Tyranny at the Times – Alex West

The dog yipped as Dezzie walked by, and with the sound hanging halfway out of his mouth, a sense of urgency overcame her. It was a familiar foreshadowing feeling that engulfed her every action. She wove through tables, chairs, bodies, and stores. Performers beckoned Dezzie in. The Naked Cowboy tipped his hat toward her.

A man exiting the subway station whistled in her direction. Her legs started pumped harder.

Her mind flashed forward. The building to her left collapsed, the stone wall splitting down the middle. Somewhere a young boy screamed for his mother. Dezzie clasped her satchel from blocks away.

 

In the present she bobbed between families, accidentally splitting up twins. The advertisements in Times Square stared mockingly at her. Her breath was gone, almost as if it had never existed from the beginning. None of it hardly mattered now. She thought about her desk, her cubicle at the Times which would be awaiting her arrival.

Faster.

She had to get the story to the press before anyone else.

Faster.

She realized she was the press.

Faster.

She promised herself not to get caught up in technicalities.

Faster.

 

Times Square disappeared behind her. The tourists packed in like sardines, but yet she was free. Everything was loud, but it was loudest for her. The commotion was all in her head.

And suddenly, she slid through the glass doors of the newspaper’s entrance, flashing her badge at the security guard.

“Focus,” she reminded herself. Her fingers glided against the keyboard with phrases and facts that had yet to occur. She captured the fear on the NYPD officer’s face as he saw the first explosion, felt the heat against his body. Dezzie darkened the field, the mood. She explained the details that even survivors would begin to forget within seconds after the first bomb would go off.

The pieces unfolded before her. Dezzie felt out of control, letting the words whiz by her. Typing, fiercely. No one in the office building dared disturb her.

Send.

She heard the bing from where she sat signifying that her editor received the piece.

Finally, she could catch her breath.

Someone shouted a few cubicles away. “Put on the news! Put on the news!”

“We are the news, Betsy,” someone scolded her as the woman shuffled around for the remote. She clicked through channels until she found the Special Report. Dezzie kicked back at her desk, editing some piece a lower level staffer asked her about. The TV flashed warnings, pleadings, chaos, and commotion.

Time Square had transformed. It was no longer full of performers and families, but of a community of victims. The building which Dezzie had jogged by collapsed on camera, the stonewalk splitting down the middle. Somewhere a young boy screamed for his mother.

From blocks away, safely in her office, Dezzie clasped her satchel.

 

Weeks later her editor would ask her how she had known, but when Dezzie didn’t answer, he held his tongue.

The Bridge – Lucia Vetrano

The city was quiet.

Alistair knew that not everyone had gone to bed, but he also knew that it was now or never. Ever since he was a little kid, he had wanted to do this. Thirty years later, he had finally worked up the courage to follow through with his childhood fantasies. He needed to be inconspicuous, though. The city watchtowers had strobe lights that could catch any naysayer wandering the streets this late at night. After a few wary steps across the dark sidewalks (and a brief encounter with a tense cat) he finally made it. There it was. Towering. Rotted Rock. The bridge. The forbidding monolith stretched out into a barren wilderness beyond the city, which everyone knew better than to ever venture into. Underneath was nothing but shadow, darker than the surrounding environment.

Continue reading “The Bridge – Lucia Vetrano”

And Sew It Begins – Hope Walborn

 

CHARACTERS:

HAZEL: An elderly woman who owns a yarn shop. She knits frequently and lives in an apartment above the shop with her four cats. Everyone who knows her considers her a “feisty cat lady with a concern for everybody’s health.”

OLIVIA: An intern for the local police department. She is a technology obsessed sixteen year old and an aspiring blogger. She’s easily excitable and very determined, though she may not be the sharpest tool in the shed.

ROGERS: A soft spoken, middle aged officer at the local police department. He is very laid back and not too concerned about his work. He does not like much attention, nor does he like being around people. Rogers is the type of man who prefers to blend into the background.

 

Scene: A small table sits stage left with a large book and pen sitting on top. A box sits beside the book, and a ball of yarn lays on the floor nearby. An elderly woman in pajamas named HAZEL walks in, looking around. There is a knock at the door, and she walks over and opens it, revealing a middle aged police officer, OFFICER ROGERS, and a teenage girl, OLIVIA ST. CLAIRE. They both step farther into the shop.

 

ROGERS: (Speaking softly as he continues to do so throughout the play) Officer Rogers, nice to meet you. (Holds out hand for a handshake from HAZEL, who does not take it. He retracts it after a moment) What seems to be the problem, Mrs- (He stops, not knowing her name)

HAZEL: Hazel. My name is Hazel. And I am not a Mrs!

OLIVIA: (looking around the store excitedly) Was there a murder? I’d love to investigate a murder in a yarn shop! Do you think yarn soaks up blood? I bet it’s pretty absorbent. I’m Olivia St. Claire, by the way. I’m an intern.

HAZEL: Murder? No no, I was burglarized.

ROGERS: How do you know? (Looks around) I don’t see any sign of a break in.

HAZEL: What? Speak louder, dear.

OLIVIA: (Leaning close to HAZEL and raising her voice) He says there’s no sign of a break in. Are you sure you heard someone?

Continue reading “And Sew It Begins – Hope Walborn”

Leslie Wants to Cook – Victoria Abel

For the past 50 years, the Pawnee mischief of mice have inhabited the abandoned JJ’s Diner. The fat mice of the group are in charge of cooking all of the meals and the thin mice are prohibited from helping in the kitchen. Bobby Newport, their leader, has stuck to this principle for his long reign as executive chef. There have been a few rebellions by the thin mice but all have been unsuccessful until Leslie Knope, daughter of  Queen Marlene, tried her hand.

Tenacious little Leslie has wanted to be a cook since the day she ate her first meal. She was impressed by the transformation of ingredients into delicious dishes, but didn’t strive to be an actual chef until she was visited by Hera in a dream. Hera told her to start recruiting for there would be a battle soon and Leslie was crucial for the thin mice to win because of her superior ability of being able to lift a spoon. With this knowledge Leslie assembled her team with the speed of a lion who just saw a gazelle eating grass in a far off field and it hasn’t eaten for three days because he has been giving all of his food to his cubs. This team was filled with family and friends who were done with being told they were not the acceptable body type for cooking.

Before the thin mice could even fight the fat mice, they had to cross the vast dining room to enter the kitchen. JJ’s Diner has been on the market for some time with the occasional realtor bringing people in to look at the property. The day the journey was about to start was an open house. The mice now had to maneuver around the feet of humans. Many mice lost their lives to the gruesome march and at the end the scene looked like a bunch of small animals had traveled near an elephant that didn’t understand the magnitude of his feet so he paid no attention to where he was stepping.

The thin mice eventually arrived at the doors of the kitchen. They were met by Bobby Newport and his thugs. There was a lengthy verbal confrontation like a barking match between two dogs on opposite sides of a fence each having owners that are screaming for their dogs to be quiet. This ended with an agreement for a cook-off. Tenacious little Leslie and Scrooge-like Bobby would each make a three course meal using mystery ingredients and they would be judged by the cockroaches that also shared the kitchen. In the appetizer round, Hera dumped Scrooge-like Bobby’s pot of soup with a minute left in the round. Bobby had to be disqualified from the round for not producing a dish. Zeus was angry at Hera for interfering in a frivolous pursuit and decided to help the fat mice. During the second round he set tenacious little Leslie’s stove on fire causing her to make an unsatisfactory steak tartar instead of a nice grilled steak. She lost that round to Scrooge-like Bobby but nothing would be decided until after the dessert round. Leslie made a beautiful ice cream and Bobby made a perfectly browned bread pudding so the judges had an extremely hard decision to make. In the end they decided to pick tenacious little Leslie and she was filled with joy like a mother bird who just saw her baby fly for the first time and the baby was able to do all the dips and dives of an experienced flier.

After the triumphant win of the determined thin mice, they decided to share the kitchen with all the mice. Any mouse could be chef if they wanted and it was all thanks to tenacious little Leslie. They made a statue of her out of cobwebs and it was placed on a table in the center of the dining room so all chefs could know who opened the kitchen doors to all mice.

Three’s a Company – Sai Kannekanti

Emily Parker trembled with nervousness and excitement as she walked home. Before she left for school, her father told her he had something important to tell her after school. Emily thought nothing of it at first, but it was the serious tone of her father’s voice that caused Emily to steadily grow more anxious as the day progressed. What was her father going to tell her?

Don’t worry about it too m

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Art by Olivia Smith

uch, okay?” Emily recalled the advice her best friend Mia gave that morning and tried to take it to heart as she unlocked the door and entered her house. Tossing her backpack onto the floor, she was about to head to the kitchen for a snack when she felt two hands on her shoulders. “Hi, Cupcake!”

Emily couldn’t help but smile when she heard her private nickname. Turning around and squeezing him in a big hug, she said, “Hey, Dad.”

Emily loved her father. He had raised her on his own, and they powered through good and bad times together. Most of her friends had both a mother and father, but Emily didn’t care; her loving and caring father was all she needed.

“I made you some fresh mac and cheese,” her dad said, walking towards the kitchen table, where his laptop sat. “Help yourself. I’ll be busy with work for a bit, so get started on your homework when you’re done, okay?”

Emily grabbed a bowl and scooped herself some macaroni. She heard her phone buzz with a text from Mia: “Well? What did he say????”

“Nothing yet,” Emily texted back. In truth, she was kind of glad that her father hadn’t said anything. Once she wolfed down her mac and cheese, she ran up to her room to start her homework.

Continue reading “Three’s a Company – Sai Kannekanti”

Chapstick – Sai Kannekanti

I whip you out with pride—

My sweet, loving Chapstick.

 

Always by my side,

you’ve never let me down—

effortlessly caressing my lips

blessing them with moisture.

 

Your mint exterior

makes my life beautiful every day.

 

But alas, life is never beautiful for long.

 

I pop open your cap,

eager to use you once again,

when fate intervenes.

 

A tear escapes my eye

slowly running down my cheek

as you shoot from your glossy jade casing

and stick to the filthy floor:

the point of no return.

 

Another tear falls

as I realize your smooth surface

will never grace my lips again.

 

Now, your brothers and sisters live on:

a rainbow of cylinders

lining the shelves of CVS

begging to serve me, to moisturize my lips once again

 

But deep within my heart, I know

it’ll never be the same.

Las Vegas – Gari Eberly

There’s coyotes yipping outside my window, but the darkness conceals them and their eyes don’t reflect light like I imagined in my head. Or maybe it’s just the Dover boys from down the street looking for a little excitement to escape this desert limbo. Maybe they meant something else when they said jackels cry like girls.

A neon glow bathes my room and I look outside and there you are, standing among the silhouettes of burnt oak trees. Your form is black and stilted and you fit in perfectly.

I’m surprised you found my house among the other beige bricks. We blend into the hills. The road between two houses is infinite and your only company is the petulant heat wave. The desert swallows all. Turn the bowls upside-down or there will be dust in them at morning.

I go outside and lie down on the cracked desert earth. The flimsy screen door slams shut. No coyotes in the night. It is still.

Your cigarette smoke coils upward as you turn over, exhaling nicotine bliss but leaving thick tar in your lungs. I say nothing, but curl my nose into your wind-whipped arm.

You’re the realest thing in Las Vegas, you say. That isn’t saying much.