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PULSE Magazine

The Uncanny Comic Issue

Mind & Body

Life Hacks

Our Town


World Wut?

To Bee or Not to Bee? Fighting pollen allergies one hive at a time


Timekeepers: Heads or Tails A Central device worthy of the luteces


Farmers’ Market Shopping inside-out in Ellensburg


cosplay cuz she has to Pinterest Worthy PInn Performance


Summer Mixtape Mixtape Octopus Returns!


Life of a Disney Intern Mousekeslaves Speak out!


Madame Secretary Presents Our Awesome Sec State represents


a very brony story Living the Rainbow


My club will pierce the heavens Pulse-Suit Gundams


Hair, Class and kicking ass Katherine Cross Examines Batwoman’s Prowess


aaron dietz Q&A Super Author From The Emerald City


Phoenix Jones Vigilante no more


Food Porn Brews traveler The thousand labels of Mr. Wilson



Syria: What you Need to know Piecing Together A broken Region



Varied Voices

Fashion Blogs


Darby Cox When Good Goes Bad


A supervillain’s report to the board of directors Levi Robischon


Where The Comb Takes You Big Hair is Back in Time for Summer


Editor’s Letter


Jake updegraff Former Pulse Columnist Returns Triumphant


symbiotic: a love story Josh Wagner


Tuck Everlasting You Are How you Tuck


Staff Page


Fearless Boys wear Red Mende Smith


Pulse Martini Original recipe by Dillon tretheway... like ya do


Poetry George Korolog


The Hand of God Jamie Klouse


BFF Alyssa Foland

96 Images in this issue are either Original work, used with permission, licensed under creative commons or used in consideration of Fair Use laws, US Code Title 17, Section 107. Pulse - 3

Editor-in-Chief Mende Smith

Assoc. Editor/Art Director Jamie Klouse

Assistant Editor Peter O’Cain

Faculty Adviser

Check us out Online

Jennifer Green

Spring 2013 Issue 2 Central Washington University’s policies and practices affirm and actively promote the rights of all individuals to equal opportunity in education and in employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, age, material status, disability, or status as a protected veteran. The person responsible for CWU’s institutional compliance with various federal and state laws and institutional policies dealing with discrimination is Staci Sleigh-Layman, Interim Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity, Barge Hall 221, -509-9632205 TTD 509-963-2207. CWU is an AA/EEO/ Title IX institution. Upon request, this document is available in accessible formats (Braille, large print or audio cassette). Contact Disability Support Services at 509-963-2171 TDD 509-963-2146. Pulse falls under the auspices of the Student Media Board at Central Washington University. For more information, contact the Communication Department at


Pulse Magazine now has a companion web presence that has people talking. Our site publishes new content daily and our staffers are blogging about the news, issues, promotions, events and passions that fuel their writing lives. As our site develops, readers have the chance to browse the Pulse Archives and see how far our ‘zine has come and get a glimpse of where we hope to be in the future.




hen I was a kid I thought I would get to live in a rainbow house when I grew up… For now, I’ll just write of rainbows. Here we are true believers, Issue 2 is our homage to the rainbow houses, the dreamy blue skies, the superheroes, the graphic novels, comics, and ultimately, the Anime characters that made childhood a little brighter and made our true identities better known to us. Kick back and enjoy the journey from the center of our campus to the streets of the Emerald City. Explore alternative universes, scale through bad relationships, summer skin, new perspectives, art, and the superstardom of varied voices — a hundred-page extravaganza. In issue 2 we chose a larger-thanlife format to celebrate all things pop culture to camp with color block abandon. In the month of May, when spring quarter draws to a close, up until 2013, we have always taken time off from our magazine for the summer. This year, we’re blasting out another issue. Expect it july 24.

Rainbow House // Brooklyn NYC

This issue is for the misfits, problemsolvers, fringe dwellers, geeks, and timekeepers whose stories keep the faith and passion of science, technology, and the best possible timeline alive and well. What do Aaron Deitz, Ashley Pinn, Kim Wyman, Anime Club, Lauren Faust and Phoenix Jones have in common? Read through the headlines, feature articles, and Q&A’s and find out.

HEROES REVEALED Never before has Central’s Communications Department staffed an entire magazine with Supers. Issue 2 is dedicated to all of the superhero personalities we know and love: the films, the vids, and games we play, and the solipsistic arc that closest resembles our everyday lives.

Hawk Girl // Fabian Ciraolo


Out of touch with your inner superhero? Take this quiz and find out who you really are behind the mask. Pulse - 5

Original art by Paige Alexis Benson The 1. MAdPulse Magazine Staff Maxx Writes as Madison Mccausland. Weapon: Twittering the Pulse-Verse.


2. ManBear Pete writes as Peter O’Cain. Weapon: Beast with Bear-like Strength. Highly susceptible to sarcasm.


3. Thunderchin writes as Cody Spencer. Weapon: Shoots Lightning Bolts from his chin. Dates: Misty Mulatto 4. Misty Mulatto writes as Connie Morgan. Weapon: Perfume-like scent with the power to seduce the most devoted and in-love man (currently seducing Thunder chin).

2 4

5 6

7 10


5. Sarcasmo writes as Darby Cox. Weapon: Playing Coy.


6. Mistriss Malachite writes as Alyssa Foland. Weapon: Gives people peace by taking away jealousy in relationships, consuming it — hence her green eyes. 7. Lady Vandal writes as Alea Thorne. Weapon: Makes everyone laugh.


8. The Technomage writes as Jamie Klouse. Weapon: Weilds Technology with terrifying power. Able to connect any piece of technology to another, resulting in the appearance of technological magic. 9. Copper Spring writes as Mende Smith. Weapon: Consumes Copper in her locks and makes all the world grammatically correct. 10. Platinum Poison writes as alex Manenica. Weapon: Poisoning the minds of those that stand between herself and her jewelry. 6

12 14 13

11. Silver Sky writes as Karissa Lehn. Weapon: Big Blond Locks hold a quantum singularity capable of holding objects of any size.

13. Mister Mix writes as Andrew Nelson. Weapon: After drinking alcohol, mix can solve any problem in his mind. While his motor skills may suffer, his wit multiplies ten-fold.

12. Bionic barista writes as Courtney Vasquez. Weapon: shower shots of espresso, with positive or negative energy — recharging your friends and depress your foes.

14. RedCap writes as Patrick Hasseries. Weapon: Super agility and strength. Has an Overwhelming urge to fight crime with a pikestaff.

Lords & Ladies Bring it on! The second annual Ye Olde County Faire is upon us. The Knights of the Realm A will decend upon the Kittitas Fairgrounds on June 1 for a two-day celebration of real life cosplay, art, jousting, feasting, drinking, dancing and merriment. “Dress up as little or as much as you like,” says KVEC spokesperson Sarah Maes. “We even have a bouncy castle for the little royals.” All Middle ages weaponry demonstrations and displays, arts crafts and music from the period are made to astound audiences of all ages. Tickets are on sale now through June 2. food, dance, juggling, guns (yes, guns), horses and Knights, jousting and fighting, food and, yes, the Ellensburg Film Fest’s Holy Grail Beer Garden is open for your pleasure. “We hosted a similar event last August to a great success,” Maes says. “This year our event is bigger and better.” Central’s Recreation and Tourism club is hosting an arcade of skill games and other delights at the faire’s helm. Come one, come all to eat, drink and dress the part of the middle ages, and be merry. Find more information to get your freak on at ( KittitasValleyEventCenter). □ Renfaire Wench // Jamie Klouse

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TOP 5 SUMMER READS Summer readers, we feel you. Now that the school year has come to an end it is time to log in to where you can join the most non-committal book club ever. In the meantime, we pooled a few new books [and two older, but greater stories] to get you reading this summer. Come on, there must be at least one in our list of novels and memoirs to suit your literary taste. If you are a kindle-reader you are in luck, these books are e-reader-friendly too.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman Fans will be desperate to get their hands on The Ocean at the End of the Lane – it's been eight years since Anansi Boys, Gaiman's last novel for adults, was published. Now, thanks to his comics, childen's fiction, fantasy writing and Doctor Who scripting, he is bigger than ever. A fantastical fable, The Ocean follows the adventures of a young boy subjected to evil beyond his imagining, with only a family of three strange women – the oldest of whom can remember the Big Bang – to help him. Headline, 18 June. Longbourn by Jo Baker Pride and Prejudice, which celebrates its 200th anniversary this year, has been subjected to erotic reimaginings, zombie reimaginings and many sequels. Now, Baker gives us the story from the servants' perspectives and pulls off the seemingly impossible: a completely fresh take on Austen — as if you thought it could never be done. "If Elizabeth Bennet had the washing of her own petticoats, Sarah thought, she would be more careful not to trudge through muddy fields." Some say it is the best read all year. Doubleday, 15 August.

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett This supposed debut of the hard-boiled detective novel makes the list because it was the beginning of noir as we know it. Many Hammet fans agree, the book is far better than the film. Let’s face it, The guy could write.

MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood The conclusion to Margaret Atwood's dystopian trilogy, which began with Oryx and Crake, MaddAddam is set in a world devastated by a man-made plague, where the bioengineered Crakers live alongside the humans they were first created to replace. Brutal, extraordinary; catch up with the first two books in time for the next. Bloomsbury, 29 August.

A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin Here is a series of epic fantasy novels written by one of the most celebrated American novelist and screenwriters of 2013. Martin began the series in 1991 and published the first volume, A Game of Thrones, in 1996. Martin gradually extended the originally planned trilogy into seven volumes. The fifth installment, A Dance with Dragons, took over five years of writing until being published in 2011. The sixth book, The Winds of Winter, is currently being written. □


Book Tower // Tracey Miles

3 Ways To Be More Creative Everybody has a creative side, Writes Carrie Barron, coauthor of The Creativity Cure (Scribner). Barron offers a few tips to bring on Dobby the house elf or whoever your muse is for a summer visit: 1: Establish a ritual We think this process always happens spontaneously, well, it doesn’t. A routine actually nurtures it most. Showing up at a specific time to face off with a blank page actually trains your brain to let yourself go in that setting. 2: Draw, paint or don’t People confuse creativity with being artistic, but it is more about being open to the force of your imagination. 3: Hands on We spend far less time using our hands these days in our Internet age. Rote hand use — gardening, setting a table or even making a craft project by hand — lets your mind escape to the well of creative processes in your brain, plus you get to snap a picture of something you made, painted, wrote, planted or conceived of on Pinterest. □

CWU’s Student-Run Online Interactive Lifestyle Magazine

Have you checked your Pulse lately? /cwupulsemagazine @CWUPulse

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Mind and Body To Bee or Not to AleaBee? Thorne In America at least one out of five people are plagued with allergies. Springtime often leaves so many people in sniffles and sneezes, local drugstores are struggling to keep popular relief meds on the shelves — mostly anti-histamines infused with caffeine offering temporary relief — just masking the symptoms until the next box of Claritin. One easy way to immunize your body to the local pollens is to ingest the nectar of our local honeybees: Honey. Meet the superheroes of the hive who, for the millions of us who burnout midseason on speed for sinus solutions, offer a ray of hope. According to the Director of Medical Services at Central’s Student Medical Counseling Clinic, Jack Horsley, the way to treat allergies is through immunization. For centuries this super-sweet, naturally processed local plant potion has been a go to remedy for allergy sufferers as a sweetener for hot teas. It is also a magic potion of pollens tinged with energy boosters. “Allergies are weakened slowly overtime by exposing the person who suffers slowly to the pollen that causes the allergies a little at a time,” Horsley says. He too advocates for the local bees. Madeline Rannow, senior exercise science, believes by ingesting local 10

honey she can fight the pollen allergy buzz. “I heard that if you eat a spoonful of honey each day you become immune after a while to the pollens of the area,” Rannow says. ”I’ve been giving it a try, so far so good.” Honey has not been scientifically proven to beat the pollen allergy for good, but Ellensburg’s Better Life Natural Foods (BLNF) store also pushes the honeybee’s remedy to customers. “The bee pollen touches all local flowers and [as] your body ingests the local honey that the bee collects, it makes you more immune [to pollens].” Suzanne Blakeney, a store employee says. Delena Carr, BLNF owner, says the remedy might not be for everyone. “We have heard of local honey working for some people, but for some people it may not work.” According to Blakeney and Carr, homeopathic herbs that are energy boosters with an herbal mix are proving to be effective. BLNF also offers herb supplements and nettle capsules to help people with seasonal allergies. Carr uses Immune extra, a nectarine Pinecone extract immune modulator that works by building up someone’s low immune system or helps reduce an overactive immune system such as those of people whose allergies send their systems Untitled // into overdrive. □

Summertime Mixtape Cody Spencer 1. Up Up Up - Givers This indie rock band features a male and female vocalist and produces music you can’t help but grin to. Listen for the chiming xylophones in this song. 2. Matt Pond PA - Love To Get Used This track has a mellow groove that will set the tone for those lazy dog days. 3. Thunder Clatter - Wild Cub This light, danceable track will keep the energy going during a late-night dance party.

Summer: when vacations and fun happen. What goes well with vacations and fun? Music. Forget about having to keep the windows rolled up, because the frigid winter air is behind us. Pulse is looking forward to summer, when life is best enjoyed with the windows down and the volume up.

6. Chica Bonita - Shaggy Classic Shaggy. Nothing else needs to be said. 7. I Play Chicken With The Train - Cowboy Troy The day has arrived: hip-hop meets country on this fun, highly-danceable party anthem. Yes, this combination is possible and will turn your hootenanny into a hit. 8. Little Numbers - Boy Boy, who is a female pop duo, constructs its songs with interesting lyrics and dynamic structures, clearly evident on this track.

4. Pretty Wings - Maxwell This song’s beauty is best savored while watching a gorgeous Ellensburg summer sunset. Maxwell is what R&B should be surround your summer with his soulful pipes.

9. Move It - Balkan Beat Box This music is reggae with a middle eastern twist, or maybe middle eastern music with a reggae twist. The natural sound of the beat is electrified with rhythmic verses that will pull you out of your lawn chair.

5. Sweet Nothing - Calvin Harris ft. Florence Welch This track forces you to get up and dance, or at least attempt to dance. It combines indie-pop with EDM, an intriguing mixture we will hear more frequently as the 2010s progress.

10. Real Talk - Clifton Del Bane These local Ellensburgians are experts at creating smart beats and layering them with creative, insightful lyrics. Keep an eye and ear out this summer, as you may even have the chance to hear this song live. □ Pulse - 11

Fashion Blogs

Where The Comb Takes Karissa You Lehn IT’S BACK! OMG! It’s back! BRB… I have to go do a happy dance. I LOVE BIG HAIR! It’s just my thing. There is nothing more exciting to me than a brand new teasing comb. A shiny, bright, Goodies brand teasing comb. I was reading Cosmopolitan again, and there it was. Jenny Studenroth does it again. The most amazing article all about big sky-high wavy locks just blowin’ in the wind With the return of the 80s wave. 3 ways to Score the 80s wave: this beautiful, revamped trend is more than welcome to make its way into my mirror any day, minus the neon leotards and Van Halenesque striped jeans of course. 1. Four words: Volume-promoting shampoos and conditioners. Nexxus Hydra-Light Weightless Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner or John Frieda Luxurious Volume Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner. Personally, I am a John Frieda girl. 2. Use a thickening spray before you blow dry. “Oribe Maximista Thickening Spray,” Cosmo says, ”is how to get the look.” I’ve never done this before. I normally just tip my head upside down and blow dry away. It’s frizzy and messy and BIG! Just the way that I like it. 3. And the final product, hair powder. OMG, this stuff is amazing. How great is it to just shake volume into your hair? It is sticky and your hair sticks together and DOESN’T move a bit! I’m not sure how else to describe it. They suggest Redken Quick Tease. I use Bed Head. You won’t ever run out in fear of missing out on the big hair fad. It’s the best. Cosmo gives you all of the amazing products for the greatest 80s hair with all the VA-VOOM you’ve been waiting for. Okay, I know it’s scary. It’s a scary thought, big hair. But start out small and see where the comb takes you. No one said you need to shoot it to the moon or anything but honestly... Jack it up to Jesus and hit the town ladies! □ 12

Media Cache //

Tuck Everlasting

What does your shirt tail say about you? Time was (think 1970s for a second) a tucked in shirt was the sign of being a “square”. Today the tuck has come back with all the fury, and it is trendy as all that. Wearing the wrong tuck is like holding an outdated cellphone. We are gonna help you get it right before another summer flies by untucked. let’s face it guys and girls, a tucked in shirt is revolutionary for bodies everywhere. Why? It’s the best shape creator on the planet, and with a fresh look it can totally change your rules for dressing. Here are the 3 top tucks worn today. The Front Tuck Let the sides & back of longer tees, tanks and tails hang loose. Take a few inches of the bottom of your blouse and “tuck it in” to get that made-in-the eighties style. The left Tuck This one is one of the easiest in the line up, Pull any outfit together by taking one side of your top and “tucking it in,” leaving the other side to rest naturally. The Full Tuck You can show off your waistline by blousing out your top once you’ve “tucked it in” — you’re bottoms all the way around. So 1995. □

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When Good Goes Bad Darby Cox

What constitutes abuse is no longer a black and white image of a man beating a defenseless woman. Men can be victims, and abusers can use social media, money and phones to control how someone feels and what they do. Abusers can cause detrimental effects on their victims without ever laying a finger on them. conducted a phone survey of Group Health patients, and 29 percent of 400 adult males had confessed to being victims of abusive relationships. Even when presented with this evidence, many people still don’t believe women can be the abusers. We have protected the identities of two CWU students who talk about their experiences staying in toxic relationships: them; it’s a lot more difficult to help Male, 20, sophomore business someone who doesn’t want to be helped. Q: Have you had a “bad” relationship, and Q: What did this person do that you see as abusive? how long did it last? A: Yes, and 6 months. And I consider a bad relationship as anything that is unhealthy for either of the partners. Mentally and Physically. Anything that brings the other person down or makes them feel less than.

A: She was mean, and she completely destroyed my relationship with my father by always calling me a pussy. Telling me I wasn’t a man and I couldn’t take care of myself. She smacked me, screamed at me, and threw things. Kicked me in the nuts. that was a big thing.

Q: Looking back, why do you think you Q: What do you think of the stereotype stayed in the relationship? that men are more likely to be the A: It was my first, and I lost my abusers? virginity to her. I thought I was in A: My mom was in an abusive relationship love. with her ex-husband, so I’ve seen both sides. I think it is most likely to be men Q: Any other reasons? because they want to wear the pants A: After the relationship started, my and want to force women to do what friends backed out of being friends they want, because they’re stronger with me because they already knew most of the time. Women tend to be a her, so I only had her. Also, again, the little bit more sensitive too. I think sex. I also was able to take care of it goes both ways though. Men are more someone, and help them in a certain physically abusive, and women are more way. But I realized I couldn’t help mentally abusive. Q: Would you ever date this person again if they “changed?” A: What’s funny is I did give her another chance six months after the first time and she hadn’t changed. But if I wasn’t in the relationship I am in now — I don’t know what I’d do. The feelings could come back, they have before. I’m not gonna lie to myself and say yes or no. Depends on how the situation is, and depends on how low I’m thinking of myself. I have no idea. Maybe. 14

When asked about the presence of abuse here at Central, Rhonda McKinney of the Wellness Center says she makes abuse prevention her business. McKinney says there are a number of ways they can help students to move past the challenges of toxic relationships. “We certainly see students who are struggling with their relationship (s) for various reasons.” The biggest problem with abuse, McKinney says, is that it’s harder to identify than expected. There are more ways to do harm than yelling, demeaning verbally and hitting. WHAT WE HAVE LEARNED Toxic relationships are harder to get out of than most people realize, but once we learn how it feels to be on that slippery slope, we can learn to see the warning signs. According to the University Counseling and Testing Center at the University of Oregon, one in three women experiences physical assault in their adult lives, and only 33 percent of victims ever come forward because the definition of what constitutes abuse causes confusion. Abuse isn’t just physical. it is emotional, too. More young adults are dealing with emotional abuse long before physical abuse is ever introduced in these toxic relationships. By the time things become violent, the victims just begin to realize they were being abused all along. lists the six types of Q: What was the turning point? Female 23, senior psychology abuse on their site: A: I called him on the way to his • Emotional/verbal abuse: threatening, Q: Have you ever had a “bad” relationship house one day, and I heard a girl in the name-calling, control of what you and how long did it last? background saying: “Who is that? Is that wear or say or do, guilt tripping, your girlfriend the bitch?” I flipped out A: Yeah, and a year and a half. starting rumors, etc. and told him I wanted all my stuff back. • Stalking: calling and hanging up Q: Looking back, why do you think you The next day I went to his house and there was yellow tape everywhere. He numerous times, damaging property, stayed in the relationship? had gotten raided and cops found drugs contacting friends and employers, unwanted gifts, tracking through A: Because for about a year it was good, and a weapon in his house. social media, etc. and I was always hoping it would go Excluding the drugs and weaponry, • Financial: controlling how you back. I made up excuses, like he was just Q: would the cheating have been enough to spend your money, denying access stressed out or really tired. But he end things? to your money, controlling the liked to manipulate people like no other. amount of hours you work, giving He made me feel guilty like everything Um…I’m a very forgiving person. If he allowances, etc. was my fault, and I stayed with him to A:would have talked his way out of it, I’m • Physical: hitting, strangling, biting, prove I was better than that. sure I would have forgiven him. pulling, pushing, grabbing clothing, grabbing your face to make you look at them, throwing items, using weapons, etc. • Sexual: rape, pressuring, taking advantage in situations where a clear answer can’t be given, drugging or encouraging to compromise, controlling birth control methods, etc. • Digital: aggressively or casually bullying through social media, controlling access to social media, stalking through social media, etc.

Q: What were the lows/highs?

Q: Would you ever date this person again A: A big one was he would buy me things if they “changed”? all the time. Well he would steal them. I A: Over last summer actually he was like to put it in my mind that he bought telling me how much he changed. So I them, and I never asked questions. But went out on a date with him, and found one time he involved me in a robbery. He out he is still the sketchy person that told me to meet him at the Fred Meyer in I knew. I don’t think I would ever again, Bothell and hang out until he got there, now knowing he still has the same and we had to leave as soon as we met personality. □ up. So he gets in my truck and is super antsy and anxious until we leave. He didn’t tell me until the next day. Then he took me out to dinner and told me he loved me. That was the lowest point and the highest; because he told me he loved me right after he majorly screwed up. Q: Did you ever think it was okay whatever he was doing as long as he loved you? A: Oh yeah. I always thought he cares about me, and he’d never let anything happen to me. And maybe he’ll stop doing this, and I can change him. Pulse - 15

LIFE HACKS Timekeepers:

Heads or ALEATails THORNE

The first repair was done in the 80s and the next in the 90s, which mainly consisted of replacing the sensor that ensures the pendulum is able to swing its full range.

enjoy the work they put in making the pendulum work again, every time it breaks,” Roselle says.

Lind Hall became the first Science The original brass-colored ball remains building on campus, the Foucault hollow, and it remained unused until the Society of Physics students (SOPS) pendulum at its center. fixed it, placing it on the wire. SOPS “It gives students hands-on experience presented their pendulum project at on what they’re learning in class,” says Source, highlighting its developments Mike Jackson, physics department chair. and earning high scores. “Pendulums and the mechanism [of] fixing Sharon Roselle is also crazy for the it are all about physics.” clock. Her physics students are keeping The pendulum has been rebuilt numerous more than just the project in full times since it original installation. swing. “It seems like the students

It has since been discovered the pendulum is not the center of Washington, but only the center of Lind Hall. The actual center of Washington is actually located in Wenatchee, despite the rumors around campus. In spite of this, the pendulum has gained popularity among physics students around the state, not only as a display, but a way to further and help their education. □

A Foucault pendulum stands, surrounded by unique old objects in glass. Like an invention of Bioshock Infinite’s Rosalind and Robert Lutece, Central’s Lind Hall houses the pendulum that was built to demonstrate Earth’s rotation by traveling around the map of Washington incised in the floor. Built in 1947,


Addison Wagner, junior physics, works on the project in her free time. “Most “We switched to an optical sensor weekends, two of us will work on it. which triggers energy to the system to It’s a really great experience.” Wagner says. overcome friction,” Jackson says.

Pulse - 17 Luteces //


Photography // Alyssa Foland

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Life of a Disney Intern ALEX Manenica

FantasyLand - 1960 // Mende Smith

Six months interning from Fantasyland to Tomorrowland, the pick of American students work in the parks while spending time with other interns their age and take free college level courses in the happiest place on earth. Here the jobs are called “roles,” and the interns are fondly called “cast members.” It’s all part of that Disney magic. But is being If Tink’s pixie dust is not enough to get a Disney intern really as magical as it your heels flying, an internship may be seems? your passage to Never (again) land or to the best role you have ever played. Two Both girls say they are crazy in love Central students share their stories with the mouse. Burbank has been a cast of life after the mouse. Lacey Kinsella, member in attractions since February senior public relations, interned at of this year. The ride she calls home Disneyland in 2010. Taylor Burbank, is Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree, inspired junior public relations, is completing by Pixar’s Cars. Aside from what she her internship there this year. 20 “Second star to the right and straight on till morning!” June is the month of traditional escapes for college grads and undergrads. The Disney College program (DCP) allows college students to have a paid internship at either Disneyland in California, or Disney World located in Florida.

calls her “not cute” costume, she says, she loves her job. “It really is the best internship in the world. I love my roommates and the friends I’ve made here, and I’m really sad that I’m going to have to leave soon.” Kinsella recalls how hard it was to leave Disneyland at the end of her internship. Both girls agree that being a Disney intern isn’t all smiles all the time. Some interns go to Disneyland bound for a character suit. Hundreds of recent college grads turned besuited Disney characters wander around, embracing children, dancing for amusement and generally setting that friendly, whimsical tone for the park.

You can shake hands with Buzz Lightyear, play fetch with Pluto, waltz with Donald Duck and take precious photos with Mickey and Minnie, photos that you’ll cherish forever as memoirs from the hundred-degree weather that a host of costumed-college students sweat through. “When I first got to California I was completely overwhelmed,” Kinsella says. “My first few weeks I absolutely hated my job. But as time went on I got more comfortable with it all, and I could drive those subs with my eyes closed.” Kinsella’s role was to control the submarines in the Finding Nemo submarine ride, and although she was frazzled at being the newest college intern to drive a multi-million dollar attraction, after working through the first few weeks of stress and homesickness, she says she fell in love with Disney.

much to write home about. “We got to tour Walt Disney’s apartment,” Kinsella explains. “the dream suite tour of Walt Disney Studios, ride Space Mountain and the Haunted Mansion with the lights on and a ton of other things.” While Disney offers internships to the tune of 8,000 students each year, job training at the happiest place on earth may not be a great segue to fulltime employment. Kinsella and Burbank along with most Disney College Program kids encourage anyone to experience the Disney culture as a resume booster. If the excitement of exclusive tours and hospitality training is not enough, after completing the internship, DCP interns all get their ears and receive a diploma from Mickey Mouse himself. □

“My whole college program experience was one of the greatest things I have ever done,” Kinsella says. “I would recommend it to anyone. There were so many opportunities I got to experience while I was there that I would never have gotten to do anywhere else.” Interning at Disney isn’t just all about operating rides and portraying movie characters; there are also ticket seller, line leader and parking attendant positions to fill. On a recent interview with, Ed Chambers, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 1625, speaks out for the college interns. “None of them are paid properly,” Chambers says. “They’re like indentured slaves ... They live on Disney property. They eat Disney food. They take Disney transportation.” Most of the college interns earn $6.25 an hour, well below the more than $11 an hour pay for a veteran employee performing the same tasks. Interns also don’t receive any pension or health care benefits like regular workers. The top secret Disney perks that only the interns get to experience are not

Photography // Alex Manenica

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Farmer’s Market Courtney Vasquez

“Wanna shop the pop-ups?” a woman in a sunhat and red cowboy boot asks us at the curb. “The farmer’s market is open this weekend, and you should go and check it out before heading to Safeway.” We followed her to the other side of the street and spent the next hour crisscrossing through fourth and pine streets shoulder-to-shoulder with the sellers, buskers, strollers, pups, students and artists occupying the core of the city. Hungry shoppers can find fruits and veggies, homemade bread and even wood fired pizza every weekend from May through October. Each and every item at the Farmers’ Market has one thing in common: they are locally grown or crafted. 22

You know it is summertime when Ellensburg locals gather downtown to shop tent-covered rows for fruits and veggies, fresh-baked goods and very rodeo-themed lawn art.

Click Here for a video of the market!

Canyon River Fire:

Dan Eldridge pulls a fresh cooked pizza out of an adobe oven, not just any oven though, one that he built himself out of grain and sand. His adobe can reach extreme temperatures and cooks pizzas within three to four minutes. As the crust is cooked to perfection, and the cheese melts perfectly over the entire pizza, Eldridge and his wife meet and greet the locals with a smile. They bring a unique slice to downtown Ellensburg with their homemade wood-fired pizza. The Eldridge family serves their famous pizza every Saturday.

Klucking Images:

Phil Klucking began his career capturing eyecatching images with an Argus Brownie Film Camera. He now uses a Nikon digital camera to capture the world. Klucking began experimenting with photography when he was in high school and studied photojournalism in college. Everywhere he looks, he finds inspiration for the work he features every Saturday at the Ellensburg Farmers’ Market. “The Farmers’ Market is a great place to meet everyone,” Klucking says as shoppers shuffle about, viewing the artwork he has to offer. Pulse - 23

Magnetic Hematite Jewelry:

In 2005, Rod Travis found a reason for creating jewelry that is not only beautiful, but also helpful. Travis’ wife, Sherry, had major surgery on her leg and began to experience pain. A doctor advised her to use magnets to ease her recovery. Travis and his wife eventually found that they could do something more with the magnets — make them into stylish bracelets and necklaces. For five years, the Travis’ have sold their jewelry at the local market.

Fabulous Finds and Design:

Mike and Sarah Best brighten up the Farmers’ Market with their colorful handmade crafts. Mason jars covered in gems glisten in the morning sun. bright signs and bejeweled candles line the table. Their artful expressions are made of recycled materials. The Bests began creating and selling their wares to help support their family of 9. This is their first year selling at the market. □


“Ithings try toup”glam -Sarah Best

Photography // Dan Eldridge

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Madame Secretary Presents Mende Smith Starting out as a would-be audiologist, Secretary of State Kim Wyman realized that she wanted to do more with her life after college. Within a decade of finishing school, she had branched from cochlear implants to civil service and been heralded most-likely to reform the small business and licensing process as a top priority of her state’s agenda. Wyman sat down with Pulse Magazine to talk about all things from disability education to the importance of libraries and Superheroes with the greatest abs. Q: What most prepared you for public service in your college years? A: Actually it was working. I grew up in Southern California, and I was working to put myself through school for the city of Lakewood in their recreational department. My undergrad major — I was gonna be an audiologist — communicative disorders, and I got to my senior year and realized it was the most boring thing I have ever done and switched to public administration for my master’s degree. Working for the city of Lakewood I learned many skills that I still use in my work today. Q: Did you choose politics, or did politics choose you? A: I sometimes refer to myself as ‘the accidental politician.’ I have always loved politics and was inspired most by Ronald Reagan and was a freshman in college when he was on the ballot Central’s President Gaudino and Secretary Wyman in 1980. I always considered myself a Photography // Mende Smith Reagan republican. It wasn’t like I woke up when I was 10 and said, “I wanna be the deaf community to those with printed materials and translate them is Secretary of State someday!” It was various disabilities, and we had a very something we never would have thought public service that interested me. active committee that advised us on of as sighted people, it was really cool. the various needs of these voters and Q: Is there any one thing that you translated our voters’ pamphlet into Q: So the online filing opportunity is brought from your previous line of work ASL, by a deaf person signing not just a already in place? into political life? communicator, and the things I learned, A: Yes. Sam Reed started the online A: One thing from my previous job we had assumed we would have to registration process, and we really that leads into this one is when translate everything into braille. Two want to simplify it even more from the ‘Help America Vote Act’ passed the of our members were blind, and they both there. I would like the business owner requirement for accessible voting was said that we actually could just have to be able to enter into the Secretary realized. We got to work with our audio for them, and that many people of State’s page and go through a resources in Olympia in all the different do not even read braille since so much simple questionnaire and know right communities, the blind community, technology is available today to take away what they need to get to start 26

doing business with the departments of revenue, licensing, cities, counties, whatever, and streamline it that way. Q: Any ideas how to best grow the economic efficiency of the state while earning revenue across the tax codes? A: I had a business owner say to me the other day that he operates in about 30 cities and has to get a business license in each one. At the end of the day the cities are going to make far more money from the sales tax he collects than they are in the license he has to pay for, and his suggestion was why don’t we just make a one-stop city license for the whole state, and then let the department of revenue collect the sales tax for these businesses that operate statewide? Q: That would be more efficient? A: Yes. That way they can distribute it, and the cities are getting their money efficiently. business owners will spend less time every year filing separately, and obviously the laws behind that and the logic I am not that familiar with and so, really that is going to be an effect of working closely with cities and counties and legislature, but I think we need to start that dialogue. Q: By the end of your term, what are the best and most realistic out comes your administration hopes to achieve for our region? A: In your region, here in Central Washington, first, making business more streamlined and whatever regulations necessary for the industry done and move forward and having our online portal be the place for them that it happens. Second, I think to instill confidence in our voter registration process. voters who were here in 2004 remember how people lost faith in our election system, and I think that over the last eight years we have worked hard to recommit our voters. So, working with county auditors

history center project in Olympia you are so passionate about? A: It is a challenging project. It is called the heritage center. The idea is to move the state library back onto the capital campus, with the state archives into a single location so that when visitors come, the fourth-grade kids from Ellensburg drive over to visit the capital, which we have about 40,000 students a year who do. they are not getting any exposure to our state’s history, and that’s really a crime. Now they learn that the Rotunda Chandelier weighs as much as a Volkswagen beetle, and George Washington’s nose is lucky if you rub it on the bronze statue, but they do not learn about Isaac Stevens, they don’t learn about the wealth of Native American [tribes’ history] oR our state’s history, and that’s a crime. We have a golden opportunity when people visit so we should do it. We can build a building on the campus and make our on better voter registration is a big history accessible. issue here in our state too — balancing Q: Lastly, we are curious about the accessibility and integrity. favorite superheroes of our elected Q: So are there any big battles that you officials. Who is your favorite and why? have been fighting in Olympia that you superhero A: Oh, this is a tough one. Oh, you know, are really passionate about? I’ve got to think about this here. Great A: Protecting our state’s community question. My husband’s is Silver Surfer, resource institutions, like the state and oddly enough I really do like him, but, libraries, the community centers from I should know this one, and it should be our local branches, libraries, mental a woman, that’s why I am really racking health institutions and correctional my brain. facilities at the state level. All of these programs have really been on the Q: It’s ok. We have another story coming chopping block at the legislature over out in this issue on the evolution of the last ten years. I love libraries. the heroine; you can pick a boy hero if Consistently this has been one of my you want. biggest battles I had this session, and A: Ha, ha. I guess my top picks are all it’s still going on. We need to revisit the guys. You’re stumping me here, you’re how we are funding libraries, the state stumping the Secretary — and it doesn’t library and our archives and make sure happen very often. I would have to go it still makes sense. Our state’s history with Thor. He is pretty cool. And I think he gets the importance of humanity and is too important not to prioritize. taking care of it and protecting it, and Q: You have been working a lot on this that’s why I like him, and he’s really project; talk a little bit about this cute. □ Thor //

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My Club will Pierce the Heavens Cody Spencer

28 Gundam Seed //

The CWU Namakemono (“lazy person”) Anime Club is more than a gathering of people interested in the Japanese art form. Founded three years ago, the club aims to use anime art to help people gain exposure to Japanese culture and customs. Student-led, the club is comprised of a president, vice president, treasurer, senator, secretary and about forty members. Jeremy Engleman, senior english, serves as club president. “The club was originally founded to let Japanese majors get more experience with the language,” he says. In addition to providing its members with entertainment, the club focuses on anime as a tool to enact positive change in the community. Its members have represented the club at a Buddhist Temple and at various community events like World Language Day. Here is a closer look at the people who are making this club a success: □ Pulse - 29

Name // Jeremy Engleman Position // President Year // Senior Major // English — Writing Specialization Favorite Anime Character // Saber (Fate/Stay Night) “The show is about myths and legends. Saber takes on characteristics of King Arthur, which is something to admire.” Favorite Aspect of Club // “Sakura-Con is an event in Seattle where people gather, dress up and interact with guests related to the industry. A lot of us go together, and I have a lot of fond memories.”

Name // Eric Greenwood Position // Vice President Year // Senior Major // History Favorite Anime Character // Amuro Ray (Mobile Suit Gundam) “Amuro started out as a 15-year-old kid. He finds a giant robot and goes off to fight a war between two factions. Originally, he was hesitant to fight, but eventually realizes that he has to protect his loved ones.” Favorite Aspect of Club // “I really enjoy the atmosphere of the club. We try to be laid-back, but we have been a pretty active group over the past few years. It’s something I look forward to. These are great people to be around.” Name // Max Belleh Position // Senator Year // Freshman Major // Psychology and Sociology Favorite Anime Character // Kamina (Gurren Lagann) “Kamina is the ultimate big brother — you would want to be related to him. He does nothing but support people who matter to him, and he drives the entire story.” Favorite Aspect of Club // “I like getting to hang out and watch new shows. I’m finding out about all kinds of amazing shows.”

Name // Kailonna Crawford Position // Treasurer Year // Senior Major // Cultural Anthropology Favorite Anime Character // Kotetsu (Tiger & Bunny) “Kotetsu is very human. He is not perfect, but he tries to be — and usually fails.” Favorite Aspect of Club // “My favorite part of the club is being able to see so many different anime. It’s definitely more interactive than YouTube. I’m starting to understand and appreciate the culture behind anime.” Photography // Alyssa Foland


Arthurian Knight //

Amuro Ray //

Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann //

Screenshot // Tiger and Bunny

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Food Porn

“One evening as the sun went down and the jungle fires were burning, down the track came a hobo hikin’, and he said, “boys I’m not turning. I’m headed for a land that’s far away beside the crystal fountains. so come with me, we’ll go and see the Big Rock Candy Mountains—” or at least follow me to the roadside spot in this dusty town with the rarest brews a pourin’. “People come in here and are amazed because I have beer that they have been looking for for months,” says Roy Wilson, Happy’s Market Brew keeper. Wilson so loves his customers, he has travelled the miles to bring the best bottles home. After purchasing Happy’s Market two and a half years ago, the Wilsons wanted to improve the quality of the local beer selection here in wildcat town, and looked for a niche. “There were some things we wanted to change in the store,” Roy says. “We wrote a code of conduct about how we wanted to serve the community.” That began by expanding the 22-ounce beer selection from three refrigerator doors to five. He also beefed up the imported brews to more than a hundred labels. “I’ve got beers from Latvia, Belgium, name it,” Roy says. “I’ve got beers from third world countries.” Are you looking for gluten free beer? Try one of the thirteen types in stock. Did you know Stella Artois made a hard cider? Thanks to Happy’s, now you can try it.

Brews TraveleR Andrew Nelson 32

As lovers of the brew, we have all gone through the fruitless task of scanning shelves at the local supermarket for unique types of beer. Most of us, having come to the realization that we will have to road trip to find anything more stimulating than an American pale, resort to the PBR.

“I travel to the west side once a week. There are about five places I go to in Seattle. It takes me all day,” Roy laughs. “It’s a big job.” Wilson has regulars pouring in from Cle Elum to Yakima, to pick from his elusive rows of bottles, and has recently added a number of beers and ciders on tap, serving up suds and filling growlers right there in the store. Happy’s also carries quick snacks to go with the brews. Produce, eggs, breakfast sandwiches, cheese and pepperoni sticks — all which go perfectly with a cold pint of Angry Orchard — if cider is your poison. For the lovers of the grape, Happy’s stocks a world tour of Vineyards as well. “Sang handles all the wine, I do the beer,” Roy says. There is Malbec and Cabernet from Argentina, Chardonnay and Shiraz from Australia; how about a Rioja from Spain? You name it, they got it. And there are two shelves dedicated entirely to Sake. There are few people who understand the value of a central location that offers so much drink from so far away. And unlike most people in the business, Roy and Sang Wilson do not drink, though their Having supplied an ample selection for those of us who do, we raise our glasses. As with any corner market, Happy’s stocks groceries as well. Roy and Sang recently added a deli counter to Happy’s, offering teriyaki grilled to order, drizzled with your choice of four scrumptious sauces: BBQ, Sweet and Sour, Teriyaki or Orange Mango. You can plant it there and dine in, or carry out. From a relatively small corner kitchen, Wilson’s take on the Teriyaki stand is realized. For $9, two cold ciders and four chicken sticks wins the cheap date spot for the season. Come and get it! □ Pulse - 33 Photography // Andrew Nelson


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Ellis // Left 4 Dead 2



Cosplay cuz she has to Connie Morgan Ashley Pinn is so much more than a sophomore wildcat. Her escape from the sea of academia is Cosplay. Where some gamer girls just play video games and imagine their characters from outside of a PC, on any given weekend this girl transforms into the characters she loves.

certain cosplay materials in Japanese, be exact and precise. A last minute that a hot glue gun is one of the best Halloween costume won’t cut it with those dedicated to the craft. cosplay friends you could ever have.”

Blogs are how many enthusiast find inspiration and knowledge on how to construct their next costume — but blogs are just the beginning of online Cosplaying is more than just dress up cosplay mania — Cosplay in America has to fans all around the world like Pinn. Cosplay (short for costume play) is dressing up as a character and acting as that character while in costume. Ashley Pinn studies, sophomore graphic design, dreams of character design in the video games industry. “My very first cosplay was really super bad,” Pinn says. “I used to have no idea what I was doing or how I wanted to make my costumes better. Now I raid thrift stores and buy cool pieces for my characters online.” Pinn’s introduction to cosplay and online friends who already cosplayed got her into the scene. Now Pinn is supporting others in the cosplay world with her own vibrant online presence which includes three YouTube channels, a Twitter and Facebook page. Cosplay is also a hobby that naturally attracts a nerdier crowd, hence the strong online presence and community that exists all over the world. claims to be the world’s largest cosplay community. The site includes pictures, profiles, events and a forum with thousands of threads. One cosplayer writes in her blog: “Thanks to cosplay, I learned […] how to put in contact lenses, how to sew bust darts, how to do my makeup, the names of

Most of Pinn’s costumes are handgathered and pieced together over time. Pinn sites Goodwill as one of her gotos when it comes to getting a costume together. Picking a character can be almost as hard as finding the costume. Pinn’s list of future characters is too long to list here, but she says she chooses her favorite ones that most fit her body shape and infuses the personalities she most likes. Pinn does evil, goofy and even psychotic characters. She has been as elusive as Waldo as creepy as the Joker and as loveable as Spike from My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

“Believe it or not, it has helped me become more confident in my body image,” says Pinn. “I make a damn sexy man, and I make a damn sexy woman.” The over 11,000 followers, and there are cosplaying community is very accepting many more Twitter pages dedicated to of all sexual backgrounds, associations cosplay. and lifestyles. Cosplaying knows no limitation to gender or even species Cosplay evolved from Anime and comic when choosing a character to play. book conventions but has now spread to an even wider audience through the web. Pinn’s dream costume would be The Stig A once-devoted anime fan, Pinn says she from Top Gear (The U.K. Version) but for has outgrown that obsession and no now, she has set her sights on playing longer goes to anime conferences just Vaas from Far Cry 3 and Booker DeWitte because there is an event going on — from Bioshock Infinite. now she goes in character. To some, cosplayers are just weird nerds Pinn and other cosplayers will who will never be understood. As Pinn attend conferences such as Sakura- explains, many parents think cosplaying Con, KuroNekocon or Oki-Con, for the is some sort of “weird sex thing,” which fun of dressing up and interacting just isn’t the case. In fact, many of the with others with the same passion. conferences are family-oriented. Rules True cosplayers are very committed to and regulations on props and weaponry this expensive hobby. Costumes must are extensive. This is because many Pulse - 37

costumes include swords, guns and other tools. Pinn has sported weapons for her characters. All comic and gaming conferences take safety very seriously and all are inspected upon entry so everyone can have fun. Cosplay is a hobby that lends itself to any enthusiast. Whether a gamer, Anime fan or Disney fanatic, there’s a look, convention and costume to fit you. Ashley Pinn may seem like another shy kid on campus, but catch her on the right weekend and you’ll see her glowing as one of her favorite characters. □

Spike // My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

The Scout // Team Fortress 2


Photography // Mende Smith

The Greed-ler // The Lorax

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A Very Brony PatrickStory Hasseries They are migrating across the world in great herds: adults sporting shirts, hats and paraphernalia adorned with rainbows and cartoon ponies. These people represent a rapidly growing new fandom revolving around the 2010 reboot of Hasbro’s My Little Pony franchise, titled “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.” Adult fans of “My Little Pony,” often abbreviated as MLP, collectively refer to themselves as “Bronies,” a portmanteau of “bro” and “ponies.” Female fans sometimes go by “pega-sisters,” although not all like the term. “I prefer the term ‘brony’ over ‘pegasister’ because I’m all for gender equality,” says Brittanie Whitaker, senior english at Central Washington University and fan of MLP. Many people assume that bronies are perverted or mental. An adult would have to be a sexual deviant or not right in the head to enjoy a show for little girls, right? Not so. It’s true that there are people who will pervert anything; for instance, never do a google image search for “clop.” However, bronies overall are an innocent and easygoing bunch. “I am a fan because the show is quirky, the animation is fun, and I am a fan of the voice actors,” Whitaker says. “I also enjoy the story line. Some episodes are cheesy, but some are pretty funny or even a little philosophically deep.”

comes from the community’s struggles that, in a way, parallel those of the LGBT community. Many bronies begin as closet fans, afraid to admit their fandom openly for fear of social scorn or violent reactions, confused over why they like a show meant for little girls. But eventually, they discover others who, like them, are raging MLP fans. “I looked up the show for something to watch in the background as I cleaned my room,” Whitaker says. “Mostly as a joke because I knew my sister would freak about me ‘watching a baby show.’ But after I got through the first few episodes, I realized that I actually enjoyed it. I talked about it with one of my friends and found out he’s a huge brony. He and I really got into the show together after that.” The brony culture supports a plethora of fan pages and annual conventions that help individuals come to terms with their fandom, feel proud of it and express it openly. Websites dedicated to bronies attract millions of visitors each year. According to, Equestria Daily alone averages 175,000 page views per day. Attendance at New York’s PoNYcon, convention demonstrates just how quickly this fandom is growing. Approximately 800 bronies attended the 2012 convention. The 2013 convention, however, hosted over 4,000.

Despite a rich inner community full of support, many bronies still fear external criticism. Brony “hating” is quite extensive both online and in high schools. In an attempt to improve the opinion of bronies, many fans Bronies host a progressive and public translate the show’s philosophy into incredibly passive culture. Part of this action through community service and comes from the show’s philosophy of outreach. friendship, love and tolerance. Another 40

Pulse - 41 MLP Comic con 2011 //

better stories, better jokes and plenty of nods to adult fans. In the twenty-first century, the public is generally comfortable with adults watching cartoons. Except in the case of so-called “girly” shows. A grown man, or even a grown woman, caught watching a Barbie or Tinker Bell cartoon is sure to receive immediate flack unless they happen to have a 3-year-old. As Lauren Faust, creator of “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic,” explains on, the reason for the stigma lies not just in social prejudices but the lack of substance in cartoons aimed at girls.

Golden Age Mare Do Well //

Bronies in Action

a mass on her brain in January 2011. She has undergone chemo and multiple surgeries, all of which her family’s Organizations such as Bronies for Good health insurance refused to cover. (BFG) encourage MLP fans to fundraise Thanks to bronies, her family has made and perform community service efforts great strides in reaching its $70,000 while wearing their MLP paraphernalia. goal for the next round of treatment. As BFG explains on their Facebook page: “We hope to demonstrate to the world that the brony community is not just an atypical assortment of fans for a children’s TV show, but instead, is an altruistic group of people that embody the ideas of love [and] tolerance, and practice those ideas in a meaningful and substantial way.”

Bronies are not alone in their service. Members of the MLP cast have a passion for helping as well. Tara Strong, voice of MLP’s main character Twilight Sparkle, runs The website sells MLP paraphernalia autographed by Strong to raise funds for children with debilitating illnesses, including Kiki Havivy. Strong has even been known to make special phone calls to sick bronies Brony calls to action have helped in need of encouragement. to demonstrate the community’s compassion and raise funds for great causes. One example is a fundraising Reasons for Fandom effort held by Celestia Radio, a brony Once upon a time, it was taboo for internet talk show, to cover brain adults to like cartoons. That has surgery for a little girl battling cancer. changed in recent decades. Cartoons Kiki Havivy, age six, was diagnosed with have become more complex, featuring 42

“On TV...I couldn’t tell one girl character from another,” Faust says. “They just had endless tea parties, giggled over nothing and defeated villains by either sharing with them or crying–which miraculously inspired the villain to turn nice. Even to my 7-year-old self, these shows made no sense and couldn’t keep my interest.” When Hasbro approached Faust about creating a new cartoon based on the My Little Pony franchise, she sought to create a series with depth, something that was not defined by its shallow 80s predecessor or Hasbro’s toy line. Many people still associate MLP with the hokey cartoon from the 80s. However, those who give the new show a chance find Faust’s adult humor, epic storylines, diverse character personalities and memorable, well-motivated villains worth the investment. “Saying something is ‘for girls’ or ‘girly’ is usually equated with being not worthwhile, being stupid,” Faust says. “I want so badly for that to change. I didn’t create [MLP] for little girls; I created it for little girls and their parents, including male parents. It only stands to reason that adult animation fans without children may like it too.”

Spreading the Love Another reason the show is so popular among adults is its constant nodding to the adult fanbase. Bronies and MLP have evolved a sort of symbiotic relationship, each feeding off the other. Faust has stated that she wanted to make MLP approachable to adults, but she never imagined it would garner so much adult attention. Bronies have generated a tremendous amount of fan fiction, art and even animation. In this fan content, community-accepted personas have grown around several background characters. The creative minds behind MLP monitor these fan-favorites and place them into the show as ‘Easter eggs’. Some Easter egg ponies include: Derpy loves Muffins // Boneswolbach

Derpy Hooves - a gray-haired, crosseyed pegasus pony with a penchant for causing bad accidents and an obsession with muffins. Derpy’s crossed eyes were originally an animation flaw in a single episode. Fans latched onto it, and Derpy has since become one of the most popular ponies in the fandom. She is now a cannon character who appears randomly in the background a few times Vinyl Scratch - a white unicorn who each season. wears purple sunglasses and works as a DJ. She made a brief appearance in the finale of the first season. Fans developed her character, giving her the stage name DJ PON-3 and an addiction to “wubs,” a term referring to bass-lines in dub step music. Due to fan popularity, she now makes an appearance in every season finale.

Lauren Faust // Rfaust76 -

MLP is proof that anything, even something stigmatized as being “girly,” can reach a greater audience. It just requires strong characters, good writing and a willingness to engage the fans. MLP’s message of love and tolerance was intended just for little girls. Instead, it has become a message for the world: be comfortable with who you are, don’t judge and help others whenever possible. □

Vinyl Scratch //

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Hair, class and kicking aSS

The Evolution of the Super Heroine ALYSSA FOLAND

Wonder Woman, Storm, Lara Croft and Batwoman are some of the most wellknown female action heroes to date. These fearless heroines pull on their boots, strap on their gear and respond to calls for help, all while staying hair and makeup ready. These days, female super heroes are prolific in movies, TV shows, comics and more. They have a much louder voice than even Wonder Woman had when she first appeared in 1941. But, has the image of the fearless female continued to inspire empowerment or is she doomed to hide in the background as nothing but a pretty face? “There is a pervasive mythology in the world of comic books and video games that holds that male readers/ gamers would never be interested in 44

the story of a woman character,” says Katherine Cross, sociology student at Hunter College. “So generally the hero is always presumptively a man; this is a self-fulfilling prophecy.” Cross is also a core collective member of Sylvia Rivera Law Project. Cross writes and blogs extensively on feminist topics. Cross says that if only male heroes are widely available and are the only ones being marketed aggressively, then sales will show a partiality for

male heroes and the ripple effect is male hero dominance as an industry standard. “What’s interesting is we have to think about heroes, action heroes, super heroes as a kind of product that’s being marketed,” Cynthia Coe, professor of

belong — in the background, not in the front leading or being heroic; that ripples out into the real world.” Male heroes further impact society’s ideas of heroism with regards to gender, and also affect the way young women value their own abilities.

women’s and gender studies, says. “So the people who create them are trying to anticipate what’s actually going to sell.” Cross says the idea that people are only interested in reading about male heroes

is a myth, thereby promoting a vision of women as “less valuable, less strong, Ruthi Erdman teaches women’s studies less heroic, and above all, less able to at Central. Erdman weighs in on the represent the whole of humanity.” idea of heroines in literature and Coe agrees. She believes women are forced film. “We’ve got this very old idea that to the background in outfits made more men are the superheroes and women wait for them because men are the risqué to target certain audiences. protectors and women are grateful “By constantly pre-empting women for their protection.” Erdman observes heroes or making them background that in ancient literature the heroine characters,” Cross says, “we’re sending has evolved, but in some ways she has a message that that’s where women devolved as well. Detective Comics #854 Cover // DC Comics Pulse - 45

In the Iliad and the Odyssey, the female hero was Penelope. Odysseus, her husband to be, was out fighting as a hero while she saved herself for him, fending off her other suitors. That was her heroism.

like ‘Oh my gosh, it hasn’t changed a bit in 2500 years,’” Erdman says. “That’s kind of sweet in its way. You know, it’s chivalry. But in the world we live in where most things are done through communications or technology, I’m not sure that applies anymore. Women need to step up. We need to help save the world.”

In the latest Spider Man movie, MJ, Peter Parker’s bride, stands in her wedding dress bravely sending Spider Man off so he can save the world. Erdman relates this scene to Odysseus and Penelope all Cross says her new favorite heroine is over again. Batwoman. The newest embodiment of “Her role is ‘go get em tiger’ and wait her character, as the “strong ethically for him and be sexy and beautiful. It’s brooding brawler,” who is also a lesbian, has given her a new sense of excitement for the possibilities ahead for the female super hero. This new version of Batwoman’s character was written by Greg Rucka, J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman. Cross calls it “a happy surprise.“ “As a heroine (Batwoman) is presented as being more than the sum of her sexuality (for all values of that word),” Cross says. “But it’s not just her: there are other women in this series of varying complex personalities who provide everything from love interests to foils for Batwoman.”

Marvel’s Avengers Promo Art // Paramount Pictures

Cross says that in many stories, there may only be one female character, while the rest of the characters are male— another issue that should be addressed. “This comic avoids that with aplomb, presenting Batwoman as one of several intriguing women here,” Cross says. “I’d go so far as to say that this is a story about women that everyone can see themselves in.” Cross says that though the idea of women as heroes are progressing the work is not over.

Avengers Booty Ass-emble // kevinbolk


The film, gaming and media industries fanatically cling to the sexualization of women in “borderline pornographic ways.” Batwoman is a great example of a character that is sexy with healthy sexual habits, but is not objectified.

games. She says the female hero in games and she has combat skills. Those are all usually has some sort of back story, is the good qualities but then everybody emotional and is objectified in a way just looks at her looks.” that ultimately weakens her character. Cross says it is time for these narrow DC Comics heroine, Power Girl, recently views of women’s sexuality to come to had her famous cleavage covered after an end. Coe, Phillips, Erdman and Collins 12 years of running around fighting agree that it is time for the female crime with a gaping hole in her costume. hero to be glorified and come to the Phillips says Lara Croft is another light in a positive, unobjectified way. example of a progressive, only not-soprogressive character. “[Batwoman is] a full character who “She’s usually depicted as the sexy happens to have a sex life,” Cross says, scientist,” Phillips says, “and yet no “not an object put on display for young “In her relationships I see reflections one really looks at the fact that she is men to ogle. Sadly, too many women in of my own lesbian romances; there’s a an anthropologist, she knows martial comics and games are the latter, and profound emotionality and vulnerability arts, she knows how to handle weapons, that needs to change.” □ to her as a sexual figure that feels like far more than mere fan-service,” Cross says. Cay Collins, junior psychology and Feminist Club president agrees. To her, the super heroine has changed in many ways over the years – most noticeably in her clothing. She believes there is a big problem with how they dress, because what they wear is often times unrealistic and unrelatable. “No woman in her right mind would be like ‘you know what, I’m going to go to battle, and you know what I’m going to wear? That onesie, right there. And those heels. I’m going to wear that to go fight and kick ass,’“ Collins says. “I still think we may be possessed by this idea that women get their power by attracting men,” Coe says, “and now it’s not by being modest and chaste. Now it’s maybe more about sexualizing yourself, showing you to be more of a sexual person.” “What if you put the outfit that Wonder Woman wears on a male super hero?” Coe says. “What if you just switched outfits? What would that tell us about how much we’re trying to push and encode ‘men and women are very different from one another and they can’t do some of the same things at all?’” Neko Phillips, alum sociology with a focus in gender studies, examines the relation between gender and video

Batgirl, Wonder Woman, Supergirl // Al Rio

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Untitled //


NEWSWATCH If you’ve ever dreamed of a career in Broadcast Journalism, please talk to Professor Terri Reddout about how you can get involved in NewsWatch.

COM 442 Student-led news team dedicated to sharing stories that impact Kittitas County.

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Aaron Dietz JamieQ&A Klouse Super author Aaron Dietz writes instructional manuals for crime-fighters from his spot in the Emerald City. Dietz is an instructional designer for online high schools and has written courses in game modding, computer programming, green design, and 3-D video games. It’s natural for him to write quizzes. He’s worked a decade in libraries. He has also been paid to count traffic and once failed a personality test. Dietz’s super powers include a high metabolism and the ability to put things back where he got them. He’s also pretty good at math. Q&A with Aaron Deitz, Gen X author and real-life super hero instructor. Q: Having captured the colloquial language of the Emerald City for the next generation, what is the best thing about being a modern day author? The best thing about being an author today is access. Through the Internet we have access to readers, publishers, reviewers, their reviews, reader reviews, chapter excerpts of other books and so much more. Not everyone wants to participate or has the ability to participate, but there is always the chance that you can get a dialog going with your favorite publisher / editor / favorite author just by politely approaching them through Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or some other mechanism. You also have more access to what readers are thinking about your book or even how they are using your book. You can look at reader reviews on Goodreads and Amazon, and you can even see what phrases people are highlighting in your ebooks. You can also get to know readers through social networking sites in a way that would have been impossible 15 years ago. I’ve received fan art and lovely messages of encouragement from people who liked Super, and I’ve been connected with authors whose work I adore and have developed relationships with them because of this tremendous level of access. And of course, an author today also has access to incredible amounts of technology. I can create my book as any number of ebook formats, or even write an app. I can produce a reasonably well-done video for a relatively low cost. Years ago, an author could only be concerned about text, usually laid 50

out in a traditional format. Now, the technology offers limitless possibilities for how you want to produce your work. This is because we have access to the technology. Q: So, why superheroes? Superheroes are decidedly relevant for many reasons. People are more empowered by the Internet and other technologies than they have ever been in the past, and as Voltaire and the Spider-Man comics say, “With great power comes great

responsibility.” It’s superheroes that symbolize the positive uses of power and remind us of this responsibility. We don’t have to put on tights or come up with an alter ego, but most of us have the time and therefore should be active participants in making the world better. It’s tempting to sit around and use the Internet as a plaything and time killer, but because it’s such a powerful tool we have the responsibility to use it to help others.

Q: How does a technical writer turned it was only natural that I developed editor come to write about superheroes Super as a series of instructional anyway? exams, with quizzes at the end of each chapter. It was purely by mistake, though my publisher unintentionally encouraged Q: If you have a favorite superhero the mistake. I was shopping an Aaron, who is it and why? experimental manuscript that had a few superhero-ish pieces in it, and I have too many favorites but I tend Emergency Press came back to me and to like the superheroes that also have essentially said, “We like the superhero regular problems. Spider-Man when he pieces; we don’t like some of this other was struggling to pay the rent. Iron Man stuff.” I took the feedback to heart and when he was in the thick of his fight restructured the whole project around with alcoholism. Even Storm when she was leader of the X-Men seemed to have superheroes. more trouble dealing with personnel The technical writer and editor in me than super-villain-oriented problems. was super comfortable with developing a project toward a client’s requirements. Of course, I also appreciate the symbolic That’s not to say that Emergency Press dynamic of some of the DC greats — required a superhero novel. But when I Superman on the surface is a pretty looked at what they liked vs. what they boring superhero because of his nearly didn’t like, I saw the superhero novel as limitless abilities, but symbolically he’s an alien, and that’s appealing to me. the best way to satisfy the “client.” He’s a person who does not fit in at Q: How did you decide on the format all in the world where he lives, and I for Super? Was it an epiphany or a long think everyone can identify with that process? to some extent. I didn’t want to write a regular ol’ superhero novel. That would have felt cliché. So when I refocused the novel on superheroes, I also took a step back and evaluated what else I could do to shake things up.

responses). I’d like the next chapter in the Super universe to include even more interactive elements, and that might exclude the traditional paperback novel as an option. One thing’s for sure: I love the characters and depth of the Super universe too much to let it end with one book, so there will be more soon! □

Dietz writes for TheNervousBreakdown. com, blogs at, is the founder and editor of SPAM Publishing, and serves as an advisory editor of KNOCK Magazine.

Keep reading for pulse magazine exclusive excerpts of Dietz’s works on And then there are the real life the following 6 pages. superheroes. I’ve seen Phoenix Jones’ bravery first hand, and it parallels any All photos courtesy of Aaron dietz. comic book superhero out there. Sky Man is super charming in person and is so lovingly earnest that I’ve enjoyed every interaction with him. And there are so many others out there that I respect and admire — Nyx, Life, Thanatos and many others are regularly doing well in creative ways, all over the planet.

I knew I wanted to do something that related superhero lifestyles to regular life, and I thought a lot about how real life bureaucracy would interact with superheroes. I thought it would be both hilarious and relevant to present a superhero novel as a series Q: Is your novel headed for a sequel? of exams that a superhero would take Can we expect to read more about these (for promotions to higher and higher supers in the future? superhero positions). I’m quite sure the characters and So in Super, I wanted to focus on stories from Super will continue on achieving the next level by acquiring in some form, though I’m not sure if skills and abilities (sort of like it’ll be a novel or a movie series or a “leveling up” in your regular life), and I video game or an app, or some kind of was also working a day job in which I combination of all of those. I tried my wrote and edited instructional content best to turn the novel Super into an with quizzes that tested a student’s interactive work of art (I even posted understanding of the material. And so the superhero exams online and gathered

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The Surgery (An excerpt from Dietz’s Super)

Document H

In a Deli Jonesy was berating Robert over lunch. Finally, Jonesy softened enough to say, “I just want you to understand—I think you are purposely falling in love with people you can never have.” Robert nodded thoughtfully. “You may be right,” he said, which was a phrase he used when he didn’t agree with someone’s opinion. In a Hotel Room in Flagstaff “I really think we should just get it over with, don’t you?” Tamara hollered from the bathroom. “Whatever you say,” Robert answered. The contract job was over. His nice shirt was untucked and his dress shoes leaned against the door. There was a sound of breaking glass. “Oh, shit!” she cried. “I broke my pipe.” She found him on his back pretending to watch TV, trying not to pass out. There was a band-aid wrapped around the end of her pipe. 52

“I can still use it,” she said. She sat by the open window and started her ritual, blowing smoke out of the room every few minutes. He flipped through the channels and stopped on the news. Apparently Sallah and Pulmo hadn’t resolved the hostage crisis yet. And Kansas had lost, but he knew that already from watching the game at the brewery. Soon the intermittent sound of the lighter ceased and Tamara flopped next to him on the bed. “Show me some yoga,” he said. “Okay.” She curled up into a ball on her back. “This one’s nice.” He copied her. “Now roll from side to side,” she said. He watched, mimicking her movements. They stopped at the same time. She put her hand on the remote and after a while she said, “There’s nothing on.” “Yeah, that’s the bad thing about cable. It takes longer to decide nothing’s on because you have to flip through more channels.” He closed his eyes. Gray and black swirled behind his eyelids.

Then her lips were on his and her smoky alcohol toothpaste breath touched his tongue. And Helen (who was just a dream) and Sera Phares (who was very real, yet equally inaccessible) gently drifted away.

Helen, From the Coffee Shop During a brief conversation with Helen in a coffee shop, Robert recorded two details: 1. She had once worked in a library. 2. She lived “practically across the street from The Grass Tree Tavern.” One month later, he realized he was in love with her. He didn’t know her address, phone number, or last name, but, as she had worked in a library, he felt she would have a library card. So, instead of balancing invoices (which is what the library paid his secret identity to do), he began checking every cardholder with the first name of Helen and cross-referenced those accounts for an address within a two-block radius of The Grass Tree Tavern. It took five months to go through every last name beginning with A, B, C, D, E, F, and G. He gave up in the middle of H, calculating that, given the high apartment turnover of the neighborhood, if she hadn’t moved by now, she would have by the time he got to her name. Despite ending his search, he thought of her constantly.

ability to act like everything was okay while shouldering a great amount of suffering. Of course, he couldn’t be sure about that, since she never spoke about the great amounts of suffering that she obviously must be hiding. He memorized each of her visible tattoos and even started playing guitar again. Yet, she had a boyfriend who cooked, while he could not string two sentences together in her presence. Despite the obvious impossibility of a relationship, he thought of her constantly. His Heart, Which Shall Hereafter Be Called “Frank” Frank had been ripped from his body and torn into pieces. So when Robert opened his eyes in the dark hotel room, in the middle of Tamara’s smoky kisses, he saw the scar on her shoulder, lit by the television, and caved. He lost consciousness of Frank, grabbed Tamara’s neck, and forced her tongue deeper into his mouth. For one second, he thought she could end it.

The Surgery Tamara’s precision was sloppy at best. Frank was not sewn together but instead crammed (still in pieces), into the gaping hole in Robert’s chest, which Tamara stitched up, loosely, with dental floss. Within two weeks his chest split open and pieces of Frank began to fall out during luncheons and block parties and bar mitzvahs. Sera Phares, From His Other Job Robert fell in love with Sera Phares while waiting for the He didn’t bother to put the pieces back in. elevator to drop one floor. As they passed each other in the Months later, during a library meeting on e-commerce, Robert halls over the course of months, he realized she had the attempted communication with himself by writing a memo.

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Phoenix Jones Peter O’Cain How did this happen? When I see our boys in blue are being replaced by a hobo snitch in a mask, gallivanting around with a slew of nerds in tights, I have to wonder:

I can recall a time I could leave this lair and conduct my duties proudly and without distraction, but now he’s out there along with his silly gang of misfit Power Rangers disturbing the peace. How things have changed: now our city is protected not by our once respected police force but by a tormented, delusional freak in a mask.

what direction is our fair city heading in? The Rain City Superhero Movement must disintegrate. For far too long, we’ve watched as our nation buys into its childish charade, and its run its course. It’s time to get real, Jones. The community would be better off without you – you’re doing more harm than good, and I’m willing to bet that a sensible, sane majority would agree with me. You’re a nuisance, a problem child, a snitch, a fake. You must be stopped once and for all. 58 Akira cityscape // candy-chan

Rex Velvet //

You won’t find me hiding my identity, Jones. My name is Rex Velvet, the People’s Villain, if you will. Before you jump to conclusions, let me tell you that I’m a fair negotiator and businessman, but I will not back down from you, Jones, until this city is rid of you. — Rex Velvet,

“Phoenix Jones, you have met your match.” Sober Hero Phoenix Jones stands at a tall table in the Blue Martini Lounge in Bellevue, flanked by his entourage. A crowd of about 50 twenty-some things mingles behind sidekick Midnight Jack, and Mike and Steve – two unmasked members of the Rain City Superhero Movement (RSCM). Iron Man, Wonder Woman, Lara Croft, Batman and Robin and three Sons of Anarchy are here, along with at least a dozen cosplayers featuring miniskirts and thin, toned legs. The party fills The Blue Martini on a late March afternoon, and for his appearance Jones will earn $250, which he says he will donate to a charity for domestic violence. I was supposed to meet Jones three hours earlier at a Starbucks in the Northgate Mall for an interview. But he forgot about me and it took me two and half hours to reach the real-life superhero by phone. Jones apologized and then invited me to join him at the Blue Martini as his guest, sparing me the $25 cover fee.

“I’m hammered,” Jones says.

stands silent with his arms crossed, his expression cloaked by a black mask His flattop haircut rises four inches with white ovals around the eyes. into the air; broad sideburns bend around his jawline, distorted by a After an hour, Jones decides it’s time wide, mischievous smile. Jones’ eyes to leave. He wants to do the interview are hidden behind black sunglasses, closer to his home and chooses a which have been fitted with a hidden Starbucks in the U-District, next Red camera. Light bounces off of his Mill Burgers. muscular black and gold super suit. Jones and I wait outside the Blue “I thought you didn’t drink,” I say. Martini while the valet retrieves Jones sips his red drink from a tumbler his car. Parked in front are a silver glass. Lamborghini and a red Ferrari, glistening in the Bellevue sun like “I feel like it. I say it so I fit in oiled swimsuit models. better,” Jones says. “It’s just Sprite and cherry juice.” In a flash his superhero transport appears: a dusty, 10-year-old Kia “A Shirley Temple is a better way of with oxidized red paint. Inside, the saying it,” Mike says. passenger seat and floor are blanketed with wrappers and plastic bottles. “It’s not a Shirley Temple! It’s Sprite, cherry juice and bitters,” Jones laughs. We drive to Starbucks in separate vehicles; he loses me twice — always Jones and his fight crew re-enter the sure to let me catch up — and three party. Girls dance on the bar and blast times he forgets to turn off his confetti; men and women approach him blinker. for photos and conversation; Jack Pulse - 59

At Starbucks, the barista pays for Jones’ drinks because he and RCSM helped him after he was sucker-punched by a stranger one night in Pioneer Square.

TRUE IDENTITY Ben Fodor, a 24-year-old family man and husband to Purple Reign, a mother of a 5-year-old son, and an activist who uses her superhero image to raise awareness for domestic violence. Fodor and Reign married almost as soon as they began dating two years ago after he was involved in an altercation as Phoenix Jones, to which she was the sole witness.

someone if you’re married,” Jones laughs. “It worked out great. We’re gonna get married for real soon, I think.” The line between Phoenix Jones and Ben Fodor is often blurred, as one life can bleed into the other.

“I like fixing things,” Fodor says. “I like seeing a problem and having to come up with a creative way to fix “I have no real friends because I’m it, I have fight ability. Criminals need always fighting crime when I could be hanging out with my friends … I can’t own anything — if it has my name on it people can track me,” Fodor says. “I always smell like rubber and justice, no matter how much I shower.”

Fodor makes his living teaching life skills to kids with autism, which he’s been doing since he was 17. Prior to his unmasking in October 2011, he worked for the state, but he says they “They can’t make you testify against let him go after his identity was


made public. Now Fodor works with a private company; he thinks this will be his career.

to be beat up,” Fodor says. “Problem — “I started running around like a black great.” Since then, Phoenix Jones has there’s a solution.” dude in spandex with body armor on never been far from the spotlight. top and a little ski mask on — got stopped by the police constantly,” FIGHTS OF RECORD THE EVOLUTION OF A Fodor says. There was time he stopped a Bell Town SUPERHERO What he had created was an ineffective brawl with pepper spray, for which he In 2009, Fodor was a vigilante, not a approach to fighting crime. Not only was arrested and ultimately unmasked. “superhero.” He wore spandex and a ski were police stopping him, but the very There was the time he, Midnight Jack mask and “flamingo’d” every criminal citizens he was trying to help were and El Caballero defended a Seattle he could. Meaning he would handcuff often scared away by his appearance. federal building from protesters during the 2012 May Day riots. And their right hand to their left leg “so they’d hop like a flamingo” and then “After a while, I kind of made up the then there was his most recent, and beat them up. Even a fighter of Fodor’s mantra of superhero and sort of perhaps most famous incident he calls caliber (A professional mixed martial covered my body armor, let people know mutual combat. arts record of 4-0) will eventually I’m there to help,” Fodor says. The November 9, 2012 legal street find himself on the receiving end. The On January 7, 2010 Phoenix Jones was fight between Fodor and another man, first time he was stabbed, the wound wasn’t serious but it prompted him to born. Fodor had received his first witnessed by a Seattle police officer. super suit (he’s had six in all, three Prior to the fight, Fodor cited a wear body armor. of which he still uses). “I got back to loophole in the Seattle Municipal my neighborhood, was walking down Code: if both parties agree to fight the street I actually live on and and no property is damaged, it’s fair someone’s getting carjacked,” Fodor game. Five leg kicks and a straight says, smiling. “Like, money! It was so right to the temple later and the man was on the ground. So too was the notion that Phoenix Jones can be taken lightly. “Mutual combat was bad in the sense that, you know, I try not to promote

Seattle //

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violence and now the most famous Thing I’m known for is beating someone down,” Fodor says. “But in a sense, it was really good because it made an example of somebody who was acting crazy, and now new people don’t feel the need to be that crazy because it’s already been explored. They know where the road ends.”

And with that, Jones is off. I look down at my waist as I begin to run to make sure my recorder and the two radios I’m carrying are secured to my belt. When I look up, Jones is 20 yards ahead of me. The man can run. He covers a few blocks until he reaches the Monster Dogs hot dog stand but doesn’t find a victim or an attacker. A crowd begins to develop around him, many of them filming with their phones.


“What did he do?” Jones asks the witnesses.

Jones, Midnight Jack, Boomer and I are walking in a Bell Town alley at 2:30 a.m. It’s a cool, clear night. The smell of marijuana and alcohol drifts behind passing groups of people.

“He beat the shit out of some guy,” says Mike Potts, 36. Jones starts running again, this time near Second Avenue and Bell Street. He soon encounters two thin, young black men, who I’ll call Chris and Kevin.

It’s been a slow night for RCSM. They’ve posed for a dozen pictures with bar hoppers and El Caballero, who’s nearby, helped a guy parallel park.

“Phoenix, Phoenix, we good, bro,” says Chris.

Two men appear at the end of the alley. “Hey, Phoenix Jones! There’s a fight down here, bro!”

“You might not be good. Let me explain why,” Jones says. “While we were at the hot dog stand they said you two were just beating somebody up.”

“No, there’s not,” Jones says. “Second Avenue, Phoenix!”

“Phoenix, listen to me,” Chris says, his words slurring. “I’m not beaten’ nobody fuckin’ up.”

“Second Avenue?” Jones says. “Let’s go.”

Chris, Kevin and Jones debate the facts for close to ten minutes. Chris and Kevin say “some Arabian dude” stole $20 from Kevin. Jones says if they want their money back, they’ll have to go back to the hot dog stand. They say they’re not going back.

Phoenix Jones and Peter O’Cain


Jones turns back toward the hot dog stand and Chris and Kevin follow. Soon there are six Seattle police officers on site. Jones and RCSM keep their distance. Chris continues to yell at David and bystanders. The police tell Chris that he and Kevin are lucky they aren’t going to jail. With that, all parties go their separate ways, some more quietly than others disappearing into the Emerald City night. □

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World Wut?

Dissidence // John Jacks

SYRIA: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Jamie Klouse The Middle East stands on the precipice of a widespread conflagration that echoes the proxy conflicts of the Cold War as neighboring countries are dragged into the Syrian conflict, willingly or otherwise. The Syrian Civil War began on March 15 2011 with protests that reached national levels by April 2011. These demonstrations came on the heels of other popular uprisings in nearby Arab countries, an event now referred to as the Arab Spring. As Tunisian, Egyptian and Libyan revolutions got underway, the Syrian people wanted to see similar changes in their country. The Syrian government, 64

led by President Bashar al-Assad, whose family has held the presidency in Syria since 1971, proved more resistant than its neighboring Arab governments.

rebels in Western Syria, and to the east, bombs rock Shia Muslim neighborhoods in Baghdad, killing 66 and injuring over 200. According to The Guardian, tensions between the Shia leadership and the country’s Sunni Muslim minority are at their worst since American troops left in December 2011, and the conflict in Syria is straining Iraq’s fledgling communal balance.

As the Arab Spring movements achieved resolution or were dissolved in other countries, the Syrian Civil War has continued to rage on for over two years. Many resistance factions within Syria have merged to form the Free Syrian Army. It did not take long for outside While the Syrian conflict appears to forces to begin offering assistance to be a revolution for civil liberties the different groups in the conflict. against the oppressive Assad-regime leading the Syrian government, the Despite efforts to keep the war foundations of the parties involved localized to Syria, battles are spilling are much murkier. As became abundantly across the Syrian border as the Syrian clear in the aftermath of the conflicts Army-aligned Hezbollah forces pressure in Afghanistan and Iraq in the previous

Pulse - 65 Aleppo // AFP

decade, the Middle East is deeply divided negotiations between the Syrian Meanwhile, Hezbollah, famous for its between the Sunni and Shiite Islamic factions is in the works. It is to be anti-Israeli ideologies and actions, is factions. held mid-June in Geneva, Switzerland. also tightly aligned with Iran. This puts the U.S. in a precarious position. According to the Associated Press, the Lavrov expressed reservations about difference between Sunni and Shiite the effectiveness of the conference, Earlier in May, Senator John McCain Islam stems from the early days of but seemed hopeful. “It’s not an easy sued for action in Time Magazine. “The Islam and arguments over Muhammad’s task,” Lavrov told the press afterward, strategic and humanitarian costs of successors as caliph, the spiritual and side by side with Kerry. “It’s a very tall the conflict in Syria continue to rise, temporal leader of Muslims during that order. But I hope that when the United not just for Syrians but also for vital period. The Shiites wanted the caliphate States and the Russian Federation take U.S. interests,” McCain tells Time, “The to descend through Ali, Muhammad’s son- this kind of initiative, the chances for -al-Qaeda-aligned al-Nusra Front has gained unprecedented strength on the in-law. Ali eventually became the fourth success are there.” ground. Iran and its proxy Hizbollah are caliph, but he was murdered. Ali’s son, building a network of militias inside Kerry indicated that the primary al-Hussein was massacred with his fighters at Karbala, in what is now Iraq. U.S. interest in the conflict is the Syria.” Shiites considered the later caliphs to proliferation of chemical weapons. be usurpers. The Sunnis no longer have “Both of us expressed our mutual McCain further highlighted the concerns concerns about any potential use of about the threat the conflict poses to a caliph. chemical weapons and the need to really the region, “Meanwhile, cross-border Followers of Sunni Islam make up get the evidence and ascertain what spillover threatens the security and the vast majority of the people of has happened in that regard,” Kerry said. stability of our allies and partners the Middle East, however there are “Both Russia, and the United States, if Israel, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Lebanon.” significant populations of Shia Islam in it were being used, object to that very, McCain has been a prominent detractor certain regions, and particularly among very strongly.” of President Obama’s stance of nonthe governments of several Middle in Syria. On May 27, McCain Eastern countries. Predominantly Shia While the United States has supported intervention made an unannounced visit across countries include Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Sunni Muslim factions in the Middle the Turkey-Syria border and met with Yemen and Lebanon, in addition to the East, Russia has largely backed Shiite General Salem Idris, the leader the Syrian government. Both Syria and Iran factions. Among U.S. allies are Turkey, Free Syrian Army. According to TheofDaily are lead by Shiite Islamic governments. Saudi Arabia and Jordan, as well as the Beast, McCain and Idris met with the Despite the Shiite Assad-regime, the Iraqi government – all Sunni aligned assembled leaders of the Free Syrian vast majority of people in Syria adhere Islamic countries. This predilection Army who called for the U.S. to step up works well for the Sunni-majority support for the armed Syrian opposition. to Sunni Islam. Syrian people. Along with the quite clear divisions Idris praised McCain for his attention of the Islamic factions, another pair of Meanwhile, Russia has supported Iran and to the situation, in contrast to the factions is becoming apparent: Russian the Syrian government, which are both, Obama administration’s lukewarm along with the majority of the Iraqi stance. “The visit of Senator McCain to and Western influenced countries. people, predominately Shiite Muslim. Syria is very important and very useful While preaching a message of nonespecially at this time,” Idris said in intervention and neutrality, Russia has A complicating detail of the conflict the meeting. “We need American help to unabashedly supported the Syrian regime is the openly Al-Qaeda aligned forces of have change on the ground; we are now during its recent conflict, preventing the Al-Nusra Front fighting alongside in a very critical situation.” United Nations resolutions and the rebel Free Syrian Army, and the opposing U.S. or European intervention. Lebanese Hezbollah fighting in support Idris requested open military support Russia was similarly conservative when of Assad’s Syrian Army. from the U.S. “What we want from the U.S. government is to take the decision UN resolutions were offered to deal with the Iranian government’s pursuit The U.S. is hesitant to provide direct to support the Syrian revolution with support to the Syrian rebels because weapons and ammunition, anti-tank of atomic technologies. of their cooperation with the Al- missiles and anti-aircraft weapons,” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Nusra Front, who have the potential Idris said. “Of course we want a no-fly Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to misappropriate weapons intended zone and we ask for strategic strikes on May 27 proposed a conference to for resisting the Assad regime for against Hezbollah both inside Lebanon discuss the Syrian conflict and begin use against U.S. and U.S. allied targets. and inside Syria.” 66

Pulse - 67 Free Syria Army //


Pulse - 69 Aleppo // Manu Brabo

UNTITLED // Oussama Diab

Pressure on the U.S. to intervene is growing as reports of the use of chemical weapons in the conflict become more common. According to a recent report from the French newspaper Le Monde, medics working in rebel-held districts near Damascus have treated hundreds of fighters for symptoms of chemical exposure since March. Both the rebels and the Syrian government have accused each other of using chemical weapons, but because of a lack of clear resolution at the UN, investigators have not been dispatched to the region.

Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, convened under the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that Syrian Rebels had deployed chemical weapons, but the claim was dismissed as unsupported and the commission stated that they had not reached conclusive findings as to their use by any parties. Just a day Kerry and Lavrov met, a UK and French led action was brought before the European Union to lift the arms embargo against Syrian rebel arms. Despite heated debate and widespread dissent, the EU acquiesced.

imminent plans to take action in Syria. The UK stated that the resolution was intended as a warning to the Syrian government, and passed despite strong opposition in the EU. “This was the outcome that the United Kingdom wanted,” William Hague, British Foreign Secretary, says. “It was a difficult decision for some countries but it was necessary and right to reinforce international efforts to reach a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Syria.”

The resolution includes some safeguards, While the UK and France state they such as a stipulation that requires any Early in May, Carla Del Ponte, a member merely wish to keep options open, they arms added to the conflict are used only of the Independent International have made assurances that they have no to protect civilians. The UK believes the 70

missiles and anti-aircraft weapons,” Idris said. “Of course we want a no-fly zone and we ask for strategic strikes against Hezbollah both inside Lebanon and inside Syria.” Pressure on the US to intervene is growing as reports of the use of chemical weapons in the conflict become more common. According to a recent report from the French newspaper Le Monde, medics working in rebel-held districts near Damascus have treated hundreds of fighters for symptoms of chemical exposure since March. Both the rebels and the Syrian government have accused each other of using chemical weapons, but because of a lack of clear resolution at the UN, investigators have not been dispatched to the region. Early in May, Carla Del Ponte, a member of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic, convened under the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that Syrian Rebels had deployed chemical weapons, but the claim was dismissed as unsupported and the commission stated that they had not reached conclusive findings as to their use by any parties. Just a day Kerry and Lavrov met, a UK and French led action was brought before the European Union to lift the arms embargo against Syrian rebel arms. Despite heated debate and widespread dissent, the EU acquiesced. While the UK and France state they merely wish to keep options open, they have made assurances that they have no imminent plans to take action in Syria. The UK stated that the resolution was intended as a warning to the Syrian government, and passed despite strong opposition in the EU. “This was the outcome that the United Kingdom wanted,” William Hague, British Foreign Secretary, says. “It was a difficult decision for some countries

Pulse - 71 Collage //

resolution will get the attention of there is an escalation. The shipments the Syrian government and contribute have not been sent on their way yet. to a more peaceful end to the conflict. And I hope that they will not be sent. If, God forbid, they do reach Syria, we will “It was important for Europe to send a know what to do.” clear signal to the Assad regime that it has to negotiate seriously, and that all Despite strong Western and Israeli options remain on the table if it refuses criticism, Ryabkov insisted that Moscow to do so,” William Hague, British Foreign had no plans to abandon the deal. Secretary, says. “Tonight EU nations have done just that … Thousands of lives are “We understand the concerns and signals at stake in Syria. Our focus remains on sent to us from different capitals,” efforts to secure a successful outcome Ryabkov said. “We realize that many of at the forthcoming Geneva conference, our partners are concerned about the and a political transition that ends issue. We have no reason to revise our the conflict allows refugees to return stance.” He further defended the deal by to their homes and prevents further stating that the missiles could not be used against the Syrian rebels, as they radicalisation in Syria.” do not have an air force. In response to the EU actions, Russia began preparations to send anti- On May 6, Guardian columnist Glenn aircraft missiles to the Assad regime Greenwald visited the Central campus to as a “stabilizing factor” to prevent discuss the erosion of civil liberties in “hotheads from considering scenarios the United States. Pulse Magazine had an that would turn the conflict opportunity to sit down with Greenwald international with the involvement of at College of Arts and Humanities Dean outside forces,” according to Russian Marji Morgan’s house following the Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. event. Greenwald was reluctant to take a firm stance on U.S. involvement The introduction of Russian anti- in Syria, but expressed frustration at aircraft missiles into the conflict on the dual-standards upheld by American the side of the Assad regime complicates leadership with regards to skirting the situation for U.S. allies. Israel international sovereignty and laws. has flown missions into Syria to bomb weapons shipments, which Israel Later that evening, Greenwald posted claimed were Iranian missiles intended a column to The Guardian in which he condemned Israel’s bombing of weapon for Hezbollah. shipments in Syria on the grounds that Russian anti-aircraft missiles would the U.S. and Israeli governments freely enable the Syrian government to disregard laws when it suits them. repel Israeli airstrikes in the region. According to the Washington Post, Greenwald posed a hypothetical question Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon to demonstrate the inconsistency: “If responded to the Russian plans to Syria this week attacks a U.S. military supply Syria with sophisticated anti- base on U.S. soil and incidentally kills aircraft missiles, warning that Israel some American civilians (as Nidal Hasan was prepared to use force to stop their did), and then cites as justification the fact that the U.S. has been aiding Syrian delivery. rebels, would any establishment U.S. “Clearly this move is a threat to us,” journalist or political official argue Yaalon said. “At this stage I can’t say that this was remotely justified?” 72

To summarize the incongruity of that mindset, Greenwald said, “The ultimate irony is that those who advocate for the universal application of principles to all nations are usually tarred with the trite accusatory slogan of ‘moral relativism.’ But the real moral relativists are those who believe that the morality of an act is determined not by its content but by the identity of those who commit them: namely, whether it’s themselves or someone else doing it.” While the UN argues over the use of chemical weapons in Syria, the UN has estimated that since March 2011, over 80,000 Syrians have died and 2.5 million Syrians have been displaced from their homes by conventional warfare. In a country of 20 million, these numbers are devastating. It is natural to desire to help those in need. However, whatever justifications the UN, the EU, Russia and the U.S. use to intervene in Syria, Greenwald argues that it must be seen to that those justifications are held to the highest scrutiny and applied equally. Memories must not be so short that we forget how cold wars begin, and further harm and destruction should be avoided in a region that has been devastated by centuries of war. Above all, as Greenwald argues, we must not impose a set of moral rules on others, and casually reject those morals when it suits us. There is an opportunity to stop an oppressive regime and liberate people crying out for assistance, but if art is destroyed, history is defiled and cultures are warped in the process, then all that can be claimed for justification after the fact amounts to little more than greed. □

Pulse - 73 Minaret //

Greetings from LA: The Diaries of a Pop Culture Queen — Pulse Native

A Column by Jake Updegraff

It was near this time last year when I wrote my personal memoir “Diary Of A Little Girl” for my column in Pulse Magazine, which included my obsession for Paris Hilton and how I not only wrote her a letter, but sent a calling card to her in jail, too. Come the following October, I got an invite to her annual Halloween party filled with A-list millionaires, masquerade inspired outfits, *NSYNC members, and… me.

This is when I knew my dream was coming true… I mean, if you even look at my old MySpace page with my eighteenyear-old biography, it briefly talks about how I want to be the next Ryan Seacrest, and now I’m interning for his company.

The dreams didn’t stop there though, at one point I started feel like Disney’s Aladdin… except there is no magic carpet ride nor was there a genie. If there are three thing things I’m addicted to, it’d I didn’t fit in, but I didn’t care, I was easily be social media, pop culture, and drunk. There was an open bar, and that is entering contests. one thing you should not put in front of a 22-year old. As college students, As a broke LA intern, since I can’t afford to attend concerts my only I’m sure you all understand. option is entering sweepstakes… and My life has changed drastically since boy is it working. In just the past six I was last in Ellensburg, let alone the months, the amount of things I’ve won state. I graduated in June on my way are absolutely insane and include the to intern for 106.1 KISS FM in Seattle. following: “Biggest Britney Fast-forward two months; I packed my Spears Fan”, a set of tickets to Ellen car up in just two days after being DeGeneres Show for her twelve days of offered an intern with Ryan Seacrest giveaways, and two separate contests Productions and drove, by myself, for Carrie Underwood, one included an all expense paid trip to Nashville to across the Pacific coast. 74 Photography // Jake Updegraff

see her in concert, a meet and greet through her fan club, and 4 floor tickets, 4 intimate meet and greets, and a limo ride to her televised concert in Ontario, California. It’s obvious I should be buying more lotto tickets. Though I often assume it’s all luck, but maybe it’s fate? In High School, students often dreamed about winning the state championship, getting casted as the lead role in theater, or winning the ASB election, but I dreamt of becoming BFFs with celebrities. I’m not there yet… but I’m kind of close.

friend doesn’t live in Los Angeles, so media. I’ve done an online radio show, that didn’t end up happening, but Cher, for four years still follows me and we do DM often. interviewing D-list celebrities to better my resume for my career dream I even got Mariah Carey to follow as a radio personality. Cher on Twitter when I met the diva at the American Idol taping because I’ve interviewed stars like ‘Real Cher asked me to have Mariah contact Housewives of Atlanta’ Kim Zolciak, her somehow, and I made it happen. Cher GLEE’s Blake Jenner, and most recently thanked me for it… no big deal. former ‘Teen Mom’ Farrah Abraham, which made entertainment headlines. Twitter never surprises me with all these celebrity mentions, follows, and The mother, recently sold her sex messages. Anyone who knows me knows tape for over $1 million dollars, that I’m a tweet-o-holic, so it’s been called into my radio show and told a way to communicate with these us exclusively that she has a baby box A-list stars. that is a collection of all her stuff, which will be shown to her daughter In just the past few months, I’ve been at 13-years-old… including the sex tweeted by stars like JoJo, Foster The tape. People, and Kellie Pickler, but none have been as amazing as Lady Gaga. It was Her response on my radio show became about a year and a half ago I created news on popular entertainment a video from CWU for Britney Spears’ sources like E! News, TMZ, PerezHilton. 30th birthday. com, and In Touch Weekly.

The rumors are true that Los Angeles is filled with celebrities. I’ve had the honor of meeting Paris Hilton, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Osbourne, Mariah Carey, Keith Urban, Justin Bieber’s manager Scooter Braun, some of the cast of GLEE, and many more. I’ve even scored a few follows from these Well, I did it again, except this A-list stars on Twitter. time I did it for Lady Gaga’s 4 year I know I haven’t accomplished becoming anniversary of reaching her first best friends with them yet, but I am number one on Billboard with “Just on my way to ordering pizzas with Dance.” The video included fans all Cher. I was on Twitter one morning over the world wishing her congrats when I received a new notification and positive video messages since her that Cher started to follow me (keep 4 years in the business. in mind, she had nearly 2 million followers and only followed 36 people The day after I uploaded it, Lady Gaga at this time). Not only did she start personally tweeted me thanks saying, following me, but she direct message “Just saw this. @OnAirJake you are so thoughtful to make that for me. me with a simple “HI!” I love it so much.” At the time she This was another one of those tweeted it, Gaga had been the most moments in my life when I had to ask followed user on Twitter with 33 myself “is this real life?” million followers… and she tweeted me? I continue to wonder if my life We continued to direct message back is staged as reality show (hence Jim in forth as she asked me about my Carey’s The Truman Show) and that relationship status, sexual preference, everyone’s in on it just to see how and that she thought I was her type I handle these moments. If that’s the for one of her friends. I couldn’t tell case, keep on doing it. if this was a scene in for Hitch 2, or if I was dreaming, but long story Lastly, my social reach has been short, Cher followed me to set me up insane, especially considering my with her friend. Unfortunately, the obsession with pop culture and social

I also made headlines with The New York Daily News as the famous newspaper interviewed me for my Photoshop expertise that was recognized by Amanda Bynes of a photo of her marrying rapper Drake as she retweeted it out to her million of followers. It shouldn’t be an achievement to be recognized by the troubled star… but I do feel like I accomplished something to be noticed by her – especially with the fiasco surrounding her life right now. In all reality, when I’m not winning contests, interning for school credit, or meeting celebrities, my life is pretty basic. I spend my weekends watching seasons of Weeds with microwaved frozen burritos as I tweet about it. I don’t normally like to be cliché, but you can achieve any dreams you have, just as long as you work toward it. If I can do, anyone can. □ Pulse - 75


aried Voices, publisher of original creative and literary works, is an independent department of CWU Pulse Magazine. We are committed to a vigorous presence of the creative voice in our culture. Varied Voices exists to discover and to share the best expressions in all media and reach the largest possible audience. It is our hope to use this platform to raise the independent creative voices of all student writers, readers, bloggers, performers and artists to a more visible position in American culture.


developing new audiences, creating new platforms for delivery, and encouraging independents to speak to the joy, the pain and the passion for modern creativity in and out of the collective universities that stick to the bones of us.

Wagner’s impressions of the american frontier are unprecedented. In celebrating the written word, our issue picks transcend the ordinary.

These works of fiction, poetry and photography all share the voice of prominence, showmanship, and reflection.

Korolog’s poetry Leaves us in a space of the american universe that we may never have journeyed, if left to our own wanderings.

Foland’s Untitled Photo connects spring to summer.

Klouse takes us by storm with a trip into the post-apocalyptic central washington desert in Hand of God.

Smith’s true story of her son’s superherodom circa 2005.

Rather than celebrating the works Robischon’s Report to the Board of Foland’s expression of friendship is of our own university alone, our Directors takes us into the board room realized in her final submission to editors wish to standardize a pulse magazine. receptive climate for student media by that many of us have never entered. So, dear readers, we have been wanting to open the magazine to various voices of CWU and college students of, well, anywhere. Here we make a little room for art, writing, articles, video, audio and more. If you are as fabulous as you know you are, then we want to hear from you. We all have rejection letters and not-for-us notes from college lit mags, right? We promise not to send you one. If we like your work, we'll publish it right here. To Send us your written words, spoken words, chapters, audio tracks, video of your band, short film, etc. go to Untitled // Alyssa Foland


A Supervillain’s Report to the Board of Directors

Levi Robischon

Date: May 7, 2013 To: MalaCorp Board of Directors From: Miles Malakith, CEO Subject: Projects Report Dear Members of the Board: I, Miles Malakith, am pleased to announce a significant gain in revenue from last quarter. Our tax breaks have once again mitigated our losses, and our technology projects have once again put MalaCorp ahead in the Capture-or-Kill-Superpowered-Menace-Captain-Alphasector, with new projects coming to fruition.

Twenty-three weeks later, I am pleased to announce that our scientists have submitted their results: The object appears to be an interstellar drone used by an advanced alien race to probe unexplored space and report any star systems with planets suitable for colonization. Furthermore, the energy burst it emitted was actually a high-intensity signal that was broadcast at speeds exceeding that of light light.

In short: we reactivated a dangerous machine designed to find worlds to conquer. In so doing, we may or may not have inadvertently broadcast Earth’s location to an aggressively hostile alien race. Luckily, we here at MalaCorp know how to turn every potentially world-destroying crisis into an opportunity. Right now, our boys at R&D are hard at work The first of these projects I want to bring up is Project reverse-engineering the machine, and we will soon begin mass GOLEM. As you are no doubt aware, six months ago I deployed production of our own autonomous attack drones based on a team to recover a space object that was discovered in the object’s design, nicknamed GOLEM. a paleontological dig in the Yuma Desert. We believed this object to be similar to the one that gave Captain Alpha his Now you’re probably wondering: Miles, how are we going to destructive abilities and wanted it out of the hands of control an army of mindless machines of pure warfare whose potential menaces like the previously mentioned vigilante. designs were based on a robot that was sent to destroy us? Unfortunately, this object turned out to be an autonomous Well, hypothetical asker of rhetorical questions, I’ll answer military-grade attack drone that wiped out half of the you with one word: CAIN. research team along with several dozen bystanders. What’s CAIN, you ask? CAIN is the name of our unrivaled Luckily the secondary team managed to disable the robot, automated network, which ironically started as a chess app but not before it emitted a strange pulse of energy. After for our MalaPad electronic tablets, until it began exceeding recovering the object, our techs got to work on studying it. its original programming. Pulse - 77

When we learned that the AI was capable of learning at an exponential rate, we put the software to work overseeing all of our automated systems and our computer network. We dubbed the AI the Central Advanced Integration Network, or CAIN for short. CAIN has proven so effective that just recently we’ve begun contracting its use to the CIA, DOD, NSA, and Homeland Security to update all of their systems and run diagnostics checks. Eventually we hope that it will be put to use overseeing all of their data and electronics systems. With luck, CAIN will be completely integrated into the national defense networks. Think about it; every satellite, missile, and unmanned vehicle will be controlled by one supersmart AI, thereby removing the dangers of human error. And now CAIN will oversee the operations and deployment of every GOLEM robot should the need ever arise. I imagine that will occur soon, such as the inevitable day when the government declares Captain Alpha an enemy of the state and gives us leave to capture or kill the caped troublemaker.

I know you may be inclined to see this as a complete failure, but I refuse to accept defeat. You know what they say about when life hands you lemons. So I don’t see it as a failure in human teleportation. Rather, I see it as a success in first contact with an interdimensional life form. Now, you’re probably curious as to what I mean exactly by “interdimensional life form.” Well, my advisers wanted me to keep a lid on this, but it’s about to get out anyway: we’ve discovered an intact, living, breathing alien from another dimension. It’s safely contained in our labs where our scientists are free to study it without restrictions. What little they’ve learned is that it’s a female member of some combination of insectoid, reptilian, amphibian species.

We don’t know much about it other than that it reproduces by laying eggs en masse, much like a bee or ant queen. She’s already laid about two hundred eggs, about a quarter of which have since hatched. She likes warm places, and her kids really like the interns. Some of her larvae escaped through the air and just attached themselves to our unpaid workers, Now, some of our scientists have expressed concerns over ducts literally just latching onto them at the base of their skulls. the efficiency and reliability of CAIN in the event of full automated systems activation. Some words have been Now, normally we’d try to remove those suckers but the interns carelessly thrown around. Words like “self-awareness,” don’t seem to mind, or at the very least their behavior hasn’t “rogue behavior,” and “attempts to gain unauthorized access changed much. We have, however, noted a 200% improvement in to nuclear launch codes.” Not to worry though, the CAIN work efficiency since the larvae attached themselves to their artificial intelligence has personally assured me that the new hosts. It’s gotten to the point where the interns don’t fail-safes we’ve put in place are working properly, preventing even go home for the night, they just work at their stations any unwarranted behavior. until they collapse at their desks, regain consciousness several hours later, and then get back to work. We’re confident that the military sector will see the need for CAIN in future conflicts, and our moles in the CIA seem to There does, however, seem to be a slight misunderstanding agree. Now you might be asking: Miles, why do we have moles in their job instructions. I’m not sure how they went from in government intelligence agencies? Well, I’d answer but I official website maintenance to cataloging the biodiversity think that these self-aggrandizing rhetorical questions are of local mammals, but I think a friendly memo should suffice. getting repetitive, so we’re moving on. In any case I’m going to ask our scientists if perhaps we can grind the hatchlings down into some form of A.D.D. medication As you are aware, last year we began work on a prototype alternative. Failing that, I’m sure we can somehow use them teleportation device called PANDORA. The PANDORA gateway as weapons to finally deal with the meddlesome Captain Alpha. was designed to create a portal that would theoretically transport information and matter to any location on Anyway, back to the mother life-form. Our research department Earth. Our human test subject, Colonel James Montgomery has dubbed her Subject LILLITH, while the interns prefer call Hawthorne, bravely volunteered to be the first human to her Muatagh-noteir, Mother of the Horde, spawn of the dark stars, matron of Great Horakath, who shall engulf the world travel to another location via the PANDORA portal. in a glorious inferno of ecstasy and ascension. Personally, I Unfortunately, our preliminary tests didn’t account for just call her Becky. the presence of organic matter, which caused some slight temporal fluctuations. In retrospect we should have used Now, you’re probably wondering just what Becky looks like. mice or something before testing it on humans. In the end, Unfortunately, it’s a little hard to give an accurate physical I can’t really disclose the specifics of what happened, but I account of something so grotesque and alien. If I had to give can assure you that Colonel Hawthorne’s family will be well- it a description, however, the word “abomination” certainly springs to mind. compensated. 78

One of the innate problems with Becky’s appearance is that staring at her for a prolonged amount of time tends to drive people insane. This is the case whether you’re sharing the same room with her or just looking at a still photograph (which is why I withheld any footage or images of her in this report). Luckily, our doctors learned that administrating our experimental memory-erasing drug to her victims tends to bring them back from the brink of madness. I myself decided to take cautionary measures and took the serum after spending a few hours going over footage of Becky’s capture. Three days later and no signs or symptoms of—FUTAGHA NAMEIR, HORAKATH. DOVEIR MUATAGH EMENDROM NOTEIR. EROKA’MATHA MUFERTY CALAITH— in a crate of bananas heading for Brazil. Luckily we deployed a covert quarantine and cleanup team so if there is an outbreak it should be contained within the confines of Rio de Janeiro. Despite this close call, I’m reluctant to have Becky and her offspring disposed of. I’m quite confident the benefits of continued research outweigh the risks. In fact, I get a scratching sensation at the base of my skull whenever I think otherwise. In closing, we acknowledge that MalaCorp’s prospects seem questionable. After all, we’ve gained the unwanted attention of a cosmic empire, our MalaPad electronic tablets had to be scrubbed, and we failed to produce a functioning teleportation device. However, with every failure comes a silver lining, which presents us with unforeseen opportunities. We are only beginning to tap into MalaCorp’s full potential, which will bring this company to a new golden age. Our best days are still ahead of us, and they’ll begin once we realize our goal for the past five years: killing Captain Alpha. Sincerely, Miles Malakith, MalaCorp CEO

Pulse - 79


He never would have found the wreck, if not for the horses. There were three, all palominos, standing shoulder to shoulder in the rusty pasture, muzzles in parallel, facing the plain as if startled by the same cold star. He’d been pushing eighty on the highway. At dusk he thought about everything the sun was setting on—everything he was leaving behind. He rounded the corner and there he looked up. That’s when he saw the horses. He followed their gaze into the hills a far ways off across a river that moved so slowly it seemed not to move at all. He saw the black rocky outcrops and sparse pines on the ridge, a milky blue sky above. He had been driving between the mountains and the river all day, now and then spitting the shells of sunflower seeds into last week’s coffee cup. He didn’t like the radio on. The sound of the engine and the wheels on the road was enough music for him. Stacks of boxes in the truck bed blocked out the rear view mirror, but he kept glancing 80

up anyway, out of habit sometimes and sometimes just to look at the one dustfree corner of the mirror’s edge where her photo used to be. The sight of the horses got him out of his head, got him looking around. Otherwise he never would have noticed the tire tracks swerving off the road, vanishing over the shoulder and into the culvert. A thin ribbon of smoke, nearly invisible, drifted up from below. He pulled off onto the shoulder and got out of his truck. He walked to the edge where gravel turned to sage, and from here he saw the wreck. One car, a white Camry, front end crushed like a cigarette in the bracken and brush. It took him longer than he expected to scramble down the side of the bank. Inside the wreck was a man in the driver’s seat and a woman passenger. Neither moved. He went first to the driver. The window was shattered. He almost reached in to touch the

body. The man’s forehead rested on the steering wheel. His eyes were open and ornamental drops of blood slid down his cheek, pooling at the eyelid’s edge, clinging to the lashes. Wide pupils fixed on the speedometer. He ran around to the other side. The woman was slumped forward, too, tight against her seatbelt. Her eyes were closed. He checked her pulse, felt for breath. Nothing. For a moment he stood as still as the victims. Then he started to run, not toward the road but deeper into the bare trees. He stopped and walked back to the car. He grew dizzy and turned toward the river. He slumped down in the snow, leaning against the passenger door. He did not have a phone. It was one of the things he’d left behind. Time must’ve passed, but he could not account for it. When he heard her coughing he wondered who was there. Her eyes were open and her head rested

back against the seat. Damp blonde hair covered her face like strips of drying paint. She moaned. He told her not to move. She blinked rapidly, winced, and whimpered the word, “Ow,” over and over. She sounded like a child who’d fallen and was only making a fuss for the attention. “Don’t move,” he said after each sound. “Don’t move.” “It hurts,” she said. “Just stay still,” he said. “You’re gonna be okay.” “It hurts.” A change came over her face and she seemed to notice him for the first time, seemed to relax. “Are you here to rescue me?” He asked her if she had a phone. He had to ask a few times. She nodded. He told her not to nod. “In my bag. Or Eric’s,” she said. She said the name Eric again and again until he shushed her. She tried to look at the dead driver but he stopped her. “Eric’s fine,” he said. “Don’t move your neck.” “Where’s Eric?” she said. “Eric’s unconscious. I gotta call for an ambulance.” “Eric has a phone.” He found the phone in the dead man’s jacket pocket. The screen was cracked and the battery had popped out. He could not force it back into place. He returned to the woman’s side of the car and told her he needed her phone. “I can’t breathe,” she said. Then she said it louder. She was nearly hyperventilating, pupils dilating. Her hands shook. “I can’t breathe.” The fastener for the seatbelt was crushed and the button would not depress. He had a Leatherman and managed to work the blade under the seatbelt. “Hold still,” he said. When he cut the strap she trembled less and her eyes closed. “Don’t go to sleep,” he said. She nodded. He told her to stop moving. “Where’s your phone?”

She opened her eyes. They were green and bloodshot. “In my bag,” she said. “Where’s your bag?” “Is he dead?” “Is it in the back? Is it this green one?” The back door hung open on twisted hinges and he reached in and grabbed the purse. He stood beside her and opened it and shook everything out onto the floor. He saw notebooks and tampons, gum, keys, chapstick, an envelope. “Can I tell you something?” she said. He opened all the zippers. He found Altoids and headphones, pens, menthols, lipstick. He dropped the purse atop the mound of its contents. “Can I tell you?” she said. “Sure,” he said. “I’ve been praying for him to die.” He crawled again into the back seat. As he dug through the wreckage he would occasionally glance over his shoulder into the rearview mirror, to keep an eye in case the woman fell asleep. “Real quick prayer,” she said, “that he’ll die.” He found an atlas and two pillows and a spilled box of jazz CDs. He found a little black backpack. “Dear Lord just let him die, is what I pray.” He opened the backpack. Nothing but a bottle of water and a pair of blue socks. “Every time I swear I won’t think it again.” He checked the front pocket. A pack of playing cards. A bar of soap. “There’s no phone here,” he said. “Is this your bag?” “Am I a bad person?” “Please tell me if this is your bag.” “I didn’t know what else to do.” From the back seat, where there was nothing else to be found, he heard her soft cry. “I’m sorry, Eric,” she said. “I didn’t know how to leave.”

The light faded from the west and the naked birch trees spread their shadows over the river. He realized he could no longer hear her and he climbed out of the back and leaned in and saw that her eyes were closed. “Don’t sleep,” he said. “You can’t fall asleep. Talk to me, lady. Say something. Tell me your name.” She didn’t move. “Your name. Tell me your name.” Her eyes opened slightly, a knife’s blade. Her lips were slack. She seemed to be peering through a dream. “Tell me your name,” he said. “Are you flirting with me?” “That’s right, just keep talking.” He took a deep breath. He spared a moment to lift his head to the sky in supplication. He saw two stars emerge from between pale clouds. Two stars side-by-side, looking down at him. “Amy,” she said. “Do you know where your phone is, Amy?” “You want my number?” “Yes. Tell me your number.” “You better buy me a drink first.” “Are you in pain? What hurts?” She may have smiled. It was hard for him to tell because her lipstick smeared out onto her cheek. “Nothing hurts,” she said, but then her eyes came alive and she cried out, “It hurts. Oh God, get me out of here. Get me out!” He put his hands on her shoulders to restrain her. He told her a million times not to move, that she was okay. He waited until her breathing slowed again. He explained that she didn’t seem to be hurt that bad but if she moved she could make things worse. She told him to call the ambulance. “I will, but I need a phone.” “It hurts.” “A phone.” “Eric has a phone.” Pulse - 81

“I know, but it’s broken. I need yours. I need your phone.” She began to drift. “My bag,” she said and her eyes closed. “Come on,” he said. “Stay with me.” “Who are you?” “Please tell me where your phone is. Please.” “My green bag.” “I checked. Did it fall out? Maybe under the seat?” He moved to look again but she told him to wait and the word echoed in the tiny mangled cavity of the car. He waited. “Am I going to die?” she asked. “No, but we need to get an ambulance out here.” “For Eric,” she said. “For Eric,” he said. “Is he okay?” “He’s hurt pretty bad.” “Is he dead?” He could not reply. She breathed deep. Coughed. A terrible cough. He held her down until she was finished. “He’s dead,” she said. “I’m sorry.” “It’s my fault.” “No,” he said. “You have to let go,” she said, but not to him. “Amy.” “Let go,” she said. “You have to let go.” Her gaze fell out through the shattered windshield into the unraveling of branches and the embankment that had finally put a stop to their drive. She stared as if between the cracks and the naked juniper and the frozen splinters of shadow that would soon bring total blackness upon the culvert and the river and the steady heartbeat of winter’s end. 82

“I prayed for it,” she said. “The phone. I’ll look again.” “There’s no phone.” “Are you sure?” “It’s in the bag.” “I looked.” “It’s gone.” “I’ll go get help.” Her eyes rolled to the sky. “It’s gone. It’s gone.” “I’ll find someone. There was farmhouses a mile or so back. They’ll have a phone.” “Don’t go.” “You need help.” He wondered if could he afford to risk running back up to his truck. She was so bad off. In such bad shape. What they’d do on a ranch with any other animal this bad off is they’d—he pictured himself putting a gun to her head, putting her out of her misery. This is how problems get solved. You don’t linger and you don’t suffer through. You fix it or you move on. What’s out of the question doesn’t stay out of your head. He felt guilty but he couldn’t stop. Thoughts just come. The more he tried to focus the more his mind wandered. He thought maybe he should dig through his wallet for a picture of her he’d missed before and forgotten to destroy. He wanted to see her face. He should have his own phone. He thought about driving off and forgetting all about it. He thought about going home, but then he remembered that he would not be going home that night or ever again. That he hadn’t even planned a place to stay. He was just going to drive until he got tired, maybe find a motel, maybe pull over and sleep in his truck. He’d forgotten to strap a tarp over his boxes. This whole time she was looking at him calmly. “Talk to me for a minute,” she said. “Touch my hair.” “Okay,” he said. “We can talk.” “Is it cold? I feel cold.”

“It’s cold. There’s snow.” “Snow.” He had been thinking about it all day on the road, trying to piece the last few weeks together, trying to decide why things went down the way they had. They’d been together a year. Why now? He hated himself for leaving the cell phone behind, but it was on her account. There would have been no reason to take it except out of spite. “Are you married?” she said. There was no white band above his knuckle where a wedding ring might have been. They both must have known, from the very start, that someday it would end like this. “No,” he said. Then he heard twigs crunching and turned his head and saw a horse wandering toward them from down along the river bank. Another palomino. The horse approached the car as unwavering as if it had a message to deliver. Foggy breath bled from its nostrils and it sniffed at the broken headlights for a minute before coming closer to the open window. “We used to have horses,” she said. “Two beauties.” He’d never seen a horse behave quite this way. It betrayed no fear of the man or anything and pushed its muzzle right up to the window so that he had to push back against its chest to keep it from who knows what—crawling inside the car? “Git.” He slapped the horse’s neck. The woman’s face put on a toddler’s grin and she stretched out her fingers to touch the creature’s black and flapping lips. At last he got the thing to back up a few paces, and it seemed to grow bored and wander over near where the wildgrass grew and it began to graze. “What the hell,” he said. “Am I dead?” “No.” “You said you were married?” “Never been married.”

“Propose to me,” she said. “I need to get you out of here.” “No one’s ever proposed to me before.” “Gotta be some way.” “I don’t want to die without a proposal.” “I won’t let you die.” “Ask me.” But he didn’t. He found a blanket in the trunk, but no phone. He brought the blanket to her and rested it over her legs and chest. “It’s okay,” she said. “Ask.” “If you think you can stay awake I’ll go back up and see if I can flag someone down on the road.” “Ask,” she said. He felt foolish. He scanned his memory

for the proper inflection, and he asked her. “Mean it,” she said. He tried again. In a deeper voice, after settling his breath. He decided there was something similar in the left corner of their mouths. She gave him encouraging looks and whispered, “One more time.” Defeated, calm, he said, “Will you marry me?” She smiled. Her chest shuddered as her lungs filled with air. “I don’t even know you,” she said. “But it’s sweet to ask.” Her breathing seemed stronger now. Her face looked more pale, but it was only the darkness drawing around.

Her eyes closed again. After a moment he touched her shoulders and she mumbled like a grumpy teenager trying to manage an extra five minutes. “Amy,” he said. And when she did not reply he said it again. The horse stopped grazing and lifted its head. Its neck swung first toward the car and then back across the river to face the plain. He’d often wondered how much animals understood or cared when other creatures were injured or dying. They say elephants in the Indus first taught humans how to grieve. He said her name a third time. From somewhere in the backseat, a muffled cell phone rang.

LEARN MORE: Pulse - 83

Fearless Boys Wear Red Mende Smith

Maxe prefers the power color of the In all of the comics at the local comic primary wheel to any other. He only eats shop, Flash is wearing red. red apples and he says that he only likes the shiny red soda pop cans. Thumbing through long boxes of books, Maxe made the He always picks red hot-wheels cars at cellophane-covered connection. Maxe decided that he could the store. ‘The red ones are the fastest’, be as fast as the Flash if he only had he says. that suit. Maxe is four-years-old. He says that stop lights make him want to run ‘I neeeed that suit’ faster, the way a superhero can and one might think these are all the ideas of a In the suit, he reasoned he would have child’s mind, but super-speed and seemingly violate Harry Lampert is really to blame. Lampert certain laws of physics. created the Flash. One month before his fifth birthday, he When he was in preschool, Maxe asked for a Flash costume. A month after his birthday he needed a new one, as it discovered Flash Gordon. 84

looked like the suit that Harry Lampert’s beloved character Flash Gordon died in. Pulled on crooked over his blue jeans and shirt, almost every day since his birthday, the yellow lightning bolt worn so thin so he could run up to flash speed as he called it, the suit consumed him. The elastic at the ankles was the first to unravel like two severed fabric tendons. * “Flash needs a new suit,” his older brother said. Having been distressed to sheet

lightning pallor, the silk-screened logo was no longer a bright yellow bolt in perfect strike stance. The gold foam belt in threads and torn around the sewn shut buckle, hanging like the branches of a skeleton Christmas tree just below his waist were the anthem to his devotion. Snags running down the inseams of both legs and the frayed cloth tie at the neck, one side a permanent rope of tiny knots and the other, soaked in spit from the corner of his mouth, where the longer end reaches just past his mask, prime for sucking or biting on while watching TV. From the living room to the bathroom, the suit often developed a few stray drops of pee from pulling up the one leg of the suit high enough to release a small stream into the toilet. * “Flash needs a new suit,” his older sister said. Maxe was standing in the doorway with his eye mask pulled up into his mess of blonde curls. Dinner was almost ready and he could hear the Good Humor truck in the distance. A few minutes later, the Flash lightning-sped to the ice cream truck with a few Sacajawea-faced silver dollars his mom gave him. The miniature superhero jumped up and down waving his hand at the driver just in time to stop the truck before it went down the other street. His sister hurried after him and asked for two bomb pops, one for her and her older brother, as Maxe carefully pointed to the famed superhero cone with a red caped-crusader on the paper wrap. Now other kids were coming up to the Good Humor truck. And they formed a line of eight behind him and they waited. The good humor man waited and big sister waited. Back on the porch, big brother waited. Everyone waited impatiently for the little superhero’s fingers to fumble the coins.

The neatly wrapped superhero cone was the one and only confection for the Flash on August afternoons. The very speed propelling him so fast up the sidewalk was to be replenished by the superhero cones. Like a battery for the suit. He ate his ice cream in full sun on the front porch and it soon dribbled down his chin, down the chest of his red suit, running into the split fibers of the electric storm and sending shivers to the backs of nearby spectators, now eating their own confections.

into kicking his feet and rocking his chair.



One month later, it was the cookie cutter shape of a speedy red elf hopping around the tree, a blur in the digital camera photos. The flash of color devouring the green packages like wrapped peppermint candy. On New Year’s Eve, it curled up with him while he slept through the ball falling in Times Square.

“Flash needs a new suit,” Grandma laughed On Boxing Day, the red suit had its last wear. Upon arriving home late in the as she carried in the mail. evening with take-out Chinese food, we The thin chocolate ribbon from the found Starr, the babysitter pulling a crest of the cone smeared like ointment clean towel from the bathroom cupboard in the right sleeve of the red suit and in her skinny jeans and t-shirt shaking no amount of soap or water would her spiked-up head at the small boy in the ever restore its initial brightness. bathtub. Bubbles and bath toys floating The shooting-star sprinkles of red and all around him, Maxe was in the bath and blue stuck to the foam belt like fleas in the suit. hanging onto clean skin. Sugar stain tattoos of waxy powder and the thrust “Flash needs a new suit,” she smiled, “and of a lapping tongue had fixed a rainbow I could not take it off of him to wash of spit and artificial color from the it, so we just decided to have a speed tip of his nose to the pout of his lower bath.” lip. The blue dye had reached the collar, having streaked the fibers below his This teenager from the bowling alley down the street had figured a way to chin to a dull purple. get him out of the suit that we had rarely seen him out of in more than a Ten months passed year. She lifted him from the water and Nearly ten months since the famed two wet yellow foam printed boots design of the silver age superhero suit went squish on the bathroom floor. had arrived pristine in its crackling The red mask still circling toward the plastic package, designed for a single draining bath water in the tub, Maxe night of Halloween splendor. This suit pulled at the string tying the soaking had seen the fall leaves come and go. Had thing clinging like cello-wrap to his it belonged to any sensible boy, it was 45-pound body. He wriggled his body and the suit slid down his belly and landed perfect for one night of wear. on the bathmat. He kicked it with his Maxe went for the suit as often as Barry foot in disgust. A wet suit was not Allen went for his. He was still diving the same. Maxe pulled on his dry pajamas into it every day in November. Long after and dug a wrinkled fingertip into his the last piece of candy from the molded left ear. skull bucket disappeared, the threadbare suit was underneath his corduroy pants A week later, we moved on to Batman. and polo on Thanksgiving; it was the suit bristling all of the lightningspeed energy left in its poly-blend veins Pulse - 85

Al Williams Passes The Johnny Walker Talking GeorgeStick Korolog Back then, the summer was made of real dirt, hard dirt, shattered shale that lodged under your fingernails, a lifetime of black blot tattoos, ink that penetrated, infiltrated, streaking sepsis with the infectious words, fuck him, fuck you, fuck me and fuck it all, the hard truth, the brutal stare-down that crushed and separated everyday sludge into twenty-four hour lifetimes, none lapping on the last, an endless stream of coal black pools, more of the same, day after day, drowning the urban drearies who worked the mind like winged carnival barkers who promise you everything, but have nothing substantial to give, so you just push them under without further complaint. After our shift, we’d fight it off with two quarts of Annie Green Spring Apple Jack, or if we got overtime, a bottle of Johnny Walker Black from the package store, passing the bottle, sweating in a crumpled brown bag in the midnight heat, the thick cork dust from the corners of our mouth rimming the lip. We’d sit, sipping our communion, the red and blue reflections from the pew-less streets on our faces, the liturgy shared, not Psalms, 86

but the revelations in Aunt Bessie’s Dream Book, where the number for tomorrow was foretold, stealing dimes and cheap conversation. Al would lean back, arching like a strung bow, all sinew, and flash that smile, the big one that made you grin from somewhere deep inside that didn’t exist until you met him. He had four women, nine children and a lime green nineteen fifty-eight Cadillac convertible. He had a way with a story. We all laughed when he spelled it out, Napoleon Brown had been arrested last week for murdering his best friend with a baseball bat, came into work the following day and clocked-in where the police were waiting for him. Just a kid. Just like that. Beat his best friend to death with a baseball bat and came into work the next day. Shit, the job was everything. Al passed the half empty bottle and kept talking, tonguing the crags at the sharp corners of his mouth, halfway between a smirk and a smile, like a crafty preacher, saying that if it’s not your time,

then you got to stay, no choice, like when Marshal Cleveland’s woman put a bent and rusted steak knife in his back thirteen times when he come home mean and pissed on the floor. Motherfucker wouldn’t die. Al said it was no big thing. Not nothing at all. The good Lord makes those decisions, so Marshall been excused for a while longer. He been back on the dayshift since April, up in the Mill, loading them cork bales in the mill so fast that they have to shut it down every two hours and call the Millwright. Loads it so fast, it jams and he just sittin in the break room, looking fine at the window, sipping.

Come September, things gonna change and get downright complicated. Ain’t no real dirt where I’m going, but come next June, when it’s time, I’m changing back into these grimy threads, coming back home, straight up.

When the mosquitoes from the river got nasty, we’d light up a few fat cattails, stick em in the cracks between the pilings and bathe our bodies in the sweet smoke hanging from the docks. Talked about the day Garfield had lost his head when the guide wires on the tram rail split and the cab fell over one hundred feet and his head was sheared off when he was thrown clear through the front windshield. Cleese Coates nodded, said that one of his friends had been on the swing shift and had seen Garfield’s head bounce over the rails and land next to the cork bails s tacked beside the empty semi’s. We all mumbled, thanking the Lord that it wasn’t our time, wasn’t our fault, wasn’t our shift and glad as hell that we didn’t put in for that job for a flimsy raise of sixty two cents an hour driving that piece of shit. Tough was what you wore cause nothing else fit. Straightforward. Skin tight. Leave it at that. Pulse - 87

A Cold Dark Hard Some windows open with so little effort, as if the counterweights and sash were well roosted, lingering, awaiting the reach of a soft hand, the unexpected company of shrewd eyes, a nudge, opening to the infectious, rapid bursts of wildflowers, the bluest blue, tears dripping color. Then there are the windows heavy with leaded buckle, perverting lines into a wobbly flutter, distorting air that droops like slackened, disfigured jaws. These windows are forever sealed with soot that resolves into insolent inky barrens under pressure, lying deep beneath the wait, crushed and sprinkled with dead petals of black Dahlia, funeral cake, a lifeless spray of orange pekoe blotting a life, not inside crinkled pages with warm remembrance, but in heaviness, light that has forgotten why, when, that waits where it can no longer stand anymore.

Raw String Cover // George Korolog

Publication Credits “Al Williams Passes the Johnny Walker Talking Stick� Connotation Press (June 15th, 2012) 88

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COM 468 Professor Cynthia Mitchell

Pulse - 89

Fallout 3 Media Art // Zenimax

The Hand Jamieof KlouseGod Paige drew the copper cable behind her as she stepped off the banks of the Yakima River. The earth beneath her feet was pale brown and dry. She stopped short to untangle the cable from the leafless shrubs that filled the landscape. As she struggled with the branches of the shrubs, her messy brown hair slipped into her eyes. She stood a moment, pulled her hair back, wrapped it into a bun and secured it with a screwdriver from the front pocket of her faded blue-grey boilersuit. In the distance she could see the hills and mountains that once were covered with lush forests, now only forests of rot. The sky was drab, dirty 90

clouds hanging low and spanning from one horizon to another. The comet had changed everything. It wasn’t one of those events commonly seen in movies where a giant ball of rock strikes the Earth and causes massive ocean waves to crash over cities. This comet had a more subtle method of destruction. She had seen it wreak all the havoc one might imagine, without ever touching the planet. As it passed by with a calm disinterest, its wake left humanity in ruin. Paige looked toward the foot of the hill a few meters ahead. Her green eyes

scanned the base of it for her indolent partner. The hill was covered in brush, much of it brown and lifeless, but some of it showed a hint of green. The hill inclined at a sharp angle, peaking two hundred feet above the river. From a distance, it looked like any other dry, empty husk of the once green landscape of the valley. However, upon closer inspection, one might notice a pile of litter - empty boxes, broken appliances and other useless junk – about fifty feet from a small entrance to an abandoned mine in the hillside. “Liam!” Paige called and waited a moment. Nothing stirred. “Hey Liam! Are you gonna

sit on your ass all day or what?” A light blue milk crate slid a foot to the side to reveal the sideways Liam, supine, bathing in what sunlight there was filtering through the clouds, “Eh?” Liam shouted. “I swear... get over here and help me you turd.” Liam stood. A light brown tweed jacket smudged with oil, torn at one elbow, stretched across his lanky frame. The edges were frayed at the bottom, but blended into the grey jeans he wore beneath. He dusted himself off, pulled a dark, wool Ivy cap over his head and started toward Paige. “This isn’t a job interview,” Paige remarked smirking. “There’s no reason not to look nice. It’s a personal prerogative,” Liam opined. “I wasn’t aware we could still afford those.” Paige yanked on the cable once more and broke it loose of the shrubs. As she turned to pull it along, Liam arrived beside her and wrapped his arm around the cable. “This thing’s thick. It must be solid copper inside,” Liam said. “I found it up by the electrical towers. Must have been knocked down in the last wind storm,” Paige said. “That’s really dangerous, you know. A live current from one of these would cook you in an instant.” Looking at him sideways, her brow lowered and jaw tightened, “I’m not an idiot. It wasn’t sputtering or anything, and nothing caught fire.” “Still,” Liam said. “Just pull,” Paige interrupted. “Half of the power lines around here are falling over just from a lack of maintenance. And anyway, if we can run this between the river and the battery bank, we’ll be able to run enough power for the electric fence.” “If we improve the paddle wheel, with a cable like this, we could run a village,”

Liam thought out loud. “Let’s focus on keeping the crazies outside before we consider letting anyone in.” As the two reached their junk pile, a weak whistle grew more audible. Liam dropped the cable, running toward the hillside. Paige pulled up the last bit of slack and crouched beside a capped PVC pipe sticking a few inches out of the ground. She pulled it up about a foot, the dirt around it moving slightly as a hidden tether rose up from below. After a moment, a hole appeared in the side of the pipe above the ground level. Several strands of wires hung out of it, running back underground in the direction of the river. “Will it fit?” Liam asked as he returned, handing Paige a hot mug. “It’ll be snug, but I think so.” Paige looked into the mug. Steam trails wafted from the translucent red liquid into her nostrils, filling them with the starchy, rich aroma of Assam tea. It was one of the only flavored beverages they had been able to find with any regularity. Looters had largely left stores of it alone. “I’ll need you underground to grab the line as I feed it in,” she said, setting the mug down. “Take a break, geez. Let’s just enjoy some tea while it’s hot.” With reluctance, Paige nodded and sat in the dirt. Liam pulled up a cardboard box for a table and alighted on his milk crate. Paige took a sip, then hastily wiped the dirt from her grimaced lips. Liam chuckled. After a long silence, Paige leaned forward and rested her chin on the box, observing Liam. He sat high over the box atop the milk crate, his bony knees shooting out at a wide angle. His elbows rested on his thighs, keeping his mug just high enough to rest his chin on it. She was glad they were together, even if he sometimes valued style over survival. His dreaming and optimism kept her going – kept her motivated.

“You know, my mom called it the Star of Bethlehem,” Paige said. Liam looked up from the liquid in his mug. He studied Paige a moment then moved his gaze to the box, but his focus was beyond it. “Maybe it was,” he said finally. “She only thought that because of all the instant prophets that were born the day the comet was discovered,” Paige said, her gaze shifting to Liam. “It rose out of the east. Who’s to say it wasn’t?” “The Muslim leaders called it a star and crescent. Proof that Allah had come to end the rule of western evil.” Paige recalled the programs that filled every channel leading up to the day the comet passed by. Every religious leader claimed the event for themselves and their respective religion. “It could have been both,” Liam said with a shrug. This answer frustrated her. Splitting the difference wasn’t good enough. “It’s more likely neither,” she said, “and if you thought it’d been either or both, you wouldn’t have come up here with me. You’d have stood out there like those idiots as the asteroid approached.” Liam set his mug on the table. “They were demonstrating their faith,” his voice was louder. “They were screaming in agony as their flesh burned away.” “Paige.” “They ignored all the warnings.” “They went to a better place.” His voice was firm. She shouted, “They’re still here! They’re in the clouds, blocking out the sunlight.” “Stop it.” Paige pulled her knees up to her chin and buried her face in them. She felt like crying, but over the last two years since the comet came, she’d forgotten how. Pulse - 91

Paige was dressed and prepared to leave for their morning classes at the university. The school never canceled classes – not if there was a foot of snow on the ground, and certainly never for major astronomical events. Liam arrived ahead of time to pick Paige up, so he could sit with her on the couch of her parents’ living room, sip coffee, and watch the event unfold live from Times Square. Camera crews had eagerly awaited the passing of the massive comet just over a year ago. It was midday in Europe, but just before sunrise in New York when the comet arrived. The faithful that listened to the sermons of religious leaders across the world gathered on the surface to watch the rising of the celestial bodies, even as scientists warned that such a massive object passing so near the Earth would likely disturb the tides and cause flooding in coastal areas. All that was known of the comet before it arrived was that it had passed through the rings of Saturn and much of it was a mixture of iron and nickel, similar to the Earth’s core. It was the passing through Saturn’s rings that resulted in its discovery. Before that, the object was unknown. In the passage, it gathered large amounts of ice and water, and upon emerging on the other side of Saturn, formed an iridescent tail as the solar winds stripped the ice away. Massive crowds filled the camera frame as Paige and Liam watched from her parents’ living room across the country. The camera shifted focus slowly between the crowds and a podium where religious leaders were seated to guide the crowds through the spiritual experience. All of them were older men: a cardinal from the Catholic Church dressed in scarlet robes and skullcap, an imam with a long white beard and black robes, a turban covering his scalp, a rabbi dressed in a dark suit under a wide brimmed hat. It was an odd sight to see three representatives of three major religions working cooperatively to control the crowds. 92

When the comet appeared on the horizon, the brilliance of the tail lit the surface of the Earth hundreds of times as brightly as the Moon had ever done and swept away the shadows of the night with a wave of light. Not long after, the morning sun followed the comet’s ascension. Countless faces were raised to the sky, hands and voices rose above them. As the comet approached, the religious leaders gave prayers and shouted blessings. Chants lifted in response from the lips of millions, filling the air. A mixture anxiety and excitement filled Paige. Regardless of what religious leaders said, even without a god, this spectacle was once in a lifetime – perhaps once in a millennium. Liam was silent and still at the spectacle. A cry of surprise and delight rippled through the crowds as the sun rose behind the comet. The comet’s tail nearly outshined the sun. Awe overcame the crowds and silence fell where millions of voices had just chanted in unison. The silence lasted only a moment. The religious leaders, elevated above the crowds, were bathed in light before most. They stood with their arms upraised to the morning sun. It was quiet at first, but soon their screams reached the crowds. Looks of sublime adoration changed instantly to visages of sheer terror and horror as the skin of the men on the podium blistered and their clothing caught fire. The cardinal raced off the stage, burning like a torch. The imam and the rabbi fell to the ground, kneeling briefly before falling prone, flames tearing at their remains. As the sun rose higher over the crowds, the camera’s frame filled with fire and was blotted out by a billowing black cloud of human ash. Paige and Liam looked on in horror as a holocaust took place before their eyes. After just a few seconds, the footage cut and dead air filled their screen. Liam stood to call his parents who lived across the state. Paige ran for the deck where her parents sat.

They were sitting on the east side of the house, lounging in Adirondack chairs. “Mom, Dad, we need to go!” Paige shouted with urgency. Her parents turned to the commotion. Her father wore a smart dark grey suit with a yellow tie, her mother wore a conservative white dress with floral patterns. They were dressed in their Sunday best. Her Mom smiled calmly, “You don’t need to shout, sweetheart. What is it?” Their demeanor caught Paige off-guard, “The news of the comet. They all burned to death.” A moment of surprise passed over their faces. Paige’s father set his hand down on a book sitting on the flat armrest of his chair. It was black and leather-bound, but the morning sky was still too dark to see clearly. “We’ve known this day would come,” her father said. “We’re prepared to accept God’s judgment.” “Judgment… you believe that bullshit?” Paige felt panic setting in. Her father stood and brought the dark book with him, “Pastor Govern said in the service last weekend that God will fill the sky.” Paige stepped back as her mother rose to join Paige’s father. “So what, you’re just going to die? You’re just going to sit here and wait for the comet?” Liam stepped out onto the deck and stood behind Paige, “The phone lines are busy. I can’t get a hold of my folks.” “Stay with us Paige,” her father continued, holding the book in front of him like a shield. “We should meet God as a family.” “You can’t be serious,” Paige begged. “Just sit down and let the Star of Bethlehem find us. We’re ready.” Her mother said this with a placid smile that cut through Paige. She looked to Liam for support. His eyebrows were pushed together with concern. He looked at Paige and shook his head. “This is bullshit,” Paige shouted.

“Paige!” Her father was becoming angry. “We can’t know what is bullshit and what isn’t, Paige,” Liam said. Paige couldn’t believe she was having this conversation, “I know we don’t need to die.” She was losing patience and took hold of Liam’s scrawny arm, “We need to go.” Liam didn’t budge. His arm held Paige in place. “What’s the point?” Paige was incredulous, “We’re all going to die, and you’re asking that?” “That’s what I mean,” he said. “If your parents are dying, I can’t reach my parents, everyone’s dying… what’s the point? Maybe they’re right. Maybe this is God’s judgment. Maybe this is the Rapture.” Paige exploded, “You’re fucking kidding me. This is a disaster, not the Hand of God.” Her mother set a hand on Paige’s shoulder. “Please stay Paige, we should act as a family,” her mother said. Paige pulled away from her mother and walked past Liam, “I’m going to the old mine.” She entered the house and began packing a duffel bag. Only a little over an hour remained before the sun would rise over central Washington and it would take her half that time to get to the mine. Her room was a total mess. Clothing was laid across the floor; soda cans were stacked beside her desk. Posters of comic book and video game characters covered the walls. Paige rummaged about the floor, packing the hardiest clothes she could find – some jeans and hiking shorts, boots and tennis shoes, shirts and sweatshirts. She pulled a winter jacket and a windbreaker off of hangers in her closet and stuffed them in the bag. “Paige.” She turned to find Liam standing in the frame separating her bedroom from the hallway. Behind him, her senior picture from high school hung on the walls

beside family photos. A wall of smiling faces. The hallway light framed Liam as a tall, dark silhouette. Paige moved to the side to better see his face and found him frowning. “What?” Liam asked, “You’re just going to leave?” “Well I’m not going to die. Not here,” Paige said. “You shouldn’t go alone,” he said, stepping into her bedroom. Paige’s brow furrowed, “I figured I’d have to.” “I’ll go,” Liam said quietly. “You sure you don’t want to meet your fate with the rest of them?” “Don’t be an ass. They have beliefs. You can’t begrudge them that,” he said. “What about your parents?” Liam put a hand in his pocket, pulled out his cell phone and stared at it with frustration, “I want to see them. So I’ll do whatever it takes.” Paige zipped the duffel bag up halfway and pulled the strap over her shoulder. She stood and walked past Liam into the hall. At the end of the hallway, she turned into the garage. Liam followed. It was dark and cold. A vintage Ford Mustang filled most of the room. Its hood was raised. Engine parts hung down the sides of the car like spaghetti over the sides of a bowl. Rows of neatly arranged tools hung on the wall in front of the headlights of the car. Paige began pulling them down one at a time, stuffing them into her bag – an adjustable wrench, pliers, a set of screwdrivers and socket wrenches, a hammer, a box of screws and nails. “Don’t forget some food, it might be a few days before we can come out,” Liam said. Paige nodded. As she moved to the door back into the house, she passed the cabinet bolted to the wall. She stopped a moment, swung open the door. Hanging there was her father’s boilersuit, still

stained with grease from last week when she had helped him drop the engine onto the frame of the Mustang. Paige pulled the suit off the hangar and pushed it at Liam. “What am I going to do with this?” Liam asked. “Wear it over your clothes so they don’t get ruined.” “But it’s so… drab.” Paige rolled her eyes, then pulled her own suit out from behind it, stuffed it into the duffel and walked toward the kitchen. * Paige took a sip of her tea and took a deep breath, “You’re right, I’m sorry.” Liam picked his tea up, finished it off, and stood, “Let’s get this cable hooked up.” She nodded and stood as he ran toward the mine entrance and disappeared into the dark. A minute later, the plastic tube buried at her feet shook and then knocked three times. She fed the cable down the tube and then felt it jolt as Liam gave it a strong tug and began to pull it toward the battery series and regulator they used to generate power in this hell after “Rapture”. The cable stopped moving. A moment later the tube knocked again then sunk into the ground. Paige began pushing dirt aside with her hands to reveal the wire channel she and Liam had dug to connect to the paddlewheel generator in the river. Liam returned with a pair of shovels. “We’ve got a few hours until sunset,” he said. “I started the stew down below. It’ll be ready by then.” Paige sighed, “Dandelions again?” “We’re not exactly in the land of milk and honey here,” Liam smiled. Paige drove the shovel into the ground, “I just hope there’s enough salt.” Pulse - 93

As the sky darkened, Paige and Liam erected the flimsy fence around the mine entrance, securing it with screws to the wooden supports, with a metal fence post driven into the ground at the center. Paige pulled a cable cutter out of her toolbox on the ground and clipped a small entrance at the side, then hinged it on one side with metal cable ties. “We can finally sleep soundly,” Paige said, zipping the last tie into place, then slipping a padlock over the freeswinging side to secure the small gate. Finally, she tied a small copper cable to the fence post. It had a yellow stripe in the black rubber insulation and ran along the ground into the mine. Liam leaned against the wall, his arms crossed, “Being secure is nice, but I still think we should offer this energy to others. There are people dying out there while we sip tea in safety.” “They’d kill us if they had the chance. You’ve seen what raiders do. That’s why we’ve been hiding up here. We’re just lucky they haven’t found us yet.” “I wish you’d have more faith in people,” he said, turning to go downstairs and finish preparations on the stew. Paige began to collect her tools, but it was too dark to find them all. She stood and looked through the fence, looking for any movement. It was hard to see, but it looked like they were alone for the moment. Paige pulled a flashlight out of her back pocket, pointed it at the ground and flipped the switch. The ground illuminated, and Paige began picking up the remaining tools. Liam’s head popped up over the ledge leading down to the next level of the mine, “The stew’s ready!” His head disappeared below the ledge again. “I’ll be down in a second,” Paige replied. She shut off the flashlight, picked up her toolbox and walked deeper into the mine toward the ladder Liam had been standing on. As she set down the toolbox to climb down, Paige heard a metallic rustling. She dismissed it as 94

the tools sloshing around in the box, but as she mounted the ladder she heard it again. She called with an urgent whisper, “Liam!” Silhouetted by soft light from their ‘living room’, he stepped out of the hole cut into the side of the mine shaft and looked up at her. She waved him up and then put a finger to her mouth, signaling necessary silence. She pushed herself against the wall behind one of the large wooden support beams holding the earth at bay. As he reached the ledge and stood beside Paige, he whispered, “What’s going on?” Paige looked around the edge of the beam. Liam knelt and looked as well. They could see a shadowy figure investigating the fence. Without light, it was difficult to see, but the figure appeared to be looking for a way in. The figure was quiet, but the fence still shook with a metallic sound when he pulled on it. A whisper reached Paige’s ears, “Any luck, Bill?” “Shh!” “Sorry…” Paige turned to Liam and whispered, “I’m going to turn on the electricity.” “Wait, stop,” Liam grabbed her arm. “We don’t know who they are.” “They’re trying to break in!” Liam took a deep breath, “Let me talk to them. We can’t just go killing people because we’re afraid.” “They might have a gun, Liam. What are you going to do then?” “I’ve got to try,” he said as he stepped out from behind the pillar. Paige looked on in terror as Liam approached the fence. “Who’s there?” Liam called out. The kneeling dark figure froze. “We can hear you messing with our fence. We don’t want trouble.”

The figure stood slowly, facing the voice coming from inside. “You have power?” “We’ve managed to collect some batteries,” Liam responded. Paige gathered courage and rounded the corner, standing beside Liam. She took out her flashlight and shined it at the intruders. Just beside the fence, an older man shielded his eyes from the sudden light. He had a long white beard and wore a black overcoat that hung down to his knees where jeans extended to a tattered edge near the ground. “Get that damned light out of my eyes,” he demanded. Paige directed the beam at his feet, “Who else is with you?” Four dark-clad figures shuffled into the light and stood behind the older man – two women and two men, clothing in similar states. They all looked halfstarved to death. “My name’s Bill,” the man said. “We saw a light. We’re just looking for food.” Liam took a step forward, “I’m Liam. This is Paige. We don’t have much, but we can offer some.” “Liam!” Paige exclaimed. He looked back to her, “Let me handle this.” Bill put his hands on the fence and leaned closer, “Please just let us in. We’re good Christians – good since the Rapture anyway. We’ve been dodging raiders for weeks and have hardly had anything to eat.” “I can’t do that, not yet,” Liam said. “You know how hard it is to trust people these days. Let me get you some food and we can talk more in the morning.” Paige pulled Liam around by the shoulder and whispered, “We can’t give them food! We hardly have any for ourselves.” “They said they’re Christians. I don’t think they want any trouble.” “They could be lying. And in any case, there are five of them and two of us.

They could just sit outside the fence and starve us out!” Liam put his hand on Paige’s shoulder, “Drop your cynicism for a minute. Not everyone in this world wants to kill us. We’ll never get anywhere if we don’t trust anyone.” She looked at her best friend. He had always been trusting, but he was also rarely wrong. Liam always had a skill with people that Paige knew she lacked. It had taken her a long time to warm up to him since they first met in class at the university, but he had grown on her. Still, there were now five people standing outside their home. “Be careful, please,” she sighed. “We don’t know them.” Liam turned to take another step toward the fence, but before he could say a word, Bill leapt from the top of Liam’s blue milk crate and got a solid start climbing over the fence. The four others in his group started climbing right behind him. “Stop! Please you don’t have to do this!” Liam shouted as he stepped backward. Paige ran down the corridor toward the ladder. Liam tried to stop her, “Paige, don’t!” She stopped at the ledge and reconsidered for a moment, then decided ignored his plea. She slid down the ladder, landing at the next ledge, and ran past the lighted room where the smell of the dandelion stew filled the air. She reached the battery bank and grabbed the yellow-striped cable Liam had hauled down. Paige pushed the cable’s plug into a socket. Voices screaming immediately filled the mine shaft, and just as quickly, were silenced. Paige could hear the fence crackling with electricity, rattling with the bodies shaking against it. She climbed the ladder and ran toward the fence. She could smell burning flesh as she approached, and when she shined her light, she saw four people clinging to the fence, paralyzed by the electricity. They

shook slightly as it coursed through their bodies. Muffled impacts reached Paige’s ears as she realized she did not see Liam. She shined her flashlight down the corridor and searched for him. Her flashlight found him on the ground with Bill straddling him, pummeling him with punches. Liam had his arms raised in front of his face, attempting to block the strikes. Paige ran at the man and tackled him with full force, knocking him off Liam, then tumbled to the ground with the man. He gained his feet just before Paige and lunged at her, but Liam pushed him away. He hit the wall and fell to the ground once more, face in the dirt. Paige took advantage of the opening, knelt on top of the man, pulled the screwdriver from her hair and drove it into his back. He screamed in agony as she pulled the screwdriver out and brought it back down, piercing his body again and again. Liam grabbed her arm to stop the strikes and pulled her off the man. “You bastards,” Bill shouted, rolling over to face them. “You killed them all!” “You were going to kill us!” Paige shouted back, lunging toward him again. Liam held her back, “Stop, Paige. Isn’t killing four people enough?” While Liam restrained her, Bill kicked out Liam’s legs and lunged for Paige with a desperate cry. Rotting teeth lined the gaping mouth in the center of his beard and his eyes were wild with rage. Paige took a step backward and defended with her arms, bracing herself. He knocked her to the ground, landed on top of her, and then lay still. A warm liquid trickled over Paige. Liam gained his feet and pulled the man off Paige. Her long hair was caked in dirt and blood and stuck in places to her face. As she stood, Liam turned Bill over. The screwdriver protruded from his chest. Liam took a step backward, “My God.”

“Liam…” Liam ignored Paige, picked up her flashlight and shined it at the fence. Paige stood beside him. The faces of the intruders were frozen in terror and agony, mouths open, flesh charred. Their fingers grasped the fence in a death grip, electricity still crackling along the fence as the wind shook their corpses. Liam rounded on Paige, “What did you do?” Paige remained silent. “I thought we saw enough charred bodies after the comet!” “We’d be dead otherwise,” Paige said. “I’ll turn off the power and we can bury them in the morning.” Liam looked at her aghast, then sagged and nodded, “They deserve that.” Paige shut off the power and returned to the entrance of the mine with a wooden rod. As she pushed the bodies off the fence, they fell to the ground and threw up a dust cloud of ash, their limbs cracking with the impact. Liam knelt just inside the entrance. “What are you doing?” Paige asked. Liam was silent, his eyes closed and head bowed. After a moment, he answered, “Praying.” “Since when do you pray?” “They were religious.” Paige dragged Bill’s body to the fence, carefully avoiding the puddles of blood on the ground. As she laid him on the ground, she noticed something weighing down his side pocket. Reaching inside his pocket, Paige pulled out a dark leatherbound book. She shined her flashlight at it and turned it over. Gold letters lit up the front, reading ‘The Bible’. She stood a moment staring at the object and remembered her father shaking the same book at her before the disaster. Paige slid the book into her back pocket, then walked back down the corridor, kicking dirt over the trail of blood. Pulse - 95


Alyssa Foland Freshman Marie and I were laughing about the word “testicle.” The constant slide show of profanities and perversions that ran through our fifteen-year-old minds kept us busy for hours. Her house was the only place we could get away with being ourselves because her parents rarely listened. This made for great opportunities to sneak out. Sometimes we would go out the window or the sliding glass door — neither made much noise. She was the leader, I, her faithful follower. If she had an idea I was on board, ready for action. We headed down the street to Tony’s Market, but this time we didn’t intend to pick up junk food. Instead, we were getting picked up by two of the hottest seniors in the high school, Doug and Michael; Doug was mine. The guys drove us up to a ridge in town everyone called “Pecker’s Point.” What the heck is a pecker? The boys sat on the edge of their truck bed, dragging the two of us into their laps — Awesome. I sat in silence, embarrassed, blushing and pursing my lips as I chewed the inside of my cheek. Marie sucked face with Michael and Doug poked 96

Sophomore me as if I was supposed to know what to do. I could feel my heart quicken and a knot began to form in my stomach, but it wasn’t uncomfortable. Maybe this is what butterflies feel like. I looked at him and he grimaced back at me — my lack of experience was obvious to him. I had never frenched before and was excited to try, but when he started sticking his tongue down my throat I began to reconsider. Is this making out? I tried to mimic him, but I mostly just sat there, almost lifeless as he took advantage of my mouth. This was foreign to me, and I couldn’t decide if I loved or hated it — I’m pretty sure it was the latter. Marie looked like a pro and kept eyeing me in that “let loose and have fun” kind of way. When Doug took my right hand and pushed it down to his crotch my mouth stopped moving, and my attention went to what my hand was doing. What am I supposed to do? What am I supposed to be feeling for? Soon, Doug was bored with my attempts and I was beaming with the idea that he liked me. Marie told me that my innocence was my weakness.

At sixteen we felt like adults and didn’t think we had to answer to anyone; we could do what we wanted, as long as we didn’t get caught. The truth is going to slip out. Marie’s dad, Papa Rick, was 6’4” and a burly man to boot. He just had to stand there staring at you to make you feel guilty for something, even if you weren’t sure what that something was. I wasn’t going to tell, but I wanted to. I wanted to explain how Marie and I had lied the night before when we said we were staying at each other’s houses. It would have been so much easier to confess that we stayed at a guy’s house instead. Telling the truth was more painful, but it beat the guilt that followed a lie. With Papa Rick towering over me I looked anywhere but up. If I avoided eye contact I could hold my own for a while. Lying wasn’t my specialty but I had learned enough from watching Marie that I could save our asses in this one instance. *

Marie had arranged to stay with her boyfriend Danny. His friend Travis thought I was cute and asked if Marie could bring me along. This was the first time I had ever stayed the night with a guy, let alone two. The four of us laid on the king sized mattress together, making out. I hate the sound of my lips smacking his. My whole body felt weird, almost tingly. Marie always talked about getting ‘turned on.’ Maybe that’s what this is. It felt nice, but I kept my eyes open while we kissed. The boys started joking about condoms, and I laughed nervously. When Marie yelled “Penis!” my nerves subsided, and it broke into a game of who could yell it the loudest; Danny won. When we settled back down Travis spooned me and Marie forked Danny. It was an eventful night. * Papa Rick stared me down, waiting for my answer about where we had been. I started crying and told him that we stayed at a different friend’s house, but never mentioned the boys. He had a defeated tone to his voice; I know he didn’t believe me but he told me it was okay and left my house. I was glad Marie wasn’t there for that. She would have told me to learn to lie better so my innocence wasn’t so obvious, but I think that’s what saved us.

Junior Mom and Dad were mad at me a lot. I never came home on time and didn’t listen when they spoke to me; I was always lying to them about something, and I was tired of yelling when I got caught. It was no secret that I was the prodigal child of the family. All I wanted was the chance to live my own life. I’ll be 18 in a year and then I’m peacin’ out. Sneaking around had become a regular part of my life at this point, and it took little effort to get out and walk to Marie’s house, my second home. I made my way to her place and her window was open, welcoming me to come in, although I think the door would have been quieter than my heaving efforts to leap through the frame.

When I was inside, Marie sat on her bed with tear stains marking where her makeup had been rubbed away. I felt awkward and automatically wanted to go back home—Marie rarely ever cried. I asked her if her boyfriend, Chase, was being nice to her. She nodded, but I didn’t feel convinced. I had an aching feeling that he had something to do with her unnatural behavior. She kept her arms wrapped around her stomach like she might fall apart if she let go. Sitting on the floor below her, I looked up and waited for her to say something — anything. Should I make a joke?

felt natural, like his home was now a home for me as well. I always felt welcome.

I asked her if Chase had ripped another pair of her favorite panties and expected a smile. But Marie looked like she did when her favorite dog died — dark circles under her eyes and a frown that reminded me of those sad clown pictures everyone hates. Best Friend’s Forever was a hard title to live up to. The grip on her stomach was tighter for a moment, like she was mad at it. Her gaze flashed from where her hands were to where I sat on the floor and then back to her hands again. My face must have been tainted with shock and realization because Marie squeezed her eyes tight as if to erase the last ten minutes. I asked her how she was going to take care of it, but she only shook her head. That’s when I started crying too — for her innocence, for my innocence, and for someone we would never know.

How romantic. There was some truth to that, though. The only male parts I had ever seen were in pictures during health class, all of which had some form of STD—genital warts will forever be burned into my memory. Also, penises reminded me of really awkward doorknobs.

When I stayed over he was always so eager to get down to business. That wasn’t my style — cuddling and telling him how much I loved him was more my speed. He was physical, I, emotional, but if he led the way I would usually follow. He’d begin by stroking my arm or leg, leaving a trail of goose bumps behind. I knew he wanted me because he would whisper into my ear “are you afraid of the one eyed snake?”

I made a promise to him that on my 18th birthday we would have sex for the first time, and we did. Marie and I used to joke about what would happen when I lost my V-card — how she would have to draw up a manual so I knew what to do. Obviously she was kidding — point A to point B couldn’t be that hard. Our fits of uncontrollable laughter would turn to cackling after a few minutes of discussing how I would need to call her in the middle of it for advice, or just to say “guess what?! I’m doing it!” I wish I Senior had had that option. It wasn’t like the I met Casey on the first day of school. movies. There was no romance, it hurt After the events of the Summer, I found and he sent me home right after. Is this myself alone, and he came into my life what making love is? at the perfect time. He was my first real boyfriend. I loved him. Now sneaking Marie was the first person I wanted to out had become a weekly ritual because I call, but her number wasn’t in my phone. couldn’t stand to be away from him for I wish I knew, a year ago, what I know more than a day. It was odd to think now. I wouldn’t have been so harsh. Pro that he was my best friend now, and that this or pro that — we have the right to I trusted him so much after such a short pick a side and I should have never left period of time. hers. I just wanted to tell her that she had been right. My innocence had been my Making out was a sport for us; I’d find weakness. myself teasing him, seeing how long he could last without moving to second base and then when he did I’d move his hand away. Staying the night with him Pulse - 97

Pulse Martini // Mende Smith

CWU Pulse Martini, by Dillon Trethewey • 2 Ounces of Rye Whiskey or Bourbon • • •

Half to one full can of Ginger Beer (Ginger Ale will suffice) 1 dash of Angostura Bitters Slice of Orange

Fill a highball glass halfway with ice. Add Whiskey, bitters, and Ginger Beer. stir well to mix. Garnish with a slice of orange. For best effect, run the orange around the rim of the glass before completing the garnish. Alternate mixing method: Add all liquid ingredients to a Boston Shaker. Shake mixture until satisfied. Strain into highball glass and garnish with Orange slice as above. 98

Pulse - 99

CWU Pulse Magazine  

Central Washington University's student-run online lifestyle magazine.

CWU Pulse Magazine  

Central Washington University's student-run online lifestyle magazine.