b e i n big
slowly. The g i rls around me have
trou ble . . . . "
Molly Tri n ner, the tal lest, thi n n est,
m i ster . . . . "
S he's engaged t o a guy i n college.
mouth . "'
Bahamas for her birthday. She did it
Layton's mouth just as he h a d m i n e .
seduce the Art teacher. She stole a
Peter reshouts the last line at least
finished and are tel l i n g stories about
m ost n i ghtmarish g i rl in schoo l .
Her parents bought her a trip to the
with Chad M i l l i g a n . She tried to
"Oh n o . . . none of that,
"' Peace ! I will stop your
Peter swoops up to M s .
Before h e i s finally d ragged away,
leather jacket.
ten more ti mes. No female is safe.
other cafeteria noises i s happening
l i p . A d rop of d rool is wedged
A noise not match i n g all the
His tong u e waves beneath his lower
b e h i nd me. Too wrapped up i n the
between his cheek and ch i n .
hear it at first. Then, spinning , I see
Peter i n the center of a g iant
supervisors spend the day i n the
many lives of Molly Tri nner, I don't
commoti o n . Molly, only an arm's
length from h i m , i s crying and
Five g i rls and two
Principal's office fi ling reports. Peter
makes that h i s favorite line.
pulling h i s hair. Dozens of other
students l u rch and shove the jumble
i nto a sem i-circle around the
vending mach i nes. There are
p u nches and elbows and hair-pulls.
Most of the boys have lost their
baseball caps as they lunge through
the mob for Peter. With Molly finally
removed the g ro u p disperses . . .
except for Peter who remains
s m i l i n g a n d laughing with h i s hands
i n h i s pockets .