Venture Online vol4

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Venture Online Table of Contents


Hopscotch ...............................................1 by Ha Nguyen, Biloxi, MS

The Wooded Walk Before the Storm ......2 by Chris Parker, Lawrence, KS

A Perfect Love ......................................17 by Taylor Carnes, Memphis, TN

Will You be My Muse?..........................19 by Darrell Maurice Hubbard, Grenada, MS

Untitled Haikus ...................................20 by Cecil Ward, Virginia Beach, VA

The Snake ..............................................2

The Price of Freedom ...........................39

The Biggest Nothing ...............................3


by Ben Lane, Jackson, MS

by Amanda Blakely, Greenwood, MS

Summer..................................................5 by Max Xanders, Springfield, IL

The Feeling.............................................6 by Kitty Holland, Diamondhead, MS

Love Lost ................................................6 by Jeromy Ervin, Columbus, MS

Existence Matters, Too............................7 by Keri Maher, Stuttgart, Germany

Move Over, Death ..................................8 by Stewart Fakess, Winter Park, FL

Young Man with Dreams .......................9 by Emmett Manning, Jackson, MS

Coffee Break .........................................10 by Cindy Tran, Biloxi, MS

The River .............................................11 by Matthew Nicholas, Jackson, MS

by Amanda Blakely, Greenwood, MS

by Ann-Layton Chandler, Jackson, MS

A River As It Flows...............................40 by Trent Nichols, Batesville, MS


Softball Banquet, 2011 ..........................4 by Londen Ladner, Pearl, MS

Grandma’s Story Accompanying ...........18 Me to Grow Up by Zhengxuan Du, Shanghi, China

Linda Alexander, Griff Brownlee, Betty Crane, Chip Dunkin, Shanna Flaschka, Anya Groner, Ashley Gutierrez Siler, George Kehoe, Amy Mark, Josh Mayo, Heather Miles, Alice Myatt, Chris O’Brien, Kelli O’Brien, Hope Owens-Wilson, Chad Russell, Laura Schrock

by Glenna Lusk, Memphis, TN

The Things I Carry ..............................26 by Chelsea Johnson, Biloxi, MS

The Toad and the Squirrel..............29-30

The Captain of Death ..........................14

“Women…” .........................................33

Holding Hands .....................................15

Target ...................................................34

God’s Eye Piece.....................................15

Help Wanted ...................................35-36

Haiku Poems ........................................16 by Chris Green, Virginia Beach, VA

A Child’s Paradise...........................37-38

by Louisa Mashburn, Atlanta, GA by Hayden Lewis, St. Louis, MO



Kaitlin Bachmeyer, Huntsville, AL.....Cover, ii, 3, 4, 6, 8, 9, 13, 17, 40 Chelsea Dunnam, Falkner, MS .................1 Glenna Lusk, Memphis, TN........2, 12, 16, 18, 33, 37 Steven Anderson, Gallatin, TN ..........5, 19, 24, 26, 28, 32, 34, 36, 38 William Strouth, St. Louis, MO .........7, 39 Kimberly Russell, Brandon, MS........10, 22 Hunter Spragins, Oxford, MS.................11 Jessica Foshee, Byhalia, MS ...............15, 20 Evan Fowler, Alpharetta, GA...................30

The Worst Memory .........................23-25

The Four ..............................................13 by Mandy McCalla, Fayetteville, GA

by Patrick Haadsma, Tupelo, MS

Volunteer Readers

by Kay Kay DeRossette, Vicksburg, MS

Grow Up Peter Pan ..............................12 by Evan Fowler, Alpharetta, GA


“Lipton” One act play.....................31-32

Life In The Land.............................21-22

Slushies on a Hot Night and ...........27-28 Comin’ to Jesus

by Mary Ivon Montgomery, Shreveport, LA

Volume 4 - Spring 2011

by Hunter Spragins, Oxford, MS

by Mady-Kate Cunningham, Franklin, TN by Bianca Smith, Tylertown, MS by Caitlin Miclot, Austin, TX

by Callie Daniels, Jackson, MS

by Kelsey Faulkner, Caruthersville, MO

Editor/Art Director, Milly West Student Editor, Heather Miles, Irvine, CA Graphic Designer, Larry Agostinelli Web Designer, Deborah Freeland We would like to thank the Center for Writing and Rhetoric for their help in funding this project.

From the Editor Dear Readers, Here we are with Volume 4 of Venture Online. From reflective poetry to touching memories told in short stories, we have a great selection of work. I feel sure you will be impressed and entertained by what lies before you. Highlighted with some wonderful art, there are some ve ry personal and va l u a b l e lessons in these pages. College students don’t have much time for extra writing, but these young students have gone beyond what is required in the classroom to bring us into their worlds. I want to thank our partners at The Division of Outreach at Ole Miss and in particular our designer Larry Agostinelli. Larry’s vision and dedication to the project continue to impress me and everyone who sees his brilliant work. I also thank my friend Deborah Freeland, the chief designer at Outreach who continues to encourage and inspire me each semester as I work on getting Venture ready for publication. When the students come together to read at our “Launch Party,” Deborah films them and later puts that video on YouTube. Through her extra effort, students are able to send the links to the magazine and the video of the readings to anyone anywhere!

There are some more people to thank–especially my colleagues at The Center for Writing and Rhetoric who agreed to be readers or judges in the selection process. They too take time from their busy lives to read selections and “vote” on each submission for inclusion in the magazine; and I thank my boss at CWR, Dr. Bob Cummings who has supported this project from the first issue forward and Glenn Schove, our administrative coordinator, who helps make sure everything falls into place. This year I have been blessed with a remarkable student editor, Heather Miles. Heather is a former student of mine, and having been published with her own work last year, she has returned as a reader and my “go-to” person for final edits. Two awards are given each semester by The Mystic Krewe of Mykarma, a cultural organization dedicated to the support of gender freedom and creative endeavors in the UM community. I want to acknowledge Amy Mark and other members of MKM for their generous support of Venture writers. Many thanks to the students who submitted work; accepted or not, we appreciate your gifts and are lucky to have you as a part of the creative Ole Miss community. Sincerely, Milly West, editor

Kaitlin Bachmeyer, Strings

Venture Online can be found on the English, CWR, and Outreach sites at Ole Miss.


Hopscotch by Ha Nguyen ~ Biloxi, MS Chalks and pebbles all along the driveway Is what I remember of my childhood hobby. Trying to draw equal squares to my dismay Was the hardest job of the day Then calling my siblings to come play to which they came with no delay Hearing the pebble as it lands on the ground My face contorted with a frown Yearning and waiting with concern Seems forever that it is going to be my turn Holding the pebble in my hand Throwing and wondering where it will land Bouncing and stopping on the number nine Finally this will be all mine Hopping all the way to ten Soon my turn will come to an end I will have to stand at the back of the line and wait again for a very long time


Chelsea Dunnam, Mask

The Wooded Walk Before the Storm by Chris Parker ~ Lawrence, Kansas As I walk the path through the wood, I come across a canvassing hood, Draping over so tall and thick, I need to be quick Or sight will come from a wick. Falling from the sky, With thunder in the distance, The lightning crackles.

The Snake by Ben Lane ~ Jackson, MS The slippery snake slides across the asphalt street Only to find it a hot seat of heat The snake slithers to the other side What he finds there is no surprise The grass is crisp and tall Disguise is no problem at all The bugs and the birds are racked with fear As they know the snake is the king here The snake makes no enemies Except for the mice and the occasional cheese

Glenna Lusk, Jump


The Biggest Nothing by Amanda Blakely ~ Greenwood, MS Once there was something here Something I held close and dear Not mind, not heart, but soul had found That to which it wished be bound Mind says “Gone! Forevermore” Heart says “Nothing’s behind that door” Soul screams “No! I felt it with me” But with heart and mind the eyes agree

Heart, mind and eyes all turn away “It was nothing” is what they say But deep within, soul still can feel And firmly insists that it was real Mind tries hardest to forget Eyes say that they haven’t seen it yet Heart scoffs “There is no such thing” Soul replies “It is the biggest nothing The biggest nothing I’ve ever felt” And soul cries Over the loss it’s been dealt

Where there is a hole There was a thing


Kaitlin Bachmeyer, Everything and Nothing

Softball Banquet, 2011 by Londen Ladner ~ Pearl, MS We all know this girl. She tells me was not necessarily planned. Her parents met at the University of Southern Mississippi. Her mom, unfortunately, was forced to drop out of college in order to raise her baby girl. The journey ahead would not be easy. This girl was born in Hattiesburg, but she was raised two hours north in Pearl. She played in her first game at the small age of five. Soccer, basketball, and tee-ball became a part of her daily life. She proved to be different from most southern girls, though. Instead of playing softball, she decided to join the guys on the baseball field up until the age of thirteen. Baseball made her tough and increased her skills so greatly that she was able to make the varsity softball team as a seventh grader. This proved too good to be true. Two we e k s into practice, she broke her shoulder throwing and was forced to sit out the entire season. She thought she would never see the field again. Through the broken shoulder, she learned that softball had always been a safe haven for her. Now she worried that she would not be able to play the game she loved. Through her hard work and long hours of practice and conditioning, she was able to bounce back from the injury and was named All-State First Team for four years, Miss Softball, and Gatorade Player of the Year. She was even able to receive a softball scholarship to the University of Mississippi. Softball meant everything to her, but this was all about to be tested. Towards the end of her senior year in high school, her dad’s alcoholism started to rapidly worsen causing her parents’

marriage to fall apart. She shut herself off from the world, and she too started to develop a problem with alcohol. She blamed herself for the failed marriage and continued to drink her sorrows away throughout the fall of her freshman year at Ole Miss. Little did she know that one mistake would almost ruin her life. It was a typical Friday night involving alcohol, stupidity, and carelessness. Everything finally caught up with her. She was found with alcohol in her dorm and was “documented” by the housing department. The incident resulted in suspension from the softball team, and mandatory community service, counseling, and the completion of the J.A.D.E.Judicial Alcohol and Drug Education program. She had officially crossed the line. She is the type of person that hates disappointing people. From this incident, she managed to disappoint her family, coaches, teammates, friends, and her school. This was unacceptable for her, so she decided to make a change for herself. She made a very tough decision—softball over alcohol. Through counseling and constant support from her community, she was able to get sober and reclaim her soul. Though the journey is not always easy, taking her sobriety one day at a time has allowed this young lady to stay strong and reconnect with the one love of her life. Now that she has her act together, we expect nothing but good things this softball season and in life for this talented freshman and the recipient of the 2011 Spirit Award, Londen Ladner. This work was edited by student editor, Heather Miles, whose idea it was to turn Londen’s memoir into a softball banquet speech. –mw, editor


Summer by Max Xanders ~ Springfield, Illinois Green grass, the trees are in bloom, the wind pushes my hair back As I sail across the lake, racing my friends. The next day at the pool, I am checking out all the pretty girls As they strut across the deck, all the boys look. They pretend not to notice, but they always do. I put on my sunglasses hoping they won’t see me, But they look at me and smile, and continue on their way As the wind blows their hair back


Steven Anderson, Myself

The Feeling by Kitty Holland ~ Diamondhead, MS

Love Lost by Jeromy Ervin ~ Columbus, MS

Twirling, spinning, shifting side to side It’s almost like dancing Colors and sparks take over the world Confusion, happiness, doubt, and fear are all in my mind Fingers and toes are constantly numb Indescribable, overwhelming, and complete happiness Could there be a better feeling? I begin to think I am completely crazy But then I ask, Is this the feeling? Or is this just lust?

After I saw you, I wanted to get to know you After I got to know you, I wanted to love you After I loved you, I wanted it to last forever

Kaitlin Bachmeyer, Untitled



Existence Matters, Too by Keri Maher ~ Stuttgart, Germany I am not too small, nor too thininsignificant I do not hide behind obstaclestransparent I am not blind, nor deafdeformed Can’t you see me? I feel the same sun as you do; The warmth is carried by the fondling breeze. I hear the same songs as you do; The saxophone swinging and the piano moaning. I see the same pictures as you do; Memories now filed in the back of the mind. I smell the same flowers as you do; Daffodils, sweet peas, asters, roses, violets. I taste the same pleasures as you do; Sweet fruits, exciting spices, brittle breads. Can’t you see me? I am not too small, nor too thinimportant! I do not hide behind obstaclesvisible! I am not blind, nor deaffamiliar! Can’t you see me? I am like you, like her, like them; I have a mind, a heart, and a voice. I am different, yes, but I am human; I breathe, sleep, eat, move about like you do. I am not petty! I give life its most undivided attention.


I am not empty! I am the dove that ever cared. I am not bent! I am the storm that keeps growing stronger. Can’t you see me? Open your eyes that were once blind; those frosted windows. Look at this face and study every detail; the color of the eyes, the curve of the nose, the paleness of the lips. Remember this face, my Dear; let it torment your every thought till you can recognize those who matter most. Can’t you see me?

William Strouth, Cascades

Move Over, Death by Stewart Fakess ~ Winter Park, FL I’m not scared of you. Others may be and try to hide, Not me. I live my life the way I should, Even though my path ends Eventually, in your hands. I don’t wonder How and when you will appear. I show no fear. Every choice leads to you, My mind is free of worry, I show no fear.

Kaitlin Bachmeyer, Lost Coastlines


Young Man with Dreams by Emmett Manning ~ Jackson, MS He goes to each class Just trying to pass He has big dreams Like living by a stream His dad is a work-a-holic And his mom is an alcoholic He takes pride in his schoolwork Though his parents treat him like dirt He leaves for college In order to gain knowledge Just trying to fulfill his dream Of living life by a stream


Kaitlin Bachmeyer, Streets of Vancouver

Coffee Break by Cindy Tran ~ Biloxi, MS Through your stories and silly tales, You have taught me well. You’ve worked hard so now relax, Drink some coffee and get some laughs. Just let me show you how far I can go. I am still young, but I am grown. Through your life lessons I kept my ground, Never once were problems found. So now it’s my turn to carry your trouble, Don’t you worry; I won’t stumble. You’ve paved the way for me see, All the possibilities I could be.

Kimberly Russell, Take a Seat


The River by Matthew Nicholas ~ Jackson, MS 5 a.m. up and ready Though my eyes are feeling heavy Must press on, into the darkness Bitter cold, as the sun crests The river flows, never stopping A beautiful sight, jaw dropping The morning brings the world to life Removing any thoughts of strife Into the sky, in search of prey Watching closely, sometimes all day Waiting for that one split second It feels as though I’ve just touched heaven Back to the lodge, to eat some food Telling stories, sometimes crude This place is home to many things Including my heart and the joy the river brings


Hunter Spragins, Sunset

Grow Up Peter Pan by Mary Ivon Montgomery ~ Shreveport, LA Be strong, cheer up, it’s not so bad. Always remember the childhood you had. The old and familiar is gone, It’s time that you move on. No more to dwell on the past, Life’s seasons change so very fast. Peter Pan’s Never Never Land–a silly dream, Time goes like a moving stream. Relish the days you have at hand, For soon they will be a distant land. Dreamer, open your eyes, Ah, how time truly flies. Dear heart, wake up, It’s time. It’s time to grow up.

Glenna Lusk, Diver


The Four by Evan Fowler ~ Alpharetta, GA Released from their seals in the Lamb’s right hand The four will ride throughout the land From the hills of old to the lands of sand Harbingers of judgment, judgment on man The first to enter brave John’s sight The conqueror in all his might Bent on rule to rule our fright Riding a horse clad in white Then upon a steed of fire Enter did the second rider His correction profusely dire For War he is, and is destined to sire The third’s mount was clad in dark For this John heard no voice to hark On its scales food shall be marked As Famine rides, and starved dogs bark “Come see” the horse of pale Death appears with a yell He takes his fourth for all men fell, And close behind him follows Hell


Kaitlin Bachmeyer, I was a Landscape in Your Dreams

The Captain of Death by Mandy McCalla ~ Fayetteville, GA He left shore, with his crew at his command She stood watching on the beach’s sand Waving goodbye, a tear in her eye Watching the sea carry him from land The wind was viciously blowing strong Then, the men knew that something was wrong Losing hope, pulling every rope They had planned this trip for so long The storm came upon them; they had no clue That the storm’s fury was just beginning to brew Lightning cracked, course thrown off track Trying to escape the sight of Big Blue They searched for land or the shining of light From some far off coast, but nothing was in sight Waves crashing, the boat smashing Into a reef that was undetected that night All remained frozen, horrified as they saw The sea engulfing their captain, all stood in awe His hands flailed, No one prevailed To save him that night from cruel death’s claw The sea had claimed the one life it sought The rest were spared, or so they thought From death’s news, to church pews No flowers presented, goodbyes can’t be bought Her theory–the waves had stolen him away And so, she wrote to him that very day One small note, is all she wrote “For you, no price is too much to pay”

With the note in the bottle, she corked the top Then from the cliff, she watched it drop From his watery grave came a sweeping wave That carried the message to him without a stop She lay down beside him in the still of the night His grave, newly dug, made her shudder with fright One quick shot, her only thought She wanted to be with him, she was emptied of fight Not a moment too soon, the harsh wind blew She lost her focus; she froze like the crew Feeling loss, seeing a cross He didn’t want her there with him, too Again down her face, flowed a stinging tear Nothing could take away her pain and her fear Drawing in breath, thinking death Is something he’d never wish of his Dear Standing up tall and grasping the gun Waiting for a sign from her love, her one Speaking to her, no more allure She hurled it off the cliff; Life had won He whispered how special her life was to him And to cherish it, even when circumstances are grim No perfection, no exception Ever existed in life known to them She mourned by his grave overlooking the sea Hearing he loved her one more time made her see Love existed when death persisted She chose life and at last, she was free.


Holding Hands by Louisa Mashburn ~ Atlanta, GA

God’s Eye Piece by Hayden Lewis ~ St. Louis, MO

I want you to hold me or if that is too much, just to hold my hand just to let your fingers graze upon my fingertips with yours so big and mine so petite Such a happy feeling of two hands becoming one.

Same appearance, different looks Each part working together in one masterpiece Providing all colors that fill strange space No hue, no shape, no size, no feeling can be the same A circle cannot fit into line A bird cannot be a tree God’s eyes see all the parts His hands give us different gifts

The firm yet gentle grip, the touch The intertwining of our hands


Jessica Foshee, Highway

Haiku Poems by Chris Green ~ Virginia Beach, VA Ceaselessly slipping Cannot wait to stop the slide SPLASH NICE WARM DRY AIR Gripping me harder Absolutely rocks my world Hazy wooden house The cold wind blows, The heat is starting to rise And I am content. The water is light blue, The snow is all white powder. This is relaxing.

Glenna Lusk, Before the Storm


A Perfect Love by Taylor Carnes ~ Memphis, TN This is so perfect, Such a perfect emotion, Made for our imperfect lives, our imperfect circumstances, Our sagging bags of imperfection. I pull and drag myself into believing In an emotion so real it purifies me, make me clean. It has become my god, the redeemer of my humanity, The purifier of my unclear motives and sordid ways, The sieve through which I will beg to be shaken. All to be seen by one who is as imperfect as me. Is this why the human race longs to love?


Kaitlin Bachmeyer, Lights & Shadows

Grandma’s Story Accompanying Me to Grow Up by Zhengxuan Du ~ Shanghi, China In the evenings of midsummer days, gold cicada chirped and green frog cried to high heaven. The moon was shining brightly. Grandma loved to sit in an old rocking chair and wave a fan before her face. I sat by her and cupped my chin. Grandma said: “The story I am going to tell is …” My brain accumulated various stories as Grandma told them one by one, day by day, again and again. Among them were: Adventures of SanMao, Small Tadpoles Looking for Mom, The Magic Brush, and so on. These stories were sprinkled with miraculous adventures, wisdom, and childish naïveté. I never got tired of hearing such stories. Sometimes I tried to replace me with the protagonist of one particular story: as a coolie, I was Zhou Papi turning around as busy as a bee; wearing a red hat, I was watching in horror as the wolf turned into a grandmother; and facing death under the butcher’s knife of the enemy, I behaved like a hero. Happy fairy tale was no longer the truth in reality. It seemed that every girl should have a sentimental time. In life, who is not a passerby in the world! The road ahead of me is still long, and my story still continues.

Glenna Lusk, Finding Balance


Will You be My Muse? by Darrell Maurice Hubbard ~ Grenada, MS Thoughts now alive, Her words take root, Growing in her mind, Writer’s block on mute. Brain caught on fire, In a gasoline rain, Bleeding from her pen, Is heartache and pain.

The soul bleeds out, All emotions scatter, And she can’t figure out, What the fuck’s the matter. Then her pen falls to paper, An explosion barely defused, Just wish I could be there, To hug you, my muse.

Murder’s all she writes, Paper burdened with truth, Of lonely cold dark nights, How we seldom win but lose. Trail of tears she leaves, As a part of her dies, Deceit tortures her memories, Because the past never lies. Then her body hurts, Her mind falls apart, Love is like a dagger, Being pierced through the heart.


Steven Anderson, Enthused

Untitled Haikus by Cecil Ward ~ Virginia Beach, VA Sand between my toes, Water splashing in my face, I know I am home. It’s all he ever sees– Fame, cars, houses; he knows nothing but the best. Not good! Protect the Ocean. Save the Trees—that’s all I hear… Can we start to listen?

Jessica Foshee, Floating By


Life In The Land by Kay Kay DeRossette ~ Vicksburg, MS “Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.” – John Muir

The most beautiful outdoor scenery in my hometown or maybe in the world is in the National Military Park. Parts of The Civil War were fought all throughout my hometown, Vicksburg, Mississippi. In 1899 two Vicksburg veterans from opposing sides collaborated to lead the establishment of the Vicksburg National Military Park. Throughout my lifetime I have spent many days at this park created one hundred years ago and have grown to love it. All of my experiences at the park have given me a greater appreciation for nature. It makes up part of who I am. I practiced for cross county in the park and learned to know the land ve ry well. It holds much more than the history of my running, even more than the history of my town–it contains the history of vital battles fought for the country I live in today. The land tells a story. The hills have seen the battles and the beauties over the years and will outlive me to see what the park will become. The events will change but nature will remain ever present in these lovely hills. This park is not only an important part of my country’s freedom it is a big part of my childhood. My mom pulled up to the park, flashed her twenty dollar, all-year access pass, and pulled right up to my waiting track team. I hopped out and stood a few short conversations and hardly any steps away from being at peace. We walked to the stop sign, stretched, and chatted. Cross country season started with some heat, if one is not familiar with running, it might feel like being in hell. I


enjoyed this type of hell. I had been eating healthy and staying hydrated. I ran because I could escape into nature. Past the cars speeding down one of Vicksburg’s main roads, Clay Street, which runs parallel to the National Military Park, I found a sense of freedom. I would just run and take in all of nature’s history and beauty. One particular Wednesday we once again ran the inescapable hills of the park. The weather outside was what I like to call perfect running weather in contrast to the weather we usually ran in this time of year. It was not too hot, not too cold, and a slight breeze filled the air. We were running about six miles this day. We would run from the stop sign past the big automatic security gate. We passed the cemetery and then the picnic area. Our first and only stop, we would stretch for about five minutes at the quarter mile mark. Then we continued running past many monuments and even a few cannons. The landscapers had just gotten done mowing. The smell of freshly cut grass filled the air. A deer randomly crossed the road, but I had learned not to find this odd. The first mile always seemed the hardest. The boys ran probably a half mile ahead of the girls while the girls were starting to spread out and run by themselves. The biggest challenge was Illinois Hill. This hill should be called the Illinois Mountain, but that is another story. I finally reached the top of the mountain; my best friend Ann ran by my side. We went down a huge hill, and this gave us a chance to relax. We let loose and let the hill take our bodies down it. We ran over a frightening bridge that cars were speeding under. The bridge was about fifty feet from the ground, making it extremely scary to run across. We had the urge to walk, however we continued to run. We then ran up a slight incline for another half of a mile. Finally we reached the angel, a stone statue which indicated we were approaching our turn around point. We saw a few boys pass us after they turned around. I thought to myself that if I could just make it half way I could make it the whole way.

Suddenly the sky broke loose. I finally knew why it felt so cool and perfect outside. There were no indications of the big storm we were about to sprint through. It just started pouring. Ann, Coach Blake, and I could only laugh. I turned to Coach and said, “What now?” He replied, “Run!” We ran three whole miles all the way back to our little stop sign while it rained the entire time. We thought it funny at the time how the thunder storm just popped up in the park. We ran outdoors and experienced Nature’s many beauties and humors that day. The park was always just down the street from my house; even when I moved we still lived close to the park. I remember cutting through my backyard to get to the park at an early age. My mom, sister, and I would all go on long walks there. Then when I got old enough, I would go on bike rides. In junior high I started to run at the park during softball summer conditioning. In high school I practiced for cross country in the park. My old boyfriend and I actually used to go on dates to the park. There was an old hidden waterfall that only a few people knew about way back in the park. This waterfall was beautiful and entertained us teenagers on long summer days. My memorable days at the park laughing, smiling, learning, loving, and running will never be forgotten. I gained an understanding of my place in nature and an appreciation for the history present by my surroundings. The battle of Vicksburg was a crucial battle in the Civil War, just as the park remains crucial to my city. This beloved park is one of my small town’s main attractions. Tourists from all over America come to see, relive, and enjoy the history present here only through nature. The land ties us humans back to the events in the past that occurred at the park. The history of The Civil War present through nature makes my town an even cooler place to say, “Hey that is where I grew up.” This spring the thirty-second annual Run-Thru History will be run at the park. The park not only represents the past

Kimberly Russell, Trapped in Ruins

but holds special significance for many people from Vicksburg because through it we continue the history of the land. One of the most beautiful places in the park is the old gravel road. Some may say it is in between the Illinois monument and the Shirley House. Others may say it is the mile and a half mark. One might see it as an overgrown old road. It is where our country fought for its freedom in the Civil War. To me, though, I see it as all of these things; this road is beautiful. It represents freedom, giving me an escape into nature. One day I hope to take my wedding pictures here. The gravel road is narrow with hills on each side; for a short time one can only see the gravel and the hills while running it. In the summer the landscapers get behind on all the mowing and it becomes overgrown. I think it is most beautiful when it appears in this chaotic overgrown state. As I was home during my almost two month Christmas break, after work I would make time to go to this old familiar place. I do not know if it is the comfort of it or the history that lies deep within the beautiful green hills, but somewhere in the beauty of it all, something brings me a sense of serenity and continues to draw me back for once again another run.

(Beckwith Studio)


The Worst Memory by Glenna Lusk ~ Memphis, TN I watched as the light white string glided smoothly through the breeze and landed with a quiet plop, only inches from the moldy log standing erect in the lake. A thrill went through my body when I saw the tugging on the end of the fishing pole’s string. As Cameron reeled in the fish I studied his tan body, examining his muscles flexing back and forth from years of baseball practices and man labor, working at his father’s trucking business. The sun was beginning to set and it cast a glow around his face, making him shine like an angel on earth. When he got the fish in the boat, his smile was so bright I was taken aback by his pure happiness. “I can’t believe you caught one,” I whined. “I’ve been waiting for hours.” “You know, Glenna, it’s pure talent, and you girls just don’t possess it like we men do,” Cameron joked as he prodded me playfully in my side. He was silent as he released the fish from the hook and put it in the cooler of water. When he released a huffing sound I knew something was wrong. Even though Cameron was my best friend, I was hesitant to ask him, but the words just blurted out. “Cameron, are you okay with the whole Megan breakup?” He looked at me precariously and the words that he had been holding in started to flow like warm syru p. “I love her, Glenna. And I can’t explain it, but she’s the one. Ya’ know, it’s like when I’m with her I can’t even look away. And the whole “separate colleges” excuse she’s using is just bullshit. I know we could make it work.” I felt like I was walking on egg shells trying to pick out the perfect words to console him. When I reached for his hand I squeezed it and said, “I don’t think you want to hear this, but maybe the time apart will be good for you guys. And maybe she’ll realize that breaking up is not what she wants either.” Cameron let go of my hand and turned his body towards mine. “I haven’t told anyone this, so you have to swear not to tell, Glenna!” He looked into my eyes and I felt as if he could see right through me. “I’m not going to Ole Miss next year.”


“What? Why?” I exclaimed. He rolled his eyes and looked at me saying, “Just let me finish. I’m not going to Ole Miss because I’m going to State with Megan. And you can’t tell anyone. I’m serious Glenna. She doesn’t even know yet and I want to surprise her.” “Well, I think that’s going to be an interesting change,” I said quietly to myself. We sat in silence for a couple of minutes and the only noise as we paddled back to shore was the repeating sounds of the oars hitting the smooth lake water. Cameron had found the girl of his dreams and he was taking it upon himself not to lose her. Though in the back of my mind, I felt as if the relationship he was trying to mend was not going to work out just as he had planned, and it made me uneasy inside. When we packed up the car, I shut the door behind me and Cameron smiled and said, “Cheer up Glenny! We’re going to a party tonight!” He let out a howling laugh and turned up the music as we drove back to my house in the twilight. *** I have always been confident with my ability to feel comfortable in any surroundings, but there is one kind of solemn event that can break down any stronghold I have built up around myself–a funeral. Funerals put me in a place of self-pity. At this particular funeral though, staring at old pictures of the person I used to share my secrets and laugh with, I could not help but feel like I was digging myself deeper into an emotional hole of that exact intolerable self-pity. The sounds of crying, sniffling, and sad voices discussing a person’s name in the past tense over and over tend to rub me the wrong way, like an orchestra warming up–out of sync, painful to hear before a play begins. As I stood in front of the wooden coffin, closed to the public to hide the ugliness of death, I reached out to touch the smooth case. Colder than expected, it sent a shiver through me which brought me back to the night that changed everything. *** Just like any other summer night, laughter filled the car as Cameron swerved and jerked it to the next party. Reckless and carefree, we played the music so loud that I could not even hear my ears ringing. When we finally got to our destination, the four of us staggered out of the car spilling drinks and slurring words of

excitement for getting there in one piece. I felt that we had used our quota of luck earlier in the night when we avoided the hungerdriven armadillo scurrying across the street. After hours of sloppy socializing and intense drinking games, the four of us started to say our goodbyes to the people who filled the house to its brim. I looked around the room for Cameron, our semi-designated driver, and saw that he was taking last minute shots in the kitchen. He then jumped in the air and tried to aim the empty vodka bottle into the trash can and in doing so, lost his footing and slipped, landing with a resonating thud on the beer covered linoleum floor. His Red Socks baseball cap popped off of his crooked head and landed a few feet away. I ran over to see if he was okay, watching as he struggled to reach for the hat, now soaked and covered in beer and grime from the floor. I grabbed the hat for him trying to set it back on his head and in his drunken stupor he yelled at me to leave him alone. A crowd of people had already started to gather in the kitchen around us to see what was going on. Megan, a tan and lanky, natural beauty stepped out from the crowd to help Cameron up. She tried to get the keys from him, working to pry them out of his clenched fists whose knuckles had turned white from the pressure. As his former girlfriend, still in a sticky relationship with Cameron, they had a flame which had not yet been extinguished. It was obvious he was a boy blinded by teenage love when he finally gave into her soft voice and the trust in her words about driving his car back home. It only took a couple of minutes for her to succeed in coaxing over the keys, but it felt like hours to those of us waiting impatiently in order to be back by curfew, which now seemed an impossible task. The five of us shuffled out of the house one by one, through the damp grass, leaving disturbed foot prints in the moonlit dew. Some of us were murmuring under our breath about the embarrassing scene Cameron had just caused and grouchily stomped past his swaying body to the car. We all squeezed into the car, now cramped with Megan as our new driver and an extra person in the backseat. The car cranked up with a quiet and constant hum like that of a sleeping beast. We rolled cautiously down the gravel driveway and onto the desolate street. The only noises in the car were the soft whispers of Megan and Cameron in the front seat and the

light snoring coming from my left side in the back. I sat by the window and watched the trees blur as we sped past them, hundreds at a time. The old country road curved and snaked through the trees like a twisting rope with sharp turns and telephone poles around each bend that mocked us as we drove by. In an instant I felt myself jerk as the car swerved severely and my head slammed against the window. The screaming I heard from the front of the car was brief and I couldn’t function well enough to even register what was happening. All I could feel was the sensation that one gets on a roller coaster when it is going upside down and you feel as if you’re falling out of your seat. It was an unimaginable scene and I fought to keep my eyes open. When I heard the glass shatter, I shut them and braced myself for the pain. The rolling sensation would not stop and I felt my moving space get smaller and smaller. A crushed feeling came over my right ankle and it immediately shot through my whole leg. When the airbags finally triggered, a strange dusty and electrical smoke filled my nostrils. It is a smell I will never forget. You always hear that in the scariest moments, your life will flash before your eyes, but there was not enough time for that, even though I felt as if we were moving in slow motion. When the car finally stopped, crushed against a telephone pole, we were upside down and barely suspended in the air because the roof of the car had been bent in so much. I became incredibly selfish in that moment of chaos because all I could think about was whether I was okay. I felt unbearably hot and the taste of iron was prominent in my mouth as the blood from my nose and my bitten inner cheek ran together over my tongue. At first instinct I touched my head where it hit against the window only to find my hand covered in blood. Then I looked around at the people with me and saw that the two people previously sleeping beside me were shaking their heads trying to grasp their bearings. I then worked to take off the puzzle of the safety belt that clung so tightly to me. Clumsily, I maneuvered my body through the cramped area and tried to pull myself out of the window. Slivers of glass and metal sank into my hands and arms as I dragged my body onto the hot pavement. The eerie silence unnerved me and the smoke rising from the car began to fill my eyes. As I crawled away from the car, Megan broke the silence, and panicked


voices immediately followed. The one sentence that stuck with me was, “Where’s Cameron?” Over and over I heard Megan’s quivering voice say it. I finally stood up and looked frantically for Cameron in the pitch black. The searing pain in my leg was relentless as I hobbled around the remains of the car, which now looked like a tin can beaten in and stomped on. When my eyes finally adjusted to the dark, they scanned across the street and landed on a dark mass, a limp body in the middle of the road. This couldn’t be real life, I thought. This is a nightmare. My slow walk to Cameron was the hardest I have ever taken in my life. Internally I was fighting myself about going to him because I knew what I was about to see. When I got to him, I fell to the ground and rolled his slack body over to see his face. The pain in his eyes was too much to look at and when he blinked it shot a relief through me that I never knew was possible. This relief was short lived as I saw him cringe in agony, and his tortured expression was embedded in my mind. I put my ragged hands on either side of his cut up face and started screaming at him. “WHAT ABOUT STATE, CAMERON?! DON’T YOU HAVE TO GO TO STATE?!” My body tensed up and I started whispering fervently to him about not leaving me. He was my best friend and I wasn’t going to lose him. I put my face as close to his as I could get and I feared he couldn’t hear me, but I needed him to recognize my encouraging words, at least for my sake. Within seconds Megan staggered over to the two of us and pulled Cameron’s head into her lap. I sat there in shock unable to move now. Kaitlin, who was next to me in the car, was holding her phone trying to call 911. She was doubled over and crying unable to get her words out. The gut wrenching sobs that were coming from her tore me up inside. It was blood-curdling and her uneasy breathing and uncaught breath made me cry. The hot tears that began to fall stung all of the cuts I had on my face. Looking back over at Megan, I saw her shaking and crying with blood on her lap where she was holding Cameron. His lifeless eyes stared into the night sky and I had to look away. We all sat huddled around Cameron when we heard a spark, and the car caught fire. In the unwanted light we could all see the injuries that each of us had suffered, along with the stricken looks etched into our faces.


Moments later, my eyes landed back on Cameron. Caught in an unwanted trance, my eyes traced his body, looking at his still chest. He was wearing the polo his dad had bought him on one of their golfing trips. The pink shirt turned a deep shade of red as the blood spread uncontrollably. I wanted to stop the red spread, but I knew my attempts would have no effect now. Sirens soon filled my ears with their high pitched resonance and in the emptiness of the night they echoed louder and louder enveloping us in their dreadful noise as they got closer. The blue and red lights were blinding and the yells of the paramedics shook me back to my nightmarish life. Everything started to become a blur. I answered all of the paramedics’, cops’, and firefighters’ questions and I tried my hardest to keep Cameron in sight. Like the grim reapers, dressed in all black the paramedics took Cameron away and I searched for Megan among the crowd of professionals. She was fighting to go in the same ambulance as Cameron and a cop was holding her back in a bear hug trying to calm her down. Her muffled yells and sobs were distorted and I could see the pain she was going through reaching her arms out for the ambulance taking him away from us, away from us forever. At the hospital that night I found out that a deer was standing in the road right around a bend that we were speeding through. Megan swerved to avoid it and the severe movement caused the car to flip. Days later, I sat in First Baptist Church and watched Cameron’s mother weep over the casket that separated them both. There were pictures of Cameron and all of his friends on a screen at the front of the church. The slide show depicted many memories, which will never be made again. I looked at my lap, spotted with tear stains, and started to reevaluate my life. Having my mind plagued with memories from that night, in an incident so close to death that I could taste it, I knew I needed a change. I’m thankful for my day out on the lake with Cameron, and determined in my new life resolutions. We need to live life to the fullest, and in genuine and honorable ways. Sometimes it takes unbearable sadness to make you rethink what you are doing with yourself, and to remind you that the time you have on earth can be too short.

The Things I Carry by Chelsea Johnson ~ Biloxi, MS After reading Tim O’Brien’s short story “The Things They Carried,” I realized I have not only physical possessions, but also emotional ones I carry around. I decided to record a week of my life and analyze the things I carry. Wednesday morning I wake up, hung-over. I go to my ten o’clock class, only because my teacher takes roll. I listen to the girl behind me talk about how the guy I’ve been seeing for three months is begging her to go to his fraternity formal. I carry shock and sadness. Thursday, I drop my friend off at Stewart at two o’clock in the morning, and outside the dorm I watch the same guy making out with a girl. I carry anger. Friday I drive with my girlfriends to the Square, I recognize his car pulled over by the cops. I roll down the window and yell “Hey asshole!” I carry satisfaction and laughter. Saturday morning I wake up and remember how much more fun it is to be single in college. I carry optimism.

Steven Anderson, Reckless Abandon


Slushies on a Hot Night and Comin’ to Jesus by Hunter Spragins ~ Oxford, MS Looking back on his childhood, the one thing Charlie remembers most clearly was the smell of freshly baked fish sticks coming out of the oven. He also remembers countless trips to the soccer field and baseball complex, and of course, those slushies he got after the games. Aside from food memories, he remembers sports which consumed much of his youth, as they will the rest of his life. Growing up in a small private school, he knew all of the kids in his class, and the same kids would be in his class the next year. Being in a small school gave him an opportunity to develop very close friendships, and any story he recalls during his youth will surely involve at least one of four close friends. Charlie’s social life took a drastic turn one day out on the baseball field when he was 10 years old. He was at one of the many baseball practices he had attended in his life, but this day was different. He was informed that his team had a new player and a new coach. After he took a hard foul ball to the face and his nose began bleeding profusely, he did what any normal 10-year-old boy would do; he cried his lungs out. Within seconds the new kid’s dad, his new coach, rushed over to him, grabbed him, and said, “Stop crying, this is baseball, not softball.” After serving 20 years in the Army, Mr. Ruscoe


would serve as an influence of male authority in his life. Charlie’s dad spent most of his time working hard hours. His parents took on a passive roll in his childhood development. They wanted to let him develop into the kind of person he wished, and then support him after. Mr. Ruscoe was a hardnosed, strict dad who became like a father figure to Charlie growing up. Before Charlie became best friends with his son Ben, he enjoyed playing Nintendo as much as being outside. He was on the road to a childhood of countless nights staying up playing video games. From then on, his weekends were spent at the Ruscoe’s house, having adventures on his mule that will never be forgotten. Mr. Ruscoe introduced Charlie to lots of new physical activities. Running, lifting weights, and wrestling were all instilled in him at an early age, activities he still enjoys. At the end of a baseball camp in 5th grade there was a skills competition held to showcase the best players. The competition came down to Charlie and one of his good friends. After they fielded countless groundballs and fly balls easily, the coaches had to make it harder. The balls started flying awkwardly off the bat and eventually Charlie received a bad bounce and lost. Though the coaches said there was no winner and they both received the coveted T-shirt, Charlie started crying uncontrollably. This is when he realized that he had a strong desire to compete. Though his competitor that day was one of those close friends, Charlie wanted him to lose; he would have done anything to beat him.

Charlie’s first day of public school will be a day he remembers for the rest of his life. His mom had wanted him to start hanging out with a black kid about his own age to get accustomed with African American life. On that first day hanging out with each other, someone suggested fighting as an activity they could partake in because that is what Charlie and his best friend Ben did all the time. Not real fighting with swings to the face but more like wrestling-playful, but serious enough to make it a competition. The fight did not last long. Charlie lost, and on that day realized that he could not rely on his athleticism alone if he wanted to dominate in football, basketball, baseball, and soccer, as he did in his childhood. Charlie’s parent’s separation came to no surprise to him. As long as he remembers, growing up, they were never particularly close as the other kids’ parents were. At the age of 14, Charlie was old enough to see it coming. This was the first time he realized his parents were actually normal people, just like him, with plenty of flaws. Before that moment he thought his parents always knew what was best for him. High School was primarily about football and girls for Charlie. Though he was involved with plenty of clubs, sports, and organizations, none of them seemed as important to him or had the amount of impact on him as those two. Right before Charlie’s high school graduation, after he found out that he was not going to graduate with any sort of academic honors, he attended his brother’s Steven Anderson, He Just Wants to Run

graduation from Ole Miss. While watching his big brother graduate as Marshall of the Business School, having received almost every academic award given by Ole Miss, Charlie had a revelation or what he calls a “comin’ to Jesus moment.” He did not understand how his brother could be so much smarter than he was. He suddenly remembered that they had the same genes; there was no way his brother could be smarter. Charlie had put all his work ethic to football and a social life in high school and never really studied at all. Now at Ole Miss, and with new resolution, he is using his old work ethic and his natural competitiveness that drove him as a kid, both in his schoolwork and in challenges he faces every day.


The Toad and the Squirrel by Mady-Kate Cunningham ~ Franklin, TN Near the end of the woods where a small valley met the floor of a mountainside, lay a small pond. There lived two creatures from much different backgrounds. Now, by the looks of this beautiful landscape, one would assume these two animals lived in harmony with one another, but to everyone’s surprise, this Toad and Squirrel lived in constant turmoil. Bickering back and forth constantly, these two had it out for each other, that is until The Incident. One hot summer day most of the animals within the community enjoyed gallivanting about the pond in various ways: the small birds would sing amongst themselves, the fish would prance in and out of the water, gliding about joyfully, the deer cautiously lapped up small amounts to drink while glancing around quickly for hunters. The Toad had other priorities, however. While everyone else seemed to be enjoying themselves, Toad stood watch for that rotten Squirrel. You see, Squirrel was cunning and sneaky. He was always finding ways to ruin Toad’s day and the hilarity of it made all the trouble worthwhile. Not a day passed without “ole Toad” being annoyed in some way by Squirrel. The sun was hot. Toad was anxious to dip into the pond and soak in the rays on the lily pad he had already picked out. “That’s it,” he thought, tired of the silly game. Toad took one leap and felt a cool rush from the water shock his bumpy skin. He rose to the top to find his lily pad. “Ahhh, this is more like it,” Toad thought to himself. He looked around once more looking for that pesky Squirrel, and convinced he had taken the day off from pestering him, Toad went into full relaxation mode. The afternoon grew long and Toad began to wonder what Squirrel may be doing. It was unlike Squirrel to not at least show his face on a sunny day such as this. Toad leapt from his lily pad into the water once more, this time headed to the other side of the


pond where Squirrel lived. “I can’t believe I’m checking on such a pest,” Toad said. “He’s nothing more than a rat with a fluffy tail.” Toad chuckled at his own joke, but as soon as Toad was at the base of the tree which Squirrel resided, a walnut came crashing down on his head. The impact knocked him silly. Once his composure was renewed, he looked to see multiple walnuts falling from the sky. So many fell that when it was all said and done, Toad was no longer visible. Toad popped his head out from the pile of walnuts with fury. He could hear the laughter near the top of the tree. Squirrel had done it again. “You pesky rodent!” Toad yelled to the Squirrel. Suddenly, Squirrel scampered down to the bottom of the tree, still laughing at his doing. “If you’re so mad about it, Toad,” Squirrel laughed, scampering back to the top of the tree, “come on up here and get me.” Squirrel laughed hysterically knowing full well that Toad was incapable. “Why I ought to…” Toad stopped mid sentence at the sight of Squirrel’s face. His nose was keen with smell and his sight was on the pond. Toad looked over to see that all the animals had vanished. The pond was placid as if life had never existed within it. Toad turned to look to Squirrel, but he had vanished. Toad knew what was happening. A large shadow flew over him rapidly like a ghost. “Oh no!” Toad yelled. He couldn’t move due to the walnuts surrounding him. A large eagle was swooping down towards the pond, hoping for an easy snack. He landed firmly on a branch near Toad. Toad tried being as camouflaged as possible, but his green head had no chance to blend with the brown of the walnuts. What seemed to Toad like an eternity was in reality more like thirty seconds. The eagle noticed the feeble Toad lying among the walnuts. Toad screamed realizing the inevitable. The eagle quickly leaped from his perch. His wings shook the Earth like thunder. His eyes gazed into Toads fiercely as Toad prayed for his life. All hope seemed lost in that moment. Suddenly, a walnut flew from the tree behind Toad and smacked

the eagle in the beak. Throwing off his flight path, the walnut landed right in front of Toad. The eagle swooped passed him, blind from the impact of the walnut. Toad frantically looked to the trees. Squirrel and his whole extended family had gathered their walnuts and were proceeding to throw them at the eagle, laughing all the while. To Squirrel, everything was a game. Toad began quickly trying to free himself from the walnuts one by one. The eagle was infuriated, but the walnuts kept raining down on him. After a few minutes, Toad was finally able to free himself from the barrage of walnuts. He fled for the pond, but not before the eagle caught sight of him. Like a rocket, the eagle began to dive towards Toad. As Squirrel’s family rapidly threw walnuts in a panic to save Toad, Squirrel picked up the best walnut he could find and took specific aim to where he wanted to throw. Happening all in slow motion, Toad looked up at the quickly approaching eagle with terror, knowing surely he wouldn’t make it to the pond in time. As soon as poor Toad leapt for his sanctuary and the eagle’s beak was opened to devour him, one last walnut nailed the eagle in the eye, knocking him off course and allowing Toad to plummet into the still water. An eruption of cheer and applause came from the bushes and trees surrounding the pond as the eagle flew away in frustration. All the animals reappeared and came to Toad’s side. Toad pulled himself out of the water, still breathless from the exhilarating experience. Squirrel and his family had reached the ground at this point and sat patiently waiting. Toad humbly made his way towards the tree; his head staring at the ground. “Thank you,” Toad murmured purposefully low enough for no one to hear. “What was that, Toad?” Squirrel sarcastically remarked, “I couldn’t hear you.” “I said thank you, Squirrel,” Toad replied loudly. All the animals gasped. “You and your family are welcome on my side of the pond anytime for fried crickets and lily pad stew.” Squirrel’s family giggled at the idea of fried crickets. With a slight grimace and a proud chest,

Evan Fowler, Forrest Life

Squirrel extended his hand to Toad and said, “We’d love to, ole buddy.” The animals cheered and sang to peace between sworn enemies. All was well at the pond. The last remaining conflict had finally been resolved. After Toad and Squirrel shook hands, Squirrel made his way back up the tree quickly. Toad turned to greet the others with a smile and began hopping back to his lily pad which he so coveted at this point. Toad nestled into his lily and looked back to the tree where Squirrel sat quietly; Squirrel grinned and waved to Toad. With a small grimace of contentment, Toad slowly closed his eyes to rest once more, while a walnut came crashing onto his head, sinking him back into the water.


“Lipton” One act play by Patrick Haadsma ~ Tupelo, MS ACT I Scene 1

Plain office with a man sitting behind a desk and an empty chair in front of it, interview style. The man behind the desk is casually chewing on his pencil and swiveling back and forth at his computer chair. After a few seconds Lipton Brown, a frantic looking young man wearing odd clothes barges in the room. Man at the desk stands to greet him. LIPTON Well hey there, that tie looks sharp. MR. ABRAHAM (Shocked to see Lipton, stands up looking confused) Um… Well thanks… and you are? LIPTON Oh I’m Lipton Brown, but you can call me Lipton, did your secretary not tell you I was coming in? MR. ABRAHAM No.. She didn’t actually… (Picks up phone and calls in to secretary) Sue? Did you send in a Lipton…? (Strains to think of last name) LIPTON (Loudly) It’s Brown! MR. ABRAHAM (Gives Lipton the “one second” gesture with his finger, then turns around and whispers) Whatever his name is did you send him in? LIPTON (Awkwardly yells louder) Sue, it’s Brown!


MR. ABRAHAM (Whips around and gives him an angry looks and repeats the “one second” gesture. He whispers in audible words to Sue, frustrated) LIPTON (Gives a frightened, comical look at the audience in response to the angry Mr. Abraham) MR. ABRAHAM (Continues to angrily whisper, but loud enough for audience to comprehend. Walks into the next room. Both rooms are visible.) This is a Hollywood talent agency for God’s sake, what on Earth is this clown doing here? You owe him a favor? What possibly could he have done for you? LIPTON (During the preceding phone conversation Lipton is rocking back and forth in his chair, notices the Starbucks coffee cup on Mr. Abraham’s desk, confirms that Mr. Abraham isn’t returning and grabs the coffee and takes a swig.) MR. ABRAHAM (Same circumstances as before) If you ever pull this crap again you’re fired, Sue! Just because the man bred some hamsters for you doesn’t mean you get him a meeting with your boss! What? I do not care how rare they are, I want him out! LIPTON (Looks back at Mr. Abraham to make sure he’s not coming back in while he slowly reaches the coffee cup towards the desk. Lipton is so consumed in watching Mr. Abraham he accidentally lowers the cup onto a fountain pen pointed straight up in its holder. It punctures the cup and coffee starts pouring out of the bottom onto Mr. Abraham’s desk. Lipton looks back and frantically tries to seal the bottom shut with tape from Mr. Abraham’s tape dispenser. He looks around even more frantically, and then (with an idea in his head) begins to unplug his computer. He is successful, and

lowers it out of the open window by the cord. Then, quickly and silently, Lipton makes a mess of the desk, flips his chair over, and hurriedly lies down on the floor) MR. ABRAHAM (While all of the previous action is going on, Mr. Abraham continues to whisper on the phone) Just this once Sue! You owe me. What am I talking about?! I’m your boss; of course you owe me. You have put your Christmas bonus in jeopardy with this stunt, ma’am! Goodbye! (Mr. Abraham walks in just as Lipton gets to the floor) What happened here?!? LIPTON (Pretends like he’s waking up) Oh, Mr. Abraham I’m so sorry, I couldn’t stop him. MR. ABRAHAM What? What are you talking about? LIPTON The burglar, he came right through the window. I attacked him, but just as I was about to tap him out, (Demonstrates karate-like moves) He hit me with his gun. MR. ABRAHAM He had a gun? LIPTON Oh yeah, a big one too! MR. ABRAHAM What did he say? Did he say anything? LIPTON He said “Tell your boss, he hasn’t heard the last of me!” He looked like he was in the mafia. MR. ABRAHAM Well, where did my computer go? LIPTON Like I said, he came in, crashed into your desk, started to unplug your computer, and knocked me out. Oh… and he must have spilled your coffee too. MR. ABRAHAM Fikes probably sent him. He’s been trying to

Steven Anderson, Anesthesia

knock me out of the business for years. LIPTON Oh yeah I’m sure that was him. MR. ABRAHAM Well, gosh, thanks for trying to help Mr. Brown. LIPTON Please, call me Lipton. MR. ABRAHAM Well Lipton, is there anything I can do for you? I’ll get you any part you want. LIPTON I obviously want the talons. MR. ABRAHAM Talons? What? LIPTON (Looks confused) Yes, talons… MR. ABRAHAM (Pauses) Like… Bird claws? LIPTON Yes… well this is a talon agency isn’t it? MR. ABRAHAM …No… a talent agency. LIPTON Bamboozled by father fortune once again. Well have a nice day. (Casually strolls out and waves, smiling) MR. ABRAHAM (Dumbfounded, waves back, Stutters) Bye Mr. Brown! LIPTON (Out of sight, yells back) It’s Lipton!


“Women…” by Bianca Smith ~ Tylertown, MS The girl that smiles, holds her head up high when she walks by, can also be the girl who always sits in her dorm and cries, tears of pain, sniffs of “Why me?” with wet eyelids of “Make my pain go away.” To hide this sadness, she usually applies her make-up layer by layer, coat by coat, to cover the stress of horrible past thoughts that she wants to erase. Sometimes she becomes tainted, caught up in this materialistic world, and often covers her bare and broken heart in name-brand fashion in order to not seem weak, and easy, yet she knows she is. The girl who hops around from arm to arm, mattress to mattress easily fits into the stereotype of a “ho”, slut, trick, or b**ch. But oh no, my people. I am here to show you more of this girl. Here to tell you more. She is not any of these names; she is indeed an important and close comparison to the beautiful girl that walks by, the always confident, fashionable female. How are they the same? Well, I can tell you, they are both seeking love and affection. To other women I say, let’s not be so quick to judge these girls. And to the guys I say let’s not be so quick to want to screw these girls because one day a similar girl could be the one you call daughter. . .


Glenna Lusk, In a Different Light

Target by Caitlin Miclot ~ Austin, Texas I see the solid red circle surrounded by two larger circles forming an overwhelmingly large bulls-eye. My heart starts to race as the short white bus gets closer and closer. It is as if the bulls-eye is calling my name sucking me in, as my blood pressure rises, and a pang of excitement runs through my head. Oh the possibilities; I think what lies ahead of me is the most excitement I have had in a while. My alarm clock goes off as I roll my eyes and crawl out of bed thinking this is just another Sunday here at my small Indiana boarding school. First it’s church, then inspection, and eventually lunch. Every Sunday is pretty much the same, nothing really changes. Then, I hear the loud “PING” of my computer, notifying me I have received an email. I nod thinking it is just more college information, as I continue cleaning my room. By the time I read the email I notice it is marked as important and wonder why an email from the communications department is so important, as I open it up and read the following message: Caitlin, This is just a reminder that you have signed up for this weekend’s shopping trip to South Bend. Please meet outside your dorms at 2:15 p.m. Then we shall be on our way to the South Bend Plaza. Thanks and see you there!

betic list I get to the “T” section, there’s T.J.Maxx, and then… my heart starts pounding and my back starts sweating, as I see the name of the store I was praying for, it’s the “store of all stores” where “Big Deals, are better.” I see the symbol of hope that I have been waiting for, the solid red dot surrounded by two larger circles, and then my day/week/month is made. I yell for joy and jump around squeaking, scaring my roommate as I read aloud “TARGET Super Center, TARGET, TARGET!!” This immediately changes my Sunday afternoon; if not my life. I get to “attend” a shopping trip to Target, what more could a Culver Academies Student as for? To many, a simple trip to Target may be an every week occurrence, but to a student in a small boarding school stuck between two large cornfields, going to Target is like walking on water or better yet, bouncing on the clouds. Target not only has more than the local CVS, but it has that welcoming store feeling that makes or breaks a shopping experience. It is amazing what a 48 minute bus ride can lead you too, it is almost like the gates to Heaven were just opened, and I found the meaning of life in a simple Super Center with the big red bull’s eye.

What?! I think to myself. I totally forgot I signed up to go shopping; I get really excited thinking there’s so much I need, like a dress, and a new pair of sandals. I look up the South Bend Shopping Plaza online, and realize there isn’t much “clothes shopping” other than Kohl’s or Old Navy. But then I go on and read the entire list of stores–Kohl’s, Justice, Old Navy, Rue 21. As I continue reading the alpha-

Steven Anderson, Lemmings


Help Wanted by Callie Daniels ~ Jackson, MS Rose Waverly Daniels, a tall beanpole of an eleven-yearold, was very much in love with a daft Siberian Husky in the neighbors’ yard. On late afternoons, Rose would walk over to the hole under the fence in the backyard. The dog would pop his head out every time. How he doesn’t get stuck there is beyond explanation. Rose would stay there for a while, petting the dog and wishing that he could be hers instead of the cranky old Puerto Rican’s. She swore that she spied the old Puerto Rican whacking the dog with his cane while muttering intelligible words. That poor dog was going to be dinner one day! One day, as she was doing her algebra homework, she was struck by inspiration. She ran down the hall to her older sister’s room– took special care to holler at the cats that were bathing in the sunlight–and got on the computer. Recalling what she learned in computer class, she pulled up Microsoft Word and laboriously typed away. After an hour, she created a poster entitled, “HELP WANTED! ABUSED DOG!” In the center there was a picture of a Siberian Husky that she found off some dog-loving website. “Rose Waverly,” fussed Mom, “you’d better be done with your homework!” One Sunday afternoon, Rose wriggled effortlessly out of her dress, much to the dismay of her older sister who loved to see her in dresses so. She put on an old t-shirt with ill-fitting capris that she claimed were cool. Rose bolted when a knock sounded on the door, and grinned as Mom welcomed JohnMichael inside. Before the bespectacled boy could tell Rose that he had obtained the rarest Pokemon card, Rose pulled him outside and towards the hole in the fence. She wanted


her best friend to meet her best friend. The Siberian Husky popped his head out. “Awe! He is cute!” smiled John-Michael. Rose grinned in reply and leaned down to pet his head. Before she could reach him, the dog’s head disappeared. Rose’s heart dropped. Was the old Pu e rto Rican back? They heard a loud scratching noise and saw dirt flying out from the hole. “Rooooose!! What is that?” Mom stuck her head outside the door. Rose and John-Michael scattered. Mom shook her head and walked back inside, “What’s the score for the Saints game?” Rose tentatively walked back to the hole which was bigger and getting bigger. She stood there motionless, simply staring at the hole. The Siberian Husky wriggled out and was hightailing it down the backyard before Rose or John-Michael could figure it out. John-Michael pushed up his glasses and looked over at Rose. Rose stared somberly at the prancing dog that was now squatting in the front yard. The Siberian Husky is at last free! It pounced to the middle of the street. It was nearly run over. Rose and John-Michael ran after the dog, up the hill where it stopped to sniff at the road sign. It saw them running full speed at it, yelped, and darted in between them to the backyard. After a good thirty minutes of chasing, Rose and John-Michael were seething and the dog was lolly-gagging in the cul-de-sac. After running inside to gulp down Capri Sun, they ran outside and lunged at the husky. The dog darted to a nearby fence and disappeared underneath it. Rose and John-Michael stopped. Her older sister and Mom warned her about this particular fence and what lay behind it. It was a long, concrete rain gutter ruined by graffiti, empty beer bottles, and drooping chain fences. And dirty pot-heads were known to roam about in there. She looked at JohnMichael and without a word they were over the fence and

racing through the dirty puddles. They looked straight ahead too afraid to look left and right. After what seemed to be a long while of running sideways on steep concrete walls, the two kids stopped to pant and rehash their plan of rescuing the husky from its fate of being run over by cars. Thunderous barking boomed down on them. Guttural noises echoed down the concrete ditch, coming in from all sides, terrifying Rose and John-Michael. They honestly thought they were going to meet God when a noise pierced the air: “Roooooose!!” “Rose, what were you doing?” Mom asked as red-faced Rose and John-Michael stood in front of her. There had been several large dogs in the yards adjoining the concrete ditch that saw the two gangly kids as intruders. Whether there were leashes or fences was unknown, for the two had fled for home at the first bark. They animatedly tried to explain what they had been up to, but Mom had walked inside, already satisfied that Rose’s body was intact and functional. Rose and John-Michael walked around the block in the neighborhood, still hopeful that they would find the Siberian Husky before sundown. They noticed a thin figure with a dog walking towards them. After ten awkward minutes of walking towards each other, Rose noticed that the dog’s leash was a belt and the person was holding up his sagging pants. After a few more minutes, they stopped in their tracks. It was the Siberian Husky! “Oh,” said her older sister later, “so Ruth’s brother got him?” She raised her eyebrows as she went back to her book, “I didn’t know he cared

Steven Anderson, Huck, Door Back

about the dog.” Rose would have thanked him, but she did not know what his name was and didn’t think he’d appreciate being called, “Ruth’s brother.” Anyway, the dog was back where he started. Rose went back to her computer and looked at the “HELP WANTED! ABUSED DOG!” poster. She thought it was a fine masterpiece and tried to print it. The printer was out of ink. She went outside to the hole in the backyard. The Siberian Husky whined behind the fence; the hole was filled in, and there was a concrete block on top of it on the dog’s side. Rose dragged a tall porch chair over to the fence and looked into the neighbor’s yard. She saw the husky rolling around blissfully on his back. She smiled at him. She loved the moronic dog so.


A Child’s Paradise by Kelsey Faulkner ~ Caruthersville, Missouri On a gravel road in rural Caruthersville, Missouri sits a little yellow house with dark green shutters. A big yard with patches of dirt and grass surrounds the house, with tall oak trees sprouting up all over. To get to the house, there is a long gravel driveway that has a patch of concrete with an old rusty basketball goal. The backyard is home to stray animals, a swimming pool, and a massive jungle gym. At the very end of the long back yard stands a huge barn. Splinters stick out from its side, and the chipped red paint makes it look spotted. As a child, my mother always told me not to enter the barn because my dad kept his farm chemicals there. So there stood this huge mysterious space, just waiting for me to discover it. However, the most magical place on Earth lay in a big empty field behind the barn. As I pulled back the tall grass and stepped onto the dry dirt I knew something wondrous waited for me. Rocks and clumps of dirt covered the bumpy floor of the field. I walked through the tall weeds, and grass surrounded me on every side. My eyes could only see green grass, making me feel adventurous but frightened at the same time. I could only imagine my mother’s worry if she knew my whereabouts. Nevertheless I continued forward, like a piece of metal moving toward a magnet. As a curious child I took in all of my surroundings. Arrowheads protruded from the dirt, tiny bugs clung to the weeds, and the clouds moved quickly above me. My eyes opened wide as I reached the clearing, and I knew that I had found my secret hideout that would be mine forever.


The big bright clearing let the sunlight shine bright against the darkness of the field. The green from the grass put a green shade on eve rything in the open area. Although it seemed to be a mile wide through my childish eyes, it was actually only about ten feet in diameter. An old rusty fish tank sat to the right, with dried mold all over its glass. The tank held tons of sea shells, and one big pink conch shell. I tried multiple times to blow the conch shell, but I failed every time. A few dead corn stalks lined the clearing, with brown and black ears of corn holding on to the stalk by a thread. A small tree stump protruded from the ground, with a few small branches sticking out from its sides. I sat Indian-style on the stump and looked up at the sky for what seemed like hours. I played by myself until I heard my mother call for me, and as I looked back into the clearing, I knew I would make more than a few memories there. One day my cousin Hayden and I spent all day digging for treasure in the clearing, and instead we came across several old arrow heads. We just knew they came from the Indians that built the Indian mound that stood about 270 feet high, down the road from my house. The Osage tribes had roamed the area long before, and had left behind several artifacts. We gathered all of the arrow heads and tied them to sticks so we could pretend to be Indians. We danced around, making Indian noises by shouting and patting our mouths with our hands. Hayden hit my shoulder and told me to stop dancing because he had heard footsteps. We listened into the field, and we both heard the grass rustling. I quickly jumped on the stump and held out my arrow, ready to attack our intruder. Hayden scurried up next to me. I tried to act brave, but I thought the Indians had come

to get us for chanting. The wind stood still, and the clouds stopped moving. The smell of burning firewood filled the air. A piece of dead corn fell off the stalk. That is when we heard a twig snap, and sprinted out of the field like ro a d runners. The tall grass stung my arms as we whipped past it. When we made it safely behind the barn, we looked back to see my black Labrador, Grady, slowly walk out of the clearing. We fell to the ground with relief, and decided to leave the clearing alone for the day. My mother used to always tell me stories of a ghost, Mr. Alton, who haunted our house in search of his wife. Mr. Alton had built our house with his own two hands, and died on the property. Most people say ghosts will not be at peace until they find what they are looking for, and Mr. Alton was looking for his wife. I saw Mr. Alton several times by the rose bushes in the back yard. I’m pretty sure his wife planted them, but after his wife died, I never saw him again. One day we took a day trip to go shopping. Being the tomboy I was, I did not enjoy it one bit, so I made my mom promise me that I could play outside when we got home. Dusk approached quickly, but I wanted to play in the clearing before the day ended. Once I got to the clearing I grabbed a few sea shells from the fish tank and started playing with them on the stump. The time flew by, and suddenly bright stars hung above my head in the dark sky. I took in the picture perfect sky. I heard a dog barking in the distance, and an owl hoot far off in a tree. A cold wind whipped through the weeds and I got scared so I headed toward the yard. I saw a white blur by the barn and froze. Horror took over my actions, and I could not move a single part of my body. I stared Steven Anderson, Apple Shampoo

at the back porch light, which seemed like miles away. I k n ew I had to get there as quickly as possible so I began sprinting. The entire time I was running I felt like someone was watching me. I slammed the door once I got inside, and stared out the window trying to find the ghost. I still believe it was Mr. Alton trying to watch me because I was all by myself. In the clearing I could do anything and be whoever I wanted. I always felt powerful there from the day I discovered it. The clearing always helped me relax and meditate, even though small children do not have much to worry about. That clearing holds many of the childhood stories and memories that can never be taken away from me. When I was sixteen years old, I went back out to the clearing to regain that peace I had as a child. The bittersweet moment put tears to my eyes as I reached down into the even more rusted fish tank and pulled out the familiar pink conch shell. I sat on the stump and took in all the familiar scents and smells of my childhood.


The Price of Freedom by Amanda Blakely ~ Greenwood, MS Fighting for freedom In no man’s land “Rock that SAW” Is my command Fear in the eyes Of each woman and man Living each day Surrounded by sand Mud on my boots And blood on my hands The price of freedom And taking a stand


Prayer by Ann-Layton Chandler ~ Jackson, MS Kneeling by the bed I slowly bow my head I close my eyes Bottled up with cries I release my pain What can I gain? A peace in my heart He heals each part Time for bed I remember what He said The darkness is now dead A new day lies ahead

William Strouth, Oregon Pine

A River As It Flows by Trent Nichols ~ Batesville, MS How like a river does the day flow? Quickly, it goes by without your knowing Some are content to sit idly by, to marvel at its passing. Others jump in, and revel in the waves and rushing waters. I would take a middle ground. Give me a Raft and a Paddle So that I might use the day, But let it take me where it goes.

Kaitlin Bachmeyer, Our Spring is Sweet Not Fleeting