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“Camp Out” by Beatrice Chen Fiction/Memoir (9-11)


Camp Out My shadow reached its hand out of the grave and beckoned for me to lie inside the lines. I could imagine my flesh evaporating in the sunlight, sinking into the ground. If only I could stay here in this box I drew for myself, and the immense weight of having a body and a mind would crumble to dust. But the birds keep flying higher and higher and I have been taught to chase them. It’s been hardwired into this brain that won’t stop yelling, so I keep stealing and giving, rising and falling, all the while deathly afraid that I will never see what the birds have already found. On the garden steps, soft pillows of moss climbed inside crumbling bricks, the grass grounded away by a lifetime of growing fumbling footsteps. The house looked warm and tired. Even though the corners and windows shaped the confines of my subconscious, if I shouted loud enough I could make the whole place tumble down. Nine years ago I named every tree, shrub, and stump. I scaled their branches, swung upside down and let the blood overfill my head. “Hey mom,” A moth unglued itself from the window frame and tumbled into a spider web. “Mom,” Her eyelashes batted, once, twice, she wrinkled her nose. Her thumb continued to scroll up and down across virtual words and silent laughter. “Mom, mom can you hear me?” With a lingering glance she tilted her head towards me, still with her left eye glued on to the screen, she acknowledged my presence. “Um, yes.” “Are you listening” “You were saying?” “I just,”


“Yep,” Her nails scratched the keys. “I wanted to tell you” “Hmm” “Mom, can you please look at me? I’m telling a story.” My brain watered, my throat swallowed the tears and buried them in my spine. She laughed into the fluorescent glare. The moth trembled, swinging back and forth in the dusty corner. “Okay, okay” She finished her sentence. “ Just keep talking.” “Isn’t it strange, this timeline we follow?” “Sure sweetie,” “Today at school” “How are your grades?” “What?” I could feel a creaky screen move behind my retinas and the woman who was sitting at my kitchen table faded from reality and memories into sortable, familiar, colors. With the yellow light on her head, her black hair turned into a forest of rich sienna and burnt umber. I could fit the entire rainbow onto her face. Bleached blue shadows under her eyes, her lips purply grey, with lingering remnants of pink. When everything was reduced to harmless colors it couldn’t touch me anymore. I was painting a picture and everything was elegantly cold and impersonal. “Why aren’t you studying?” “I just..” Finally, she looked at me. I saw my reflection in her almost black pupils and I knew that she could see herself in my eyes.


“Go,” She flapped her hand at me, “don’t waste your time here.” The conversation ended before it had begun. Her eyes darted back and forth across the screen and I was erased from view. My mother spoke Chinese to me and I responded in English. Sometimes the words get dropped between us and neither of us can understand the sound waves we hurled at each other. When translated word for word into English her remark meant “grasp on tightly to time.” It made me think of children being pulled into the sky by a large bird. Chasing their future, holding on to their innocent curiosity, and learning to solve the mysteries of this universe. It was a beautiful phrase. But the way we spit it out, it was a reminder to stop imagining, to memorize the wisdom of the past so that we won’t get left behind. The skeleton of this house was slowly collapsing, shrinking, and I needed to leave before it trapped me inside. I swung the door wide open but the world wasn’t open for visitors. It had its own sorrows to cope with and the drizzling downpour left no silence for listening. I could always imagine myself staring into the endless grey, with my feet rooted in the drowning grass, letting the rain wash everything away. There was a book about a girl dancing in the rain that I used to read. As falling raindrops strum like idle fingers just above my head, I’m dreaming of snow, silently beautiful, anything that will block the roads, turn them into slip n slides so that school will be closed. I no longer cared for the music. When I was little, I would skip around the earthworms, carefully tiptoeing around their delicate bodies. But the next morning, their corpses would stick to the pavement like squashed crab apples and the petrichor swirling out of the ground was tainted with death. Since then, I have taught myself to walk with my eyes fixed on the horizon line. Ignoring the little lives that got trampled over, I scraped my shoes on the grass before stepping inside.


Rainbow puddles of gasoline broke apart the lines of people. Children stood too far from their parents. Sometimes I wish I was a cat who could fit inside a flower pot. There would be no rules of how my body was supposed to look, and if there was I wouldn’t be taught to care. A chirpy bumble of small talk drowned out my thoughts as I observed the people cheerfully pretending to care. They stood in little circles, with almost touching shoulders that left no space to intrude or interrupt. Even though the cardboard conversations must have felt like scantrons and number two pencils it gave them the precious illusion of expected conformity. My mom and I stood in silence, too exhausted to talk. Finally, it was time to leave. With my suitcase skipping over cracks and loose pebbles I followed the rest of the kids onto the bus. We all tried to fade into the walls, hunching our shoulders and pretending to look bored. None of us knew how to sit on the rickety bunks riddled with sharpie signatures and promises. The holes in the walls let in streaks of blue and with our phones zipped away we couldn’t pretend to be preoccupied. The miles of overgrown forests and the lake that stretched to meet the sky made me feel like we had escaped the clocks and rules that turned us into robots. Our initial timid conversations about the weather bloomed into seasons that changed everything in sight. Blending our whispers into the rustling leaves, we let heavy words tumble onto the sand coated floor. Our minds were clouded with drowsiness and the frigid nonchalance we used as armor melted away. The bullets that had skin growing over them dropped into the space between us as we picked them up like seashells, held them to our ears, and listened to the waves. When the bones toppled out of our closets we discovered that if we laughed together all of the sadness and tears strung into poetry. Even though the verses made us cry, we had turned something empty and broken into a beautiful story that told others to be brave because we survived and so well they. The monsters that lurked beneath our ribs were chased away by the light we created


when we refused to let shame and fear stop us from being human. By the time the murky shadows faded into a sunrise the colors of seashells we were friends. I met a girl who painted sunflowers onto rocks and had hair the color of summer grass. She reminded me of the crystal paperweight on my desk. Spinning light into rainbows that danced across the room she let all of the meanness pass through her without sticking behind. Huddled together against the blinding night, the last flickering embers were stomped out and we could hear the boys throwing bug spray into their bonfire. There was supposed to be a meteor shower in the early hours of the morning and I was scared that if I shut my eyes I would miss it. Fireflies foreshadowed the stars as I willed the clouds to float away. The girl with sunbeams on her head held my hand as we let the stars enchant us. It felt as if some of that infinitely, a piece of the universe that was bigger than the speck we were given was just out of reach. When the only maze we had to solve was the tanglement of stars everything became beautiful. The stars swung low enough for us to hear them ring and a silent symphony of unearthly sounds filled the translucent darkness that hid our faces. Her fingers didn’t feel like mine. They were shorter and the feathering on her skin followed a different pattern. My callouses were on my fingertips and hers were on her palms, so when our hands interlaced beneath the zero light pollution sky it didn't feel like praying hands or twirling thumbs, it felt like our souls were being tethered together, nailed to the grass underneath, letting us fly. “Polaris, Altair, Vega, � Her voice sounded like crickets pretending to know the ocean. I let the twinkling lights engulf my brain in flames, let them burn into the daylight that would soon smother them. The half-hidden world of blurry lines and hues of grey was soft and gentle as if we were already dreaming.


“Film Review: Dunkirk” Arjun Purohit Journalism (9-11)


Arjun Purohit Category: Journalism (9-11) Pen Name: Diego Wolverine Gregorio


Film Review: Dunkirk   “We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender…” Winston Churchill   On very rare occasion, a film of shattering power and emotional resonance comes along that makes one believe again in the power of cinema. Christopher Nolan’s ‘Dunkirk’ is such a film.

Perhaps the most unforgettable cinematic image of 2017 was that of a torn British flag flapping in the little eddies of wind in the cold sky. It stands on a grunting artillery truck with a deceased soldier abreast it; stranded at the edge of a bitter British Channel. Another haunting visual is that of a dark-haired young man laying flat on the ground with hands on his head while awaiting death from the Nazis. In the unfocused background, rows of fighters are killed by explosions on a vast beach. Through these harrowing visuals, Nolan sets the stage for the epic events he is about to depict. With his bravura techniques, he transports the viewer into the heart of one of the most pivotal events of World War II. ‘Dunkirk’ is a riveting piece of art that is unlike any war movie we have seen. Director Christopher Nolan has created a film with masterful cinematic craft and technique, complemented by Hans Zimmer’s kinetic and urgent musical score. It is epic in scope, reach, and ambition. Nolan has created not a movie, but a transporting experience.


The name ‘Dunkirk’ comes from a French town along the English Channel. Prior to United States involvement in World War II, the Germans forced 400,000 soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force and the French into Dunkirk. These soldiers were sitting ducks waiting to be slaughtered. But, 198,000 British and 140,000 French were miraculously evacuated back to Britain by a flotilla of rickety fishing boats and small private vessels.

Nolan brilliantly uses three time-leaping narrative threads to tell the story in ‘Dunkirk’. The first involves a young British fighter named Tommy (Fionn Whitehead), who is accompanied by other soldiers such as Alex (Harry Styles who makes his acting debut). Tommy serves as a reference point to the carnage of war.

In the first scene of ‘Dunkirk’, Tommy strolls in an abandoned city with other young soldiers. Suddenly all chaos breaks loose when a shrilling din of bullets breaks the silence of the desolate city. All the soldiers are shot down, until only Tommy remains to find an expansive beach filled with rows of thousands of soldiers desperately trying to find a way out of the trap. This scene immediately frames the predicament of the soldiers at Dunkirk.

The next narrative is expressed through an elderly man, his benevolent son, a naive friend, and a disillusioned soldier who sail into war to rescue the British soldiers deserted at Dunkirk. The third perspective follows three British pilots in spitfire jets who clash with the German air forces barricading Dunkirk. This narrative structure shows primarily Farrier (the absorbing Tom Hardy), who plays a vital role. His challenges include fuel shortages and an endless dogfight in


the air. At the beginning of the film, the air narrative is introduced when a soldier yells “Where’s the bloody airforce?” And then we hear the spinning propellers of three aircrafts slicing through the sky. Sounds like these, outweigh the minimalist dialogue in the movie.

The movie has a gripping story to convey through each of these emotionally intimate narrative threads. These refreshing narrative structures add depth to the sight of war not expressed through generals, war heroes, or a strategic point of view, but of pure experience. It vividly conveys the visceral tension and peril that the soldiers experience. Intense war violence, piercing sounds of bullets, and gunfire along with other enhanced audio effects heighten the vision of battle in this film. Nolan refrains from using computer generated digital effects. The sets, the hundreds of soldiers, the vast ocean, and the spitfires are all real. Green screens are not utilized and it is filmed on glorious 70mm film. The authenticity and raw cinematography sharpens the scope of the event and intensifies the experience of the characters and the viewers.

At times, it seems that there are three separate movies being made at once; each one overlapping with the other. These storylines do not follow a chronological structure. As one account becomes more intriguing, mysterious, or dreadful, it transitions to another. As Tommy and Alex momentarily drown while their ship is sinking at night, the scene transitions to Farrier attempting to strike down a German plane during the day. This play on time is partially achieved through Hans Zimmer’s brilliant clock-ticking original score. As the distinctions between narrative strands escalate towards the end of the film, Nolan successfully integrates all of the characters


into a whole.

Rather than dialogue, the images and sounds of war propel the film. Cinematography takes an imperative role in the making of all Christopher Nolan movies. In ‘The Dark Knight’, shadowy visuals and backgrounds of Gotham city play a more heroic role than Batman. In ‘Interstellar’, the natural medium of outer space and the exquisite farm imagery is crucial . In ‘Dunkirk’, visions of thousands of soldiers ducking under the shuttering sounds of airplanes epitomizes the innovative cinematography in all Nolan films. The playful lighting and immersive imagery of the film redefines the moviegoing experience.

‘Dunkirk’ is a phenomenal and brazen film. While impressionistic, ‘Dunkirk’ captures the tension and agony of war. At the beginning of the film, the German forces are generically named ‘the enemy’. This highlights how the film was not created to document World War 2 particularly. Historical specifics including important names such as Hitler are not mentioned. This is an integral part of Nolan’s vision in creating a timeless film. That is why this movie resonates and has universal appeal. It captures basic human qualities such as heroism, hope, fear, dread, tension, and the excruciating horror of war.

With blood rushing out a soldier’s ears at the hull of a sinking ship, the shell shock and psychological agony of warfare, and with the viewer getting lost in the cacophony of bombs, ‘Dunkirk’ confirms William Tecumseh Sherman’s observation, ‘War is hell’. During an indelible scene, as Tommy’s sad eyes look ahead at oncoming enemy planes in the somber sky,


we are reminded of loss of not only life, but of innocence during war. This is what makes Christopher Nolan’s tour de force so memorable.


“Gladiatura” Maya Comer Fiction/Memoir (6)


The time was now. She was ready. Sempronia touched her unfamiliar short hair and fingered the sharp point of her strange, off-balance sword. A droplet of blood collected on her finger. Good. Sempronia stepped through the archway and into blinding sunlight. A huge cheer erupted from the crowd, she a man to all eyes but her own. Her opponent stood across the stadium. He was a burly man with huge muscles and a gargantuan club bearing iron studs. Sempronia had a huge advantage, being small, light, and quick. She charged at him with her sword held high. The man raised his club. Sempronia rolled away and stabbed his leg as 50 pounds of wood and iron hit the sand where she had been seconds before. The fight continued in this way, smashing and stabbing, and though the man was now bleeding in multiple places, he would not go down. Sempronia felt a pang. The man had not done anything to her. Why was she killing him? When Sempronia was 13, she had run away from her family’s villa in the countryside. A kindly farmer had found her bleeding body in a ditch (I in malam crucem, oxen!). He nursed her back to health and she in return helped him in the farm to pay for his son to go to gladiator school. When the farmer’s son, being Sempronia’s friend, graduated, Sempronia traveled to Rome to watch his first gladiator battle. He had been doing well and held his own until he saw Sempronia in the third row of the stands. That one moment of hesitation was what cost him his life. His opponent swung his sword and made a long gash in the leg of the farmer’s son. A terrible scream rang through the colosseum, amplifying until the sound was like the thunderous roar of a million waterfalls. The crowd was deadly quiet. Sempronia’s ears rang. A referee ran from the wings of the stadium and raised the hand of the victor. Many people cheered. The two men behind Sempronia exchanged money from their bets. Sempronia was so angry she whipped around and grabbed their sack of denarii. She threw it and hit the victor directly in the back of the head. He stumbled and fell to the ground, unconscious. In all the confusion and kerfuffle following this, everyone ignored the dying farmer’s son lying on the sand. Except Sempronia. As the gambling men chased Sempronia through the stadium, she realized she was hopelessly lost. She desperately hoped for a place to hide, but all she found were caged beasts and waiting men. She followed a downwardslanting passageway deep within the bowels of the colosseum and looked back at the two men a few hundred yards behind her. When she looked forward again, she barely stopped in front of a closing portcullis. She rolled under the iron-tipped bars just as the grate closed behind her. Sempronia, dazed, found herself in the blood-soaked sands of the arena. She ran and ran until she came


to her friend’s side. He gurgled and spat blood. The wound is healable, Sempronia thought. It was, but that didn’t stop the wound from becoming infected and, three days later, killing the farmer’s son. Sempronia was distraught. She took his name, Gaius Iulius Mauritius, cut her hair, and went back to the arena to take his place. And here she was now. In the time Sempronia took thinking back, her opponent gained a slight advantage. That advantage was, thankfully, evanescent. Sempronia accidently dropped her sword and it was smashed seconds later by the man’s club. She was now aggravating him by merely sidestepping his blows. Eventually, he became too tired to raise the ample mass of his club and surrendered. Guards came out and dragged him away. He would never know whether he would live to see tomorrow come. By the end of the day, Sempronia had defeated three more formidable opponents. Word spread like wildfire throughout Rome of this new champion. After a month, Sempronia beat some crowd favorites and rumors began to circulate. Some said “he” was a son of Mars or Bellona. Some said “he” was Mars himself. Even the emperor was one of these believers. He decreed that Gaius Iulius, actually Sempronia, fight the reigning champion. He, Lucius Marcus Aegyptus, had been an outstanding general, leading his armies to victory in Egypt and retiring to become a gladiator (not, in Sempronia’s mind, a good choice). It was said that no man could beat Lucius Marcus Aegyptus. “Just you wait,” Sempronia breathed, gazing up at the stars through the window of her one-room apartment. At the same time, on the other side of Rome, Lucius stared up at the stars from his favorite, private, peristyle. “Just you wait,” he whispered. “Just you wait.” The Roman Coliseum was packed with spectators. In fact, two people had already been trampled and killed before the battle even started, which was an all-time record. Sempronia sat, shaking, in the wings. She could’ve stayed home. She could’ve stayed with the farmer. Instead, here she was, facing certain doom. “Gaius Iulius!” the man manning the portcullis called. Sempronia hurried over to him. With a grim face, he pulled on a rope and the grate slowly lifted. Sempronia took a few steps forward, then glanced behind her, and saw the portcullis-man gazing at her with teary eyes. “Nineteen years old. Much too young to die,” he murmured, and the grate slammed shut. Sempronia trudged out to the center of the stadium and slowly raised her head. Admittedly, Lucius Marcus was very handsome and very strong. He casually leaned on the hilt of his sword. Sempronia met his cool, icy, gaze. Tres. Duo. Unus. Metal upon metal rang out. Grunts and hard breaths could barely be heard


through screams and cheers. The battle was a blur of limbs, both flesh and iron. Suddenly, crazily, Sempronia found herself with her sword to Marcus’ throat, right in front of the emperor's box. “This is impossible,” he snarled. “No man can defeat me.” Sempronia smiled smugly. “You’re right. No man can defeat you.” Realization dawned on Lucius’ face. “Inutila es, femina,” he spat. Sempronia screamed and flung herself at him with renewed fury, only one word on her mind: KILL. She didn’t care about blocking his blows. She just wanted to plunge her sword into his heart. How dare it beat! He was the worthless one! That piece of vermin! Why, he belonged even lower down than a sewer rat, the little… When Sempronia came to her senses, she saw, below her red-stained hands, what remained of Lucius Marcus Aegyptus slowly soaking into the loamy surface of the arena. Sempronia sank to her knees in anguish. “Oh, what have I done!?” she cried up to the sky. It was murder! And murder was punishable by death. Sempronia, hands shaking, brought her sword to her chest. She closed her eyes and swallowed the bile building up in her throat. She tensed as her hands gripped the sword tighter, ready to strike. Suddenly, strong, rough hands grabbed her wrists and she dropped the sword in surprise. “Well,” a voice hissed in her ear. “That’s no way for a champion to behave.” Sempronia spent the next week miserably in her apartment. She didn’t eat nor did she sleep, and the water in her pitcher was quickly growing stale. She watched the bustling city below with bloodshot eyes, desperately wishing she could just be one of those women getting water from the fountain, or walking to market. A peddler wheeled his cart down the busy street and the smell of roasted meat wafted up to Sempronia. She sighed and slumped onto her wooden windowframe. Angry yells and shouts suddenly issued from below. Sempronia peered through her window and saw a group of guards pushing aside citizens. Many people ran inside and discreetly watched the action through windows and doorways. Eventually, the guards pushed into the barber’s shop on the first floor of the apartment building. Sempronia hurriedly slipped her sandals on and smoothed back her hair. Having short hair was advantageous in a rush, because there was no need to comb. When Sempronia was a little girl, she had been with her mother shopping in the forum and some soldiers came and arrested one man on accounts of counterfeit. In case the arrest came to violence, the forum had to be evacuated. Sempronia thought that if an arrest did occur, she should be ready to leave. Although her eyes had dark circles beneath them, her toga was dirty, and she stank, she was nervously alert to the sound of men marching up the stairs. The sound of sandals slapping on wood stopped at the door to her room. By the time the door opened, Sempronia was on the windowsill.


“Halt! Do not move!” the soldier in the front ordered. Sempronia was terrified, but in that split second of time her body reacted with a start. Sempronia toppled out the window. She was falling, falling, falling, and suddenly, she landed on canvas with a soft thump. She had fallen onto the cloth awning of the peddler’s cart! But, before she could get a grip on the wooden support beam underneath the fabric, she fell again. As Sempronia hit the cobblestones of the street, she felt her leg break. She tried to get up, but just fell down again. After a few more halfhearted efforts, she sank against the cart, defeated. The soldiers soon came out of the barber’s shop and roughly yanked Sempronia to her feet. “You are under arrest, Gaius Iulius Mauritius, or should I say Sempronia?” The soldiers dragged Sempronia through the streets of Rome. Whispers followed her: “Gaius Iulius?” “The champion?” “What’s going on?” and stuff generally of that sort. As she passed through a rich neighborhood with actual houses and various jewelry and tailor shops (some even had purple fabric!), Sempronia became fully discombobulated. “The courthouse is that way!” she yelled. “I know,” responded the guard. “The emperor wants to have this case himself.” They dragged Sempronia, now fully terrified, up a hill to the emperor’s palace. She barely had time to admire the beautiful architecture before she was brought harshly to her feet in front of a wrought stone chair. The emperor himself, lounging in a purple toga and laurel wreath, was on that chair. Once the guards released Sempronia, she collapsed to the floor. Someone ran out with a simple wooden stool and helped Sempronia climb on. Her leg was still bent at an awkward angle. “Do you admit to murdering Lucius Marcus Aegyptus?” asked the emperor. “Murder?!” Sempronia gasped. “Is it not legal to kill as a gladiator?” “You are not a gladiator. You are a girl who has killed a celebrity and disguised yourself to do it.” “Gaius Iulius Mauritius was my friend. When I ran away, sick of a woman’s place in society, he and his father took me in. They were deeply in debt and needed some way to pay off the money. If a gladiator is successful, he can earn himself more than enough money. So Gaius went to gladiator school. He graduated six years later, but died in his first battle. I pretended that he had made a recovery and I took his place. No one really remembered him, so no one cared that he had black hair and mine is brown, or that I am much shorter. I wanted to make the money for the farmer and I have. I was not intent on killing Lucius Marcus. I was so angry that he thought that I was a useless, worthless piece of junk I kind of… I don’t know! I’m sorry! I tried so hard not to kill… but… but… Oh!” Sempronia was reduced to tears by now.


“Do you really find that a worthy defense?” the emperor sneered. “Yes!” Sempronia wailed. “It was an accident!” “It was an accident,” mocked the emperor. He gestured nonchalantly. “Take her away.” Two guards came to Sempronia and began dragging her towards a door at the end of the hall. She was almost there when a woman came bursting in, crying. “Oh, master! Your son has been killed! Murdered! Stabbed to death!” she screamed. The emperor frowned. “Bring me my brother.” It was common knowledge that the emperor’s brother was second in line to the throne and wanted to be first, but that spot was taken by the emperor’s son. Eventually, the emperor’s brother entered the room. The guards had completely forgotten about Sempronia by now and their grip on her arms was totally relaxed. “Do you know what has happened to my son?” asked the emperor in a smooth, dangerous tone. “N-n-no, my l-lord,” he stammered. “He has been murdered!” “R-r-really?” “Where were you fifteen minutes ago?” the emperor demanded silkily. “I was in the garden, eating olives off the tree. You have very good olives,” added the emperor’s brother. “It’s true,” interjected the servant who had delivered the news. “I found him in the garden with your most prized olive tree.” “That’s not true!” yelled Sempronia. Everybody froze. “Olives have to be cured in brine before you eat them or their skin will be too tough. Plus, if he was really eating olives, there would be a pile of olive pits from where he was eating. If you don’t believe me, someone go and check!” The female servant ran out of the hall and returned a few minutes later, shaking her head. There were no pits to be found. Before she knew what was happening, the guards holding Sempronia dropped her and she hit her head on the hard stone floor. As her consciousness faded away, the last thing Sempronia saw was the guards roughly shoving the emperor's brother out the door. When Sempronia woke, she was in a soft white bed with curtains drawn around it. Her leg was in a splint and her head felt incredibly heavy. The curtains rustled and a woman’s face poked through. Sempronia groggily tried to ask what was happening, but the woman raised a finger to her lips and spoon-fed Sempronia some porridge. She drank some cool water and sank back into the bed, trying to ignore her pounding headache. For the remainder of the day, Sempronia drifted in and out of consciousness. The woman was usually there, checking if Sempronia was awake. When she finally awoke the next morning, Sempronia felt quite a bit


better. She left the bed and found herself in a large room set with a feast. Sempronia hadn’t eaten for… was it nine days now? And she ate it all. Eventually, the emperor himself came in to see her. “I was wrong about you. You are smart, strong, and wise. Perhaps even the ruler of the greatest empire in the world can learn something. And I was wondering… would you like to be my adviser?” he said in a very sincere manner. “Yes!” screamed Sempronia. She had found her place at last. The emperor reigned for a long time and Sempronia, now dressed as a woman, stood beside him as his most trusted adviser. But she wasn’t famous for this. She went down in history as the world’s best gladiator, though a woman. She was no longer known as Sempronia or Gaius Iulius Mauritius. She was known as the female gladiator-- gladiatura.


“Are We Equal?” Augusta Guo Essay (9-11)


Augusta Guo Are We Equal? I am an ABC; American Born Chinese, and quite frankly, I would like to believe that I am accepted as who I am as “easy as 123 or simple as do re mi” (Jackson). Yet, throughout the course of my childhood, mere words have attempted to define and shape me into someone else entirely. A small private institution was my second home for the first six years of my school life. My close friends and about 90% of my class consisted of Caucasians. Another 4% were African American, 3% had Middle Eastern descent, 2% were considered as Hispanics and Latinos, and only 1% consisted of people with inky black hair and yellow tinted skin. At five years, when I entered my first steps into kindergarten, I simply assumed that I was merely unique in my skin color. After all, other than my parents, I had seldom seen someone quite like me. Even so, nobody was “judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” (King). Everybody was equal. During that summer, I traveled to Shanghai, China to visit my relatives for the first time. Upon arriving at the crowded Shanghai airport, I remarked to my mother, “There are so many people that look just like me!” For my naive view of equality, the treatment of other individuals in Shanghai closely resembled the community that I lived in back in Michigan. Everybody was equal. Fast forward to fifth grade, my teacher was a woman in her late fifties with a short stature, speckled white blonde hair, and hard blue eyes. She encouraged us to read as many books as we could from the school’s extensive book collection. Taking her words to heart, I holed myself up into a little library nook for most of my free time during and after school. It was


my dream to peruse every single book in the library until there would be no more fiction and non-fiction to read. I accomplished my goal somewhere around my birthday in March, and with the birds chirping outside and the bees buzzing around, I happily skipped to the teacher to inform her of my achievement. I had expected some sort of “Good Job!” or praise, but when I informed her, her face turned red as she roared, “That is not possible” while emphasizing every word. “Did your parents force you to read everything, and when you couldn’t, you would lie about it? Are your parents abusing you at home? Is your “tiger mom” training you to be a “tiger cub,”” she fumed at me. Visibly, I was terrified. It was clear that my teacher had recently finished reading international bestseller Amy Chua’s The Battle Hymn of a Tiger Mother that discussed the harsh upbringing of children with ethnic Chinese backgrounds—something Chua considered typical for children of Chinese descent. My teacher read the book as a novel of child abuse techniques that represented the barbaric culture of “inhumane people that deserve to die” in her words. It was clear that my closed-minded teacher thought I was an abomination; a future child abuser. It was clear that my personality or my aptitude in my classes did not define who I was, rather, it was the yellow of my skin and the dark pigments of my hair. It was clear that I was different from the peach skin, different from the chocolate skin. It was clear to me, that my teacher did not see me as me: a self-motivated and diligent child. Instead, she saw me with a culture that alienated me from my classmates. Was I not equal? As I grew older, I heard many slurs that demoralized people of ethnic-Chinese background grow in popularity. One of the most popular was the supposed “Asian” grading system that mostly targeted Chinese children. “A is for average, B is for below average, C is for can’t eat dinner, D is for don’t come home, while skipping E for F is for find a new family,” other children would sing. Most of the time, the insults were ignored, but sometimes, a sliver of


uncertainty would arise in my head and I would question myself. What was it that made me truly different? After all, halfway across the globe, people who looked like me were a majority. Is it part of the other children’s morals to mock their classmates who, in their minds, are supposedly being abused by family. Is it right? Is it wrong? The world, no matter how the other children want to see it, is not merely black and white. Rather, there is a grayness in between that does not belong to either category. Not understanding the grayness, the other children question it, make fun of it, while trying to define it and mold it to fit a certain category. I was that gray—neither white nor black, the same yet different. To them, I was not equal. Two summers ago, I revisited China by accompanying my school’s Chinese classes. On the Great Wall of China, I met a couple from Wisconsin who were of ethnic-Chinese descent, but were third-generation United States citizens with no knowledge of the Chinese language under their belt. I walked with them along the markets at the bottom of the Great Wall who were selling aromatic food and bright colorful toys. One place stood out to us in particular. We arrived at a small shop that was selling intricate handcrafted Chinese stamps and the owner of the shop came out to greet us with a big smile. “Ni hao, ni yao shen me,” she said, as she asked the couple what they would like to buy. Confused, they looked to me for help. In that moment, it struck me that they undoubtedly blended in with the locals, but only by appearance. Alas, when I was translating for them, the smile on the woman’s face immediately turned into undisguised horror. She had come to a realization that they were not locals and were instead, foreigners to the country. With a scowl, as the couple moved to pay her ten yuan for their stamp, she put her hand up to stop them. “Thirty yuan,” she said. I looked at the tag on the stamp. It clearly showed ten yuan, but she raised the price for them. “Why,” I asked her in Chinese as the couple grudgingly paid thirty for their stamp. “They do not belong here, and you do not either with your fluent


English. You must be from the United States,” she replied snidely and walked away. Even with my similar appearance to the locals and my ability to speak Chinese, it was evident that I was not equal. Wherever I go, I often get asked the question, “where did you come from?” My first reply is Ann Arbor, Michigan. After all, I was born and raised in Ann Arbor and I am a citizen of the United States. Nevertheless, they continue to press me. “No, where are you really from,” they would ask me. I am only ethnically Chinese. I embrace the Chinese language and the culture, but my heart is still with the United States. Yet, both in the United States and in China, I am different—an outsider. I am stuck between two worlds because I am a banana—white on the inside because of my western ideology and yellow on the outside because of my Chinese appearance. In a sense, I do not belong to either world. None see me as an equal. Now, I am not saying that I suffered from racial discrimination as much as the African Americans suffered during the Civil War, or am treated as merciless as the people of Middle Eastern descent in our current political climate, or get misinterpreted as an illegal immigrant as Hispanics and Latinos. In our society today, many school children in the United States have heard of the devastating Civil War and the inhumane treatment of African Americans as well as the horrific events of the Holocaust. We learn those particular painful truths during history class discussions. However, much of painful Asian American history has been forgotten or ignored. In the winter of 1942, with World War II raging on throughout the world, nearly 120,000 people with Japanese ancestry from the Pacific Coast were forcefully relocated to internment camps. Camps that President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved of and called, “concentration camps” in the United States. Before Pearl Harbor, Congressman John Dingell Sr. from Michigan wrote a letter to President Roosevelt urging him to establish “a concentration camp of ten thousand alien


Japanese in Hawaii” as a “reprisal reserve,” (Weglyn). After the Pearl Harbor attack, Westbrook Pegler, a journalist and Pulitzer Prize winner proposed that “the internment camps be set up to provide a stock of Japanese Americans who could be killed as retribution for Japanese war atrocities,” (Daniels). Home raids, forced evacuation, living in centers that were originally made for animals were the better of the Japanese treatment. The government also created an allJapanese regiment and supported murder of people of Japanese descent as punishment for Oriental Japan. By the end of World War II, thousands of people of Japanese descent requested to expatriate to Japan. Those who didn’t, returned home to an anti-Japanese sentiment where they were beaten and killed. The government had no remorse even though more than half of the people imprisoned in the camps were nisei, second generation, or sansei, third generation Japanese Americans who did not speak the language nor had visited Japan before (Nash). With this knowledge, the internment of Japanese Americans appears to be more of a racial issue rather than a security risk issue. In World War II, the Japanese Americans were deemed as renegades and were not considered as equal. It is absolutely essential to learn these parts of United States history so history does not repeat itself. These events can easily happen again if our future generations are not educated on forgotten topics such as the Japanese descent internment camps. In recent news, Charlottesville, Virginia has shot up to the front page when officials voted to take down the statue of Robert E. Lee. The situation represents the change of different societal norms over time, different cultural shifts, and the black and white argument of right and wrong. Even with the statue gone from its podium, we cannot brush the issue under the rug, lock up the statue in a private museum, and simply ignore what the statue represented. We must accept the painful truth of the meaning behind the statue and learn from it—learn from history. Acknowledging history is fundamental


for positive development toward a new generation where multiculturalism and diversity is easily accepted worldwide. A future society where generations are not quick to assume, quick to judge, but are welcoming towards everybody: different races, different religions, different cultures, different sexualities, and different ideologies. So someday, everybody can be equal. It truly is a utopian thought: complete equality. Yet, Martin Luther King had that dream, Adrienne Rich had that dream, and I have that dream. If we think about our history, our present, and our future, all of it revolves around words. Words that have power: that influence, hurt, and soothe. It was words that made me realize my difference compared to others. It was words that told the sins of man in history. Words create stories and we have a responsibility to pass on these words to keep culture and language ongoing, change its results, and ensure a better future for all because “it is our verbal privilege” (Rich). We must learn as one, change as one, accept each other as one, so in the future, we can say, “how lovely it is, this thing we have done-together” (Morrison) and everybody can be seen as equal once again.

Works Cited

Daniels, Concentration Camps, 33. Jackson 5. “ABC” King, Martin Luther. “I Have a Dream” Morrison, Toni. Nobel Prize Lecture. Nash, Gary B., Julie Roy Jeffrey, John R. Howe, Peter J. Frederick, Allen F. Davis, Allan M. Winkler, Charlene Mires, and Carla Gardina Pestana. The American People, Concise Edition Creating a Nation and a Society, Combined Volume (6th Edition). New York: Longman, 2007 Rich, Adrienne. North American Time. Weglyn, Years of Infamy, 55.


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Capture of a moment at Lake Michigan Late July, early evening The fireflies hum above our heads Stringing the sky like miniscule lanterns The waves reflecting their flickering glow As the cool wind blows through the cattails. Looking at the waves Crashing with a sense of calm purpose Upon the pebbled bank I suddenly feel very very small, Like gravity no longer applies to me And I might float away at any moment. As to prevent that unfortunate incident, I squeeze your hand Just a little tighter. The dark comes upon us in no time But we still sit, My head on your shoulder, Mesmerized by the rhythm of the waves. I look into your eyes And see myself, Framed by love and the lake in dusk.


“Capture a Moment at Lake Michigan” Rita Ionides Poetry (7/8)


“Another Murder in 1920s’ England” Lilja Quinn Playwriting (9-11)


Lilja Quinn “Another Murder in 1920s’ England” (Scene: The scene is a tastefully and richly furnished living room with dark oak-paneled walls. There is a bar cart against the stage left wall. There is a visible clock on the back wall which shows 5:30 or so at the beginning of the performance and runs normally. There are several armchairs, a loveseat, and a sofa which directly faces the audience surrounding a large mahogany coffee table which has some bric-a-brac, including a pad of paper and a pen, and flowers on it. There are also several cabinets at the back of the room containing documents and curiosities visible through glass doors. There is a double door leading into the room which is open when the curtain rises on stage right. There is a normal door leading out of the room stage left. There is also a tasteful, dim chandelier. The colors dominating the room are grey-green and dark brown. There is also a paneled window in the back of the room which gives the audience a vague view of a garden. When the curtain rises, Padget du Monaco has just been admitted to the room by Ludwiga Wittgenstein, the maid. She is decidedly French (with a mild accent) and clearly rather wealthy, but sympathetic enough. She is in her late twenties or early thirties and petite.)

Padget: (walking further into the room) Thank you, Ludwiga. (She sighs and wanders over to the bar cart.) (softly) Hmm, le vieux Snuffy has some taste in liquor, ah!? (She gleefully spots a bottle of kirsch and pours herself a glass of it, which she begins to sip. Then the same door is opened and Sassy Creed enters. Sassy is wearing a dark brown hooded robe obscuring her face due to the bagginess of the hood. She has a Nordic accent. Padget starts at her, stares incredulously, then mutters confusedly:) Padget: Shouldn’t have had that Kirsch. I’ve started to see things.


Sassy: (through the door) Thank you. Please put the red carpet bag on the bed. You may unpack everything else and put it away. (Enters the room) (Padget looks out the window, muttering incoherently about the effects of Kirsch with a few prayers thrown in.) Sassy: Good day to you. Padget: (starts violently) Erm, good day. If I may, er, are you death come for my immortal soul? Sassy: Why, yes, now you mention it, I am a little deaf. Although I’m sure I don’t know anything about immortal moles. Padget: What on Earth are you talking about!? Sassy: Nothing, really. Padget: I doubt highly that Death is a perfectly silly and rather deaf woman–– no offense to you– – so just who the devil are you and what are you doing in that get-up? Sassy: I’m Sassy Creed. (takes off robe, folds it roughly, and drops it carelessly onto the couch to reveal that she is a flapper) This is just my travelling cloak. I use it to keep off the rain and such. Quite cozy. Padget: (thinking the idea of the cloak is stupid) Quite. I’m Padget du Monaco. Can I fetch you a drink? Sassy: Yes–– a sidecar, if you please. Padget: (goes to bar cart and begins to fix a sidecar) Tell me, Miss Creed, what is it you do? Sassy: (sits down on sofa) I flap. Padget: Oh? Sassy: Yes. And you? Padget: Oh, I’m a writer. Freelance.


Sassy: I see. How about that maid? Ludwiga Wittgenstein? We were discussing the role of logic in the world. Some character, that. Padget: Oh? Sassy: Quite. (pause) Say, how do you know old Snuffy? He can’t have invited a complete stranger over for the weekend. Padget: We lived in Paris at the same time. (She stares off into space) You? Sassy: His daughter was a great friend of mine in school. She couldn’t be here, I’m afraid. (matter-of-factly) Went for some bad moonshine–– American, you see–– and went blind–– at least temporarily. She couldn’t see for salted licorice and kept bumping herself and yelling for moonshine, so she had to stay back. Padget: For salted licorice, I don’t believe I’d want to see. (Sassy is overwhelmed with patriotic rage.) (The door opens and Snuffy St. Clampot enters. He is ruddy, old, whiskery, very short and thin, and, above all, jolly.) Snuffy: Padget! Miss Creed! How good it is to see you again! Padget: Hello, Snuffy. Sassy: How do you do? Snuffy: Oh, how long has it been? Three years now? Why, last time I saw you, I was a mere government flunky, and Padget was sort of between jobs, and you, Miss Creed, were finishing finishing school, were you not? Padget: You must do something about that stutter of yours, Snuffy. Sassy: Yes, I’m quite finished now. Why, I came out of the womb without skin or kidneys, but now look at me!


Snuffy: My poor girl, how awful! Sassy: Indeed–– I was called a foolish little nun quite often in school on account of my not being able to drink. Snuffy: How hard on you! Sassy: And me only six years old when the teasing began. Those stupid fool Americans, with their prohibition. Europe’s got it quite right: smoking and drinking in Kindergarten! Must get used to it young or one never will. Snuffy: Quite. You know, I’m sorry to keep you waiting like this–– although I see you’ve found the Kirsch. The other guests should be coming any minute. Now I’m afraid you must excuse me for half a moment; I feel a trifle under the weather. Would you mind welcoming everyone if they come? Thanks. (Snuffy hastily exits) (Door opens and Smitty Hemangioma enters. He is no older than 35 and, though attractive, has a decided academic bent to him. He has a thick Germanic accent.) Smitty: (to Ludwiga) Er, thank you, ma’am. (Turns and notices people in room) Oh, hello. I’m Smitty Hemangioma. Sassy: (clearly finds Smitty attractive) Good day. I’m Sassy Creed. Oh, I love your cravat! Smitty: (looks down at cravat) Oh, thank you. Padget: Padget du Monaco. My, what an unusual name. Is Hemangioma Greek? It sounds so queer. Smitty: Oh, no. I’m Austrian. My great-grandfather, you see, was very ruddy and decidedly plump–– in the Germanic fashion–– so they called him Hemangioma. A hemangioma, you know,


is a type of blobby red growth on someone. I always keep a drawing on me. (He pulls out a large colored image of a red blob which is visible to both the audience and the two women.) Sassy: Why, that’s a most unusual-looking type of growth. Smitty: Oh, you misunderstand–– that’s my grandfather. Sassy: He really did enjoy the Germanic way of life, didn’t he. Smitty: Every day, he would eat a heap of Schweinshaxsen. That’s ham hocks. And then, he would sort of roll himself down to the beach and sunbathe in the nude until his next meal. Sassy: Sounds wonderful! Smitty: He died of melanoma and a heart attack at 42. Sassy: Oh. (The door opens slightly and everyone turns to it. Ludwiga (the maid), with a Germanic accent, says, softly:) Ludwiga: What do I say? (Hono Rey de Ballsac, a typical old early-20th-century Englishman with a fitting accent, says softly:) H.R.: Announcing Mr. Hono Rey de Ballsac. Ludwiga: (loudly) Announcing Mr. Hono Rey de Ballsac. (suppresses a giggle at his name) (H.R. de Ballsac makes a grand entrance into the room) H.R.: Hello. (To Smitty) Mr. ‘Emanjoma, I presume? (He gets himself a Scotch as he talks) Smitty: Er, yes. H.R.: So you two must be Sassy Creed (Sassy makes a motion to indicate that this is her) and Ludwiga Wittgenstein. Padget: Oh, no, I’m Padget du Monaco.


H.R.: That so? I assumed you had the other name on the guest list because, well, if you’ll pardon me, the name Padget du Monaco makes it sound rather as though you’re a country stripper. Padget: Oh, I know. I get that daily. But my family really is from Monaco. H.R.: Really? How interesting. Oh, by the way, I hear you write? Padget: Not any more. But Mr. de Ballsac, you write–– and so well. I can’t wait to find out what happens to your latest protagonist. What’s her name? Tess something… Yes, Tess T. something or other.. Tess Thompson? What is Tess T. in? What is Tess T. in? What book, that is to say? Sassy: Oh, yes–– I believe I recall that book. H.R.: I believe you are referring to my latest novel–– ‘Complicated, Wealthy People Wander Paris.’ Sassy: Yes, that’s it. H.R.: I used a pseudonym on that one. One really has to, you know. And, I must confess it’s a bit of fun for me, making up names. The last name was, I think, S. Crow Tumm. Smitty: An interesting choice. (The door opens and Snuffy enters, clearly feeling better) Snuffy: H.R., old friend! (The two shake hands) H.R.: A pleasure to see you again, chum. Snuffy: Now, everyone, dinner is ready. Ludwiga, the maid, will be dining with us as well. You see, I lost a bet as to the outcome of a war, but that’s neither here nor there. (awkward pause) Snuffy: Well, look lively, you lot! There’s roast pheasant and blood pudding! (Everyone exits out of the main door)


Sassy: (softly) They call the Norwegians crazy for liking pickled fish, but do we eat congealed animal blood and fat mixed with oatmeal? Oh noooo. What are we, savage grannies without cholesterol worries? (An old man in a robe holding a stick and a sign with ‘Father Time’ written upon it walks through the room, having entered from the main door, hits the window with his stick, which causes the background to grow darker, as if time has passed, and shatters it.) Father Time: Damn. That happens sometimes. (He moves on to the clock, which he sets to 8:25, and begins to shamble out of the room through the stage left door. He belches.) F.T.: It’s those prunes (He exits, and after several seconds, everyone else walks into the same room from the door on stage right and sits down. Smitty sits down on the sofa and Sassy sits next to him. Everyone has just eaten dinner.) H.R.: Snuffy, old boy, allow me to praise you for serving us such an excellent supper. Snuffy: I’m glad you liked it, my friend. Shall I have Ludwiga bring in some coffee and biscuits? Padget: Absolutely. Sassy: Yes, please. Smitty: If it wouldn’t be a bother. Snuffy: Right-ho. Ludwiga? (after a few seconds, Ludwiga enters through the doors stage left) Ludwiga: You called? Snuffy: Coffee and biscuits if you please, Ludwiga. Ludwiga: Of course. (Exits in the way she came)


Smitty: I hate to leave on the first night of my stay, Mr. St. Clampot, but I’m afraid I must give a speech for the National Camera Association in front of the clock tower. Sassy: Oh? What on? Smitty: The distasteful nature of the mystery-comedy genre. Someone’s dead, for goodness’ sakes; don’t make jokes about it! Snuffy: That’s quite alright, my boy. Go and inspire the masses! Padget: You’ll stay for a few minutes, I assume? Smitty: Yes. I have some time. H.R.: Now, Snuffy, dear fellow, tell us of your life. I don’t know that anyone has seen you in less than a year or two. (All listen attentively) Snuffy: Well, there’s not much to tell, really. Three years ago I was a clerk at a government office. Then, I was promoted–– on account, they said, of my intelligence and ability to keep my mouth shut. I tried to tell them about how, in fact, I sleep with my mouth gaping open on account of my nasal congestion because I wanted to deserve my position, but they just laughed, so I figure it must have been for some secret reasons and whatnot. Who knows, with the government. Anyway, after my promotion, the pounds started rolling in, by which I mean that I started purchasing rather fattening wheels of imported cheese which I had rolled whole into my mouth. This, of course, cost rather a lot of money, but I was able to afford it due to my newfound wealth. I took up with a string of MI6-trained lovers prone to revenge-seeking, all of whom left the relationships disgruntled (due, I believe, to my love of garlic and tendency to carry on secretly with multiple people and, of course, the resulting spread of venereal disease.) As I said, I made a small fortune from my government work and a large fortune hiring myself out in a carnival


attraction called ‘skinny 5”0’ man consumes three large wheels of Emmenthaler in one sitting.’ I made a rotating series of wills in favor of various people which I still change monthly. In fact, I’m due to do so tomorrow. And, of course, in the course my government work, I’ve angered roughly 30 governments in various places in the world. H.R.: Fascinating stuff. Smitty: I’m awfully sorry to do so, but I’m afraid I must leave everyone here to go to my speech, including my pet here (Sassy blushes)–– that is, my pet mouse, Foo Foo. (Takes Foo Foo out of his coat pocket along with a small cage, locks Foo Foo into the cage, and inserts some food taken from a pocket.) I’ve already arranged for Ludwiga to look after her. (Exits stage right) Sassy: Cheerio. Snuffy: Good-bye. Padget: I’m afraid I must trot off, too. I’d like to go explore an empty barn. (Exits stage right) H.R.: Me too. I’m set to meet someone for drinks. Awfully sorry, old chap. (Exits stage right) Sassy: Well, since everyone’s leaving, I might as well go look at the elephants at that zoo with the wooden cages. (She grabs her cloak and exits stage right.) Snuffy: So much for playing twister. (Ludwiga enters from stage right door with a tray with only one cup and a pot of coffee, as well as some biscuits. She fills the cup and gives it to Snuffy) Ludwiga: There you are. (Ludwiga exits the way she came and leaves the tray on the coffee table. Snuffy sips his coffee and stares out into space. After several seconds, he emits a round of flatulence. He begins to look tired/unwell.)


Snuffy: (Growing progressively tireder) Well, if I didn’t know better, I’d say someone popped a sedative into my coffee. Say, they all left before Ludwiga came back. They’d all have passed the tray with a perfect opportunity to pop a pill in. But why? Either someone wants me ready for a bumping off or they’re white slavers! Either way, one thing is clear.. the perpetrator is a moron. Who puts a sedative into black coffee? I must leave a message to whoever finds me. (Clearly exerting a great effort, he takes the paper and pen from the coffee table and writes something illegible to the audience. He then expires. After a few seconds, Father Time reenters from stage right. This time, his sign says, ‘This play had to be one act.’ He walks over to Snuffy and winds up to hit him on the head with the stick. Then, suddenly:) Disembodied Voice: No, Carl, stop! (F.T. stops) F.T.: What? Disembodied Voice: You’re not meant to kill him! This play isn’t that deep! The audience shouldn’t have to consider the philosophical question of whether an incarnation of time can kill someone! Also, it’s a murder mystery. You have to guess who did it! Just use the fake blood, Carl. F.T.: Right-ho. (He produces a can of fake blood from his robe and douses Snuffy’s head with it and very discreetly buckles something unclear onto Snuffy’s wrist. Note: Snuffy is still more or less in the chair. F.T. taps the window again with the effect of a semblance of daylight and sets the clock to 7:45, then exits stage left.)

Ludwiga: (voice only, hysterically screaming) Come quickly! He’s here! He’s here! Kipper Fredericks: (in a decidedly thick English accent) Comin’, miss.


(The two burst through the stage right door, with Ludwiga leading the way. Ludwiga keeps her distance from the body and gazes on, horrified, but Kipper examines the corpse closely.) Kipper: (shouting) Doctor! (The doctor enters through the stage right doors and begins examining the corpse for some seconds.) Doctor: I’d put time of death in between 9:00 PM and midnight. Kipper: Right. Thanks. (Doctor exits through stage right doors.) Kipper: Miss Wittgenstein, if you wouldn’t mind gathering up all the guests… (Ludwiga nods and exits stage right. Kipper conducts a brief search of the room and then sniffs the coffee cup on the table.) Kipper: Sedatives.. (He examines the dead man’s watch, takes it off, and holds it up) Kipper: His watch is broken. Stopped at 10:00 on the dot. (There is a knock on the stage left door) Ludwiga: (in voice only) I’ve assembled everyone, Mr. Fredericks. Shall we come in? Kipper: (thinks for a moment, then replaces the watch) Yes, yes, please do. (The stage left door opens and Ludwiga, who is wearing a normal-looking apron with a large front pocket, Smitty, Sassy, Padget, who is carrying a baguette which is slightly red, and H.R. enter and sit down in various places. The red part of the baguette is turned away from the audience. Everyone is wearing new clothing. Kipper remains standing.) Kipper: Right, everyone. I’m Kipper Fredericks and I will be handling this here case. In case you hadn’t heard, Mr. St. Clampot is dead.


(Everyone looks appropriately sad) Smitty: He’s lying right there with a bloody head. Kipper: (ignoring Smitty) He was sedated and clubbed over the head. Now, where were all of you last night? Miss Creed, why don’t you go first? Sassy: Well, I left fairly soon after dinner and took a taxi to the local zoo. I’d heard there were elephants there that were as intelligent as human children. I arrived about 9:00, and went straight to the elephant exhibit. Well, long story short, I was hypnotized by some extraordinarily smart elephants into creating a diversion while they broke apart their wooden cage; yada yada yada; I was sleeping off a badly aimed elephant tranquilizer in the flamingo exhibit the whole night and I think one of the hummingbirds took refuge up in me somewhere. Any of the guards at the zoo or other bystanders can corroborate my story. Kipper: Thank you, Miss Creed. Mr. Hemangioma? Smitty: I, too, left the house shortly after dinner. I arrived in front of the clock tower around 8:45 and began my speech. I finished around 11:00 and returned to the house. I can also prove my innocence; the members of the National Camera Association, which I was addressing, took photos of me every five minutes in front of the clock tower. They’re really overly fond of their little hobby. Then, of course, there are 500 or so eyewitnesses. Kipper: Thank you, Mr. Hemangioma. Would you care to give me your story, Miss du Monaco? H.R.: Hold up, old chap. I’m afraid I must protest. How can a speech take more than two hours? This man is clearly lying. Kipper: With all due respect, Mr. de Ballsac, if you’d spent five minutes with an academic, you’d know that two hours of talking is rather on the short side. Now, Miss du Monaco?


Padget: I left shortly after dinner, as well. You see, I’d heard of a most intriguing Victorian barn still standing only a few miles from here, and as I’m a barn enthusiast, I simply had to go see it. I walked over, which took me a little less than an hour–– dinner ended around 8:30–– and met with the owner to get the keys. I had arranged the meeting awhile before. Anyway, I got the keys and went in to inspect the barn with the aid of a lamp. A gust of wind, however, shut the doors and they locked behind me. There was, you see, a most unusual locking door which composed part of the barn’s interesting qualities. I remember that there were a few people nearby when that happened; I’m sure you could ask them. Well, I was in possession of the only pair of keys, so they had to scamper off and find a locksmith, but I’m quite sure someone was present the whole time at the barn because I heard voices through a grate somewhere. It was nearly eleven when I got out, and then I made my way back to the house after some thank-yous. Kipper: I see. Thank you. Now, Mr. de Ballsac? H.R.: I went out for some drinks with a lady friend of mine. Lovely girl. Was in MI6 for a bit, I believe (oblivious of significance). Now she’s a nun. Very devout. She would be willing to swear on a stack of bibles doused in holy water that I was throwing back vodka with her from 9:00 to 10:30 or so, and a dozen others at least must have seen us. I then returned to the house by way of taxi. Kipper: Beg pardon, sir, but did you say you were out drinking with a nun? H.R.: Yes, yes, I know how it sounds, but Sister Francine can hold more alcohol than most men and likes it, too. Kipper: And what was the subject of your conversation? H.R.: Old times. Kipper. Thank you, sir. Now then, Miss Wittgenstein, if you would be so good.


Ludwiga: I have night terrors, so Mr. St. Clampot always insists that Jervis, the gardener, locks the door to my bedroom from the outside when I’m sleeping so I don’t get out and tear Mr. St. Clampot’s eyeballs out while screaming about the war, and that’s what happened tonight. I went to bed immediately after serving Mr. St. Clampot coffee, and Jervis came up without any delay. That was around 8:30. Kipper: (sighs) Well, every one of your alibis checks out for the time on the broken watch. I mean, I could corroborate everything, but that’s pointless. You wouldn’t have lied at this point in the game. (Father Times pokes out through the stage right doors pointing to a sign saying, ‘This play had to be one act.’) F.T.: Psst. (Father Time pulls back offstage) Kipper: However, no one’s alibi works for later in the night: say, midnight or shortly before. That’s still within the death time range given by the doctor. Any of you could have done it! (All except Kipper gasp) Ludwiga: Mr. Fredericks, if I may be so bold, what is that piece of paper by the body? I didn’t notice that before. (All except Kipper gasp) Padget: I think I left the heat on before I left! Kipper: Well, I didn’t want to tell you all this, but Mr. St. Clampot appears to have left a dying note. Sassy: What does it say? Kipper: Go (bleeping), you bloody (bleeping) white slaver.


Sassy: (panicked) I’m not a white slaver! What are you talking about? You’re drunk! Kipper: (giving Sassy a strange stare) No, that was what was written on the note. Er, we think the sedative may have made him a little woozy. Now, did Mr. St. Clampot have any enemies or anyone who would want to bump him off? Who do you all think did this? Smitty: Well, he told us about how he possesses a great sum of money, has several very disgruntled professionally trained assasin lovers, and is hated by a long string of governments after dinner. Kipper: That certainly complicates matters. H.R.: Personally, I think it’s suicide. Kipper: (stares at H.R.) Quite. However, the doors were locked and not broken today, so it must have been one of you as the only ones in possession of the keys. Padget: Are you saying there’s a murderer in our midst? (screams) H.R.: A suicidal maniac, I should say! Kipper: Now, now, calm yourselves. Did anyone notice whether or not Mr. St. Clampot was wearing his watch before the murder? (cricket noises) Sassy: Well, what are we, the junior investigation squad? Of course not! Who actually notices crap like that? Kipper: Well, Miss Wittgenstein, can you tell us whether or not he customarily wore it? Ludwiga: Usually not. Smitty: Say, I remember seeing a watch locked up in a glass case in the hallway. Was it that? Ludwiga: I think so, yes.


Kipper: So it must have been a post-murder plant! The case isn’t broken, and, who are we kidding; no one here is intelligent enough to use a lockpick. Miss Wittgenstein, you alone possess the keys, do you not? Ludwiga: (afraid) Why, yes. Kipper: Ah, but you could not have committed the murder, for you were locked in your room the entire night and only let out by Jervis in the morning. Thus, you must have been bribed! (Gasping) Kipper: Miss Witgenstein, empty your apron pocket! (Ludwiga sighs, takes off her apron, and shakes it out upside down. Many paper bills fall out. All gasp. Kipper bends down to examine the currency. Note: Kipper grows progressively louder.) Kipper: French Francs! Padget: No thank you. I don’t care for potatoes. Kipper: No, the money. It’s Francs. That means that one of the two French people in the room must have done it: Miss du Monaco or Mr de Ballsac. (Gasping) Smitty: Blast! I sat on a carpet tack. (He stands up and removes the tack from his posterior, then sits down again.) Kipper: However, Mr. de Ballsac was dead drunk after his night of vodka and therefore could not have killed Snuffy St. Clampot! Miss du Monaco must have taken a car back from the barn and clubbed Snuffy over the head, then bribed Ludwiga in the morning. Ludwiga: You know, you could have just asked me who gave me the money. (Padget stands up, grabbing the baguette, revealing its red part.)


Padget: (loudly) Yes, damn it! I am a French government-sponsored assasin who killed Snuffy St. Clampot for his crimes against my country! I clubbed him to death with this very baguette! (Kipper pulls out a pair of handcuffs) Kipper: Come along now, miss. Padget: Never! (La Marseillaise has begun to play so that the lyrics start a few seconds after this encounter. Padget screams and winds up to hit Kipper over the head with the baguette.) Kipper: Wait, it was in him, so, you know, probably shouldn’t go into me. (Padget screams again and strikes Kipper with the baguette, still singing, then runs out through the stage right doors.) Kipper: Police! The End Â


“Fleeting Time” Jane Vaillant Poetry (9-11)


Jane Vaillant 10th Grade Basil Poetry


Poetry (9th-11th) By Basil


Fleeting Time Miles that are seconds on the clock And feeling each individual crack on the highway. Stale tears stinking up the room. It reminds me of Fisherman’s Cove on 172 siesta key drive. Driving too fast to stop. Baby’s feet up towards the sky, blowing dandelion seeds into my mouth. He could only gabble and was intent on tasting everything that crossed his path Because he wanted me to smile. “La vie est belle” everyone says, but I don’t understand. The steady idea of happiness, and the emptiness that fills me up. We felt as dull as a sunflower And floated on clouds that rumbled below us. Gracie was ready to experience it all, To understand what they mean. The timid grass that pushed down it’s neighbor to reach the sun. Fernweh. The place which calls her name And the baby’s laugh which pulls her back to the floor.


“Cashless Society” Ridhi Gupta Essay (6)


Ridhi Gupta     “Cashless Society”    Abstract A Cashless Society is a society that is cleaner, safer, and a healthier society. There is bacteria on cash, along with the cocaine that has also been found. Cash provides transportation for the viruses and bacteria on it. A cashless society can be safer because without cash, there is nothing physical to steal. With no cash there will be no counterfeit. U.S retail businesses lose so much money every year to cash thefts. Cash costs the country money and it pollutes. It uses water and metal that could have been used for more important purposes. There are many modes of payment to choose from, other than cash. There are different credit cards and even apps from which you can pay from. Among different credit cards there are reward credit cards. You can earn things for using that card. With all these different ways of pay and rewards, a cashless society makes for a better earth.

What is in your wallet? What would you say if I said cash could be harmful to your body? Well, cash is dirty, and costs billions of dollars. It causes the ecosystem harm in many ways. ItCash causes canacid make rain, people whichsick. is harmful Researchers to water have habitants found more and trees. than 3,000 It usestypes metalofthat bacteria couldon be used cash. The formost wiring easily homes abundant and making speciescars. researchers have found are bacterias that are the causes of acne, gastric ulcers, pneumonia, food poisoning, and staph infections. Some even carried Staphylococcus is normally found in the nose and skin. In most situations Staphylococcus genes that caused antibiotic resistance. All of this has been found while testing only one dollar is harmless. However, if it enters the body through a cut in the skin, it can cause a mild to severe bills. Along with all this, traces of Staphylococcus have been found on 94% of cash. range of infections, which in some cases may cause death. Those infections are boils and abscesses (infections of the skin in form of bumps); Impetigo (a highly contagious, crusty skin Sometimes, the bacteria can live on the piece of cash long enough to infect somebody. infection); Meningitis (infection of membranes lining the skin); Osteomyelitis (infection of the Researchers from Switzerland have found that the influenza virus could live on cash for three bone and bone marrow); Pneumonia (infection of one or more lungs); Septic Phlebitis (infection days. Cash is handed to different people throughout the day. In this way, money could serve as a of the vein); and Endocarditis (infection of the heart). mode of transmission for all bacteria on it.


Cash is dirty, 87% of cash that were tested were found with bacteria that could cause cancer or HIV (interferes with the body’s ability to fight infections) to people who had a weak immune system. 7% of the cash with bacteria had bacteria that could cause infection to perfectly healthy people. Only 6% of the bills tested were relatively clean. Studies have shown that an ATM has just as much infecting bacteria as a public bathroom. In 2013 alone there were 23,000 deaths because of antibiotic resistant bacteria. Along with bacteria, cocaine has also been found on cash. A chemical study has shown banknotes tested positive for cocaine residue. If a cocaine positive bill runs through an ATM, bills that run through that ATM can get contaminated. A recent study has shown that 99% of England’s euros are infested with cocaine. Between 2008 and 2010 the coining process took up 32,379 tons of zinc, 41,245 tons of copper, and 4,815 tons of nickel. Metals like zinc, copper, and nickel have more important uses, such as wiring homes and making electric-car batteries. Nickel also smelters belch sulfur dioxide, which is the main cause of acid rain. Acid rain causes water to absorb the aluminum that makes its way from soil into lakes. This is toxic to aquatic animals. Acid rain also weakens trees that eventually die. The cost to remove acid rain from waters and reduction in sulfur oxides can be as high as $21 billion. This is the eco-cost of cash. It takes half a gallon of water to grow the cotton needed to make one hundred dollar bill. Fuel for transport, electricity to run manufacturing plants and cash depots, trucks and vans ferrying cash between banks, stores, and warehouses, costs money and pollutes air. An estimate from 1994 said that the US spent $60 billion on cash management. By 2005 that figure was estimated at $110 billion. The US mint has manufactured over half a trillion coins over the past generation, yet the mint itself estimates that a billion of them have fallen out of circulation. According to one estimate; Americans forfeit $1 billion a year due to the time spent


dealing with pennies. The cost of making a penny is 1.8 cents a piece, a nickel being nine cents a piece. On total, the cost of making cash in the U.S.A is 200 billion dollars annually. Consumers spend approximately twenty eight minutes per month traveling to a place where they can access cash, for example a bank or an ATM. American consumers pay close to eight billion dollars in fees for ATM transactions. Cash thefts are a big problem, between 2009 and 2010 there were more than 10,000 bank robberies alone. These robberies would not have happened if the crooks knew there was no cash to have. In Iraq, US soldiers found $650 million in one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces. In Sweden, a bank got robbed $5 million in a single night. Banks report cash thefts at $38 million a year. Also, $40 billion is estimated to be lost to U.S retail businesses through cash thefts annually. Almost, $43 million in loot was taken in 2010. In 2010, investigators found that a major money transfer business in Afghanistan was laundering billions in drug-trafficking on the behalf of the Taliban. Counterfeit is also a big problem with cash. Officials estimate that about three of every 10,000 U.S banknotes are counterfeit. Some officials estimate counterfeits constitute as much as 30% of the stock of U.S dollars circulating in Africa, Russia, and parts of eastern Europe. The secret service has been seizing on average, $3 million worth of supernotes over the past decade or so. In 2005, two U.S undercover investigations found $4 million in supernotes (fake bills with such exquisite likeness) from North Korea. According to the House Task Force of Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, supernotes aid North Korea in its effort to obtain nuclear materials. At least $45 million worth have been believed to be detected in circulation. The secret service seized $117 million in 2009. Colombian authorities with help from the U.S


secret service, seized over $239 million in counterfeit greenbacks and busted almost one hundred printing operations. If you do not like credit cards there are other cashless ways to pay. One of these methods is Apple Pay. Apple Pay is a payment system designed to change the way you shop. The company has been leading the way in the effort to move consumers from physical wallets packed with cards and cash to a world where your telephone does it all. Enabling you to use an iPhone 7, iPhone 7s, iPhone SE, or Apple Watch as a wallet at checkout. Apple Pay pulls your credit cards, debit cards, and other sensitive payment from the wallet app on the iPhone. If you do not have an iPhone, another way to pay from your smartphone is Android Pay. Android Pay is a mobile wallet that can store credit cards, debit cards, loyalty cards, etc. Android Pay works at these stores Staples, McDonald’s, Walgreens, Panera, Express, American Eagle Outfitters, and more. Android Pay works through a NFC chip and retailers need to partner up in order for the purchase to work. Android Pay works with Samsungs, Blackberrys, and Androids. Samsung Pay is another mode of payment. Samsung Pay supports MST- Magnetic Secure Transmission- alongside NFC, which means it works with any payment terminal that accepts contactless payments or the method of swiping your card through the reader. Samsung Pay works only with the Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S7, and the Galaxy S7 Edge. Another mode of mobile payment is Bitcoin. Bitcoin is a new currency that was created in 2009 by an unknown person, using the alias Satoshi Nakamoto. Transactions are made without banks. With bitcoin you can even buy web hosting services. Users can send bitcoins to each other using mobile apps or computers. It’s similar to sending cash digitally.


Bitcoins are stored in a “digital wallet”, which exists in the cloud or on the user’s computer. The wallet is like a virtual bank account. It allows users to send or recieve bitcoins, pay for goods, and save their money. The price of one bitcoin changes. It could drop a hundred dollars in a hour, or it could stay the same for days. In addition, international payments are easy and cheap because bitcoins aren’t tied to any country or subject to regulation. Small businesses may like them because there are not any credit card fees. People even buy bitcoin as an investment, and wait for it to go up. A nice thing about credit cards is the fact that some credit cards offer rewards programs. There are different rewards credit cards for different people. One of these cards is the Discover it Miles Unlimited. This card is good if you like to travel. You can earn unlimited 1.5 times rewards on every purchase, every day. For every dollar you spend, you earn 1.5 times the miles, and there is not an annual fee. The Chase Sapphire Preferred card is good for young professionals, city dwellers, travelers, or if you eat out often. With Chase Sapphire Prefered earn 50,000 bonus points after you spend 4,000 on purchases in the first three months. Two times the points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, and one point per dollar spent on all other purchases. With the Discover it Cashback Match, earn five percent cash back in rotating categories like gas stations, Amazon, restaurants, wholesale clubs, and more. Unlimited one percent cash back on all other purchases. Enjoy 1.8 cash rewards on qualified mobile wallet apps during the first twelve months. Get up to six hundred dollars protection on your cell phone against covered damage or theft when you pay your monthly telephone bill with your Wells Fargo Cash Wise Visa.


Earn one percent cash back on every purchase, two percent at grocery stores and wholesale clubs, and three percent on gasoline up to the first $2500 in combined purchases every quarter with the MLB Bankamericard Cash Rewards Mastercard. These are just some of the rewards cards, out of many. Some have annual fees, others do not. You should use credit over cash. Credit is a safer, cleaner, and a more developed way to spend. $200 billion is the amount of money we use to make cash we do not need. 3,000 is the number of bacteria that has been found on cash. Or 3,000 ways for someone to get sick. All the water that goes into the process of making cash could have gone into so many more important things. These are the reasons we should live in a cashless society.

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Untitled Nathan Gajar Poetry (6)


Untitled The village is warm and bright tonight, As I hurry through the street Holding my knapsack tight. You see, the people of this town, they know Something I never meant to show. I was walking through the woods When a chill ran down my spine I turned to look behind me and gasped As something leaped out of the pine. I cried for help But nobody came (or so I thought) I fought it off And received unwanted fame. They saw me use my great skill Of strength and now it is me they want to kill WITCH! They cried. And now I can never return.

Nathan Gajar/6th grade


“Destination: Accident, Maryland” Chakor Sankaran Rajendra Fiction/Memoir (7/8)


Destination: Accident, Maryland By Dr. Vitruvius Fyre

Nothing ever happens in Accident, Maryland. That’s the very notion that Warren Peace had been thinking since he could walk and talk. Even though no one else really seemed to care, Warren complained about the snooze factor of the town twenty-four seven to his parents, teachers, and best friend, Noah Fence. Every day since he could remember, Warren tried to rally excitement to his bland town of 321 boring farmers, clueless post office clerks, perennially tardy substitute teachers, and the ignoramus mayor by performing a marvelous feat of some sort. On his eleventh birthday, Warren received a book of world records from his grandmother, who had never stepped outside of Accident, and found the tattered hardcover in the dusty bottom of her kitchen junk drawer. Warren landed himself in the hospital that evening with a fractured tibia, twelve nails stuck in various places on his body, and a bruise on the side of his head the colour of ripening plums. He had been attempting to walk across a balance beam with nails laid across it, while balancing two bricks on his cranium. He postulated that achieving this tour de force would help raise awareness of Accident by making it into the book of world records. You live, you learn, yet Warren never did. ****** The years flew by quickly, and, just like his seven sedentary siblings, Warren joined his father’s farm as the caretaker of muskmelons. He tried to settle down as a measly muskmelon villein, but something never felt quite right. His feeble attempts for attention continued to be his modus operandi and townsfolk became increasingly irked. Frustration rose to a boiling point


when Warren tried to create a life sized Eiffel Tower made of muskmelons. Needless to say, the tower toppled and it took three days and 300 of the 321 townspeople to clean up the three thousand trashed melons. The mayor secretly hoped Warren would be successful in bringing attention to Accident and, most importantly, to the mayor himself. To appease the citizens, he declared that Warren could have one final attempt to elicit fame for Accident. That Saturday evening, Warren was stretched out on his living room sofa watching the news while trying to figure out what he was going to do for his last hurrah when one of the reporters bantered, “Stoke is a joke, and Lew is too! We’re still waiting for a viable candidate so anyone could run for president this year against these clowns and win, ain't that right, Lincoln?” “Right, Charlie.” That was the very moment that an idea clicked in Warren’s conniving mind. The moment that determined that the lives of each and every one of those 321 citizens of Accident would change drastically. That was also the moment that Warren Peace took a deeeeep crunch into a potato chip and turned off the TV. The next thing he did was call up his friend Noah, who also worked at the Peace Produce Farm as an okra cropper. “Hey, Noah. What’s up?” “Nothin’ much. You?” “To be honest, Noah, as of right now, I’m actually quite excited. I’ve finally found a way to bring my dream to reality.” “How?”


“I’m running for President of the United States from a party I’m establishing called the Society of Muskmelons. I mean I don’t truly care about winning. I mean, I’m not planning on it, but it’ll bring attention to this town and make it have more purpose and less accident.” “Okay, then,” Noah was quite taken aback. “How do you plan on getting the attention of the news?” “Don’t worry. It’s all in my head.” ****** Whenever Warren saw someone, he uttered the same lie. The lie was that he was Thomas Jefferson’s last living ancestor, and he had found a copy of the Declaration of Independence in his basement. Word traveled fast because word travels fast. The story eventually reached the ears of the twenty some year old journalist, Anita Bath, who worked for the ​Nashville Prophet​ and was trying to prove herself by landing her first big scoop. The ​Prophet​ office was a large brick building built in the 1880s. It was dark and dirty with ceiling tiles that would occasionally fall off and knock someone out. The walls were infested with some sort of fungi and smelled like a dead mackerel. Anita Bath was seeking every opportunity to get out of that filthy storehouse and explore the outside world. “Accident, Maryland? Where’s that?” she asked to no one in particular. “Ummm... Maryland?” said her Japanese cameramen named Ben Dover. “How observant of you, Ben,” said Anita’s mordant intern named Claire Voyant. Anita quickly gathered up the rest of her support team, and they hit the road in their broken down Volkswagen. Destination: Accident, Maryland.


The truck finally chugged into Accident, and the elderly Prophet driver named Hyden Seek opened the car doors. “We’re here,” he declared, “Warren Peace. 42 Forty-Second Street.” Anita knocked on Warren’s large, oak door three times. No one answered. Ben started whistling Yankee Doodle. Claire told him put a lid on it. Warren finally opened the door and said, “Hi. I’m Warren Peace. What can I do for you?” “Hi. I’m Anita Bath. I’m from the Nashville Prophet. We’d like to do a story on you and your heritage relating to President Jefferson.” “No thanks. Not interested in media attention,” Warren started to close the door but opened it again almost immediately and said, “Okay, fine. Come on in.” Warren put on his best poker face. Anita gave him a skeptical look while Ben Dover bent over to tie his Air Jordans. They settled into Warren’s leather sofa and Anita questioned, “Can I see the copy of the Declaration?” “Actually,” said Warren, trying to subtly change the topic, “I’m going to give you an even bigger scoop. I’m running for President of the United States. But no one will see the Declaration unless five-thousand people visit Accident before Election Day. We need as much publicity as we can get,” Warren winked. After Anita had frantically scribbled all that down, she ran out of his house without as much as a goodbye or thank you and started on her way back to Nashville.


The next day, a special edition copy of the ​Nashville Prophet​ had been released talking about Accident, Warren, his heritage, his candidacy, and the five-thousand visitor demand. Thanks to social media, and a rather slow news day, everyone was yakking about it on CNN, NBC, ABC, FOX, and all the other major news channels. Accident was ​famous​. Time began to pass and people started trickling in to visit Accident. By the end of the summer, 3458 people had visited Accident in hopes of seeing the Declaration of Independence. Of course, curiosity killed the cat. One man tried to burgle Warren’s house and steal the Declaration for himself. The police found him sleeping on a box of collector spoons, and he spent three nights in jail. Meanwhile, the debates weren’t exactly going well for either Stoke or Lew. Each time they faced off, they just insulted each other cleverly (or in Stoke’s case not so cleverly) and made themselves look like complete morons. For example, Lew promised to make pets illegal and Stoke wanted to eliminate the concept of time.​ ​Since Warren was a little known third party candidate, he was excluded from the entertainment. Let’s just say he was relieved. ****** On the day before the election, Warren fell ill. He didn’t wake up for two days. While he was asleep, Noah went into Warren’s house and set up a sound system with a trigger. He placed triggers all around his bed, so that when Warren woke up he would definitely step on one. When he finally woke up, Warren slithered off his bed and accidentally activated a trigger. So Warren’s morning went practically like this: Wake up, step off bed, hear blaring music: “♬♬For he’s a jolly good fellow, for he’s a jolly good fellow♬♬!”


Warren stumbled out of his bedroom into his living room where all of his friends and family were wearing party hats and singing along with the music. Warren was extremely perplexed. He didn’t know what was going on. “What’s going on?” he shouted at the top of his lungs over the blaring music. The music stopped as if on cue leading into an awkward pause. “You won!” they all shouted. “What?” “You won?” “Won what?” “The election!” This was much too much for Warren to handle, just coming off from an horrible sickness. He fainted to the surprise of his great-uncle’s daughter-in-law’s housekeeper’s third cousin twice-removed who screamed and then fainted also. ****** There was a slight problem. Stoke accused Warren of being affiliated with the infamous Zarambo Rahawe, the Don of the Zambian Mafia. When the police asked for proof, he gave them a file full of arms and drug sales records. It showed millions of dollars worth of uranium being sold to Cuba and Russia. There was enough uranium for these countries to create bombs capable of blowing an extremely deep crater covering the span of an entire city and polluting the airs and waters of one-hundred miles worth of the neighboring land in any direction. The US Army tracked down the plane carrying the uranium and immediately shot it down near the Bermuda Triangle.


The police were still inspecting the file and at the back of it, there was a letter marked with the Zambian Mafia’s motto, “Baada ya ushindi, kunoa kisu yako.” This is a famous Mafia proverb that means: “After a victory, sharpen your knife.” The letter goes, “Rafiki yangu, tuna kuuzwa urani kwa watu wa siku za nyuma. Rafiki yangu, sisi ni siku zijazo. Usisahau ahadi yako, Richard Stoke. Usisahau.” This means: “My friend, we have sold the uranium to the men of the past. My friend, we are the future. Do not forget your promise Richard Stoke. Do not forget.” The police wasted no time throwing Stoke behind bars and they declared Warren the official President of the United States. ******* After the election, only 4987 people had visited Accident so Warren did not have to reveal his secret but 4987 visitors was 4987 visitors more than before. Warren became the first ‘accidental’ president of the United States and lived the rest of his life with the satisfaction of being the hero of Accident and fulfilling his lifelong dream. He was a true accident.


“Kid Protagonist”                                                 Ryan Wang                                                    Essay                                                    (7/8) 


Kid Protagonist By R. Gang

While growing up, kids often aspire to dominate on the basketball court or become a famous singer, and some even dream of finding the cure for cancer. These children begin diligently working towards their big aspirations by going to basketball practice, auditioning for school musicals, attending additional biology courses, and many other activities to improve their skills. ​Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer​ and ​Kid Owner​ are books that each describe a boy facing challenges in the adult world. ​Kid Lawyer​ illustrates a small town with a big murder mystery, and young Theodore Boone is the only one that can solve the case. ​Kid Owner​ describes a competition between Ryan Zinna and his arrogant half brother Dillon over the ownership of the Dallas Cowboys, one of America’s most prestigious football teams. While these books were written by different authors, their plot, and characters have many interesting relationships. Theodore Boone of ​Kid Lawyer​ is the child of two well known lawyers. He hopes of becoming a famous trial lawyer one day and is spending most of his days giving out legal advice to his peers and teachers. Theodore’s small town is suddenly met with a major murder case. Theodore suspects there is more to the case than meets the eye and accidentally gets involved further into one of the cleanest crimes of the century. Ryan Zinna of ​Kid Owner​ is a small guy in a big state. As a Texan, he is devoted to football even though his body is not. As he is continuously getting beat up by high school football, Ryan is soon confronted with something he could not possibly fathom. His late father has left in his hands the ownership of the Dallas Cowboys, America’s best football team.


However, Ryan’s stepmother wants the team for her own son, Dillon. Soon, a competition is devised by a lawyer over the Dallas Cowboys. Ryan’s team must face off against Dillon’s high school in the finales of the state football tournament. Whoever wins the game, wins the team. When looking at these two books, it is apparent that Ryan and Theodore are similar because they are the protagonists, or the “heroes”, of each of their stories. They both have the traits that all heroes should have, including selflessness, courage, patience, and endurance. However, these traits all ones that most protagonists have in order to appeal to the audience or reader. One similarity that Theodore and Ryan share that is not often found among mainstream protagonists is a certain uncertainty. Both of our heroes do not know what to do when faced with challenges in which they cannot handle, whether legal or athletic. Our protagonists share this uncertainty because they are still children. Children are not meant to handle major court cases. Children are not meant to lead the Dallas Cowboys. In ​Kid Lawyer​, we see the stress take its toll on Theodore with sleepless nights and constant paranoia. “The nightmares stopped just before sunrise, and Theo abandoned the notion of somehow finding meaningful rest” (131). Ike Boone, Theodore’s uncle, states this when he says, “Leave it alone, Theo. Don’t stick your nose into this mess. It’s no place for a kid” (157). In ​Kid Owner​, Ryan is faced with a very different challenge, but reacts in a very similar manner. “That made me mad. How could he question me after all I’d been through? But I realized that everyone else’s reaction would be the same as Coach Vickerson’s. It looked like a cowardly move on my part” (312). As the plot thickens for both books, our protagonists seem to become more aware of their actions and the resulting consequences in the adult-controlled world.


While Theodore Boone and Ryan Zinna are similar in many ways, their biggest difference would be character development. Ryan’s attitude and personality have undergone major changes throughout the book. At the beginning of the story, Ryan was shy, acted unimportant, and was selfish. As the story progressed into the finale, Ryan turned into a leader for his football team. This is shown when he commands his team during the final game. Ryan shouts, “Okay, let’s huddle up, guys. Come on! I love twenty yard, but we got a long way to go to win this thing. Get in here” (302). He later is surprised by how bold he acted in the moment. However, Theodore, while still under immense pressure, has not been seen changing his personality or behavior. Theodore’s dialogue and actions were similar and mildly predictable throughout the entire book. While this did not make the book more boring, it did make me realize the importance of character development. While optional, character development makes stories more unpredictable and engaging. This separates Theodore and Ryan from each other. Kid Lawyer​ and ​Kid Owner​ each contain two very young protagonists. These two heroes, Theodore and Ryan, are each faced with challenges that go beyond their age. Their greatest similarity is their uncertainty. They both are overwhelmed with a situation that kids do not often deal with. However, their biggest difference is their character development. Ryan undergoes major personality changes through football matches while Theodore remains the same throughout the murder mystery.

2018 McDowell Writing Awards  

Student winners in multiple writing catagories

2018 McDowell Writing Awards  

Student winners in multiple writing catagories

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