Wordplay The Congressional School Literary Magazine
Wordplay The Congressional School Literary Magazine
Spring 2021 Poetry & Layout Editor Raghav Belle Trichur Art Editor Alyssa Kinder Prose Editor Katya Orlova Copy Editor Nolan Krauss Cover Art by Caeli Boris
TABLE OF CONTENTS Letter from the Editors........................................................................5 An Evercrisp Apple** by Paul Smith............................................... 6 “Cherry Tree” by Caeli Boris............................................................. 8 I Imagine by Gemma Allexon............................................................9 Monster in Disguise** by Raquel Lopez.........................................10
“Red Leaf” by Javier Almonte.................................................11
The Watching Eyes by Phoebe Miller............................................... 11
“Bird” by Carleigh Sullivan.....................................................12
What Am I? by Brooks Gustafson.................................................... 13
“Girl with Ponytail” by Carleigh Sullivan........................... 13
Last Person on Earth by Jackson Griest.......................................... 14 Opposite Day by Nisa Mooganur......................................................15
“School Penguins” by Annica Aasvang................................ 16
Cold Storage** by Saad Ali................................................................ 17
TABLE OF CONTENTS The Dark Woods by Anne Palmer.................................................... 18 Look Twice** by Anonymous............................................................19 Sushi by Gabby Guagenti....................................................................20 If I Knew by Natalie Lobel..................................................................22
“Dragon on a Column” by Emma Whelan......................... 23
Religious Liberty During COVID-19 by Michael Bicksel........... 24
“In Lisbon” by Javier Almonte................................................26
Astrophysics by Vaqas Qudus............................................................. 27 King Midas and the Golden Touch by Sophia Lapter................. 29 The Crystal’s Lie by Caeli Boris........................................................ 32
“Untitled” by Zaina Gilbert.....................................................32
Searching an Empty Thesaurus by Kaiden Alt.............................. 33 Water Journey by Robert Soberanis................................................. 34 Inside a Game by Lorna Evans......................................................... 36
TABLE OF CONTENTS If I Was in Rocket League by Alex Gandhi....................................38 Imagine if Kids Ran the World by Charlotte Reynolds............. 40
“School Girl” by Ashley Bicksel...........................................41
Impactful Jerry by Owen Covington..............................................42 In a Million Years by Owen Hermans............................................43 Midnight by Ella Thompson............................................................ 44 The Joy of Nature by Vivienne Bailey............................................ 46
“Bison” by Javier Almonte..................................................... 47
The Old Man By the Sea** by Lawson Weidner....................... 48
“Dancing on the Beach” by Javier Almonte...................... 49
Thoughts Lying Down by Kamryn Sauri..................................... 50 The Hidden Worth by Alana Taylor............................................... 51 Staff Bios............................................................................................... 52
A brief note
from the Editors
Thank you for reading Wordplay!
This project started with the Writers’ Club, as a way to share our enthusiasm for creative writing. Our goal was to receive at least 10 to 15 submissions, but the Congressional students easily surpassed that! We appreciate the hard work our writers and artists put into their pieces. Thank you to Mrs. Keimig for serving as our faculty mentor. We would also like to thank Mr. Yassine for encouraging his students to submit, Ms. Rochkind for helping the artists, and Mehr Qudus (’22) for assisting us with proofreading the magazine. Finally, thank you to Ms. Ru Buttner and Mr. Hinrichs for their support. Without further ado, let’s dive into the first-ever edition of Wordplay!
— Raghav, Alyssa, Katya, and Nolan Spring 2021 Staff
An Evercrisp Apple
by Paul Smith
An evercrisp apple is a variety of apple that I love. With streaks of bright red and green like a painting. It’s exterior glistens, but not artificially, not like those perfectly ideal apples you find at the grocery store. The evercrisp apples from my local farmer’s market might not be perfectly round or perfectly ripe, but that isn’t necessary. As you hold the apple in your hand, you feel the smooth, chilled exterior. Or at least in my house, the only apples you eat are refrigerated. There may be impurities surrounding the apple. Some bruises. Some bumps. But once that apple is in your hand you can’t resist but to bring it to your mouth. When you bite into one, juices stream into your mouth making you crave for another bite. It boasts complex sweetness and tartness, all while remaining dense and crisp. Hence the name “evercrisp” As you continue to devour the apple, people may be bothered by the intense prolonged crunching done by your teeth.
But you do not care, and aren’t disturbed. For the apple is too delicious to resist. Evercrisp apples are the human side of life. Their imperfect, patchy, inexact traits display the blemishes and impurities of being human. When I first tasted an evercrisp apple, I knew I’d found it. Apples, after a while, always seemed to get mealy or unappetizing, but under refrigeration these apples truly stayed “evercrisp”, even with a few bugs and blemishes. I had found greatness in something that wasn’t perfect. As humans, we strive to make no mistake and be as perfectly complete as possible. But it’s really our mistakes, that make us human. The best version of ourselves is the one who has had troubles and has failed. That is, what makes us human.
Cherry Tree by Caeli Boris
by Gemma Allexon
I imagined somewhere far far away. Somewhere you could see the stars at night. Somewhere the stars could dance in the sky, making shapes that weren’t there before. Somewhere where fields of flowers lay untouched, with so many colors in just one petal. Somewhere where everything is perfect. I imagined a world perfect in every way. I found it, I loved it, I explored it, but I left it, because all of that was right here with me. It is all in my imagination. All I have to do is imagine.
Monster in Disguise
by Raquel Lopez
The birds sound of pretty wisdom, unbothered by the unlawful predator. They look down to the world of paper and destruction Mourning the land they once owned, begging to eliminate construction. The bees struggle for sweet fresh pollen. The trees wished to stay in one place, instead, they have fallen Into the hands of greedy souls, who only breath for their pleasure. The airplane screams a bitter tune, leaving the other beasts startled. A dim shadow marks the ground, darting along before it leaves The grass remains in constant battle with the unseemly patches of dirt. The water brims with grotesque brown spots and sticks. The fish fail to breath its air, descending into calamity. Nearby, there’s odd plastic, a monster in disguise. Branches poke one’s legs, whining hopelessly for help. Along with the vigorous wind, colliding with the feeble self. And the smell of rotten flesh, only the bugs and vultures are with glee. What was once a pretty picture is now a blind crime scene.
Red Leaf by Javier Almonte
The Watching Eyes
by Phoebe Miller
Waking up in a cold sweat, something was watching. Too afraid to turn around, feeling its warm, hot breath on my neck. Who was it, a murderer, a monster? Something powerful and strong, like a tiger. A faint tuna scent appeared out of nowhere. An eerie silence pounced into my room as if waiting to strike. Shadows flowed on the barriers of my room, like long, stretched-out talons waiting for the kill, the blades of curiosity cutting into my head. Finding the courage to turn around, my head zipped behind me. There, a cat creepily stares there sitting, watching.
Bird by Carleigh Sullivan
Girl with Ponytail by Carleigh Sullivan
What Am I?
by Brooks Gustafson
I had been down in a lake. I sloshed around in the storm. At dawn, there was a gray ghoul that blew in. Then more ghouls. They rippled me. I fell asleep. Then I was pulled up in a bottle. I was inside the bottle for a few days then someone put a lid on me and I was trapped. But, I could see out the sides and see where I was going. Then, a man came and put me in a box. In the bottle, I was sloshing again. What am I?
Last Person on Earth
by Jackson Griest
Imagine you are the last person on Earth but there is no electricity. No phones, no iPads, no computers and no TVs. No lights in your house. Imagine that. Imagine you are the last person on Earth but there is only flat land. All you had was a blanket and a pillow. No heat and no air conditioning. Imagine that. Imagine if you’re the last person on Earth but you’re blind. Can’t see where you’re going, can not see what is happening and can’t see where you are. Imagine that. Imagine you are the last person on Earth but did not know anything. Don’t know what you are saying, do not know what you are hearing and do not know what life is. Imagine that.
by Nisa Mooganur
The day when all you know is wrong comes only once a year. The day where you bake popsicles and freeze your apple pie. The day where left is right and then low is far too high. Dozens and dozens of people complain. They always say, “It’s such a pain!” If only they knew that every day was opposite day in real life, and that what they called opposite day was when things were finally right!
School Penguins by Annica Aasvang
by Saad Ali
The cool sensation attracted me as I flew over. BANG! It all went dark. I panicked; “Would I ever escape from this cold fortress?” I scrambled toward the sweet smell. Bingo! I found some blackberries and I dove in. I jumped as a vivid white light switched on. I flinched as a shadow enveloped me and a huge mass shot at me. “Where is it coming from? There are a million of them!” Suddenly, I dipped toward the ground. Next, I heard, “Eww, mommy! Is that a fly?” My eyes turned blank; then, I realized I was in a fridge.
The Dark Woods by Anne Palmer Beware the woods dark as night Where the crows must warn you away Do not go where nightmares take flight A girl went there once, but only her eyes returned, so full of fright She was gone before the day Beware the woods as dark as night We wonder what became of her without sight Ask as we might, the wise ones all would say Do not go where nightmares take flight In our town, they say a girl went there or of spite Her family, the price they would pay Beware the woods dark as night The very next day, her mother would write That her daughter was killed by the fey Do not go where nightmares take flight And so it was the fey clothed in white Would take the fools who into those woods would stray Beware the woods dark as night Do not go where the nightmares take flight
Look Twice by Anonymous I am unstable a crack a push a single hair may send it casting into the abyss. Rivers running deep running hard running persistently. A mask, not just the cloth on their face, but their whole persona, hiding behind a false identity trying to seem fine. These people on the outside they look fine, but you never hear their conversations and thoughts once they’re alone. The tears
dripping down their face, the unrelenting sadness. As a victim of these things myself. I ask not just for myself; to look twice.
Sushi by Gabby Guagenti Sushi, so bright and uniform. Yet so small, not too small though, for it is just perfect. Pieces so delicate, so delicious, that it is the representation of perfection. The soft, sticky rice is a compliment. Nice. Refreshing. Although, the smooth and flat surface of the fish blend together with the rice to create a medley of flavors, that cannot be described. Unpredictable, yet so amazingly great. Wasabi in the soy sauce, soy sauce with the rice, rice with the fish, all come together in unison. Rolls, nigiri, sashimi,
Around the table, faint sounds and quiet chattering fade right into the sushi. The surroundings melt away as I bite into the delicate and delicious food.
and all the ingredients make sushi so amazingly great. There is no way that a single person could taste all the sushi combinations.
Soft setting down of a plate with my dad in front of me. The green paste of wasabi clumps together and disperses throughout the soy sauce. The delicate, small, perfect bundle of sushi in my fingers, turns a rich brown, absorbing the flavors of spice and umami. In two bites the sushi is gone but the flavors swim in my mouth such as the fish it comes from. So many combinations of wasabi, soy sauce
If I Knew by Natalie Lobel If I knew what my topic would be for the poem I am writing, it would be a flowing, rhyming, piece of art that would get published in a magazine with other literary arts. The people who read it would love it, and it would be on the first page. It would receive great reviews, and become rich. I would have a notebook full of ideas, each one more brilliant than the next. I wouldn’t have to go to college because I would have a career at twelve.
I would travel the world with my notebook and pen, coming up with ideas that would make me millions of dollars each time a person reads it. People would ask me how I became such a famous poet, and I would say my fifth and sixth grade English teacher. All of this could happen, if I just knew what my topic would be.
Dragon on Column by Emma Whelan
Religious Liberty During COVID-19
By Michael Bicksel
The Coronavirus pandemic has altered the lives of many. However, the most necessary part of human life, the worship of God, has been curtailed for many by a myriad of state governments. This, I argue, is one of the most self-destructive acts taken by the United States in the 21st Century. Throughout this short essay, I will note the legal issues with such an unusual division between Church and state. It is commonly noted in discussions concerning this issue that in Jacobson v. Massachusetts, the Supreme Court wrote that “The police power of a State embraces such reasonable regulations relating to matters completely within its territory, and not affecting the people of other States, established directly by legislative enactment, as will protect the public health and safety.” Though an obvious statement about the Constitutionality of legal restrictions during a public health crisis, it soon thereafter sheds light on another key Constitutional principle. Justice Harlan wrote “While a local regulation, even if based on the acknowledged police power of a State, must always yield in case of conflict with the exercise by the General Government of any power it possesses under the Constitution, the mode or manner of exercising its police power is wholly within the discretion of the State so long as the Constitution of the United States is not contravened, or any right granted or secured thereby is not infringed, or not exercised in such an arbitrary and oppressive manner as to justify the interference of the courts to prevent wrong and oppression.” I believe that this truly shows how the Court understood that certain rights could be limited by the state during a public health crisis. However, the foundational rights of all Americans cannot be infringed upon in such a circumstance. This is of paramount importance to better understand the reasoning
behind modern anti-religious thought. Recently, in a case brought forward by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, the Supreme Court decided Per Curiam that the governor of New York’s COVID-19 restrictions were unconstitutional under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment. It is far from difficult to agree with the Court’s findings. Under Executive Order 202.68, issued by the governor in response to the pandemic, services were segregated to operate under different conditions in different districts. Though presented as a scientific conclusion by proponents of the Executive Order, it is unreasonable to agree with their findings. As noted in the opinion, it was possible to “ ‘literally have hundreds of people shopping [at a large store in Brooklyn] on any given day.’ … Yet a nearby church or synagogue would be prohibited from allowing more than 10 or 25 people inside for a worship service.” This evidence is crucial to recognize, as it provides reasoning contrary to the supposed scientific basis of this Executive Order and its restriction of religious liberty in the United States. This case was upheld in South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom. In an unsigned opinion, the Supreme Court found that it was, once again, unconstitutional to isolate certain districts to unnecessary religious discrimination. These districts tended to target religious communities. Therefore, it was decided that the Churches may reopen without singing or chanting. Also, it was deemed legal to limit their capacity to 25%. In both cases, the Court affirmed Jacobson in ensuring that all “right(s) granted or secured thereby” continue to be permitted even during public health crises. This string of decisions has shown that, even in the most turbulent of times, our Constitution holds strong and stands supreme above all subordinate laws.
In Lisbon by Javier Almonte
By Vaqas Qudus
According to Ariel Balter at Space, “Astrophysics is a branch of space science that applies the laws of physics and chemistry to explain the birth, life and death of stars, planets, galaxies, nebulae and other objects in the universe (Balter, Par 1).” Astrophysics has gotten an arbitrary warp where most individuals believe it to be the most confusing part about the field of science outside of memorizing the entire Periodic Table of Elements. In certain cases this is definitely true, yet a basis is not hard to build. Sir Isaac Newton is credited with the invention of astrophysics. Before Newton’s time astronomers used dense mathematical equations to describe characteristics and behaviors yet did not have a physical base (Balter, Par 4.) Newton contributed to the science world immensely. Newton proposed the idea of “Universal Gravity” which he used to prove many phenomenons like a moon making a revolution around its host planets. Newton’s work would later be used to discover Neptune, 119 years after his death on March 31, 1727, dying at the age of 84. The study of atrophysics in general, after Isaac Newton, has been successful in many ways. In the 1920s, Cecilia Payne discovered that stars were mostly hydrogen. Using the works of people like Albert Einstein, Edward Hubble discovered that the universe is expanding which later was used to create The Big Bang Theory (Balter, Par 8.) Astrophysics has enabled us to understand complex concepts like quarks. Quarks are not visible no matter what yet astrophysics have empowered us to comprehend such ideas. Imagine a group of balls eliminating and completely destroying each other wholesale. Continued on next page
Imagine one group has a billion balls and the other group has a billion and one balls. Now, conceptualize that these balls are quarks, and the temperature around them is dropping from trillions of degrees kelvin to a little below one trillion kelvin, and all of this happens in a fraction of a millionth of a second (Tyson, Page 23 -24.) Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson explains this and much more in his book Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, which I highly suggest you go read. Astrophysics is indeed a comprehensible idea and is essential to the future expansion of the human race, so it is worth the while to take the time to read a book on it. Whether that be for educational purposes or curiosity and as always, never fear discovery and discovery will always find its way.
Works Cited Balter, Ariel. “What is Astrophysics?” Space, 22 Dec. 2017. Tyson, Neil D. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. 2017.
King Midas and The Golden Touch
by Sophia Lapter
Once upon a time there was a selfish king. His name was King Midas. He was the richest man in the world, but he would still take money from the poor even though he had enough money for many lifetimes. He still thought he did not have enough. He wanted all the money for himself, and if people did not give him all of their money, he would arrest them. Then, he would search their homes and take all of their valuables.” But little did he know the gods were watching him. His selfishness made Zeus furious, and everyone knew when Zeus was angry, it was not pretty. Athena and Aphrodite tried to stop Zeus by showing him the actions of better people. However, they were unable to stop what he was going to do next. He was going to begin his attack the next afternoon. When the next afternoon arrived, the plan began with thunderstorms. With it pouring outside, Zeus was ready. King Midas was just sitting on his throne counting his money, looking disappointed at himself when he heard a quiet knock on the door. When he opened it a poor-looking widow stood there. He was about to close the door when the women used some kind of magic to keep the door open. King Midas asked for her name. She responded and said, “I am a traveler giving people gifts for their good deeds and you deserve the biggest gift.”
Continued on next page
Again, little did he know Zeus was watching the show unfold with popcorn in one hand. The widow said, “Your gift shall be that everything you touch will turn to gold.” Then, the woman pulled out her wand and waved it around him. Before he could say thanks, she vanished into thin air. At first, he did not believe her, but after about five minutes, he said, “Why don’t I see if this lady spoke the truth?!” So he went to his mountain of gems and looked for the ugliest one and touched it and guess what? It turned to gold, solid gold. He was shocked and said, “Why don’t I just touch everything, then everything will be gold, and then I’ll be the richest person in the world.” So first, he touched his throne just to make sure he still had the magic and he did. But it was late at night, and he was actually really tired, so he went to bed. But when he put his pajamas on they turned gold and if you do not know gold is very heavy. So he went to go change his pajamas, and then those turned to gold. Now he was angry, so he just slept wearing gold pajamas. Luckily, enough his wife slept in another bed, so she did not turn to gold but the bed did, and King Midas was grouchy. When he woke up in the morning, he went to breakfast, and totally forgot that he had his new special powers. When he was about to take a bite of his pineapple, it turned to gold. Now he was angrier, so he asked his wife to feed him, which was weird. And his wife was a really lucky lady because he didn’t touch her again. Then, later that day, he went around getting people’s money.
When he touched them, they turned to gold, so he could not put them in jail. That made King Midas furious. When he tucked his daughter into bed, he accidentally touched her, and she turned to gold. If he wasn’t depressed and angry before the old lady cast her spell, well now he definitely was. He was so tired that he fell asleep on his uncomfortable bed and slept for about two hours that night. When he woke up he gave his wife a kiss, which turned her to gold. Now he was depressed, very depressed. So he went to the temple of the gods and asked if they could turn him back to normal and take off this “curse”. But Zeus just laughed and said, “I’m the one who put the curse on you, dummy, and the only way that I will take the ‘curse’ off is if you stop being so selfish.” Before King Midas said “yes,” he asked if “everyone that I accidentally turned to gold could be turned back into a human.” “Fine,” said Zeus, “but then, you have to give back all the money and valuables that you stole from other people.” King Midas said “Sure,” feeling defeated, and then he lived happily ever after, goldless.
The Crystal’s Lie
by Caeli Boris
Crystals were everywhere, but I didn’t have time to take in their beauty as I ran for the exit. A spell shot past me, hitting a crystal on the ceiling, causing it to fall. I rolled to the side, barely avoiding the crystal as it shattered on impact. More spells shot past as I realized they weren’t after me… they were after the door! They hit with a bang as the entrance caved in, trapping me in debt as only one thought remained: “The bank had lied!” This was the only thought that penetrated as I drowned in debt.
Untitled by Zaina Gilbert
Searching an Empty Thesaurus
by Kaidan Alt
Imagine that one could never articulate any identical word again because it would be ripped from every dictionary. Might you save your most treasured terms or utilize expressions of personal discomfort? May thou derive pleasure learning and consuming new lexicon daily, creating thou’s personal library, thesaurus lining shelves, if not perhaps relish in expansive knowledge regarding one’s intellect? Accomplishments seep out everywhere on earth building volcanoes spewing skill, assembling an island formed by mastery. Vast seas put together, all drops dripping with expertise. Wars only found inside scripture. Worrying about time, a distant memory. The world’s actions speaking louder than it’s locution, does yours?
by Robert Soberanis
It was so hot that day, I felt like I was melting. It didn’t help that I was as tired as a bear during their hibernation. My mouth felt like a dentist just stuck a water vacuum tube in there and sucked out every bit of moisture. It was hard to believe that I was still miles away from what I called home. It all started on 4th of July weekend when my parents rented three rubber tubes for a water tubing “adventure.” We drove to the house my parents rented in West Virginia. The house was in the middle of nowhere, and believe me when I say “Middle of Nowhere.” The house had no cell service, so there was no point in having my phone with me. Miles away was the closest little city that only consisted of small motels, Burger Kings, Wendys and Subways.The house was surrounded by trees for miles and miles. The house was as close as it could be to the river without getting wet. After we unpacked our heavy bags that felt like they contained big rocks in them, my dad drove a couple of miles away from the house. We walked out of the oven hot car, placed the tubes in the shiny water, and we were off. That day the water level was so low. When my parents and I passed over rocks, we had to lift ourselves up so the rocks wouldn’t bruise our butts. We started off well, traveling at a good speed, enjoying the scenery, but little did we know the adventure was about to take a turn for the worse. We planned to be on the water for about two or three hours. After an hour it started to rain lightley for like five minutes. My feet started to hurt because I was stepping/swimming on the rocks when the river current did not have enough speed to move the tube. Every turn on the river I was expecting to see the house and get off of the tube, but that moment never came. We drifted on the smoothe glistening water. It should have been such a fun, peaceful trip on the water. However, I had been on these tubes for hours now, and the rubber tubes started burning my back and arms.
I started to get a little nervous. “I think that we’re lost,” I told my dad. My dad assured me that we were just running behind schedule. We eventually passed by small group houses (three or four) on the side of the river. My mom and dad left their tubes to talk to these people who lived there to ask where we were and how far we are away from the house. I was enjoying myself in the water playing with the sand at the bottom of the clear shallow river. A sinister dark sky hung over the narrow river. It started to rain again, that’s when my parents told me that the people were willing to take us home in their truck. Their pick up truck was big enough to carry our tubes. We rode in their car, and when we were in the car I saw a camouflage political campaign hat under the glass windshield in the front of the car. When I looked out the window of the car I saw a big flag that had the same political campaign slogan. I never mentioned the hat or the flag in the car until I arrived at home because I did not want to offend the nice people. We eventually arrived home. I ate my mouth watering dinner, watched some TV, and then went to bed. It was when I was laying in bed that night trying so hard to fall asleep from a long day that I reflected on the fact that these people did a very kind thing for us. Looking back on that day now with everything that is happening in the world, it made me remember that people don’t need to agree on everything, politically or not to be kind and respectful and good people to one another.
Inside a Game
by Lorna Evans
You ran through the metal halls, your footsteps echoing throughout the ship. Panting, you ran into a room with a huge monitor and keyboard. The room was fairly small, the huge computer taking up most of the space, but there was just enough room for a few people to hide in there. As soon as you stepped into the room the doors closed behind you. You jumped at the noise and stayed extremely still for the next few minutes, staring at the grate in the floor. The doors only closed when something bad was about to happen, and you needed to make sure your guard wasn’t down. You heard the quiet sound of the doors opening and let out a breath of relief. You glanced over at the monitor for a moment and saw movement. Carefully walking up to it, you leaned closer, interested in what was moving. You saw people moving, each doing their own task. You suddenly realized that you have forgotten all about your tasks, which meant that your team was at a disadvantage now. You quickly rushed from the monitor room and ran down to a huge room filled with machines and wires. You opened one of the panels and started connecting the wires to their corresponding ones. As soon as you were finished, the lights flickered out. It was pitch black, and you couldn’t see a thing. All you could hear was the faint sound of metal being tossed aside. You backed away, trying to get as far away from the sound as possible, but you let out a quiet groan as your back hit a wall. The metal sound returned, but this time it sounded like someone was closing something. You heard some footsteps, and then the soft clicks of switches being flipped. The lights returned, flooding the room with harsh, white light. You saw 2 people standing near the power box, looking at you with
raised eyebrows, their eyes filled with fear. You turned to see what they were looking at and saw a decaying body, lying right in front of your feet. You stuttered out to the witnesses,
“G-guys, it’s not me-!”
But they rushed out of the room, their footsteps thundering loudly. A few seconds later and a loud buzz was heard throughout the ship. You were all teleported to the cafeteria and were sitting at the round table. The person in the yellow costume, who had hit the button, was shouting with panic in her voice, “I-it’s Red! Red was standing near Green’s dead body right after I flicked the lights back on with Cyan!” Cyan confirmed all of this, and everyone looked at you suspiciously. They all started making remarks about how they hadn’t seen you all round, and that they didn’t think you’d done any tasks. You tried to deny their evidence, but it was too late. Everyone pressed the red button, securing their vote to kick you off the ship. You sighed, and accepted the defeat. You heard another buzz, but this time, a door opened underneath you and you were thrown into space. You simply closed your eyes and listened to the faint patter of keys as a message typed out before floating off into the unknown galaxy. Gasps could be heard even from outside the ship as they read out the text: Red was NOT an impostor... 2 impostors remaining...
If I Was in Rocket League
by Alex Gandhi
If I was in Rocket League, a car soccer video game, I would aerial all day. I would practice in free play, Until I saw that if you lose you become dead inside and the only escape is getting to max rank, Super Sonic Legend, and I was a hopeless bronze, the worst rank in the game. Then I started training, and when it became difficult I trained more, until I was as good as a Grand Champion, which are people who are good at the game. Then hopped in ranked and was called a smurf every game, until diamond III division IV when I was bumped and barely jumped out of the way
of a demo. That is when I decided to take the game way slower. Every gruesome game, that I sat in net, waiting and waiting until the shot and I blocked and blocked, until OT. I went for kick off and won. I took it up the wall and airdribled into the back of his net as he could not get back to his goal. That game served me as champ, which meant only two ranks left.
I performed that same strategy, but then I became champ III and it was so excruciatingly hard. To rank up. So I went back in free play and I practiced the training packs that came up. I worked until I went to bed. I was eventually as good as the pros
And, wow, was I wrong. I bumped five times a minute, but I was up three-five. I just had to stay in net and block easy shots and I won. That served me to GC III and Division III. I hoped I would get lucky and get doubled divisioned for SSL. I made it in the game playing passive zero-zero In the first minute I was down by two 3:30 on the clock. I scored a goal down by one. The clock at 1:00. The opponent scored down by two. Could this be the end?
so I hopped into the game and played normal.
I SCORED, five seconds on the clock. At kickoff, I stay back, and he hits it off my post. I carry the ball on my car. The clock hits zero seconds. I have to capitalize on my advantage and score. The clock has been on zero for twenty seconds.
A two rank difference would surely allow me to do that.
I shoot, and I SCORE! THIS IS ROCKET LEAGUE!!!!!!
Imagine if Kids Ran the World
by Charlotte Reynolds
If kids ran the world we would play all day, never having an adult get in our way. When the day ends, we’ll stay up all night, never letting our parents tuck us in tight. The freedom to choose what we want to do. If we made the rules there would be few. We’ll watch TV, and eat junk food. There would be no schoolwork to be written or glued. We would not have adults who tell us to do our chores. We would do no work that is a bore.
Yet without our parents, no one would give us advice. We would get no help. That’s a very big price.
Even though it is not easy to say I need their help With some things, anyway.
School Girl by Ashley Bicksel
by Owen Covington
I toured up a steep mountain, and I saw it! A perfect pebble whom I named Jerry. Jerry is a colorful pebble, mountainous but also runty. He is multi-textured like rough polished wood. That makes him unique. He looks like chocolate chip cookie dough on a warm summer night. Dough the color of a fawn, with luscious chocolate chips the color of a raven. He wants to compose a cure for all sicknesses and diseases. He is helping to cure cancer, such as brain cancer, because his mom died of brain cancer. He is remarkably positive.
He sounds like a flowing river on a rainy day. He may be runty, but he makes an impact on the world, like a meteor striking the terrain. Think to yourself, what can I do to impact the world? Can you recycle more to stop pollution or bike instead of riding in a car to stop releasing exhaust? Whatever you do, do it well, and do it to change the environment.
In a Million Years
by Owen Hermans
In a million years cars will be flying and babies will not be crying. The generation will be lazy and the old people will be crazy.
cargo ships. The richest person alive would have a net worth of 9 undecillion.
Money would grow on trees in a million years.
In a million years, cancer, HIV, and malaria would be cured. People would think that the world would be secured.
The population would increase faster than light. Nature would not be noticed like a thief in the night. The polar ice caps would have melted in a million years. Time travel would exist and computers would be on your wrist.
We will have been to Mars. Racism will still be there along with people in despair. That is what will happen in a million years.
In a million years, we will figure out that there are different dimensions. Phones would be brain chips and diamonds would be imported onto
by Ella Thompson
My pebble’s name is Midnight. Midnight is darker than the sea the night the Titanic sank. Midnight is smoother than my shimmering mirror. Midnight has a “warm like hot cocoa,” and a “soft like a warm electric blanket” personality. Midnight’s heart is just as soft. Midnight always wakes up with a good attitude, even when it’s a depressing rainy day. On those days, she will do what she can to make it better for everyone. Most pebbles hate Midnight because of how happy she is, and because her name doesn’t match her personality. Midnight doesn’t care, and will make them sugar cookies almost as sweet as she is. If Midnight was something edible, she would taste like the best dessert in the world, not so sweet that you wouldn’t like it, and not so salty
that you would throw her away. She would never go bad, even if she laid on a gas station bathroom floor for a century. Her voice is calm and tranquil. She is as beautiful on the outside as she is on the inside. She uses a strong and loud voice when she protests in what she believes in. She is a smooth oval with no cracks or rough spots. She is perfect in every way. Her name, Midnight, reminds people of the Midnight sky. She is the most shining star in the Midnight sky, brighter than the sun on a hot summer day. My pebble shows me that no matter how mean or horrible the other pebbles are, we should always be kind, and happy to everyone, no matter what. We may fall down sometimes, but we will ALWAYS get back up again. If someone is mean to you, don’t be mean back. Show them who YOU are, And teach them... don’t follow.
The Joy of Nature
by Vivienne Bailey
Imagine flowers finally blossom, children happily sing, plants lively grow, and the trees joyfully sway. All from the joy of nature. The gleaming heated sun, the warm breath of air flows around me. The birds chirp, content, from the top of the tree. The butterflies swish around me, from the joy of nature. The tulips, roses, lilies, peonies joyfully dance. The children happily sing. Everyone jumps and shouts. When the sun starts to fade, the moon glows brightly, the stars twinkle.
The birds tweet good night, and the trees start to sleep. All from the joy of nature. Nature falls asleep, and the children tucked in bed, but both can’t wait to play again in the joy of nature.
Bison by Javier Almonte
The Old Man By The Sea
by Lawson Weidner There is a man that lives by the sea. Living a life that is very carefree. He lives in a small, wooden house but is happy. He has very few luxuries, but he does not care. Because the only thing he needs is the salty sea air. Other people find it ridiculous, Living in a house so non meticulous. But he does not care, as long as he can feel that salty sea air. He enjoys fishing on the lake. For him, it’s a nice break. He goes fishing during the summer So he often has fish for supper To other people, it seems bland, but he does not care. If he can breathe the salty sea air He often watches the children play while drinking coffee from the cafe. He enjoys seeing them have fun and stays even if his coffee is done. He knows his days of running and playing are over. But he does not care. Because all he needs is the salty sea air.
Dancing on the Beach by Javier Almonte
Thoughts Lying Down
by Kamryn Sauri
I lie here, listening The bee is loud but the cicada is louder What purpose do cicadas serve? Food, I suppose But not for long The spring birds to pluck their writhing carcasses from the earth They spent so long inside The tar-coated asphalt bruises my knees The asphalt is warm My elementary school had burning asphalt It was always steaming in summer If we stood still for too long The heat would eat through our shoes We played games of four square with a deflated ball The playground balls of my childhood were always deflated And the tetherball was never there Grab the pole with one hand Spin and spin until your ankle is caught On the fence at the back of field was a berry bush We weren’t sure if they were edible And none of us were brave enough to find out Even then we knew life was valuable Even then we were already copying what we saw in our parents Danger is to be avoided
Jobs are to be done a certain way Follow instructions when baking a cake Use soap when washing your hands Shirts go on top and pants go on the bottom Across the field was a playground with a slide We never used the slide Not for its proper use anyway What is proper? Children do not know the answer to this question Proper is forced upon them as they grow A mold they have to squeeze into Like a sponge expanding inside a round glass
The Hidden Worth
by Alana Taylor All the wonders in world are always hidden, They are in the tall green blissful trees that guard us from the rain, The cries of laughter that fill us up on cloudy days, The buzzing and murmurs of the bees that brings music to our ears, The hushed, light, untroubled wind that flows through our bodies, The clear crystal water that shines and glimmers in the sun’s reflection, As the ripples race down near the shore, But in the end we all seem to ignore the beauty, Of the little things in life, Arguments full of strife and clamour, Fighting and degrading each other, Wishing that we never met one another, Life is pure and is meant to be relished For It is an endowment not given to all, So why do we take it for granted? The more you live freely, The more life becomes an awaiting adventure, Living free like there is no tomorrow, Soaring through your life worryless and unruffled, Feeling like you can fly and defeat any conflict you are put through, Hovering over the stars and drifting ever so gently back down to your feet, Boundless hopes and dreams sitting at the tips of your fingers, All the wonders in the world are always hidden, So why wait now to realize That they have always been Right in front of you.
Meet Our Staff
Poetry & Layout Editor- Raghav Belle Trichur ’22 Raghav Belle Trichur is an aspiring author who has written multiple works. His hobbies include playing the piano, going outside and playing with his friends, and eating. Raghav loved reading all the submissions, and looks forward to reading more work (and perhaps, maybe, writing some) in the future!
Art Editor- Alyssa Kinder ’22 Alyssa Kinder is the Art Editor for the 2021 Congressional School Literary Magazine. She would like to thank everyone for their amazing submissions. Without them, this magazine would not be possible. She hopes to fill this role again and is excited about the magazine becoming a new tradition.
Prose Editor- Katya Orlova ’22 Katya Orlova edited the prose for the 2021 Congressional School Literary Magazine. She thinks this is a fantastic project that could inspire many writers and artists, and she would like to thank all who participated!
Copy Editor- Nolan Krauss ’22 Nolan Krauss was the copy editor for the magazine. He likes to play guitar, build stuff, and play baseball. He is grateful to everyone who submitted. 52