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INSCAPE 2016


INSCAPE Celebrating the Arts at Central Methodist University

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Inscape ©2016 by Inscape, Central methodist University’s Magazine of the Arts. Inscape is one of the creative endeavors of the students, faculty, and staff at CMU. This unique publishing opportunity is one of many educational experiences that CMU’s Department of English, along with Sigma Tau Delta, provides. They have a distinguished record of placing students in graduate and professional study as well as in education and other professional fields. The Mu Lambda Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta is an opportunity for students to share their love of English with one another while participating in campus activities, conferences, and publishing Inscape. If you would like more information about Sigma Tau Delta, please contact: Dr. Travis Johnson Assistant Professor of English 411 Central Methodist Square Fayette, Missouri 65248-1192 tjohnson@centralmethodist.edu 660-248-6308 Or visit www.centralmethodist.edu/academics/english for more information about the Department of English. The Inscape staff and Sigma Tau Delta wish to thank the staff at Modern Litho, Jefferson City, Missouri, for their assistance in producing and printing this issue. All CMU students, faculty, and staff are invited to submit their creative work for possible publication in Inscape. Please contact the editors at inscape@centralmethodist.edu if you have an questions or are interested in submitting for the next issue, which will be released in the spring of 2017.


inscape Central Methodist University’s Magazine of the Arts. A Project of CMU’s Mu Lambda chapter of Sigma Tau Delta. Issue 41/2016

Editors Danielle Mae Franklin Courtney Warford

Faculty Advisor Dr. Kavita Hatwalkar

Inscape was founded in 1975 by Central’s Tau Tau Tau honorary fraternity. Mu Lambda chapter of Sigma Tau Delta (The International English Honor Society), and the legendary Scribblers and Scrawlers. Inscape is funded by CMU’s Student Government Association.


Table of Contents Front Cover................................................................. Glimpse of T-Berry by Michaela Pomajzi Note from the Editors.....................................................................................................................6 Inscape Defined...............................................................................................................................7 Poetry...............................................................................................................................................8 First Place: Full Circle by Bailey Brown (8)

Second Place: Seaside Regrets by Abby Ruessler (9) Third Place: When I Fell In Love by Nicholas Foland (10) An Ode To Post Traumatic Stress by Dr. Dan Elliot (11) Let Me Sleep by Steven Clayton (12) I Wait by Brittany Lawson (13) Back Into The Dark by Dylan Lewis (15) flat line by Lyndsey Phillips (16) Bad People Everywhere by Nicholas Foland (17) The Destroyer by Bailey Brown (18) Loving A Ghost by Alexis Eckhoff (19) The Razor’s Edge by Dylan Lewis (21) The Pretty Girl by Cloe Beck (22) The Big Tree by Abby Ruessler (24) Out of the Equation by Robyn Maag (26) I Wish by Julie Gleich (27) Two-Dozen Pancakes by Brittany Lawson (28) She Danced With The Woods by Zoey Glasgow (29) Beginning of September by Bailey Brown (30) Follow Me by Dylan Lewis (31) He Gets That From Me by Robyn Maag (32) Here I Am by Lyndsey Phillips (33) Sinner’s Mouth by Alexis Eckhoff (34) Stuck in the Past by Dylan Lewis (35) Blue Collared America by Bailey Brown (36)

Second Place: Girl In The Flowered Dress by Bailey Brown (46) Third Place: Oh My Beautiful Boyfriend by Dylan Lewis (48) Game Over by Taylor Rouse (50) A Mother’s intuition by Abby Ruessler (51) An Observation by Katlin Thompson (53) Origin of a Hero by Nicholas Foland (54)

Second Place: Confetti Covered Streets by Alyssa Webb (58) Third Place: Inner Wild Side by Desiray Crowe-Boicourt (59) Midafternoon by Lyndsey Phillips (60) Screwed in San Antonio by Bailey Brown (61) The Gathering by Kelly Jo Davis (62) The Pilot’s Last Flight by Desiray Crowe-Boicourt (63) Word of Warning by Clinton Campbell (64) For Always by Desiray Crowe-Boicourt (65) Letchworth by Lyndsey Phillips (66) Central by Kelly Jo Davis (67) Reconnecting to Nature by Desiray Crowe-Boicourt (68) Ozark Fresh by Clinton Campbell (69) Generations by Michaela Pomajzi (70)

Fiction.................................................................................................................................38 First Place: He Who Has A Why by Remy Gagnon (38)

Photography, Art, and Drawing...........................................................................................57 First Place: Teamwork by Clinton Campbell (57)


Chi Delt March by Lyndsey Phillips (71) Bijou by Clinton Campbell (72) Till The End Of Time by Desiray Crowe-Boicourt (73) Inquisitive Elk by Alyssa Webb (74) Luck of Letchworth by Lyndsey Phillips (75) Wherever I Go by Mikaela Lewis (76) Blank Stare by Alyssa Webb (77) Mini Game by Clinton Campbell (78) A Road Less Traveled by Desiray Crowe-Boicourt (79) Bad Apple by Alyssa Webb (80)

Second Place: Was It Mercy? by Nicholas Foland (83) Third Place: Strong by Emily Speakman(85) Advice by Kelly Jo Davis (87) The Road Home by Lyndsey Phillips (88) The Dark Corner by Drew Gandy (90) Behind the Boat by Bailey Brown (92) The Speech Contest by Zoey Glasgow (93)

Second Place: Dinner at Mother’s by Julie Gleich (99) Third Place: The Mugger by Drew Gandy (103) Forget That Ever Happened by Dylan Lewis (106) In The Heart of Europe by Bailey Brown (111)

Short Story by Mackenzie Strother (114) Blood Red by Kassidy Monnig (115) Foreign by Sierra Smith (116)

Nonfiction............................................................................................................................81 First Place: The Potion of Amber Ninety by Maggie Moore (81)

Ten-Minute Plays..................................................................................................................95 First Place: Yuletide Problems by Nicholas Foland (95)

Young Writer’s Day............................................................................................................113 Notes on Young Writer’s Day (113)

Editor Biographies...................................................................................................,....... .117 Contributor Biographies.....................................................................................................118 Notes...................................................................................................................................120


Note from the Editors The editors of the 2016 edition of Inscape would like to thank everyone that made this publication possible. Sigma Tau Delta chapter and its advisors, Dr. Hatwalkar, the faculty advisor and all the contributors, this would not be possible without you. Thank you for all of your help and for believing in us when we sometimes didn’t believe in ourselves. Contributors, thank you for all of your wonderful pieces that made this issue what it is. It’s game over. Whether this magazine is the end of your game or not, game over has been a theme throughout our submissions. Video games, relationship games, all types of games, have somehow made an appearance in the submissions of students, faculty, and staff. Dive right in. Read some of the best work from our students and faculty. Learn about new games, old games, relationship games. Read tales of muggers, heart wrenching nonfiction, and hilarious fictional tales. What is your game? Is it writing? Art? Photography? Or are you a quiet observer taking in all of the literary works and pieces of art? For some of our contributors, this is their last game. For others, the game is just beginning. Do you have what it takes to play? Sit back and enjoy! Danielle Mae Franklin Courtney Warford

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in • scape / in-skeip/ n. Word coined by British poet Gerard Manley Hopkins for the individual or essential quality of a thing; the uniqueness of an observed object, scene, event, etc.

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First Place Poetry Full Circle by Bailey Brown My roommate will be a nurse. And I will be a teacher. One day, she will bring babies into the world. And one day, I will teach them. Together, we will watch them teeter through life before confidently grabbing diplomas and bachelor’s and master’s, wives and husbands, having babies of their own with my roommate cradling them in her arms once more. The parents will retire with grey hair and big smiles and we’ll get wrinkles from passion and worry and love and laughter and tears as she stands at the foot of their bed while they flatline. We will see their lives as passers-by and caregivers. We will see their full circle.

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Second Place Poetry Seaside Regrets by Abby Ruessler That moment with you seems so far away, but it stills stays with me all the time. I wish that I could forget that day. You held my hand tightly by the bay, we knew we must be in our prime. That moment with you seems so far away. The water was cold, and almost gray, the seaweed beneath us felt like slime. I wish that I could forget that day. My heart opened up like a floodway. We watched the sun move high and climb, that moment with you seems so far away. I knew I’d never felt that way, feeling love like that should be a crime. I wish that I could forget that day. If you love that hard, you’ll surely pay when she leaves without reason or rhyme. That moment with you seems so far away, I wish I could forget that day.

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Third Place Poetry When I Fell In Love by Nicholas Foland When I fell in love, everything fell into place. It was like a shining moment from above when I saw your beautiful face. Everything fell into place as soon as you said, “I love you.” When I saw your beautiful face, I said, “I love you, too.” As soon as you said, “I love you,” I thought, “Life couldn’t get any better!” I said, “I love you, too!” Then you gave me our first love letter. I thought, “Life couldn’t get any better!” When we went on our first date. When you gave me our first love letter, I knew it was the start of something great. When we went on our first date, It was like a shining moment from above. I knew it was the start of something great When I fell in love.

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An Ode to Post Traumatic Stress By Dan Elliot, PhD [Vietnam Veteran, Sgt. E-5, Dan (Dana) R. Elliott] All veterans deserve our praise--Men or women; combat or not, to them our flag we raise. Mental or physical, our pains run deep--Whether it’s an arm or a leg or inability to sleep. All veterans deserve our praise--Especially those who gave their life; to them our flag we raise! Whether a World War, Vietnam, or the Middle East— Who is to say which is the least? Millions have been there, combat or not— Those who didn’t serve should not be put on the spot! Whether 100 or 20, our age is rarely the same, We all have been there, the only difference is the name. Whether Army, Navy, Air Force, or those who proudly proclaim “Oooorah”— To the VA and all legislators—please end the stall! It is time to recognize the “Silent Killer” PTSD; A scarred body is easy to see, Yet, a scarred brain is NOT to be! Whether a scarred body or a scarred brain; There is no difference; Dear God knows we have created a terrible strain! A scarred body gets the “Heart” But, a scarred brain, “The Pyramid of Honor” is NOT a part! It is time to make that change, It should not seem all that strange! Surely, we all know a veteran with PTSD, You don’t have to look far, that’s what you will see! All wounded veterans (physical or mental) past, present, and future deserve our Praise! Author’s Note: Written to complement ”PTSD Is Bad For Your Health”, by Jerome Greer Chandler, VFW Magazine, August 2015, issue, pages 30-32. Dr. Elliott was drafted in August, 1968, into the Army. Training was on 105 mm Howitzers. He was in Vietnam from January, 1968, until January, 1969. He received three combat citations.

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Let Me Sleep By Steven Clayton I’d think as I lay on my bed, my mind swirled like the drum of a dryer. I would look to the ceiling as I plead Thinking like The Walking Dead and of the next chapter to type. They’d never tire, I’d think as I lay on my bed. As the hours passed, I dread. Insomnia shouts at me like the town crier, Let me sleep. I’d look to the ceiling as I plead. My eyes see the bed spread. I desperately need to retire, I’d think as I lay on my bed. I still hold that pillow close to my head as my thoughts become a wildfire. Let me sleep. I’d look to the ceiling as I plead, please let me sleep. Failing to drift off, my face grew red. Time flew by, the need to sleep now dire. I’d think as I lay on my bed, let me sleep. I’d look to the ceiling as I plead.

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I Wait By Brittany Lawson Lay me down in a salt water lake I want the salt to burn my skin. The road laid out before us when we started out but now I am too tired to swim. Let me float... or let me drown. It doesn’t matter now. I want to fall asleep and never wake again. The world is my weight. I am Atlas, but I am no god-Not even an ant, but a mote of dust, So carefully, so easily I will be crushed. I am formed in sea foam. I am made from Adam’s bone. He sits upon my heart like it is his throne. I am made from star dust I am made from death and rust I am a millstone. Wear me as a necklace and I will hang you from the chain, my body will be your noose. I am the vacuum of space. I want to pull apart all of your darkness and swallow every last dark part. I want to be poisoned-You start. The world was wide and beautiful when we started out. I wanted to touch every speck of land, Lay my foot prints out on the dew-brushed grass and love and be loved by all of God’s people. I am heavy and I am weary now. If there was a God he has forgotten me. Forgotten me in your burning candlelight eyes-Forgotten me in your feral moans like a dying animal-Forgotten me and left me here in the

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shallow water, and here I wait. I wait to fall asleep, And never wake.

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Back Into The Dark By Dylan Lewis The darkness of depression encloses my being. I can only catch glimpses of the outside worldonly when others let me. When I think I feel the light, however, Back to the dark I go. Losing a little more each time. The darkness seems to envelop my heart (I wish I would not allow it to). I give the time of day for others, Letting my depression tighten its grasp. Back into the dark I go. Losing a little more each time. I’ve hoped that I could earn love by giving myself away freely, but I’m always tossed aside. I now see how this is mistaken. Giving myself to another leaves nothing but emptiness in my being. This is the last time. I have finally learned my lesson. Back to the dark I go.

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flat line By Lyndsey Phillips We cried. Together. She held me. I could hear her heart beat. It’s almost as if her love for me Was radiating from her beating heart into my soul. I hadn’t felt love before. Not from someone else anyway.

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Bad People Everywhere By Nicholas Foland See that person you just helped across the street? She gave you an ungrateful look and thinks you smell weird. See that person you lent a few bucks to? He won’t do the same if you’re in that situation. It’s hard to find good people these days. All the good ones are afraid to do what is morally right. Afraid because there are more bad people than good. Bad people are about as abundant as water. They will always expect people to help them when they’re in trouble. And they will, and trust me, I know from experience, They will look the other way when you’re in a bind. But it isn’t just bad people who hurt the good; It’s also karma. Karma has been asleep for far too long to see the good people around. Karma is too busy giving the child abuser a winning lottery ticket. Karma is too busy letting murderers out of jail. When is it the good people’s turn? Never, I say. I have seen debilitating pain in too many good people. I know every time I do a good deed, I shouldn’t expect good karma. But does it have to be bad karma? Every. Single. Time? It tires me. It tires me to be good anymore. Why should I try helping others when I’ll just get stepped on? Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to help this lady across the street.

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The Destroyer By Bailey Brown I will kiss you until your face turns blue and you swear that I threw the stars in the sky and for a second, for a second, everything will feel perfect and unbroken and pure pure pure black with shining bright lights that you can’t decide if they exist or you imagined them. Did you imagine them? She ripped them out of the sky, left their clear strings dangling from the black ceiling and threw them into the sun into the moon and now your face is blue and no one is kissing you.

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Loving A Ghost By Alexis Eckhoff Once you fall in love with someone I don’t know that you can ever shake them. You were either the best thing for me, Or you were the worst. But I’m done loving a ghost. What you’ve taken for granted, Will eventually be taken away. You either want to be in my life Or you don’t. Don’t love me out of convenience; And don’t want me out of lust, Want to be with me because you Loved to hear my laugh, and you Love just having me around. Don’t kiss me because your body demands it, Kiss me because you love seeing my eyes darken And watching me bite my lip. Don’t hold me out of obligation, Embrace me because you love when I Run my fingers through your hair and feeling me melt In your arms. Don’t tell me not to cry because I’m being too sensitive. Instead notice how the tears linger on my eyelashes Before they fall. Don’t pay attention to my morning breath, my sweatpants, Or my untamable hair. Notice how I look when I’m wearing your jacket, Reading in your living room, and sleeping In your bed. Relish in the fact I share your coffee And the way I spend more time Watching you rather than the movie, The way I hug you and breathe you in, Completely content. Remember how soft my lips were When they pressed against yours? Remember how my name rolled off your tongue?

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Remember the freckles on my face? Soon those memories will start to fade. Soon you will no longer remember; My taste, my scent, the sound of my voice Or the hazel of my eyes. I was only a short-term memory for you And now I’m waning from your subconscious. You’ll see me and remember me as a girl you Used to know, but that’s all I will be. A ghost from your past life. And when people ask about me You’ll find yourself thinking back to All our memories we created. I hope you’re confronted with the raw ache That is associated with the loss of me, So much that you won’t be able to Escape the emotions that overcome you. Then you will know, Then you will realize That I loved you more than anyone else In the entire world, and you Destroyed me.

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The Razor’s Edge By Dylan Lewis I stay on the razor’s edge along with a memory: my demented sense of self worship. The most celebrated nights of my life remain amplified blurs. The laughter and smiles gave me an unreasonable satisfaction at becoming the entertainment of the night, no matter how immature or shallow I would behave. I earned a reputation to be a rebellious and boisterous delinquent when the night would fall (while, also, retaining my quiet sense of insecurity when the day burned along). My peers confided that they believed I would end up dead from the vices that I had allowed to take control. I laughed when I was first told this (and I still find that thought funny to an extent). This dangerous period of my life gave me some of my best friends. Friends that I have grown to love. Those nights may have come to an end, but their remnants still live on in my head. I think of them as old razors that have left their mark on my mind. I found a home on the edge of that razor years ago, a place where I continue to reside. The razor has been dulled by the years of action and exertion, but it will always be where I stay. For better or worse.

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The Pretty Girl By Cloe Beck Her whole life she was told “you’re just not the pretty type.” Her whole life she walked around with her head down. An oblivious mother, a father that was rarely there, No one knew of her internal war. She blamed herself, “why can’t I just be pretty?” She starved herself to get skinnier, she changed her fashion style to appeal to guys, she made a mask out of make-up. Suddenly, she was noticed. The boys gave her attention, girls wanted to be her friend. Her home life got easier, and school was no longer a fear. But it wasn’t enough In the mirror, she saw a pretty girl. A girl in the popular crowd, a pretty face. Everything she ever dreamed of. But in her mind, she saw what she never wanted to become The girl that boys used as “arm candy,” but never the girl they take home to meet the parents. The girl that was taken advantage of, just an object. Soon, the mask disappeared Heels turned to combat boots Preppy turned punk Music became her muse Lyrics built her confidence Bands saved her life And through this, she met him. The boy she never planned on, who showed her what beauty is. Beauty is singing in the car like nobody’s watching. Beauty is listening to her favourite band and learning the lyrics just to sing them to her. Beauty is dancing in the kitchen to no music. Beauty is watching the one you love be passionate about what they enjoy.

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He showed her how to be beautiful By being the girl she is, by being the amazing girl she always was

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The Big Tree By Abby Ruessler Even in the heavy darkness, I could still see that the leaves were brilliant and diverse shades of gold, emerald and rust, but on that night, it couldn’t hold my attention. Its branches were outstretched far and wide in every direction, as if ready to embrace all the tiny people below, but that is not why I remember that place. Its trunk was as round as a concrete truck, and I cannot imagine all the time it took to grow, but that is not why I still picture it in my mind. Her long, beautiful, oak-colored hair pushed back behind her ear, the look of awe in her eyes and the anticipation for the way she hoped this place might make me feel, that’s what I see. Of course I know that tree was magnificent, but her soft, blue eyes looking back at me made me feel even warmer than my winter jacket shielding me from the cold. The way her laugh filled that chilled autumn air, and the way her hand in mine made me stand even taller than the massive tree in front of us, that is what I remember so fondly. When I think of that night, that’s what I see. I remember the girl who showed me the tree.

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She taught me to hope, and to forget the small things, I learned about love Under falling leaves.

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Out of the Equation By Robyn Maag I never thought anything of loving you more than you loved me. All through high school we dated and fell in love. I didn’t want it to be just Leighton and I that equals we.

It wasn’t too long before we said those loving vows, sweet pea. We had a home, a love, and a future to be proud of. I never thought anything of loving you more than you loved me.

Only months later was it you plus me equals three. We were beyond blessed from up above. I didn’t want it to be just Leighton and I that equals we.

Leighton was the root that grounded our tree. And for a while you two had all of my love. I never thought anything of loving you more than you loved me.

I looked at you like the stars that blinded me, but now I see. I tried to hold on but secretly cried like a mourning dove. I didn’t want it to be just Leighton and I that equals we.

It shattered my heart but I was sick of the begging and the pleas. You walked away and only turned to hurt and shove. I never thought anything of loving you more than you loved me. I didn’t want it to be just Leighton and I that equals we.

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I Wish By Julie Gleich September first is when all the decorations come in. Not just Halloween and not just Thanksgiving, but Christmas comes in and starts its beginning. The ornaments, the garlands, the nutcrackers, as well as all of the Christmas trees, do not belong next to the Halloween pumpkins. I remember that it frustrated you, seeing purples and oranges next to the reds and the greens. Whatever happened to the beauty of autumn? The leaves that change to so many different colors. The air begins to cool, and turn crisp like the leaves. I think that autumn is the best season of all. I loved picking the walnuts up in the evening with you. Watching your sunflowers grow taller than me. I’m glad that your end came in autumn. The vibrant colors or the leaves, means their time is coming near. The coolness of the air becomes drier and drier. Even though autumn is so beautiful, it’s the end of it all. The pumpkins we pick to carve is destructive. The corn mazes we plow through, not always following lines. The bonfires I love, is the cremation of trees. Autumn is when you left me, Poppy Seed. I miss you all year round, and I wish I could go see you more each day.

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Two Dozen Pancakes By Brittany Lawson To the terrified girl I used to be: There are people who will be so happy they have met you. I couldn’t list them on one hand. There are so many. All the reasons you believe the world is against you, Try to count them and then tell me. There are so few. There is a sunrise at four thirty waiting, There are small spotted plants on the deck. There is a hot griddle in the kitchen, There are two dozen pancakes. I cannot promise it will stop hurting. There are times I still can’t breathe. I cannot promise it will feel better. But I beg you to listen, to believe, There are meteors in the atmosphere That will streak and light and burn. And you will feel like you are one of them. And you will finally know your worth. I am still afraid, but it is okay.

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She Danced With The Woods By Zoey Glasgow The cottage she lived in was small and dark, It never let in enough light. But she was hardly ever inside of it, It left her in a sad state that she didn’t like to dwell in. This cottage didn’t match the mind of the girl, Very bright and humble. So she spends most of her time in the outside world, Where everything was alive. When the leaves rustled it was like they were singing, The stream flowing was almost its accompaniment. The clouds drifted overhead as she skipped along, Guiding her into this land of nature. The woods was where she would reside, It was quiet and full of peace. Her body was loud as she danced and spun, Her golden hair bouncing along her face. The leaves would mimic her every move, As the butterflies grew curious. Her floral dress captivating, Like the gardens they would feed from. She would always lose track of time in these woods, Never noticing that the sun has sat. And though it was dark like her cottage, The lightning bugs would come out to comfort her. They were like protection, Providing her with a dim light. They reminded her that she could stay longer, That the woods were her second home.

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Beginning of September By Bailey Brown No matter how hard I scrub, I can’t seem to get your lips off my coffee mug. No matter how hard I shake, I can’t erase your face from my etch-a-sketch mind. Tell me where you went. Tell me where you’ve gone. Tell me how to get rid of the song. You sang in my car that first night. That last night. How could I forget the the days we sat by the lake and talked about the world and how we were waiting for things to fall down for them to fall back in place. You grabbed my hand and kissed it once before disappearing into the dark dark world. Did you see me there? Were you afraid? When was the last time you let my name touch the tip of your tongue? I prayed for the first time in years yesterday to a God that forgot my name. You forgot my name.

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Follow Me By Dylan Lewis Follow me into the wild as the sun sets and our silhouettes fall behind. As a fire slowly dies and lays forgotten. Walk with me into the coming night. Your hand is in mine and our love is strong. We can face this together. We are the ones who can face this darkness of hardship, as the light of our love grows brighter. We are all that matters. Follow me into the unknown. Follow me into our future.

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He Gets That From Me By Robyn Maag most of what he lets you see he gets from me. those starburst green eyes, that always messy mop of red cowlick curls, the cutest little nose, those big pouty lips, even the tiny polka dots that scatter his cheeks. that’s what he gets from me. most of what he lets you hear he gets from me. those smart-ass remarks, that ornery attitude, the gentleman manners, that adorable laugh, even the sweetest, “i love yous.” that’s what he gets from me. most of what he lets you feel he gets from me. those slobbery lips as he leans in for a fishy kiss, that compassion and love pouring from his soul, the tiny pats he leaves on your back, the warmth radiating from his cuddles, even those little arms wrapped around giving loves. that’s what he gets from me. most of what he shows you he gets from me. those little hands folded, eyes closed, and prayers exploding, that love for literature and thirst for knowledge, the imagination that opens the door to a new world, even the desire to explore, conquer, and succeed, even that glowing angelic halo atop his head. that’s what he gets from me.

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Here I Am By Lyndsey Phillips Here I am, pouring my heart out. Here I am, crying in the rain. Here I am, freezing because I didn’t grab a jacket. I just ran, Ran to this rooftop. Here I am, soaking wet, Looking around, wondering why everyone seems so happy. Here I am, not knowing why I came here. Here I am, sitting on the ledge, Just letting my legs dangle, Knowing at any minute that I could slip. Here I am, not caring Here I am, wishing things would be better, That I didn’t have to run from my problems. Here I am, letting go. Here I am, falling. Here I am. Dead.

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Sinner’s Mouth By Alexis Eckhoff They say not to kiss a sinner’s mouth But I just can’t resist. The taste of him on my tongue, Marked in his essence, I am his. The way he encircles me, As I’m laid upon the bed. Swimming in this sea of silk, Arms above my head. He nudges his knee between my legs And finally blesses me from within. I’m a woman now, so he says, “Let the fun begin.” “Don’t hide that pretty figure, Keep it on display,” In this field it’s all I’ve got To ensure that I get paid. Shoot up in a filthy room, Needles pierce my skin. The only thrill I get these days Is from the heroin. Walking down along the street, Being the pimp he knows he is, Picks another little girl, Determined to make her his. Selfish, little, stupid me The tears they slowly fall. I never meant to get involved, Realizing now I meant nothing at all. He loves me not, he never did, Yet he said he loved me then. Side effects of kissing a mouth, Colored black with sin.

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Stuck In The Past By Dylan Lewis Losing you. Losing what means the most. Remembering what we once were, Like seeing a perfect ghost. You’re a lover now gone in a place far away. I recall what we did on that beautiful summer day. The trees rustled softly, while the sun brought its light. We made a promise to each other that we would never lose sight. I trusted you’d never leave. That you’d never be estranged. You said that you loved me, Now you say that “things change.” How can I accept this? Do I even have a choice? I never thought I would regret hearing your voice. Your love is long lost, and now so am I. Without that love beside me, all I can do is cry.

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Blue Collared America By Bailey Brown She lifted her nose to the smell of diesel fuel and red 100’s, the aromas of home. Her eyes caught the red white and blue whipping in the heated wind, the metal piled against the fence, the dwarfed stars of a blow torch owning to a man behind a mask, the name “Eric” stitched into his blue collared shirt. Somewhere not too far from here, her brother sat on the porch spitting Coppe and listening to Eric Church, waiting for his one way trip to serve his mother land. To protect the only life he would dare to know. She shook it away, put the image in her pocket until the boy on the porch was replaced by a man in uniform. She walked down the lane of the tool yard, rolling her cigarette between her forefinger and thumb. Whistling absentmindedly to the song stuck in her head, stuck in her heart. She waved to the men passing her on forklifts and MAC trucks, trails of tobacco following them in the breaths of summer. She knew their names of course. She knew their lives from small talk and her gum smacking gossip queen boss. “His wife left him. He goes to bars and tells married women to fuck off ” “His wife was raped and killed. Don’t say anything about blacks around him unless you want a fight” “Her brother killed her boyfriend for beating her. He’s in there for life” she tells me about their worst mistakes

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and empty apologies. She tells me how the man in the white shirt had paid three girl’s tuition, even though they weren’t his daughters. She tells me how they all work so hard. Hard and over time and for what? A blue collar, a red 100, Marlboro if you’re lucky, and something else. Something that doesn’t quite have a name. Something. Something only America knows.

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First Place Fiction He Who Has A Why by Remy Gagnon May 8, 1917 Dear Johnny, We all miss you at home. School is going well for me. Steve keeps trying to enlist in the army. They keep kicking him out. I don’t understand why he keeps trying to go to war. He is seventeen and hasn’t even graduated yet. But his age doesn’t stop him from trying to enlist at least once a week. Mom keeps telling him to focus on finishing school. Everyone here is proud of you. Stay safe. Your loving sister, Lacey I have read this letter countless times. I know the information isn’t going to change and the words won’t magically transport me home. But after being here for a couple months, the stresses of home don’t seem to be so hard. Steve is my younger brother, but you couldn’t tell by the looks of us. He has blonde hair and I have brown but we both have our father’s blue eyes. He is really skinny like I used to be, he hasn’t really got any muscles yet. Steve has always followed in my footsteps for better or worse. When I used to steal hand-fulls of malt balls, Steve was always 3 steps behind me with as many malt balls as he could carry. I wish he would stop trying to join the war and just help Mama at home. She is a laundress. Doing laundry all the time exhausts her, but that doesn’t stop her from taking care of everybody. Ricky leans over and whispers, “Hey John, could you knock out the light? Tomorrow is gonna be rough enough as it is. Might as well try to get some sleep.” I turn out the light and lay down. I pray to God to keep my family safe and to let me come home alive to them. We all are sleeping on these messed up cots. Before war I probably would have never been able to sleep on them, but now they are just a dream. *** “Johnny! Get up! You got five minutes for breakfast and then we’re gone. Let’s go!” I will never be the person to wake up on time. I grab my pack, and some crap food and run to the truck. I sit next to my best friend Ray. He is a real piece of work. He leans over and says, “Well good morning sleeping beauty”. I crack a smile, “Thanks for the last minute wake up call.” “Well I figured you could use the beauty sleep and all considering your ugly mug.” “Your mom thought I looked mighty fine.” He hits me on the shoulder, and adds, “Don’t you talk about my Mama. She is a lady.” I laugh it off. I have never met his mom. Ray and I didn’t grow up anywhere near each other. But he looks more like Steve’s brother than I do. We met our first day in France. How ironic, I am in the country of love and I meet Ray. Ray grew up in Mississippi; you wouldn’t guess by the way he talks. He doesn’t have much of an accent unless he wants to. The truck finally starts to move. And we are off to our station. You see, we are in France to fight the war. The United States recently decided that this is a fight we should be a part of. I am all for making the world safe for democracy like President Wilson says, but does it really mean I gotta lay my life on the line? I bring this up to Ray again. “So remind me why I am here fighting the good fight?” He quickly responds, “Because you’re twenty and the government says so.” “Oh, real encouraging.” “Nah, come on man. We are here fighting for country. That is the most honorable thing a man can do.” “I guess. I still don’t like the idea of being drafted.” We finally pull up to where I will be spending another glorious two weeks: the trenches. Now this idea is a real fine piece of work. You have us, the allies, which right now is mostly some Americans and French guys with a few Russians in a huge trench that extends for miles. And on the other side is a bunch of Germans, who also have a huge trench that extends for miles. And in the middle, well that’s no man’s land. You walk out there, might as well have shot yourself. But this way you save a bullet. We unload the truck and prepare ourselves for the hell we are about to return to. As we go to walk into the trench, men walk out. The rotation continues. Ray and I settle in to our once again home sweet

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home. On either side of us are several feet of mud with wood shoved into it. They are meant to help us get out but we won’t need them for a long while. Within an hour our captain will be over to remind us why we are here and what our duties will be. But my mind is still in one place: home. All I can do is daydream about the sun setting while I sit on the porch with Steve. We used to talk about anything and everything. Now he doesn’t even send me letters anymore. I don’t understand how me being drafted has affected him so much. All he wants is to be here at war with me. But with every letter I write to him I tell him how he doesn’t belong in a place like this. I couldn’t imagine the pain in my Mama’s heart if he were to die in action. She would never forgive me. She always told me to look out for him. Captain Batustic eventually makes his way over. He tells us to get ourselves ready. He throws us some bullets and says to use them wisely. And then he is off. The last few times I have been in this trench nearly nothing has happened. Both sides just stay in our trenches waiting till someone tries to do something stupid to kill themselves. Ray and I try to get as comfortable as we can and start to play some cards. I wouldn’t say we are the best soldiers but not quite the worst. We play gin and talk for hours until finally the night comes. You think doing very little work all day would make me wide-awake. But some how I am still beat. Something about war just takes all your energy out of you. I begin praying to God again. I pray probably more in war than I have in my entire life. “Please God keep my family safe at home. Please give Steve some common sense. Bless my Mama and Lacey. Please let me come home alive and safe to them. Amen.” I nearly pass out with only a few minutes of thinking of home. *** I wake up to bullets firing and men yelling. I turn to Ray and he is gone. I grab my gun and peer over the top of the mud to begin shooting. But I am not sure what to aim at. You can barely see the German helmets above the dirt. I just start shooting. I hear Captain Batustic on my right, he is yelling, “Keep shooting!” Everyone is active today. This is war. The guy on my left, Ricky, gets shot. He is hit in the shoulder and falls back. I stop shooting to check on him. You would think that being in battle I wouldn’t be so surprised, but I have never seen one of my guys get shot. I have seen bullet wounds and people injured and dead. But never someone shot in front of my own eyes. I push my hands over his wound. He’s bleeding like crazy. I yell over the bullets, “You’re gonna be alright Ricky, it’s nothing!” All he can do is scream. I call for a medic, but I don’t know if anyone can hear me. I just keep yelling, “Medic! Medic!” Oh, God please. And then I hear this deafening bang. *** It takes me a minute to open my eyes. All I can hear is this high pitch noise. It takes the place of all other noise. I try to look around but nothing feels right. I can barely see straight. Everything is in double and shaking. I see Ricky next to me his mouth is moving but nothings coming out. All I can hear is this piercing ringing. I start to look around and I can almost see Lacey. She looks like a ghost in her white night gown and her long blonde hair is down all pushed to one side. Her piercing blue eyes are focused on me. She is trying to tell me something. Her mouth is moving but I can’t see her in pure focus. I try to get up but can’t. I can start to hear Lacey, she is quiet almost like a whisper. I squint to try and understand her. “…Johnny” I can hear her say my name but I know there is more. I try to focus on her more and then she comes in loud and clear through the high pitch ring. “Get up Johnny!” Lacey disappears and the high pitch noise is gone with her. My eyes focus to the blue sky darkened by war. I have never had this bad of a headache in my life. So I stay down on the ground for a few minutes trying to get myself together. Finally my brain turns on and all I can hear is screaming. I look back to Ricky and he isn’t screaming. He is just mumbling and shaking. He is in worse shape than before. He has pieces of what looks like scrap metal in him. I realize I had passed out or maybe knocked out. I can’t catch my breath because it feels like my lungs are just being squeezed. It is then that I realize I am the one who is screaming. Why am I screaming? My whole body hurts. I start to check myself for gunshot wounds. I look down and my fucking foot is gone. God damn it. I try to stop myself from screaming but the more I try to stop the more I can feel that my foot isn’t there. I start getting that double vision back. “Help! Somebody help...” ***

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I can hear people talking. I can’t tell what they’re saying yet. I must be dead. I can hear a woman’s voice. In trenches women aren’t around for miles. I try to move but my hands feel drunk. I feel kind of drunk. If I’m drunk I must be dead. I try to open my eyes but they won’t go all the way. I can feel them fluttering, and all I can see is a white haze. Damn it I’m dead. Finally my mouth opens, “I’mm deeeead.” I can hear myself talking and boy I sound drunk. I try to talk again, “I’mm deead.” I can feel someone touch my hand and a woman yell. The next thing I know I see the brightest light. But it is not the light to heaven. A doctor is standing over me with a tiny flashlight. He tells the nurse, “His pupils are responsive.” Finally my eyes are working. And I can look at him. I say again, “I’m deead.” He replies, “Sir you are not dead. My name is Doctor Lock. You are in Aisne Hospital in France. Can you tell me your name?” “It’s Johnathan Fields.” The doctor starts talking to the nurse, “Let’s lighten him off the drugs a little.” She responds, “Yes doctor.” I start to remember what happened. Ricky got shot and…my damn foot got blown off. “Did you find my foot?” “Sorry John, when you were brought in your foot was not brought with you.” I can feel myself becoming less drunk, but that means feeling my body more. “Did Ricky make it? Where’s Ray?” “John, before we can talk about your friends we need to talk about you. It is going to …” I interrupt him before he can finish. “They aren’t just my friends those are my brothers, where are they?!” “John, if you don’t calm down we will have to put you under again, now relax please. I will have the nurse see if they are in the hospital. You can give her their names later. But first we must talk about you. John when you arrived you were missing your foot. It is standard treatment that we debride your wound of any foreign objects. Upon further assessment we had to amputate your leg to just under your knee. You had shrapnel all along your left leg, which we have removed. Your gastrocnemius muscle had deteriorated to the point that it was necrotized. We have stitched and wrapped your stump. Your leg will be swollen for a while. I am sorry, but you are lucky to be alive.” I swear I was listening but I have no idea what this man said to me. He looks way too young to be a doctor. This guy doesn’t even look like he can grow a beard much less prescribe medicine. He could have been one of Steve’s friends by the looks of him. I look at him, and say, “Come again?” “John, when you came into the hospital we looked at your leg and tried to remove all the dirt and stuff that did not belong in your body. We had to cut off more of your leg because the muscle died. Do you understand?” “Ya, I understand Doc.” “Alright, I have to meet with some other patients. If you have any questions you can ask Nurse Joy.” He pats my shoulder and is off. I lay back on the hospital bed, and thought, well I guess it’s not that bad. I mean my foot is gone, what was a little bit more leg? Now I can go home. I mean I prayed to come home alive, I might not be in one piece but I will be going home. The nurse starts to walk over with a clipboard. Nurse Joy, is a petite redhead with one of the cutest button noses. She asks for the names of my friends in the sweetest French accent. “Fredrick Smith and Raymond Elley, their nicknames are Ricky and Ray.” “Alright, I will check around to see if they were admitted. Try not to worry too much, just rest. I am going to up your drugs so that you can rest.” “Alright, thank you Nurse Joy.” It is crazy how fast some drugs can work. I felt little pain; I was more uncomfortable than anything. And now these drugs are making me feel as light as air. I could just fall asl… *** “Johnathan? John? I need you to wake up. I need you to eat something. John?” said Nurse Joy. I can hear her talking to me but my body feels so heavy that moving seems like too much work. I start to actually wake up, but the more I wake up the more my leg hurts. It is more than uncomfortable now it feels like real pain. I open my eyes to Joy standing to the right of my bed. She is setting up a table to put a tray of food on. The smell of the food makes me want to puke my guts out. “Hey nurse, my leg or I guess what is left of it really hurts.” “Alright, what would you say your level of pain is from 1-10? One being not that bad and ten being

40 Inscape 2016


unbearable.” “I don’t wanna sound like a girl or nothing but at least a six.” “Well John let’s take a look.” She walks around my bed and removes the blankets around what is left of my leg. Her face looks a little shocked. The worst smell fills the room. It is probably not that bad, I just feel like I gotta puke. I haven’t looked at my leg to see what I will be looking at for the rest of my life. Once I do, then it will be real. She looks at me and says, “I will be right back, I am just going to get the doctor to look at your leg.” I wait while she goes to get the doctor. I figure I might as well look at what is left of my leg. I finally look down and I see it. What the hell? My leg is far worse than they said. My leg is wrapped up to mid thigh but it is leaking almost. It looks like I am bleeding through the bandages. My thigh has huge blisters on it that are a deep red. I start to feel my heart pounding quickly and hard against my chest. The nurse returns with the doctor. He looks down at my leg and his face looks shocked as well. The doctor orders the nurse, “Get a wet towel for his head, he is sweating profusely.” I hadn’t even noticed that I was sweating. He pulls his stethoscope and starts to check my heart. The doctor starts giving information to the nurse, “He is hypertensive and has a fever.” He moves to look at my leg. “Tissue drainage with a pungent odor and blisters emitting brown-red fluid.” The doctor turns to me and says, “Don’t worry John, we will get this figured out. Can you tell me how you feel other than the pain?” “Well my heart feels like it’s going to pound right out of my chest and I think I am gonna puke.” Just as those words fell out of my mouth so did the vomit. The nurse tried to grab a bowl to get the rest but it was kind of too late. I had already puked all over myself. The nurse cleans my bed and me up. Poor girl, I hate to make such a pretty woman clean up something so gross. The doctor writes on a clipboard. “I don’t want to alarm you, but we are going to run some tests to determine why you feel this way and what is causing this adverse reaction. It may just be the drugs. We are going to take you off them and prescribe a different painkiller in case that is the source. I will have someone come to take some swabs from your leg in case this is bacterial. Don’t worry too much we will get this figured out.” The doctor leaves the room. “Hey Nurse Joy.” “Yes John?” “Is this doctor any good? I feel like I am dying, just had my leg cut off and he wants to have me here with no pain meds.” “To be honest I don’t know him too well. Because of the war there are a lot of people here I don’t know, we need all the help we can get. I know that he is a young American doctor and not the most experienced. But that shouldn’t worry you. He is going to try his best to help you so we can get you home.” “Alright.” “Just try to get some rest for now we have a long way to go tomorrow we should have some more information about what is happening. I know you aren’t feeling well, but would you like any of your dinner?” “No, thanks.” “Alright, I will take the food with me, but please try to drink some water. You need to keep yourself hydrated, especially with the medicine you are taking.” The nurse leaves. I lie down and try to get comfortable but I can’t the pain is too much and I can’t help but worry. “Oh heavenly Father, I know that when I have prayed it was to send me home alive, but I don’t want to go home alive in pieces. Please Lord give me the strength to get through this. Please send the doctor the knowledge to help me. Please send blessings to Mama, Lacey and Steve. Please God stop the pain. Amen” With that prayer I try to sleep. I lay in bed just thinking of home. I miss the smell of spring and Mama braiding Lacey’s hair in the morning for school. *** I wake up from the pain. It looks like the middle of the night. All the lights in the room are off. The only light shining is from the nurse’s station just outside the door. With that light I can see the shadows of the other soldiers in the room. There is a man whose bed is right by the door. He has his head wrapped and he sounds like he is in pain. I think there is another man on the other side of the curtain on my left. I can

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hear someone snoring. And on the right of me I can see the foot of another guy. The curtain is covering most of him but I can see his left foot. It is stupid, but I am just a little jealous of him. He probably has way worse problems than me. I mean my leg is messed up but I will be going home. I can hear this guy cursing under his breath. I ask him, “Hey, you alright over there?” “No, they took off my arm.” “What happened? What do you mean they took it off?” “When I came in I had a deep cut on my hand. My hand was real pale but they said it was nothing serious. Then my hand turned purple. So they cut that off, to be safe. Then more of my arm turned purple. So they cut more off. Now all I have is my right shoulder, it is starting to turn purple. I don’t know how much more they can cut.” “Did you have a big blister too?” “Sure did, they smell too.” I start yelling for a nurse. Nurse Joy runs in. “What’s wrong?” “This guy next to me has the same thing I got. When are you going to get some answers?” “The lab report should be back within a day or two.” Maybe I did die and this is hell. She comes back into the room with Doctor Lock. She turns the light by my bed on. The doctor looks at my leg again. My leg is worse if you can believe that. The skin by my ribs is getting pale and my hip is already turning purple. It has only been a few hours since they last looked at me and already so much has changed. He shakes his head. “John, I am going to be honest. I don’t know what is wrong with you. We are running tests to find out what is wrong with you. I am are going to start you on some medication to fight infection.” Nurse Joy sets up the medicine for me. I don’t understand how all of this could have happened in less than a day. “Hey nurse, do you think I could have some paper and a pen?” “Sure, are you writing a letter home?” “Yes ma’am.” She walks out to the nurse’s station and comes back with some blank paper, a pen and an envelope. She puts her hand on my shoulder, and speaks softly. “Let me know if you will need more paper. When you’re finished with your letter just let me know and I will mail it out for you.” “Thank you Joy.” She leaves to check on the other guys in the room. Her name is so fitting for her. She is so sweet even though everyone around her is dying or wishes that they were dead. I plan to write home. I know that the doctor says he will figure everything out, but I don’t believe him. The guy next to me has the same ailment as me and he is suffering just the same. As morbid as it sounds I want to say good-bye to my family. I may never get the chance to see them again but at least they will know what happened to me. I turn on the bedside lamp and begin to write. Dear Steve, I know you probably don’t wanna hear this but I am in the hospital. My situation does not look good. The doctor is trying to find out what is wrong with me. I miss you greatly. Don’t tell Mama this. If I do pass then she will get a note letting her know I died in action. Please let her believe this. It will be easier than her knowing the truth of me suffering in a hospital. I am truly sorry to go back on my promise with you. I know I said that I would come home and that everything would go back to being the same. But that doesn’t look like an option. Take care of Mama and Lacey for me. They are going to need you to be strong. So no more of that fooling around and trying go to war, they need you home with them. Help Mama with work as much as you can and look out for Lacey. Make sure she grows up to marry the right man. I know you can Steve. Let Mama and Lacey know how much I love them. And don’t worry too much about me, if I don’t come home at least I will be in heaven with dad. Love, John

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While writing this letter I try not to cry. I never thought it would be so hard to come to terms with the idea that I may actually die. I know that I was fighting in a war, but death never seemed like a real option for me. I had seen it but the idea of experiencing it is almost terrifying. If I have to die I guess it is best that I am doing it so far from home. I can’t imagine my family seeing me this way. My body is battered and bruised, my leg is gone, and I don’t think I have ever smelled so badly in all my life. My leg stump is giving off the most disgusting smell. I want to write a letter to Lacey and Mama but I cannot bring myself to. I don’t want them to read the words of a dead man. I don’t know if their hearts could handle such pain. After my father died from pneumonia my mom fell into a deep depression. I stepped up and helped my mom with everything. I cared for her as much as I could to keep her happy. Knowing that I died and reading my words would be too much for her. I decide that this is going to be my only letter. “Nurse Joy!” I yell so she can hear me from the nurse’s station. She quickly shuffles back into the room. “Is everything alright?” “Yes, I just wanted to give you this letter to send out.” “Not a problem. There anything else I can do for you?” “No, thank you.” She begins to head out when an older man in a white lab coat walks into the room. Upon seeing him she turns back around. “John, let me introduce you to Dr. Spasitel. He is going to take some swabs of your wounds and send them for testing to try and find out what is going on.” I look at the nurse, “How come the other doctor didn’t do this himself?” “He was at the end of a very long shift. Dr. Spasitel will be caring for you while he gets a break. Don’t worry John, Dr. Spasitel is very experienced you will be in good hands.” Dr. Spasitel walks over to where my leg used to be. “Alright son, do you mind if I take a look?” “By all means.” He removes the blanket to reveal my stump oozing more of that red liquid. It looks almost like blood but not quite. The smell is just awful and is intensified from taking the blanket off. This man looks at my stump and then back at me. He turns to the nurse and instructs her. “Nurse, move that lamp I need to see the boy better.” She moves the lamp and he looks at my face. “Nurse could I speak to you outside for a moment?” “Yes, doctor.” She follows him just outside the door, she closes it but not all the way so that I can still hear them talking. “Who was his physician before me?” “Dr. Gregory Lock, why do you ask?” “Well is he an idiot or does he wish for the opposition to win the war?!” Nurse Joy seems to shrink as he yells. “What do you mean Dr. Spasitel?” “Well it is obvious that the boy in there is suffering from gas gangrene. The symptoms are all there. Get me the charts of all Dr. Lock’s patients that are exhibiting similar symptoms immediately and bring me some maggots. And run.” Nurse Joy is off to get the stuff Dr. Spasitel asked for. I can’t imagine why he would want maggots. The minute she is gone he puts his head down into his hand to cover his face. Then he looked up at the ceiling and spoke, “God have mercy on their souls.” I can feel my chest tighten. I know he means me but I hope that he doesn’t. Nurse Joy returns with several clipboards and hands them to the doctor. He looks over them. “Which patient is the most recently admitted?” Nurse Joy replies and they are gone. It is so hot in this hospital that my sheets are almost soaking from my sweat. I call out, “Nurse! Nurse!” No one replies. “Hey guy!” I call to the man next to me. He rolls over towards me, “What are you yelling about? I am trying to sleep.” “There is a doctor here who knows something and he is running around. I don’t know about you but I want some answers.”

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The soldier next to me starts yelling with me for a nurse. Finally a nurse walks in. Before she can make it all the way into the room I scream at her, “Get me Dr. Spasitel right now!” She scurries out of the room. Within minutes Dr. Spasitel is back with Nurse Joy. “I want to know right now what is going on with me. I have a right to know.” “Calm down, we need to talk and it is not going to be easy.” “Tell me right now what is wrong with me. And does this guy have the same thing?” He sits at the end of my bed and looks me in the eyes. He spoke softly with his Russian accent, “Mr. Fields, I am sorry to be the one to inform you of this, especially considering we have just met.” Nurse Joy walks over and holds my hand. “Mr. Fields, judging by your symptoms of tissue drainage, fever, sweating, vomiting, pain, hypertension and jaundice, you have gas gangrene. I assume that you picked up the bacteria on the battle field and when admitted we treated your injury. The bacteria progressed up your leg until it reached your blood stream. This caused kidney failure and you are in sepsis. I am greatly sorry to inform you that there is nothing we can do.” “What do you mean?” “You’re dying John, you have only hours left.” “There has to be something you can do, you can’t just let me die.” “Unfortunately the gas gangrene is very aggressive. It can kill a man in 48 hours, unfortunately you were admitted yesterday evening. By then the bacteria was already inside you and did not get the attention it deserved. It has already spread throughout your body, normally we would do debridement, excessively clean all wound sites and then apply maggots to sufficiently clean the wound. However, because it took you some time to get here from the battlefield, the bacteria had already progressed and there is nothing we can do.” The guy next to me is crying so heavily, “Does that mean I am dead too?” The doctor focuses on him now. “I am sorry Mr. Harrison, but it seems that you too are in the same position. We will give you medicine to ease your suffering as much as possible.” The doctor and nurse leave the room. This guy Harrison, is balling like a baby. I am trying to keep my shit together. “Hey man, it is okay. At least you’re not going out alone.” He angrily replies to me, “No man this is bullshit! I am not supposed to go out like this.” Now his entire face is red from crying. I look at him and the tears that had welled up in my eyes were gone. “You know it doesn’t have to be like this. We don’t have to let this disease win. I ain’t no coward. Life or death that is my choice.” “What do you mean?” At this point Nurse Joy walks in with our breakfast. She has never looked so sad. She puts my tray down. And she doesn’t even look at me. She probably can’t bear the thought of looking into the eyes of a destined dead man. I grab her hand before she can walk away. “Don’t be sad. You are far too pretty to be so upset.” She gives me a half smile and gets out of the room as quickly as she can. This Harrison guy just picks at his food. He is far too upset to eat. “So what did you mean when you said not letting the disease win?” I look back at him, “I mean that I am not suffering any longer.” I pick up the knife from my food tray and look at it for a minute. I look at Harrison. “Pray with me Harrison.” We bow our heads and close our eyes. I honestly thought I would never have to use this prayer, but I am glad to remember it at this moment “O most merciful Jesus, Lover of souls; I pray Thee by the agony of Thy most sacred Heart, and by the sorrows of Thy Immaculate Mother, cleanse in Thine own Blood the sinners of the whole world who are now in their agony amid are to die this day. Amen.” Harrison is trying to not cry during this prayer.

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I whisper under my breath, “God forgive me.” I take that knife and stab it into my chest as hard as I can. I thought it would hurt more, but the drugs must make this easier than I thought. I can hear Harrison screaming, “What the fuck?” But I don’t care I got myself good there is no way for the doctors to fix this. I can feel my body relaxing. Death was eminent but this way I had control. I can see Lacey in her night gown standing next to Steve and Mama, they have their arms reached out to me. Welcoming me home. It feels like I am falling asleep again. Only better.

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Second Place Fiction The Girl in The Flowered Dress by Bailey Brown The stillness of the night is shattered by a mother’s scream. “Ester,” she yells. Her husband wakes by her side. Shaking her awake. “What is it? Monica, what is it?” she startles, comes out of her sleep and runs to her daughter’s room. Her footsteps echo down the wood paneled hallways. “Don, she’s gone. She’s gone,” Monica says. She opens her daughter’s bedroom to reveal an open window and an empty bed. *** The forest comes alive at night. Ester treads carefully, jumping at every rustle in the leaves, every broken stick. She is terrified. She should’ve stayed at home. But, the allure of Eric’s eyes, even from a distant memory is too strong for her. She continues on to their meeting place. The same place they’ve been meeting since they were six years old. As she approaches the clearing, she sees him. His face lit up by his phone, leaning against a rock just a few paces in front of her. He’s wearing a suit and his hair is messy at one side. “Ester, is that you?” his dark voice breaks through the night above the crickets. “Are you wearing what I told you to wear?” She looks down at herself. She has on a dark blue flower patterned dress that ends just above her knees. She emerges from the treeline and watches as Eric’s phone falls to his side. “My God, Ester, you’re even more beautiful than I imagined,” he comes to her and begins to kiss her neck. She giggles and tries to push him away. “My parents don’t know I’m gone so, like, we have to do this fast, okay? I don’t want them to worry,” Ester says. Eric shakes his head. Even though it’s dark outside, she can see his pupils dilate against the moon. “They have nothing to worry about. You’re with me, but it’s okay. We’ll do the deed and then be done.” She nods in agreeance. He sweeps her up in his arms, still covering her in kisses. “I figured we might need some drinks to loosen up, yeah?” She nods again, at a loss for words. He sits her by the rock he was leaning against. She watches as he turns his back to pour a drink into small plastic cups. He hands one to her. “To us,” he says, raising his glass. “To us,” she responds before tilting her head back to finish her drink. *** Red and blue lights flash through the windows of the Flower’s home. Monica and Don stand at the front door talking to two police officers. “She went to bed around ten, a little later than us,” the police officer writes on his notepad, “I had a dream that something awful had happened to her, and so I woke up to check on her. She was gone. The window was wide open,” Don reaches for her hand. “Does she have a history of sneaking out? Were there any parties you weren’t allowing her to go to?” Don and Monica look at each other and shake their head in unison. “No, no she was always such a good girl. So well behaved,” Don says. The second officer is holding his radio to his ear, listening very intently. “I’m sorry, but do you, by chance, know what she was wearing tonight?” Her parents shake their heads. “If what you’re assuming is correct, that she snuck out, then how would we know what she was wearing?” Don says. Concern and worry begins to seep into the lines of their faces. “Well, this is a little off the wall, but could you describe her appearance to us please?” The second officer holds onto his radio so the officers on the other line can listen. “She’s about 5’5”, small build, blonde, brown eyes,” Monica’s voice trails off as the officers exchange glances. “Ma’am, do you know if she owns a blue floral dress?” “She just bought one yesterday. Is there a reason for these questions?” Don reaches for Monica’s hand. “Is there any reason she might’ve ventured out into the woods tonight?” They both shake their heads. What reason would their daughter be in the woods at midnight? *** “Rigley, I’ll need you to get a party together to sweep the area. We have to find this guy.” Officer Lopez circles a rock in a clearing, big enough for to lean against. Blood seeps into the moss of the rock turning it into a strange brown color. The body of a girl in a flowered dress lays next to it. Officer Lopez picks up his radio, “Yeah, it’s the Flower’s girl alright. No sign of the perp in sight. Have you told the parents yet?” He crouched down to look at the girl who had now been identified as

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Ester Flowers. Her head was bent at an odd angle and blood leaked out of the corners. It appeared as if she hadn’t fought. “Eric, can you step over here for a second?” Eric comes from the shadows, his newly appointed police badge shining against the moon. “Have you ever seen this girl before? Maybe went to school with her?” “No, sir, I have not. Such a shame though. She must’ve been beautiful once.” Eric lights a cigarette and disappears into the night from which he came.

47


Third Place Fiction Oh My Beautiful Boyfriend by Dylan Lewis Oh my wonderful boyfriend! How I love him with all my heart! We’ve been dating for over five years now, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. He is my everything--he is my life. He’s been gone for several days, but I know he’ll be back. I can’t help but think about the moment we first met. It was our sophomore year of high school. He had just moved to my hometown of Quincy, Illinois and was still trying to adjust to his new home. He asked me with that quiet innocence of his, “Where’s Mrs. Anderson’s room at?” It turned out I had Mrs. Anderson as well, so I led him to her room. I fell in love with him that day. He was so beautiful. He listened to everything I had to say with true interest and care. He even told me how he liked my hair-- oh how courteous was he back then. He finally found the courage to ask me out after a few weeks and, of course, I allowed him to. We went to the Cinema 8 on our first date where we saw Charlie St. Cloud. The movie was so emotional that I couldn’t help but be the same way. He held my hand the entire time. It was so sweet and comforting. I wanted him to never let go. Afterwards he took me home and we kissed for the first time. It was the first perfect moment I’ve had in my life. The next three years were amazing. We were only separated when we had different classes or when he had football practice. Everyone made fun of us, but we didn’t care. They were all just jealous. Especially the girls, which is why I wouldn’t allow him to talk to them. He was mine and no one else’s. He treated me like a princess. He brought me candy, he took me out to dinner, he bought me movies. He even bought me a vintage sapphire ring on our two year anniversary. It was incredible! And that wasn’t the end of it! Inscribed on the bottom read: “Capture the past with an eye to the future.” I’ve never been given anything with such beauty and splendor. If I hadn’t already fell in love with him, that would have done it. I’ve worn that ring to this very day. We finally graduated in the spring of 2013. That was a rough point in my life. Not because I was worried about going to college, but because I was worried about losing him. After many nights of tears and pleading, I finally convinced him to go to Hannibal La Grange with me. He had already committed to play football for Iowa State, and he was so excited to be a Division One athlete. However, I knew that he had also gotten an offer from Hannibal. I knew that Hannibal was a much smaller school, but I told him it was for the best. I mean, he would still be playing football. It took him a while to agree with the idea, but he knew I was worth the sacrifice. He basically lived in my dorm when he wasn’t in class or at practice. I knew he missed his family in Quincy, but he always seemed happier when he was with me. We would go out to parties and have fun. Stay out late and sleep in together. He made a habit out of socializing with a few girls from his classes. After a bit I made it clear that he wasn’t to do that. We had a shouting match over the matter, but he came to see things my way. After that I was the only girl he spoke to. It was me and his football buddies- but mostly me. I was his entire world and that was how it’s supposed to be. Everything revolved around me, and I was so happy to be with him. I loved him. When our sophomore year began I was very comfortable with our positions in life. We got an apartment off campus and were officially living together. It was like a dream come true. The only bad thing was that I had grown annoyed of him having to go to practice and games all the time. I wanted him to spend all his time out of class with me. I didn’t know how he would feel about that, but I was sure I could show him that it was what was best for him. However, once again, we would have a shouting match over the situation. This one was worse, and it went on far longer than the first. I had to bring his grades into the conversation just to get him to listen to me. I knew his grades would have been better if he wasn’t playing football, and I exploited that fact until he finally gave in. He begrudgingly quit the team a week before their first game. He gave me the cold shoulder for a few days- actually it may have been a week or two-- but that didn’t matter. I knew that the more time we spent with each other the stronger our love would become. The rest of the year went wonderfully. I was so happy being with him all the time. I can’t describe just how amazing that time was. He wasn’t as happy as he used to be, but I’m sure that it was just a part of him growing up and focusing on taking care of me. He didn’t talk near as much either, but that didn’t hurt me at all. Just holding his hand and laying on his lap kept me happy. We wouldn’t go out hardly our sophomore year. We didn’t have to. I was satisfied staying at home with him. He was my life. He was all that I needed to be content with my life.

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School ended in early May and I had grown tired of class and homework and everything that came with it. I began to feel that all of that was getting in the way of me and him spending more time together. Which is all I wanted to have. A week ago visited his parents for a few days and he looked happier than he had been in a very long time. This threw me off for a bit, but I soon realized that it was all just an act for his parents so they didn’t get offended. He didn’t want them to think that he wasn’t happy being around him. His newfound quietness would make them feel like he didn’t enjoy being in their company, so he talked and put on his happy face to please them. My theory was proven correct when he went right back to his old self on the drive home. He became quiet once again as we drove. I held his arm to my heart the entire ride. It felt so good to have him to myself again. When we got back home I told him about how tired I had grown of school. I told him that I was going to drop out, so I could stay home. This took him aback and he explained just why that would be foolish of me to do. He was not for my idea. I told him that it was the right thing to do, and that he would drop out with me. That he would be so much happier to spend every second of every day with me. I mean that’s our dream, to be together forever. Of course we’d still have jobs to support ourselves, but school requires so much more time and attention than normal jobs. Jobs don’t require us to do homework or any of that nonsense. It would be better for us to just get a job and focus solely on our relationship. I knew that he wouldn’t take this very well initially, but his reaction was far more over the top than I had predicted. I had never seen him so angry and so filled with contempt before. I do not remember exactly what was said or who yelled the most, but I do remember tears, scolding, shouting, throwing things, kicking furniture, holes in the wall, and pure and utter chaos. After what felt like an eternity, he finally stormed out of the house and peeled off in our car. Left in this apartment alone, I spent the first few days crying on the floor amongst broken class, pillow insides, and toppled over furniture. I could not believe that our fights would ever get so out of hand. I was overwhelmed with sorrow and grief. However, after three or four days I began to think about all of our other fights. How they would get worse and worse, then he would finally agree with whatever it was that I had said. After this I became happy, and excited for when he would return. I’ve waited on the floor staring at the open front door waiting for him and his innocent self to walk through and apologize for everything. To hold me and tell me that I was right all along. I can’t wait to see my beautiful boyfriend again. He’s been gone for several days, but I know he will come back. I know he’ll see things my way.

49


Game Over (Revision of Death’s Messengers) By Taylor Rouse In the virtual world of Disgaea One brave player sought out a high level boss in The Crypt of the Ancients. “Who dares enter here?!” asked the boss which was a Ogre worth 15,00 experience points. “I Death wish to duel thee for I am the one who has made it alone to your crypt’s final level!” “Wish granted little warrior!” said the Ogre with a sly tone in his voice. The two fought until Death’s life bar reached its end, which in all terms meant Game Over for most players, but Death was special for in Disgaea was the one who symbolizes a player’s death. “What is to happen in this world if I die today?” Death asked himself, “if I die this world will glitch and processors in the game will slow making the world obsolete.” But just as Death was about to fade, a young player by the name of Venture came. He saw that Death was on the brink of Game Over and offered him his last heath potion. “Do you know what I am dear boy?” said Death as he was shocked for some to help him. “No I am new to Disgaea and saw you needed help and am also looking for companions to come and fight with Me.” said Venture with a gleeful tone. “Good.” Death said “then let us finish this boss and get out of here.” It was a battle of epic proportions filled with magic and many boost in abilities and attack power. At the end of the battle the Ogre fell in defeat taking in his last breath sending all the experience points Venture’s way. When finished both Venture an Death were transported back to the town in which they started quest. “How am I the only one who gained experience points?” Venture asked “we fought the boss together right?” “Forgive me for not fully introducing myself, I am Death. I am the one who usually goes with many Players and am the harbinger over their Game Over.” He said in a formal tone. Venture looked in fear as he did not want death to send him back to the real world so early in the game. “But since you helped me in the crypt I will spare you and send you messengers upon the time for your departure to the real world.” Venture looked at Death and sighed in relief, shook his head, and went start a new quest. Venture went on and played to his heart’s content where he chose quest meant for higher level players which in turn caused him much grief. In his most recent quest Venture was to slay a dragon. On the road there he was bombarded with many foes that he battled most valiantly, but lost a lot of HP due to poisons and curses that were cast upon him. As he came to the end of the many levels to the great beast he healed himself with a curing spell he just learned, Venture then yelled to the heavens “I will not fall here for I’ve only just begun. He finally came to the beast’s den where it seemed the dragon was waiting for him. “Your defeat is imminent dragon for when I’m done with you I will be ready for real quests.” Venture said with a cocky grin. The fight lasted ages in Venture’s mind. He was tired and about to give up when he said to himself looking at the dragon’s life bar: “Just a bit more you’re almost there.” Swinging his sword, casting his spells he finally defeated the beast and gained a lot of gold and experience, since he won he was taken back to town where Death was waiting for him. “Your time has come to an end young traveler.” Death said in a very melancholy way. “But you said…” Venture started to say when death interrupted. “I know what I promised and I kept my word. Did curses not get inflicted? Did you not weaken due to poisons? Did your controls not glitch from time to time? Did you not meet my brother Sleep as you rested in town from single digits of life where you felt relieved to not enter my embrace?” Venture was speechless at Death’s words when he now connected what Death said in the crypt. “You truly are with each player in their quest.” Venture said as he felt defeats cold sting. Death could only nod in grace as soon after Venture’s game screen finally said, Game Over.

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A Mother’s Intuition By Abby Ruessler She found herself looking down at dirty, scuffed up, grey tile. She moved forward, cautiously walking down the steep stairs in front of her. She came into a giant room that she quickly realized was a subway station. The fluorescent lights above her were flickering. There were no trains there, and at first she thought it was completely empty. She couldn’t remember how she’d even gotten there. All at once, the lights stop flickering, and were now incredibly bright. In the deafening silence she felt like she was waiting for something to happen. She kept moving forward through the station. As she turned to her right, she saw a small blonde haired boy walked out from behind one of the dusty pillars in the middle of the station. He was in a green shirt and jeans, and he was covered in dirt from head to toe. “Ethan!” She exclaimed, “What are you doing here?”

“I’ve been waiting for you, Mommy. Where have you been?” Ethan asked her.

She ran over to her son and fell to her knees, wrapping him in a tight hug. She held him there for a long time. As she looked up she noticed people were starting to make their way into the subway.

“Mommy, you need to come find me,” he said.

“I did find you honey, I’m right here,” she replied.

He pulled away from her embrace and looked at her, the same way he always did when she had been gone for several days for work, as if he thought she might never come back. More and more people were flooding into the subway, and she could hear a tram coming down the tracks.

“Mommy, come find me!” he yelled over the noise.

Suddenly everything around her started to fade into what seemed like static, but she could still hear the noise of all the people.

“What do you mean? I’m right here!” she yelled for him.

Her eyes snapped open. She felt the sweat on her face, and it was spreading down her back and her arms as she sat up in bed.

“Baby, what’s wrong?” her husband asked her.

She didn’t respond, instead she leaped out of bed, so quickly that she almost fell. She sprinted out of her bedroom and down the hall to the third door on the left, and shoved it open. It was Ethan’s room. His bed was made and his toys were all put up in his box. There were no clothes on the floor, and his shoes were in a neat row in the closet. It felt dark and cold. It felt wrong, just like it had for the past two weeks. Two Wednesdays ago Ethan had been outside playing, and she had gone inside to help her husband carry in the groceries he had just brought home. When she went back outside, he was gone. With the help of family, friends neighbors, and law enforcement they had searched fiercely, but he was nowhere to be found. Her husband walked into the room behind her, pulling his shirt over his head and placing his hand on the small of her back. “Sweetheart, come back to bed. You have to try and get some rest,” he said.

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As she looked around the room, the dream she had just woken up from began to come back to her, and her eyes widened as she thought of her son in the subway wearing his favorite green shirt.

“I know where he is,” she said, “I have to go.”

“What are you talking about?”

“I saw it in my dream. I know where he is!”

She ran out of the room, through the kitchen and out into the garage, hitting the button that opened the garage door on the way. She pulled open the door of her black Ford Focus and felt for the keys she knew would be there as she slid into the seat. “You know it was just a dream, right?” he asked her as he climbed into the passenger seat next to her. “Just take a second and breathe, baby. It’s okay.”

“If you don’t believe me then get out of the car, and I’ll go by myself.”

He looked at her for a moment, as if he could see in her eyes that she believed what she was saying. Without a word he turned and pulled his seat belt across his chest. She did the same, and slammed the car into reverse, bolting out of the garage and almost hitting the mailbox as she turned into the street. She had a good idea of where she was going; the closest subway station she could think of, just ten minutes away on Green Street.

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An Observation By Kaitlin Thompson A tree swaying in the cool breeze outside the open window. The hum of an air conditioner across the room. The soft thud of the door to the men’s restroom opening and closing. A chandelier in a small section in the corner. Books. Lots of books. New books, old books, big books, small books, magazines, newspapers. Any kind of reference material you can imagine. The click of a mouse on a distant computer. A large globe. A leather chair. A blue poster from some generic fandom. Footsteps. A frustrated sigh. A fluorescent light much brighter than the rest. An empty classroom. My heartbeat. The spinning of my plastic burgundy chair. My breathing, in desperate, nervous gasps. The tightness of my chest. You. You. You with your loose ponytail, and hair on the side of your face. You with your tiny frame, and lacy shirt, and fluffy grey jacket. You with your leather journal, and your delicate smirk, and your Converse. You with your dark wash jeans, and your dark bag with daisies on it, overflowing with books. I want to meet you. But I am scared, so I go back to my computer screen. A distant car alarm. A cracked leather chair. A display case of ancient photographs. A Sharpie on the floor. A pink mark on a white sign. A badly placed fire extinguisher. An oddly shaped lamp. A navy blue curtain on the wall. The slam of a book on a table. An abandoned phone charger. A tiny service elevator. The obnoxious sound of a printer. A bookshelf made from a different material than the rest. A phone vibrating. You. You. You with your mug with the tea tag hanging over the side. You with your eyes that tear up when you write in your journal, and foot that taps to whatever beat is playing through those lime green earphones. You with your nervous glances around the room, and your sleeves rolled up. You with your perfectly carved scars on your pale wrists. You with your life that no one cares enough to understand. I want to understand. But I am scared, so I go back to my computer screen. A cup of ice rattling. A fake plant in the corner. A shelf of neglected audio books. Quiet whispering across the room. A crooked no smoking sign. The tick of a distant clock. A non-descript door. Pages turning. A mockingbird singing outside the open window. You. You. You, with your painted on smile. You, with your heart so full of love for others. You, with your hatred for yourself. You, so willing to end your life. You, with your well-meaning lies, and your silent battles, and your inability to realize that people care. I want to show you that I care. But I am scared, so I go back to my computer screen. A painting by the door. A chorus of exasperated yawns. Colorful carpet. A musty rug. A dog barking somewhere. The yellow color of the walls. A blank television screen. My heartbeat. A tangled computer cord. The soft thud of the door as you leave. I want to follow you, but I am scared, so I go back to my computer screen.

53


Origin of a Hero By Nicholas Foland Wednesday morning 3:00 A.M. Doug’s Apartment Doug knew he had an early day tomorrow, but he didn’t care. He had to finish the campaign on another Call of Duty game he bought that day. Doug thought that was one of his weak points whenever he got a new game: he liked to complete it as soon as possible. Then it makes the game pretty useless and a waste of $60. But he didn’t care too much since he had hundreds of games to choose from in his arsenal of gaming. Doug glanced at the clock and saw 3:00. He knew that he had to be at school in 5 hours so he finally called it a night. He was getting tired anyway. He shut down the console and got ready for bed. As he brushed his teeth, he mentally thought about what he had to do tomorrow: Let’s see…tomorrow, or, well, I guess today is Wednesday. I have class at 8:30. I have the assignment for that done. Then I have class at noon. That’ll give me about 2 hours to nap between those two classes. After my noon class, it’s work from 4-8, damn it. I know I work only 3 days there, but it suuuuuuuuuucks. It’s so tedious and demeaning! He finishes saying obscene things about his grocery clerk job then he spits. He gargles some water and spits again. He smiled and looks at the mirror. “Oh yeah. Keep staying handsome!” He says while doing a quick muscle show for himself in the bathroom. He made his way to bed and thought about his games as he drifted to sleep. Wednesday morning 9:20 A.M. Florida State University Doug walked out of his Criminal Justice class and started his way toward the library. He made sure to whip his yellow scarf around his neck since it was a little nippy that day. On his walk, he got the usual comments he gets from fellow students. One girl said to her peer, “Wow, I wonder how much he works out!” Surprisingly, Doug doesn’t work out too much. He should weigh twice what he weighs now, with all the soda and junk food he eats. He knew this, but he still flaunts his body like he works out three times a day. He gave her a bicep flex as they cross paths. “Dude, he’s like 30 and still goes to college. He must be retarded,” a random student said, thinking he was far enough away for Doug not to hear him. He did, however. Luckily, Doug shook it off. Why, no, asshole. I’m actually 26. If you’d ask, maybe you’d know I started college late because my previous life plans didn’t work out like I thought they would! Doug is referring to the five years he spent trying to make a living on gaming. He got inspiration from YouTubers like Markiplier and Pewdiepie. He thought, These people make six figures on playing video games?! I have to get a cut of that! He would record himself playing all types of video games: action, co-op, adventure, and a whole lot more. For a while, he only had about 1,000 subscribers on YouTube, not nearly enough constant viewers to make a living off of. He decided to see what income he’d get going into competitive play. Unfortunately, all the games he tried competitive play in he wasn’t good enough. After five years, he realized he wasn’t getting anywhere and his parents kicked him out. Now he rents a tiny apartment, works at a subpar grocery store, and is trying to get his degree, so he can go into guidance counseling. In the library, it was quiet as usual. The soft clatter of keyboards and rustling of book pages can be heard throughout. Doug made his way to one of his usual couches for his nap. As he settled in, he set the alarm on his electronic watch for his next class. His eyes closed, then he started to think about how terrible his job was as he drifted off. Wednesday morning 9:30 A.M. Doug’s Dream Doug realized he was sitting at his computer in his apartment. Not questioning anything, he put on his headset and started playing his online games. He started playing Zombie Action Hero, a game about a character trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. After about five minutes, the room and his computer vanished right before his very eyes. He then found himself outside in an empty field. There was a light fog and a faint sound of some growling encompassed him. What the hell is going on? Doug thought, still oblivious that he was in a dream. He noticed that he had a single pistol in a belt-holster that he was wearing. He looked around and started seeing glowing green objects coming towards him. He looked closer to notice that the glowing is coming from the eyes of zombies. Doug then realized that he is in a dream and started to get ready for the slaughter. All at once, the zombies screamed and started running towards him. Show time! Doug whipped out his pistols and started to shoot the zombies, giving each zombie he saw a bullet in their head. His movements were fast, swift, and precise, not missing a single target. After about

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ten headshots, he started to shove his way through the zombie crowd, giving punches and kicks to make sure he doesn’t get bitten. He was doing moves that even impressed himself! Throwing zombies 15 feet, jumping over zombies 3 inches taller than him. Wow, gaming has really taught me a lot about fighting! At one point, he saw he that he unleashed a punch so hard and fast, that his fist caught fire! He didn’t notice it, however, as he was preoccupied planning his next move. After rushing through about 30 yards of zombies, he found a barn. He quickly got in and pulled the lock down on the double-doors. He pulled out his pistol clip and noticed that he only two shots left and threw it to the ground and deemed it useless. He looked around for a way to kill these zombies quicker. He looked underneath some hay and found an AK47 with a yellow outline around it. Deus ex machina? Probably. But who cares?! He let the zombies break down the doors as he started firing his gun. The gun seemed to have infinite ammo as he continued to fire for minutes on end as corpse after corpse fell. However, he realized that there were still too many zombies and started to make his way to the back of the barn. He opened the backdoors and started to run as the zombies begin to fill the barn. After about 20 feet, he stopped and looked back at the barn. He neglected to see all the red barrels near where he left. If gaming has taught me anything, I know that those should explode! He fired a single bullet into a barrel and his prediction was right: a massive fireball engulfed the barn as the barrels start to explode. The force was enough to send him flying a couple of yards, miraculously not hurting him in any way, but dazing him a little bit. As pieces of the barn and zombie body parts were falling, Doug stands back up, knowing that he won the battle. As he watched the fire burn, he noticed a figure walking through the flames. He got his gun ready for the straggler, but he noticed something: How did he survive? Wait…he’s not walking like a zombie or making any noises like one...How is he not on fire? The figure started to become clearer: he was a regular human being, wearing a Men in Black style suit. About 6’2”, a little shorter than Doug. Doug lowered his gun, seeing that this guy wasn’t a threat. “You’re ready,” the man says, echoing in Doug’s head. “Ready for what?” Doug asks in a confused manner. “You’ll see.” Wednesday afternoon 6 P.M. Doug’s napping spot in the library Doug woke up in a daze. He thought on his dream for a second, but shook it off. He felt as though he just got a full-night’s sleep. He checked his watch to see the time: nothing. Wait what? Did the batteries die on this thing?? At that moment, he regretted buying a cheap watch at the dollar store. He then quickly pulled his phone out of his pocket to see the time. 6:05?! How have I slept the whole day away and no one would care to wake me up!? He looked through the messages on his phone he received during his nap with a majority of them being from his boss. From Dick-head boss: 4:14 P.M.: Where are you at? It’s 4:15 and you aren’t here. You better call or show up in the next fifteen minutes or you are fired! I have given way to many screw-ups in the first place! 4:45 P.M.: Doug, don’t even bother coming in, you are FIRED! Doug’s panic turned into what felt like a mini-heart attack. He couldn’t believe he just got fired. However, Doug noticed that his boss wasn’t the only one to text him. Who the hell else could it be?! No one ever texts me! From John what’s-his-face who helps me in class: 12:03 P.M.: Doug, where are you? The biggest test of the semester is being handed out right now. Where. Are. You??? Oh shit, that was today?! Doug realized that midterm was today, and was worth 35% of the semester grade. This class is key to him graduating. Doug found himself defeated, near tears, while sitting on the library couch. He picked up his backpack and threw it over his shoulders and started to walk out of the library. Wednesday evening 7:00 P.M. 200 feet from Doug’s house Wow, what am I going to do with my life? It’s ruined! Doug thinks as he continued to drag his feet toward his apartment. Doug then stopped abruptly as he looked toward his apartment. He noticed a menacingly black car is pulled up in front of his apartment. He found this odd because his apartment is the last one on the end of the street and no one lives in the apartments around him. The door opened on the driver’s side of the car. Doug looked at the person walking out of the car and noticed something: This guy seems familiar. But where do I know him? Doug waited another second and noticed that the guy is staring at him. The man begins to walk towards him. This is starting to get weird. I should ru-… Wait a second… He looks

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exactly like the guy from the dream! This is messed up, I need to “Don’t be afraid, Mr. Falcon,” the man says as he approaches Doug. “I am here on official business.” Mr. Falcon? I can’t even remember the last time someone addressed me by my last name. Wait, how does he know my name? “Wh-what do you want? How do you know my name?” Doug says in a scared and shaking voice. “We have been observing you for a long time. About 8 years, actually,” the man says in a confident voice. “We have noticed that you have very special talents” Talents? I don’t have any talents! I’m barely able to put my pants on in the morning! “What talents? I’m nothing special.” “On the contrary, Mr. Falcon. You have a very unique set of skills. Some of those games you spend countless hours playing are actually training simulators, of sorts. We have released them to recruit a super soldier.” A super soldier? What am I Captain America now? “Look, I think you have the wrong guy. I’m a simple person who enjoys playing-” “You underestimate yourself, Mr. Falcon,” he interrupts. “You ever notice that your body doesn’t get out-of-shape even though you eat unhealthy food and never exercise?” Doug looks at his body and starts to ponder why that is. “You ever notice that after countless hours of staring at an electronic screen that your eyes don’t hurt or need glasses?” Doug put his hand on his face and noticed that that is also true. “Trust me, Mr. Falcon. You are what the world needs in order to bring peace to this chaotic environment. Join me in the car, Mr. Falcon, and I’ll explain to you who you are and what your dream meant. Join me and the world will no longer know you as Doug or the nerdy gamer. The world will know you by a different name once you have-“ He noticed that Doug had the thousand-yard stare as he tried to soak in everything the man was saying. The man tapped Doug shoulder to snap him out of it and finally responds, “A blank slate is what you are offering?” “Yes, Mr. Falcon,” the man says as he started to walk to his car. “Or you could stay here in your little apartment and play training simul- I mean, ‘games’ for the rest of your life.” He opened the passenger-side front-door of his car. “Your choice.” Is this really happening? Is this another dream? Doug pinches his side. Ow! Doesn’t look like it. I mean, this man sounds like he’s the real deal. How else would he know about the dream? How? This is all too damn much! “Now or never, captain,” the man yelled, showing his patience was wearing thin. Captain… Captain… Yeah, I like the ring to that. Doug made his way towards the car and gave a confident flip of his scarf around his neck. He knew then that that was the end of Doug’s book in this life. He already knew the title of his next one: Captain Falcon

56 Inscape 2016


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First Place Photography, Art, and Drawing Teamwork by Clinton Campbell


Second Place Photography, Art, and Drawing Confetti Covered Streets by Alyssa Webb

58 Inscape 2016


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Third Place Photography, Art, and Drawing Inner Wild Side by Desiray Crowe-Boicourt


Midafternoon By Lyndsey Phillips

60 Inscape 2016


Screwed in San Antonio By Bailey Brown

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The Gathering By Kelly Jo Davis

62 Inscape 2016


A Pilot’s Last Flight By Desiray Crowe-Boicourt

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Word of Warning By Clinton Campbell

64 Inscape 2016


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For Always By Desiray Crowe-Boicourt


Letchworth By Lyndsey Phillips

66 Inscape 2016


Central By Kelly jo Davis

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Reconnecting to Nature By Desiray Crowe-Boicourt

68 Inscape 2016


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Ozark Fresh By Clinton Campbell


Generations By Michaela Pomajzi

70 Inscape 2016


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Chi Delt March By Lyndsey Phillips


Bijou By Clinton Campbell

72 Inscape 2016


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Till The End Of Time By Desiray Crowe-Boicourt


Inquisitive Elk By Alyssa Webb

74 Inscape 2016


Luck of Letchworth By Lyndsey Phillips

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Wherever I Go By Mikaela Lewis

76 Inscape 2016


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Blank Stare By Alyssa Webb


Mini Game By Clinton Campbell

78 Inscape 2016


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A Road Less Traveled By Desiray Crowe-Boicourt


Bad Apple By Alyssa Webb

80 Inscape 2016


First Place Nonfiction The Potion of Amber Ninety by Maggie Moore I grew up amongst hallways lined with lockers and the aroma of Crayola’s wafting through the air. In other words, I was a teacher’s kid. My mom taught kindergarten, and after the school day came to an end, you could usually find her perched on the frayed rug in the middle of her classroom, diligently sorting plastic blocks or stapling alphabet books together until her fingers went numb. I was like any other hyperactive five year old and helping mom with such tasks seemed simply menial. I opted for adventure and let my imagination take on a form of its own. Slipping out into the abandoned hallways I’d plaster my back to the wall and set off on a secret exploration. I soon knew the location of every stairway, bathroom, and which teachers to avoid at all cost. But no matter how hard I tried to stay hidden, there was always someone moving oh so slowly in the background. He was a stocky man with dark skin, always pushing the same cart, yet humming a different tune. He was the custodian, Mr. Kelly. It was unavoidable. To this day, I believe that our paths were meant to be crossed. Mr. Kelly seemed to bring magic wherever he went. One afternoon I peered into a dimly lit classroom to find Mr. Kelly wiping down the miniature table and chairs in which he towered over. Glancing down at me he smirked and said, “You want to see something cool?” It was as if he was telling a secret and I eagerly replied “yes.” Motioning me over to his dingy cart, he pointed at a clear bottle with a spray apparatus attached to the end and whispered, “You know what that is?” I snorted into a giggle, “Uh, I don’t know, cleaning stuff.” He gasped and rubbed his bald head. “It’s not just any cleaning stuff; it’s the potion of Amber Ninety.” As his eyes widened so did mine. “Well, where did you get it?” I retorted in all seriousness. “Well, I can’t tell you that!” Mr. Kelly said as her grabbed the bottle carefully. As he held the bottle at arm’s distance away, he inched towards the open bathroom door, turning on the light with his elbow. He swiftly kicked the porcelain lid up and sprayed the potion of Amber Ninety onto the water’s surface. “You gotta be careful you see; it’s powerful stuff. You want to get the brush and clean the inside for me.” I immediately gripped the handle of the cleaning brush, pretending it was a magical wand as I scrubbed the filth away. This soon became our daily routine. I would skip down to his office and swing open the door. He was often in a deep sleep in the rocking chair that was positioned in the corner of his small cement closet. “Just resting my eyes,” he’d mumble. Every week I’d deliver another one of my pieces of artwork to Mr. Kelly, just to watch him scrounge up some scotch tape and pin it to his office wall. They were mostly of portraits of me and him under rainbows and hearts, the only thing I could draw. I made it my duty to make sure his once dull cement office wall was doused in color. Mr. Kelly had an unlivable knack for putting up with my childish antics and false understandings of the world. In first grade, while doing rounds one evening, we passed a lopsided picture of Martin Luther King, Jr. I immediately stopped what I was randomly rambling on about and blurted, “You know Mr. Jones is related to that guy; Joey, in my class, said so.” Mr. Kelly crouched over in a bellowing laughter. Once he caught his breath he said, “Maggie, just because Mr. Jones is black, it doesn’t automatically make him related to Dr. King.” You see, I learned a lot from Mr. Kelly, and just being in his presence opened my eyes to the beauty that was right in front of my face all along. In second grade, we got five little eggs in a glass container. Mr. Kelly and I stood hunched over intensely eyeing the tiny crack that had started to appear at the top of one of the eggs. As the shell’s crack began to widen, a little beak emerged from the side. Faint chirping danced out of the glass cubicle, and within seconds, the infant chicken moved freely, no longer restrained by the shell. Seeing new life for the first time mesmerized me. I kneeled to the floor, nose to glass, saying “Hey, she’s looking at me.” Mr. Kelly responded by saying, “You know, they say the first thing a chick sees when it’s born they think is it’s mother.” I scooped the chick into my palms and cradled her to my chest. “I can be your mother,” I cooed. Every day we visited that glass container, and each time we left I swore I heard a lone chirp asking for her mother to come back. Most days, Mr. Kelly and I would chat about what we did the weekend prior, or he would keep me updated on the current teacher gossip; I then caught him up on the never-ending drama of fourth grade. He liked to talk about his three boys the most. I think that’s why we bonded so closely. He never had a daughter and he missed out on that. In third grade, Mr. Kelly and his wife, Blondell, surprised me at my dance recital. That particular year, my mom had teased my hair so high and caked on my makeup so thick that I couldn’t help but be embarrassed. Coming off stage I saw Mr. Kelly and his Blondell sitting next to my waving parents and all of a sudden my obnoxious appearance didn’t seem like that big

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of an issue anymore. That night we took a handful of pictures outside the auditorium. All the while, I held my head high in my red tulle sequined skirt. Mr. Kelly grew into a sort of father figure for me. In fourth grade, when my dad couldn’t get off work for the annual Doughnuts with Dad, Mr. Kelly played substitute. With dawn just leaving the horizon, we walked down to the trailers that sat on the far side of the school. Even though we got strange looks from the adults roaming the classroom, I proudly introduced Mr. Kelly as my dad for the day to anyone who approached. We spent the morning relaxing at a pint-sized classroom table, devouring our glazed doughnuts with sticky hands. Mr. Kelly not only taught me about the world, but was also there for me when I wanted nothing more than to run away from it. In the fifth grade, I stopped believing in fairytales when my parents split our stable household into shambles. Mr. Kelly visited my mom while we unpacked the cardboard boxes that held the odds and ends of our old life. Trying to find the perfect place for my possessions in our newly rented home was truly an out of body experience. Meanwhile, on our rounds, Mr. Kelly always found time to ask how my dad was holding up, while we took turns sweeping crumbs off the tile floor. And in 6th grade, Mr. Kelly listened while I talked about my grandfather with Alzheimer’s who had just moved in with us. I’d tell him how in a matter of months I was spoon feeding grandpa at the dining room table, wiping mushed food from the corners of his cracked lips. At the same time, Mr. Kelly was there to join in the laughter when I disclosed that grandpa had stumbled into my room wearing nothing but a pair of Depends. In 8th grade, when my grandpa lay pale in a casket, Mr. Kelly and Blondell drove three hours to the funeral home just to make sure I was ok in the sea of tears and tissues. Mr. Kelly always joked that once I entered into high school and college, I would be too preoccupied with boys to remember an old man like him. But here I am, about to graduate college, and I’m here to say I’ll never forget the man behind the dingy cleaning cart on wheels. Whenever I have kids of my own, I’ll be sure to tell them all about the potion of Amber Ninety, and how that potent stuff can make a seemingly miserable task as magical as slaying dragons or rescuing a beautiful princess from a stone tower. Or, I’ll teach them the tenderness of new life, even if it’s through something as small as an egg ready to hatch. I’ll teach them not to take themselves too seriously; pretend you’re strutting down the catwalk even when your makeup is smudged and you’re experiencing a major bad hair day. Mr. Kelly taught me that life is not a one man show. It’s the people you meet along the way that fuel up your gas tank when you’re stuck on the side of the freeway. And, once those people help get you back on the open road, they stay with you to enjoy the ride. Mr. Kelly held my hand through more pit stops and flat tires than I can possibly count, and for that I’m eternally gratefully. I’m not sure where my destination lies, but I know that, with Mr. Kelly riding shotgun, I’ll find my way there…eventually.

82 Inscape 2016


Second Place Nonfiction Was It Mercy? by Nicholas Foland “I’m going to be at Truman State. I don’t want her to pass while I’m gone.” Wow, that was incredibly selfish of me to say. She had lived for a good 13 years. That’s a long amount of time for Blue to live. Labradors are supposed to live around that age, but I didn’t want that to end. Remembering her lie down with her long tail took me back to the first few years of her life. Her body was ever growing between the ages of 0-3, but it looked like her tail had grown to full-size before the rest of her did. My parents would always be impressed by that. Mom would always say, “Keep her away from the table! She keeps knocking cups over!” She never meant any harm by it. As a pup and through most of her adolescence, she always had a joyous, but cautious, nature to herself. Why do dogs have to have such short lives? They’ve brought me nothing but joy ever since I first saw a dog, ever since I first petted a dog, ever since I owned a few of my own. They’ve brought me more joy than almost any human person has done. For a person like me, that is hard to do, since I love being around people. “I’ll schedule the appointment. You won’t have to worry about nothing.” Those words Dad said to me should’ve been reassuring, but it was nowhere close. I should have been grateful that he was taking care of all the technical stuff. All I had to do was to make sure everyone was ready for Blue to go. Two days before the appointment, and I was trying my best to stay happy for Blue. She needed these next few days to be as happy as possible. After hooking her collar onto my leash, I took her for an extra-long walk down my road. Her head was held low as we walk. I assumed she didn’t hold it up because it took too much energy for her to raise it all the time. She’s still happy as we walk down the road, sniffing every now and then, her tail wagging 100 miles an hour. I should’ve done more of that with her. Since college took over my life and I was 90 miles away, I couldn’t expect my parents to take her on long walks because of their hectic schedule. It’s hard to give Blue any of the quality outside time a dog of her stature deserves. It’s not fair. I remember in my first semester of college and my parents went to come and see me. They did not tell me, however, that they brought Blue. I was so excited to see her that I probably spent more time with her than with my parents. I could tell she was excited to see me: she was jumping on me, licking my face. The “happy dog” stuff. My parents said that she had never been active and such until she saw me again. One day before the appointment and I have turned into an ignorantly blissful person. I am almost positive I am doing the right thing… But what if I’m not? What if Blue has another 2 years in her? No… I can’t think that. My family and I all knew that her time is not much longer on this earth. And it would just be more painful if I didn’t do it tomorrow. Blue and I laid on my bed most of that day. I stroked her fur as I watched her sleep. I remember when she was a puppy and this same thing happened. I would stroke her fur as I watched her dream her puppy dreams. She would yip and kick her legs, like she was running after something. And when she woke up, she would get up and run around the house like she was chasing an imaginary bunny. She would bark as she scratched at people’s feet, begging for someone to play with. I would always be willing to play. I took it as my solid duty as a 7-year-old to always be Blue’s buddy when she wanted to play with somebody. She woke up and didn’t want to move, even after I called her to the door. “I understand, Blue. We can lay here a bit longer.” She deserves to be as relaxed as possible for her last full day on Earth. Six hours before the appointment and I was numb. Not the sort of numb you get from the dentist’s office or the numb you get after a really sad event happened and can only feel sadness. I’m numb as in I don’t feel much of anything. I know in the back of my head that I will be inconsolable after she’s put down, but I told myself that I am doing it for the greater good. Mom has said her goodbyes and she was bawling, of course. But how could I blame her? She’s the reason I have this amazing dog. On the square, a friend of my mom’s was giving away free puppies. Mom figured getting me a puppy would help me get over the last pet we lost. Almost all of the puppies were given away by the time we got to the lady’s house. There were only two left. She said that both of them were the runts of the litter

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and needed someone to take them. Mom, being the overworked person as it is, said that I could only have one. I examined the pups and noticed the one with white patches on its chest. I thought it was very unique, since the other one had no patterns to make it unique: just full black. I decided to give the whitechested pup a new home. Fifteen minutes before the appointment and I’m wearing my sunglasses into the vet’s office. I know that the inside isn’t bright, but it’s the only barrier from letting others see my tears. This is not a strong moment for me and it hasn’t even happened yet. I am holding back as much as I can, trying not to speak. Every time I was required to speak, it was as if my voice would vanish, leaving only a light, barely audible whimper to come out of my mouth. Before my father and I were to go into the room where they would give her the shot, the clerk had me fill out a form. On the top, it asked the name of the animal being treated. I write, “Blue.” Writing that made me think about how she was named. I was back home with my new friend in life. The puppy I said I would “care for until I die!” While we were setting up her tiny puppy bed, my parents asked what I would name her. I wasn’t quite sure. Even though I was only 7, I knew it had to be a name I would even when I was an adult. While setting up her dog bed, my favorite show, Blue’s Clues came on. The way Blue acted on that show made me really like dogs. Even though I knew dogs couldn’t hop into pictures or do any of the other things normal dogs can’t do, it still gave me a great model on what a good dog acts like: carefree, but willing to help their masters in any endeavor. After watching an episode that day, I knew what I wanted to name my dog: Blue Five minutes during the appointment and I am stroking my dog, saying that everything will be ok. She looks at me while the vet preps the shot. I completely lost it. I hugged her, stroked her head, and cried harder than I have in my entire life. Why must she be taken now?! Why must such an angel be taken in such a short span of time? The doctor gave her the shot and she fell limp. I got on the table and laid her head on my lap. I stroked her fur as I watched her breaths become deeper and less frequent. After about 10 minutes of me begging her to let go and burying my face in her fur, crying, her breaths stopped. I stroked her lifeless body as the vet and my father discuss something in the next room. I hold her close to my chest as I cry my eyes out. Even though it pained me, in my heart, I knew it was the right thing to do. Her old age caused her to lose control of her bodily functions, her hearing was going out. But I will always wonder what she thought of me during her life, especially in her final moments. Her name was Blue. Forever gone, but forever my dog, my family, my friend.

84 Inscape 2016


Third Place Nonfiction Strong by Emily Speakman “Hurry up Emily, you’re going to make your brother late for his game!” I was frantically throwing shoes out of my closet unable to find the one pair I had my mind set on; all I could hear was my Mom shouting at me as she was walking out the door. My frustration was growing, and it wasn’t even eight yet. It was a chilly November morning, and I was dragging along as usual. Cold days like these were the ones when you’re supposed to be able to stay in bed with a pile of blankets and watch Netflix all day. The warming thought left my mind as I ran out the door, jumped in the car, and melted into the front seat. I took a deep breath and muttered sorry, but that wasn’t good enough for my brother Drew as he mumbled in almost a whisper “about time.” I just rolled my eyes and acted as though I didn’t hear anything; it wasn’t worth the fight. Drew had a basketball tournament, and it was mandatory for me to go. It was obvious though that was not how I wanted to be spending my Saturday morning. My Mom just beamed at me and said, “today is going to be a good day” as she patted my leg. When we made it to the neighboring town, I noticed my Mom’s stature had changed. As we dropped my brother off at the front double doors, and then went on to find a parking spot in the maze of cars I asked, “You okay?” She just smiled and nodded and went on, so I dropped it. As she stepped out of the car I noticed her stumble a little, and grab for the car door. My face changed to a look of alarm, and I lunged towards her. She noticed as a stern “I’m fine” came out of her mouth, and her hand signaling me to stop flew up simultaneously. As we began to walk to the doors she stopped abruptly. I turned around with a look of confusion, and once again she tried to play it off. “It’s just my asthma acting up, with the air being cold and thick it’s just hard to breathe.” I gave her a look of disapproval, but turned back around, and walked into the school. After the first game there was a two-hour break; we went home to eat lunch and relax. Something just wasn’t right about my Mom. She seemed to be pale, and just not her usual chipper positive self. As it approached closer to time to leave, my Mom informed me that she was going to drop Drew and me off at the gym, and then go to the hospital just to make sure everything was fine. She said my Grandma was going to go with her, and reassured me that everything was okay. She gave me strict instructions to just tell Drew that she was running some errands. I stared at her for a moment, looked her over, and knowing I couldn’t argue agreed with her. I knew she wouldn’t listen to me, but with her mom going it gave my mind some ease. My Grandma would make her take care of herself, and make sure she was in the best hands. She dropped us off and I told her to text me what they found out, and we yelled, “love you” as Drew was running inside in the fear of being late once again. It was almost the end of Drew’s game, and I still hadn’t heard from Mom. Just as I was about to grab my phone and text her, my phone started to vibrate in my pocket. I reached and grabbed it and noticed it was my Grandma. Mom’s phone must have died was the first explanation that popped through my head. As soon as I answered though, the tone of her voice took me off guard. As she sternly said my name, it made everything around me stand still. She told me that I needed to listen carefully, and that my Aunt would be waiting outside the gym soon to pick us up after Drew’s game. Before I could mutter out a word she said, “Your Mom is being airlifted to Springfield.” Millions of questions flooded my mind, but I couldn’t get one word out, because she was talking again, “I’ll see you when you get up there, I love you, and Emily, you have to act as if nothing is wrong; be calm and strong for Drew.” With the click of the other line hanging up I felt as my world was overturned, and there was nothing I could do to help. What was wrong? I knew something wasn’t right, and I should have been there for her. I was overwhelmed with guilt and concern. The last 3 minutes of the game seemed to drag on; with every free throw or timeout that froze the clock was unbearable. As the final buzzer went off I jumped off the bleachers, briskly walked past everyone, and grabbed Drew’s arm. “Hey we need to go, Aunt Sonya is waiting for us.” My voice was shaky and he could tell something was not right. As we were leaving the gym Drew filled my ear with questions that I didn’t know how to answer. “Where’s Mom?” “What’s wrong?” “Where are we going?” I couldn’t answer his questions, but I kept reassuring him everything was fine; Mom just wasn’t feeling good. I didn’t know how I was supposed to keep him calm when inside I was screaming, and truthfully didn’t know if everything was actually fine. As soon as we opened the doors of the school, my Aunt’s car was waiting up front. I ushered Drew to hurry, and I climbed into the front seat as he climbed in the back. We were greeted with a warm smile, but I knew it was just to comfort us and keep us calm. It was silent until my Aunt broke it; she calmly breathed in and said, “Your Mom had to be airlifted to Springfield because of her heart, that is all I have

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been told.” My mind was racing. Her heart? I have never known of my Mom having heart problems; she was just having trouble breathing because of her asthma I thought. Drew was scared, and I could see it. It was the first time he didn’t have a typical witty seven-year-old response. He choked back his sniffles, and I remembered what my Grandma said as I reached back to hold his hand. He held on tight the whole hour and half car ride without pulling away once. We finally arrived at the hospital, and rushed into the elevator where we went straight up to the cardiovascular level. There, we were greeted by my other family members, and waited what felt like an eternity. Some people were pacing back and forth, some praying, and some just sitting there with a blank stare. Drew and I just sat in a corner with my Grandma as she comforted us saying, “She’s in good hands, don’t worry.” The doctor finally came out to talk to us all. Everything we were doing before stopped as we all stared at him with our full attention. He told us that my Mom had walked into the hospital with less than thirty percent of her heart working, and it is enlarged three times the normal size. He went on to say they rushed her up to Springfield to get her into surgery to get a pacemaker and defibrillator. After all the tests, the findings were that she had Stage III Idiopathic Congestive Heart Failure. Before he left he said, “She is very lucky she walked in when she did, or else she probably wouldn’t be here right now.” It was like the ground was crumbling underneath me, and I didn’t know what to do. I had to be strong for Drew, but all I wanted to do was wither. When we finally got to see her she had that warm smile on her face as though nothing was wrong with her, that’s when I knew that everything was going to be okay, but not the same. Even though my Mom is stable, she isn’t able to do things that she could before. That day was one of my biggest lessons; it taught me that I have to be strong for those around me and for myself. It got me ready for other things to support Drew though, such as our Dad remarrying. It made me step-up and take on responsibilities that I normally would just brush off. It taught me that life is short, and you never know what may happen, so appreciate everything. Whenever I feel weak I just think back to my Mom and how resilient she is, and how she has taught me to be strong.

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Advice By Kelly Jo Davis “Go to college,” they said. “It’ll be fun,” they said.” Growing up, I always knew I wanted to go to college. This wasn’t just because I was expected too, because I was a “smart kid.” I was the kid who always loved school, especially if the assignment was doing reading of any sort. But my junior year of college that all changed. I became the young woman who still wanted to teach, but did not like to go to school. I dreaded going to classes, I hated the late nights, I didn’t like the homework, and so on and so forth. But honestly, I can say that college has been fun and some of the best years of my life. College is meant to be hard; it’s meant to break you down on occasion. While in college, I joined Alpha Phi Omega (the national community Co-Ed service fraternity for those of you who aren’t familiar with it) and I met some of the best people anyone could meet in a lifetime. I found my best friend (Yes, that’s you, Alexis Marsh); someone I could never imagine a life without. I got to work wonderful jobs in the library and admissions and bond with so many people. I got to be an editor of Inscape for a year, which is no easy job, but one of the most fun things I ever took part in. But most importantly, I learned many lessons and I learned more about myself than I could ever imagine. To you underclassmen, don’t take your time here at CMU for granted. Dive in. Embrace it. Go to IHOP at 2 AM. Pull an all-nighter. Go to the concert in Columbia that’s in the middle of the school week that you know you won’t get back from until 2 AM. Procrastinate on your homework every once in a while to hang out with your friends. I did and I encourage you to do it all, because you’ll only regret what you didn’t do.

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The Road Home By Lyndsey Phillips Ding. Ding, ding, ding. My phone’s alarm is going off at 5:01 a.m. 5:01 because I think 0s and 5s are too common and I hate even numbers. It’s the first time in a long time I haven’t woken up before my alarm went off. I roll over and reach beneath my pillow to grab my phone and shut off the alarm. I get up; no one else is up yet. I start making coffee, not because I drink coffee, but because my dad does and I know he’ll want some. Once the coffee pot is started, I brush my teeth and put my hair in a ponytail. I’ll want it up today. I then tie a black bandana around my head as to keep my bangs out of my face and bobby pin it in place. I quickly pack up my toothbrush and toothpaste. I knock on the door of the room that used to be mine, but is now my brother’s. My chipper voice says, “Rise and shine. Come help us out?” As I’m lugging things to the car, my eighteen-month-younger, but still taller and looks older than me brother comes out. Dad asks him to help load the couch. The guys easily add the couch onto our already packed sixteen foot trailer. Then, the boys load the washer and dryer. It’s like they’re a professional moving company or something the way they seamlessly add things to the pile. My dad puts a tie down strap around the couch in a way I know won’t work. I point it out, but he doesn’t listen. After tightening the strap, he realizes it isn’t going to work, figures. I run back inside to grab my water bottle. As I return outside, my dad asks my brother to reposition the couch on the trailer. They try over and over to get the couch to fit the way my dad wants it to, but it doesn’t work. My dad was confused. He had measured the back of the couch and the width of the trailer, and he just knew it would fit. I tell dad that the front of the couch is wider than the back, so it won’t work. He puts the couch back in its original position. My brother says, “I’m going back to bed”. I yelled at him, “you’re not going to bed without hugging me”. I jump off the trailer and we hug for what seems like hours, but in reality was probably just thirty seconds. Even with it seeming to last so long, it wasn’t enough. I squeezed him tight and got a little teary eyed. “I love you, Kyle Alan”, I whispered to him. “I love you, too” he responds. After letting go, he moseys his way back inside. I turn around and see my dad messing with the tie down strap again. I tell dad to wrap it long ways around the couch and he does. It works. Hooray! Now that everything is packed, we just have to fill the air tank and wait for my uncle to show up. My dad goes around back to fill the air tank just as my uncle pulls in the drive. As he gets out, I run to hug him. I go inside to say my last goodbyes. Kyle is already sleeping again, but I once again whisper, “I love you” as I pass by his room. My mom stands up from the couch and says, “I’m proud of you.” It’s the first time in years I’ve heard this from either of my parents. I’m surprised. Tears start to well up in my eyes, but I hold them back. “Am I ready for this? Can I really do this?” I think, “I have to.” I hug my mom extra tight as she’s been in bad health and I know, as I’ve known for awhile, that we could lose her at any moment. Tears start to crash into my mom’s shoulder. I wipe my face and keep the rest of them in. Leaving my mom has always been the hardest part of starting each year of college because I just don’t know when we’ll lose her. I say goodbye and give her a kiss. “You ready, Lyndsey Lou?” my dad asks. I nod and smile at the nickname my parents used when I was a kid. “It’ll be nice to have you out of the house again,” he says in a joking, but still serious manner. He’s never been one on the “empty nest syndrome” thing. Yeah, he misses us, but he loves having the house to himself. The three and a half hour trek begins. I follow my dad, who is driving the truck. My uncle rides with me in my car. The ride is filled with laughter and life talks. I get a little nervous on the drive, but my flamboyant uncle, who has always given me the best advice and truly does know me a T says, “You’re too independent to want anyone to do something for you.” I know he’s right. I have never wanted anyone to do something for me. I’ll do it myself, thank you. As we pull into the apartment complex, I see my best friend, and now roommate. I haven’t seen her in a month and I’m elated. I run to hug her. “We’re growing up,” she says to me softly. “Something like that,” I reply in my usual sarcastic tone. The next hour or so is spent carrying, and sometimes dragging, things up stairs to the new place I’ll be living. Once everything is inside, we go to work putting furniture together and organizing the new space. As I seemingly run from one room to another, my thoughts race. “This is home. It feels like home.

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When did my parents’ house stop feeling like home to me? Can I make it in this adult world? How can I just leave everything behind? I’m not, I’m starting new, but I’m not leaving things behind. This is a grand adventure and I’m an adventurer.” As we’re putting things together, I realize I don’t have a bed yet. I know I scheduled delivery for today. I call Sears to see when my bed will arrive, but they say the delivery drivers came, marked it as a wrong address, and left. The next six hours are spent on the phone with managers, supervisors, and Sears Cooperate Headquarters. Nothing. “We’re sorry. We’ll have to reschedule the delivery,” I hear from person after person. I’m frustrated. I’m tired and I just want my bed. As the day goes on, my dad, my uncle, and my roommate’s mother say they can take a turn on the phone, but I don’t let them. I’ve been dealing with them. I’ll do this myself. There’s that independent thing my uncle was talking about. Maybe I just wanted to prove to myself I was an “adult”, but I know it’s so much more than that. The call to Sears Cooperate Headquarters results in the same, “We’re sorry. We’ll have to reschedule the delivery,” but they at least promise to refund the delivery fee and give me a ten percent discount on the mattress. About four hours into the phone calls, my dad and uncle leave. I hug them tightly and they’re on their way out. My roommate’s parents stay for a couple more hours. Once they leave, my roommate starts crying. I don’t know if I was too busy on the phone to be upset when my dad left or I really just wasn’t that upset to be on my own. I eventually end all the phone calls and reschedule the delivery for Monday. At this point, I know my bed isn’t going to be delivered today, or even the next day. I accept that I’ll be sleeping on the couch for a few nights. As I walk around my new apartment, I realize I am home. As my brother always says, “the only home that remains eternally stationary is the home within our hearts.” My heart is happy. My heart is home.

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The Dark Corner By Drew Gandy Claustrophobia. This is one of those well-known phobias you’ve probably heard of, known as the fear of close, constricted spaces. I know a lot of people that shamelessly take ownership of this phobia, and my sister is one of those people. She hates elevators, small cars, being stuck in a closet, the bottom of a pile, and having to walk through congested crowds, to name a few. She’s especially afraid if any of these elements include darkness. Some of the most common conditions that seem to trigger claustrophobia are pitch-black rooms, boxes, closets, deep swimming pools, large crowds, holes, getting lost, and confinement to a vehicle by oneself. Now, whether or not most people who say they have claustrophobia actually have panic attacks in these situations, it’s still at least understandable to be afraid in such a scenario. But then there’s me. Claustrophilia—An abnormal desire for confinement in an enclosed space. I’d never heard this term before, but it does exist, I promise. Look it up for yourself if you don’t believe me. And it’s something I must have. When people tell horror stories about being stuck in an elevator for hours at a time, I always think how cool that must be. You know that tiny closet of a room under the stairs that Harry Potter is forced to live in with his aunt and uncle? I’d pay top dollar for that piece of real estate. I’ve always envied that hated space. And when I look back at my life, I realize that I’ve always had these strange attachments to dark corners et al. Some of my earliest recollections involve building forts out of chairs and blankets and finding a nice cranny to chill in. There was the time when my brother stuffed me inside a cabinet in the kitchen to scare my mom as she prepared a meal. I remember the kid-like impatience of waiting for her to open the cabinet like it was Christmas morning before opening presents. When she finally opened the cabinet and screamed (of course), I received the biggest adrenaline rush. Going off the brother to brother theatrics, I remember a couple times the brown plastic insides of my enlarged football toy box which my brother put me in to see if I could fit, or the pitch black of my brother’s classic-style plywood trunk (with the lock placed on it). My brother enjoyed finding ways to have fun with me, his little brother, and I enjoyed accommodating him. One would think these experience would cause me to be freaked out by dark, tight spaces, but somehow it’s had the opposite effect. Something about absolute isolation combined with silence, darkness, and the pressure of surrounding walls on me seems serene; it always has. I think I like these locations so much because it’s a bit of a chance to get away from noise and people, which definitely goes hand-in-hand with my introverted personality. I always need that alone time to recharge my batteries and I feel comforted by being enclosed. I’ve heard that some people with autism have the same experience with these tight spaces, and oftentimes have some kind of place where they can go to calm their nerves down. Maybe my mind and body work similarly and the exposure to constriction feels kind of like when a baby gets swaddled with blankets. Whatever the case may be, these spaces have become my private hangout spots throughout my life. One such space that brings back the most pleasant childhood memories is the library/office of my old house in Moberly in which I lived in for the first seven years of my life. There was a small space created by the end of a bookshelf in a corner and a 3-person foldout couch about two to three feet from it pointing perpendicularly. This nook was great for hiding from anyone in the house and/or reading books, both of which I took advantage. I remember once when I was about five years old my mom had just baked a cake to take to some kind of event. She hadn’t put the icing on yet and the vanilla cake sat atop the oven with the lid half on, probably in a cooling process while my mom got ready upstairs. I could smell the cake and knew I had to take my cut of this precious materiel or else it would disappear into the mouths of strangers. So I creeped up to the cake, got on my tippy-toes, and took a fistful of cake from the middle. I ran into the office to my favorite spot between the couch and bookshelf and ate my prize. Of course, my mom was extremely furious once she found me and gave a very big spanking. Looking back, I just remember how awesome it was to hide in my spot and eat cake. Fast-forward a little over fifteen years to a Saturday evening last year and I could be found lying inside the confines of the trunk of a car contentedly reading my Kindle copy of Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. I had to work at a Mizzou football game that day and we had one less spot in the car on the way home, so naturally I volunteered myself for the high-selling caboose spot. Some things will never change in my life. These days, when I want to be alone, I can usually be found reclining against a wall in the stacks of Smiley Library, studying on the quiet fourth floor of the student center with the muffled conglomeration of sounds wafting from downstairs, or sleeping under a pool table with the lights off.

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One question I’ve thought about is can my strange dispositions be useful in any way? Well, I guess if the entire United States had the largest earthquake in recorded history and every building collapsed, I’d have the time of my life trapped under the rubble (if it didn’t kill me first). Or maybe one day I’ll find myself in the Marines as a commander of a submarine that stays under water for years at a time. If such an experience existed, I’d be the first to sign up for it. I’d probably be the only one as well. So, Claustrophilia? I think yes. Should I check with a doctor to see if I’m sane? I already know I’d test positive for that, so no reason to find out. Am I going to change anytime soon? Well, next time you awkwardly find me in a dark corner with the light off, you can answer that question.

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Behind The Boat By Bailey Brown Uncle Paul herds my siblings, five small cousins, and myself onto his rented out speed boat with a tube lying on the back in. We get on, spread our towels and make camp on the hot leather seats. “Youngest first?” My uncle says with a smile. The two youngest boys, Ethan and Kyle jump onto the floating tube. He drives until the rope is slack and then begins driving at a slow pace, careful to keep them in the wake. “This won’t be so bad,” I tell my sister Brie. She nods. “Yeah except there’s freaking yachts out here right now,” I look around the lake and see she is right. Luckily, we probably won’t venture out too far. The sun is hot and beats down on us so we catch the spray from the lake in our hands. It seems live we’ve been waiting for our turn for ours. I’m glad she’s my sister because we have unsaid pacts. Like the one where we always tube together. And the other one where she can push me off our shared bed, and I’ll just have to sleep there for awhile. All the young kids have gone and my uncle says he wants my brother and my sister’s new fiance to go last. We agree but that means Brie and I are next. Her fiance pulls the tube closer so we don’t exhaust ourselves swimming out twenty feet away from the boat before we even have a chance. I decide I’m going to simplify the process of getting onto the tube even more. I jump from the back of the boat stomach down onto the tube which doesn’t go as planned. I am flung into the water. My sister laughs her ass off as she pulls herself onto the tube. I catch my breath and join her. “You guys ready?” Uncle Paul calls. We give him the thumbs up, ready for a nice easy ride. Before we can joke, or laugh, or even blink, the boat takes off. We’re going way too fast. “Oh shit, oh shit,” I hear my sister saying. I just know we have to stay in the wake. I take it upon myself to steer. I throw my weight into the wake zone around each and every corner because once we get out, we won’t be back in. This strategy works for approximately three seconds. “Shit, shit, shitshitshit!” We go over the wake, out on to the lake. The waves are pushing and pulsing over and around each other. I can’t move my hands because my knuckles are death gripped onto the hand holds, but I can feel the drool being pulled out of my mouth. He takes a tight turn. We are slung almost parallel to the boat. “Why can we see his face,” Brie is yelling. I look up, and see she is right. My uncle is making eye contact with us, smiling a menacing smile without moving his head. Right after we make this startling realization, we hit a wave. Our heads slam together and our place is restored behind the boat. And then, it happens again. But this time, he’s taking us over a yacht wave. We both scream. Personally, I scream loud enough to make my throat ache. My arms are trembling and my knuckles don’t know what it feels like to not hold anything. All of a sudden, I don’t feel the shake of the water. It feels like I’m flying. I am. I look beside me to see if my sister notices. She opens her mouth, and then, she’s gone. The water swallows her whole. I try to yell at my uncle. “She’s off, she’s off!” but he doesn’t slow down. My arms give out and I hit the water at a solid 35mph. I imagine this is how it feels to fall off a ten foot wall. I can’t really breathe, and my lifejacket is too big. I lay there, face down in the water for awhile. It’s nice. And then I remember that there are gars with teeth and possibly sharks and monstrous fish that could swallow me whole. I lift my head up from the water, my hair covering my face and flail my arms frantically for the boat. They pick me up. I’m never tubing with my uncle again. But at least I didn’t loses my bottoms like my brother did.

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The Speech Contest By Zoey Glasgow Being a Communications Major in college wasn’t something that I have always considered. Writing was always my passion, but the public speaking aspect? Or the “communication” aspect in general? It was never really my thing. I was the shy, awkward girl that grew up hoping to never be the center of attention in large crowds, let alone stand in front of them. It wasn’t until the fifth grade that I realized that something completely alarming to a lot of people could end up being a strong skill of mine. It all started in elementary school, my fifth grade language class to be exact. Being that young, not a lot of students ever thought that they would have to speak in front of a large crowd. It was simply the last thing on our minds because we didn’t have a lot of experience (or any) with public speaking, and the thought of it was simply terrifying. But before I knew it, I was stuck in that very same situation and was unable to get out of it. There was a speech contest that happened once a year that was only opened to those that were in the fifth grade. The whole school was forced to watch (with what started as 24) students say their speeches about whatever the given topic was in front of everyone. Though we were younger, this was taken very seriously. Students were to use notecards and make eye contact with the crowd using a professional tone, much like what I am being retaught in my public speaking class this semester. The winner would get a trophy and your name on a plaque that would hang up in the walls of the school. The speech was first introduced in my language class as an “assignment” (aka something required). We were to write about someone who was a hero to us and why. After a little bit of researching, I decided on Harriet Tubman. Why? I’m not really sure. Yes, she was a very brave woman who did incredible things, but even at the time, I wasn’t sure what about her made her stand out over the other amazing people I read about. It wasn’t until after the assignment was turned in that I found out the crazy lady tricked us. I’m sure that she knew that if she told us what was really going on before we turned in our assignments, half of us wouldn’t have even tried or would have protested out of fear. She looked over all of our papers and picked out twenty four of us to compete in the annual fifth grade speech contest and somehow I managed to be one of those people. And what was the topic? You guessed it: who our hero was and why. I wanted to have a mental breakdown right at that moment. I remember my mind running at a hundred miles per hour as I tried to figure out how I was going to pull this off. I had no idea how to give a speech or even prepare one for that matter. Somehow I managed to hold myself together until I got home from school, where I told my mother the terrible news. But much like I expected, my mother was ecstatic while I wanted to hide in a corner. But after a day or two of gathering my emotions and realizing that there was no way out of this, I decided that if I was going to have to do something I absolutely was terrified about, then I might as well sound good doing it. I found myself working on my speech every day, in and outside of class. I remember focusing a lot on the Underground Railroad and her life after she freed all of those slaves. I realized how dangerous and hard her life was, but she didn’t let that stop her. I would time myself to make sure that I was within the time limit and wrote symbols down on my notecards so that I would remember to look up at the crowd. Before I knew it, it was time for me to give my speech. I can still feel how sweaty my palms were as I waited for my turn, trying hard to listen to what the other students’ speeches were about but all I could think about was my own. I remember doing my best to picture myself practicing in the mirror at home, but it was a lot different because hundreds of eyes were looking back at me instead of my reflection. I don’t know how I did it, but once it was my turn the words just started to flow out. I knew everything that I needed to say and how I needed to address it. I was even shocked with myself. Though I did stutter a few times, I did my best to look up at every chance that I got and did what my teacher told me to do.

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I thought that it would all be over after that. They wouldn’t pick me to go into the next round where they would narrow it down to twelve students, and I wouldn’t have to worry about this speech anymore. I couldn’t have been anymore wrong. I made it into the second round and I would have to give my speech again. Thankfully, I didn’t have to change much. But my teacher encouraged all of us who made it to improve our speeches for the next round. It didn’t seem as hard and nerve-wracking to get back in front of the crowd for the second round. I had already done this once, I knew that I could do it again and then I would be done with this speech forever. I made better eye contact, changing around some of the words from the first round so that they would flow better. Before I knew it, I had finished my last sentence and got a round of applause. It was finally over and I could breathe. For now. Two weeks later, I was standing in front of the same crowd. Yep, round three and there were six students left. But this was it, the final round. This would determine who would win the speech contest. I wasn’t expecting much. I wasn’t known for winning much of anything when I was younger, I was still baffled at the fact that I was in the last round. My mind really couldn’t grasp around it, I didn’t realize that it may be because I was actually good at speaking in front of crowds. I honestly didn’t know what to think. After a week, I was just happy to be done with the speech. But then the unexpected happened, they announced who won the speech contest and I got first place. The first big win of my life and only the start of my confidence. It wasn’t until then that I slipped out my denial, and came face to face with the fact that I could actually go somewhere with this. It was that achievement that made it easier in the future to talk in front of crowds, easier to communicate because I knew that I must be good at it if I won this contest that I didn’t even want to do. Now when I have to give a speech in class, I can stand up and walk in front of everyone without shaking hands or the feeling of being faint. It’s almost like something comes over me and the words flow out like I’ve been practicing for months. And before I know it, the speech is over. If it wasn’t for that speech contest in fifth grade, no telling if I would be able to have the same amount of confidence or even be a Communications Major. It’s funny how things like that can have such an impact on a person.

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First Place 10-Minute Play Yuletide Problems by Nicholas Foland (Lights up. We see MARK putting out presents under an almost overly-decorated tree in upstage right. Christmas decorations are strewn about on stage with a table with three chairs slightly off center stage. MARK should be putting/moving presents under the tree while talking to himself for at least fifteen seconds before) (HELEN brings in two cups of eggnog from stage left. Both are in casual Christmas-themed clothing.) HELEN: (Stares at MARK for a second) Oh, MARK, stop fidgeting so much with how the presents look. (MARK keeps moving presents and talking to himself without noticing her talking to him) HELEN (CONT.): (Puts cups down, puts a hand on MARK) It looks fine, hon. MARK: (Quickly looking back at HELEN, slightly startled) Oh, goodness! You sure scared me HELEN! HELEN: (Walking MARK over to the table) The tree, the decorations; they all look amazing, sweetheart! (Hands MARK a glass of eggnog) MARK: Yeah, you know how I am about Christmas though! Just have to make sure everything is in perfect detail! (Gestures to entire room, looking to make sure everything is in order) HELEN: Oh, you don’t have to tell me twice! You always do such a great job decorating for Christmas. I know Hank is going to love it! MARK: Well, I sure hope he does, knowing that this will be the first time seeing him! HELEN: Speaking of which, I got a call from him. He’s in town now. Should be here any minute! MARK: Excellent! (Takes a hearty swig of his eggnog and sits down at the table, HELEN sits too.) So tell me a little bit more about your brother. That way I don’t say anything that might offend him. HELEN: Well, let’s see… (HELEN might take brief pauses in-between some facts.) He’s about five years older than me, loves animals, has a couple of dogs at his house… MARK: Didn’t you say he was a mechanic? HELEN: No, I said he was good with cars, but wasn’t a mechanic. He works at a local business supplies office in his town. Busy Bees or something like that. We don’t talk too often. MARK: Why is that? And how come he wanted to celebrate Christmas with us? HELEN: To answer your first question, we just don’t really talk that much for…reasons. For the other question, maybe he just wanted a change of scenery. He celebrates Christmas with our family every year! MARK: Do you get tired of celebrating with your parents? HELEN: Not necessarily, but I wanted to try celebrating Christmas with just you this year! Plus, (in a semi-seductive voice) winter break just gives us a chance to be alone together for a long, long time! (Gives MARK a peck on his cheek) MARK: (Gives a big smile) Oh, calm down, now. Hank will be here any second! What, eh, “reasons” are there for not talking to your only brother? HELEN: Well…it’s complicated but the gist of it is is that… (Loud door knocking is heard) MARK: Ah, must be Hank. Tell me in a few, HELEN. (Yelling) It’s unlocked! (Door opening is heard, HANK comes in from stage left. HANK is a slightly scruffy man, wearing an “ugly” Christmas sweater and nice jeans. He is carrying miscellaneous bags/Christmas wrapped presents.) HELEN: Hank! HANK: Helen! (HANK and HELEN hug each other, HANK drops his items to his side to do so) HANK (CONT.): (Still hugging HELEN, extends arm to shake MARK’s hand) You must be MARK.

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Pleasure! MARK: (Goes to shake HANK’s hand) Pleasure is all mine. HANK: (Releasing HELEN, HANK picks his items up and places them near the tree) Well, let’s get the formalities done quickly. I’m afraid I can’t stay for too long. HELEN: (Concerned) Aw, why is that? HANK: Well, I have to go back home to celebrate with my family sometime, don’t I?! HELEN: Well, I guess I could see that. Couldn’t you have seen them this morning though? HANK: Couldn’t have. I had a meeting. HELEN: Oh, well that’s a shame! MARK: Meetings. They always have to get you when it’s most inconvenient, eh? HANK: (Palling with MARK, arm over shoulder or the like) Ah, this guy gets it. I like him already! MARK: (Awkward smile as he wiggles away from HANK, light chuckle) Well, if you want to get the “formalities” done quicklyHANK: (Interrupting) Sorry, to interrupt you MARK, but may I ask where your bathroom is? I’ve had like 6 cups of coffee on my way up here! MARK: No problem. (Pointing stage right) Just down the hallway to the right. HANK: Thanks, man. And when I’m finished we can open presents! (HANK runs off stage right. MARK and HELEN sit at the table. A door is shut offstage) MARK: Maybe he isn’t getting tired of his family yet. HELEN: Perhaps not. I’m just surprised they held a meeting today. MARK: Yeah, you think that most businesses would be closed for the holidays. HELEN: No, his work didn’t have a meeting. It was a GA meeting. MARK: (Genuine curiosity) GA meeting? What does that stand for? Gaming A lot? Getting Almonds? (Chuckles) HELEN: (Chuckles along) No, no, Gamblers Anonymous. MARK: (Chuckling stops, his expression completely changes) What? HELEN: Gamblers Anonymous. He had a major gambling problem. At one point, he gambled my car away in a blackjack game. That’s why we didn’t talk for a while MARK: (Minor beat) You’re not serious? You’re joking! HELEN: (Chuckling again) Not at all! He used to buy scratchers like crazy. And when he’d lose, he would get so angry! Throwing things, punching walls. Luckily, we were able to admit him into rehabilitation and now he never gambles, as far as I know! (MARK is looking at HELEN with a panicked look on his face while HELEN sips her eggnog, unaware of MARK’s face. After a decent pause, HELEN sees MARK face) HELEN (CONT.): What? What’s wrong? MARK: Helen, I need to search through the presents. HELEN: Why? What’d you get him? (A door opening offstage, HELEN and MARK look to stage right) HANK: (Offstage) Alright, let’s get this show on the road! MARK: (Hushed) Damn it! (HANK comes in from stage right, sits with MARK and HELEN) MARK: (Trying his best to look/sound normal, stuttering can be added) Yes! Let’s get started! HANK: I want you all to open my gifts first! (HANK goes through his stack of presents, looking at the tags to see who gets each. HANK will mutter to himself as he tries to find the tag and gives HANK and HELEN two gifts each. Both should have one envelope-sized gift that looks exactly the same.) HANK (CONT.): I want you all to open (points to the envelopes) these first! (HELEN unwraps hers quickly while MARK looks back at the Christmas tree, then back to his envelope and opens it. They are lottery tickets! HANK gives a shocked look at HELEN and his) HELEN: Oh, why thanks! But are you alright with buying lottery tickets? HANK: Of course! I don’t do em myself unless a friend gives some to me, but I know it’s a good neutral gift! Do you wanna do em now? (Reaches in his pocket and pulls out two coins) I have the proper scratchin’ equipment! HELEN: Sure! (Grabs a coin and starts scratching) (HANK offers MARK a coin)

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MARK: I’ll do mine later, thanks. (Nervously slips the ticket in his pocket) HANK: Suit yourself! (While HELEN is scratching, MARK keeps looking back at the tree, nervously. As HELEN finishes up, she gets an astonished look on her face) HELEN: Wow! I just won fifty bucks! HANK: (Amazed, but a minor sense of jealousy can be heard in his voice) Wow! (Beat) should have kept that one to myself! (Nervous laughter) (HELEN hugs HANK) HELEN: Thank you so much, Hank! (Hugs her back awkwardly) HANK: Anytime, sis. (They let go of each other) So, what did you all get me? MARK: (Trying to talk, but is very nervous) I, um… you, Helen, HELEN: Oh shush, Mark. I’ll get him our gifts! (HELEN goes to the tree and gets 2 presents from under the tree: one a small box, the other an envelope and returns to the table. MARK is babbling incoherently, trying to tell HELEN to stop during the whole process) HELEN (CONT.): Mark, what is wrong with you? MARK: (Defeated, fakes a smile and says softly) Nothing, sweetheart. Go ahead. HELEN: Ummm…Ok? Hank, which one do you want to open first? Mine or Mark’s? (As HANK thinks, MARK takes a deep swallow of eggnog, and places the glass down, but still in his hand) HANK: Hmmm…How about we start with Mark? MARK: (Nervously) Great! (HELEN hands HANK the envelope. MARK is literally chugging his eggnog as HANK rips open the enveloper. HANK pulls out a lottery ticket!) HANK: Well how about that, you got me the same thing, buddy! (Gives MARK a friendly shove on the shoulder. MARK laughs convincingly, then laughs nervously as he looks into his empty glass) HANK (CONT.): Thanks! (Looks to HELEN) you think it’s alright if I do this? HELEN: Oh, what the heck? It’s the holidays! HANK: Thanks, sis! (HELEN watches HANK scratch his ticket with a coin. MARK looks to the ground, being ever so nervous. As HANK finishes, a look of confusion grows from his face as he checks the ticket. Then surprise) HANK (CONT.): (Gets up from his seat, jumping up and down, yelling) I WON! I WON 50 THOUSAND DOLLARS! WHOO! (HANK continues celebrating, giving MARK and HELEN hugs as he does so) HELEN: Wow, that’s amazing! I’m so happy for you! HANK (CONT.): (Still hyped) Wow! Thanks man! I’m gonna call my boss, and tell him things I’ve wanted to tell him for years! (HANK pulls out a cellphone as he walks off stage right. MARK is looking at the floor nervously while HELEN looks at MARK) HELEN: And you thought it was gonna be a bad gift! Look at how happy you made him! MARK: (Looks at HELEN, in a nervous voice) Yeah… (Looks back at his empty drink) who’d a thunk? HELEN: (Confused) What’s wrong, MARK? You just made my brother rich! MARK: Yeah… so he thinks (HELEN continues to look at MARK in a confused way. MARK looks at HELEN, giving him the “Yeah, I messed up” smile. As it clicks in HELEN’s head, she grabs MARKS shoulders, looking down at him, very sternly) HELEN: (In a hushed voice)You did not give him fake lottery tickets did you? (Beat) DID YOU?! MARK: I…did (trying to reassure himself) but who knows! Maybe he’ll take it as a fun prank and we’ll laugh this off! HELEN: Mark, the one thing my brother hates more than losing is being messed with. Just think: You’re messing with him by taking away his win. How well do you think he will deal with that?! MARK: Oh Helen, I’m screwed! What should I do?! (HELEN gets back in her seat quickly as she sees that HANK is making his way back into the room, still

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on his cell phone.) HANK: (Making his way back to his seat) And know that I DIDN’T like your Christmas gift. Goodbye, jerkwad! (Puts cellphone back in pants) He didn’t pick up, so I just left him a nice message for him to listen to when he gets to work tomorrow! (HELEN gives a look of shock to HANK then at MARK. She gestures her head towards HANK to get MARK to speak.) MARK: (Nervous and scared) Hey, um… Hank? I’ve got something to tellHANK: (Interrupting) Mark, I can’t tell you how great this is for me. I did not enjoy that stupid job of mine. The guys there always liked to prank me and such. I was on my second strike after I knocked a guy’s teeth out for putting a whoopee cushion in my seat. MARK: (Scared out of his mind) Oh…did he? HANK: (Puts his arm around MARK) I can tell that you and I are going to be best buds forever! (MARK lets out nervous whimpers and HELEN covers her mouth in shock as the lights fade out.) END OF PLAY

98 Inscape 2016


Second Place 10-Minute Play Dinner At Mother’s by Julie Gleich CHARACTERS: Jennifer, Early-Mid 20’s Isaiah, Mid-Late 20’s, Jennifer’s Friend Aunt Carol, Late 50’s, Barbra’s Sister Barbra, Early-Mid 40’s, Jennifer’s Mother Setting: Aunt Carol is sitting on the couch that is located near the front door. Barbra is in the other room finishing up dinner. Jennifer and Isiah have just arrived. (The doorbell chimes, and Jennifer and Isiah invite themselves in, and stands by the door.) JENNIFER: HI MOM! Oh! Hi to you too Aunt Carol. How are you this fine and beautiful day? AUNT CAROL: Oh, I’m fine. Just like always. The bigger question is who is this handsome young fella that you have sneaking in here behind you? (To Isaiah) Hello, I am Jennifer’s aunt, her mother’s sister, Carol. And you are? ISAIAH: Oh, uh, hi – JENNIFER: This is just my friend, Isaiah. His family isn’t home for Thanksgiving this year because they left to go to Mexico before we finished classes. So I asked mom if I could bring a friend, and here we are. ISAIAH: My parents told me that I could fly there and back by myself, but I really don’t like flying with my family, let alone by myself. I really appreciate you letting me come dinner Jennifer. AUNT CAROL: Well that stinks, but we are glad to have you Isaiah. (to Jennifer) Just a friend, huh? (Winks at Isaiah. Then to Jennifer.) Oh, come here and let me see you. It’s been ages. (Jennifer walks quickly over to her aunt and bends down and gives her Aunt a hug. Isaiah stands by the door still, and checks his phone.) JENNIFER: I know it has been, and I am glad that you were able to make it! (After holding her Aunt for a few moments, Jennifer plops down on the sofa next to her with her legs crossed under her.) JENNIFER: Come sit with us Isaiah, we don’t bite. AUNT CAROL: We don’t bite, but us Willicombe women will question your ear off. (Jennifer and Aunt Carol laugh together while Isaiah walked over and sat on the couch adjacent to the one that Jennifer and Aunt Carol are sitting upon.) ISAIAH: This is a nice home you have, Ms. Willicombe. AUNT CAROL: Oh please, it’s not my house, it’s her mother’s. And please call me Aunt Carol. JENNIFER: No, just Carol should be fine. We aren’t together Auntie Carol. AUNT CAROL: Well, if you’re not together, why didn’t you say so? Here I am making this man even more uncomfortable than he truly needs to be. ISAIAH: Oh, it’s fine… JENNIFER: Aunt Carol, I told you that we were only friends. Though that wasn’t the intention that we had to begin with. AUNT CAROL: Oooh. This sounds like a good story. Don’t start yet, I want to get my knitting. Could you grab it for me? It’s next to that end table. (Isaiah points to the basket.) Yes. The whole thing. (Isaiah grabs the entire basket, full of many different kinds of fluffy and colorful yarn, and a few needles sticking out.) Oh. And make sure not to poke your eye out. (Isaiah hands Aunt Carol the basket.) All right, so where does this story begin? JENNIFER: Well, I haven’t been able to find a boy that I like at school, and my friend Amelia told me that I need to try Tinder. She said that was the best way to find new great guys. AUNT CAROL: Ooh Tinder. (Jennifer gives her Aunt the biggest look of irritation there is.) Go on.

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JENNIFER: (Isaiah starts squirming because he is a bit uncomfortable) I really didn’t want to get on this. I rejected the idea for a few months until one day I got kind of bored, so I chose to set up my account at least, because why not. When I set up the account, I didn’t think to start looking at the guys or anything yet, so I didn’t get matched right off the bat. I didn’t actually go through any of the guys until a few weeks later when Amelia was over that Saturday, I think, and told me that I needed to look at the guys because it wouldn’t match us if I didn’t. (Jennifer chuckles) Do you know even know what Tinder is Aunt Carol? (Isaiah also laughs a little to himself) AUNT CAROL: Of course I know what it is, do you think I am stupid? (Barbra enters the room holding a tray of cheese, meats, and crackers. She makes eye contact with Isaiah, and pauses for a second, almost as if she is startled by something, as she is setting the tray on the table.) What is wrong Barbra? Jennifer asked if she could bring a friend. BARBRA: (shakes her head as if to clear it) What? O-oh, I-it’s nothing, I just thought that I messed up the timing on the turkey. (Sets the tray on the coffee table between the four of them, sits on the couch across from Aunt Carol as she is speaking) What are you guys talking about, Tinder? (Jennifer nods her hear yes as she eats a slice of cheese and meat) That is that one app thingy where you swipe left and right or something right? JENNIFER: YES! (Jennifer screams while she covers her mouth so as not to spray chunks of cheese and meat, and then she quickly finishes the food in her mouth.) We were just going over how Isaiah and I met each other and became such great friends. BARBRA: Oh, okay. Sounds interesting. JENNIFER: Yeah, so anyway, you swipe left for people you don’t like and right for people you do. So anyway, Isaiah’s picture came up and, as you can see here, I swiped right. Apparently so did he. So then, I messaged him first asking if he wanted to get coffee or something. ISAIAH: I, as you can see here told her of course, and I asked if we could get lunch at P.F. Chang’s because I had a coupon. She agreed to meet me, but she had to pick when within the 3-day expiration date. JENNIFER: So I chose go out with him that next Thursday. We agreed to meet there, so we wouldn’t have to worry about finding each other’s houses. When we got there, it wasn’t love at first sight. However, we did hug each other which at the time was a little weird for me, but hey, it could be worse. ISAIAH: When we sat down at the table to look over the menu, I asked her if she knew what she wanted. Mind you, I had already chosen what I wanted to eat. We wound up getting the same exact thing: Thai Beef and Noodle Salad. JENNIFER: (Throughout these line, Isaiah nods in agreement as he recollects as she does.) So we sat and we talked the whole time. We lived around this area when we were both little, but not at the same time because he moved before I was born. We both worked at a coffee shop for a couple years. We both wanted to be doctors when we little. We both almost went to UMKC. I just thought that it was just really cool meeting someone with the same sort of background as myself a little bit. ISAIAH: Our waiter thought that we were brother and sister when first walked in, so that was a little weird, but it did put both of us at ease because we got a really great laugh out of it. JENNIFER: Oh my gosh! I completely forgot about that, (Starts laughing with Isaiah while they reminisced.) So anyways, when we finished lunch, we walked around the plaza for a little while, which was amazing because I hadn’t been to the plaza since we went the one time back in like 2012 or something for the lighting of the plaza’s Christmas lights. Wasn’t that in 2012 mom? BARBRA: I do believe that it was, Jennifer. There were a lot of people there that day. (Chuckles to herself) JENNIFER: I thought that was when it was. Anyways, back to the story. So Isaiah and I didn’t hit off like we had hoped we would, but we agreed to go and see a movie together. We went to go see The Avengers, which was pretty awesome. But again, we still didn’t find that spark. I think when we were walking out of the theater, we were just having the greatest conversation about the movie. But I think when we had gotten to his car, we both decided to stay just friends, but still hang out. ISAIAH: Do you remember when we went out for 21st birthday, and that weird bartender guy? JENNIFER: (Very loudly laughing with Isaiah) Yes! Do you remember when he asked if we were siblings. (Laughs more) and then we tried to play it off like we were just mess with him (Dying of hysterical laughter and cannot sit up on the couch anymore). ISAIAH: (Also having a hard time sitting upright from the couch, and wiping a tear from his eye.) Oh my goodness, that was the best one. For some reason whenever we go anywhere together, people confuse us for brother and sister all of the time. BARBRA: Okay, I know your first name is Isaiah, but where are you from? ISAIAH: Oh, I’m sorry, I completely forgot to introduce myself. My name is Isaiah Parr; I go to school at

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Kansas State. I live in Leawood with my parents who make a ton of money and spend on pointless trips, which is why I am here and not in Mexico with them. I love them, but I like to be by myself most of the time, or with my friends like Jennifer. They keep me sane. BARBRA: Cool. I think you mentioned it earlier, but why didn’t you go to Mexico with your parents? ISAIAH: I don’t like flying, especially not by myself. And this is actually around the time when they found out they couldn’t have children at all. AUNT CAROL: Well if they can’t have children, how did they end up with a great man like you? ISAIAH: I was given up by my birth mother, and she didn’t want anything to do with me. My parents decided to start looking for a baby to adopt around the new year, and I was born on February 12th at St. Luke’s Hospital downtown, and I was one of the first babies that they were able to receive. BARBRA: Oh, that is interesting. (Barbra has a questioning look on her face, and she pauses for a brief moment before she continues) You may not know the answer to this, but um, do you know who your birth mother is? ISAIAH: No I don’t, my parents always said that she never wanted know anything about me at all. They said it was a completely closed adoption. BARBRA: What did you say your last name was? ISAIAH: Parr. It’s my adopted parent’s name. BARBRA: Do you know what your birth mother’s last name was? JENNIFER: (Jennifer stands up, and yells at her mother, which makes Isaiah jump a little, and Aunt Carol has stopped her knitting.) Why would you ask something like that?! Do you know how hard that could be for someone to talk about?! ISAIAH: It’s not that big of a – JENNIFER: No Isaiah. You don’t need to answer that kind of a question. (Glaring at her mother) My mother just doesn’t know what is and isn’t appropriate to talk about. ISAIAH: No really, it’s – BARBRA: (It is visible that Barbra is very upset.) I was just curious. If he didn’t want to tell me, I am sure that he wouldn’t. JENNIFER: Well, that’s great and all but do you know how hard this could be for him? I don’t understand why you need to know so bad. Stop being so nosy. (Barbra gets teary eyed, and a few fall, but she still has a stern face.) AUNT CAROL: GIRLS! Please stop. You’re going to give me a heart attack. Now, if Isaiah didn’t want to answer the questions that your mother has for him, then I am sure that he wouldn’t. You both need to simmer down and stop yelling at one another. Jennifer, sit your butt back down. I will not have you two fighting before dinner has even started. (Jennifer sits reluctantly back into her seat. And Aunt Carol begins to knit again.) ISAIAH: Thank you Carol. It really is fine. I don’t know why someone wouldn’t want me, but it had to have been for a reason. I may not know that reason, but my parents helped me to not be ashamed or upset with her because they are my family now. My birth mother’s last name is Kadner, (There room goes dead silent, and all of the women look at him stunned.) but I never knew her first name. Did I say something wrong? JENNIFER: (Jennifer’s tone sounds almost scared.) Mom. Wasn’t your old name? When you were married to that creep? AUNT CAROL: (Tears start to form in her eyes, and she slowly sets the project she is working on, on her lap.) Oh. Oh my. I don’t. Oh.. JENNIFER: (Very upset and crying, Jennifer speaks sternly) Mom? BARBRA: (Starts to cry a lot) How can this be? AUNT CAROL: (Tears are rolling down her face) That can’t be can it? JENNIFER: Mom, why does he have your divorced husband’s last name? ISAIAH: (Isaiah is obviously confused) Divorced husband? (You can see from the look on his face that he has also put the pieces together, and starts to get tears in his eyes.) Does that mean… (Barbra is unable to control her sobs anymore.) JENNIFER: Mom? Is there something going on here that I don’t know? BARBRA: Well, wh-whe-when I...whe-when – AUNT CAROL: (Walks over to Barbra and comforts her) I got this Barb. When your mother was finally able to start getting the divorce between that creep and herself, she found out that she was 4 weeks pregnant. We didn’t tell that abusive son of bitch, and just told him that she was getting fat…which he believed. JENNIFER: (Now sobbing as well) What?! Why haven’t you told before?

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ISAIAH: (Now crying) Oh my God. You’re my – JENNIFER: (With huge eyes looking at Isaiah) We’re – (Barbra nods her head in agreement as her and Aunt Carol try really hard to reel back their sobs) BARBRA: (She gets up and walks towards Isaiah, and in-between sobs she says) I just – I never – I never thought that I would ever see you…again. (She extends her arms towards Isaiah for a hug, but he just sits there and stares at her as he wraps his mind around the news.) ISAIAH: But – why? BARBRA: (Barbra’s hands drop to her sides) I didn’t want you to have a horrible beginning. I was about to be a single mom looking for a job. I never would have been able to make through college, which means that I wouldn’t have met Jennifer’s father, may God rest his soul. I was trying to give you a good life. JENNIFER: (Devastated) Why didn’t you tell me? BARBRA: I didn’t know how to tell you sweetheart. (She says as she sits next to Jennifer and puts her arm around Jennifer) The only other people who knew are your Aunt Carol and the hospital staff. (Getting upset again) I’m so sorry I didn’t tell you Jennifer. ISAIAH: I – I – I just don’t know what to say. I don’t know – I don’t know if I hug you, be angry with you, keep asking why, I just don’t know. BARBRA: (crying again) The only thing that I ask is that you forgive me. You don’t have to stay in my life if you don’t want to. I just ask for your forgiveness. (The room is silent for a time) ISAIAH: I think I forgive you… Mom. End of Play

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Third Place 10-Minute Play The Mugger by Drew Gandy CHARACTERS: Steve: Small-time thief, mid-twenties, not very smart Bill: Steve’s sidekick, same age, also not smart Richard Thurgood: Early ‘70s, witty Innocent Bystander #1 Innocent Bystander #2 Innocent Bystander #3 Innocent Bystander #4 Police Officer Randle: Early ‘30s Scene: Sidewalk in downtown Columbia, MO at nighttime (Enter Steve and Bill) STEVE: I still can’t believe you lost all your Draft Kings account money. You literally suck bro. Only you would put $300 on one contest and start all the players from the St. Louis Rams. BILL: Rams is life bruh! STEVE: Yeah, well so is poop. But good thing your boy’s got a plan. There’s an old dude that comes and gets ice cream here at Coldstone when I’m working, and get this—he pays with a fifty every time. He’s gotta have some money. BILL: I dunno dude, I’ve never done something that outright questionable before. STEVE: What about the time you bought two grand worth a’merch on Amazon using your aunt’s account? BILL: Oh right. STEVE: Or when you took all that tip money C.C.’s City Broiler? Or when you— BILL: Okay shut up. I get it. Dat tip money doe! STEVE: Just let me do the talking. And take this. Don’t cut your hand off. (Steve gives Bill a switchblade and takes one out for himself.) BILL: Are these real?? STEVE: As real as your mom, ya dope. Shhhh! (Enter Dr. Thurgood leaving Coldstone Creamery with ice cream in hand, muttering, and Steve and Bill put on black ski masks) THURGOOD: Blast it, the least they can do is keep me from standing in line for twenty minutes because they’re too incompetent to know what the Bashashi ice cream flavor is. (Enter Steve and Bill out of an alley with switchblades brandished) STEVE: Whoa there bro, where d’ya think you’re going? Give me your wallet now or you’ll pay! BILL: Yeah, big time pay! (Steve glances at Bill as if to say “don’t ruin my plan”) THURGOOD: Gentlemen, you will address me as “sir” only, and I’ll give up my appendix before I give ya my wallet. STEVE: Mr. SIR, this seems like a great time to begin my surgical career. BILL: I did just happen to read an article on Pinterest about people selling their appendices. STEVE: Bill. Shudup. I said let me do the talking. THURGOOD: Sonny, I think your buddy is right. Let him do the talking. STEVE: See, even the old man thinks so. BILL: Well maybe I think my voice sounds like cinnamon and honey! That’s what my mom said! STEVE: Huh? THURGOOD: Gentlemen, I really don’t have time for your squabbling back and forth. My ice cream is melting. Could we reschedule this conversation for later? STEVE: Mr. Old Man SIR, you better let me do the talking as well. We’re not letting you go so easy. I want your big fat wallet, not your big fat mouth, or you’ll be carved up like a nice Thanksgiving turkey. BILL: Yeah, real nice carving, old man. Wait. Steve, bro, if it’s like your mom’s turkeys, this could get pretty ugly. I didn’t think we were actually gonna to use these blades. THURGOOD: Here’s the problem, gentlemen. You see, I’m actually an ex-Special Forces operative with

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PTSD and I have a habit of having “episodes” every now and then. Would you like to know what I do during these episodes? Most of them can finally leave the hospital after a couple weeks. BILL: Who’s “them”? THURGOOD: Whoever happens to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. Or in the WRONG ALLEY, sonny boy. (Bill shows signs of getting nervous) BILL: Yo Steve, you know, I think I’m pretty fresh without that cash for a while. STEVE: Shut up, Bill! We are in control of this situation!!! We are in full control! My hand just naturally shakes like this when I talk to strangers! THURGOOD: Snakes alive, is this your first time in battle? First kill is always the hardest. And then the next ten. Once you’re past that you’re home free, ol’ boy! I should know. I learned that from ‘Nam. I have a tattoo for every man I killed. (Steve and Bill clearly frightened by Thurgood’s claims, their knives shaking in their hands) BILL: Well gee, look at the time; Steve, we got that thing . . . at that place, remember? STEVE: Bro he’s faking it. You think this old man could really hurt us? Have you seen me play Call of Duty? THURGOOD: Gentlemen, maybe I’ll let you off easy this time. If you give me your wallets, maybe I won’t hurt you. But if you try to touch, me, my wallet, or heck, my ice cream, I am going to beat the PISS out of you. BILL: Dang bruh I think I already wet my pants. STEVE: Bill! Shut. Up. He’s trying to con us. He’s definitely playing us. THURGOOD: Gentlemen, I was a boy scout. I don’t lie. Scout’s honor. Our motto was always “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these boys from the swift completion of their appointed tasks.” BILL: I always wondered what that quote was from! STEVE: Yeah Bill here was a boy scout too. Clearly doesn’t mean much. (Enter Innocent Bystander #1 and #2) INNOCENT BYSTANDER #1: Hey is that guy getting mugged? INNOCENT BYSTANDER #2: I think you’re right! Wait, or are those guys getting mugged by him? INNOCENT BYSTANDER #1: Holy crap I don’t know, but I’m callin’ the cops. (#1 takes out his phone and dials 9-1-1) THURGOOD: You all ever heard of Geronimo Bay? I put four war criminals in there from the ‘80s. Names of ‘em are so secret I’d have to cut out your entrails if you even heard a single letter. STEVE: You, uh, don’t scare us, old man! BILL: Yeah you don’t scare us one bit! STEVE: Yeah cuz I know Taekwondoo! THURGOOD: It’s pronounced taekwond-“o”, idiot. STEVE: Hey you stole my word, grandpa! BILL: Yeah, you stole his word! THURGOOD: You’re trying to steal my wallet. That makes us even. STEVE: Well, um, I won state with my billiards team back in high school, so what are you gunna do now? BILL: Yeah, big winner! You’re so scared! Wait, how does that help, Steve? STEVE: Shut up and let me do the talking, Bill! THURGOOD: I happen to know a guy named Sam. That’s Uncle Sam to you. I think you and him need to have a nice long chat. And after that chat, you’re going to mysteriously disappear. BILL: Wait, how do you know my uncle??? STEVE: Bill! You idiot! I told you to let me do the talking!!! (Steve gives Bill a big shove) THURGOOD: Bill, are you going to let Steve talk to you like that? When I was in the corps, talking like that would get a guy busted up and thrown in the slammer for a week in three inches of mud. BILL: Yeah Steve, don’t talk t’me like that. STEVE: Yeah whatever. THURGOOD: Okay men, I’ll tell you what. My ice cream is really starting to melt. There is one thing that I will lose sleep over, and I love my sleep. And that is melted ice cream. So I’m going to give you some time to pray about this. (Thurgood pauses for effect) THURGOOD: Okay times up. I was going to let you off easy, but now I’ll have to execute the Mapo

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Tofu. In the common tongue, that means “White snake shoots venom at measly enemies.” I will now extricate your medulla oblongata. STEVE AND BILL: Welp, that about does it for us! (Police sirens scream onto the scene and four officers open car doors and train their guns on Steve and Bill) THURGOOD: Mugging is such a fun experience! I should do this more often! POLICE OFFICER: Put your knives on the ground now and get down on your hands and knees!!! You’re under arrest! BILL: Steve!!! This is all your fault!! My mom’s gonna be pissed!!! (Police officer looks at Thurgood with surprised recognition in his eyes) POLICE OFFICER: Uncle Rich! Hey! Whatever you did, you’re quite a boss to get yourself out of this one. THURGOOD: Randle, my ice cream melted. I had to take action. (Enter Innocent Bystander #3 and #4 while officers handcuff Steve and Bill and guide them to squad car) BYSTANDER #3: Wow looks like that ol’ man put those cons away. What a man. BYSTANDER #4: Sweetie, are you saying a woman couldn’t do that? BYSTANDER #3: Oh honey, not this again! BYSTANDER #4: Don’t you “honey” me! (Bystanders squabble in the background) POLICE OFFICER: Gee, Uncle Rich, I’m sorry you had to deal with this situation. But hey, you’ll still be at the barbershop tomorrow, right? My hair’s becoming a mess. (Steve and Bill stop dead in their tracks and forcefully turn around) BILL: You mean all that stuff you said was a lie???!!!! You’re a barber???!!!!! He conned us!!! THURGOOD: Gentlemen, your goat has just been had. (Steve and Bill get forced into back of squad car while they yell at each other) STEVE: Bill shut up!!! I’m tired of hearing you whine!!!! BILL: This is ALL YOUR FAULT!!!!! (Their voices fade as the doors close and the squad cars leave) (Exit)

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Forget That Ever Happened By Dylan Lewis CHARACTERS: Levi Allemang: Twenty-one years old. Decently dressed. Not too stylish, but not casual. Depressed over a hard break up and is trying to forget about it by going out with his friend. Adam Stauser: Twenty-three years old. Appears gentleman like. Friend of Levi trying to help him forget about the break up and have a fun night out. Bartender: Decently sized, college aged, male. Not too special looking. Wearing jeans and a black T-shirt with the bars logo over his heart. Biker: Looks to be in his early forties. Large, faded, red beard with mangled hair reaching out of his Harley Davidson hat. Very intimidating. (Levi enters a crowded bar and quietly maneuvers his way through. He sits on a stool towards the middle of the room. The bartender spies Levi and approaches him from across the bar.) BARTENDER: How ya doin, sir? LEVI: I’ve been better. BARTENDER: Welp, I can definitely help ya out with that. What’ll it be? LEVI: (Pauses for a moment.) Three shots of Jack. BARTENDER: (Cracks a grin.) Sounds like a good choice. Comin’ right up. Walks off to the left. (Levi looks around the bar expecting to see his friend somewhere. He checks his phone several times. He makes eye contact with an intimidating biker. Their eyes lock for a moment and Levi nervously raises a hand to say hello. The biker, stone faced, turns back to his drink. The bartender returns with three shot glasses and sets them on the table in front of Levi.) BARTENDER: There ya are, good sir. Enjoy. Come find me if ya need anything else. (Levi politely nods his understanding as the bartender moves back off stage. Levi stares at the first glass for a moment before picking it up. He moves it around in his hand as he studies it for another moment or two. He then brings it to his lips and quickly shoots it down his throat. He shivers and lets out a gurgle of disgust. After he the shiver goes away he looks back at the other two shots. He pauses once again, then quickly downs the next two shots. He lets out another sickened cough and buries his head on the bar. At this time another man enters the bar and looks around. After he spies Levi he maneuvers his way through the crowd and sits at the empty stool next to him.) ADAM: I see you started without me. LEVI: Mhhmm ADAM: You ok? LEVI: Uh uh ADAM: Hahaha. You can’t tell me that you’re already drunk off of three shots. LEVI: (Sits back up.) I’m not. They just went down a little… gingerly. ADAM: Well, you should have waited on me. That way you wouldn’t have spent any money here. (Motions to the bartender.) Bartender! (Bartender makes his way back over to the pair.) ADAM: Get my friend here a glass of rum and Coke, and a shot of Goldschlager. Then I’ll take a Martini. Mix gin, vodka, and Kina Lillet. Shaken not stirred. BIKER: (Looks at Adam, laughing at his request.) You gotta be fuckin’ kidding me? BARTENDER: (Gives the biker a quick look.) Will do. (Walks off stage.) LEVI: What are you, now? James Bond? ADAM: I like to think of myself that way. Badass, yet smooth and suave. I think I fit that general description. LEVI: If you say so. ADAM: You know, you should really start to think of yourself that way. Have some confidence man. You really can’t go wrong with a little confidence. It’ll take you a long way.

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LEVI: That’s easy for you to say. I have no reason to be confident. ADAM: I cannot disagree with you more, my friend. But even if that were true, then you just fake it. LEVI: Fake it? ADAM: Fake it. Fake it til’ you make it. LEVI: What the hell is that supposed to mean? ADAM: Even if you don’t feel confident, you act confident- not cocky, confident. You show a little confidence, people start treating you differently. Then, once that happens, you’ll see yourself in a different light. You’ll be comfortable with yourself. Which will bring so much more great things into your life. (Bartender walks back with Adam and Levi’s drinks. Enjoy. Walks back off stage.) ADAM: Let’s take a drink, friend. (Lifts his drink.) Cheers. (Levi taps his shot glass with Adam’s martini and they drink.) LEVI: (Cringes from the shot.) I guess that makes sense. Do you think that- if I actually do thisLana would take me back? ADAM: That would not be a good idea. You shouldn’t do that to get back with her. You should do it for yourself. To prove to yourself that you can stand on your own two feet and not be dependent on anyone else. If you were to go back to her, then you’d be showing that aren’t happy enough with yourself. You need to move on. Forge your own path and find discover happiness for yourself. Not for anyone else. For you. LEVI: (Takes a large gulp of his rum and Coke.) Y-You know, part of me knows that you’re right, but the other part doesn’t want to move on. (Takes another gulp of the rum and Coke.) ADAM: I understand. We’ve all been there before. Right now you feel that way, but as time goes on it gets easier. You just have to stay distracted, my friend. Keep yourself busy and focus on being productive for yourself. Just try to… you know… forget that ever happened. (Levi takes another large gulp of his drink. His movements start to become more and more animated.) LEVI: Forget it ever happened? ADAM: Yes. I know it sounds hard, but you’ll learn to forget the pain and everything that you’ve felt if you try to live on. You can be strong Levi. I know it’s in you. LEVI: (He finishes his drink. He looks inside the glass quizzically, then motions for the bartender.) Bartender! (The bartender walks over to Levi.) LEVI: More of the same. (The bartender takes the empty glass and walks off.) ADAM: Is anything that I’m saying clicking for you, Levi? LEVI: (Pauses.) She cheated on me. (Adam: I know she did. Which is why you deserve much better than her.) LEVI: Yeah. ADAM: Yeah? LEVI: Yeah. I deserve much more better than her. (Bartender brings the second glass then walks off stage.) ADAM: That’s right. You deserve much more. LEVI: (Takes a drink.) She doesn’t deserve me. ADAM: She definitely doesn’t, Levi. You’re too good for that woman. LEVI: (Takes a large gulp.) I- (belches.) Oh god. ADAM: You what? LEVI: I f-f-f-fucking h-hate h-hate that bitch. ADAM: I would if I were you too, Levi. LEVI: (Takes another drink.) I-I’m… so… damn… angry! (Pops up out of his stool and raises his voice. Several people in the bar take notice and stare confused at Levi and Adam.) ADAM: (Stands up to try and calm Levi down.) Woah, Levi, sit down. LEVI: I’m not going to sit down, while that whore is going around bangin’ random pricks on the

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street! I need to stand up for myself! (Pauses for a second.) I’m callin’ her right now! (Pulls out his phone.) (More people begin take notice of what is happening.) ADAM: No, no, no, no, no. That is NOT a good idea, Levi. LEVI: The hell it is! You’re right! I need get some confidence. I need to focus on what makes me happy! And right now what’ll make me happy is callin’ her and tellin’ her EXACTLY what I think of her! ADAM: That’s not what I was talking about! Give me your phone! You’re done for the night! (Grabs on to Levi’s phone and struggles with him for a bit.) LEVI: Let me alone Adam! I’m doin’ this for myself! ADAM: You need to STOP, Levi! (Shoves Levi back into his seat while ripping his phone away from him. Points the phone at Levi.) Sit down and don’t say a word. (Adam sits back down and turns him and Levi towards the bar. He leans in towards Levi to keep the conversation quiet, while most of the bar awkwardly stares at the two before going about their business.) ADAM: That is the absolute worst thing you can do right nowLEVI: And why is thatADAM: If you’d stay quiet and listen to me, you would find out! (Levi seems to submit to the idea and sits quietly. Adam pauses for a moment to make sure that Levi is attentive and leans back on his stool. He picks up his martini and downs the entire glass in one gulp. He puts both hands on the bar and tries to appear relaxed.) ADAM: This is why that is a bad idea. Hesitates for a moment, then takes a deep breath. Before I met you a year ago, I lived in Springfield. LEVI: I know that. ADAM: I know, but what you didn’t know is that I lived with a girl named Madelyn. (Takes another deep breath.) Madelyn and I had been dating for three years, and we’d had our own house. Nothing much, but it was a nice little place to live. Tries to gather his thoughts. I… loved this girl. She was everything to me. I could not imagine being without her, because she made me happier than I had ever been in my life. I thought she felt the same way. I mean, she promised me so much… LEVI: What did she promise you? ADAM: She… she said that she loved me. She said that she wanted to marry me someday. She said that she wanted me to be the father of her child… LEVI: I- I don’t know what to say… ADAM: I thought it would never end. LEVI: What happened? ADAM: She cheated on me. Multiple times. (Takes a deep breath.) I never found out until I walked in on her and my best friend. I came home earlier from work and they were… well you know. (Puts his hand on his head and tries to keep himself together.) LEVI: That’s horrible. ADAM: Yeah. LEVI: What’d you do? ADAM: I left. I was so in shock I don’t even remember where I went or what I did. When I came back she’d moved out. All of her stuff was gone. Everything she’d owned was gone except a small note on the table. All it said was that she couldn’t be with me anymore and that she was sorry. She said she wished me well, and that we could be friends again someday. LEVI: I’m- I’m so sorry dude. ADAM: After that I spent the next few weeks crying, wishing that she would come back. I tried to drown all of my pain in whiskey. My house was littered with empty bottles. Bottles on the floors, bottles on the counters, even bottles in the bath tub. I tried so hard to forget her memory. After awhile, one of my friends took me out to a bar to try to help- much like what I’m trying to do for you right now. We talked about it and he constantly filled in my head how horrible of a person she is. How she didn’t know what she lost, and how I deserved much better than her.

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With all of the booze in my head, it really made a lot of sense to me. I realized for the first time just how heartless what she did was. I wasn’t thinking about how much I wanted her back. I was thinking about how I hated her at that moment. How she had hurt me, and how she had ripped my heart out. After my friend took me home I downed some more whiskey. That was all I needed to just lose control of my emotions. Takes a deep breath. I called her. I didn’t expect her to answer, but she did. I tried to tell her what I thought of her. I tried to make her feel all the pain that she made me feel. I tried to yell, insult her, and show that I could stand up for myself. I started off doing this, but… but I couldn’t handle it. I ended up breaking down on the phone, while she scolded me for saying what I had said to her. I couldn’t handle talking to her. It was just too much. Talking to her and listening to her scold me made me feel worse than I ever had before. My drinking got worse than it already was, I slipped farther and farther into depression, and I even cut myself a few times to try to relieve the pain. It was the lowest that I have ever been in my life. (Both men are silent. The story begins to sink in.) ADAM: That’s why I don’t want you to call her, Levi. It’s not worth it. It’s just better to move on with your life and forget that ever happened. (All is silent again.) LEVI: I- (Pauses for another moment.) I understand. (Levi puts his arm around Adam, and Adam follows suit. After a second the two let go.) LEVI: I- I’m not going to call her. You’re right. I just need to leave that behind me and focus on myself. I’ll be happier that way. ADAM: You do realize that you’re not going to just magically feel better now right? It’s not that simple. LEVI: Nothing ever is. ADAM: Well, I’m here for you every step of the way. LEVI: Thanks, man. ADAM: No problem. LEVI: You ready to go? ADAM: Yeah. Let’s get out of here. (Adam and Levi get up and begin to walk away.) BIKER: Where do ya think ya boys are goin’? (Adam and Levi turn around quizzically.) ADAM: We’re-uh-leaving… BIKER: Oh no you not. You’re stayin’ right here. ADAM: And why would we do that? BIKER: (Begins to walk towards Adam and Levi.) Because I said so. (Stops standing in front of the two.) (Adam and Levi at each other then art the biker with confusion and fear. The biker looks up and down the both of them.) BIKER: Ya both say you lost your girls? ADAM: (Defensively.) Yeah LEVI: (Confused.) Yeah. (The biker looks over Adam and Levi a second time. He locks eyes with both of them, as his mouth begins to twitch and his eyes fill with tears.) BIKER: I lost my ol’ lady too! (The bikers opens his arms and wraps them around Adam and Levi. He places his head on Adam’s chest as he weeps as the whole bar looks on with an awkward stare.) BIKER: (Crying.) She left me five years ago. I normally don’t get worked up bout it, but you boys an your stories got me the feels. Still crying. I feel for ya boys. I feel for ya. (Adam and Levi look at each other awkwardly and confused as the biker continues to bawl on Adam’s chest. Slowly the biker begins to calm down. He regains composure, lifts his head off of Adam, and realizes what has transpired. He looks around and sees entire bar staring at him. Their jaws are dropped as they look on.)

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BIKER: (With tears in his eyes.) I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to startle ya. (Looks around at the bar one last time.) I’ll just get back to my drink. (Sits back on his stool and resumes drinking his beer, and avoids eye contact with everyone.) (The bar continues to look on for a few moments before slowly going back to their business. Adam and Levi look awkwardly at each other one last time before turning to leave.) LEVI: (As they walk towards the door.) This has been one weird night hasn’t it? ADAM: (Shaking his head.) Let’s forget that ever happened.

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In The Heart of Europe By Bailey Brown CHARACTERS: Lilly: An American college student vacationing at her boyfriend’s home in Europe. She is not a fan of commitment and hates showing emotion. She is somewhat cynical, but very realistic. At this moment, everything is exciting and new. In this scene, she has just come home from a party. She is also drunk, but not wasted. Seppa: Is from the middle of Europe where they speak Flemish. He has an accent, but shouldn’t be forced by any means. He’s very kind-hearted and a romantic. He shows more emotion than Lilly (which isn’t hard) and is a very, overall, positive person. In this scene, he too is drunk, coming home from the same party. Background: In this part of Europe, it is common to greet someone with one kiss on the left, one on the right, and another on the left. They began dating in the United States, and have been together for over a year. Two drunk teenagers lay on a bed after a New Year’s Eve celebration in the middle of Europe. LILLY: Can you believe this is our second New Year’s Eve together? My lips are exhausted from kissing everyone! In the US, it’s just that one person, you know? But here, it’s like WOAH, let’s kiss strangers! SEPPA: I can’t believe that, actually, that it’s really our second. But, yeah it’s just custom. At least it’s only on the cheek. And at least it was a small party. LILLY: (playfully shoves Seppa) A small party? The room was packed! That’s like three American house parties stuck into one! SEPPA: I miss house parties. I think they were cool. I would never have one. Unless, of course, it was our house…(two looks lovingly at 1, 1 looks around, but smiling) LILLY: (slightly annoyed) What do you mean “our house”? SEPPA: I want to marry you. I want to live our lives together, here or in the US. LILLY: Stop do you really? SEPPA: Of course. I knew it from the moment I saw you. I really didn’t see anyone else. (Lilly falls silent and stares at the ceiling. She considers feigning sleep to avoid sticky conversation) SEPPA: I actually want to tattoo your name somewhere. You know how I wanted my flag and your flag on my back? LILLY: Yes.. SEPPA: Well I want your name under the American flag so that I know that America is really my home too. LILLY: Okay, first of all, you’re being freaking insane right now. A tattoo? Really? That’s forever. That doesn’t come off like this! (Lilly licks her finger and rubs furiously on the X of Seppa’s hand) See?! that goes away...well, kind of. Tattoos don’t. SEPPA: Yeah, I know. I’m not an idiot. I want you for as long as a tattoo lasts. LILLY: So forever? SEPPA: (Seppa moves Lilly’s face to look at her in the eyes) I want you forever. And then I want you after forever. LILLY: I thought you didn’t believe in “after forever” SEPPA: But you’ve been making me want to believe in that. You make me believe in God. Like yeah, the church is awful. But, how can he make someone like you and expect me not to believe in something more? Like you really are the perfect person, you can’t deny that. And I know you think we’re also soulmates. You told me! We were sitting on that bench, and you told me that you thought we knew each other before. That’s a big coincidence, is it not? LILLY: Oh brother. You need to go to bed. (laughs quietly) SEPPA: No, no tell me you have never thought about forever with me. LILLY: I can’t do that. I can’t. I live in forever with you. If we stop and wait for forever with each other, then we’ll lose now. We’ll lose this (she dramatically opens her arms, gesturing to the rest of the room) SEPPA: So you want it too actually? LILLY: I want it more than anything. I would move across the ocean for you. I’ve had dreams about me walking down the aisle towards you and you looking so happy. I can’t stop thinking about it. And like

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what our kids would look like, freaking adorable or course. But, really, don’t get a tattoo. SEPPA: You dream about me? Maybe you’re the crazy one! But I have those too. We can be crazy lunatics forever and ever. (Seppa crosses his eyes and sticks his tongue out at Lilly) Are you still drunk? LILLY: I think not as much. Like a light, sugary buzz. But that’s it. (Her voice trails off) (The two fall silent. 2 eventually concludes that 1 is asleep, but she isn’t) SEPPA: You’re my everything. You’re my entire world. LILLY: (sleepily) There’s more to life than me, Seppa, there really is. There is so much more to life than love. SEPPA: No, not to me there isn’t. You’re it. (Lilly jumps up from the bed and runs off stage. Puking can be heard) LILLY: (Yells from off stage) There is more than this. THE END

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Young Writer’s Day 2015 On Thursday, October 29, 2015, Central Methodist University’s English Department hosted its Third Annual Young Writer’s Day. Students from Fayette, Boonville, Higbee, Slater, Smithton, and Jamestown were invited to participate in a day of creative writing. Students were placed into groups and each group participated in several different sessions. Students were introduced to material from different genres, then the rest of the time was theirs to create a work in that genre. The three best works from each genre were awarded certificates and books. In addition, the first place winners were featured in Inscape. Sigma Tau Delta was instrumental in the success of the third Young Writer’s Day. They helped with every aspect of the event, including judging the contests. Sigma Tau Delta strives to “provide, through its local chapters, cultural stimulation on college campuses and promote interests in literature and the English language in surrounding communities;” as well as to “foster all aspects of the discipline of English, including literature, language, and writing.” The CMU chapter of Sigma Tau Delta succeeded with Young Writer’s Day. The English department and Sigma Tau Delta are proud to present the first place winnders and their work: Short Stories: Mackenzie Strother, Jamestown Poetry: Kassidy Monnig, Fayette Multimedia Fiction: Sierra Smith, Smithton Kavita S. Hatwalkar, PhD Assistant Professor of English Central Methodist University

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Short Story Mackenzie Strother, Jamestown Without her diamond earrings, golden bracelets, studded blouses, and bold make-up, Padma left unlike herself, but she could not draw attention to herself. Today, Padma was wearing tennis shoes, black sweatpants, and a gray hoodie with the hood pulled up, hiding her stunning face. Compared to her usual flashy strut, Padma’s friends would never catch Padma sneaking off. As she reached her destination, Padma opened the church doors wide, taking in the beautiful statue of Jesus Christ on the cross. Padma breathed in the vastness of the room. She felt at peace here. Her joy could not last long though because she knew no one could see her. Her parents already resented her for coming to America for college. They would kick her out of the family, or worse, if they knew during her stay, she changed her religion. Padma knelt, and said an opening prayer, praying for her family, and for the only person who knew about her new religion, Pastor Leon. Leon was 85 years old, and had just invited Padma into the church when he caught her staring at the cross on the doors. When Padma finished her prayer, she called for Pastor Leon. He didn’t come. She called again. He didn’t seem to be there. Then a lady stepped out. She was around 45 and it looked as though she was crying. “Oh! I am so sorry. I was just looking for Pastor Leon,” Said Padma. The woman’s eyes filled with tears. “Honey, you might want to sit down. Pastor Leon was my father. He passed away a week ago. I am just cleaning out his office,” stated the young women. Padma’s heart sank. It felt as though someone shot her in the chest. At first, she wanted to run out the doors, but something made her stay. “Can I at least help you clean his office?” Padma asked, her voice cracking, and her eyes also welling up. “Pf course.” Padma helped clean for about an hour before stumbling across a calendar with her name on it. “What’s this?” asked Padma. “Oh he had goal calendars doe every one of his pupils. He wrote important steps he wanted to help them reach on specific dates.” Padma started to cry. On today’s date. November 12, 2015, Pastor Leon wanted Padma to tell on friend about her religion change. In two weeks, she was to tell her parents. Something made Padma jump. All the sudden, Padma knew where Leon was. She took her phone out of her pocket, and dialed a very long distance number. “Mom, I want you to know I love you, but I have something to tell you.”

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Blood Red Kassidy Monnig, Fayette What is the purpose of a heart? An intriguing design with intricate pathways It pumps, my heart, all day long it pumps When I fall into deep sleep, I hear its steady sound It soothes me, comforts me My heart stays determines and never loses track of its vital task Pumps in, pumps out, pumps in, pumps out The blood slides in and out of its open doors with ease When I sleep it stays awake When I sit it stands When I run it runs harder My heart is an instrument that never stops stringing the same tune What an endless melody it plays A comforting melody My life song

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Foreign Sierra Smith, Smithton May 2002 John: This texting thing is pretty cool isn’t it. Maria: Absolutely. I only wish it didn’t take so long. John: But now even when you are half way across the world we can still talk. Maria: I really wish I didn’t have to leave. America was such a great place. Nothing like my home. John: Maybe one day America can become your new home. Maria: My father would never allow that. I’m just hoping that he will allow me to keep this cell phone. John: Just don’t tell or show it to him. Then there will be no risk. Maria: My Dad… he found out. His very angry, I don’t know if I ca John: Maria?!?! John: What happened? Are you ok?!? John: Maria, I really hope that you are ok. And don’t worry I’ll be here whenever you need. I will always care about you. Never give up on your dreams. December 2014 Maria: John…? Is there still your number? Maria: I know that it’s been a long time… but John: I would wait forever for you. Maria: I can’t believe it! I don’t even know what to say. John: How about how you’ve been, the past 12 years. Maria: Horrible… at first. My father was outraged when he found out. John: Found out what exactly. Maria: You, singing, America being so amazing. John: What happened? Maria: I left. John: What! To go where? Your brothers? Maria: Nope, to go to England. John: How long have you been there? Maria: Six years. My English is much better now. I have even been saving up for something really important. John: That’s great news. What have you been saving for? Maria: A plane ticket. John: That’s strange…. Maria: Why’s that, I thought it would be nice. John: Because I have been doing the same thing. The End

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About the Editors Danielle Mae Franklin Danielle is a junior English major working toward honors from Odessa, Missouri. She is a member of Sigma Tau Delta, Alpha Gamma Psi, Alpha Lambda Delta, Alpha Chi, and Conservatory Singers. She also works as a Student Resource Assistant for the Career Development Center. Moving from house to house she found a constant in literature. She enjoys lake days with her sorority sisters, catching up with her family, spoiling her dog Prudence, cheering for Kansas City Sports, and capturing the moments through the camera lense.

Courtney Warford Courtney is a senior English major from Pattonsburg, Missouri. She is the President of Sigma Tau Delta, Vice President of Alpha Gamma Psi, is involved in Psychology Club and is a Writer for the Central Methodisy University chapter of The Odyssey Online. She works as a Resident Assistant in McMurry Hall, Telecounselor for the Office of Admissions, and is a Writing Center Associate. Courtney discovered her true love for literature in middle school and never looked back. She enjoys being a dog mom, traveling, participating in activities with her sorority sisters, watching baseball, and playing a game of catch.

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Contributor Biographies Abby Ruessler- Abby is a sophomore English major from Perryville, Missouri. She is a member of the Central Methodist University softball team and Sigma Tau Delta. Alexis Eckhoff- Alexis is a senior Psychology and Criminal Justice double major from Houstonia, Missouri. She is the president of The Interested Daughters of Delta Xi Nu. Alyssa Webb- Alyssa is a senior Criminal Justice and Communications double major from Grain Valley, Missouri. She is the Vice President of Pi Gamma Mu and a member of Lambda Alpha Epsilon and Lambda Pi Eta. Bailey Brown- Bailey is a senior English Education major from Joplin, Missouri. She is a December graduate who was in volved in Sigma Tau Delta. Brittany Lawson- Brittany is a sophomore Biology major from Tebbetts, Missouri. She is the editor of Sigma Alpha Iota, and a member of Beta Beta Beta, Alpha Epsilon Delta, and Sigma Tau Delta. Clinton Campbell- Clinton is a sophomore Computer Science and Business Management double major from Prairie Home, Missouri. He is involved in the theatre. Cloe Beck- Cloe is a sophomore Communications major from Vancouver, Washington. She is the Copy Editor of Central Methodist University’s Collegian. Dr. Dan Elliot- Dr. Elliot is a Professor Emeritus of Biology and Geology. Desiray Crowe-Boicourt- Desiray is a senior Biology major from Versailles, Missouri. Drew Gandy- Drew is a senior English major from Fayette, Missouri. He is a member of the Central Methodist University Track & Field team, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, NAVS@ CMU. Dylan Lewis- Dylan is a freshman English major from Kirksville, Missouri. He is a member of the Central Methodisty University Baseball team and Alpha Phi Gamma (Mokers). Emily Speakman- Emily is a junior Nursing major from Cassville, Missouri. She is a member of Delta Pi Omega and Civic Engagement. Julie Gleich- Julie is a senior Interdisciplinary Studies major from Oak Grove, Missouri. She is involved in Alpha Phi Omega and Sigma Alpha Iota, and is the Editor-In-Chief of the Ragout. Kaitlin Thompson- Kaitlin is a sophomore Biology major from Marceline, Missouri. She is a member of band, choir, and Sigma Alpha Iota. Kelly Jo Davis- Kelly Jo is a senior English Education major from Slater, Missouri. She is a member of Sigma Tau Delta and Alpha Phi Omega. She also works as a library assistant and a student ambassador. Lyndsey Phillips- Lyndsey is a junior English Education and Theatre double major from Bloomsdale, Missouri. She is involved in Theatre, Sigma Tau Delta, Alpha Phi Omega, Alpha Psi Omega, and Omicron Delta Kappa. Maggie Moore- Maggie is a senior Communications major from Columbia, Missouri. She is a member of Alpha Gamma Psi, Lambda Pi Eta, Pi Gamma Mu, and Alpha Chi. Michaela Pomajzi- Michaela is a sophomore Marketing major from Sedalia, Missouri. Mikaela Lewis- Mikaela is a senior Music Education major from Harrisburg, Missouri. She is a member of band and choir. Nicholas Foland- Nicholas is a junior Communications major from Fayette, Missouri. He is a KCMU Eagle Radio DJ and an editor for the Collegian. Remy Gagnon- Remy is a senior Biology major from San Diego, California. Robyn Maag- Robyn is a senior English Education major from Moberly, Missouri. She is involved in Sigma Tau Delta. Steven Clayton- Steven was born and raised in Missouri and is a college student and hopefully a future writer.

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Taylor Rouse- Taylor is a senior Music major from Sturgeon, Missouri. He is a member of Phi Mu Alpha and The Church Street Boys. Zoey Glasgow- Zoey is a sophomore Communications major from Huntsville, Missouri. She is a member of the Central Methodist University Track & Field team. YOUNG WRITER’S DAY PARTICIPANTS Sierra Smith- Sierra is a student at Smithton High School. Kassidy Monnig- Kassidy is a student at Fayette High School. Mackenzie Strother- Mackenzie is a student at Jamestown High School.

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Profile for Central Methodist University

Inscape 2016  

This is the 41st edition of Inscape, CMU's Magazine of the Arts. Inscape is an annual project by the Mu Lambda Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, t...

Inscape 2016  

This is the 41st edition of Inscape, CMU's Magazine of the Arts. Inscape is an annual project by the Mu Lambda Chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, t...

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