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The WA SP We Write Sins. And Tragedies.

Piece of the Month: An Accompaniment to Affliction by Lilla Orly

The American Studies Center Student Journal University of Warsaw Volume I | Fall 2016 ISSN 2450–5676


wasp /wɒsp/ AmE /wɑsp/ noun [C] 1 a black and yellow flying insect which can sting you: There’s a wasps’ nest in that old tree! 2 when translated into the language of the country where the weather is schizophrenic and where even refugees do not wish to go (see: Poland), it becomes an osa – a place where all meanings collapse: Yesterday, I spent an amazing day at OSA! (here: an abbreviation for Ośrodek Studiów Amerykańskich, English: American Studies Center)

ALEKSANDRA BARCISZEWSKA Editor–in–chief NATALIA OGÓREK ALEKSANDRA GRABOWSKA Associate editors KAMILA MARIA WYSZYŃSKA DTP Illustration: page 13 LILLA ORLY Editorial board TERESA BAKALARSKA Illustrations: pages 9, 44 MAŁGORZATA DUDO Illustrations: pages 11, 17, 22, 32, 42 PAULINA FRELEK Cover image Illustration: page 38 MARTA RAPACKA Caricatures: pages 58–60 MARTYNA WRÓBLEWSKA Illustrations: pages 15, 18, 50, 52, 54 NADIA BŁASZCZYK PR DOMINIKA KOWALSKA Liaison officer MAGDALENA KRZEMIŃSKA SEBASTIAN SZYSZKOWSKI Outside collaborators

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Forgive Us, Readers, For We Have Sinned. And We Absolutely Loved It! – Editorial Notes Aleksandra Barciszewska 5

ARTICLES A Few Remarks on the Tragedy of 11/9 Adrian Wesołowski 9 How Many Likes? Nadia Błaszczyk 10 How Are You Going to Pay for Your Sins? Marta Giers 12 The Celluloid Casket Aleksandra Grabowska 14 Guilty Pleasure Songs – Our Secret Shame Jakub Zieliński 16 The 10th Circle of Inferno Martyna Wróblewska 18

FICTION An Accompaniment to Affliction Lilla Orly 23 Little Red Riding Shapka Aleksandra Barciszewska 27 Intersections Małgorzata Dudo 33 In the Web Mateusz Boczkiewicz 37 Jesus Rules the World Dominika Kowalska 41 Hunger Teresa Bakalarska 45

POETRY Temptation Mateusz Boczkiewicz 51 Gentle Sin Mateusz Boczkiewicz 53 I Saw Her in the Park Anonymous 55

The next issue’s theme: Play Me Like One of Your French Trump(et)s We’re still recruiting! If you’re interested in writing for The Wasp, please contact us: thewaspjournal@gmail.com ASC Journals: www.facebook.com/ascribbler A SCribbler: www.ascuw.wordpress.com American Studies Center: www.asc.uw.edu.pl The WASP | Volume I | Fall 2016

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Aleksandra Barciszewska Editor–in–chief. ASC–survivor. Vampiric psychoanalyst by nature. Extracting the sexual from the mundane, rejecting reality for the sake of the very–tale of momentary satiation of the urges for creation. 4

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Forgive Us, Readers, For We Have Sinned. And We Absolutely Loved It!

After several months of silence, The Wasp is finally back. The intellectual hiatus has led us astray and we ended up in a sinful well where we, the old crew, merged our bodily fluids with the creative juices of the new staff. E pluribus unum. Out of many, The Wasp. This promiscuous and consuming act of union between the two bodies, fits perfectly into this month’s theme where we devour sins and toast with tragedies. Yet, the fresh and perky parts in chief of The Waspian body are not as pure and innocent as you might think they would be. Nadia Błaszczyk. The perkiest of them all, our PR and marketing wizardess is a medical marvel, for her favorite sin qualifies her to the next season of My 600–lb Life, but some sort of dark magic places her closer to America’s Next Top Model. Gluttony. When people spend the night in front of the bookstore waiting for the next Harry Potter novel to come out, our foodie will wait in front of McDonald’s for yet another cheeseburger. On her way home, she will either grab a pizza italiana or a barrel of whipped cream to her Starbucks coffee, and enjoy her insatiate self to the fullest. The most frightening trespassing of the common laws of decency performed by Aleksandra Grabowska, the future editor–in–chief, is her voluptuous vocal pride. She believes in the non–existent soul–healing, heart–tearing properties of her own voice ostentatiously unleashed when she belts out songs from the 80s, where her Bette Davis Eyes promise to Turn Back Time, which, hopefully, will restore the pre–karaoke time. However, hell almost exploded – just like the ears of the most unfortunate listeners of her karaoke endeavors – when it was heard that her favorite Direction is the One and only direction from which they don’t accept any newcomers. One way or another, she’s gonna getcha, getcha, getcha, getcha…

Marta Rapacka, the youngest organ in The Waspian organism is the main and Oh–So–Royal Graphic Designer. Her productivity of a little bee is astounding considering that she is also the Queen of The Sloths. She forms a nest in front of her computer, launching her most arduously cherished Supernatural habit of watching TV shows. The Arrow of her interest is pointed directly at a Doctor, Who has recognized The 100 problems Marta has. The Teen that she is, is the Wolf among her Friends that Gossip around about this sluggish yet fruitful Girl. The channel between the world of Words and the world of Power is Dominika Kowalska. Her biggest tragedy is that her utmost hobby, the act of making political banners, is as effective as buying a video game console to Stevie Wonder, for no one can read her handwriting. The deteriorating, geriatric part of the staff might be impotent, but the sinfulness is deep within them. Natalia Ogórek and her greed will hungrily absorb knowledge, food, books, paper clips, teaspoons, random men’s dirty underwear, leaves, wine corks – you name it. She will want it and she won’t share. As for myself, the lust overwhelming my heart (or some other part) leaks out, from time to time, making me chase Natalia and snatch all the underwear she patiently, if greedily, collected. This month’s issue is a delicious cross–section of all those deeds that would make St. Peter look heavily disappointed at you when your final day comes. We indulge in guilty pleasures, ponder upon selected life tragedies, extract all kinds of transgressions from everyday life, just to show that sins are fun. Otherwise, why would Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman star in a film about seven of them? As for the piece of the month, Lilla Orly will take you to church (and you’ll worship like a dog at the shrine of her lies) to play you a depraved melody that will freeze your marrow and make you carefully examine the organist of your local church next Sunday. So, we wholeheartedly invite you to dive into this month’s collection of what came out from our overflown, affirmation–anticipating, desperately–desiring, and forever–famished bodies. Bon appétit! Aleksandra Barciszewska

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ARTICLES

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Adrian Wesołowski Long–loved collaborator of ASC and doctoral student in the Department of History of <<a very respectable university>>. Trying to keep up some not–boring characteristics of his profile, he has written a poem or two. Yet, on a daily basis his tedious past social patterns recognition is interrupted only by <<a trendy sport hobby>> and passionate reading of <<fancy names of hipster writers>>. One could say <<metaphor far too sophisticated for a byline>>. 8

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A Few Remarks on the Tragedy of 11/9

The most recent tragedy liberal – or rather sane – America faced was undoubtedly the result of the presidential election. For the last year and a half presidential candidate Donald Trump had been astonishing liberals with his ridiculous statements on all the things they hold dear, his constantly changing views, and his outright lies. As well as scaring off most Republicans, Trump has distanced himself from elites of all political options. Yet, somehow it was not enough to disillusion the crowd of more than fifty million voters who elevated him to the most powerful position in the country. The refutation of political correctness is often pointed out as the crucial element of Trump’s success. Various commentators present it as a symbol for the mass’ impatience with the promises of the ruling class. Yet, some 2. The emergence of information society. analyses might prove it to be, as in a Greek drama, the The Internet, the most revolutionary tool of our times, uncanny result of greater and longer–lasting tensions. might have been an equally tragic factor in leading to Trump’s victory. For starters, it facilitated the candiOne of such long–term factors is how some modern date’s constant contact with his supporters, and furmedia phenomena have been developing for the last ther proved he is a man of the people, as much in love century. In Trump’s case, three of the major 20th cen- with social media as any one of us. But more importantly, it magnified the power of the message – the Intury inventions seem to play a special role. These are: ternet culture did not demand the sensational drivel to be properly proof–checked for it to spread, sabotaging 1. Celebrity culture. As Chris Rojek, the author of a seminal treatment on the credibility of the opponent. celebrity, would say, celebrities both represent social types and shape the common understanding of such. 3. Wealth and education gaps. In other words, they are as most of us are (or would like What made Trump invulnerable when it comes to all to be) and lead the way to who we will become. Trump of his public scandals was the combined power of his did so with millions of frustrated white men who found anti–establishment momentum and relative unimporhim a fair model of their simplest instincts, hidden tance of his personal identity. Peter Thiel’s suggestion fears, and unfulfilled dreams. He therefore became a to “take Trump seriously but not literally” was sympconvincing character promising to address these issues tomatic of how Republican voters felt about their candidate. Lower–earning and lower–educated than their while holding the office. counterparts, they treated Trump as a mouthpiece to vocalize their woes to the homogenized establishment and Democrat part of the population. So, while it was necessary for the medium to be resilient and tough, its unsavory behavior made it only seem closer to each and every one of them. Francis Scott Fitzgerald once said, “Show me a hero and I'll write you a tragedy.” With Trump, while half of America just lives through a tragedy, the hero is nowhere to be found. The other half feels as if their champion arrived, and whether it would actually be so or not, they certainly had the means, measures, and reasons to believe it. Adrian Wesołowski The WASP | Volume I | Fall 2016

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How Many Likes? Imagine. You are a 17th–century duchess, or maybe a 16th– century lord, living in Europe, being surrounded by friends from various elites and maybe the royal court. You want to play an important role in the social sphere and you try to impress people. What do you put on the walls in your manor? Beautifully painted portraits of yourself and your family. Now. Place yourself in the 21st century. You secretly want to be a significant individual in the society. You try to create your image. However, the access to the sources gives you more possibilities than in the 17th century. At some point your life might focus too much on the online content. Instead of hanging mesmerizing paintings on your living room’s walls, you click once and you post something online. There you get the attention of different people – those who you have met throughout your life, and strangers. The Internet functions as a perfect ground for our guilty pleasures. Our little sins are not that evident, because on the one hand we have the opportunity to be anonymous. Yet, on the other hand, we desire to make our presence online. What can I say? We like to follow what other people do, but we also like to be followed, to some extent even admired. And the Internet gives us a great variety of options. Online friends, online chats, sharing posts, articles, pictures, and favorite songs create our own social web. It is hard to keep in touch with all the people we have ever met in our lives. But thanks to the Internet, the relations seem easier to maintain. We can easily see what other people do, where they are, what time, and who with. But, we are also glad that they know what we are up to. Of course, each person has a different approach to such issues; nevertheless, regarding the contemporary trend of posting so much online, on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, we can draw a general picture of how people tie their lives to their Internet identity.

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Very often, we use our social media to share articles which present our radical opinions, and thanks to revealing our beliefs online, we avoid face–to–face confrontations. We comment other posts because we are not afraid of being criticized. The guilty pleasure of anonymity is present all over the Internet. Most of the forum comments are anonymous, and people love to hate while not being recognized. Maybe it has something to do with their low self–esteem? Or maybe just having a bad day pushed them to spill out all their anger? Our online guilty pleasures are kept in secret. Who would admit that they like to criticize or be admired anyway? We tend to be a little bit vain when it comes to the online world. We have the ability of shaping our online identity and deciding what to show and what to hide. Moreover, some particular social and lifestyle ideas are imposed on us online. As a consequence of a constant chase for “the perfect life” promoted on the Internet, the reality is becoming less and less relevant. We start dreaming about eating delicious food in fancy restaurants, being fit and healthy all year long, spending time in the middle of nowhere with beautiful lakes, hills, and forests around, while we forget who we are and how fabulous we are. Socially “accepted” lifestyles might have serious repercussions on our identity and self–acceptance. While on the one hand, the Internet is the source of admiration and popularity for a lot of Millennials, on the other, it can be the root of lack of self–confidence. The Internet is shaping the culture of the 21st century; it is becoming harder and harder to accept things just as they are. It is even worse in terms of acceptance of people. Unfortunately, the online world and its ideals have not that much in common with the real life.

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As a result of some specific online trends and the achievements of modern technology, some of us demonstrate their lives through rose–tinted spectacles. Taking pictures has never been so time–consuming and challenging. We filter our little masterpieces and make them look better. Good quality, nice shot, and interesting set of colors – all these features can have a great impact on the amount of likes and interest we get. Such an online activity reveals our guilty pleasure of depicting our lives not always the way they are. It also proves this little element of vanity in our minds. But we cannot blame ourselves for that. The idea of a “perfect lifestyle” presented in social media causes the transition in perception of the surrounding reality. The world seems faded and dreary… because things do not look as appealing as on the pictures we see online. Both modern technology and social media contribute to the vicious circle of the Internet. People spend hours watching youtubers, reading Facebook posts, or scrolling through Instagram feeds. Such an activity plays a crucial role in their lives and causes their low self–esteem. As a result, they start using the same media to attract the attention of other people. Filtering pictures or overthinking posts and comments symbolize our pursuit of perfection. We are rarely satisfied with what we see, so we try to improve it as much as possible. Our increasing addiction to different devices strengthens the position of the media and technology in our lives; by extension, we pay more attention to what we see online and how people perceive us. In the 21st century it is impossible not to concentrate on your image, especially online. The access to the media allows people to check who you are before you even realize that you are being watched. So, what on the one hand seems just a guilty pleasure and reveals the element of vanity in us, on the other hand, can have a great impact on our lives in terms of social position, work, or credibility. Maybe, subconsciously, we are aware that once we have started “the online game,” it is hard to find the way back. Generalizing is not fair, I know. Some of us simply choose to hide their lives from the public. Nevertheless, in my opinion, no matter how much we try to go into hiding, our ego comes into play. Perhaps, the fact that people are falling into the trap of seeking the admiration of others online suggests that in the future we will be living in the society where human existence and relations will be fully determined by the online world? Who knows, nothing is impossible… Nadia Błaszczyk

Nadia Błaszczyk Her biggest passion is travelling, so she tries to travel as much as possible. She hates to sit in one place for too long so in her spare time she plans new trips and explores new places (even if they are just around the corner). Addicted to drinking tea, even in summer. Her favorite piece of clothing is a smile. The WASP | Volume I | Fall 2016

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How Are You Going to Pay for Your Sins? Is it easy to write about sins? Only if you don’t treat them seriously. But if you do believe they affect your life somehow, you stop seeing them as irrelevant and you receive an extra dimension of understanding of what life is composed of. You cannot arrive at this understanding, clearly, if you neglect the very existence of a sin. That’s why I’d like to ask you to, at least for a moment, believe that sin is not only a term. I’d like you to believe it is real and it has an impact on your whole life. Sound creepy? Good. We all know the biblical story of Adam and Eve and the way they brought sin into the world. Sin appeared because of human disobedience towards God’s commandment. And with the committing of the sin, the penalty for it came into existence. In the Old Testament, in the book of Genesis, God warned Adam that if he ate the fruit, he would have to die (Genesis 2:17). When we go to the Hebrew translation of the abovementioned chapter, we can learn that the phrase “you shall [surely] die,” directly translated, would mean “dying you shall die,” (Mortenson, 2007) which would therefore indicate that God did not necessarily mean the physical death as much as the spiritual one. Moreover, God marks that Adam shall die “in the day that [he] eat[s] of it” (Genesis 2:17) – so He says that Adam’s death will occur instantly after committing the sin. That’s why, according to the Bible, if a person has already sinned, he or she is dead – they’re no longer alive. Why? Because sin separates them from God’s love and grace; they cannot live without access to love.

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Also, with the story of Adam and Eve it is easy to understand what sin actually meant to God. If we take into consideration that, for God, the amount of man’s love towards Him could be measured only by the amount of trust man puts in Him, we may realize that it was not that much of forbidding God wanted to establish, but the trust (and, therefore, love) He wanted to receive from a person. God wants Adam to learn that even though he doesn't understand everything, he doesn't know why exactly he shouldn't eat the fruit – he’d like to rely on God, because God knows and sees more, and longs only for the best for Adam. That’s the way of thinking God wants to awaken in men. Just look at the way God tells Adam not to eat the fruit – He doesn’t explain too long, He doesn’t scare Adam by saying it’s going to have serious consequences; He gives the commandment and leaves Adam with free choice. The only thing that becomes important here is whether Adam is going to trust God and keep this commandment. We know Adam didn’t. And we also know that it didn’t end well for him or for the whole human race. St. Paul teaches in Letter to the Romans that “the wages of sin is death,” (Romans 6:23) so even hundreds of years later, the price for sin had not changed. Sin needs to be paid for with death. However, the same Bible “comforts” us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Fortunately, God was well aware. He knew humans were going to stop trusting in Him at some point in time, or that they were not going to always follow Him. He was aware also that without this trust, a human being would become weaker, and could be easily deceived by the enemy who would lead people into sin. And sin was detrimental. It enslaved, led people to horrible deeds, took the joy of life away, but mainly, it destroyed the relationship between man and God. Because you cannot have a deep relationship with someone whom you don’t trust.

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Being aware of all that, we learn from the Bible that God sent His beloved Son to pay the debt for each and every human being; he was to die a humiliating and painful death so that a human could be released from it. Not only did the sacrifice of Jesus guarantee eternal life, but it also gave abundant life on Earth (John 10:10), and became the renewed connection to God. The only thing a human had to do was to accept this gift and to believe. I do realize that you may read my words and doubt whether what I’m writing isn’t some theological trash you don’t even want to hear about. That’s why I’d like to share my story with you. There was a time in my life when I didn’t know God and I didn’t understand why He could be right about so much stuff I was struggling with. I chose to trust the wrong people and, after some time, I started to realize it didn’t affect my life in a positive way. That was why I started to cry out to God. I somehow knew I needed His help, because by myself I was too weak to end bad habits or relationships. I wanted something to change… For the better. I was searching for answers in different places, and finally found Jesus. My life has been transformed completely since then. I know what it means to trust in God, and how much quality life receives after that. It’s not always perfect – I’m still just a human and I make a lot of mistakes. But that’s OK because now I have God by my side. I am aware that what I’m writing about is not easy. Hell, it may even sound crazy! Plus, it makes sense only when you have faith. But if you did… If you did believe sin is something you will have to pay for, would you at least want to find out how? And if there’s something that makes more sense than the sacrifice of Jesus, how are you going to pay for your sin? Marta Giers

Bibliography: Bible Gateway. Retrieved from: https://www.biblegateway.com/ Mortenson, T. (May 2, 2007) Genesis 2:17—“You Shall Surely Die.” Answers in Genesis. Retrieved from: https://answersingenesis.org/ death–before–sin/genesis–2–17–you–shall–surely–die/

Marta Giers MA student of American Studies Center, very much interested in human sexuality. She got her BA in English Philology at University of Białystok. In her free time she enjoys travelling, meeting friends, and dancing (especially hip–hop and dancehall). She is also a chess coach for children. The WASP | Volume I | Fall 2016

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The Celluloid Casket Last year we heard that the Oscars are too white, but as we may ascertain based on the available data, they are also too straight. And if, by accident, an LGBT character appears, watch the movie closely – your hero may die sooner that you would expect. The underrepresentation of non–heterosexual characters becomes a minor problem in comparison to their death rate. James Rawson in an article in the Guardian lists: “56.5% of Academy Award–nominated portrayals of LGBT characters die and of the 10 LGBT characters who live, only 4 get happy endings. That's 4 characters in 19 years.” In mainstream TV shows lesbians and bisexual women are killed so often that we may find online shrines dedicated to dead lesbian characters who have become a trope themselves. American TV and Hollywood never stopped their subconscious obedience to the Hays Motion Picture Production Code, which states that: “immoral acts,” must be never rewarded. Looking at present, mainstream American cinematography and TV, basically any deviance from heterosexuality will sooner or later result in suicide, homicide, or AIDS. The sin must be punished. This year marks 40 years since the American Episcopal Church announcement claiming that, “Homosexual persons are children of God.” Nevertheless, screenwriters have their own opinion of the issue and we still witness a striking number of deaths of LGBT characters. That pattern is at least thought–provoking. Queers must die and quoting our good old friend, Jack Twist from Brokeback Mountain: “You know, old friend, this is a goddamn bitch of an unsatisfactory situation.” I’VE BEEN A BAD, BAD BOY, FATHER Considering the old (and not that good for gays) Puritan times we discuss the sin of sodomy1 (anal sex). The law described homosexual intercourse as, “…a vile affection, whereby men given up thereto leave the natural use of woman and burn in their lusts one toward another, and so men with men work that which is unseemly.” The First General Assembly of Providence Colony (aka Rhode Island) forbade sodomy throughout the entire colony and in the whole of New England (1647). The penalty was death and, what is most interesting, laws did not mention sexual activity between women. Incidents began as soon as the settlement did: the first recorded case of sodomy was in 1629, and the first trial in 1636. As time goes by, sodomy is still a crime, but is no longer punished by death. Thomas Jefferson proposed to punish sex between men by castration, and between women by, “… boring through the cartilage of her nose a hole of one half inch in diameter at the least.” Before 1962, sodomy was a felony in every state, and the Hays Code demanded all “immoral acts” to be followed by punishment. In other words: a sin should never be rewarded.

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THE BOYS IN THE BAND (AND IN A CASKET) The Stonewall riots of 1969 mark the change in the attitude toward the LGBT community, and from that moment, Hollywood looked at it as a potential consumer group. Keeping in mind the American Psychiatric Association would have homosexuality on its list of mental illnesses for another 4 years, and that the Hays Code would run until 1968, it’s not hard to understand the fate of queer characters in movies. James Rawson writes, “Whether it's suicide, AIDS [or] being beaten to death, state execution, getting shot, or getting raped and then shot, LGBT characters are just not allowed the happy endings that their straight counterparts enjoy.” The milestone Boys in the Band character explains this pattern clearly by saying: “It's not always the way it is in plays. Not all faggots bump themselves off at the end of the story!” Throughout the 1970s, homosexuality was pictured as an insult or a joke. In the next decade, acceptance grew but, ultimately, crashed with the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The issue was fertile land for the next pattern used in screenplays (that would stay for many years to follow) assuming that if one is gay, then he must have AIDS. That idea contributed to the overkill of gay men and apotheosis in 1993: the Academy Award went to Philadelphia and the beloved Tom Hanks puts a human face to America's gay community. But guess why did his character die? Vito Russo in the afterword to his book, Celluloid Closet, wrote, “…gay visibility has never really been an issue in the movies. Gays have always been visible. It's how they have been visible that has remained offensive for almost a century.” Queer Cinema since the 1990s has produced independent movies on the community’s issues but independent cinema focused on a certain audience (and also produced by community’s members) has nothing to do with the mainstream. Portrayals of underrepresented groups are important, but a portrayal itself is not a victory.

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1 “In the account of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19, a large group of men sought to gang rape two angels who had taken the form of men. The reasonable presumption is that the men of Sodom wanted to have forcible anal sex with the angels. The men’s homosexual lust is obvious, but again, anal sex is not mentioned in the passage. The words sodomy and sodomize come from this biblical account. Sodomy is, literally, ‘the sin of Sodom’" – explains Got Questions Ministries (2016).


Hollywood and big broadcast companies are targeted on profit. The TV show industry’s response is to cater to the expectation of the audience. Looking at the available data, the answer is simple: audience wants queers dead (even if only subconsciously). A lot of gay characters almost die from being assaulted (Glee, Degrassi, Queer as Folk) or attempting suicide (Glee, Downton Abbey). According to a recent GLAAD report, gay men outnumber women on television, but it’s actually women that are killed the point that the term “Dead Lesbian Syndrome” was carved. On American TV between 1976 and 2016, one out of four lesbian characters died. Liron Cohen explains the origins of the dead queer trope: “Homophobic writers used to do it in the name of restoring social order, or as punishment for a sinful lifestyle. Then they did it to teach a homophobic society a lesson, to show them how miserable gay lives are and make them feel bad about it.” Nowadays, the explanation of gay deaths has shifted from punishment towards Too Good for This Sinful Earth trope. But no matter what is the reason, they die anyway. According to GLAAD, LGBT characters, in the biggest proportion, are background characters. Their portrayals close in a few scenes: producers do not put any effort in going beyond the character’s sexuality. They just appear and (very often) die. That is all. Heterosexual culture finds gays most compelling when they’re dead or dying.

QUEER LIVES MATTER Mainstream cinema and TV screenplays are like a mirror that reflects audience’s desires. The media consistently show that most queer people do not end up happy – they end up dead. Hollywood and TV are nowadays one of the most powerful tools of education. The real question is what LGBT youth sees on the screen and how do those portrayals influence them, their fears, and doubts. What they currently see is that they will not marry the person of their dreams and will not grow old together. Actually, they won’t get old at all: they will die young. As Virginia DeBolt said: “Taking the route of killing off yet another gay character teaches us that gay people are expendable and not worth keeping around. It’s a plot device that needs to be examined by every creative person who writes for TV, film or any other medium. It matters how LGBT characters are handled in the media. Representation matters.” Aleksandra Grabowska

Aleksandra Grabowska If she was not an ASC student, she would be in a morgue. As a child she wanted to be a pathologist and a writer. She loves glitter, Clark Gable, and Virginia Wool’s novels. In life she follows Oscar Wild’s advice: “you can never be overdressed or overeducated.” Bibliography: Lee, A. (Director). (2015). Brokeback Mountain [Motion picture]. Cohen, L. (2016). Lesbian Lives Matter. Retrieved from https://ladypartstv.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/lesbian–lives–matter/ DeBolt, V. (2015). Another Dead Lesbian and the Question of Representation – Old Ain't Dead. Retrieved November 07, 2016, from http://www.denofgeek.com/us/tv/the–100/255121/no–happy–endings–lesbian–and–%20–%20characters–on–tv No Happy Endings: Lesbian and Bisexual Characters on TV. (2016). Retrieved November 07, 2016, from http://www. denofgeek.com/us/tv/the–100/255121/no–happy–endings–lesbian–and–%20–%20characters–on–tv Rawson, J. (2013). Why are gay characters at the top of Hollywood's kill list? Retrieved November 07, 2016. Russo, V. (1987). The celluloid closet: Homosexuality in the movies. New York: Harper & Row. Friedkin, W. (Director). (1970). The Boys in the Band [Motion picture]. Where We Are on TV. (2016). The WASP | Volume I | Fall 2016

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Guilty Pleasure Songs – Our Secret Shame Whether we want it or not, there are those songs that we simply cannot afford not to listen to, and when they are considered shameful, it is even more difficult to talk about them. Despite the fact that existence of what is called “guilty pleasure songs” is questionable, we all have that secret shame in our lives. If you like listening to something, you are free to do it, and there is no need to be ashamed of it. Although, when you are a passionate rock–listener or a rap–listener and you have that one song on your playlist that ruins everything, you are a serious sinner, and to make matters worse, it is impossible to absolve yourself from these sins. People will not forgive you, even though their playlist might be full of the same kind of songs, they wouldn’t dare to admit it for the world. That is the reason why we are all sinners when it comes to our guilty pleasure songs. The best time for guilty pleasure songs to get into heads is summer for sure. The time of instant sunshine, heat wave, and of course… partying. There is no better time to get obsessed with summer hits which bombard you in every possible way. You hear them on the radio, at parties, in shops, and no power is able to stop these catchy sounds from overtaking your mind. Without a doubt, there is no single person that will not hum the following songs while reading their titles. One of them is “Party Rock Anthem.” I am sure you remember these two guys, one with the big afro and the other one with long curly hair. LMFAO’s no.1 song took the world by storm in summer 2011. Guilty pleasure songs are more often than not dance songs and that is just what we’ve got here. In the music video, Redfoo and SkyBlu are forced to dance to the beat because of the zombie–dancers invasion, but after all… they like it. Well, this is exactly what happens to people when this song is played at a party, you simply cannot help it but get on the dance floor.

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The same kind of effect is produced by the 2012 summer hit “Gangnam Style.” It was written in Korean language, but not surprisingly, everyone knows the lyrics. Or at least they are very close. The song and the music video are both so weird that you simply do not know what to think about it. Although, when you see the PSY’s dance moves, you just feel the need to do it yourself. This kind of guilty pleasure songs will rock every party. Other shamefully beloved songs are old but gold classics. We know them since forever, as many of them were released a long before we were born. Nonetheless, those songs make us smile all day long regardless of our mood. Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” is the perfect example of that. When the music starts playing, you just know what is going to happen. The lyrics describe a relationship between the song and the listeners in the best possible way. “They know each other for so long, their hearts have been aching but they are too shy to say it.” You can be certain about nothing in this world but that Rick Astley will never give you up and never let you down.

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What about our ASC students’ secret shames? Much has been said about the first of them, Justin Bieber. You can either love him, or hate him, but it is unquestionable that he became a worldwide superstar. He came a long way, from a young kid with a funny name, a characteristic long fringe, and a shrill voice, to a mature artist attracting more and more attention from the adult public. Despite transitioning from a teenager to a man, the dark clouds of his past still surround him. As a result, he became a “guilty pleasure” for a lot of people. If you enjoy listening to Bieber’s music, you surely experience the issue yourself. In spite of the success of his newest hits such as “Love Yourself” or “Sorry” that have topped chart lists, he is still recognized by his old (but certainly not gold) songs, “Baby” for instance. These circumstances forced his listeners to go underground. They hide and wait for better days to come. The days when listening to Justin Bieber will not be shameful at all. Although, the same cannot be said about our secret fans of Britney Spears. She might have survived 2007, but her listeners certainly would not survive sharing their hidden love for her with people. Once considered the Princess of Pop, today she is seeking a chance to return on the throne. Nevertheless, some of her biggest hits such as “Toxic” or “…Baby One More Time” were very successful and even today, after almost 20 years, they are still enjoyable to listen. All in all, nobody remains with a clear conscience about guilty pleasures, even while speaking about music. You may disagree with the issue, but you cannot deny being ashamed of something that you constantly do. So, the next time someone shares with you their secret shame, do not laugh. Instead of that, think about yourself. We are all sinners after all… Jakub Zieliński

Jakub Zieliński 1st year student of ASC with a deep passion for music. He has never learned to play any instrument, but strongly hopes to change it in the future. Apart from his love to sounds, he’s pretty much into movies, TV series, and English football. The WASP | Volume I | Fall 2016

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The 10th Circle of Inferno The Italian medieval poet Dante Alighieri in his “Divine Comedy” has divided the Inferno into nine Circles. Each of them was dedicated to another kind of people – from unchristened, through lazy (yes, we are all lost), to traitors. Probably, if it were up to Anna Wintour, editor–in–chief of American Vogue and the most powerful woman in the fashion business, there would be a tenth circle indicated only for fashion sinners. There is no other society as tolerant as fashion people. You can look just the way you want to, the way you feel, and wear whatever your twisted mind tells you that you ought to. And that’s totally ok! After all, “when you don’t dress like everybody else, you don’t have to think like everybody else” (Samotin, 2016). However, no matter how liberal the fashion world may be, there are some rules. They say the forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest, but no matter how strong the rebel in you is, don’t wear the following several things. Just don't. Unless you want to Logos. “Fashion is not necessarily about labels. It’s not commit a deadly sin. bout brands. It’s about something else that comes from First place goes to accentuating too many body parts. within you” (Samotin, 2016). You can look stunning in a Normcore displaced pervasive half–naked people, but second–hand outfit and tacky in Louis Vuitton. Logos they are still often seen on the streets. It's not just about yelling from every piece of your set won't make it look that it looks, well, vulgar. You surely know the rule of more luxury, rather tawdry. One day I saw a lady in a genunderstatements: they are much more appealing. Thus, uinely lovely outfit. There was only one ‘but’ – she had a if you want to make an impression, show just one part huge Moschino logo literally everywhere – on her bag, of your body. The same goes for loose and tight clothes. top, jacket, even shoes. 100 points down. Keep the balance! Sloppy clothes. This is the key to a good look – always Let him cast the first stone, who doesn't get upset when be clean and neat, have your clothes ironed and fresh. having to buy pants of a bigger size. We all want to wear Worn, dirty shoes, “it was white… once” top, or messy size 34 and look as hot as Victoria’s Secret Angels or Ab- and unwashed hair can ruin even the best styling. Take ercrombie & Fitch models. Unfortunately, wearing small care of details, because the devil is in the detail. They can clothes, when you feel like they’re going to explode in a make your outfit, but also mar it. sec, will not bring you closer to this goal. There’s nothing worse than seeing someone in a top that’s too short (not Fashion victim. Fashion is not about wearing all the including crop tops) or jeans that are too tight. Believe trends at once. Just because patterns, sequins, XXL jewme. This also concerns clothes that are too big – ‘oversize’ elry, knee boots, and metallic accessories are on top, is super comfy and can cover a lot of flaws, but let's face doesn’t mean you have to use it all in your outfit. Less it, not every huge hoodie is oversized. All sizes are beau- is more. It is better to pick one strong point and let the rest be a nice background. Stay dressed, not dressed–up. tiful, they just gotta be well–suited! Fashion is something that highlights our personality, without the need to speak. There’s nothing like boundaries; experiments are welcome and so is having fun creating our image. Yet some rules are not made to be broken, they let you dodge a faux–pas. Sometimes it is good to remember that fine feathers make fine birds. Martyna Wróblewska

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Martyna Wróblewska 1st year BA student at the ASC. Fashion, design, and architecture lover. Fascinated by Californian lifestyle, Scandinavian minimalism, and French nonchalance. One day will spend every day surfing and longboarding, even though she can do neither of those. Almost always smiling, but combative when it comes to minority rights. When you can’t find her she’s probably lying in bed with a huge cup of coffee and watching favorite TV series. Bibliography: Samotin, P. (March 20, 2016). The 101 Best Fashion Quotes of All Time. Style Caster. Retrived from http://stylecaster.com/fashion–quotes Wang, C. (April 2, 2014). 7 Fashion Mistakes You'll Regret Forever. Refinery 29. Retrieved from http://www.refinery29.com/fashion–mistakes Waterhouse, K. (August 15, 2016). The 5 Fashion Sins I Always Avoid. Kate Waterhouse. Retrieved from http://katewaterhouse.com/5–fashion–sins–always–avoid The WASP | Volume I | Fall 2016

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FICTION

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Piece of the month

Lilla Orly BA student at the ASC who finds catharsis in drumming. Dabbles in music production when not scribbling nonsense furiously into notebooks, on pavement or wallsâ&#x20AC;Ś any surface where writing is possible. 22

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An Accompaniment to Affliction

Edmund Vanguard’s spread fingers slammed down onto the ivory keys of the church’s grand organ. His carefully constructed chords reverberated across the sacred walls and high, holy ceilings of the building. At the organist’s touch, sounds of calamity crashed upon the crowd gathered below. Each bowed head sat atop a body dressed in black to honor the dead that lay rigid within the coffin before them. A man had died. His life had ended when he put a pistol to his temple, the barrel of which was still smoldering from the bullets inserted into his wife and son’s skulls. He pulled the trigger to create a horrific, gaping wormhole into his own mind; what would become the mark of the family. Prior to the murderous event, the man was no unloved outcast of the small town community. Though all, without exception, attended each fundraiser, spectacle, and most importantly, every mass, this man contributed the most. A likeable character; at times, superfluous in demeanor and charity, but always recognized as a sacred and sane member of the residence. When will the world wake up? Vanguard thought to himself, The well–loved sociopath trope is wrung out like a bloody towel in every damn book and movie adaptation of that shitty book. Life is no exception. He slowly bobbed his head topped with white wisps of hair, counting the measures and pressing down onto the pedals of the organ. Today’s accompaniment to the priest’s prayers was significant. Vanguard had been writing his organ opus for years. Occasionally, he would play blurbs of his maniacally scrawled masterpiece at weddings or preluding Sunday morning services, each time shifting the major and minor chords as was appropriate. Other times, he would scratch out certain cacophonous bars entirely before playing them to his always–ungrateful audience. Today, however was different; his piece was complete. And no better mood matched, he felt, than that of the funeral of a murderer. Though Vanguard was a cynic, he had the town’s congregation to thank for the piece he was now playing. He had learned long ago that it was never the divine spirit, but rather the diabolical, that gave rise to true art. The melancholy notes had poured out of him as tidal waves of inspiration were brought his way by the current of the confessional. While gossip had always, naturally, been a hereditary disease within the community, it was the truly dark divulgences that Vanguard believed he had been blessed to witness. The first transgressor to spark the melody that became the overture of the piece was Mrs. Quentin. Today, the woman sat, hands tucked neatly into her lap, theatrical tear tumbling down her cheek. Mrs. Quentin, though never prosecuted in her life, was guilty of committing the crime of neglect. The woman had two children, a son and a daughter, “The perfect nuclear family!” she would boast at the various book clubs and bake sales she attended to keep up appearances. The woman strenuously took any action to put on the facade of a wholesome, well–rounded family. Their house was always immaculate, all the rooms drowning in the decor of some other decade. The great dining room window faced the street so that every night, without fail, the family could be seen seated at the table overflowing with delectable dishes and desserts of every kind. Whenever attending a community event, the family would be dressed in one color palette with Mrs. Quentin always making sure that the smiles plastered across the faces of her husband and children never faltered. The WASP | Volume I | Fall 2016

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Unsettling, recalled Vanguard. As the children grew, it was only apparent to the attentive that something was amiss within the model household. Mrs. Quentin’s daughter, Rosemary, had always been academically ambitious –– much to the exasperation of her mother who felt that a woman should show humility in her intelligence. She hampered the young girl in every way, going so far as to sabotage the girl’s studies. Rosemary, now a grown woman, had accomplished little. Rosemary’s brother, Paul, had long since fled the town when his preference in romantic partners was heavily criticized by his mother. Running away at the age of fourteen with a man twice his age, the boy was never seen again. Mr. Quentin had had a chronic illness, the ins–and–outs of which no one was certain as Mrs. Quentin ensured they were never disclosed. When her husband reached a truly devastating state, she checked him into the hospital the next town over. One evening many years ago, she sat down meekly in the confession booth to admit she had been losing faith. “I just don’t understand!” the woman sniffled melodramatically into her handkerchief, “Why must the Lord curse me with an insufferable daughter, a sexually unhinged son and, now, a nauseatingly sick husband? I have done nothing but sacrifice!” The following week her husband’s obituary was tucked neatly into the corner of the town newspaper announcing his, “sudden, but peaceful” passing. Cruel, ignorant woman, Vanguard thought to himself. The second sinner was a man by the name of Walter Cross who lived a life led by pride. Now, a man in his forties, Walter was the ex–chair of a successful enterprise that had allowed him to travel across the globe. He had returned to this quaint town upon his early retirement. In his first endeavors, Walter was accompanied by his good friend, Jacob Small. The two were headstrong business graduates, hell–bent on making huge profit and leaving their humble beginnings behind. They worked on a multitude of projects, convinced at the conception of each that it would be the one to launch them into the corporate world. After several years, their efforts had been noticed by an executive looking for fresh–headed, yet savvy entrepreneurs. The pair left their hometown at the chance. A few years later, Jacob Small returned alone. Though he never spoke about what had occurred outside of the safety of their community, most assumed that Walter’s pragmatism and charm had won over the board of executives, leaving Jacob in Walter’s proverbial dust. Upon his return to the town, most looked at him with pity. Becoming a bit of an unpredictable alcoholic, Jacob took to selling cosmetics door– to–door in a strange, nostalgic echo of his ‘booming business’ days. “Here comes Jaundice Jacob,” the kids playing along the block would whisper, seeing him stroll somberly down the sidewalk, cosmetic kit in hand. One particularly thunderous night, the front doors of the church were thrown open, slamming against the walls and shaking the whole holy house. Jacob Small, drunk and illuminated from behind like a mad scientist in a five–cent film, entered, stumbling into the confessional. “He’s the monster,” Jacob slurred in a stupor, “it wasn’t about the money anymore! I just wanted the money…” Broken to tears with intermittent hiccups, Jacob went on to list the facts of his final business venture with Walter. The two had uncovered that the truly worthwhile dollars could be made in the underground ring of niche–gambling: obscure bets placed on even more bizarre odds in the basements of hospitals and libraries. But none were more popular or attended with the most fervor than fighting circuits. While many involved battles fought by willing, though unexpected participants (Jacob explained the largest of these leagues were aggressive, elderly women), most ‘opponents’ were animals. Walter’s favored fighters were chimpanzees due to their impish–yet–humanlike style of assault. He convinced Jacob to invest everything they had into breeding houses where the chimps were caged and drugged with amphetamines, only to be released immediately before a duel in order to be at their most threatening. Jacob, filled to the brim with disgust after some time, fled Walter’s lunacy.

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After leaving the confession booth that stormy night, Jacob had hung himself. And here sat Walter Cross himself, attending the funeral of a killer, when he hadn’t even attended Jacob’s. He must have been in denial, though the guilt of his friend’s death oozed from the pores on his face. Sick bastard, Vanguard commented, eyeing Cross from above. Nevertheless, the most considerable inspiration for Vanguard’s work, the melody that led the harmonies and drove the tempo of the piece, was Linda Bauchman. Linda had committed what Vanguard believed to be the worst sin, not due to its inherent evil, but rather to its tedious redundancy. Linda had been the mistress of the man lying in the coffin positioned directly below the organ (Vanguard felt that the inimitable charge of Death gave a particularly ominous volume to his masterpiece). Both Linda and the murderer had been adulterers to the worst degree. Each had their own adoring families with loyal spouses and golden retrievers. The cheaters met several times a month in sleazy motels just off freeway exits and did role– play in the dive bars next door. ‘Never–ending work’ was their well–worn excuse of choice. All of their cliché decisions and their subsequent actions had led to a beautiful massacre and ultimately, this grotesque gathering. Linda had sauntered straight into the confession booth with mascara smeared across her face on the brisk night before the murder. High off of the rage only possible from an altercation with a lover, she revealed every dirty fact of her debauchery. Presently, seated in the back pew, Linda’s face was stone–cold, the only hint of emotion was an arched eyebrow over her vacant gaze. But, perhaps, the greatest sinner of all in attendance, was Vanguard himself –– though he would object that, ‘sinner’ was too mild a word. He smiled as he turned to look upon the bleak faces below him, recalling the part his own hand had played in the immorality of others. He had orchestrated not only the perfect accompaniment to affliction, but the source, the plight of the misery itself. It was he who had sat on the other side of the densely shaded screen separating sinner from holy man on those countless occasions of desperate late–night confessions. Numerous townsfolk had whined and cried out their deepest, darkest demons to none other than the congregation’s organist. Through the grimacing mask of a shadowed preacher, Vanguard had granted each evildoer mercy as long as they performed certain tasks. Meanwhile, he took the power of these immoral proclamations to lift his pen and press the ink to paper in the form of quarter notes and rests. But no one, No, no one, Vanguard chuckled to himself, had been such merciless musings quite like the three sinners at the core of his piece who had eaten up every single one of his words and spat them out onto their pitiful lives. He had proposed that Mrs. Quentin spare herself sorrow and money by taking her husband off life–support. He had hinted to Jacob Smalls that being an onlooker to diabolism saved him no safe spot in heaven. Finally, it was he, Edmund Vanguard, who had suggested to Linda Bauchman that honesty was the best policy and she simply must inform the wife of her lover that the man had been frivolous with his fucking. We are gathered here today… Vanguard mused to himself striking the notes signaling the finale of his piece. As the congregation filed out the front doors of the church Vanguard stood at the bannister of the balcony. The black mass trickled out into the cold air, matching the hearts of many within the throng. Murderers of many methods were in attendance tonight, thought Vanguard, it only rarely is the pistol responsible for the death of another. Observing the blind shuffle below him, Vanguard scratched his pen once more across the head of his opus. When he pulled his hand away from the page, there, in vicious scrawl was the title of the piece: Tragedy. Lilla Orly

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Aleksandra Barciszewska Editor–in–chief. ASC–survivor. Vampiric psychoanalyst by nature. Extracting the sexual from the mundane, rejecting reality for the sake of the very–tale of momentary satiation of the urges for creation. 26

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Little Red Riding Shapka or: A Tale of The Wolf Who Fancied Sheep’s Lingerie

*** “There is nothing tragic about your situation,” you keep telling yourself. You whisper yourself into thinking in silent cries, measured by flaps of vowels choking you until it’s too futile to think of air. Shapka put her shivering palm on a wall of flesh surrounding her within, her outside, her never, her from–time–to–time. The pulsating and warming surface reminded her of this one–and–a–half time when she dreamed of a land, where people’s hands conveyed more truth, more intimacy, more understanding than their owners themselves. Where fingerprints were a map of one’s unspeakable longings. Yes – she finally grasped the idea of what it means to be safely awaiting for the birth to come. No – being born would be the logical and natural consequence of the state she was in, but birth was nothing in comparison with what was to come. Up to this moment, she didn’t belong to her life anyway. It was merely an abstract notion of possibilities from which she was banned. When the particles of her present meshed with those foreign, still, molecules of the all–comprehending entity that had claimed her, she finally felt like she was home. ***

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“There’s nothing tragic about your situation. Stop being such a drama queen. Someone has to go get your grandma some meds and food. You want her to starve to death?” Trick question? “No, mom, of course not,” said Little Red Riding Shapka. “I just don’t get it why we can’t buy it online and have it delivered to her, that’s all.” “Stop complaining. Think of it as yet another endless walk through the woods you enjoy so much. Get dressed and off you go.” Indeed, off she went, cursing every corner in the house she saw on her way, mentally spitting on each poster with a baby dressed as a flower and other kitschy images her sadistic mother found suiting to burn visitors’ eyes out, putting a spell of immediate annihilation on everything she’d ever seen, touched, thought of. Not that it mattered, because she had absolutely no magic power. You see, Shapka was nothing out of the ordinary: just a small town girl, living in a lonely world. Yet she never took that midnight train going anywhere that Journey sang about, simply because, for her, getting on a train was more frightening than getting off. Her world indeed was a lonely one, filled with flower–looking babies on the walls, and baby–looking flowers in flower–looking flower arrangements. Even if Shapka complained about her family arrangement in this female ménage–à–trois, she loved her mother and grandmother more than she could admit. It was a mutual, ‘sort–of–admiration society,’ since they also kind of agreed between themselves on loving Shapka, although the word ‘love’ was rarely exchanged. They preferred exchanging gifts; that’s actually how Shapka became Shapka. Many moons ago, (not–yet–)Shapka’s grandpa killed a rabbit and its fur played a bigger part in the name–giving ritual than The Majestic Book of Baby Names and None Will Embarrass Your Child To Death, purchased by Shapka’s mom on EBay for $49.99. So, grandpa. Grandpa used to be a decent citizen and a loving, if somewhat boring and immature, husband. When he was around sixty, he fell completely batshit crazy in love with a rabbit; a rabbit, that kept on knocking on grandpa’s window just to say ‘Hi’ to him whenever he and grandma were playing hide and seek, ruining his grandpa’s hiding place. At first, The Rabbit infuriated both grandma and grandpa, yet, its constant presence made grandpa hop deeply in love with it, so grandma got really jealous. Batshit jealous. You see, once, mom told Shapka that grandma told her that grandpa used to cry in his sleep and call out for The Rabbit, pulling grandma’s hair as if it was Rabbit’s ears he wished to grab tightly. Politely, though with a tone that awaited only one answer, he even asked grandma to dress like a rabbit and hop around the house while knocking on table legs, grandpa’s legs, wine bottles, brooms, and some other miscellaneous, yet interestingly only phallic–shaped, objects near grandpa. One day, grandma gave grandpa an ultimatum. So he went hunting, and that’s how The Rabbit’s love and devotion turned into the hat on Shapka’s head. The Rabbit’s last wish was to dye his fur red – the color of the passionate affection for grandpa that filled this little mammal’s heart. As a cruel joke, grandma decided to offer the hat to her first granddaughter, for the baby received all the attention that grandma craved for. She became everyone’s afterthought, and to master the hate that originated the second when not–yet–Shapka left the birth canal of her mother, grandma gave the child a totem representing her ultimate power and grandpa’s complete obedience. “What’s taking you so long?! Grandma’s not getting any healthier, nor younger!” she heard her mother scream from downstairs. “Holy Rabbit, this woman simply can’t comprehend that getting ready to walk through the woods takes time,” Shapka thought to herself while starting her ritual. She began by putting on the one thing that gave her power over the bonds of guilt and hierarchy: the furry sacrifice, the exterminated and wasted lust that she promised herself to 28

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restore – her shapka. Next, her lingerie. First, she prepared her black & white lace bra with its padding that thoroughly shrouded and enclosed her breasts she got from her mom – literally, her mother paid for the boob job. The perfect match to her lucky bra had always been a black, diamond–base shaped thong in mesh floral detailing with a strappy waist–band and a cheeky cut–out motif at the back. Then, the only thing left was her favorite part. She always felt something of an indescribable gratification of the self in putting on her ebony lace–top stockings, pulling them up her legs, and attaching them to the suspender belt. When she was ready, she grabbed her red coat, black boots, basket with various meds for grandma, and off she went. The woods were particularly gloomy that day. You could almost hear the trees’ anxiety over their excruciating immobility that locked their hearts deep inside each tissue that carried hopelessness from one part of a tree to another. They inaudibly cried for help that was never meant to come. The silence that surrounded Shapka once she entered that leafy morgue, invigorated her to her very marrow. She sauntered as if there was no tomorrow, no grandma, no thing to be frightened of. Yet, the woods held a very tangible threat to each and every creature that decided to interrupt their menacing bliss. The Guardians of The Woods: they were the elite, unanimously chosen by themselves to be one. Up until the coup, the woods were an idyllic and blissful non–place, which attracted human trash that orgasmically disrespected the cornucopia of nature’s treasures. The coup was a happy coincidence and festival of carelessness and disregard. It took place around three centuries ago, when The Wolves grew tired of being merely wolves, for they were gradually being incorporated into the households as pets and living room decorations, which was perceived as an insulting neglect of their potential. At some point, led by Roman III, they abruptly left their human companions and oppressors, and decided to constitute the ultimate reigning power in the woods, where they spread terror, just for the sake of terror. Luckily, the terror was a pleasant one, serving terrorizers as well as, or, especially, those terrorized. As The Wolves shed their animal features, they transformed their bodies into an ungraspable essence of power that once discharged, it would put its paws on the souls of the infidels. Hairless, tailless, yet more violent than ever, The Wolves were the force of creation by elaborate means of destruction. These were precisely the reason why Shapka was so eager to regularly walk aimlessly through the woods, even without the slightest reason to do so. Shapka really enjoyed her little moments from tree to tree, when her impatient stride was measured by her painfully awaiting breaths. Inhale, exhale, inhale… She silently wept for all those moments lost in between her breaths. Breaths which gave life, yet kept on stealing it incessantly. In order to stop this nonsense of analyzing her fleeting life, she decided to breathe even more and sing her lungs out. Nothing made her more impressed than the mystery of a fact that such sounds managed to escape her body without causing her to bleed to death.

“Oh, well, imagine, As I’m pacing the pews in a church corridor, And I can't help but to hear – No, I can't help but to hear an exchanging of words…”

“What a beautiful wedding! What a beau–– …” – the moment she belted it out like it should have been done, she felt a hand wrapped around her neck, choking her slowly as she was trying to finish the line. “On your knees, back straight, don’t look up,” she heard a deep, intimidating voice from behind her back. “But... who are you? Why are you doing this to me?” She calmed every fiber in her body not to smile as she thought to herself, “Finally, thought you’d never come.” Having knelt as she was told to, as quickly as she could, she unbuttoned her coat, so that the inspection could go properly. She didn’t dare to look but she smelled a brisk scent of the night imprisoned in this savage man that The Wolf was.

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“You know who I am. Spread your legs. Wider. Feet together. And put down this damn basket. What do you have in there?” Mr. Wolf asked as he grabbed it without waiting for an answer. “Just some meds for my grandmother, she’s been sick and lonely, and she lives far, far away, and …” “Singing. You know you are not allowed to do such things here. First, you can’t sing. Second, Panic! At The Disco sucks,” he put down the basket in front of her. “I need you to put your arms behind, wrists to elbows. Now,” he said as he reached her phone from the basket to set the alarm, “you will remain in this exact position till you hear the alarm go off. Then, you will go straight to your grandmother’s house and stay overnight. Are we clear?” “Yes, Sir.” “Good girl,” Mr. Wolf said as he examined thoroughly her body, inch by inch, lace by lace. He grabbed her chin and ran his thumb against her lips, slowly putting a tip in her mouth as she started lightly sucking on it. “Very good,” he whispered with a tone of silent approval, and left. Waiting was almost never Shapka’s number one choice of experience. Yet, this particular kind of waiting gave her pleasure, out–meaning the original definition of the word “pleasure,” invented by some poor, oh–so–ignorant person, who wouldn’t even dare to fantasize of such sensual struggle. She swam in the rivers of sweat streaming down her back, she befriended agonizing and transforming pain in her muscles, and simply couldn’t wait for more to come. Anticipating how proud and satisfied Mr. Wolf would be when she managed to prove how beautifully obedient she could be, helped her endure every second of the task, even (especially?) when seconds seemed as if they lasted forever. After staring for an indefinite time at the ground, she memorized each twig that pierced her skin as if longing to be part of her, three types of mosses creating an omnifarious spongy rug giving her comfort by absorbing salty liquids wept out by Shapka’s body. She used all her mental power to divide her cells in order to form a protective body that would fight her trembling self. When the alarm went off, after the time she could not determine, her self from some time before crumbled into particles invisible to the eye. She felt grateful to Mr. Wolf for the trial which reconfigured her from within, amending her being, expanding her persistence. Coming back to the state of actual existence was not the easiest thing do. Yet, she grabbed the basket and continued her journey to her grandma’s as instructed. Each step was an uncanny lesson to sense, savor, possess her body anew. Each breath was a provocative fort–da game, teasing her body to channel the impulses so uncanny, so titillating, so fleeting – gone, there – leaving footprints legible only to the one who initiated this very process. Seeing grandma’s house was both relieving and saddening. Shapka’s journey came to an end. Although, on some level, she anticipated some sort of sign from Mr. Wolf, any form of recognition from him. “Grandma? Where are you? Marco…?” Having entered an unusually dark house, she tripped over a wooden chair. She couldn’t see anything, for the only source of light was a murky luminescence coming from the lantern outside the house. “Polo,” said the long–awaited voice Shapka had been thinking about for the last couple of undetermined units of time, coming from grandma’s bedroom. “Your grandma is not here. She, well, she’s in a better place.”

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“What…? You, did you kill her?” “No, I gave her a one–way ticket to Hawaii and a lifetime supply of Aspirin, she’ll be fine,” Mr. Wolf seemed amused with his response. Even though the room was barely illuminated, Shapka didn’t dare to look directly at him, but she felt strangely attracted to this wolf of a man. “Oh. Good for her then. Why did you send me here if you were going to do that anyway?” “I didn’t know. I came here with a plan to eat her. I’ve been, hmm, hungry like the wolf,” she felt a devilish smile on his beautifully mischievous shadow–bound face. “But I realized that I would much prefer to eat, well, you.” *** Being eaten by a wolf would probably be a bad ending to a quite sadistic fairytale for children. However, when one gets devoured by The Wolf, it turns this somewhat tragic incident into the most gratifying adventure of one’s life, being the sublime metamorphosis of two separate beings into one reprobate. The feast of “Shapka au loup aérien” created sparks that set the house, the woods, heaven and all nine circles of hell on fire. When she realized she was becoming part of Mr. Wolf, an uncontrollable euphoria overcame her. Shapka immediately acknowledged a new sense of fulfillment and lifeness that baptized her discontinuous existence into a continuous union of two. Yes, she realized that being a supplement to Mr. Wolf was the goal of her existence. And she rode her fate hard and straight to eternity. Aleksandra Barciszewska

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MaĹ&#x201A;gorzata Dudo ASC overstayer. Trivia collector. Author of many unfunny jokes. 32

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Intersections

Jessica Chapman and Tom Andrews had never interacted before October 28, 2016, but it was on this day that their lives became bound together forever. What they didn’t know was that their life paths had intersected before without them even noticing it. This is the story of these intersections. Intersection 1. 7/9/1984 Jess is four years old. She’s spending her summer holidays, as always, at a waterpark, in which her aunt works. Her cousin is supposed to look after her, but, as always, she’s busy talking with her friend. Jess is looking at people coming and going, and at the dolphins that are the main attraction of the park. Every day at three o’clock there’s a show, during which the trainers feed the animals and make them do tricks. At least Jess has something to look for every day rather than being bored to death. But today’s different. Today Martha, one of the trainers, sees that Jess doesn’t have anything to do and asks her: “I need an assistant. Will you help me?” She takes her to the other end of the pool, and gives her little tasks to do during the show. At the end, she lets her pat one of the dolphins on the head. And at this moment, Jess looks at Martha, with her red hair and her Greenpeace T–shirt, and decides that she wants to be like her when she grows up. Tommy is six years old. He’s come to the water park with his parents for the first time. This evening they will eat a local fish, which will make the rest of the holidays barely bearable, and this is why it will also be the last time. Tommy’s parents are arguing about who should take a photo. After around fifteen minutes, Tommy and his mom stand by the pool so that his dad could fit both them and the dolphins in the frame. Finally the photo is taken and it depicts an angry woman with her son and, in the background, a little girl playing with a dolphin. Intersection 2. 6/10/1998 “…But apart from these two ideas, Milgram also developed a concept of a familiar stranger – it can be a person you see every day on the bus when you go to work – you recognize their face but you don’t interact with them. I mean, when you think about it, the things you’re seeing and hearing now are just stimuli that stay in your sensory memory just for a fraction of a second, while your brain chooses which ones are important enough that they deserve to be transferred to your short–term memory, and then you decide which ones are crucial to be stored in your long–term memory. This means that you might have seen a person thousands of times, but if your brain didn’t decide that remembering them is crucial, you might not be aware of that,” Tom says. He’s walking down the street with his girlfriend Sarah. “But… Am I boring you? Who would you have dinner with if you could, dead or alive?” The WASP | Volume I | Fall 2016

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“Oh, I don’t know, maybe Madonna,” she says. “Could you explain something to me? Why are we babysitting your sister?” She looks at the 5–year–old girl that’s walking beside them. “I’m sorry about that. Our father and Ashley’s mother decided to go on a trip ‘to find their true selves’ and they asked me to keep an eye on her during the summer holidays.” “I thought that now that you’re finally back we could spend some time together… on our own,” Sarah whispers. “Tommy!” Ashley interrupts their conversation and starts dragging her brother to a Blockbuster store. “Can we watch Toy Story today? Please, please, please!” “Okay,” Tom says and the three of them enter the store. “How could you just give up on your dream?” Lisa, Jess’s best friend, asks. “I don’t have what it takes, that’s all,” Jess says, as they are walking down the aisle. “Let’s change the subject. Which one should we get…? I was thinking about something comforting, maybe… Sleepless in Seattle?” “No, it’s important! You’ve dreamed about being a marine biologist ever since I’ve known you! Why aren’t you fighting for it?” “Well, it turned out that liking dolphins and horses isn’t enough to become a scientist. I’ve barely passed biology, there’s no way around this. Back to the Future?” “But… Business administration?!” “Titanic?” Suddenly, a loud male voice is heard in the entire store. The girls stop their conversation and listen to what is happening. There is a man and a woman, both in their forties, arguing next to the counter. “Okay, that’s enough,” the man says. “Marge, I have to tell you something.” “What’s that?” “Marge, I don’t like When Harry Met Sally.” “What?!” “Yes. I know I said it’s my favorite film, but it isn’t. It’s Star Wars Part IV.” “But… Why did you say that you liked it, then?” “I had to! Remember when we first met? I asked you out and you said ‘I will only go on a date with a guy who likes When Harry Met Sally.’” “Oh, right. Well, then. I forgive you.” “Great. Oh, and one more thing. I’m leaving you for Doris.” Jess snorts with laughter and hears a person laughing in another aisle. “I think we’ll take When Harry Met Sally,” she whispers to Lisa.

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Intersection 3. 2/17/2010 “You broke up with Greg?!” Lisa almost spills her wine on the sofa. “Yeah…” Jess admits. “Hey, don’t look at me like that!” “But… Why?” “We were incompatible, that’s all.” “You know I support your every decision…” Lisa starts, “But you’ve got to realize that The List gets longer and longer.” “What list?” “The List of Qualities That Your Perfect Man Has to Have. T.L.o.Q.T.Y.P.M.H.t.H. for short. You know, like he has to be tall, and with a sense of humor, and…” “Oh, no, no, no,” Jess says. “I’m lowering my expectations now. He can be really short and hate jokes. The only thing I care about is for him not to answer his damn phone immediately every time it rings when we’re in the middle of a conversation. It felt like Greg cared more about his phone than about me.” As she’s speaking, loud music starts playing. “I’m sorry, it’s that stupid teenager again,” Lisa stands up. “Wait here. I have to sort it out once and for all.” She rushes out of her apartment and down the stairs. She starts pounding on the neighbor’s door. What she doesn’t hear (because of the music) is that the elevator door opens and a man enters the corridor. A man called Tom Andrews. “Excuse me?” he says to the crazy woman banging on his door. She doesn’t react. “EXCUSE ME?!” he yells. She jumps and turns back. “OH HERE YOU ARE!” she shouts. “IT SEEMS LIKE YOUR DAUGHTER IS HAVING A PARTY AGAIN! COULD YOU TELL HER TO WEAR HEADPHONES OR, I DON’T KNOW, GO VISIT A LARYNGOLOGIST?!” “She’s not my daughter, she’s my sister,” he sighs. “And YES I WILL MAKE IT STOP, I’M SORRY IT’S HAPPENING AGAIN!” He turns the key, enters his apartment, and rushes to Ashley’s room. He pushes the red button on her stereo and says: “What the hell, Ashley?!” She stops dancing around. “You’re back already,” she states the fact. “…I know, I know, I wasn’t supposed to play loud music, but it’s my new favorite song, by my favorite band, which is Biffy Clyro, thanks for asking, and it’s on the radio – you see, it’s different when it’s played on the radio and not played by me on my MP3 player, because it’s like the universe is giving me a sign!”

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“Oh, really? And what does the sign mean?” “I don’t know yet,” Ashley smiles. “But I think it means something good. So when I heard it, on the radio, I literally died.” “Figuratively.” “Whatever.” “Please don’t do it again. Remember the deal we’ve made when I agreed for you to live here? I hate being your personal policeman, but when you behave like this, and when the neighbors come to complain about you, I’ve got no choice.” “Ok, ok. I won’t do it again,” she says, and it seems sincere. When he’s leaving the room, she says, “But just listen to this song, I think you’ll like it! That guitar riff is sick!” Intersection 4. 10/28/2016 Jess is driving to the airport in her silver car. She’s finally realized that she’s not destined to be a wife, or a mother, or a self–actualized office worker. And this means that nothing is keeping her here. So she decided to make the last attempt at doing something meaningful with her life: she applied for a job at Greenpeace. If she has to work in an office, she could at least contribute to something bigger than just making money for a corporation. She sent an application and was invited to an interview. That’s where she’s driving now. The problem is that she’s late, because she had to go back twice to get the things she’d forgotten to pack. Anyway, her flight is in two hours, and she still has about 20 miles to go. “Don’t panic, don’t panic,” she says to herself. “Don’t panic, don’t panic,” Tom thinks. He’s standing in line to check in at the airport. He’s not really nervous about his trip, but about the fact that Ashley is pregnant and due in two weeks, and her slacker boyfriend Brad will surely be of no use to her, neither with the delivery, nor with the baby. Oh, and her parents are nowhere to be found, as always. Still, two weeks to go, theoretically, so he accepted an invitation to a meeting with a potential sponsor of his YouTube channel about psychology. It seemed to be a great opportunity, but now he thinks he shouldn’t have left Ashley on her own. And he’s right. His phone beeps. It’s a message from Ashley. Having the baby now! Tom’s blood pressure rises. He turns back and rushes to the exit, then to the parking lot and back to his car. He sits behind the steering wheel. Deep breath. Deep Breath. Ok, we’re going. After some time the phone beeps again in his pocket. He can’t look at it, he’s driving. It’s probably nothing important anyway. And even if it was, he couldn’t do anything about it from his car, could he? The most important thing now is to get there as fast as possible. But what if… What if something went wrong? What if it’s one of those “Sit down, I have to tell you something” messages? He takes the phone out and unblocks it. It’s a photo of a beautiful little boy. Tom’s filled with a thousand emotions at once. He’s an uncle! Then he looks back at the road and sees a silver car driving directly into his. Małgorzata Dudo

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In the Web

Mateusz Boczkiewicz Interested in human emotions and relations. Greedy for knowledge of everything around us. Constantly pushing himself forward. Besides that sublime stuff: animal fancier, beginning writer, art amateur, TV series maniac, fit life and health enthusiast, but also a cookie lover.

He always had mixed feelings about this place. He knew that he absolutely hated it, never wanted to come and go through all this. But there was something deep within himself, that always dragged him here. Coming here was painful. It was awful in any way. Just thinking about it was already too much. And yet, he was here today. “Forgive me father, for I have sinned.” *** The crime scene was terrible. Constables all around were green on their faces, some of them couldn’t stand the sight and the smell of this hole and walked outside, despite the orders to carefully search the spot. Everyone looked like they were just about to throw up and pass out and they had their reasons to do so. The floor was all covered in some kind of mud, water mixed with urine and probably blood. Agent Collins felt like the stink was entangling all around him, then went through him and possessed him, just as demons do. In worst case scenarios he wouldn’t dare to think of such a place. Bodies, dozens of them, were lying against the wall, strangled and headless, most of them in various stages of putrefaction, some of them were only shattered bones. Bugs and worms everywhere, like it was not abominable enough. People were all looking at one person, no one actually did what they were supposed to. All eyes pointed at him, begging to change orders or anything that will let them leave this place. Agent was doing surprisingly fine. At the beginning it was hard, yet he adapted successively and he stood tough. Decision was a lot easier when he heard the first vomit. “We’ll come back here with suits and oxygen masks, I guess. Get out quickly.” Officers didn’t get out. They didn’t leave. They ran, almost trampled each other exiting. They were experienced federals but they’ve never seen anything like this before. Once they find their reason and get needed gear, they will be ready to face it again, but now, special agent Collins didn’t feel angry with them. At least they found another Spiders nest. The Spider. Mastermind criminal who lures his victims to his “web” and then drags them into place like this and strangles them. After they die from starving and thirst, he cuts off the heads, which are never found. A messed up psycho killer, the most wanted person in Pennsylvania recently. He never left any tracks, never been seen. But there have been cases like that before. Everybody leaves a trail, eventually. “Agent Collins.” The voice he didn’t necessarily liked, but for sure he respected. General prosecutor. Someone informed him, even though he had forbidden that. It won’t end up good for either of them. The WASP | Volume I | Fall 2016

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“Why aren’t these people working inside?” Simple question, sounds like he had no feelings, cold as an ice. His dead–blue eyes were looking at the agent like he was the murderer, at the same time calm and full of hatred. Collins knew that he is a type of man you don’t want and shouldn’t mess with. “Officers didn’t feel well there, neither did I. It’s worse than anywhere before. We are waiting for stuff to protect ourselves.” “Is this police or kindergarten? You get these people down there, immediately. No excuses.” Great day just got better. One of the technicians looked at him afraid. Collins’ face was without any emotion but his eyes burned hellfire and everyone who knew him, was aware of that. His anger was equally divided between The Spider and the prosecutor. “We’re gonna catch this bastard, no matter the cost,” the agent said to his men. “I’m gonna catch you, no matter the cost,” he thought. *** The night wasn’t that dark. Full moon enlightened their way through the woods as they were heading to that empty house at the hilltop. She was very excited about this night. She couldn’t invite him to her place, because of her father, and he lived so far away. Their first night together. Oh, how she loved him! Her heart started to beat with eagerness, pumping hot blood into the veins, as he grabbed her hand with his strong embrace and pulled her closer. She wanted him. He knew that and he didn’t hesitate for a second, to use it. She lusted for his body for days and weeks, as her parents continued to lecture her about purity and modesty, as they condemned sin and depravity, which only made her want it all even more. Punishment meant nothing when he was close and she was ready to give herself to him. They finally reached the place. It started to rain, while they were entering the house. As their eyes met, they didn’t need any words. His hands found her body, her hand found his face and they quickly ended up in that old bed, right in the middle of the place. Everything was so perfect, even nature was helping in creating right ambience. When she felt his strong grip around her breasts, lightning cut the dark sky and thunder filled her ears and mind, alongside with her groan. Storm clouds came so fast, rain besieged old walls and rooftop with great force. He was ferocious as he started to unwrapping her, almost ripped off her shirt. But before he took her, she wanted to look in his eyes. “I love you,” she said and she meant it. “Aren’t you afraid?” he asked quietly, barely piercing through the storm. “No, why would I? I’m with you,” she hugged him like a teddy bear, with a grin upon her face. She loved him. She wanted him. “Exactly,” he responded. *** The place seemed just perfect. He had some time to prepare, before she would wake up. It took him a while to install iron circles on the wall. She looked beautiful, sleeping on the floor, with a few drops of blood around her mouth. So

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harmonious. So feminine. One hand lying along the body, the other one above head, surrounded by her smooth blonde hair. Like a model or sculpture, pure piece of art. She didn’t wake up when he strangled her. She was still sleeping when he gagged her. He will return there in a little while. Just to check on her. This one was special, very, very beautiful and innocent. He didn’t remember how he got to that horrible place, but he knew he would be there, eventually. Every step pounded like a bell within these walls. He headed straight to the confessional and just waited as always. A few moments later his ears caught echo of the priests footsteps, much smoother and delicate than his. As soon as the clergyman sat down, he started. “Forgive me father, for I have sinned. My last confession was four days ago. And these are the sins of my life. I’ve lied to a woman. Then I killed her. Again.” “Son… “ “Father, I cannot hold myself. It just happens.” “But you regret that and come to confess…” “Who said I regret that?” his voice sounded so cold and severe that the priest shivered. “I regret nothing. I just feel like I had to come here and tell all this to someone. And you won’t tell anybody else, right? You cannot.” “Son, you have to give yourself up to the police…” “NO!” his voice stroke like a whip, full of anger. “Take it, please,” the priest answered and handed a little thing to him. It was a little cross on a simple silver chain. “Look at it next time you will feel the force that makes you sin.” The priest stood up and left quickly, leaving him alone with his thoughts. He squeezed the gift, burst into tears and promised himself that he will look at it next time. And it will stop him. *** Agent Collins could never memorize his dreams. Each night was just a dark hole in his mind. He got up too late. Doing anything in haste wasn’t his cup of tea and now he had to pull himself together as soon as possible. All the morning routine was too fast and nervous, just the way he hated. Once he managed to do everything he needed, he left for work. Special agent lusted to get to his office, so he could work on catching The Spider, to get rid of this bastard once and for all. Searching his places was a nightmare. The eagerness was empowered by the fact that he overslept and still was sleepy as hell. He couldn’t remember where he left his car, so it took a while to find it. He also couldn’t remember where this little cross in his coats pocket came from. Mateusz Boczkiewicz

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Jesus Rules the World Dominika Kowalska In her spare time she plans a revolution, fights for women and minority rights, writes stories, and drinks coffee at midnight.

I Jesus was a cat, and she didn’t give a fuck. She did not give a fuck when her neighbor Moishe mocked her because of her name. Yes, she was a female cat named Jesus. But who gives a damn about gender in 2016? According to Jesus, gender is a social concept. “And so is virginity,” Jesus thought, when she was listening to her young owner’s problems. Maria was a 15–year–old human. Her mother, Helena, found Jesus in the time of despair for both of them, as Helena was struggling with loneliness after her husband left her, and Jesus was sleeping under Helena’s car during that winter, after having been thrown out by her previous family. Both found salvation in each other. Not having a cat before, Helena didn’t know whether a newly found pet was a male or a female, so she assumed the default and fed it with some sprats. Helena was a zealous Catholic, Maria was not; this fact had to be hidden from her mother. She did not know how to tell her mother that she was no longer a virgin – a state which Helena required from her daughter until marrying her off to a nice, Tall–Uncircumcised–Religious– Dude, in short, TURD. For Maria it was self–evident, that her mother couldn’t find out that she slept with her neighbor. Moishe’s 16–year–old human, Aaron. Helena’s mission was to raise a perfect daughter. She did not succeed with her marriage, but her daughter was a totally different kettle of fish. Daughter was created by her, carried by her for nine months which, for Helena, was a great inconvenience (swollen feet, breasts and everything) born from her in great pain; Maria was sucking on her breasts, feeding off her… With such a sacrifice on Helena’s part Maria should be nothing less but perfect. Maria’s mission was to do everything that Helena found sinful or unfit for a young perfect lady, in secret. What eyes don’t see, the heart does not grieve over. So they fucked in the bushes because Aaron’s father was a rabbi, therefore his house was also unavailable. According to Jesus it was the issue of guilt. Maria must have sucked it with mother’s milk. Luckily this incarnation was favorable to Jesus; cats do not follow religions, they ignore social concepts and aren’t bound by any rules. Jesus and Moishe occasionally fucked in Helena’s flowers. Nobody felt guilty. Everyone felt satisfied.

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II Demons always come at 3 a.m. That’s why Jesus always wakes up at 2.55 a.m., takes a shit, runs around like she needed a consult with a shrink, and jumps on Helena’s bed. When Helena finally wakes up and turns on the night lamp, Jesus is ready at her post, staring into the void. Occasionally she makes a concerned sound. Obviously Helena has watched horror movies in her lifetime, she knows what Jesus is really staring at. She knows that there is a really evil demon staring back at her. She wants Jesus to protect and save her. “Why do you do it?” asks Moishe. “To remind my human she needs me more than I need her.” “But it’s not true. It’s a lie.” “How do you think the new president won the elections? By being honest with his fellow humans?” “I almost forgot that you’re planning to take over the world. And you don't even feel guilty for using your humans. That’s amazing.” Jesus did not feel guilty. She knew that the secret equation for success is to create in humans the fear of an invented concept, of something that does not exist, in order to appear as someone that is their only solution and savior. Jesus knew that every person wants two things: to be safe and loved. On any occasion when her human, Maria or Helena, was busy, very busy with something, Jesus would sit on their lap and purr softly, forcing her humans to immediately drop what they were doing and pet her. Jesus was rationing her love and attention to her humans, therefore they craved it. Jesus loved knowing that as long as she sits on them and purrs, they will not move even though they need to. If only Maria dropped that guilt shit and made herself less available to Helena, made some real trouble, maybe even beat up someone in school, her mother would not consider fucking a neighbor boy as such an unimaginable thing. “The big trouble v. small trouble thing is the only rule I made, but seldom follow, because why bother, they love me anyway,” Jesus explained to Moishe. “I have a tradition of pissing in their shoes because, let’s say, they annoyed me by giving me a yesterday’s sprat, even though I saw them buying a fresh one that day. I could easily blame it on the dog by dragging some of his white fur in the shoe area, but I don’t. I want them to know that I feel offended. I want them to feel guilty, which they excellently do even without me.” “Fascinating, and they didn’t throw you out?” asked Moishe. “They threw out the shoes and started buying fresh sprats just for me.” “Unbelievable.” “I told you, they need me.” “You’re so evil that I am almost certain, that your next incarnation is going to be a human, a president of the country.” “I think so too.” Dominika Kowalska

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Teresa Bakalarska A human, a crisp, a professional whiner. Writes everything from poetry through prose to godâ&#x20AC;&#x201C;awful rap lyrics. Thinks that Buffy The Vampire Slayer is the greatest achievement of humanity. 44

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Hunger

I still remember the first time I used psychokinesis. The bitter taste of moving particles and dropping heart rate. In a way it was very shocking, much more than I expected. “It’s the best feeling in the world,” promised Jack, my instructor. And he was absolutely right. I think I’ve always felt confined to my body and mind, suffocating. Trapped by too thin walls. There was this premonition of a whole other dimension, almost palpable, and I was unable to reach it. Now those underlying patterns of reality are exposed to me. The dimension obeys my orders. Don’t be mistaken, it’s not the power I crave; it’s the blissful stability that came with it. The magic of understanding. *** I was drowsily studying for some ridiculous calculus exam in our school library when Jack first approached me. The clock might have struck 10 or 11 pm. I don’t remember it clearly; time used to flow without notice back then. The light somehow dimmed, thick silence fell, and the room seemed empty, saved for the two of us. “Hey,” said Jack, taking a seat next to me. “Do you know that we only use about 10% of our brain at all times?” “Well, there’s that myth,” I replied, a bit confused. “Like, just imagine what humanity could achieve if we unlocked our potential, right?” “Not humanity,” he laughed. “I mean—people like you and me. We’ve got a lot of brain power that’s wasted in places like this. College. Office jobs. Dusty libraries. But it can change for you, like it has changed for me. Promise.” “Sorry, but it sounds like you’re trying to sell me something. Are you a drug dealer or what? You know that drugs actually corrupt the brain, right?” To be honest, I’m not sure why I didn’t run away from him at this point. Maybe because I was so bored with my mundane, pointless, and tasteless college life? Or was it because I wanted Jack to become my friend? Sometimes I wonder, what if. What if he was a drug dealer after all? Would I take this famous first dose? Become an undercover addict, like those strange guys from drama class? What if I’d run away? I stayed still while Jack’s expression changed. Mask of calm concentration blurred his features and, just like that, my textbook soared up and begun spinning. “Psychokinesis,” said Jack with a confident smile. Thus my hopeless hours of studying, losing connection with my body and mushing thoughts until they lost all meaning, came to an end. All free time was devoured now by training sessions with Jack. Firstly, he explained me all about the eye drops. “The sufficient gray matter is there,” he pointed at my head, “but we lack the connections The WASP | Volume I | Fall 2016

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between brain cells. Synapses. Transmitters. Eye drops contain specified rare metals, which at the molecular level encourage establishing new connections. Basically, transforming the obsolete network. Back in the day, psychics used the golden powder, but eye drops are significantly more absorbable and less suspicious. Also, less messy.” As per usual, there was the cost of super–powers (“It’s science not magic! How many times do I have to explain?”). It had something to do with natural aging processes which sped up alongside the mind. One second for every twenty of intensified brain work – that was the approximate cost. I almost laughed, when I first heard it. One worthless second for twenty marvelous. Who’d refuse such a deal. Psychokinetic potential proved to be a rare gift, randomly blessing the few. There were a couple more people like us at our college. Right after taking a drop you could smell them from a room away, immediate attraction between the kind. Jeannine from statistics, for instance, the apathetic girl sleeping in the last row, who somehow got straight A’s. How we all wished to uncover her dark secret back in the day. Rich, influential parents? Steamy affair with the professor? Cheating? Now that I unleashed my full potential as well, calculus of probability was a walk in the park. Fahrenheit to Celsius conversion, stress distribution in the structure, or author’s intention, I could give you that in a blink of an eye. Soon, I’ve met others, like this guy from Starbucks who levitated my cup of caramel macchiato and winked dramatically. Or our discrete mathematics professor, but he wasn’t ‘awake,’ as Jack put it. Same for Abby, my roommate. Honestly, I didn’t expect any hidden genius from her. We even discussed her initiation, but finally decided against it. Abby was a party–girl and psychokinesis plus alcohol screamed outright CATASTROPHY. “So, what do we do with our power?” I asked my instructor, when the shock from the first experience subsided. “Not much really,” he replied. “What would you like to do?” “Help humanity or something?” I shrugged. “With great power comes great responsibility, you know.” “Well, some guys I knew became super–heroes,” he didn’t seem convinced. “But those are mostly the I–was–hurt–in–my–childhood kind of people. Really it’s an incognito life, full of unnecessary danger. Contrary to all those comic books, the society is actually extremely super–phobic. Obviously, there are also those who choose to become genius scientists, unfortunately mostly the crazy kind. It’s sort of unavoidable. You develop the perfect solution, but have to spend years and years fighting for grants, while Kardashians are buying Rolls–Royces. Insane, right? And then there are people like us. We graduate from college with honors, every now and then levitate a pen or sneak a vote on a ballot. It’s not about what you do; it’s about how you experience the world.” During the first two weeks of my new life I felt rather insecure about psychokinesis. Checking if no one was present, if the doors were closed, curtains drawn. The rush of adrenaline, blood pumping, going up and up in arteries to reach the brain, pupils expanded thanks to the drops. And things started flying. Firstly it was a toothbrush, then the shower head and Abby’s Hello Kitty towel. Exactly ten days after my initiation, I could safely take both feet off the ground. Soon I began looking for more excitement. Rolling professor’s pen off the desk, opening windows in public buses. Anything I could get away with. I quickly discovered that if you levitate just a couple of millimeters above the ground, no one will notice. People were running around, so predictable, limited, pathetic, and unaware of what being alive really means. If a chance occurred, I’d extend my benevolent hand, but somehow it was a rare event.

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At the very beginning Jack promised that I’d get used to the taste of drops. That metallic bitter–sweetness of moving particles, it clogged air passages, vicious and thick and satisfying. Similar to the taste of blood, if blood were an electrified fog. Just as perfume, taste evaporated with time. Dizziness subsided, replaced slowly by numbness. Regardless of how many drops I’d put in my eyes, it just wasn’t there. Then I came up with the method of swallowing drops. The burning in the esophagus was a nice addition and the taste seemed even more prominent, intoxicating even. It was around that time that I discovered that drops substituted for food. Quantity and frequency of my consumption increased and the access to the drops became a problem. When the effect was wearing out, I’d get irritated. Stupidity, it seemed, was my trigger. I hated feeling stupid, at the very core of my existence. Patterns were blurring, answers needed to be looked for, and the world seemed cold and untouchable. Reality turned into nuisance. Unfortunately, Jack was all too conscious of my problem. Finally, I just told him that I’m involving Abby and from now on I received double the dose. Was he oblivious to my lie or only pretended to be, I’ll never know. The guy from Starbucks, his name was Mike and he was a music major, would slip me couple of drops into the morning cup of coffee. Caramel macchiato became a ritual, even though psychics don’t really experience effects of caffeine. “It’s not that you’re overdosing, Rose,” said Jack one day, refusing to hook me up again. “Twenty drops are not giving you a better or stronger vision than one. Everything you do is just excessive. Wasteful. Harmful.” “Sure, I understand,” I replied, because he was right by all means. Everything I ever did was excessive. The love, the hate, the boredom. The spiral of discouragement I fell into starting this semester. Caramel macchiatos I could never skip. The 5–year–old Rose was seriously addicted to this one chocolate snack. She would beg, steal, and kick to get it. At least that’s what my parents told me. What Jack failed to realize was how great Rose became thanks to the drops. How she finally found her place in the universe after almost giving up. “I understand, Jack,” I repeated. “I’ll cut it back.” Well, I didn’t. The drops became my mantra. One bottle in the pocket of every jacket and backpack, two in my cosmetic bag. I started counting minutes between drops. Tick–tock, tick–tock; drip–drop, drip–drop. I’d talk to random people on the streets, asking for the access. There was this one lady, only a bit insane. I did cat–sitting for her to get drops. Jack and Jeannine considered me to be some sort of an addict. On the contrary, the level of independence the psychokinesis brought me was overwhelming. Connections, energy, the underlying truths, I saw it all. Everything moved at my will. Sometimes, when I’d get extremely sensitive, I felt like I could shift people’s thoughts. Isn’t the thought just an electric impulse after all? I didn’t even notice when the apathetic me disappeared. Every now and then, a particular comment caught my attention, things about me becoming ‘hyper’ and ‘the sunshine.’ I was running on three hours of sleep a day. Sometimes, late at night, I’d read detective stories to check out how fast I was able to solve the mystery. I’ve never felt more alive. That snowy evening I was just about to visit Jack to get my fix before he left for Christmas break, when my phone rang. “Dear Lord, I seriously should change that ringtone. I’m not in the middle–school anymore,” I thought to myself, looking at the screen. It was Abby. “Rose,” she moaned through the echo of throbbing music, “Rose, can you come and pick me up, please? Rose, I feel really sick, pleaseeee.” “Where are you?” I demanded irritated. She did it again. “I don’t know, Rose. At Mike’s.”

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“Who’s Mike?” “I don’t know, Rose. I think there was something in my drink. Can you come, please. Come, come!” “Abby, I’m sort of busy right now. Can’t you act like a responsible human being for once?” “I’m sorry, really, listen. I’m sorry, but can you just pick me up? Rose?” the desperation marked her voice. Just then a text from Jack popped up on my Messenger. “U coming or not? I’m leaving in five minutes.” It blinked and blinked unanswered. *** When I was younger, this was my favorite fairytale. The one where a boy and a girl went to the fairy land and there was this ginormous feast. Grapes, chocolate, meat, everything your heart desires. But previously someone wise—or overly kind—warned the kids that if they eat or drink in the fairy land, they’ll never be able to leave. Only, the little girl couldn’t control herself and tasted just a bit, just the tiniest bit of some delicacy, and so she became imprisoned forever. But the little boy would visit her every year, when the golden gates to the land of fairies opened. And he pledged to come until the curse was broken. I guess I hoped that I will also get my little boy, who’d always come to me. To me, the chubby kid, a victim of her own little desire. Surly, someone, one day, would come and help me. Later on, I’d come to hate this story. I didn’t understand how the fairies could be so cruel. Why was the little girl punished for something she had no control over? Was she designed to lead the tasteless, mortal life, sworn off the substance she needed to be free? It made me wonder whether gluttony is a sin after all. If hunger is as natural as existence, isn’t gluttony just the hunger of the mind? A new taste, a faster taste, a godlike taste, some people just crave it, intrinsically. Should they be left to starve in the incompatible universe? Should they practice minimalism and crippling asceticism, until no original molecule of them is oscillating? Sadly, reality is not fair by nature. Abby had to suffer the consequences of her gluttony. How else would she learn to stop sinning? Surely, she’d realize her wrong sooner rather than later. And one day then she’d even thank me. *** “Abby, I really can’t. You have to grow up. Get yourself together and realize your wrongs. I’m saying this because I’m worried about you, ok? I’ve got to go, see you later.” I hung up, blocking the sound of the thriving party. Sure, the universe was sometimes more kind than ruthless. But I was too hungry to be kind. Teresa Bakalarska

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POETRY

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Mateusz Boczkiewicz Interested in human emotions and relations. Greedy for knowledge of everything around us. Constantly pushing himself forward. Besides that sublime stuff: animal fancier, beginning writer, art amateur, TV series maniac, fit life and health enthusiast, but also a cookie lover. 50

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Temptation

I just want you to want Forcing you? I will not It’s all on you You know what to do Take it if you want Say it if you want Do whatever you want You ask, you wonder, you are not sure You had the sickness and I gave you the cure So what’s the problem? What stands in your way? This life is yours, live day by day And have what you want Speak what you want Be what you want The price? I’ll tell you some time For now you are free, for now you are fine Come have some fun, don’t you lust for it all? Trust me, if you once go bad, World won’t fall Just take what you want! Anything you want, don’t mind the rules Those are only followed by fools I have better code Get high, get drunk, get mad, get laid, Get this, get that, get all, get paid Just take what you want! Not forcing, it’s only my voice I showed you an option, you still got the choice I just want you to want. Mateusz Boczkiewicz

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Gentle Sin

Limitless love. It’s all I ask for. To feel everything above, Lust more and more. Even if it’s for a second or two, Even if it will all perish soon. I still wanna fall for you, Be over the moon. As we lay side by side, Timelessness seems so thin, But we need to hide, Because others think it’s a sin. Mateusz Boczkiewicz

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I Saw Her in the Park I saw her in the park She had a cigarette And I had one too And we both knew it was bad for us But we smoked anyway Our eyes crossed just for a second And then just as fast we looked away Not knowing what it meant Or if it meant anything at all And since it was a nice day for a walk We both did, each their own way But we started a game that day From across the concealing cigarette smoke And we took turns smoking cigarettes Dying just a little bit To feel a little bit more To feel something unreal, Or something unsaid, Or a dream that was all the more beautiful Because it was only in our heads Then I saw her at a concert one day, She had a cigarette, And I had one too And we both knew it was bad for us But we smoked anyway Our eyes crossed just for a second, And surprisingly, we held that moment a little bit longer To feel something unreal Or something unsaid, Or a dream that was all the more beautiful Because it was only in our heads We danced to the music, We tried having fun And maybe we even did But not as much as we expected We continued our game that day, From across the concealing cigarette smoke And we took turns smoking cigarettes And sending each other hidden smiles Before the cigarettes would burn out And as I went home, I saw her in the house next door, I walked over and asked for a lighter, And she said she had one in her room, And we burned all through the night. Anonymous

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Contributors

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Teresa Bakalarska A human, a crisp, a professional whiner. Writes everything from poetry through prose to god–awful rap lyrics. Thinks that Buffy The Vampire Slayer is the greatest achievement of humanity.

Aleksandra Barciszewska Editor–in–chief. ASC–survivor. Vampiric psychoanalyst by nature. Extracting the sexual from the mundane, rejecting reality for the sake of the very–tale of momentary satiation of the urges for creation.

Nadia Błaszczyk Her biggest passion is travelling, so she tries to travel as much as possible. She hates to sit in one place for too long so in her spare time she plans new trips and explores new places (even if they are just around the corner). Addicted to drinking tea, even in summer. Her favorite piece of clothing is a smile. Mateusz Boczkiewicz Interested in human emotions and relations. Greedy for knowledge of everything around us. Constantly pushing himself forward. Besides that sublime stuff: animal fancier, beginning writer, art amateur, TV series maniac, fit life and health enthusiast, but also a cookie lover.

Małgorzata Dudo ASC overstayer. Trivia collector. Author of many unfunny jokes.

Paulina Frelek Graphic designer, too lazy for existence. Addicted to coffee, TV shows, games, and chicken nuggets. A proud mom of two cats.

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Marta Natalia Giers MA student of American Studies Center, very much interested in human sexuality. She got her BA in English Philology at University of Białystok. In her free time she enjoys travelling, meeting friends, and dancing (especially hip–hop and dancehall). She is also a chess coach for children.

Aleksandra Grabowska If she was not an ASC student, she would be in a morgue. As a child she wanted to be a pathologist and a writer. She loves glitter, Clark Gable, and Virginia Wool’s novels. In life she follows Oscar Wild’s advice: “you can never be overdressed or overeducated.” Dominika Kowalska In her spare time she plans a revolution, fights for women and minority rights, writes stories, and drinks coffee at midnight.

Natalia Ogórek Singing is her biggest passion, but she does not connect her future with it. Lover of TV series and Marvel. 70% funny, 50% weird, 100% organized.

Lilla Orly BA student at the ASC who finds catharsis in drumming. Dabbles in music production when not scribbling nonsense furiously into notebooks, on pavement or walls… any surface where writing is possible.

Marta Rapacka 1st–year BA student. Apart from being utterly in love with TV series, she loves spending her free time discovering mysteries of Adobe Photoshop. Coerced into accepting the new goal of her existence, namely being The Very First Caricaturist of The Wasp – an honorable title she proudly bears and exploits (see: above and below).

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Adrian Wesołowski Long–loved collaborator of ASC and doctoral student in the Department of History of <<a very respectable university>>. Trying to keep up some not–boring characteristics of his profile, he has written a poem or two. Yet, on a daily basis his tedious past social patterns recognition is interrupted only by <<a trendy sport hobby>> and passionate reading of <<fancy names of hipster writers>>. One could say <<metaphor far too sophisticated for a byline>>.

Martyna Wróblewska 1st year BA student at the ASC. Fashion, design, and architecture lover. Fascinated by Californian lifestyle, Scandinavian minimalism, and French nonchalance. One day will spend every day surfing and longboarding, even though she can do neither of those. Almost always smiling, but combative when it comes to minority rights. When you can’t find her she’s probably lying in bed with a huge cup of coffee and watching favorite TV series.

Kamila Maria Wyszyńska Studies Graphic Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. American Studies is her second faculty. Loves to travel. Wants to live and create across the world.

Jakub Zieliński 1st year student of ASC with a deep passion for music. He has never learned to play any instrument, but strongly hopes to change it in the future. Apart from his love to sounds, he’s pretty much into movies, TV series, and English football.

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The Wasp - Volume I Fall 2016