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A Journal of Art & Literature

Volume 1 Issue 1 April 2007


April 2007

2 CONTENTS 2 PROLOGUE: A STATEMENT OF PURPOSE...............................................................................4 • LITERATURE • Ape-literation & Word Pl-ape..........................................................................................................6 Dimba This is how it is...............................................................................................................................7 Daniel Sawyer Nonaligned Status.........................................................................................................................10 Kyle Hernandez from the breakfast table . . . ..........................................................................................................11 Jeff Hendrickson We Go..........................................................................................................................................12 Daniel Sawyer For Two Hours..............................................................................................................................13 Josh Mitchell heartbroken heels of forlorn love....................................................................................................14 Danny Rivera the new beginning.........................................................................................................................15 Jeff Hendrickson Dog Ears.......................................................................................................................................16 Jared Hernandez A Crazy Reach of Twisted Sorrow..................................................................................................23 Danny Rivera morning wish................................................................................................................................24 Jeff Hendrickson An excerpt from Needn’t Need Kyle Hernandez An excerpt from The Altar of All....................................................................................................25 Daniel Sawyer Shoot Me An Indian......................................................................................................................26 Danny Rivera The Shallow End...........................................................................................................................27 Jared Hernandez Incan, Scott Sawyer, 2006



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Bound For Success.........................................................................................................................32 Josh Mitchell Muscles.........................................................................................................................................36 Kyle Hernandez The Epic of Minothrosia: Part 1 – The Coming of Darkness...........................................................37 Daniel Sawyer Felix or Other Stranger Darker Crevices........................................................................................40 Danny Rivera Autumn 8th..................................................................................................................................41 Josh Mitchell The Watering Hole........................................................................................................................42 Michael Pitassi The Feast......................................................................................................................................48 Danny Rivera

∞ ART ∞ Portrait of a Woman ► Mark Wyckoff

A Man Defeated

The Ellipsis..............................................50

Greetings from Vermont!................................................................................................................53 Scott Sawyer

‡ THE WRITER’S BLOC ‡ Writing in 2006: My Breakthrough...............................................................................................54 Daniel Sawyer Mark Wyckoff Discusses His Experiences in the Medium of Paint....................................................55 Mark Wyckoff ABOUT THE AUTHORS.............................................................................................................57 WORKS IN PROGRESS...............................................................................................................59 EPILOGUE: AN INVITATION....................................................................................................59

FARAWAY Volume 1, Issue 1 was published in April, 2007. All contents belong to the authors and artists. Edited by Daniel Sawyer. Amateur layout by Scott Sawyer. Cover by Dimba.

FARAWAY




April 2007

Prologue: Statement of Purpose It seems only appropriate, being that none of us know anything about publishing, have ever been published, or have ever earnestly submitted something for consideration for publication, to start out the first issue of this journal with a statement of purpose. What business do we have putting together a journal? What are our qualifications? Probably none. But an anecdote might illustrate what we hope to achieve. I was speaking with a woman from a local writer’s club when she asked me, “Are you a writer?” “Well, an aspiring writer,” I humbly replied. “Don’t say that,” she said, shaking her finger. “Have you ever written anything? Then you are a writer. The act of touching pen to paper, or fingers to keys, makes you a writer.” You have to be a writer to be published, but you do not have to be published to be a writer, was essentially what she told me. In order to be a writer, you have to be able to refer to yourselves as such, to proudly claim that passion and occupation as your own, even if you cannot claim the outward attributes of a writer–being published, getting paid for your work, being recognized as a writer. And it was heartening, for aspiring writers too easily become frustrated by these false qualifications and unreachable standards, when all they really need to do is write. Faraway is a means for aspiring writers to make themselves into actual writers; the difference is one of effort. The same goes for artists in other mediums: paintings, photos, poems and odes. We want to give young writers the chance to have their work seen by others, without the rigorous and pretentious guidelines that scare them away from submitting to known journals. We want writers to develop and evolve, to feed off of each other and become better, and to be recognized for improving. We want to establish a community of support for those pursuing authorship as a pastime or a career. Finally, we want to create a means by which we can make ourselves immortal. This last may seem absurd, but it gets to the other point of this journal’s title. When trying to think of a title for this endeavor, I for some reason picked up the Epic of Gilgamesh, which I read a few years ago. The epic was written around five thousand years ago, and is one of the earliest surviving examples of human literature. It is an odd tale in many respects, but the central plot is one that people still wrestle with: the search for immortality. Gilgamesh, a king in Sumeria, on witnessing the death of his close friend, sets out on a journey to find eternal life. His quest takes him to the heavenly realm where the immortal being Utnapishtim, known as the Faraway, resides. Gilgamesh is terrified at the thought of death and asks Utnapishtim what he might do to avoid his friend’s fate. Utnapishtim offers him several opportunities, but Gilgamesh, as a human with faults, fails in these endeavors, and is forced to return to the world of the living. Coming to his own kingdom, he stops and looks up in awe at the walls of the city that he rules. He realizes that eternal life in the sense of inhabiting a bodily form forever is impossible. But immortality in the sense of making a lasting impact, of leaving a mark, requires only dedication and passion. For Gilgamesh, immortality was achieved by building great cities. For us, immortality may be achieved through art. As the Epic of Gilgamesh proves, the art survives for millennia, though Gilgamesh himself has been gone for over five thousand years. So we invite you to read what we have written, we who love to write and read, to watch us as we grow, and to become writers yourselves. And we will try not to take ourselves too seriously in the process. ***



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We hope to make Faraway at least a quarterly journal, but it depends on how much material we receive. We will include a wide variety of written material and other forms of artistic expression. In this volume you will find short stories, a number of poems, paintings and etchings, photos, and nonfiction articles about writing and literature. We will basically accept anything that is of a literary or artistic nature (which is to say, probably not science or political writing). There are no length qualifications, beyond the vague instruction of “reasonable length.� In other words, we will not print a book, but we might print a very long story, and very short stories as well. There is also the dim prospect of a website, which could conceivably contain audio material as well (some of us are, after all, musicians). I also encourage anyone reading this to send in comments, criticisms or questions concerning the material or the journal itself. Feedback is necessary if anything resembling a community is to form. For submissions, questions, comments, complaints, email: FarawayJournal@gmail.com

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www.myspace.com/FarawayJournal




April 2007

Ape-literation and word pl-Ape by Dimba rom Borneo to Botswana, F in Bangkok, Bangladesh and Bengal, simian sycophants sigh

as they attend, aping, ape-like, the movements of their millionaire monkey masters– Machiavellian manipulateurs! The highland heroes are met at home by a harem of hairy, hormonal gorillas, who goad them, gaping into arboreal acts of liberating love. Lesbian lemurs and bondage-loving bonobos (benefitting from the best of both worlds) copulate copiously, compensating for continual consternation at corporate quarters. The swingers swing, swinging from the tresses of towering trees, opposable thumbs thumbing opposites, prehensile penile penetration (perverted primates!) Yet after mating they mumble, muted, natural selection having selected naturally to keep these primates prudish. Embarrassed, they edge to sleep and wake, willing to work and wage-earn, acting chummy with their capitalist chimp chiefs. Moral-less macaques make money fist over foot but forget to fork some over to the forlorn foot soldiers, who go soldiering on in self-imposed sadness and solitude. The pigs! And their pitiful pals pouting . . . On an other day, a fatherly orangutan oscillates between opportunities, occasionally opting for options, often obligated to hire himself out to employers with healthy health plans. Inspecting itemized insurance invoices, he ogles, open-mouthed, at the over-priced optometrist visits needed by his only son. Trying to escape from banana-induced banality, these apes try badly to get ahead, looking for augurs of better times to come. The travails one faces travelling along the trails of this life are trying, even for the toughest, even for the truest.



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April 2007

• LITERATURE •

This is how it is Daniel Sawyer

T

his oil situation exploded. The human race took too much, too fast, and without planning for the eventuality of its running out. So when it suddenly dawned on the world’s billions that the bottom of the earth’s non-renewable barrel had been reached, there was nothing to do but fight to secure the dredges. The few countries that still possessed oil reserves suddenly closed up. But these countries did not possess what they needed to protect their oil from all the others: guns, tanks and aeroplanes. Other countries overran them and took what was rightfully theirs. The dark-skinned people did not create the oil, they did not have the infrastructure into which to pump the oil, and therefore they did not need the oil. So it was taken in a mad dash that no one dared feigned was noble. These oil-possessing countries were left in ruins–unindustrialized, without the means of industrialization, they ripped themselves to shreds. And? This is how it is. The industrialized countries fared no better. Soon the emergency supplies of oil, wrested from other countries by force, were gone. Oil shortages of the past looked like Sunday picnics. At first, everybody lined up in day-long queues for gasoline. Then rations were placed on gasoline and people had to walk to work or quit their jobs, because there wasn’t even gas to keep the already-insufficient public transportation networks running. Supermarkets began to thin out as well, because the fleets of trucks that dragged the produce to market became too expensive to run. First non-essentials disappeared from the shelves. Gamblers in Las Vegas could no longer rely on eating lobster from Maine. Then potato chips, candy, ice cream and peanut butter vanished, because it was more important to keep the stores supplied with bread and milk and meat, Meanwhile millions of farmers and workers in preserved food factories lost their livelihoods and became peasants. The selection of produce dwindled until only locally-grown fruits and vegetables were represented. In intemperate regions, like the northeastern United States, this caused an outrage. There were riots as people ransacked grocery stores and warehouses looking for grapes and bananas and oranges. Optimists thought the situation would soon reach an equilibrium, in which selection was limited, but survival was nevertheless assured. This was a fallacy. The point at which equilibrium could be maintained had been passed decades before and the opportunity squandered. For a while people thought that once a little more oil was pumped into the system, the situation would reach a balance. They didn’t understand that there simply wasn’t any oil left. The world economy shattered and the shards dropped into a bottomless pit. No one could afford food, and no one was prepared to make their own food–they were willing, and desperately hungry, oh yes, but a hundred years of suburbia had rendered the majority of mankind incapable of producing for subsistence. Belts cinched up a couple of holes. But as a year passed without any oil, as all the canned goods were eaten and frozen foods spoiled, people in the United States began to die of starvation. An intrepid few became self-sustaining, growing all the food they would need on small plots of land–first in their suburban backyards, but later, years later, moving on self-propelled machines (bicycles–or, for more stylish would-be woodsmen, scooters) into the country where land was plentiful and unused. Anybody who needed medicine couldn’t get it, because it physically could not be moved from where it was manufactured to where it was consumed, save by foot, bicycle or quadruped. Diabetics died by the millions. Children died by the millions. Elderly died by the millions. Millions

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died by the millions. This is how it is. For the first few months, governments struggled to provide for their citizens. Stockpiles of foods and medicines were made available, but these ran out or spoiled waiting for people who had no means of transportation. Eventually, governments simply ceased to exist. Individual survival was so pressing by two years after the initial shortage that television and film and music disappeared, because people needed to worry about food rather than entertainment, because they had no money, because products could not be transported. The entire social fabric that had been built up and maintained since the industrial revolution was irreparably rent. There were wars, big wars. About a billion bombs were dropped, which was about what everybody had, and millions of people died, but nothing was secured by this means. It wasn’t that sheiks were withholding oil any longer–there just wasn’t any oil left. And so they were needlessly killed by explosives, though they would almost-assuredly have been killed by famine and disease sooner or later. The end came slowest in America, which was the richest nation. But it came nonetheless. After almost three hundred years, beginning in 1776, the world’s most successful democracy was no more. People broke up into neighborhoods and families, because they could better provide for themselves this way. They left the cities, which in terms of food production represented the least fertile terrain ever to be built on top of fertile terrain in the history of the world. The years went by and a New Dark Ages set in. None of the next generation knew how to read or write or make anything except their necessities. This was not necessarily a bad thing, since non-necessities had proven to be the downfall of old Rome and new West. Decivilization was quite rapid, and there were efforts to recivilize, but these could never overcome the difficulties that the collapse of all world societies had laid before them. In a few hundred years, people were living in hunter-gatherer societies again and all the glory and decadence of the Industrial Age were lost. The resources of the earth had been so badly misused during the Industrial Age that they refused to recover and be used again by men. The societies couldn’t build a surplus because there weren’t enough trees or non-polluted fresh water, and therefore they could never specialize, never divide labor, never amass wealth, never establish a centralized government and therefore never put men on the moon. In a million years, the human race was gone. It had a highly-successful though short reign: humans had completely and utterly conquered the planet and every living thing on it and all the laws of time and space for over a hundred years, but in the end they succumbed to their own flaws. They were too optimistic, too hopeful that a solution would be found to their problems, too short-sighted to deal with their problems themselves, always putting off what they could have done to the next generation. After the collapse that ended the Industrial Age, humans just died off slowly, each generation being less able to reproduce than the next. They were hindered by high-levels of reproductive mutations due to an unprecedented amount of radiation and chemicals in every body of fresh water in the world. Two hundred years after the collapse, nuclear power plants began to fall apart and an invisible cloud of radiation covered the planet, further diminishing the chances for humanity’s survival. After thousands of years that radioactivity naturally petered off, but by then, humans were an endangered species and only cockroaches and some species of tree thrived (the oceans, of course, having been depopulated well before the collapse). Fifteen million years after the collapse of humanity another species arose from the milieu of DNA and wiggling particles of life. Their evolution mirrored man’s in many ways: they mastered simple tools and fire and were able to secure a surplus and were able to specialize and invest in centralized government. They invented religion and fought each other and decided that they needed spices, so they sailed the seas and charted new territories. They smelted iron and poured the mol-



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April 2007

• LITERATURE •

ten metal into bullet-shaped casts. They attached chariots to car-sized beetles and careered over the planet’s pristine surface. They decided to use paper to represent value and then fought wars over this paper. Finally, they thought things would be a lot easier if they used complex machines to do their work for them. And as these machines grew more and more complex and more and more difficult to power, they needed to look for a source of easy-to-acquire and highly-efficient fuel. So they dug into the earth and found a bubbling black substance in seemingly-endless quantities that made machines work better and easier and cheaper than they ever imagined. This substance had a long history of its own. From end to beginning: it was mined and put in machines. It was liquified over the course of twelve million years under the immense pressure and heat that pervades just under the earth’s surface. It was buried under a thick layer of ash. It was buried under a thick layer of sand. Water washed away the trees. Trees grew. It laid exposed for a million years. It was fossilized into a very hard rock. The dirt was washed away by water. It was covered in dirt for a million years. The sun evaporated all of the moisture and all of the little holes inside of it were filled up with hard minerals. Its clothes decomposed. Its flesh decomposed. It was covered in flesh. All its blood dried up. It starved to death. It was alive. It was a person. Its heart pumped oil. This will be how it was.

Untitled, Scott Sawyer, 1998

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April 2007

Nonaligned Status

Kyle Hernandez

W

e live in a neutral zone. Most of the cops around here don’t seem to understand that. They come around with pieces of paper that are supposed to mean something to us and we’re forced to rain boiling oil over their heads and neckrolls and fire shots into the air. Sometimes they fire back, run for cover, call for backup, creating regrettable scenes that usually end in bloodshed of one type or another, sometimes even “O”. They should just leave us alone, but they don’t understand, probably never will. We’ve been neutral for five years, almost six. Most of the time it’s pretty relaxing. We’ll eat, sleep, move our bowels, paint murals every now and then. That’s pretty much it. But it’s relaxing. Some people describe us as lazy and spoiled and great wasters of time that should otherwise be well-spent writing life-changing books and film scripts, but we know they’re just jealous. Wish they could eat, sleep, move their bowels and generally do whatever they wanted to with their time. Anyway, we’ve learned to live with this constant disapproval. After all, we’re neutral, so what does it matter. A reporter came by not too long ago asking us if we were going to nominate anybody. We just kept looking at each other and at the reporter. Back and forth for nearly ten minutes. We didn’t know what he was talking about. There are occasional rifts within the group, and those that can no longer call themselves neutral are taken care of. We send them out to get cigarettes and refuse to open the door for them when they return. Tears are often shed, and they beg for our forgiveness. But by then it’s too late. There is nothing to forgive. They move on, and so do we. People often approach us, asking if they can join. But we have to explain to them that joining has nothing to do with it. There are no members. No presidents. Or kings. There are those that are neutral, and those that are not neutral, and nothing more. But they don’t understand, probably never will.

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• LITERATURE •

from the breakfast table i hold the birth of a new planet in my hand and call it my own Jeff Hendrickson

lunchtime bliss and electronic Fabergé eggs, real-time glue in lieu of existence, \hi mother I am the soft robot you always wished for, before you could wish or have thoughts like the egg or chicken, robot mother from mars, beyond my breakfast thoughts of glue, stars and dust oh mother can you see past my eyes, in my electronics inside my feelings, the real pulse call it love desire or more just a glance, that starts a whole new revolution planets and science i saw it in you before we met

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April 2007

We Go Daniel Sawyer

Womby darkness of morning. Light presses through the drapes, like light through a stomach wall. I’m not ready to be born. A deep yawn, mouth like a lion’s, nose scrunched up. Cute. I love you for it. It’s time to get going. Where we going today? I don’t know, and I don’t care. Constant movement. But only the earth turns below us, while we stay in the same place. We are the same people, and the world turns itself further. I throw our bags in the back seat and we go. We distance ourselves from the rising sun, but this race can’t go on forever. There’s not enough land for that. All at once, everything is realized, as the sun breaks free of the horizon. In the light, the whispered reassurances, tucked away in last night’s sheets, resurface and become embarrassing memories. Did you mean that? That? Yeah. Of course I meant it. Hands on each other’s knees. Linked. Connected. Together. But not entirely open. Look ahead. Avert your eyes. Words to say that won’t come out. I meant it. Long shadows stretching west, shrinking, then stretching east. The odometer rolls over. Five numbers change, and it should be monumental, but I realize it’s just one more mile in the desert. And they’re just numbers. Nothing.

We pull in to a hotel whose fluorescent lighting gives strength to the darkness all around. We bring our bags in and don’t unpack. We bathe and crawl into bed. I close my eyes to avoid letting her look into them. You don’t need to see that. That’s for me alone. You don’t need to see that. You don’t need to know. It’s enough to know that I love you. Don’t ask why. You can’t escape what’s inside you. Tomorrow we go again. And sooner or later we’ll run out of road. Maybe there we’ll find what we’ve been looking for. Only we don’t know what that is. What you don’t know can’t hurt. And everything you do know does.

We awake.

We go.

We drive.

Untitled, SS, 2003

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• LITERATURE •

For Two Hours Josh Mitchell

The only difference between Here and there is here The men die at a more rapid pace One by two by three And I know soon It will be me But by a cruel chance of fate You take the hit And not me I can’t let you die Not here on a land not native To your blood I’ll carry you So I wore your arm around my neck Like a scarf for two hours Until we reached a shore and the Noise had stopped

A moment of silence for you Is all that I had to offer

American Flag in Maine, Katie Rutherford, Digital photograph, 2006, Photoshopped by SS, 2007

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heartbroken heels of forlorn love Danny Rivera in the heartbroken heels of forlorn love a ginger peach snaps into the face of the Gypsy woman who gleams as sunlit brass rings fly over her screams into salvation that hangs from a wall in twice a days murmur and last years waltz the time comes on recklessly, loose and shameless like flowers trapped inside the pot and pots woven with child hands and stolen golden fiber trumpets at the dawning of Jericho and the rivers of Babylon seeking refreshments of a god inside the hearts of female men and pen dragons flaming fire in the sky hidden from the view of a cloud warm and sweet sticky yet unglued can you see her name across her belly– supple and young, clean, fresh, new the time moves carelessly forgetting the ideas as they come words birth one another birds at a global scale- chained to a heaven as socks are chained to shoes Gypsy woman walks barefoot over hot sand– brown feet and tiny toes as there is only one place of which she knows to toss dime pebbles into wishes and wishes into dreams dreams to memory– memories of heartbroken heels of forlorn love and ginger peaches snapped liked broken cigarettes twisted across guitar strings of all night beach passes and approaching waves which shudder you to the sweater bone this muse strikes indifferently dancing behind invisible glass and shall I now take you home? 14

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• LITERATURE •

the new beginning Jeff Hendrickson

the rabbits i sat tired and waited did you hear something? any messages left? no, i shall get them the light hit the room cascading shadows red couch so still old lamp from 1940 did you hear the news? i’ve been waiting i know it’s cold outside the stars peer downlook after mother she is tired like i woven basket i asked her softly car pulled in the driveway back door shut? it is cold outside the carpet seemed to run up the walls kitchen was hot from cooking laughter leaked inside i didn’t see you who called? it sounded like children at play the door closed again i was there she said it had stopped i could only ponder is his office next to yours? she said it was blue i didn’t hear train engine passes flowers are growing we sit at the table it’s quiet i can see her leg

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April 2007

Dog Ears

Jared Hernandez

A

t about 1:30 on a Friday afternoon, Jake March knocked on the door of apartment 33. He had to knock for a few minutes. He heard a lot of rustling and moving about inside. He did not mention it though to the girl who opened the door. “You’re early,” she said, in a very matter of fact way. “I know. I was anticipating a lot of traffic.” “And there wasn’t any?” “No.” “Come inside. Don’t just stand there.” Jake entered the apartment that he had been in only a few times before. The last time he was there was for a Halloween party. Jake had come dressed like a chair. It was a very clever costume that he thought up with the help of his mother. He took four wooden legs and glued them to an old pair of pants. He rigged them very carefully so that whenever he sat down, the legs would expand. None of the other guests at the party really understood what he was trying to do. In fact, he spent most of the night explaining to people what his costume was. Jake stood just inside the doorway with his hands crossed over each other. He spent a few seconds staring around the place. A lot of it did not look familiar to him, since the last time he was there most of the furniture was covered with bizarre Halloween decorations. “You can sit down if you want. Rick isn’t here yet.” “Thank you. Yes, I know he isn’t here. I have actually been sitting in my car for about half an hour. I didn’t want to intrude.” “You’re not intruding. How have you been? It’s been a long time since I have seen you. What’ve you been doing?” “Nothing much. Just working.” “You don’t go to school anymore?” “No. I decided that it really wasn’t the place for me. I have just been working at the music shop. Biding my time. Waiting for something great to come along.” She laughed. “You always have the best little expressions. They crack me up.” “Thank you. I usually sit at home and work on them on my computer. That is why I don’t really talk to people that much. I am too busy writing material for the next time I might meet them. Some people prefer to use wit, but I just find that method much easier.” She laughed again. “Is that a new computer?” asked Jake. “Yeah. My parents bought it for me for my birthday. It’s pretty cool.” “What brand is it?” “I really don’t know. I don’t think it is one of those name brand computers. But it works well, so there is nothing I can really complain about.” “Good. So how are things going with you, Anita?” “Things are okay.”

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• LITERATURE •

Jake had known Anita for about two years. They had first met while attending Whitman College. They had taken a math course together and one day had been forced to work in a group. Neither of them understood anything that was happening in the class so they decided to ditch the group project and go and have coffee instead. They went to the neighborhood coffee house and had a very lengthy discussion about the affairs of the school. They were both displeased at how their academic pursuits were coming along. They both talked of their futures and their hopes and dreams. Jake told Anita that he wanted to go into finance like his father and Anita told Jake that she wanted to be a chef like her mother. They both seemed to like many of the same things. They were both huge fans of the cult British action show “The Avengers.” They both were fans of the 60’s mod music scene. It even turned out that they had a friend in common. His name was Rick. “Why are things only okay? Is something wrong?” “No. Nothing I could explain to you. I just get kind of lonely sometimes.” “I’m sorry. I know things have been tough for you.” “Yeah. They have.” “Look, I didn’t want to say anything before, because I thought that maybe it might sound kind of weird, but I want you to know that you can call me anytime. I am usually home. Just if you need someone to talk to.” “Thank you. I really appreciate that.” Jake did not really have anything else to say. He had tried his best on the ride over to think of some topics of conversation. It had been so long since he and Anita had had their wonderful conversation. Jake was not really sure if Anita was still into the same things. He had seen less and less of her as the years went by. He could not be sure if her tastes had changed or if she was still interested in the same endeavors. The only thing he knew for sure was that in the eight months since he had last seen her, she seemed to have put on some weight. He was too much of a gentleman to point this out though. So Jake just sat quietly as Anita went to finish her packing. He quickly refused her offer for something to drink and immersed himself in the news magazine that was sitting near by. He hated being early. Rick had set up this weekend as a return to the past of sorts. Rick and Anita were still very good friends. In the past Rick, Anita, and Jake would take a weekend trip together every month or so, if time and money permitted. They usually did not go very far, but they had quite a few times made the journey on interstate 15 to Las Vegas. It was only about five hours from Los Angeles, and when Anita drove, it was more like three and a half. She had a beat up old Toyota pick up truck that belonged to her brother. He had no use for it anymore, so it was passed down to her. She had been the owner of the truck for about six years. She kept it immaculately clean. Jake was about two-thirds of the way through an article about America’s new foreign policy outline when a knock came on the door. Anita shouted from the next room that she was busy and asked Jake if he could answer it. He peered out of the peep-hole and saw Rick standing there grinning. He opened the door and the two men embraced. Rick wore a heavy beard that Jake had yet to see. “Wow. Look at Jeremiah Johnson over here.” “I was going for Kurt Russell though.”

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April 2007

“Kurt Russell doesn’t have a beard.” “He did in that one movie though. Remember with the monsters that take over your body and then they explode out of you when you least expect it.” “‘Alien’?” “No, it wasn’t ‘Alien’. I can’t remember what it was called, but it was pretty good though. Gory as hell.” Rick was carrying a very large green overnight bag. He plopped it down to the left of the door and headed into the kitchen. He reached in the back behind the eggs and grabbed himself a beer. He offered one to Jake who kindly turned him down. He sat at the bar in the kitchen and drank it steadily. It did not take long before he was on his second. “So how you been?” Rick asked. “I’ve been good. How about you?” “I would complain, my friend, but nobody would give a damn.” “How is school?” “It is still there.” “I thought you were graduating this semester?” “I was supposed to, but I met this girl. Alison. And I have kind of not been doing any of the work in my classes because I have been so busy. But one more semester won’t kill me. So where is the lady of the house?” “She is still getting ready. Are you’re parents okay with you staying in school?” “Yeah. They don’t care. Dad just sends the check every month. He doesn’t even write my name in. He just leaves that part of it blank. I guess he doesn’t care who gets his money.” “Yeah, I guess.” Anita exited came down the small staircase with a bag in each hand. Rick saw her before Jake did. Rick grinned at her from behind his bottle. Jake noticed that Rick was looking at something behind him and he turned around just fast enough to see Anita make it down the last step. The bags that she was carrying looked quite heavy and Jake made his way over to help her. But just as he was getting up she set them down. “Hey, Rick. How’s it going?” “I’m wonderful. How are you?” “Good. I am really good.” “Good to hear. Now if we are done catching up, I think we should get out on the road. The desert is just calling to me. I can hear it.” Jake helped Anita with the larger of her bags. He loaded it into the back of the pick up truck. It had been a long time since all three of them had crowded into the relatively small truck. Jake had lost quite a bit of weight since he had left school, but Rick and Anita had both put on a few pounds. Although it was a tight fit, they all made it into the cab and were on their way. Anita stopped at the gas station down the street from her house and declined the would-be donations to help pay for the first tank. Rick took out his wallet and made sure that he had all of his credit cards in it. He told a story about a friend of his that had his identity stolen in an internet scam. He told Jake that he could never be too careful about who he let into his online world. Jake did not even have a computer, and Rick knew that well. After they got out of the city, the traffic was bad. The air was extremely cool for this

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April 2007

• LITERATURE •

time of year, but the close proximity of the truck made the heat quite unbearable. Jake was sitting on the passenger side and Rick was sitting in the middle. He had said that he liked sitting in the middle because if there were an accident he would be the last one to know about it. He chuckled to himself as he made the joke. The truck did not have a working radio. Anita had parked the truck on the street one night at Rick’s house. When she returned to it in the morning the window was broken and the radio had been stolen. The radio was one of her most treasured possessions. She had yet to purchase a new one. After about six miles of bumper-to-bumper traffic, things began to speed up on the freeway. The group was heading out to the desert near the California-Nevada border. They had camped out there many times. Jake was a very skilled musician and he found that he did some of his best songwriting while in the peace of the desert. Rick saw the desert as a place to party non-stop. In his youth he had experimented with all kinds of drugs, but after seeing a close friend of his overdose on heroin, he had sworn off them for life. He was fond of drinking. He was a member of a fraternity at Whitman College. He had spent the better part of the last six months in various forms of inebriation. Anita did not like the desert, but had never really voiced her disapproval. After about an hour of silence, the trio arrived in the desert. All three of them seemed to notice the differences in this trip. For one, Anita did not drive nearly as fast as she used to. The silence was the most noticeable difference. In the past the trips were filled with conversation. Not just conversation to pass the time, but in-depth, meaningful conversation. The three of them had rarely made a decision in the past without consulting the other two several times. The silence made all three of them uneasy, but especially Jake. He was not accustomed to it. Rick and Anita had had their problems. Rick and Anita had also had their share of uncomfortable silences. But Jake had never really experienced anything like this. He was on edge. It took Rick and Jake about an hour to set up camp. They were not skilled outdoorsmen, so their camp consisted of a poorly mounted tent, a hibachi for heat, and a large yellow cushion that had become Rick’s trademark. He had purchased it the day he graduated from high school. He had planned to move out and share an apartment with Jake. Jake had to put the plan on hold, because he lost his job. He had been involved in a semi-scandal. A robber had come in to the record store where Jake was working. He demanded that Jake empty the register, but Jake would not do it. He would later say that something inside of him snapped and he just could not let this thief get away with his crime, but in actuality Jake was so scared when he saw that gun that he forgot how to accomplish even the most basic of tasks. He would not move. The robber became more and more angry and his ferocity reached an all time high, but Jake would not move. The robber finally became fed up and left without any money. Jake’s bosses were displeased. It seems he had broken the company policy about robberies. When a robber comes in, the employees were instructed to hand over everything and not ask any questions. But Jake did not do this. So he was fired. He could not understand this. He felt that he should be awarded for his actions, not punished. He had stopped the robber from taking the money, the money was safe. So Jake let his bosses know what he thought about their policy. As a result of this, it was difficult for him to find a job for quite a while. Rick was very disappointed in him. He really wanted to move out.

FARAWAY

19


April 2007

While Jake and Rick set up camp, Anita stayed in the truck and read her dog-eared copy of Spoonriver Anthology. Jake had given it to her one year for her birthday. It had become her favorite book. She had read all of the short poems in the book several times over, some of them she could even recite by heart. She was never much of a poetry fan. She and Rick had never even discussed their favorite books. But there was something about these melancholy stories that struck something deep within her. She was never quite the same again after she read those poems. That was when the bottom fell out between her and Rick. Rick was the first to stake his place in the tent. He made himself at home in the corner and set up his sleeping bag. Jake was hesitant about going into the tent. He had never really had the opportunity to be in it before. He had always slept in the truck. He felt a little odd about the situation, but he said nothing. There really was not much he could say. “Who’s ready to party? I know I’m not the only one,” boasted Rick. Anita looked up from her book and shook her head. She had not said much in quite some time. Jake made his way over to the cooler. He did not really like to drink. He had not done so much, except for when on these desert trips. He selected a beer and sat down next to the hibachi. “It’s been a while,” Jake muttered. “What was that?” said Rick. “I was just saying it has been a while since I’ve had something to drink. I hope I can still hold my liquor.” “Still hold your liquor? You never could hold your liquor. You get drunk after about one beer. You start reminiscing and talking about what you could do if time and money were not an option. You can’t hold shit.” “I can hold liquor pretty well. I mean I can’t drink like you but . . . ” “What did you say?” “When?” “No, seriously, what did you mean by that?” “Mean by what?” “That you can’t drink like me. Are you trying to say that I’m an alcoholic? Are you saying that I am a drunk? Because I’m not a drunk. I will not turn out like he did, you got that?” “Rick, I didn’t mean anything by it. I’m sorry.” “Why did you say it then? You think you are so clever. You think you can outthink anyone just be playing your silly word games and your tricky phrasing. But I know you better than anyone, and I know when you are mocking me and I will not stand for it.” “Leave him alone, Rick,” said Anita, breaking her silence. “Stay out of it!” “I will not stay out of it. You leave him alone or I will leave you here. We will get in the truck and we will take off and we will leave you here.” “I bet you will. I bet that is what you always wanted.” “Shut up!” “I’m just speaking my mind. I think I should…” “This is getting out of hand,” Jake interrupted.

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April 2007

FARAWAY

• LITERATURE •

“Yeah. You’re right, this is getting out of hand.” Upon uttering that statement Rick grabbed a six pack of beer and began to walk in the direction of the moon. He did not look back at Anita or Jake. He just kept walking straight toward the moon. The moon was so low it looked like Rick could walk right over to it and climb to the top. Rick had not had much to drink. This kind of explosion was a normal occurrence for Rick. He was prone to emotional outbursts but not usually until he had had quite a few drinks. Jake did not know how to handle things with Anita. She was obviously upset, but he did not feel right trying to reassure her. She had probably dealt with quite a few of Rick’s tantrums. He had seen quite a few also, but this was the first time he was on the receiving end of one of them. Anita was in the truck with the door closed. Jake was in his tent. Rick was God knows where. Anita was sitting with her eyes closed thinking of her old radio. She had the idea that the radio was the reason that the trip was so silent. Obviously because of no music, but also because of the topics that would arise from the music. Jake was a bit of a musical snob, and he would always start arguments over bands. Rick could care less about music, but Anita was a gigantic music fan. There were times in her youth when she would spend her entire paycheck at the record shop. She had a collection of over 500 compact discs and vinyl records. Her favorites were the 1960’s bands. She did not care what kind of music they played, as long as they were recorded in the 1960’s, she was a fan. She had purchased so many records that would make the average person cringe, but to her it was all poetry. She felt that music of that time period had a certain lyrical sound. She could never fully describe why she liked it so much. It had started many arguments with Jake, who drew most of his inspirations from 1980’s bands. They used to love to argue. Jake sat in the tent and tried to think of something to say to Anita. The time for making casual conversation had long since passed. The time for being considered rude for avoiding each other was rapidly approaching. Jake decided to go and talk to her. He began to walk over toward the truck. Anita did not notice him. He began to worry that if he got too close to the truck without Anita noticing him, she might be frightened. So he began to take very slow, noisy steps. She finally noticed him. She smiled a fallen smile. He did the same. He gently knocked on the window. “Yes?” Anita said, as the window was descending. “Do you need anything?” “No, I’m fine.” “Do you want to sleep in the tent?” “No.” “I didn’t mean did you want to sleep with me in the tent. I mean do you want to sleep in the tent with me also in it, just sleeping. That’s it.” “I know what you meant,” she chuckled as she spoke. “You know, I am really sorry for what happened back there. I kind of feel like it was my fault.” “It wasn’t your fault, Jake. It really wasn’t. That is just the way he is sometimes and you know it. It just happens.” “I know it does, but I still feel responsible. I feel like I ruined everybody’s good time.”

21


April 2007

“This weekend was never about having a good time. It was about seeing how much we could put up with. I think that is pretty clear.” “I didn’t think of it that way. I just wanted to see my old friends. My best friends.” “I’m sorry we let you down.” “You never have.” “Thanks.” “Well, I guess this is goodnight, unless you wanted to have a staring contest or play count the rocks or something really fun like that.” “No.” This time she laughed. “I didn’t think so. Good night, Anita.” “Good night, Jake.” Jake turned around and started walking back toward the tent. When he got about halfway there he turned around and saw Anita once with her nose buried in her book. He could not see that it was the book that he had given her. He did not know that she had even read the book. They had never discussed it. Jake got to the tent and pulled his sleeping bag up to his shoulders. He did not feel tired, but there was really nothing else to do but go to sleep. He kept thinking that he heard a rustling outside, but every time it turned out to be nothing more than the wind. He lay on his back and stared at the tent’s blue interior. He had never felt so lonely in his life. Jake woke up very early and found that sometime during the night Rick had snuck in to the tent. The smell of alcohol was abundant, so much so that it made Jake’s stomach hurt. He needed to get some fresh air. He unzipped the tent and went outside. He rubbed the sleep from his eyes and he noticed that Anita’s truck was gone. He looked around with hopes of finding that she had simply moved the truck or that she was playing some kind of joke. He did not find anything. He did not find a note or any trace that she had ever been there at all. The wind had even taken care of any tire tracks that may have revealed her route of escape. He and Rick were alone in the desert. He sat down next to the hibachi and began to scribble little messages in the sand. He spelled out his name in several different ways, with all sorts of different last names and middle name experiments. As he was writing his favorite name he heard a rustling from inside the tent. Rick came staggering out. He went behind the tent to urinate and he stumbled toward Jake, who was busy furiously erasing what he had written in the sand. Rick looked around and noticed that the truck was gone. “Where did you move the truck?” “I didn’t. I came out and it was gone. I don’t know where she took it.” “Are you serious?” “I wish to God I wasn’t. She is gone.” “Did she leave a note or anything?” “Nothing.” “What are we going to do?” “I guess we better start walking. I shall lead.” “What about all the stuff?” “We can come back for it later.” “Listen, I’m really sorry about last night. I really don’t know what came over me.”

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April 2007

“It’s okay. I know you didn’t mean it.” “How long do you think we can last out here on our own?” “Just enough. Just enough.”

• LITERATURE •

A Crazy Reach of Twisted Sorrow Danny Rivera

She had drawn him a flower in the sand and asked that he keep it always

But I cannot, he said, for I’ve nothing that could hold such a thing.

Then keep it here, she said, and it will be watered every day No, he said, the ocean will take it from me

No, she said, for it cannot. And as you are a man and as the

ocean is an ocean we all can only take that which is given He had looked at her then

I think I would like one of those, he said

For she had had silver bracelets on her wrists and lively flowers in her hair

Ah, she said, but we all can only take that which is given

FARAWAY

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April 2007

morning wish Jeff Hendrickson the mist floated along the shorelines dampened rocks and sat feverishly waiting to creep up the coastal rocks to engulf my dreams and wet my appetite for the oceans salty air calling and welcoming me like a mother i lowered my body and sat on the sand tapping a rock with a piece of driftwood and scratching the surface of the beach creating swirling patterns, exclamation points, hearts, clouds, people and more to watch it disappear as the tide swept it up i laid down with arms and legs spread as if to create a snow angel of sand and wrapped my body in seaweed as much as i could feeling the cold tickle cover my body and stared up into the misty sky hoping the tide would sweep me away forever

Pacific Ocean, KR, Digital photograph, 2007, Photoshopped by SS, 2007

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April 2007

• LITERATURE •

NEEDN’T NEED

An Excerpt By Kyle Hernandez I Now it’s a miniscule ring of dust on the not-so-white baseboard where the little rubber doorstopper that goes “boing” used to be. Also there’s a minute black hole, first punctured by a thin nail or possibly a screw, where the ants come and go in long lines sometimes, but only if you focus hard and usually for hours at a time. All of this combines creatively to create this picture of the bigger picture (most likely a surrealist painter’s rendition of a God-like bird with no beak). Its meaning? Just a window. A rainbow? A filter. And don’t you know where you’d be without a filter? Probably on your knees, lacing an actor’s navy, spaghetti shoestrings behind a lush, red velvet curtain, with an audience screaming for just one more occasion to joyfully throw fresh roses and maybe-not-sofresh silk undergarments. You’d be scraping paint from old wooden lawn furniture, sanding down the water-raised grain, and anxiously awaiting your chance at applying a fresh, thin coat of oil-based mahogany stain and then perhaps several more coats of something called “polyurethane”, but you’ll have to be sure to read the label again. Or you might be munching grass and dandelion in an expansive green meadow at the foot of ominous mountains (“ominous mountains” your words, not mine), waiting for the crusty shepherd to harvest your precious wool. If you knew about us, would you ever allow yourself to end up like that? You wouldn’t. By the way, we see everything you do. And we just have to tell you… we just thought that you’d want to know that you’re rubbing your eyes too much. They’re getting so red and irritated. You really must stop that. God, I hope you don’t have pinkeye. And constantly picking lint from your bellybutton or navel (“navel” your word, not ours) isn’t going to make you any more of an adult (“adult” your word, not ours), so you should stop that as well. You don’t want to rip anything or irritate your intestines or prevent the growth of hair. Plus, you might create stretchmarks or other scars that will later have to be lasered away in some plastic surgeon’s office while his assistant, who can no longer move the once-delicate features of her face, looks on with dead eyes. Just be careful. You don’t want to end up like that surgeon’s assistant, do you? Of course you don’t. You know, I’m truly sorry that we see everything you do. Oh Lord, how sorry I am. We don’t mean it when we walk in on you while you’re masturbating or wiping your ass or singing

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April 2007

that adorable song in the shower. How does it go again? The one about the sailor? Nevermind. It’s not as if it any of this has been enlightening. Well, maybe some of it has. But we still have to see everything you do, and it hasn’t been very much fun. I suppose you’re safe for the time being, seeing as how we can’t see the things that you yourself can see running through the insides your head. That’s gotta be some pretty crazy shit, am I right? We know you’ve been sneaking peeks up skirts and down the blouses of your young women neighbors. But we’ve not seen any of those luscious round things. Yet. We shouldn’t have to tell you that we’ve been working very hard on an all-encompassing-seeing/ hearing-machine that will allow us to see through your eyes and hear through your ears and know everything you’re doing and thinking at any given moment for the rest of your life. A life that probably won’t last too much longer, so what does it matter anyway? Anyway. This machine isn’t finished. Yet. It sounds like an awful lot of fun though doesn’t it? And let me tell you, when we’re finished you won’t be safe at all. We’ll be having so much fun at your expense. You’ll never be able to stop us. Ever. I’m evil, I know. But for now you’re safe, so don’t worry. Believe me, it would be wonderful for us if we didn’t have to see everything you do, every booger you eat and every ass-crack you scratch relentlessly. You’ve made our eyes so sad. But then, some of the things you do are very nice, and are well worth waiting and watching for in the future. If there is a future. For you. And there probably isn’t. But who’s to say? Maybe I’ll say. But only when it’s time. And it isn’t time. Yet. But soon it will be. I hope.

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April 2007

FARAWAY

• LITERATURE •

II Sandwich is the lint that collects in your navel and in the crack of your ass, which you wipe from the rim of the toilet every time you finish shitting. Sandwich is my hero, my dues ex machina, whatever the hell that is. Sandwich is the boss, Tony Danza, with his feathered hair and vacuum cleaner. Sandwich is the Mona Lisa, so pretty, in an odd sort of way. Sandwich is the warm meat that glows in your belly on a cold night or smells up an entire hemisphere if left out too long. Sandwich could be President or King or overall Supreme Being, if only he would apply himself, but… Sadly, Sandwich has never been very sure of himself, which is understandable given his reclusive background and constant consumption of rice pudding. The only things he knows for sure don’t seem to guarantee him headway in any one direction, which is the very worst thing if you ask me. Having all that knowledge stored up in a brain so big and not being able to do anything but smile at it, cocking your head to one side just like a stupid dog. So, perhaps it’s up to us (me, you, that guy from before who wasn’t so nice, and anybody else you can convince to throw their life away and help us win this impossible fight) to prepare him, to somehow stretch his brain wires and muscles and set him on the passage that he is truly meant to be set on– which isn’t at all what you might think it is. You see, Sandwich doesn’t have to battle infamous, foul-breathed, belly-bejeweled dragons or save some whiny, long-blonde-haired, beautifully-big-breasted princess from her evil stepmother. Sandwich can ignore the deed of getting the magical scroll to the white wizard before the great war breaks out and all hope is lost. Sandwich is actually meant for something much greater. We’ll need to get him a backpack and a lunch pail with one of his favorite fairytale heroes on it. He’ll need a pup tent and an umbrella and one of those portable fans that squirt water into a fine mist for when it gets too unbearably hot. We could get him an iPod, but then he’d sing everywhere he went and we wouldn’t be able to keep his journey a secret. He’ll need a hairbrush to keep all the burs out of his coat, as well as plenty of hairspray to shield him against attackers, which there will be plenty of. Sandwich is going to need so much. So either help me or fuck off and let me do this thing myself. No… I was only kidding, please I need your help, seriously. But know that either way, it isn’t going to be easy or pretty, and I’m sure that it will most likely cause your bowels to quiver and release small amounts of fecal matter into your thin undergarments, creating a horrible red rash that can’t be gotten rid of, but that’s that. This is what Sandwich needs from us. Even though he doesn’t know it yet. Sandwich is a beautiful creature and we love him so much. If Sandwich were a butt-ugly wench or an ogre with retched corns on his feet we’d probably just tell him to crawl back into his cave and go fuck himself. But, luckily, that isn’t the case. Sandwich is a glorious creature that deserves the praise of future generations. You see, Sandwich is where it’s at. Sandwich could do this thing. Sandwich could do this for himself and for you and for the whole wide world, wherever the hell that is. We don’t think Sandwich could do very much harm, seeing as how we’ll be watching him, making sure he doesn’t bungle the whole bit. Sandwich could do this. I’m absolutely, positively sure that with the proper filter and the right kind of guidance and lunch pail, Sandwich could do this. Sandwich is going to do this. For us. For me. You, too. And in many ways he’ll do this impossible thing for himself. Because he can. And because we’re going to make him, whether he wants to or not. And that’s that.

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April 2007

The Altar of All an excerpt from the forthcoming novel Daniel Sawyer

One evening Constantine heard that there was going to be a great meteor shower and made a big fuss about driving up the mountain to watch. As Lisa was preparing to walk out the door, he said casually, as if it were an afterthought, “Hey, should we see if Melody wants to go?” Lisa, suspecting nothing of his intentions, called out, “Lo, do you want to go?” It was thus that Constantine, Lisa and Melody drove up the winding mountain road one night to watch rocks from outer space burn up as they entered the earth’s atmosphere. They stopped in a parking lot and stood around for a while, looking at the stars. Constantine saw them mostly as reflections in the sparkling eyes of the girls to whom he was at that point equally attracted. “What would it feel like right now if all of the stars suddenly moved, like if the earth spun really fast for a second?” he asked, looking back up at the night sky. “We would prob’ly fall down,” Melody said in her childlike way. “I wonder what it would be like to see a star explode.” They speculated like this until eleven when the shower was supposed to start. They laid out a big blanket on the asphalt and Constantine took care to lay between them. “Ooh, there’s one!” Lisa called, grabbing Constantine’s hand. He squeezed back half-heartedly and they watched in silent wonder as lights streaked through the sky. “I wonder what the end of the universe is like,” Constantine suddenly announced. He didn’t know who he was trying to impress, or if he was working out some thought process aloud, but he had actually wondered about the end frequently. “I used to think that you would actually come to a wall or like an uncrossable flame or something final like that. Now I think you could just drift on forever without ever reaching anything. Maybe like, you could drift forever, but the universe’s forever is always just a bit further than you can go. Or maybe it’s like a circle, so if you went far enough in one direction, you’d come back to your starting point. Or maybe we’ll never know because the end is so far away that humans can’t get there. “Imagine if they sent a space shuttle with hundreds of people aboard whose sole purpose was to find the end of the universe. And they would have to breed along the way because it would take thousands or millions of lifetimes to get there. Imagine if they got to the end and came all the way back to earth to tell us, only to find that the sun had burned out and life no longer existed, or that an asteroid had wiped out humans a million years before. Or what if humans on earth and those in the shuttle had evolved so that they were no longer the same species. The earthlings would think the people in the shuttle were aliens–and I guess they would be.” He drew his gaze away from the stars and saw both pairs of dark eyes staring at him. He felt like Conrad’s Marlowe, trying to convince his fellow sailors of the world’s horridness, the horridness. “Either way, it would be a complete waste of effort. I wonder how the astronauts would feel, if they made it to the end and had nobody to talk to about it.” He had slipped back into his old way of thinking, imagining nothing and death and the endlessness of time. His heart was sinking and the billion year-old meteors that had traversed the galaxy for a length of time ten thousand times greater than the span of all of human history only to explode entering the atmosphere at that very moment were not helping. He turned on his side, and where many times he had found an impassive wall which could not share in his suffering, he now found Lisa’s lovely face and her soft hand coming up to touch his cheek. He was thankful. And for a long time his only desire was her and his plans that night to lay against Melody’s body were for nought.

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April 2007

Untitled, SS, 2007

• LITERATURE •

Shoot Me An Indian Danny Rivera

Shoot me an Indian on your way into space The abducted cyclist will wave hello as he circles the station Urinating over the side

It becomes golden crystal shards of human everessence and spills happily into the outermost layers of the planet’s sunrise...

...colors the day with the hues of a memory...

Thrown into space, ..Tumbling and only slightly lost...

Turned upon its ear and flushed face first into a pot of gold.

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April 2007

The Shallow End Jared Hernandez

“No, you’ve got to hold you’re breath longer. It won’t work that way.” This is Jimmy Collins’ favorite statement to make to his stepson, Cal. He has been trying to teach Cal how to swim for some months now with little success. All Cal can seem to do is float around the shallow end of the pool. Jimmy has tried getting into the pool with Cal and demonstrating proper swimming techniques. He has tried explaining swimming and the mechanics involved. He has even tried to rent some instructional swimming videos and giving Cal a test after watching them. It is not working and Jimmy is losing his patience. “No. That’s wrong. That is just wrong”. That is another one of his favorites. “Jimmy, why don’t you go easy on him.” “He will never learn that way. You will thank me when he is supporting us by pawning his gold swimming medals. You will thank me.” Cal’s mother, Jean, liked to spoil Cal. He was just ten years old and very fat for his age. He had sandy blonde hair just like his natural father, but his facial features were exactly like his mother. Round cheeks, blue eyes, and unnaturally small ears. “Jimmy, can I come out now?” “No, I want you to give me ten more minutes of diving.” “I’m tired, Jimmy.” “Don’t give me that shit. Just keep doing what you’re doing or you’ll never learn. Do you want to stay in the shallow end for the rest of your life?” “No.” “What was that?” “No.” “Well, then get to work. Let’s see it.” Jean sipped her ice tea and stared through her oversized sunglasses at Jimmy. She did this often. Jimmy was not very good at reading her expressions. If he were, he would not like what was being flashed his way. Jimmy moved into Jean’s home in a small California suburb shortly after her divorce from Cal’s father. It was a modest home that Jean had inherited from an uncle. If not for her inheritance she would never have been able to afford this home, modest as it was. There were two small bedrooms and one oversized bathroom and one bathroom that was added on. The saving grace of the home was the swimming pool. It was much too nice a pool for the home. Looking at the front yard, a person would never expect an Olympic sized swimming pool to be in the backyard. Jean’s uncle had at one time been a professional swimmer. He lived alone all his life so he never had need for anything other than a place to practice his swimming and occasionally entertain house guests. The pool was his paradise and now it was the family’s paradise. The house had no air conditioning and was poorly ventilated. During the summers most days and nights were spent poolside. Jimmy had even picked up work as a pool man for some of the neighborhood pools. As Cal worked on his diving, Jimmy sat down beside Jean. “You didn’t pour me any ice tea?” “I didn’t know that you wanted any?” “I always do. I always drink ice tea.”

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April 2007

• LITERATURE •

“Well poor it for yourself for Christ’s sake. It’s not like it’s hard. Just pick up the pitcher and pour the brown liquid. Anybody can do it.” “Are you going to start in on me about this again?” “There would be no point, would there. You don’t listen to me no matter what I ask of you.” “He has got to learn.” “He’s gonna wind up hating you. Is that what you want?” “He’ll thank me in the long run.” Cal continued to splash while doing his dives. Jimmy looked at him and told him that he should get out and dry off now. He told Cal that he had done a good job and Cal’s chubby face lit up. He patted him on the back and went out to his workshop in the garage. He closed to door behind him and opened a paint can. Hidden inside the paint can was a flask that carried about a pint of bourbon. Jimmy took a few quick swigs and closed up the flask. He wasn’t supposed to be drinking anymore. That was part of the deal he had with Jean. Right now he didn’t care. If he had to pretend to be nice to that little brat he had to have a buzz on. He took a breath saver and put it under his tongue. He opened the door with a plastic smile on his face. Jean smiled back. That night Jimmy invited a few of his buddies over. They were going to play poker poolside and Jean and Cal had plans to go to the movies. The first of his buddies arrived at about 5pm and the rest soon after. Cal and Jean left and the men broke out the beer. They had finished two twelve packs before the first card was dealt. Jimmy’s buddies told him stories of the single life and their latest conquests. Jimmy was noticeably jealous. About an hour into the game, the front door opened and Jean and Cal were home. The movie was sold out. Jean spotted the beer right away. She told Cal to go to his room and he resisted. He finally went and Jean asked Jimmy to join her in the garage. They closed to door. Jean was frantically searching the room. “Where is it?” “Where is what?” “You know what I’m talking about. Where is your stash?” “I don’t have a stash.” “Don’t bullshit me. I know you have it. I can’t believe what a liar you are. Do you even like us? Do you even care about your family at all?” “Of course I do.” He was drunk. “This is how you show it.” She found the paint can and removed the flask. “This is it, Jimmy. I want you out.” “You want me out?” “I want you out now. Grab your shit and go.” “Where should I go?” “You should have thought about that before you started back on whiskey.” “It’s not whiskey. It’s bourbon.” “You are such an asshole!” They were arguing loudly now. All of the buddies could hear them. “Fine. I can’t wait to be out of here. You and your fat faggot of a son can rot in hell.” “Don’t you talk about him.” “That kid doesn’t stand a chance the way you treat him. He is a head case waiting to happen.” There was a commotion outside. “You never cared about him, did you?”

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“I thought that was obvious. How could anyone care about him?” Jean grabbed a screwdriver and threw it across the room at Jimmy. The blunt end struck him in the leg and he fell over. He rose with a rage on his face that Jean had never seen before. He lunged toward her. He grabbed her by the wrists and forced her against the wall. Just then the commotion outside grew louder and someone began pounding on the door. “Jimmy, you better get out here,” one of the buddies said through the door. “Not now.” “Jimmy, get out here.” Jimmy let go of Jean and opened the door violently. The buddies were all standing around the deep end of the pool. Jimmy made his way to them and saw Cal floating face down in the water. Jean made her way out and dove in the pool and pulled her son out. He was not breathing. She screamed for someone to call 911. No one was in too much of a hurry to do so. Jimmy finally went in and dialed the number. “911, what is your emergency?” “A kid fell in the pool. I am pretty sure he’s dead.” Jimmy and Jean sat in the emergency room. Jean was busy filling out paperwork. They had made very little eye contact since the incident. Jimmy was staring at the ceiling and trying to think of cruel things to say. He had come up with a few, but hadn’t mustered up the courage to say them yet. Jean was shaking and found it hard to hold the pen in her hand. A nurse came by a few minutes later and told them that they had not heard anything yet. She collected the paperwork from Jean. A few minutes later she came back and said that the forms would all have to be filled out again. Jean had only written gibberish on the forms. Jimmy took the forms and began to fill them out. He filled in the basic information. As he was doing so the realized that he knew nothing about his stepson. “Jean, when is Cal’s birthday?” “His what?” “His birthday. When is it?” “December 15th.” “Thanks.” They sat in silence. “Do you still want me to leave?” “Are you talking to me?” “Yeah. Do you still want me to leave?” “I can’t think about that right now.” “I’ll leave if that’s what you want.” “Just stay for now. I can’t be here by myself.” “Is there anything I can do for you?” “Just shut up, okay. That is the best thing you can do for anyone.” Jimmy sat silently and looked at an out of date magazine that was sitting on the waiting room table. It was of little interest to him. He thought about the situation. He did want to leave. He didn’t see how there was anything left for him in this relationship now. He wanted to cut and run. He had it in him to leave if Cal died. Jean would be a mess, but she would get through it. Jimmy knew how strong she was. He knew that she would carry on no matter what life dealt her. He tried to think of another reason to love her, but he couldn’t come up with one.

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• LITERATURE •

Jean told Jimmy that she was going to get a cup of coffee. She took some cash out of her wallet and left her purse in her chair. When she turned the corner, Jimmy began to rifle through her purse. He took a few dollars and put them in his pocket. That was the money that Jimmy had given Jean to take Cal to the movies. Since they didn’t go, he thought that she was no longer entitled to it. After all, it was his. The nurse came into the room. “Sir, are you the father of Cal Lewis?” “No.” “Wasn’t that his mother sitting there? Are you not here with her?” “I am. I’m his stepfather.” “Oh. I just wanted to let you know that the doctor will be out shortly.” “Thank you.” “If there is anything we can do for you, just please let us know.” “You can tell me how much all of this is going to cost.” “Excuse me?” “Can you give me like a running total of what this is going to run?” “You will have to take that up with accounting, sir.” The nurse gave him a disgusted look and left the room. Jean came back around the corner. She asked Jimmy if there was any news. He told her that there wasn’t. Jean sat down with her coffee cup in hand. Jimmy watched the steam pour off the top. “Why did you ever start with me?” Jean asked. “I thought you were beautiful.” “Is that the only reason?” “I think so.” “Either you think or you know.” “That wasn’t the only reason.” “Well, what was it then, because I am dying to know.” “Don’t say dying in the hospital.” “What was it, Jimmy?” “I saw you and I thought that you were someone that I could spend my life with. I had never thought that about anyone at the time. I haven’t felt that about anyone since. I don’t know. That was such a stupid thing to say. I don’t know how to act in this situation. I don’t know what you want of me.” “I just want you to tell the truth.” “The truth.” “Is that so much to ask?” “No. It isn’t.” There is a long pause. “I love you, Jean.” “Thanks.” “I love you and I want to help you make it through this.” Jean put her hand to her head. She was trying not to break down. Jimmy took her hand away and held it in his. They sat that way until the doctor came. “Are you the parents of Cal Lewis?” “We are,” said Jimmy.

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“Thanks for being patient. I have some good news for you.” Jean tightly gripped Jimmy’s hand. “Your son is alive.” Jean cried tears of joy and put her arms around Jimmy’s neck. “It’s not that simple. He has been through a lot. He is going to have to stay here for quite a while. When we finally release him, he is most likely going to need around the clock medical assistance. Of course it is too soon to know anything for sure. But right now, you should just thank God that he is alive.” “Can we see him?” Jean asked. “You are going to want to give it some time. His body has been through a lot. It might be kind of a shock to see him now. I would wait a couple of days.” “Thank you, doctor.” Jean rose from her seat and put her arms around the doctor. She thanked him again and again and he let her know that she was welcome. Jimmy just sat there. All he could think about was how much all of this was going to cost him. Why didn’t he leave while he had the chance? Why didn’t he just get up and walk away right now? How could he get out of this? Jimmy began to weep. Jean sat beside him and put her hand on his leg. He wept harder.

Untitled, Katie Rutherford, 2006

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• LITERATURE •

Bound for Success Josh Mitchell

The best way to reach success is to set goals. And the best way to achieve these goals is to map out the actions that you need to take in order to get there. According to Nathan Holdman the best map is a simple list. The shorter the better. It was also important to have a clear goal, nothing abstract or too glorious. Nathan’s list was short and his goal was clear. He was a person bound for success. His list consisted of three basic steps. One, to gather information from the local McDonald’s. Two, create a disguise. The third and final step was a two-parter. Steal one of his father’s guns and rob said McDonald’s. Nathan’s goal was to successfully rob a McDonald’s without anyone getting hurt and getting away with as much money as possible. Step one was easy enough. Nathan had watched enough movies to know that you have to gather critical information from the place you plan to rob, such as how many employees are staffed, becoming familiar with the layout of the building and surrounding area, which includes preparing an escape route. For the past three weeks Nathan has been going to his targeted McDonald’s and observing the goings on. He walks in at 11:00am every morning and orders a Big Mac with no pickles, fries cooked extra crispy with no salt, a large soda, and an ice cream sundae with no nuts. He takes his food to a corner booth and watches and takes notes. At the end of his six weeks “casing the joint,” Nathan felt confident that he would be able to successfully pull off his first robbery. The escape route was simple enough. Nathan had lived in the area his entire life and knew every route possible to and from the McDonald’s. He had considered going on foot so nobody could see what type of car he drove but decided against it, concluding that, in case there was a police chase, he didn’t want to be without a vehicle. In the end he decided to park his car in a neighboring parking lot and run to his car and leave from there. Nathan was going over his map to success one evening and was thinking hard about his second step. What sort of disguise should he use? He thought of all the obvious choices of a ski mask, stocking over the head or any other sort of mask but decided against them. He didn’t want to walk into the place wearing a mask because that would make people panic. He stood in front of the mirror and stared at his reflection for a long while and thought of ways to alter is appearance. He thought back to the movies he’s seen and books he’s read and tried to pick a method of disguise that would suit him best. After about twenty minutes of thinking he finally made a decision. He knew he couldn’t do anything too crazy because he didn’t have access to plaster, make-up, latex, or anything else a good disguise required. So he recalled one of his favorite books in school about a couple of greasers who had to go into hiding after committing a murder. They simply cut and bleached their hair. So Nathan decided he would do the same but with a few modifications. He wasn’t fool enough to believe a simple cut and dye job would work. He would definitely need glasses, thick ones. So the next day he bought a pair. With steps one and two successfully crossed off his list and the third just fifteen hours away all Nathan Holdman needed was a good night’s rest. With his new glasses tucked securely away and the key to his father’s gun locker laying on his nightstand Nathan made himself ready for bed. Before actually lying down he reviewed his list one last time and smiled to himself. He felt as a person waiting in hungry anticipation for a meal being

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prepared in the next room. He could smell the sweet scent of success eagerly awaiting him and right at hand. The morning broke without a hitch. Nathan’s alarm clock woke him right on time and he felt rested and jubilant. After his shower Nathan dressed himself and walked down the hallway to the front door and went outside towards the garage. Inside he opened his father’s gun locker and picked up one of the several handguns available. He just needed something small enough to fit into his jacket pocket. With one final thing left on his list to do Nathan got in his car and made his way to McDonald’s. When he parked in the parking lot he noticed a “For Customers Only” parking sign for the dentist office. He disregarded it thinking that he wasn’t going to be gone long enough for it to matter. He put his glasses on and looked in the mirror. He started to feel nervous as he saw his hair bleached and cropped. He thought how ridiculous he looked with the thick rimmed glasses and he didn’t like the way the gun weighed in his pocket. He suddenly panicked as he realized to his horror that he didn’t bring a bag for the money. He looked around desperately in his car for something that would suffice. Realizing there was nothing he began to question whether or not to go through with this. After several tense seconds Nathan’s reason started to overcome his panic and he realized that McDonald’s has plenty of bags they use for food that he could easily use for money. As he walked into the McDonald’s he was surprised to see how many people were actually in the store. The majority of the tables were taken and there was a line at the registers. Nathan’s uneasiness returned as he tried to figure out why so many people were here at this time. He didn’t want to draw attention to himself by standing in the doorway so he went to go stand in the closest line. Then he realized the cause of the unexpected rush. McDonald’s was promoting a new lunch item and was giving away a free medium French fry with every purchase. As Nathan made his way closer to the front of the line he debated with himself if he should proceed. He didn’t have much time to think before he was standing in front of the clerk. The young woman was the same one he’d seen every day for the past six weeks, Jenny according to her nametag, but instead of offering him the usual lunch specials she recommended the new lunch special which came with a free medium French fry. In a hurried panic Nathan’s instincts took over and he proceeded to order his usual. “Can I just have a Big Mac with no pickles and fries cooked extra crispy with no salt?” “Anything else?” “An ice cream sundae with no nuts and a large soda.” “Is that for here or to go?” “For here.” While the Jenny was repeating back the order Nathan realized what he had come to do. When she gave Nathan his total instead of reaching for his wallet he grabbed the gun. He pulled it out and immediately concealed it again under his jacket. This way he could flash it to Jenny and no one else would see. He opened his jacket slightly so she could see what he held. Jenny’s eyes went wide as she realized what was happening. Luckily for Jenny her fine training provided by McDonald’s covered robbery situations. She knew that she wasn’t supposed to scream or panic. Just calmly give the robber what they want. After she had

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• LITERATURE •

finished putting the money in the bag she asked Nathan, “Would you like your order to go now?” Nathan looked back at her with a questioning expression on his face and then he realized he did in fact place an order. “I think this will do, thanks,” he said as he reached across and grabbed the bag. He turned and walked quickly across the lobby, avoiding people from other lines and made his way to the doors and outside. Nathan’s heart was pumping hard right now and his entire body was so tense from the vast amounts of adrenaline running through his veins that he had to clench his fists in tight balls in order to restrain himself from running across the parking lot. He walked quickly to the sidewalk and around the concrete wall into the dentist’s parking lot where to his extreme horror he saw his car being towed away. All of the bound energy in his muscles came alive at once and Nathan ran as fast and as hard as he could. He used every short cut he knew about from being a boy playing in the same neighborhoods. He jumped every hedge, ran down every alley, and even climbed a chainlinked fence. By the time Nathan reached home he was about to collapse. He practically fell through his front door as he opened it and nearly crawled down the hall to his room. Once inside he laid on his bed for several minutes to allow his heart time to slow. He sat up and decided to examine his loot. He dumped everything out on his bed and began counting. One hundred fifty three dollars and twenty-nine cents. Nathan was slightly annoyed at such a small amount but too overjoyed at the moment for having escaped that he let it go. Later he admitted to himself that robbing the McDonald’s so early in the day was a bad idea. They hadn’t been open long enough to make any real money. He gathered the money back into the bag and hid it in his closet. He knew what he had to do next. According to all the movies and books the proper thing to do after completing a heist was to lay low. So Nathan settled himself in and decided to not leave the house for at least two weeks. He would stay indoors and order food with his loot money. Around the time Nathan was running down alleys in a mad scramble to return home Jenny had notified her manager about what had just happened. Jenny’s manager called the police and they were at the store within minutes. Upon arriving, the police questioned several people who were there at the time of the crime but nobody really saw much of anything. It seems the only person who really got a good look at him was Jenny. She explained to the officer interviewing her that she didn’t remember much. She was still kind of shaken up from the whole thing. After a cup of water and some time to settle down she was able to remember one thing. “His order was very familiar,” Jenny told the police. “In what way?” “I usually get the same order from some creepy guy. Only he has brown hair and he doesn’t wear glasses.” The police immediately set to work analyzing the surveillance tape from the morning of the robbery and comparing it to tapes from the previous weeks. Upon viewing a handful they were able to notice a pattern that could possibly lead to a suspect. There seemed to be the same individual in every tape from the last six weeks. He came in at the same time and it appeared that he ordered the same thing every time. The police then showed Jenny the tape with the brown-haired male and she confirmed that he was the one

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who ordered the same thing as the burglar. The police then set about to identify this young man when they found another clue on the tape from the day before the robbery. The suspect filled out a raffle sheet for a free trip to Disney World. They looked through the raffle box and separated all the males from the females. Luckily for them the raffle had only been going on for two days so there weren’t many candidates. A grand total of 47 people had entered to win a free, all-expense-paid trip to Disney World. One lucky person and their family would be taking the vacation of their dreams. One unlucky person was going to be interviewed by the police regarding a robbery. Out of the 47 contestants 24 were male. The police took their list of 24 male contestants and ran their names through their records and those of the DMV. They then looked at the driver’s license picture of every one and eliminated those without brown hair. They then eliminated the older men because their suspect was between the ages of 16-23. Their 24 quickly became six. After laying low for about two weeks Nathan Holdman started to feel like he was in the clear. He had kept a close eye on the news to see if there was any mention of the robbery or an investigation. He saw a small article in the local newspaper on the robbery but there wasn’t any mention of a police search. He checked the following day and every day after and there was nothing. At first Nathan couldn’t sleep. He was troubled by dreams of Ronald McDonald escorted by policemen with shotguns breaking down his front door and pulling him out of his bed by his ankles. He would jump up at the sound of a siren in the night. His fears shortly subsided and he started to allow himself to feel safe. All of Nathan’s hard work and preparation had paid off. He had completed his first successful robbery and it was all because he knew how to achieve success. He had followed the steps and they led him to exactly where he wanted to be. Nathan started to wonder if he should start planning his next heist. He was contemplating either a Taco Bell or maybe a Burger King. He then thought about robbing the dentist’s office that towed his car. He was just about to get up to take a bath when he heard a knock at the door. As he opened the door he found himself face to face with two officers. He stared at the two men on his porch. One of them asked, “Nathan Holdman?” Nathan immediately started to run, which probably wasn’t the best of ideas but he was in a panic. The officers gave chase right away and apprehended Nathan as he was reaching for the door leading to the backyard. As Nathan Holdman was being dragged out his front door towards the parked police cruiser he started thinking about what was going to happen next. He would be tried and probably found guilty depending on the amount of evidence there was against him. Running from the police probably wouldn’t look good either. He figured that he better accept the fact that he was going to prison. The sooner he did that then the sooner he could start thinking of his next move. The best way to reach success is to set goals. And the best way to achieve these goals is to map out the actions that you need to take in order to get there. According to Nathan Holdman the best map is a simple list. The shorter the better. It was also important to have a clear goal, nothing abstract or too glorious. Nathan’s list was short and his goal was clear: to escape prison. He was a person bound for success.

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• LITERATURE •

Muscles Kyle Hernandez

He leans over and asks me in a whisper, wanting to know what this has to do with anything. I tell him the truth. I tell him that I don’t know. And to tell the truth, I don’t think I want to know. Not anymore. But just try to tell him that. You’ll see what he does. You’ll see how that makes him feel. He’ll never let you forget. You see, he’s not the kind of guy who’ll ever put you in a situation where you’ll have to guess what he’s feeling. No, he’s not shy at all… he’ll just come right out and say it. But be careful… he’s bound to say a lot more than you would ever expect him to. After holding my breath for about 30 seconds, I look back at him and can tell he’s getting impatient. This is not exactly the mood I want to put him in right now, so I let my breath out in one hydrogen-bomb-like burst and tell him that we’ve no choice in the matter… That we’ll have to wait, no matter what happens… That it’s him and me, ‘til the end… Real buddies. Most of which is true. He rolls his eyes and pounds on the back of my seat and grunts like the gorilla I’ve always known him to be. But that’s it… That’s as far as he takes it… And I’m damn proud of him, showing such tact and restraint like that… I really doubted his capability if you want to know the truth. It’s not easy for him and I know that this feeling… this ‘proud’ thing inside me won’t last too long, so I look back at him and cherish it, giving him a little smirk that I know he’ll understand. Down below I can see the crimson curtain start to wave like a slow motion jello mold, and I know the show is about to begin. I tell him to keep still and he cracks a little smile, the first I’ve seen all night. He usually responds fairly well to being told what to do. You just have to be careful when you give him your reasons. So, in this situation, while I’m not terribly afraid to tell him to keep still, you can bet your ass that I’m scared to death to tell him that he’ll have to sit still for the next 2½ hours. This is what comes with what they call ‘the territory’, so I get used to it. And so does he… for the most part, anyway. He grumbles something about popcorn and milkduds and an extra-large soda, but I have to tell him that this isn’t that kind of theater. A blast of hot air from his abysmal nostrils hits me right in the eye. I can tell he isn’t happy. I stare back at him and put my forefinger to my lips, trying my best to signify to him that he’s gonna have to get over it and keep his big trap shut. Again, I don’t tell him for how long, and he doesn’t ask. But he shuts tight his red, glowing eyes and scrunches up his leathery face, and I know he understands. Pretty soon he’s leaning back in his chair, falling asleep to the sounds of that darling music. And I realize that maybe I should be doing the same.

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The Epic of Minothrosia I. The Coming of Darkness Daniel Sawyer

A

t the beginning, there was too much light. The sky was filled from edge to edge with stars and they shone so brightly and hotly that life could not gain a foothold on the surface of the earth. The gods themselves who lord it over all things were forced to hollow out a great mountain in the west and hide in the shade. Mercidor, the god who ruled the council, hung his head down in shame and said that gods should not have to live before the earth. But they could not control the stars. Andrus rose and said that he knew of a powerful man that the gods might use to move the stars, for the power of the gods was confined to the earth and the stars were in the ether. His name was Aeinos and he ruled over men living in a mountain not too far from where the gods themselves sat and deliberated. They council all agreed to contract the man Aeinos to sweep the stars from the sky and give the world relief from the heat. Aeinos was brought before them and he said, “I live in the pleasing shade of the mountain. I lord it over men and I have everything that I desire.” “Within your mountain you have all that you want,” Mercidor who ruled the council said. “But there is much more that you do not have, so much more that you do not even know can exist. When the sky is clear of stars, men can move over the surface of the earth and come to claim all that the gods have made. And you will be foremost among men, for you are favored by the gods.” “This I might do. But how? I cannot leave my mountain but by caves, for the surface of the earth is searing like fire. I cannot approach near the stars.” “We will provide you what we can. Behold the Astral Steeds.” Two beasts were brought forth who rivaled all in beauty. They were like to a horse, but they had only two legs, and these legs terminated not in hooves but in the wrinkled feet of birds. These steeds had wings that flapped majestically, and their flowing manes and tails were like golden thread. “We bestow upon you these steeds. The one is Thunderwing. The other is Arrowstraight.” “I will need a chariot to harness these beasts. Have you lords that?” “There is only one forest that grows in the mountain that throws its shadow over the east. It is guarded by Mundaba, a dark man with teeth like fangs.” “For this I will need an army.” And he had an army, and the gods gave them a great swath of cloth. And the thousand men held the dark cloth above their heads, and it cast its shadow on the ground, and thus protected, Aeinos led his army to the forest that grows in the mountain that casts its shadow on the east. Coming there they found a spire of stone stretching into the sky. Aeinos entered the mountain by a passage, and left the cloth behind. He went in there alone. He went down by a narrow path for five leagues. He went down for ten leagues. He went down for fifteen leagues. He went down for twenty leagues. He was deep within the earth when the passage opened into a great stone chamber that was damp and wet. The starlight filtered through tiny cracks and shone on the trees that filled the space. Inside there was a perfect balance between light and darkness, and here earthly things could grow. The great man Mundaba, dark with teeth like fangs came forward. “I guard these trees,” he said, and his voice boomed like an earthquake. It filled the chamber and the needles on the trees quivered. “I stand guard here and no one shall pass, save he who wishes to face me.”

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“Would that it were not so, brother,” Aeinos said. “But the gods would have these trees, and I shall take them.” Aeinos raised his great broadsword and swung it and it clashed with Mundaba’s sword. They struck so hard that the swords sliced into each other and became welded into a cross. They dropped their weapons to the ground and lunged at each other like rams to lock horns. The earth itself shook as the great fighters wrestled, but it was Aeinos who first planted his foot and expertly tossed the guard. Mundaba tumbled beaten to the dust. “Mercy, brother,” he said, and Aeinos gave him mercy. He took the trees he chose, only a select few to suit his needs, and he left the rest with the guard. He dragged the trees up the narrow passage, going back up five leagues. He went up ten leagues. He pulled the branches up for twenty leagues, leaving behind a trail of leaves and needles. He came back into the light triumphant, and his army raised the cloth above his head. They marched back over the hot earth and came to the place where the gods dwell. Aeinos laid the trees before them, and Arboro, the god of wood, went to work immediately, carving out a chariot finer than any man had ever seen. Aeinos was ready now to ascend to the stars and tear them down from where they burned on high, but when he went to the stable where his loyal steeds were fed, he found only one. Anger swelled within him now, and the voices of the gods within the mountain boomed, asking whosoever thought themselves worthy to steal from the gods. Soon a man came forward and he told the council that his rightside neighbor kept a great beast in his home, whose feet were like to birds’ feet, and who had wings like a hawk. Aeinos raged with anger, and Forthier, the god of weapons cast him a new sword that weighed like a mountain in his hands. Aeinos went to this man’s house and like a gale wind he knocked down the door. The thief fell before him, his hands raised for mercy, but Aeinos had already allotted his full share of mercy to Mundaba. He lifted the sword forged by Forthier ready to strike the man down, when a poor and tired woman threw herself in front. “Great king Aeinos, please. My husband knows not what he did,” she cried. “We are poor peasants, and he took this beautiful steed to make us rich.” “He has made you rich only in misery,” Aeinos said, not swayed by the woman’s tears. “If you let my husband live, I will take these threads from this steed’s mane and weave a net with which you can rope in all the stars.” Aeinos considered and stayed his sword. She fell onto his feet and clasped his knees. Aeinos left Thunderwing with the peasants, and came back the next day to fetch his quarry. Her promise fulfilled, the woman presented Aeinos the king with a net of golden fibers with which he might catch the stars. He took the net and his loyal steed and went before the gods. They clothed him in armor and he mounted his chariot, unlike any traveler the world has seen. Thunderwing and Arrowstraight beat their wings and the chariot mounted to the heavens. Aeinos left the earth behind and burning within his metal armor, he was quick to cast his net out wide. The stars were captured in the trap, and he swung the net above his head, swinging it like a rock thrower, and he flung the stars away. With that there was blackness in the sky where the stars had been. The men in the mountains and the gods on their thrones breathed a sigh of relief and felt for the first time the coolness of night. They came from their caves and threw their eyes upward, and they followed Aeinos’ chariot as he went along his course, the golden mane and the finely-woven net shining brilliantly in the sky. He came back to earth, a god among men and beloved by all, for he

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had rid the sky of almost all the stars, and finally life could march across the surface of the earth. The gods collected in a field and they spoke to Aeinos thusly, “You and all your seed shall possess all that land for thirteen valleys from here to the west. This land shall be yours for ever and ever, and you will form a kingdom that will rival all of the others.� Aeinos knelt before them, and gave them back the steeds and their beautiful chariot. He went to the west and laid claim to all the lands the gods had given him. The men from all around flocked to meet him, and they gave their loyalty to him. He took for himself many wives, but first among them, and the one he liked the best, bore him his first-born son. Him they named Minothrosia, the Son Born From the Stars. His father loved him best.

Vermont Horse, KR, Digital photograph, 2005, then Photoshopped by SS in 2007

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• LITERATURE •

Felix or Other Stranger Darker Crevices Danny Rivera

Felix sits between two men grown Hands held pensive with his lap as his eyes alight over yonder window breaks—

In such jocund company he slips into a false serenity...two lips like lovers loose between folds of pillow flesh and open lines of red juice creeping through his veins he sits upright and takes a dollop from the wall. It flowers in his hand blooming crazy orange petals into fluttering crimson insects with winged tails and wondering eyelits...they seam into a blue jean, a blue dream with some sorts of senile sirens crying his name and asking his time he pleads against ropes and screams forgiveness, the men row wooden boats towards invisible shores

She stands at the tip of a rhythm Waving and wearing blue ribbons with sunrise shoulders and other darker stranger crevices

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Autumn 8th Josh Mitchell

I’m not the antidepressant that you thought I could be. Perhaps I never was And here I am, standing on an empty deck Without my queen of hearts Pushed by agony through the long days defeat Seen through depression walls, built with heavy bricks Each made sullen by a persons past remorse But I lie awake Driven by an unknown factor That contributes to the swollen life Of the beaten down and sore Your most profound decision is my deepest regret Born on Autumn 8th Here dies a man Who has never lived before Autumn 8th

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• LITERATURE •

The Watering Hole Michael Pitassi

Once, the days were peaceful, undisturbed, harmonious. Creature loved creature. Resources flourished. The fields were green. The water plenty. Once, life was simple. Now, the days are suspect, beastly, hateful. Creature distrusts creature. Resources are scarce. The fields have died. The water recedes. Now, life is desperate. When Pak was young his mother would take him to the edge of the great lake. There, under shining skies, Pak would help bring baskets of water back to the village. The great lake was vast. Its waters helped sustain the communities of every creature for hundreds of miles around. Peace was all anyone knew. But as time went on, natural events caused the waters of the great lake to recede. Droughts, heat, a growing population of living creatures—all of these things created an impending concern among the lakeside inhabitants. By the time Pak had reached his early adulthood, the great lake was nothing more than a pond. Pak’s parents had both died, and his village was abandoned. Instead, Pak, and others, moved closer to the water, and everyone began to live in isolation, rather than as a community. Pak took a mate, and with her had two children. But his family sheltered themselves from the outside, only appearing when water was needed from the pond. Communication was non-existent. When the pond had been a lake, it was a lively place, full of laughter and friendship. But it was now a quiet place, and the creatures came to take their provisions and leave. More time passed, and the pond became a meager watering hole. The watering hole was so small it could be easily waded across. Creatures began to panic, and despair began to take over the land. There seemed to be no hope in sight. The days grew warmer, and no rain had fallen in years. Creatures began dying off, their bones remaining at the water’s edge. Everyone continued to live in isolation. Pak’s family was frightened, and depended on him to keep them alive. Pak went daily to the watering hole, and very inconspicuously took his ration of water, without ever speaking a word to anyone, or anything, else. Pak’s mate began voicing her concern. She thought maybe they should leave the watering hole, and go searching for a new, better land. But Pak was resolute. He had lived by this body of water all his life, and he did not want to leave. Soon, unfamiliar creatures began appearing at the watering hole. These new creatures were large, and frightening. They seemed unfriendly, and Pak had never seen anything like their kind before. Creatures began to murmur. Who were these newcomers? What did they want with our watering hole? One night, as his family slept, Pak was startled by a nearby noise. He quietly peeked out from his hut, only to see what appeared to be a large, human-like beast. This hairy creature seemed to be sniffing around Pak’s encampment. And soon, the creature’s eyes met Pak’s. But neither Pak, nor the beast, moved. It appeared to be ape-like, with a wide build, quite tall, with dark eyes, and frighteningly mysterious. Pak quietly trembled.

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And soon the ape slowly turned, and walked away. Pak did not mention the encounter to his family. When Pak went to get water the next day, he saw the same ape-man from the night before lounging lazily on the opposite shore of the watering hole. In broad daylight, Pak was able to see the creature perfectly. It was indeed an ape-like beast. It was larger than anything he’d ever seen, with broad arms and shoulders, black, with an evil face. It appeared highly intelligent. All of the other smaller, native inhabitants of the area were steering quite clear of the ape as they retrieved their rations of water. Pak did not like the feeling that this new inhabitant gave him. The next night Pak once again heard a noise. He hesitatingly peered out from his hut, and, just as he suspected, saw the ape-beast. This time, Pak crept out of his hut to get a closer look. He grabbed a long stick, knowing it would be worthless, and moved closer to the beast. The large creature hadn’t yet seen Pak, but he heard the footsteps, and quickly turned his head. His eyes focused on Pak’s pale and trembling face. The ape-man made a slight grunting sound, but he did not move. He didn’t seem to be aggressive. Pak, without thinking, called out, “Who are you?!” The beast grumbled softly, and then in a low, monotone snarl, replied, “I am Ido.” Though the beast had not made any threatening moves, Pak was quivering with fear. He knew not what to say. After a brief silence the creature continued, “More creatures are coming. All of the outlying watering holes have dried up. Yours is the only one left.” The beast spoke clearly, with an eerily deep voice. Pak replied, “Our watering hole is not big enough to sustain everyone.” He did not go so far as to say that the great beast should leave. “As a living creature,” Ido began, “I have a right to this water, which is of the earth. It is not the property of anyone. And should you allow my presence here, I will afford you my protection from the other, ill-meaning creatures that are soon to appear.” “I will allow you your rations,” Pak responded, “but this situation cannot persist.” “We must work together. You just continue to live as you always have. I will take care of everything else.” Ido began to move away after this. His eyes were darker than the night around them. It had not tried to harm him, but Pak sensed an evilness about the great beast. Pak lingered for a moment, watching Ido disappear into the darkness. He was shaken, and he went back to his hut to attempt to sleep. The next morning Pak told his mate about his encounter with Ido. They both agreed to keep to themselves, continue to perform their routines, and let Ido provide them protection. Sure enough, a few days later, a new creature arrived at the watering hole. This new beast was even more frightening than Ido. He was large, a great mound of fur, bear-like, with exposed teeth, reddish eyes, terribly loud and disturbing. He trampled the ground on which he walked, tearing up grass, and lapping up water like there was no one else around. Pak and his family shook with fear at the sight of this new beast. As much as he would have liked to run, Pak knew that only death would await he and his family away from the watering hole. So he trusted in Ido, and went about his daily business. Many of the other original inhabitants of the watering hole had had similar con-

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• LITERATURE •

versations with Ido. They continued retrieving their daily rations of water, trusting in Ido’s protection, and trying their best to ignore the terrible, loud new creature that was causing a horrific ruckus. But many more of the small, harmless creatures began to leave. Not being able to live in these new, terrifying conditions, they risked starvation and death out in the desert. Pak began noticing many more carcasses around the watering hole. But these new corpses were there not just because of starvation—many of them had been trampled, injured, or outright killed by these new giant beasts. Pak’s uneasiness grew. Before long, another great beast appeared at the watering hole. This new creature was smaller than Ido and the bear-like monster, but looked far more sinister and evil. It was scrawny, with a dark-grayish fur, bony legs, red eyes, and gnashing teeth. It was wolflike, and it walked around discreetly, with a cunning demeanor. Days went by, and Pak and his family were undisturbed by these new creatures. Pak began to feel more trusting of Ido, believing him to be actually protecting them from the other creatures, the wolf and the bear. As more days passed, and he and his family were unharmed, Pak began to feel complacent and at peace with this new situation. He continued with his daily routine, fetching water from the watering hole, and keeping to himself. The carcasses around the watering hole, however, continued to mount. Pak had a few more conversations with Ido. These meetings were always at night, and were always eerie and frightening, for Ido was a powerful beast, and Pak knew he could destroy him at any moment. Through these conversations Pak found out that the giant bear-like creature was named Ata, and the sneaky wolf was named Breo. Ido confessed to growing contempt between Ata and Breo, and he said that soon a violent conflict would break out between them. Ido said he would be powerless if such a conflict were to erupt, but that he would do his best to continue affording his protection for Pak and the other creatures of the watering hole. Pak was determined to continue living his simple, peaceful life. He kept his mate and his children relatively in the dark about his meetings with Ido. He didn’t let on about the impending clash between Ata and Breo. He created a sheltered existence, where the foremost concern was ensuring food and water for his family on a daily basis. During this time, a group of creatures, all native inhabitants of the watering hole, banded together to try to figure out a solution for the shrinking water supply. These creatures had lived by the water for at least as long as Pak had, and they had grown tired of living in fear—fear of running out of water, and fear of these large, intimidating beasts. They decided to name a small group of individuals to go and seek other sources of sustenance. The group had approached Pak for help, but he had refused. Pak saw this group’s efforts as futile, foolish, and ill-conceived. He considered his traditional way of life superior. The watering hole had never let him down, and he was determined to continue to survive by its shores. More days passed. Tensions grew. The population was quickly dwindling, for creatures were either leaving or dying. The watering hole continued to shrink. The three great beasts—Ido, Ata, and Breo—usually stayed on the opposite side of the watering hole from Pak. And Pak noticed Ata and Breo coming dangerously close to attacking one another on a more frequent basis. Ido did what he could to maintain peace, but neither monster cared much for Ido either, and would gladly attack him as well, if the opportunity arose.

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One morning, Pak arose to find that his food storage had been ransacked. A week’s worth of berries and leaves had been stolen. This was a breach of the natural code. Pak was alarmed and terribly upset. That night Ido happened to be nearby, so Pak took his grievances to the great ape. But Ido offered little help. He said that if Pak were to start openly accusing people, it could lead to all-out civil war, for tensions were already stressed enough as it was. Pak agreed, and decided to let it go. The next night, though, as his family slept, Pak heard a noise, and figured it was Ido. But when he peeked out of his hut, he saw not Ido, but a mangy wolf, who was wildly pillaging Pak’s food stores. It was Breo. Pak’s blood boiled, and he emerged from his hut brandishing a sharp stick. But Breo was not startled in the least. Instead, he turned toward Pak and gritted his teeth. He growled and stared coldly at Pak with his red eyes. Pak lost all courage, and sank back into his hut.

Trouble, Scott Sawyer, 2007

Pak began trying to hide his food in clever ways. He knew he could never stand up to the wolf. So he had to learn to live with the evil thief. Time moved along. Pak continued his routine of collecting a basket of water from the watering hole everyday. The world around him was collapsing into chaos, but he was still able to supply his family with just enough food and water. He thought of the group that had recently embarked on a quest for alternative sources of sustenance. He figured they were all dead by now, the fools. A couple of weeks had passed. And the rumored altercation that was supposed to happen between Ata and Breo finally erupted. It was evening, and Breo had went to the water’s edge for a quick drink, and there he had noticed a fresh new carcass. He looked around, saw no one, and began feasting. But just then, out of the brush, came the wild Ata. He hadn’t eaten in days, and he was starved. The carcass was small, and Breo did not feel much like sharing. The enmity between these two differing monsters finally reached a boiling point. Breo lashed out at Ata, and Ata returned the aggression with a fierce smack of his paw. They began to violently attack one another. Ido hid away in the brush. Panic and fear set in among the other inhabitants of the watering hole. Mothers rushed to get their children to safety. The sounds of the fight were horrifying. Hisses, growls, squeals, and screams. Neither powerful beast seemed willing to concede. Ata and Breo fought all night long. And all of the next day. And all of the following night. And on. And on.

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• LITERATURE •

But even with this chaotic clash going on around him, Pak continued to live by his time-honored habits. He cautiously retrieved his water every day. Ata and Breo ripped each other apart, but neither one still seemed close to giving up. They fought for days, and soon weeks. And one day, Ata and Breo’s battle came tragically close to Pak’s doorstep. Pak’s youngest child was playing near the waterside, when the beastly brawl shifted direction, and ended up crushing the poor child. The fracas continued, with the two beasts completely unaware of the destruction they were causing, to the land, and to the lives of others. Pak was devastated at the loss of his child. He sought out Ido, and pleaded with him to intervene in the great conflict, “You promised me protection!” Pak yelled. “There is only so much I am capable of,” Ido replied, his dark eyes completely unfeeling. “This battle is bigger than me, bigger than you. And it may very well be the destruction of us all.” Pak stood in despair as Ido walked away, the sounds of the vicious fight continuing in the distance. Pak lost all emotion. He walked to his water basket, picked it up, and walked to the water’s edge to fill it up. He decided to keep doing what he knew and was comfortable with—his daily routine. After the loss of their child, Pak and his mate isolated themselves even further from the rest of the community. They retreated inward. Pak would often go to the watering hole with lifeless eyes, fetching water without even batting an eyelash at the bloody altercation still going on between Ata and Breo. Pak felt foolishly comfortable with his daily routine— as if the growing fight at his doorstep could never reach him. One day, Ido, who had finally decided to do something to end the conflict, arrived at the watering hole with three other menacing beasts—one that appeared like a lion, another a large rhinoceros, and the other a great bison, with horns extending several feet on either side of its head. With these new creatures, Ido entered the fight. It was an all-out war now. The great beasts fought on land, and even in the water, causing the watering hole to fill up with mud and debris. All of the helpless creatures looked on in despair. But Pak continued to collect his daily basket of water. The water was no longer as pristine as it once had been, but it still provided them with life. The other creatures of the watering hole began viewing Pak with contempt as he went about his business with a ferocious apathy. The fight that had started with just Ata and Breo had now been going on for months. All of the beasts involved were bloody, tattered, and mad with rage. They had all but destroyed the surrounding environment of the watering hole, and nearly the watering hole itself. They had caused innumerable casualties among the local inhabitants. And the supply of water was nearing its last drop. It was at this time that the group who had left to find more water returned. Pak couldn’t believe they weren’t dead. The little creatures of the watering hole began to murmur and conspire, as the giant beasts fought in a cloud of blood and claws. The group had found a source of water up in a far-away mountain. The conditions there were unlivable, but they had conceived of an idea to create a series of canals and trenches to bring the water to their own watering hole. It was a daunting task, one that would take years to achieve, and they knew that in the meantime people would die, but it would mean water, and life, for their children and their posterity. Most of the watering hole inhabitants agreed to take on this huge task, only a select few opposing it, including Pak. Pak felt the idea

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was ludicrous. He couldn’t see why they should sacrifice themselves for future generations. He was content with his meager watering hole, as muddy and small as it had become. So as Pak continued to live his old-fashioned way, ignoring the escalating conflict to retrieve his daily water, the other inhabitants of the watering hole began setting out for the far-away mountain. They would be gone for months, but they would be creating canals and dams, and ensuring that water would one day return to their home. Only a handful of stubborn creatures remained at the watering hole. And one night, as if instantly, the vicious battle between all of the great beasts came to an end. The giant creatures had realized that they had been fighting for nearly a year, and had not stopped once to eat. Suddenly, they were crazed with hunger. Pak had been sleeping in his hut, but he woke up as soon as he noticed a silence in the air. The fighting had stopped! He jumped up and went outside. He heard strange noises of muted whimpering. He walked toward the water, and as he did so, a flash of gray knocked him off his feet. He looked up to see yellow teeth descending onto him. They sank into his neck. He then felt a new set of teeth clasp his leg. He then realized he was moving. He saw the beasts all around him. Wolves, bears, lions—tearing him apart. His vision began to blur as he heard the fading sounds of crunching bone and excited yelps. He had been ripped to pieces, and made into a feast for a horde of monsters. After the great beasts ate all of the remaining inhabitants of the watering hole, they waited for their own demise. The water had disappeared completely. There was nothing left for the giant creatures to do but waste away and die. Years later, the group that had left for the far-away mountain returned to the watering hole. They had dug an impressive series of canals, losing many lives in the process, and had now reached their old home. They released a makeshift dam, and fresh water rushed into the watering hole, turning it into a pond, and then a lake. All of the bones of the stubborn and ignorant who had remained at the watering hole now sank to the bottom of the great lake. And the resourceful group of creatures danced and played in their new paradise, fearing no beasts, and letting the harmony of community flourish.

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• LITERATURE •

The Feast

Danny Rivera

The Valley’s hanging low in the eyes of a Storm Giant. Hurling Jangos of spent time and moist misfortune.

Aloft a broken cloud with his foot caught in a splint- and his mind bent over the knee of the universe.

Calling loudly for wine and music,

the muses hover before him with their toes dangling above rooftops and tree stops and their voices sparkling like sundrenched milk maids who have ceased to hear their father’s call.

He weaves drunkenly

before pouncing on the backs of rebel cherubs in winged chariots drawn by anvil horses who scream a violent ecstasy and wriggle beneath the weight of redemptive spirit.

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Letters From the Damned Josh Mitchell

I

t was God Almighty who made us first animals and then men. In His wisdom blessed and cursed us with curiosity and free will. Gifts that would betray us and leave us exiled from paradise.

There are many sins in this world that a man can commit. Some worse than others yet all stain the soul. But none of these compare to the might of Original Sin to which we are all marked at birth. Had I enough foresight at birth to see the misery of my life I would have tied fast around my neck my umbilical cord and hung myself from the highest branch of my family tree. I was neither asked nor pardoned for my existence. So it was and was meant to be that we suffer through our miserable lives. Living in a shadow of sin originally cast by those who experienced the first joys and sorrows of the world. Not even the blood of Christ could wash us clean; and so I say we are doomed to live like devils, causing mischief where we can. We spread our agony over the world like a thick oily sludge that knows nothing else than to consume. God knows all He who has created all. From heaven He watches time unravel itself across all of existence. He watches as we inflict countless injuries upon our fellow man and ourselves. As we compile our pain and suffering into a single heap reaching as far back as Cain and Able and as high as to almost touch the purity of heaven. We are without guidance. Nothing more than children abandoned in a cave by unwanting parents, unable to see clearly the consequences of our actions. So how are we to judge what is good and should be sought after in life being little more than a wretched breed of fools? We don’t see the world through the light of God. We see through eyes clouded with pride, greed, lust, and fear. So it had been and always will be that man makes war upon the earth and himself, breeding only hate and destruction. Some now who have heard by bitter words will say I am forgetting Lucifer the devil. For it must be him who is to blame for the evils of this world. That we humans are nothing more than leaves caught between two opposing storms, pitifully swirling through life; victims to the will of greater beings. To this I say there is no devil. Any man who cannot first blame himself for his own miseries is a man unfitting to pass judgment on others. To attribute the burden of blame on another is a weakness rooted in the depths of our morality.

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Portrait of a Woman

∞ ART ∞

Mark Wyckoff FARAWAY

Acrylic on Canvas, 2007

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A Man Defeated

Mark Wyckoff 54

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Acrylic on Canvas, 2007


April 2007

Ellipsis

∞ ART ∞

Acrylic on Canvas, 2007

Mark Wyckoff

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Greetings From Scenic Vermont!

m o r f s g n i t ree

G

Scott Sawyer

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! t n o erm

V c i n Sce

Watercolor, In Design, 2004


April 2007

Writing in 2006 - My Breakthrough Daniel Sawyer

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‡ THE WRITER’S BLOC ‡

For a long time, I have known that I wanted to write. In high school I had ideas for stories that I talked about endlessly, but I never wrote a word. After graduation, I bought books on how to write books, but I never wrote a word. And in college, a few sentences occurred to me that I simply could not let escape, so I scribbled them down and put them away, but nothing ever came of them. But last year, for some reason, I opened up a new document on my laptop computer, and I began to write. I wrote ten pages in a single sitting, and not just ten pages, but ten good pages. In a week I had written fifty pages, and I sent these out to my friends, and by the time they had read them, I had already written another fifty. I wrote almost two hundred pages of The Altar of All in less than two months, where in the previous five years I had written nothing. Reaching an impasse in that story, I got the idea for a second book, Sail, and in the last two months of 2006, I wrote two hundred pages of that story as well, and the only planning I did was in my head or scrawled on a few slips of paper when I had nothing to do at work. And in between writing these two major stories, I wrote a hundred pages of short stories. In my entire life up to last year, the pages of actual good writing that I have kept I can count on one hand–but from April to December last year, I wrote about five hundred pages. I have since been asking myself about this remarkable output. How did I break through the writer’s block that had kept me from writing before, and suddenly produce enough to fill a book? The only answer that I have arrived at is that I released myself from expectations. I used to think, before I had written a word of it, that The Altar of All would one day be read in high school English classes the way that Lord of the Flies is read now. It would be a perfect and profound piece of literature. Last year, I realized that, not only would it never be read in a high school class, or even by a large audience, simply because of its content, but that it would never be perfect. No matter how much I thought about it and planned it out, or how much other literature I tried to absorb by osmosis to inspire my own writing, it would never be any better or any worse than the best I could do. How good that actually was would be decided by others, because anyone who has written anything knows that everything we write ourselves is either better than Shakespeare or worse than toilet paper in our own eyes. There is an old adage, “Writing is never finished, it is only abandoned.” In my case, it had been, “Writing is never begun, it is only contemplated.” So I decided to abandon contemplation and planning and just start writing. It was not going to be perfect–and it shouldn’t be perfect, because people are flawed, and they don’t do the things we would like. I decided to forego elaborate metaphors and meticulous orchestration and just write, just allow one page to follow another, just allow the characters to do what they will do. And the result has been mind-opening, because I discovered that what the characters did when I allowed them to respond to each other naturally is what they would have done had I planned every last detail. They do what anybody would do in similar situations, and that really can’t be planned, because at some level, it is already known. And the metaphors developed of their own momentum, because metaphors are just patterns and comparisons that litter everything we write and speak. I discovered that I didn’t need to ponder this story for ever. Once I turned my fingers loose on the keyboard, it just happened, whatever it is, and the result is more lovely than anything I could have planned. The lesson that I would have others take from this is simple. Things only ever get done if somebody does them. Obviously, planning and editing are important in writing. But writing should

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be the paramount action, and editing and planning should move along in tandem and should not slow the forward progress of the writing. The perfect phrasing, the eloquent language, will come in time. They will develop as you write, or you will go back and fix things. But they cannot be expected to spring forth like gods out of your head. They must have a starting point on paper. So let go of all of your expectations of perfection and just write, for perfection is the act of writing, while the result will always fall short of our expectations of grandeur.

Mark Wyckoff Discusses His Experiences in the Medium of Paint Mark Wyckoff

About a month ago I decided to act upon my urge to begin painting. For anyone who knows me, this is just the most recent in a long list of hobbies I’ve undertaken. However, it has certainly been the most rewarding, and I feel as though I could actually stick with this one. For as far back as I can remember, I’ve been enamored with art. In my early teens, long before I was able to grasp the weight of it all, I stood under the Sistine Chapel with a wad of bubble gum in my mouth, uncertain of what to make of it. It wasn’t until my mid-twenties that I began to gain an appreciation for art, but even then I have to admit, I didn’t get it all. I knew there was something about the works I saw that made them so highly revered, but because I was so uneducated in the field, I could only appreciate them aesthetically. After enrolling in some college art history classes, I began to break down the barriers that kept me from fully understanding art, and my mere interest bloomed into love, filling me with excitement and wonder. I have always been envious of people with even the slightest amount of artistic ability for I never considered myself as having any. I have always wanted to paint, but my lack of artistic skills has always kept me from taking the necessary steps. Finally, long after the idea first occurred to me to try my hand at painting, I simply made up my mind and bought the supplies, overcoming the mental inhibitions that had kept me from taking the timid steps, and just plunged in. But with no training, instruction, and a history of drawing like a child, where was I to begin? I began where I figure most people begin – by attempting to emulate those who have secured their place in history as great artists. I do not attempt to exactly replicate a master’s work, but rather to “borrow” portions of a painting that look good to me and are within the range of my ability, and construct a sort of “Frankenstein” painting. With no experience of ever having put paint to canvas, this has proven to be a viable place to begin my self-education. My only means of learning how to paint are by reading instructional books and copying pictures. Learning the many techniques in painting simply comes from trial and error. I try as often as I can to create original concepts, which are just inspired by these other paintings. Given my lack of drawing skills, I am also limited to abstract or abstracted images. So far, I’ve used Picasso, van Gogh, and Matisse as guides for my paintings. For one of my latest attempts, I started with a Picasso head and the appropriated Picasso’s border for my background, but I constructed the rest myself. I call the painting, A Man Defeated. The idea came to me after losing at a poker game – a game I lost despite my good fortune with the cards being dealt to me and the fact that my ability exceeded most of my rivals. I attempted to use colors that convey the many emotions that come from the loss of the man the painting depicts: sadness, anger, and even envy. Despite his defeat, however, his face is rather serene or indifferent. Here I was trying to show that he has accepted his loss, but the rest of the painting reveals the unrest which still resides within him. Originally, I considered using the same technique I used for his “insides” to indicate his inner

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‡ THE WRITER’S BLOC ‡

turmoil, in rounded half spherical shapes around his head, but decided against it. Doing that would have counteracted the impact I hoped to achieve with the other spot, and detract from the purpose of his demure. The splatter was achieved by applying paint to the bristles of a toothbrush and running my finger over the bristles. Having the discipline to not overuse this fun and effective technique, I think, saved this painting from becoming gaudy and ultimately thwarting my original idea. Instead, I gained the inspiration for my next painting. My most recent painting, The Ellipsis, is my first completely original attempt at painting, and in my opinion, it works. The concept is actually quite simple. What I’ve tried to do is illustrate, with just lines, color, and technique, a conversation. The breaks of color are the people and the splatter the words they share. The gray bar left of center, void of any splatter, is the ellipsis, which gives the painting its title. The splatter effect was not achieved in the same manner as in my previous painting. This time I tried to thin the paint using turpentine and water, to get a more fluid texture to the paint. Then I used a paint mixing stick to fling the paint onto the canvas. As with all of my paintings it contains visible flaws in its construction. But I try not to debase myself with these imperfections for now, because everything I do is a learning experience. Each painting betters my understanding of general principles and technique. With every painting, I gain confidence, knowledge and experience, and the progress even from one painting to the next is remarkable. Of all the hobbies I’ve undertaken, painting has been the most rewarding. My ability to actually complete decent paintings has also proven that anyone with a strong enough desire can enjoy the cathartic and enriching hobby that is painting. Beyond the self-satisfaction I get from completing a painting, I am also broadening my knowledge of art and art history. It fuels my contention that the purpose of art is to invoke thought and place the viewer in a position of contemplation. Like literature, art also forces one to analyze to realize a composition’s full import.

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS Jeff Hendrickson is a full time whale watcher and biographer of trees. He likes moonbathing and Eastern philosophy. He’s sometimes found unicycling through the streets of Oslo with his pet armadillo. He wanted you to know you look good in scarves...Nobody told Jeff about the photo theme. Jared Hernandez - Jared “?” Hernandez is an aspiring writer who lives in the California area. He has ripped most of his ideas off from books that people have never read. He is hoping to finish the novel that he has been working on forever this year. He is 25, enjoys interpretive dance, barbecue construction, left over French fries, and diet caffeine free Dr. Pepper. He is grateful to be included in this collection and cannot wait to get his short stories out there to the general public. (This paragraph was written under extreme duress).

(The only picture of author available at time of printing).

Kyle Hernandez - Born and raised in Southern California, Kyle Hernandez has been writing most of his life. He is currently working on a novel Needn’t Need, an anti-fairytale fairytale, and a story collection Raucous Applause. He enjoys jazz music, but prefers spelling “jazz” the ol’-timey way, J-A-S-S. He has received one postcard from McSweeney’s telling him that his writing isn’t good enough, but that he should continue submitting it anyway. This is his first and last published work. (Note, blurb written by author)

Josh Mitchell - Josh Mitchell currently lives in sunny southern California with his girlfriend and pets. In his free time he enjoys writing, playing and listening to music, and playing board games. His favorite books are The Lord of the Rings, Catch-22, and Catcher in the Rye. He is currently working on recording a collection of his own songs. Josh also hopes to have some of his writings published in other journals or magazines. He is currently working on a collection of short stories and poetry.

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April 2007

Michael Pitassi - Michael Pitassi is currently en route to becoming a high school English teacher. He received his BA in English from Cal State Fullerton. Though nearly all of his previous writing experience comes from years of songwriting for various bands, he now hopes to explore many other realms of the written word. In his spare time he enjoys cross-breeding plants, and some of his heroes include Lord Byron, Giuseppe Garibaldi, and Steve Nash.

Danny Rivera - Danny Rivera play the guitar and likes to sing a lot. His favorite musical instrument is the harmonica. He likes to grow his hair out as thick and as heavy as he can handle before having it cut. The first song that Danny has any sort of memory about is “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson. He heard it in the car on the way to preschool. Danny broke his toe once chasing his cat and broke a leg falling down a steep hill. He can recite the alphabet backwards and gets very excited when watching Los Angeles Dodger games. He likes the new Star Wars almost as much as the old Star Wars. Almost, but not quite. He can juggle. He’s seen the Mona Lisa. Danny’s favorite quote of all time is this one by Woody Guthrie: “Take it easy, but take it.”

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Daniel Sawyer - A 22 year-old student at UCLA, where he has studied history as a precursor to his more realistic goal of becoming a teacher, Daniel Sawyer is currently writing two novels, The Altar of All and Sail. The Altar of All will probably represent the best writing that he is capable of, but he is focusing at the moment on Sail, an adventure story of world travel. Taking place around 1730, it combines his love of writing with his love of history, and has been a real joy to write. Also on the horizon is a four-volume epic spanning the 20th Century, tentatively-titled Nirvana.

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April 2007

Mark Wyckoff - Mark Wyckoff, aged 28 years, is an East Coast native, unhappily transplanted into the suburbs of L.A. This late budding student by day and bookseller by night is rarely seen without a coffee cup in one hand and a cigarette in the other. His spare time is spent painting, reading, and watching movies. Indifferent to the perceptions others have of him, his concerns lie in quenching his thirst for knowledge and laughing at, if not cursing, the human condition whenever possible.

WORKS IN PROGRESS In the next issue of Faraway . . . * Marooned, a serial poem by Johnny Alderete * Daniel Sawyer promises The Appian Way, a meditation on death and crucifixion, as well as the second installment of The Epic of Minothrosia * We can also expect more paintings from Mark Wyckoff as he continues to hone his skill and develop his style * More poetry and stories by all, including, hopefully, some newcomers * * Look for it in June, 2007 * EPILOGUE - AN INVITATION We hope that you have enjoyed reading this enough to read the next one. We hope that you are inspired by our admittedly modest efforts to try your own hand at writing or to continue composing your novels-to-be. And most of all, we hope that you will let us read your work. So e-mail us at: FarawayJournal@gmail.com

For additional content and updates, visit www.myspace.com/FarawayJournal

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Submissions for issue two must be received by May 23rd, although we will always accept submissions.


Faraway, Volume 1, Issue 1