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He's Just Way Too Into You: A Satirical Romance


I am no one special. I’m just a common woman with common thoughts and I've led a common life. I’ve never done anything exciting, unless you count surviving one of Al Gore’s presentations on global climate change and almost defeating Takeru Kobayashi in the Nathan’s hot dog eating competition. Although I’ve lived an ordinary life, I have one particularly extraordinary story.


It all started the winter my father and I left Colorado. My mom had just died of acute malaria, which she acquired while traveling the Antarctica Desert, and my dad thought it was too painful to live where we had spent our time with her. So, he forced me to move to Ridgemont, California. It was thoroughly depressing knowing that I had to deal with being the new girl in school and start a new life. However, this move to California ended up surprising me in many ways. To put it in a completely unambiguous manner, it was the worst thing I had to do, yet, at the same time, the best thing.

My first day of school at Ridgemont High was uncomfortable. It was hard for me to fit in, as everyone appeared to be in their own world and oblivious to everything happening around them. It didn’t appear as if anybody wanted to make friends with me, so I tried meeting people on my own at lunchtime in the cafeteria. After searching the room for potential pals, I noticed a group of individuals conversing. There was a chunky guy who wore glasses and a Ridgemont High Prodigy Club t-shirt, a plain-looking guy with a jersey and baseball cap, a girl with perfect posture decked out in designer clothing and jewelry, and a guy who was unnoticeable because he was looking through his bag. I decided to confront them in hopes that they’d allow me to join them for lunch.

Before saying anything, I waited until they were at a stopping point in their highly stimulating conversation.

“…and so I said, ‘CLEARLY, that is not the hydrogen isotope tritium,’” remarked the guy with glasses.

“Wow, Shayne. You really out-nerded yourself this time,” the girl responded.

I then introduced myself to the group and asked if it was okay to sit with them. They agreed and were very friendly and accepted me.

I felt especially included when the guy in the jersey introduced me to everyone: “This is Shayne. He’s pretty much the nerdiest guy you’ll ever meet. In his spare time, he calculates atomic masses and tries to cure cancer. And this is Ashley, the richest girl in school. Her dad invented the Snuggie, so she basically wipes herself with $50 bills. Next is Drew, the school’s badass. He’s been spendin’ most his life livin’ in a gangsta’s paradise. Some of his favorite activities include siphoning gas out of cop cars, starting kung-fu fights in obscure public places, and wrestling wolves. And that leaves me. Well, I’m John, your typical school jock. Although I’m an athlete, I aspire to excel in academics, as well. I’m enrolled in some of the most arduous courses on campus, like Coloring in the Lines 101 and Economics 220: Investing Wisely in Enron. I really look up to intelligent sportsmen, like Michael Vick and Terrell Pryor, and I’m fortunate enough to have the opportunity to study and play sports.”

John went on to describe himself, but I tuned him out after noticing Drew, as he looked up after going through his bag. It was a magical moment when I saw him for the first time. Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On” played in my head and drowned out all sounds happening in real life. I was immediately in love with Drew, and I immediately knew that I was going to be with him for the rest of my life immediately upon seeing him. Immediately.

The rest of lunch was uneventful. Ashley complaining that her butler, Chives, put her Nicois salad in a generic rather than designer brand of Tupperware was the most reportable incident, other than when I told my new friends why I moved to Ridgemont. They were very saddened by my mother’s death because she wrote all the popular rap music tracks like “I Kissed my Baby with my AK-47” and “I Want to Make Love in the Church Confessional.” I was really happy that I found friends who sympathized with and accepted me.


I was composing Czechoslovakian poetry and contemplating if the medial prefrontal cortex was associated with music improvisational skills when John and Drew came over for bro time. They made me mad, since I was on the verge of writing the greatest haiku of my life, but I still invited them inside to chat.

Being the manly men we were, we started our afternoon with a couple of Hungry Man frozen meals. As we devoured the masculine food that validated our maleness, we commenced a conversation about love. I finally admitted my true feelings for statistics. I declared that I cannot resist its normal distribution curves, and added that the probability of us getting together is 100%. After telling John and Drew about my love life, John proclaimed his love for Ashley. I told John that he should ask her out in a creative manner, such as the way Maverick approached Charlie in the movie Top Gun by obnoxiously singing a Righteous Brothers song. He disagreed with me, asserting, “Asking Ashley out would be more difficult than watching the Detroit Lions play football.”

Still on the subject of love, I told Drew that I thought Quinn liked him. He refused to believe me, insisting that someone who did not measure up to his “intense-as-camping level of badass” did not deserve to even be thinking about him.


While admiring the huge diamonds on my new Rolex, I heard the doorbell ring. My maid, Guadalupe, informed me that it was my new friend Quinn, who requested to hang out with me. Even though I was in the middle of important obligations, I figured that my 96-inch TV wasn’t going to watch itself, so I might as well spend time with company.

When Quinn arrived from my mansion’s entrance 45 minutes later, she told me that she really liked Drew. Wanting to end this conversation and do more exciting things, such as get people to sign my petition banning ugly people from my yacht club, I quickly gave Quinn advice and urged her to ask Drew to do Ridgemont’s talent show with her. She thought it was a great idea and told me that she’d ask him later that night.


I returned from a long day of robbing places, since I’m such a badass. Luckily, the gas stations from which I stole things didn’t suspect I was a thief, despite the fact that I wore panty hose over my head and held a bag with a large dollar sign on it. I was stealthy enough to take some beef jerky, watermelon bubblegum, and a couple of those hot dogs that roll around in the tiny oven.

I was so tired from doing my badass duties that all I wanted to do was sit around and admire my badassness. I couldn’t do this, however, due to Quinn coming to my house and wanting to have a talk. I figured she just wanted to talk to me to get some insight on being badass, but she actually surprised me: “Drew, I want you to know that I’m truly, madly, deeply in love with you. I love you more than people love unnecessarily adding extra letters to words on Facebook, more than VH1 loves producing crappy reality shows featuring Flava Flav, and more than America loves food,” she confessed. I then knew that she was seriously in love with me, but my feelings were not reciprocal and I didn’t see myself going anywhere with her. She asked me to do Ridgemont’s talent show with her, but I declined and made up an excuse that the talent show was simply not badass enough for me. She was devastated and stormed out of my house, crying uncontrollably.


I was having a personal discussion about the positives and negatives of Pete Carroll leaving USC when Ashley’s limo arrived at my house. In order to impress her, I picked up my free weights and started doing curls and counting from 900 when she entered. I was ecstatic, thinking that she was coming over to be with me, but she actually just wanted my advice for placing a bet on Sunday’s basketball game. As she turned to leave after our conversation, her personal mailman delivered her an urgent letter with her name on it. She read it aloud: “Dear Ashley, I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately. I’m writing this letter anonymously and anticipate that you will soon discover who is writing you the series of letters you’re about to receive. I hope you figure it out soon. P.S. I love you.” We were both shocked that she received this letter.


I busted through the door to my house, flustered and upset. Worse yet, I was sweating a purple color, but I figured that it was simply a byproduct of drinking Gatorade. Anyway, I saw my dad sitting at the kitchen table. He asked me why I looked so distressed and offered to watch Lifetime movies while eating ice cream with a shovel to appease my grief. I then told him all about my problems with Drew, and my dad subsequently explained that love is difficult and that nobody should have to worry about it at such a young age. He later suggested doing what he does to eradicate the chance of a faulty relationship: pay for love. When I thought that was infeasible, he offered less mature and reasonable advice and told me to put an act together and impress Drew at the school’s talent show. I consented, hugged him out of thankfulness for his advice, and then helped him make my favorite dinner, fried Twinkies with a side of cholesterol.


It was finally the night of the talent show. My friends were in weird moods when we sat around waiting for everything to begin. John was livid about having to miss a five-minute ESPN special on women’s basketball legends, Drew was upset because he had to be around people who weren’t up to his badass standards, and Ashley was confused about the second letter she received that day. It read, “Dear Ashley, I wanted to write you to let you know that I still think that you’re amazing. If you want to find out who I am, meet me at the lake tomorrow at 6 PM. I acknowledge that there are multiple lakes in Ridgemont, but it always works in the movies when someone gives ridiculously vague directions. I hope to see you tomorrow. P.S. I love you.” We were all excited that she’d finally get to meet this secret guy.

We were even more excited when the show started. Samuel L. Jackson ended up being the guest host, which was unsurprising, considering he seems to be involved with everything. He opened the show by complaining about the snakes that usurped the plane on his flight to Ridgemont, but then went on to introduce the acts. First up was Quinn with a poem that she dedicated to Drew, entitled “Ten Things I Don’t Necessarily Like About You.” The room fell silent and she appeared on stage. She crinkled her face when the spotlight shined on her and the microphone squeaked when she approached it. After what seemed like hours of watching her swallow hard and clear her throat out of nervousness, she read:

“I don’t like that you are badass,

I don’t like that you don’t care.

I don’t like that you have an incredible physique,

And I especially don’t like your gorgeous blonde hair.

I don’t like that you are daring,

I don’t like your troublesome style.

I don’t like that you are everything I’m not,

And that you won’t even look at me and smile.

I don’t like that you don’t like me,

You won’t even accompany me in the show,

But I just want you, Drew, to realize,

That I like you more than you’ll ever know.”

After her poetry reading, she ran backstage and Drew followed.


Quinn’s poem was beautiful, other than its pathetic use of iambic pentameter and amateur rhyme scheme. She was magical, and after she ran offstage when her poem was over, I had to run after her to tell her how much I loved her. “Quinn, I thought you were amazing tonight. I…I love you.”

We were clearly infatuated with each other and I asked Quinn out on a date to show her how much I really cared for her. She agreed, and I couldn’t wait to finally put my badass ways behind me and settle down with this incredible person.


I waited forever for the author of those letters. I was getting agitated because I wanted to sit in my Jacuzzi filled with Perrier and he was taking a long time to show up. Singer Tom Petty really hit the nail on the head when he proclaimed that the waiting is the hardest part.

I was about to leave, when, all of a sudden, John showed up, holding a piece of paper and reading it. “Dear Ashley, I hope you understand that I was the one who has written you the series of letters. I truly believe that you are the one for me. P.S. I love you.”

I didn’t know what to say to him. All I knew was that my parents would never allow me to date some upper middle-class garbage. Panicked and in shock, I threw the letter down and fled the scene.


I was so excited to get ready for my date with Drew. I felt bad, though, because I canceled plans I made previously with my dad to watch the Golden Girls marathon. He was upset that I was going on a date and questioned Drew’s intentions and doubted his extreme level of badass. I explained to him that Drew was badder than Michael Jackson and that, if he were President, he’d be James BADison. He disapprovingly shook his head and told me that I’d probably have a terrible time on my date.


Even though I didn’t act as badass as I usually act on our date, it was still amazing. I took Quinn to the most upscale and lavish restaurant in town, McDonald’s. I acknowledged that it had a snobby, Ashley-like environment, but I wanted to take her somewhere nice to prove I loved her. We had the most remarkable entrees for dinner. We shared the dollar menu pseudo-chicken nuggets and the 99-cent McLardAss sandwich. We were smart and ordered diet drinks to complement our meals to avoid too many calories at once. For dessert, we each had rock-hard expired apple pies. They were delectable and satisfying, even though they appeared as if someone stepped on them, and I lost a bicuspid while gnawing at one of the pastries. Needless to say, dinner was astounding, but it was most definitely not the best part of the date; Quinn wins the award for that. It was truly an excellent evening and everything was going smoothly, until I opened my big mouth.

I knew that I was going to be with Quinn forever, so I couldn’t keep my secret from her any longer. After asking her to marry me, I got up the courage to tell her about my health issue. I explained that I was diagnosed with a cold the day prior and that it was terminal. I started crying for the first time in my life when I revealed this information and she ran away from me, frustrated that she could potentially lose the love of her life at any time. I felt terrible and hoped that my illness would not keep Quinn from being with and loving me.


I went to Shayne’s house in one of my custom-made Lamborghini Gallardos to talk to him about my situation with John. His front door was open, so I let myself in, only to find him making out with a textbook at a candlelit table with Barry White resonating in the background. He asserted that it was not what it looked like and that he was not trying to lure his textbook into putting out, despite his valiant efforts to create a romantic scene. I didn’t ask questions, as he stated that he was just a man standing in front of a textbook, asking it to love him.

When we finally sat down to talk, I told him all about John and what my parents would think of him. I confessed that I had feelings for John and that I would date him and go against my parents’ wishes if I wasn’t the heiress to their Snuggie fortune. I would do anything for love, but I won’t do that. Shayne told me to follow my heart, which was the best and most original advice I’ve ever received. I’m very fortunate to have such amazing people like Shayne to help guide me in the right direction.


I was horrified and ran home to my dad. He wasn’t surprised at all when I came home in tears. He was stunned, however, when I told him the reason I was upset. I explained Drew’s illness and he instantly knew how I felt. When my mom was sick, he, too, was dazed and confused, much like Led Zeppelin.

Later that night, when I sat with my dad as he knitted and baked pies, an idea occurred to him. He suggested that perhaps I should ask the doctors about giving Drew medicine for his cold. Even if it was a crazy idea, he figured he’d throw it out there.


After I got done playing the new Madden video game, a letter came for me. It said, “Dear John, I thought about everything you said and realized that you’re the one for me. P.S. I love you, too.” Immediately after reading it aloud, Ashley entered the room and confessed her feelings and expressed that she thought it was cute that we exchanged letters via mail, rather than text message or instant messaging. Now that I think about it, it would’ve been much more convenient, especially since I have the Blackberry Storm, which has excellent mobile-to-mobile messaging with no hidden fees or Internet costs.

Anyway, we were obviously in love and quickly took part in the most intimate, romantic event that two people can experience: shaking hands.


Drew rudely interrupted me when I was arduously studying my thesaurus. Even though I was bitter and annoyed, I listened to what he had to say: “I told Quinn everything, and she ran away afterwards. I’m scared of losing her forever.”

I couldn’t believe he told Quinn about his cold so soon. I mean, he just told me about it, and I’ve been his friend since we were mere embryos. I didn’t have time to get upset with him, though, because he started sneezing and coughing uncontrollably. I was thoroughly afraid that he was suffering from severe cold effects. I tried giving him a tissue, but it appeared as if that was not enough. I hastily took him to the emergency room, praying that he would be okay.


We all met at the hospital to visit Drew after he was stabilized. He really looked awful. His nose was red, his bloodshot eyes were watery and droopy, and his skin was grotesquely pale and clammy. Worst of all, the designer hospital gown I ordered for him wasn’t supposed to arrive until the next day, so the unattractive knockoff from the hospital made him look even more disgusting. Seeing him in such a condition made me fear for the life of my dear friend. He was one of the best friends money could buy.

We were hanging out with him for what seemed like hours. Everything was fine until he suddenly got into a coughing and sneezing fit. He just couldn’t stop, and my friends and I were truly horrified.


Drew ended up being fine that day. Between his severe attacks from the cold, I proposed to the doctors that Drew should receive some medicine. They took my advice and tried 200 milligrams of Claritin and Benadryl, and his health improved exponentially within a couple of days. I was so happy that my dad told me about the medicine, and was more grateful for him than ever. Despite hating him for making me move to Ridgemont, I loved him for helping Drew survive.


Ten years later, I remain friends with the group I met at Ridgemont. Drew and I got married shortly after he recovered from his cold. Sadly, we had a short-lived marriage, as he died three years after our wedding of choking on a pancake. Although it was a heartbreaking event, I had my group of friends and, more prominently, illegal anti-depressants, to help me through everything.

Ashley is still rolling in the dough, due to her recent success with television producing. Her new hit show, Jersey Shore, made her a ton of money and a multi-billionaire. She stays humble, though, and donates much of her fortune to the Cold Rehabilitation Association for People (CRAP). She is still with John and stays busy lounging by the pool at her European summer home, hanging out at her country club, and hiring people to chew her food.

John is living the dream as a professional athlete. He plays on professional teams for important and popular sports, like billiards, ping-pong, and underwater basket weaving. Unfortunately, his career is most likely over, due to accusations of escaping murder in a white Ford Bronco.

Shayne graduated valedictorian at MIT and is currently the youngest doctor in history. Aside from academics, he ended up having trouble in paradise with the statistics book after his infidelity with a physics lab manual. Fortunately, he rekindled the relationship after holding a boombox that played love music outside of his lover’s bedroom window while wearing a trench coat and t-shirt featuring The Clash.

My dad and I became closer than ever and continue to do our favorite activities, like have Hallmark Channel movie nights and make quilts.

As for me, I’m content knowing that I successfully transferred schools and met the most amazing people in the world. Looking back on my experience with my group of friends, we undoubtedly had some fast times at Ridgemont High.

Skipping the Fourth of July: A Parody by Ashlee Kucinski

A Parody

Lex and Laura Trank hugged their daughter Claire one last time before she had to board the airplane to Huevos Rancheros, Mexico for her summer internship with Hooters.

“I’m gonna miss you guys so much! I’m especially sad that I’ll miss the big Fourth of July party next week,” Claire stated.

“We’re going to miss you, too. The rest of the summer won’t be the same without you,” Laura replied.

Although Lex and Laura were sad that their daughter would be gone for July and August, they were satisfied knowing that she was going to do charitable work in a completely safe environment and have the world’s cleanest water and most abundant, lavish resources. After their tearful last encounter, the Tranks watched their little girl, all grown up, walk onto the plane, after getting through about 75 security checks.

The car ride home was depressing and unpleasant. The Tranks felt melancholy and irritable. Laura originally attributed these feelings to the Krispy Kreme-and-bacon sandwiches she ate at the airport, but she later realized that she was upset about her daughter being away.

“Lex, what are we going to do with ourselves when Claire is gone? It’s going to be a tough summer,” Laura sighed.

Lex felt horrible about his wife’s sadness. He knew that she couldn’t spend the majority of the summer in a state of unhappiness. He already dealt with that disaster when she was going through menopause. Yikes. He knew he had to come up with something to cheer her up and help her have an exciting and memorable summer.

Failing to think of a worthy idea, Lex became distracted by the hustle and bustle of the town. He noticed several attractions and buildings, like the M.C. Hammer Talent Agency, a pizza business advertising its new and innovative round boxes, and a grocery store for anorexics. Farther down the road, he saw something that gave him an excellent idea: an advertisement for a laser tag place that was located just a few miles from their home.

“Laura, look at that!”

“Look at what?”

“That…right there! The laser tag sign.”

“What about it, Lex?”

“Don’t you think it’d be fun to play laser tag for a few hours in the afternoon?”

Laura looked confused. “Well, of course it’d be fun. It’d be a party and a half. Unfortunately, we can’t afford to have that kind of fun,” she explained.

“I know, but I have a plan. An amazing plan. It’s a better plan than Martha Stewart’s plan to handle her finances,” Lex bragged. “We skip the Fourth of July.”

“Skip the Fourth of July?!” Laura wrinkled her face and reacted quickly to his suggestion. She rambled on, stating reasons why Lex’s idea was severely ridiculous, but Lex interrupted with what he considered logical reasoning: “Look, every year, we spend a ton of money on fireworks, little American flags to stick in the yard, and hot dogs and hamburgers for our annual neighborhood barbecue. Sometimes, we even have to splurge and buy turkey dogs if Mary Johnson decides she’s too good for beef. Anyway, with Claire not here, it’ll be depressing to host our big barbecue and celebrate the holiday. We owe it to ourselves to take the money we would’ve wasted on a party that would be celebrated without Claire and use it on something to make our Independence Day fun and exciting.”

Laura was doubtful at first. The Fourth of July was such a big holiday for the Tranks and their neighborhood. Plus, it was only a week away and the neighbors would be furious if they found out that the plans for the party would be called off at the last minute. Despite this, the more she thought about it, the more Laura agreed with Lex. A holiday without Claire would be like a bubble tea restaurant without Asian customers. Although hesitant about her decision, Laura consented to Lex’s request and told him that it was purely because of Claire that she would not be celebrating her favorite July holiday.

“That’s my girl! We’re gonna have the time of our lives! I love you, Laura,” Lex excitedly proclaimed. Laura half-smiled and stared out the window for the remainder of the drive home.

While Lex was at work the next day, he was ridiculed and frequently called a Communist when his coworkers found out that he was skipping the upcoming holiday. They threw things like office documents, staplers, and fax machines at him out of disgust for his ignorance. Despite his fellow employees’ hostility, he remained in good spirits, keeping his eye on the prize. In a week, he’d be running throughout the grimy laser tag warehouse and having a blast zapping others to death with the love of his life. Nothing could change his optimistic attitude.

Laura also experienced disapproval of her skipping the holiday when she went out to lunch with her friends. All she wanted to do was have a nice, light lunch consisting of deep-dish pizza, a rack of ribs smothered in barbecue sauce, French fries with lots of vinegar, and chocolate-covered onion rings, but her friends’ negative comments ruined her feast. “It’s not that big of a deal, guys. You’re acting as if I’ve done something terrible, like cancel The Real World or something. Gosh!” Laura was livid at her friends’ failure to respect her decision, but she sympathized with them when they were angry about not being able to play with sparklers or throw those little paper things that make obnoxious popping noises when they hit the ground at the Tranks’ annual barbecue this year. Nevertheless, she maintained that they would just have to accept it and get on with life.

That night, the Tranks experienced their neighbors’ aggravation to an unfathomable degree. First, the phone rang and the neighbor kid, Bartholomew “Burr” Oscarmeyer, demanded that they release their plastic Uncle Sam decoration, which every house in the neighborhood displays on their lawn. Lex immediately hung up the phone and cursed the annoying boy. He couldn’t believe that a kid who wears Scooby Doo t-shirts and Velcro light-up shoes had the audacity to confront him about his personal choices.

Next, two war veterans rang the Tranks’ doorbell and asked if they would like to purchase a disabled veteran action figure set to support a fund for those who fought for the country. The Tranks immediately declined and begged the veterans to leave them alone.

Finally, Lex and Laura were particularly irritated with the annoying residue that the Doritos they were eating for dinner left behind. Those darn tortilla chips are a bigger mess than Britney Spears, they thought.

Lex and Laura didn’t have time to worry about all their annoyances, though, because Claire called for the first time since her departure to give an update.

“Hi, mommy and daddy! I miss you!”

“Claire! We miss you, too! We miss you more than Shaquille O’Neil misses free throws,” replied Lex.

The phone call proceeded with a highly stimulating conversation about all the exciting things Claire encountered in Mexico and the amazing academic and professional opportunities she experienced at Hooters. She bragged about learning the difference between spicy wings and honey chipotle wings and her parents almost broke down in tears at the news of their daughter’s immense success. Moreover, they were very happy that she found a boyfriend, Rico Suave. From Claire’s description, the couple seemed to be getting along famously and Lex and Laura were proud of their daughter for getting acclimated to a foreign country so quickly.

Their happiness ended the next day when the neighborhood rebellion commenced once again. When Lex went outside to his car to go to work, some neighborhood residents gathered and sang a patriotic song medley. Laura’s attempt to leave the house involved Burr holding up picket signs to release the Uncle Sam lawn decoration. Some other neighborhood kids took advantage of the protest and expressed their disregard for other things and brandished signs saying, “LSD is right for me! Legalize drugs!” and “No way, Jose: Ban Illegal Immigration!” Laura was so upset that these kids were on her property that she hired Clint Eastwood to tell them to get off the lawn.

Lex and Laura met at their favorite restaurant, Old Country Buffet, for lunch to discuss a plan of action for avoiding the neighbors. However, they couldn’t focus on their objective, as they were too distracted by the goodness of the food they devoured. Who wouldn’t be totally immersed in palatable week-old “chicken” and heart attack-inducing macaroni and cheese?

After finishing his lunch, Lex came up with an idea: they should spend the afternoon doing things in preparation for the big laser tag event to take their minds off the obnoxious neighbors. After all, they hadn’t yet bought any laser tag supplies, and it was basal that they flaunt awesome gear when playing the game. To ensure an ideal laser-tagging extravaganza, Lex and Laura went to Sedentary Sporting Goods and searched for appropriate equipment.

When at the store, they tried on various laser tag vests until they found the perfect pair. After that, they sought to buy the ultimate laser gun. They pointed different guns at each other to see how they felt. Unfortunately, their priest, Father Judas, saw them running around with the fake guns and simulating killing each other when he was window-shopping outside of the store. The Tranks were thoroughly embarrassed, but they weren’t going to let anything ruin the excitement and anticipation of the exciting and anticipated laser tag event.

Later that evening, the Tranks proved Adidas wrong, as the impossible happened. When the Tranks were sitting around and watching their favorite movie, Spice World: The Spice Girls’ Movie, they received a phone call that would change their lives. It was Claire.

“Hi, mommy and daddy! I have a surprise for you! I’m coming home for the Fourth of July!”

The Tranks immediately rejoiced, but their euphoria was short-lived, as they remembered that they decided to neglect the holiday festivities in order to pursue a laser tag fun day. As Claire went on to describe that she would be arriving the next evening, July fourth, and that she was going to bring her new boyfriend to experience one of the best holidays dedicated to America’s independence, Lex and Laura felt sick. When Claire asked if they were having the annual Fourth of July neighborhood barbecue, they had to tell her that they “are, of course, going to have it!” Claire was ecstatic and boasted that she couldn’t wait for all the holiday festivities, especially the Uncle Sam lawn decoration and the war veteran action figures.

Upon hearing this, Lex and Laura panicked. They looked at each other in disbelief and paced back and forth quickly out of shock. Nevertheless, they masked their feelings and assured their loving daughter that she would have her desired holiday celebration when she returned home. After Lex nervously agreed to meet her and Rico at the airport, Claire hung up, as she had to go take care of last-minute Hooters obligations before she had to leave her internship for the holiday.

“Holy Applesauce! We have so much to do to get ready for the big party!” Laura shrieked.

Lex shot her a disapproving look: “What party? Honey, we’re supposed to spend tomorrow having the time of our lives at That’s a Zap! Laser Tag Emporium. We can’t have a party. Can’t we just drop Claire off at your mom’s house?”

Laura responded, “Lex! No! We are having this party and we’re having it tomorrow! Besides, my mother is in a bingo tournament tomorrow. It’s pretty intense. It’s even being broadcast on ESPN 87: Geriatric Athletics. She’s been so occupied with all this tournament preparation that she won’t even answer her awesome new Jitterbug cell phone when I call her.”

Although Lex was disappointed and furious because of his inability to take part in laser tag, he knew that Claire deserved to have the best holiday party, due to her hard work and excellence with her internship. He decided to ignore his laser tag sorrow for the moment and help Laura get everything in order for the neighborhood barbecue. They had a lot of work to do.

First, Laura went to the market to buy the food. She bought everything on the list, and even found cool extra things like vegetarian meat lover’s pizza and gluten-free flour. However, she was unable to obtain the most important thing on the list: Taco Bell. She wanted to make Rico feel at home by having authentic Mexican food, but, alas, the upscale restaurant was closed, due to observance of the holiday. After all, it was a purely Americanized food joint.

Lex was also having issues with getting things ready. He forgot that he sent his grill to Nelly, the rapper, for inspiration for his ingenious and brilliantly written hit, “Grillz.” He was irate that he would have to find a grill at the last minute. He went to visit his friend, George Foreman, down the street and begged to borrow his grill. Although it was small and would cause the food to take until the end of the Cenozoic era to be done cooking, it was one lean, mean, fat-eliminating machine. He was grateful for his friend’s benevolence and quickly hurried back home to set up decorations for the party.

When Laura pulled in the driveway, she was in a terrible mood, due to not being able to find the Mexican cuisine. Lex noticed that she looked upset and tried to comfort her by showing her the great job he did with obtaining a useable grill on such short notice, but she was unimpressed. She began to have a meltdown and Mr. Hands, the neighborhood pedophile, saw her in pain and began to worry. Being the president of the neighborhood committee, he called all the neighbors into the street to help his fellow resident.

“Neighbors, it appears as if the Tranks are in trouble. As their neighbors, it is our duty to help them. I know that they haven’t been the best of neighbors, and they even went as far as refusing to celebrate this holiday out of pure selfishness, but we should help them for Claire. Claire has always assisted us in many ways. She baked cookies for new neighborhood residents. She brought us soup and crackers and Mydol when we were sick. She babysat our kids when we were having affairs and committing adultery. Anyway, yesterday, the Tranks learned that she’s coming home tonight and that she expects the annual big barbecue and party that annually happens every year on a once-a-year basis. Now, as a neighborhood, let us adhere to the Beatles’ command and come together! Let’s help them make this a great party both for us and for Claire!”

The neighbors cheered, then quickly responded to Mr. Hands’ speech by hurrying home to make food, gather decorations, and do everything they could to make the party immaculate. The war veterans even agreed to go to the airport in their army tank to pick up Claire and Rico so that Lex and Laura could spend time getting things ready for the party.

Lex and Laura quickly changed into tacky patriotic shirts. While Laura was excited about getting to see her daughter and have a great party with her neighbors, Lex returned to his state of depression after remembering his past plans to play laser tag. Laura couldn’t believe his ignorance and scolded him for being so immature. She didn’t let him bother her, nonetheless, because she was too excited about Claire’s homecoming.

At the airport, the veterans found Claire and Rico and explained the situation to them. Luckily, Claire recognized them from their previous appearances at her house when they sold action figures in past years and agreed to ride home with them. The veterans tried to make Rico feel welcome by telling him that he was a handsome young man and promising him that they would vote for Pedro.

Meanwhile, at the Tranks’ house, everyone was ready for Claire to arrive. The food looked great, the decorations looked great, and the guests looked, well, mediocre, but sufficient. When Claire and Rico finally arrived, they were extremely pleased with the party, and they had no idea that the whole thing was thrown together in less than a few hours.

Everyone mingled and had a great time. Lex and Laura met and were very contented with Rico, despite his vast criminal record, street cred as a drug dealer, and inability to speak a word of English. To express her satisfaction with the party’s success, Laura commenced a speech and proposed a toast to thank everyone for being such great neighbors. Lex, on the other hand, didn’t have anything to say and remained speechless. Literally!

Laura brought him aside afterwards and scolded him for being so ungrateful to their community for all the work they put forth and for sacrificing to help them. She was thoroughly embarrassed that he couldn’t say even a simply “thank you” to everyone for helping him give his daughter the perfect party. He didn’t seem to care, though, and insisted that it was not too late to make it to the laser tag emporium. Laura grunted and stormed away from him, waving her hands in the air like she just don’t care.

Lex sat alone for a while and just watched everyone at the party celebrate with each other. Everyone looked happy and the party was wonderful. However, he noticed something unusual. Burr sat by himself, looking down at his Velcro shoes with cartoon characters on them, and remained quiet and seemingly upset. Though at first hesitant about approaching him, Lex decided to talk to Burr and fathom his troubles.

Burr explained that he had gotten a paper cut and that he was in too much pain to enjoy the party. Lex acknowledged his agony and felt deep sympathy for his ex-enemy, the annoying pest of a neighbor. He was about to walk away from the kid when he looked down at his pocket and noticed the laser tag passes. He sighed deeply and did something that he never thought he’d ever be able to do.

“Look, Burr, I know we don’t have the best relationship, but I want to make things better between us. You really helped my wife and me with the party and everything, and I want to make sure that we’re on good terms. We’re neighbors, and, like State Farm, I want to be there for you. We’re going to have to celebrate the Fourth of July together for many years to come, and I don’t want some stupid immature feud between us to spoil the best holiday there is. It’s bad enough that you have to deal with that nasty paper cut.

“Burr, I’d like you to take these laser tag passes as a gift from Laura and me. I know it seems like too much to give one person, but you deserve these. Take one of your friends along and have a good time.”

“Wow, Mr. Trank! Thanks! This is the best gift anyone’s ever given me, other than a gift card to Victoria’s Secret. This is amazing!”

Lex and Burr returned to the party after their heart-to-heart conflict resolution. Lex smiled as Burr flaunted the passes to his friends. He felt happy knowing that he was responsible for making someone other than himself happy, and Laura noticed this from across the room. When she figured out what he had done with the passes, she ran over to her husband and showed him how much she appreciated his generosity and compassion that he never showed before by obnoxiously making out with him, much like at midnight after watching the ball drop on Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve special. The fireworks began simultaneously, adding to the Hallmark nature of the moment. At that instant, Lex realized that he had everything he could ever want: helpful and reliable neighborhood friends, a successful daughter with an upstanding boyfriend, and a loving wife. Furthermore, he realized that he never would’ve felt this happy if he had gone through with the dumbest plan he’s ever had: skipping the Fourth of July.



Two college students, MELISSA and nerdy IVAN, are dressed in all black; half covered from the waist down in sleeping bags. They sit atop a comforter with flashlights, and a deck of cards scattered in front of them.

MELISSA: James better get his rump out here soon, I’m freezing.

IVAN: (gasps)


IVAN: You just called him James!


IVAN: So... We agreed not to call him exclusively by his first name until we got to know him a little bit better.

MELISSA: Ivan, I’m the president of the James Gandolfini fan club, I can call him whatever I like!

IVAN: But just because you’re the president you can’t just...make up rules... we had a pact, Melissa. You can call him James Gandolfini, or just Mr. Gandolfini... don’t call him James until he says to you, “Call me James.”

MELISSA: You know that I could demote you for talking to the president that way.

IVAN: There’s only two people in the club!

MELISSA: Still, I could revoke your vice presidency.

IVAN: I was merely trying to say respect the name “Gandolfini.” You can’t have the “James” without the “Gandolfini.”

Ivan picks up a handful of cards, and then resumes playing.

IVAN: Do you have any sevens?

MELISSA: Go fish.

Ivan draws a card from the pile. They sit in an awkward silence for a few seconds, as he stares at her.

IVAN: Aren’t you supposed to say something?

MELISSA: What? Oh, oh right... got any fives?

IVAN: (in a half-baked Jersey accent) “Go sleep with the fishes!”

MELISSA: Excuse me?

IVAN: (sheepishly) It’s what Tony Soprano would say.

MELISSA: I don’t think Tony Soprano sits around playing Go Fish. He’s a big TV star.

Ivan slaps down his cards.

IVAN: Well, now you’re drawing a divide here. Maybe James Gandolfini doesn’t play Go Fish, because yes, as you said, he’s a big TV and movie star, so he probably has a lot on his plate and he just can’t find the time. On the other hand, I predict that Tony Soprano, his character on the show, would absolutely play Go Fish, because he’s a big time mobster. Those guys all revel in winning large amounts of money in their card games, and he had to start somewhere.

MELISSA: Look at us. Sitting in a tent, on a freezing cold night. Barely two inches above a soaking wet lawn. Fighting over the logistics of an imaginary character.

IVAN: (snaps his fingers) You know what’s wrong! We haven’t said the mantra today.

MELISSA: Oh, Ivan, we don’t need to say the mantra.

IVAN: Yes, we do. We need to get into the Gandolfini spirit. You know we’re supposed to say it right before we go to bed, and seeing as tonight’s exceptionally special and we may NOT be going to bed...

MELISSA: Okay, fine.


MELISSA: Great actor.

IVAN: Greater man. Oh, it’s true.

MELISSA: That...was pointless...

Ivan picks up his cards again, and then looks at Melissa, waiting for her to follow his lead. She doesn’t, and merely sits there with her arms folded, staring in the opposite direction.

IVAN: Got any fours? Sorry, I take that back. Threes? Do you have any threes?

MELISSA: Oh, come on, Ivan, I don’t want to play Go Fish anymore.

IVAN: What else is there to do?

MELISSA: We could sit. And wait. Quietly.

IVAN: You don’t want to play the James Gandolfini trivia game?

MELISSA: Not really.

IVAN: I thought of something the other day. The name Gandolfini makes me think of Gandalf. From “Lord of The Rings.” Like what if James Gandolfini had played Gandalf for the movie instead of Ian McKellen. Did you know Ian McKellen is gay? I didn’t know that until I read his IMDB page. Remember when James Gandolfini played a gay man in that movie The Mexican?

MELISSA: Haven’t seen it.

IVAN: Oh, well, good movie. I bet those two men would have a lot to talk about if they sat down some time.


IVAN: Do you know what we should do some time? Me and you? I can’t believe we haven’t done this yet. I would suggest a Sopranos viewing party, but those are a little bit clich�d. What about just a James Gandolfini movie viewing party? I could host it in the dorm sometime, and ...

MELISSA: I’m sorry... he really isn’t a movie star. More of a TV guy.

IVAN: He’s done movies.

MELISSA: Not that many...

IVAN: Did you see Where the Wild Things Are?

MELISSA: Yeah, what does that have to do with anything?

IVAN: Well, he was in that.

MELISSA: He was? When?

IVAN: He played Carol! And you know what, unlike some actors who do kids movies just for the money and phone it in, he actually played Carol. When they were filming he had to wear the gigantic suit and head and everything.

MELISSA: I wasn’t paying too much attention to it. I don’t remember names or anything but I thought Carol was a girl?

IVAN: What? No, he wasn’t a girl!

MELISSA: Isn’t Carol a girl’s name?

IVAN: No! Not only a girl’s name! Carol was played by James Gandolfini. I can’t believe you didn’t make the connection that Carol was James Gandolfini; Carol was exactly like Tony Soprano with like, horns and fur. Few actors can pull that off you know, that sort of brutish charm combined with a little bit of a scary edge...that was a scary movie, too!

MELISSA: Scary? Please.

IVAN: Scary for kids!

MELISSA: I saw it with my baby cousin and she almost fell asleep. Not a successful scare-fest for your friend Tony Soprano.

IVAN: What has gotten into you today? For a president of the James Gandolfini fan club, you’re not acting all that proud of the fact we’re at the man’s house. Any minute now he could open up his blinds, realize we are sitting on his lawn and come give us a warm welcome.

MELISSA: I think this has gone a bit far. You do realize we’re on private property, right? This is illegal.

IVAN: I know it’s illegal. Although I usually abide by the rules, I recognized how awesome this opportunity was and fully ignored that. Come on, there’s no police around. It’s three in the morning.

MELISSA: I don’t know what I’m doing. Maybe I should just forget the whole thing. You know what? I’m taking a leave of absence. The club is yours. You can be president of the James Gandolfini fan doesn’t matter to me.

IVAN: You don’t think James Gandolfini is awesome anymore?

MELISSA: He’s okay...I guess? It was stupid to come here and camp out on his lawn and expect...

IVAN: So why are you here, Melissa?

MELISSA: I really don’t know. I’m kind of bored, to be honest.

IVAN: You’re not even the least bit excited by the fact you’re sitting on a celebrity’s lawn? It doesn’t even matter to you a tiny bit that a multi-millionaire with a face that screams recognition could be standing fifty feet away from us? This is James Gandolfini we’re talking about!

MELISSA: I honestly never really thought he’d be that cool to meet in person.

IVAN: What?

MELISSA: (shrugs) He’s always a jerk on TV. I just figured he’d be kind of a dick.

IVAN: You can say what you like about James Gandolfini, but he is a good man. A great man. He’s famous and rich but he is not the least bit conceited...he’s humble about his fame. I read an interview with him where he literally stated that acting is no different than any other job. He is hard working, he’s been married twice...he has a child! James Gandolfini is just like any one of us except he has done something with his life and he is AWESOME.

MELISSA: If he’s so soft and cuddly, why did he pick a role that basically painted him out to be TV’s biggest a-hole?

IVAN: He’s just an actor. Sometimes you’ve got to against the Hollywood grind. Somebody needs to play the unpopular roles. Trust me, he’s not like that. He describes himself as a 260-pound Woody Allen, he does have a shy, quirky sense of humour!

MELISSA: But he said it himself. He’s just an actor. He’s just a man who acts! Why are you so obsessed with him?

IVAN: I’m not obsessed. Sometimes a guy just needs a hobby. I could quit Gandolfini any time.

MELISSA: You talk about him like he’s a drug.

IVAN: Maybe he is.

Another silence follows, while Ivan moves some of his card piles into a bigger one, and then shuffles them a little bit.

IVAN: You’re done with these cards, right?


IVAN: The tournament’s over?

MELISSA: I think so. You won it. Do you want to just go home?

IVAN: What’ve you been playing at, Melissa? Why did you start this James Gandolfini fan club if you really don’t care for the man? I mean, what was the point of it all? The presidential position? The vice presidential position? The mantra, the badges, the name tags... all for a man you don’t particularly like?

MELISSA: Fine. Here it is. When we met in film class six months ago, do you remember our teacher’s first question of the day ...the very first thing she ever asked us?

IVAN: Uh...

MELISSA: She asked us who our favourite actor was. You were sitting right next to me. You said James Gandolfini. I remember I laughed quite hard. Because I just thought it was so random. He’s not particularly prominent in movies, or anything...

IVAN: But he’s an actor...

MELISSA: It just struck me as an odd choice. We were in film class, he’s not a big film guy.

IVAN: Well, I just explained to you the qualities that I liked about him.

MELISSA: I know. That’s great. I think it’s great that your choice was so different than everyone else’s. That’s when I knew you were a funny guy. That’s something that’s really important to me. And I decided to make this James Gandolfini fan club...yes, it is entirely a joke.

IVAN: To make fun of me.

MELISSA: No, not to make fun of you! To get to know you! Those fan club lunches we’ve had together...I’ve had fun with those. You might not know it, but you are one of the funniest people I know, Ivan. Thank you for taking me camping with you.

She leans a little bit closer to him. He pretends not to notice. She leans a little bit closer again, about to kiss him, but he moves out of her reach.

IVAN: Oh. Well, that can’t happen.

MELISSA: (taken aback) Why?

IVAN: I have a girlfriend.

MELISSA: You do?

IVAN: Yep, her name is Kelly. She’s a Social Studies student. An S.S.S. She’s actually in the year ahead of us, so maybe you don’t know her.


IVAN: Does that surprise you?

MELISSA: You’re actually not lying. I know that because if you were lying you would have waited to say that until after I kissed you.

IVAN: No, I’m not lying.

MELISSA: Well, I hope that goes well for you.

IVAN: It really is. Thanks.

MELISSA: Okay, provided that didn’t work out tonight, which it obviously...didn’t... I admit that I did have a backup plan.

IVAN: Let’s hear it...

MELISSA: Okay, I just funny would it be if we actually got to met him?

IVAN: Well, that’s what we were trying to do!

MELISSA: You were really, actually, expecting to meet him? You didn’t doubt whatsoever that he would look out his window at three in the morning and peer down his fifty foot front lawn and see us here?

IVAN: I was hoping.

MELISSA: I just thought this would be a really funny story to tell one day. Like, what if we just ran right up to his front door, knocked on it, and he answered, and invited us in?

IVAN: That would be amazing.

MELISSA: Then once we’re inside, I turn on the charm and get him to pour us a drink. Then I just grab a bottle of whatever he’s pouring, probably some rich Italian-man type liquor, and just RUN.

IVAN: That’s theft.

MELISSA: It would be so funny. Then we could just laugh and drink and laugh and I could finally claim, after nearly three years, I finally have one hilarious college memory.

IVAN: You only came camping with me so you could get drunk?

MELISSA: Oh yeah, I’m thirsty. And since my first plan went out the window...I want to drown my sorrows over you.

IVAN: That is so stupid. I’m not going to ruin my chances of being on friendly terms with the man for that.

MELISSA: I am camping in James Gandolfini's backyard, and I refuse to move until he forfeits his entire liquor stash.

IVAN: Why would he do that? He’s a rich man but I hardly think he’ll just start giving away expensive bottles of alcohol...

MELISSA: I don’t know. Let’s go up there. It’s worth a try.

IVAN: No, it really isn’t.

MELISSA: What if you got in a fight with James Gandolfini? Wouldn’t that give you some sort of mad superiority complex? Like, you finally defeated the thing you love most in this world. You could say you beat a strong He-man like Tony Soprano.

IVAN: Why would I want to fight him? I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, he’s awesome. I don’t fight awesome people.

MELISSA: What if, what if he picked a fight with you?

IVAN: I just told you, he’s a very tame person. Unlike Tony Soprano in many ways.

MELISSA: Maybe things would be a little bit different with expensive alcohol involved. If I was having a pricy bottle of Italian wine stolen from me I think I would turn a little bit violent. If James Gandolfini was chasing me as I evacuated his house with a bottle of stolen of Brunello or something, and he tried to beat me up, would you do something about it? Would you show him who’s boss?

IVAN: What are you talking about?

MELISSA: You wouldn’t do that for me, Ivan? You wouldn’t be my saviour?

IVAN: Who are we kidding? I could never beat James Gandolfini in a fight. Let’s go home.

MELISSA: So you’ve given up on trying to catch a glimpse of him?

IVAN: It’s cold. He’s probably asleep. I can admire him from my TV set any time instead.

Ivan gets out of his sleeping bag and starts rolling it up. He shuffles the cards and puts them back in their box. Melissa follows his lead, and the two of them spend the remainder of their time on the stage space cleaning up.

IVAN: Are we at least in agreement that The Sopranos was a great show?

MELISSA: Yeah, it was a good show.

IVAN: Greatest show of all time.

Long, awkward pause

IVAN: To the very end.

MELISSA: Well, not really, Ivan. Good show on the whole, but not to the very end.

IVAN: No, to the very end!

MELISSA: Okay, I agree with you that the show used to be pretty good, but I hardly watched the last three seasons because the time between them was just getting ridiculous.

IVAN: You didn’t even WATCH them?

MELISSA: Not all of it.

IVAN: Well, it was worth the wait!

MELISSA: Well, I guess I’ll never know now.

IVAN: Unless you rent the DVDs....

MELISSA: Which I won’t.

IVAN: You don’t want to know how it ends?

MELISSA: Oh, I know how it ends. I just haven’t seen a lot of the three years of filler in between. FYI, I have seen the finale episode, just because it was...well, a finale. I thought it might be worth it to tune in.


It wasn’t that good.

IVAN: Sew your mouth shut, it was amazing!

MELISSA: The ending was so stupid.

IVAN: It created an aura of suspense.

MELISSA: Nothing happened, I was expecting some big gangster-style shootout and all I get for years and years of viewership devotion...

IVAN: you just proved...

MELISSA: ...Is some stupid scene in a diner with Tony giving blank looks at people.

IVAN: It wasn’t for everyone...but I thought it was... satisfying, albeit in a weird way.

MELISSA: The writers on that show don’t even know how to finish their

Long pause.


IVAN: are one lame duck. That’s not even funny anymore. Making fun of the Sopranos finale is so old now.


Thank you Obama

As I lay in the comfort of my bed, I wonder what Christmas has for me. What gift it has to offer and what will be under the tree. I lay my head on a silk black pillow thinking at nineteen my high expectations of December 25th have lowered. The savory taste of Christmas has soured. I am no longer a child but a man who is responsible for his actions, and wise in all his experiences. Christmas comes faster at this age and my urge to receive has been replaced with an urge to give.

Another day has passed but today feels better than yesterday. I have a new hope to warm me on the cold nights of doubt. I close my eyes to sleep after a long day of struggle and wake up to find myself awoke in a strange place unfamiliar to me. This place is plain and the sky is blue and naked. There are no birds and it almost feels like this place is lifeless. I look to the rugged ground and notice a Christmas card in front of me. This Christmas card is not an ordinary Christmas card, but it’s one of the most beautiful Christmas card my country eyes have ever seen. The card is embodied with sparkling diamonds, black, red, and, yellow rubies, and trimmed in gold. The card looked like God himself had dropped the card from the sky to the earth. The card had three simple words on the front that read “Merry Christmas Obama”. When I read the words I felt a sharp chill down my spine. Just saying Barack Obama’s name gave me the highest sense of inspiration.

I walked forward on a straight path with no end in sight. The road was very small and filled with rocks, dirt, and stones. Although I don’t know where I am or where I am going I feel I have purpose. I walk proudly and my head is held to the sky. I feel free, freer than a bird held captive all his life and set free to fly into a new world.

I suddenly hear a voice speaking as if they are shouting out to me. I run on the road dodging the rocks, sticks and stones to find a man writing a letter. He speaks to me as if he has known me all his life. He tells me that we weren’t always free as he continues fiercely determined to finish his letter. I notice that the letter is addressed to a Thomas Jefferson. He introduces himself as a Benjamin Banneker and then reaches for the card as if he was meant to have it. He takes the card and writes” The color of skin is in no way connected with strength of the mind or intellectual powers” and signs his name. He hands me the card back and smiles like he has seen great fortunes in his near future. He then continues to write his letter and instructs me to keep walking forward. As I walk forward I realize that Obama has proven just what Mr. Banneker said, and realize why he became so enthused.

Suddenly a rumbling voice erupts and as I get closer the voice becomes clear. It sounds like a man praying but I can’t place it just yet. When I reach the man to my surprise it is a man praying to God and sobbing. I kneel with him in hopes to join in but he insists that I remain standing as he stands beside me. He then grabs my hand and tells me that the only place blacks felt they could maintain an element of self expression was the church. He grabs the card out of my ashy hands like it was a million dollar bill with his name on it. He signs his name, Richard Allen, and writes “but not anymore”. He then kneeled down and continues his prayers. I knew what was next. I had to keep on going for just like this road had not ended the fight for change had not ended either. I continued along the road and noticed the road clearing of rocks and stones.

The sound of typing hit my ears like a drum. I then saw two men typing what looked like old newspapers. They were called Freedom Journals. The authors were Samuel B. Cornish and John Russwurm. They finally look up to see me walking and run toward me as if I was delivering a long awaited pizza. I knew the procedure by now so I thrust the card toward them anxious to see what words of wisdom they would write. John took the card and wrote “We wish to plead our own cause too long have others spoken for us”, and passed it to Samuel. Samuel then signed his name and hands the card to me like we were playing hot potatoe and I was out. In the back of my mind I thought that now we can plead our own case for our voice will no longer be silenced. The two men then look at me and smile as if they have read my mind and agree.

Just as I thought the road was beginning to clear, it begins to become filled with rocks and stones again, but I continue to pace only to find an elderly woman holding a cane. She continues to limp on the road chanting “Aint I a woman”. I offer to help her but she rejects and tells me that no man has ever helped Sojourner Truth and explains that she doesn’t need help now. She raises her head in her independence and then tells me that Obama is a great man and says “I can’t read a book but I can read people” Then she took the card and signed her name and gave me a fastidious pat on the shoulder.

I march forward anticipating what I would find next on this strenuous journey when all of a sudden everything around me goes deaf. The only I can hear is a soft voice humming and chalk going against a board. I ran to see what it was and saw a small revolting shack that read school. I enter the shack to find a petite woman writing on a big black board with a small piece of white chalk. She wrote her name in bold print which read Frances Ellen Watkins Harper. I looked at her miniature desk and saw pieces of paper filled with writings. I placed the card on her desk and she took it like I was turning in a late term paper. She took the card and signed her name then wrote in stunning writing “Bury me in a free land”. She then placed the card between her hand and mines and stared into my soul. We stood there like two writers sharing a passion for words.

I am very tired but I know my expedition has not come to an end because there appears to be much more road to travel. So I continue and come across a black man dressed in a suit. He looked like an elected official of great stature. He shakes my hand firmly, lets it go and then reaches his hand out ready to receive. He signed his name Blanche K Bruce and in addition wrote “I have confidence not only in my country and her institutions but in the endurance, capacity, and destiny of my people.” He then turned me around, pointed me in the forward direction, and nudged me on toward another black man in a suit. He said his name was Marcus Garvey. He stood there for almost a minute in dead silence as if he had something pressing on his mind. He looked at me and reached forward and I met him halfway with the card in hand. He took the card and placed it close to his heart and then began to sign. He signed “Teach your children they are direct descendants of the greatest and proudest race who ever peopled the earth’ and signed his name.

Now my legs feel like ropes and my feet the same. I am exhausted for the stones are plenty. I fall to my knees ready to give in when a warm melody pierces my soul. It is a man playing the piano and singing a song. “Take my hand precious Lord lead me home” are the words he speaks and they help to to arise. He signs Thomas A Dorsey, hands the card back and then continues to sing. The song gives me the strength I need to move on.

As my journey progressed I notice the ground becoming soft. I keep walking and spot an old man with grayish hair planting in a garden. He wears an apron that reads the initials G.W.C. which I know stand for George Washington Carver. He asks me if I would like some peanuts and then reaches for the Christmas Card. He signs the card right away saying “Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom” and signs his name. He insists I take some nuts to help ease my stomach on the rest of my journey so I take some.

I walk a couple yards up and see and ancient bus stop. I watch as an elderly black woman struggles off. She comes from the back of the bus, yet she walks off the bus as if she is the driver. She calls me to her and takes the card. She takes a deep breath and writes in a steady pace “I was determined to achieve the total freedom that our history lessons taught us we were entitled to no matter what the sacrifice”. She then signed her name Rosa Parks and points me forward. The road is clear and I see a light near me. I begin to run as if there is a pot of gold at the end but instead I find something better than gold. I find a man who tells me that this is the end of my journey but not the end. He gives me a hug as if I am his long lost son reunited in his arms. He raises his head slowly and a tear drops from his eyes. I give him the card and he writes “It may get me crucified, I may even die but I want it said even if I die in the struggle that “I died to make men free” Dr. Martin Luther King. I hugged him and our hearts were on the same beat. It was a free beat that pounded like a engine.

I hear passionate cries of rejoice. I look to a distance to see crowds of blacks marching and shouting “Free at last” I look to see if anyone will intrude awaiting disruption but nothing happens. Instead the cries become louder so loud I awake in a bed head on a black silk pillow. I gasp and look to my left to find the Christmas card. It reads “We are proud and includes the names of every influential black person who ever lived. I turn the card over to see Merry Christmas Obama. My journey is almost complete.

Mamma I want to sing

You say I'm on the wrong track
you say I've lost my mind
but when I find my mind my mind's
on one thing all the time

TO SING mamma I want to SING
or maybe even dance
or act or write my poetry
or even design pants

You say that living in these streets
trouble is sure to find me
I've been in the dark for so damn long
my name in lights may blind me

But I'm ready mamma I'm ready
there's nothing wrong with me
Mamma I'm not crazy
I'm just a mere boy with a dream

You say I'm unbelievable
that I'll ruin my life
but in my life there is no life
without music I'll die

without SINGING mamma....SINGING
realize that it's my passion
to be on t.v. or movies
to even create fashions

You say living like I do
I'm wasting all my time
I've wasted to much time already
it's my time to shine

I'm going to make it
right now it may not seem
but mama there's nothing more powerful
than a mere boy with a dream

and I'm just that so don't judge me
MAMMA be on my team
there's nothing wrong with your son mamma
he just has a dream

The Restoration of Christ

If you place, your life,

In the scarred hands of Christ,

He will fill the empty to overflowing,

Make the broken whole again.

He will empower the weak,

And give guidance to those who seek.

He will bring hope to those who have given up,

And restore innocence to the corrupt.

Erase the mistakes,

Cast light into the darkest place.

He will fill the void with good things,

And into the silence His song He sings.

He protects the vulnerable,

And forgives the unpardonable,

Loves those considered unlovable,

And touches the untouchable.

He breaks all bounds,

And His love still surrounds.

He renews the used,

And heals the abused.

Reaps a harvest from barren fields,

The wounded and weary He shields.

He makes beautiful the marred,

And binds up the hurting and scarred.

To the weary He gives strength and endurance,

To the fallen and backslidden, a second chance.

To the unfeeling He grants healing emotion,

To those without purpose He gives passion.

The cold hearts He warms,

And comforts the destitute in His arms.

And to the lost, wandering, and alone,

He restores them to their Home.



A day awakining with flower blooming with fresh air.

Making all of the birds fly into the open air.

A day awaits of inspiration.

Making everyday of life your own vacation.

A day of fulfillment and capturing your dreams.

Making a day everyday in your trying needs.

A Day Proud Of By Your SAVIOR .

Making everyday on your best behavior.

Seeing the waters of open wind.

As you see water everyday soothing your skin.

Making all the hush with.

a simple touch.

Soothing minds have no rush.

A Day Of Inspiration.

Awaiting to awake to see the morning skys. The birds are chirping with happy eyes. Hearing there chirping sounds allowing happy guides. Loving picture perfect seconds unraval into picture perfect methods. Awaiting our inspiration letting us feeling respected. Beautiful sunny days anything is possible. Always have inspiration and there will be no obstacle. Truth is all around so if you have inspiration you never have to frown. Pureness makes every perfect sound. History is everyday never one bound. Seeing ocean waves with sunlight blooming. Feeling insipired to do anything assuming.

Confidences is key to be holy and true to yourself and the rest will peak. Trees will be happy to see that your happiness feels good and let's them be.

As you see yourself having inspiration that you will always keep. ,,,, Insipration. Happy to see love all of us to be .


Woke up this morning on a mission

To grab anyone's attention who would listen

And see my vision

Follow me to the land of opportunity

Were dreams never die

And people act civilized

You start to realize

What you were missing inside

Found out it was you self you hate

The inability to communicate

The fear of the unknown

The fear of being alone

Positivity is in the air

Negativity has gone down there

Let your heart choose your next destination

Let your mind follow without hesitation


Judgement upon judgement

Has only caused me more torment

Take time time to see

Who i can really be

Im just not the average kid with a dream

There is more to me than it may seem

Look deeper past the color of my skin

And then you will see the girl who lies within

With the heart of a fighter

And a mind of a writer

Im destined to be more than this so -called democracy has to offer

What i bring to the table is so much more

I refuse to give in to the violence

But it's so hard to practice the word we call abstinence

We have freedom of choice

But will they hear my voice

This is my life to choose

One mistake

Im the one to lose

Tide Pool Of Life

Looking down at the tide pool reflecting over the calm water, holding a stone wondering if you should be the one to cast the first stone, to destroy the calmness, the tranquility of the pool.

Are you afraid for what you will see reflecting in the ripples of the tide.

Will it be the sorrows of your past, the hurt and pain you brought upon the ones who care about you, the destruction you brought upon yourself. Will it be the pain that others inflicted on you, the loves you have lost and forgotten or will it be all the joys and happiness that have been shown to you through the years, the loves you have lost that have returned as the best of friends.

The smiles and tears of laughter on a childs face, the look of love reflected from a mothers eyes, the look of hope reflected from your eyes, or will you see as the ripples flow outward the future so full of new beginnings, new dreams, new loves, old loves, no worries, no mistakes just an empty oasis waiting to be filled with new experiences.

Or do you see yourself now at the point in your life, unsure of which path to take, standing at the Y in the road, afraid to move on to the unexpected fearing that once again you will destroy yourself or fearing that you will succeed in the goals you have set for yourself.

Wanting to stay where you have grown used to the life you have led, but knowing that in order to live you must move forward and beyond your past to the future.

Standing there at the tide pool of life unable to cast the first stone.

Scars of a Failed Man

He sits upon a shelf, gathering dust.
Slowly, quietly aging, he gives but a glance
to the world rushing by.
Frying pans, computers, and little rubber penguins.
Pieces of a person, clung to steadfastly
by a desperate child.
The clothes, the stuff, the smell.
The smoke, the beard, the cough.
Like the explosion of dust
from closing an old book, the coarse hacking
escapes his aged lungs.
And what were once curious quips and
sounds of wisdom, now echo in the canyons
of hypocrisy and pollute the rivers below.
Words are carefully applied to his
silver brain, set in place to protect him
from the child within.
Pages and pages of life, but didn't put
the book down to go out and play.
And the words become symptoms
of a failed author.
And the people who read, become the
scars of a failed man.
Years pass, dust collects, and the
books stay on the shelf.
The spiderwebs hang like Christmas lights,
the wood rots, and the house is
slowly returned to the Earth.
The pages are worn, the words are meaningless,
and the child is dead.
And now he is alone in the library.
My Father, the dusty old book on the
shelf that no one has read in a long time.

Another World

The sound of dripping water on the marble fountain, the long, dark shadows of the cypress trees across the pebble paths crunching under footsteps, the aromatic boxwood cut to design the geometric lines of the Venetian garden; stimulated my senses as only new perceptions experienced for the first time can do.

I sat in my imitation Pucci dress at a chiseled stone table absorbing the fresh sensations far from the monotonous Midwestern landscape I had left just a few months ago. My hands, clasped firmly together on my lap provided security and stability as if I would float up into the air if I let go. The atmosphere was elating as well as intimidating. The foreign language kept me secluded from the Italians at the party so I peeked out from behind my smile and sat as motionless as the mossy marble statue like an inanimate, benign presence.

A thoughtful guest introduced me to the tall, dark- eyed, and pale Robert Frontier – he too had come to Venice from the Midwest years ago to study art. I felt the relief of familiarity as he told me about the paper shop he owned in Venice. He presented me to other people who spoke some English, cutting through the language barrier like a ship breaking ice.

Before I left, he asked if I wanted to work in his shop. The next day I began learning how to bind books, pulling linen thread with a thick needle through the soft and supple sheets of hand made paper. Page after page the blank book became thicker and the finished sheaves would finally be bound in a colorful hand printed cover. The finished product would be a blank book of quality paper to write or draw in. Our friendship progressed day after day, based not so much on what was said as it was on what was unsaid. We seemed to be made of the same fiber and words were not needed to discover our similarities. I admired his popularity with the locals. He was friendly with the gondoliers and taxi drivers at the nearby traghetto (ferry crossing) and he managed his shop and clientele professionally.

One evening after closing the shop, he invited me for an aperitif at the caf� just across the bridge. We ordered spritzes made of white wine, seltzer water and shots of crimson Campari bitter. We sipped our vermilion drinks while the sky blushed. Robert said a red sunset promises good weather. Then, the clak, clak, clacking began…. the cacophony of metallic rolling shutters being pulled down to close up the shops for the night.

“Let’s hope for a red sunset” I said as we parted to go home.

Later, from my apartment window high above the dark canal, I saw the sky go ashen. I watched Venice slip into her black satin gown for the night with the moon hanging at her throat like an enormous pearl. She was silent and still. I left the shutters open and moonlight illuminated my room as I fell asleep. I began to dream….of riding in a car with Robert - a dark road lined with tall sycamore trees - he took my hand in his and I felt the warm pressure of his palm against mine. I felt exceptionally close to Robert and this gave me a sense of peace and serenity.

Suddenly he let go of my hand. I was startled by the abrupt loss of his touch. He stood in front of a wall of light, his dark eyes looking into my eyes and his skin so white it seemed to glow. As he turned to walk into the light his eyes, filled with emotion still held my gaze. Then there was darkness and I woke up, jolted by the dream that seemed so real. I looked at my watch - 2:30 a.m.

The next morning people stood in his shop as if on the scene of an accident. I saw a familiar face to question.

“What happened?”

“Robert was killed in a car accident last night.”

As the woman described the details of the accident, a strange and ghastly sensation possessed my rationality. After our aperitif, he had gone to the main land to pick up some paper and then stopped at a friend’s house for a party. They started back to Venice late - his driver lost control of the car on a curve. The street was lined with tall sycamore trees - they crashed into one, the weight of the boxes of paper crushed Robert’s trachea and he suffocated before he got to the hospital, around 2:30 a.m.

“Two thirty,” I said amazed, remembering the time on my watch when I woke up.

I thought of his hand holding mine as we drove in the night under the tall dark trees lining the road.

Robert’s companionship in Venice had been a quiet presence during the months I knew him. He had been comforting in a world so new and foreign to me and I am certain that in turn, I was with Robert to say farewell as he crossed the threshold of another world.

Poetry Collection

The Enemy

Thirteen nights my bosom friend sat on a wooden stool,
cut by rusting questions like “Who recruited you?”
He was, like me, a slave to terror, bare and innocent,
yet only thirteen nights passed by before he did relent.

“You are a dog,” the monster breathes, “a public enemy.”
And in his eyes I see my homeland, frigid and snowy.
Through the quiet town my heels paint red trails in the snow,
and the wasted voice inside my head speaks confusedly and slow.

They drag me past the prison and I have to look away,
for my best friend’s naked body dead on the doorstep lay.
The monster snickers in my ear and gestures at my friend.
He says, “He tried to save himself and make the torture end.”

“Him, he was your brother, hm? A brutal one to tame,
but finally his beaten mouth offered up your name.
He claimed you were a traitor, and a critic, and a cheat.
It is only fair that he was killed as friend of the enemy.”

I know my shameful tears are wasted.
Nothing will they mend.
Siberia is worse than death,
but I will go there for my friend.

Intended Audience: Adults; the historian, the hero, the bully, the friend.
Tone: conversational, hardened, serious, thoughtful
Purpose: To provide an intriguing story while paying tribute to those who died in the Great Purges under Joseph Stalin. The poem is also meant to give insight into the nature of relationships. It is a historical picture of timeless human problems.

The Sheep

Alone, the sheep is panicked and distressed.
He likes the company of others best.

‘Tis fear that makes him act the way he does,
trodding where his family always was.

He hesitates to scale the steep hillside,
and chooses flat, green pastures to reside.

But when we see them flocking in the pen,
we recognize the weaknesses of men.

For we refuse to toil the sticky slope,
and strive to follow where all others go.

Intended Audience: Humans; everyone who is included in “everyone”
Tone: matter-of-fact, simple, factual, reflective
Purpose: to relay a sad fact of humanity through a metaphor comparing humans to sheep. The poem is meant to show how creation is related and how although some human characteristics are less than desirable, they are natural.

The Nails

Low rustle and soft whisper
The perfume of stern mothers and fresh flowers
Thin, delicate pages,
smooth as a child’s skin
The stagnant sweetness of redemption

A vision of my handiwork.

Jarring notes scream,
The stale scent of fire and decay fills the air
as acrid incense burns
A seat of icy knives
The bitter acid taste of blood

Splayed figure
nails nails nails
A corpse,
yellow in candlelight
naked, arms outstretched
nails nails nails

I am running, pushing against the sloped, carpeted aisles that imprison.
Feet pounding, urgent and tense.
Ripping off beads, scattering, bouncing in melodic freedom.

With a resounding crash my hammer falls.

Intended Audience: the religious, the non-religious, those who fear, those who sin, those with secrets.
Tone: scathing, sorrowful, critical, scattered, intense
Purpose: to provide powerful imagery addressing the five senses while presenting a personal opinion about the reason so many turn away from God and religion. The poem is meant to be reflective of everyone, for everyone sins, and to criticize those who flee out of weakness.
The Leaves

It is autumn and all the leaves are browning, dying

hands clenching my wrists

I am a leaf
falling, falling
autumn never ends

searching for humanness

I’m caught between love and the truth.
There is no truth in love.
The only truth lies in the sweet release of summer

struggle, force

The brown leaves fall.
They crumble underfoot.
Summer never comes.

to conquer
to seek pleasure
to take advantage of
to take life
to create life

Leaves are falling,
surfing on the wind.
Falling, quietly,
to blanket the world.

body and mind

The tired sun of the afternoon squints
through the bare branches.

my captor and the seasons
lead me to
under brown leaves

I will take away your dignity,
your beautiful identity.
I will tear your perforated hope.
I will make you love me.

Intended Audience: Adults, those in despair, those who look away.
Tone: solemn, frank, desperate.
Purpose: to raise awareness about the cognitive complications of trauma and terrible crimes that are not spoken about enough. The poem is meant to define death as broader than simply the failure of the heart, but to include the stealing of life by hurtful people.

Lunar Dream

“I had a bad dream. I dreamt I was alone in a room staring at a photograph of our wedding day, your beautiful garnet dress and my amazingly handsome black and red tux with a bolo tie. Matt, Daddy, and Cory and Evan (my baby brothers) were the Groomsmen, Daddy was my best man. You were so beautiful, unimaginably beautiful.
There is our wedding video playing in another room. Ha, I can here Joey behind the camera laughing and trying to make me screw up my vows and laughing at Daddy's toast a while later. Sounds good doesn't it?
I look over and see a picture of our first born, our little girl, Elizabeth Rose Harvey. So beautiful. She has her father's eyes and her mother's hair; only 3 in the picture but timeless perfection in my eyes.
You walk in the room and immediately candles light from your amazing energy, your hair rippling slightly from the breeze of the ceiling fan, your loose robe wavering ever so slightly with each step creating its own little peep show with your body, matured and never as sexy as right now; the mother of my child, my wife, the love of my life, coming to bed.
Suddenly I feel this burning sensation on my cheek; the window had been open and the clouds finally parted from the full moon, exposing me to the light of this dangerous orb. How could I have forgotten what this day was?! Not only our 4 year anniversary but the night of the full moon, a night of hell.
The light immediately seared into my skin opening hair follicles and causing a rapid spread of fur. My face contorts, fangs grow and my screams and howls from the pain can be heard. You freeze where you stand petrified with fear. My body mass shifts, all muscle going to my upper body and then hind legs. Claws grow out, my ears shift position and point, my nose and mouth extending and taking on an entirely new look. I could feel my bones breaking and healing over and over as my entire skeleton shifts to that of a wolf.
My clothes strangle me at first then rip as my body continues to grow and morph. I still howl and scream in pain, then anger. Why had I so willingly brought this curse upon myself so many years ago? The pain pulses excruciatingly throughout my body. My skin and muscles literally form rippling waves as the transformation comes to a close. Then, finally with a finishing yelp of pain, it is done.
You stand back. You had seen this before. You had witnessed this many times by now but never so close. How could we have been so forgetful of a curse that we knew so much about? You bravely--yet foolishly--step forward. I shudder from the painful aftermath of my transformation. You gently pet my shoulders. I turn my massive head toward you. I look you in the eyes with anguish in my own.
A breeze drifts in through the window and swirls around the room. It catches your hair in its wispy fingers, making it dance, carrying your scent back to me. I inhale deeply basking in its intoxication. I quickly realize what is happening as my eyes roll back in my head. It is time to hunt.
It has been nearly 6 months since I last fed on human flesh. I tried so hard to only eat animals but that only worked when my pack and I hunted in the dense woods of the nearby National Park. And now with you standing in front of me, smelling more delicious than words can describe, my prey drive kicks in. I lunge at you, quickly pinning you to the ground with my massive paws.
She is your wife you stupid mutt! I scream to myself inside my own head, Stop! What in the name of Remus and Romulus are you doing?!?
I continue to glare at you with starved, yet pain filled eyes. I was aware of what I was about to do, but I couldn't stop. I had no control.
You look up at me, sobbing and with your face already soaked with tears, ‘I know you can't control it, I still love you’
Look at what you are doing! I continued to pointlessly scream. And then as a tear of my own seeps into the fur beneath my large eye, I lunge my head forward and feast.
Moments later, realizing what I had done, I throw my head back and howl in agony. A howl answers mine, consoling, comforting. I howl again, searching for my brothers. They all should be turned by now, awaiting the Alpha's orders. I had my taste back for human flesh. We hunt tonight, in the city.”

With tear-swelled eyes, a young man lays a white rose upon a grave and walks purposefully back toward his car as the bright sun begins to set.

The Beach House

A short story based on one of many dreams.

Ah, I can still hear the calls of the gulls. Their screeches combined with the sound of the wind blowing through the beach grass and the crashing waves, it was near music. I can almost feel your soft dark hair against my skin, your warm hand still on my stomach the other I still feel twirling my hair.
You never looked as beautiful as you did in this dream. Though, I know this dreamt figure still does you no justice. I have never /felt/ a dream so real. Allow me to attempt to describe it all.
I was out swimming in the pacific just at dusk. I saw the sun just touching the water and figured I should head back up the walk, shower off, and head to bed. So, I did. I was almost dry by the time I walk through the door of my tiny private beach house. I saw a dim light coming from down the short hallway connecting to my living room. It was just a little 1 story beach house. When you enter the house directly to your left is the kitchen table. To your right, the laundry room. From the table area to your right is the kitchen, past the kitchen is the "bed room" which is nothing more than the large king sized feather bed with a sleigh frame, a bed side table, a dresser in the corner and a wine rack on the other side of the bed. To your right there is then the living area. A medium sized plasma screen above a beautiful fireplace made of slate and river rock, then to your right once more is the hall leading back to the door, in this hall there are two doors. The door closest to the front door is the bathroom and the door closest to the living area is the closet.
As I was saying, I saw the dim light of a small flame flickering in the fireplace. I knew I had not lit the flame so I was weary as I entered the cozy spaces of my home. When I reached the living room, walking cautiously with fists at the ready just in case my visitor was unwelcome, I saw you laying in my bed wearing a silky black night gown, your black and red matching underwear beneath. I shook my head in amazement. You giggled. I threw my towel to the floor and took off my sandals. I ran to your side of the bed, knelt down and kissed you as I had never done before, as if it would also be the last time. I reached into my dresser and grabbed a pair of dry basketball shorts and boxers. Then I went into the bathroom to change. I came back out nervous, wondering if what I had seen was a desperate man's illusion, a hallucination, a visual and partially physical projection of a subconscious and conscious desire. But when I turned that corner again slowly I knew it was true, my love had returned. The flame you had ignited in the fireplace of my home could never come close to the intense blaze that burned in the fireplace of my heart, of my soul.
I slowly walked over to my side of the bed, lifted the warm soft satin sheets and feather comforter, then slid into the bed and directly into what I wanted to be a never ending embrace. Then, I lifted your chin to stare deep into your beautiful brown eyes. Cradling your delicate face in my hands as if you could shatter into a million pieces at any moment, I kissed you softly, at first, the fierce flame within burning higher. I kissed more passionately wishing that this simply, slight contact would never end. My head was swimming and my heart's blaze continued to burn higher and higher and so my intensity grew. I pulled your body tighter to mine laying us down upon my bed, one hand holding your face the other around your waist. I wanted to make sure that I would hold you forever, to make sure that you could never disappear.
And then, just as swiftly as it had begun, I broke the kiss. I stared deep into your milk chocolate eyes, seeing everything I would ever need or want in their dark recesses. I then kissed you sweetly, gingerly once more and then laid my head back. You draped your body over mine, laying your head on my chest, your hand playing with the soft hairs of my stomach. I stroked your hair and we watched the remainder of the sun set.
I kissed the top of your head and whispered "So this is heaven? I like it" I tilted my head up and said to the Creator "What did I do to deserve such a blessing?"
You giggled and responded "You loved me more than any man could love a woman." You leaned up and kissed me gently then said, "More than any woman deserves."
I replied, "Trust me, you deserve it all. It is I who does not deserve your love. Let us not argue this matter. Sleep, my angel. Sleep, my love."
And as if The Holy Father Himself was directing an orchestra, the seagulls, the wind, the waves, and the crackling of the fire began to compose themselves into what sounded like the tune of "Lullaby" by Billy Joel. So, I began to sing as we watched what I had hoped to be an endless sunset.

For A Very Special Person "Tata"

Me without Tata is like a flower without its beauty, like a movie without any excitement, I miss him dearly. He is in a better place, I will never have to see him in pain, he is free, and he is baking a cake for everyone right now. He will always be in my heart, he will never be forgotten, for the things he had done for friends he and for the family he had loved he took care of everybody, and for that I want to say, Thank You I Love you Tata.

God Bless Louisiana

A beautiful summer weekend,

All was fair and fine,

Then there was a call for evacuation,

A familiar request in everyone’s lives

But what no one knew

Was that something unfamiliar would be bred

No, not the storm

That was to be expected

What was surely not expected

Was for so many to lose lives and homes,

To lose careers and loved ones,

To lose everything ever known

Katrina’s rampage

Tore not only a city, but lives apart

Happy, peaceful lives

Were replaced with aching hearts

Some viewed what was left of their homes,

Though it was extremely hard to bear,

But in the quiet of their hearts

They thanked God they weren’t there

Others temporarily suffered

In a prison known as the Super Dome,

Not knowing if they would survive

And if they did, how long would they have to call a stadium their home

Then there were those who lost their lives.

Hopefully, prayerfully, they are in a better place

As for their loved ones,

Let’s pray they can go on, taking one more step each day

Despite the lives this storm has torn

Lives were brought together

People were seeing the good in others,

Seeing what they would otherwise never discover

Individuals taking strangers into their homes,

Organizations taking the responsibility to feed all

All races alike, helping,

Breaking through that invisible wall

New Orleans. A glorious, alluring, historic city

Gone, never to be the same,

But we cannot become stagnant,

Wishing this catastrophe never came.

Though our beloved New Orleans

As we know it is no longer.

We will not let our faith dwindle;

We have to grow stronger.

America was built on God

And Louisiana is a part of America.

Everyone asks God to bless America

But make it personal; God bless Louisiana.

Out of all the grief and sorrow

Brought upon by that great deluge,

Their can be joy, glory and prosperity.

An opportunity was given to start anew.

The Mentor

Fade In:

Int. High School Auditorium- Day

One man, Garry a man in a wheelchair watching all the students inside a filled auditorium as families cheer on their son’s and daughters as they receive their diploma from graduating High School

Garry’s Mind

Who would have thought that this moment would ever come? I’m so proud of her she did it. She actually did it.


Garry smiles as he wipes the tears from his eyes. Garry waves to Cindy as she is draped with her white cap and gown as she looks back at Garry with a glowing smile in her face as tears roll down her eyes.

Garry’s Mind

I will never forget the day when I met her that will be the moment I will never forget. Pain never felt so good when you make a sacrifice for a child.

3 Years ago

Ext. Lakeside High School-Morning

Garry walks into a crowded High School as the students continue bumping him as they head to class with his suitcase on his hands wearing a black suit.


Pardon me… Whoa!! I’m sorry

Ext. Main Office-Morning


Garry enters the main office as he approaches the front desk. A female secretary approaches him.


May I help you sir?


Yes my name is Garry Anderson I am one of the new mentor for Cindy Williams


Once Garry blurted out Cindy’s name the whole entire employees in the office stops what he or she is doing they all look at Garry. Garry turns around thinking as if someone is behind him


Was it something I said?


The secretary turns around to look at the staff as they all get back to work she turns to Garry


Will you please take a seat Mr. Anderson?




The secretary walks into the principal’s office. Garry sits down and looks around the office as the staff inside the office continue to stare at him. Garry smiles…. The principal walks out of her office looking very professional approaches Garry as the two shake hands


Mr. Anderson I presume




My name is Principal Karen Smith


How do you do Mrs. Smith?

Principal Smith

May we talk in my office?




The two walk into her office as the other employees continue staring at Garry. As soon as he looks back they all look away. Garry smiles

Ext. Principal’s office

Principal Smith

Please take a seat?


So is Cindy here? I’m anxious to meet her

Principal Smith

That’s why I bought you here



Principal Smith

How do I put this?


Garry’s look on his face shows concern

Principal Smith

Cindy is a child with a lot of problems and it might be difficult for you to help her she has had some anger toward men maybe you shouldn’t take her as your mentee


With all due respect Mrs. Smith I have been a mentor for over 10 years and I have witnesses so many of the young boys and girl I mentored graduate from High School with severe emotional problems what would be the difference? Every child deserves someone who cares.


Principal Smith approaches Garry and places her hand in Garry’s shoulder

Principal Smith

Mr. Anderson would like to see Cindy?


Garry smiles looking up at Principal Smith


Yes I would

Ext. Main Office- Morning


Back inside the main office Garry follows Principal Smith from behind into a conference room as other employees continue staring at Garry.

Ext. Conference Room- Morning

Inside the conference room when they walk in there sits a young girl with a wild colorful hairstyle, face covered in makeup, wearing a very short black mini-skirt, tight leather black tang top barely covering her top, belly button ring exposed, high black military high top boots, with her arms covered with cuts and scrapes, looking at Garry and Principal Smith as she plays with her earring in her tongue, with more than 4 earring in each ear and one in her nose, with tattoos around her neck of a snake, with arms bands wrapped with silver spikes, also with black stocking with large holes on them, and last with long black sharp nails.

Principal Smith

I’ll leave you two alone so you guys can get acquainted


Garry smiles


Thank you


Principal Smith exits the Conference room

Ext. Main Office-Morning


Either he’s God or he is just plain crazy

Ext. Conference Room


Garry sits his briefcase down and approaches Cindy with a smile on his face lending his hand to be shake.


Hi my name is Garry Anderson I will be your mentor for this year


Without hesitation Cindy spits her gum at Garry


Fuck you asshole


The expression in Garry’s face shows disbelief after what Cindy just did. Garry takes out his handkerchief and wipes off the spit from his face


Young Lady that was not nice


Cindy takes out a pack of gum from her cigarette case and takes out a stick of gum and puts it in her mouth and chews it only to spit it again at Garry’s face then she takes out a chair and stands on it going eye to eye with Garry


What you going to do now Bitch?


Garry looks at her and nods his head in pity


Hit me pussy ass bitch


Garry steps away


I am not here for trouble all I want to do is be your friend and help you


So you want to help me


Yes I do


Cindy steps down from the chair and takes out a condom from her pocket and puts it on the table and slides it toward Garry


What are you doing with that?


Cindy laughs mocking Garry as she takes the condom and throws it at Garry’s face. Garry nods his head and takes a deep breath


Obviously you don’t need my help so I will be leaving


Garry gets up and grabs his briefcase heading to the door


Go ahead bitch leave you had the chance to be like my dad and his friends at least I gave you a condom


Garry stops


What did you just say?


You heard me asshole


Are you implying that you have been molested?


With a concerned worried look on his face


Look at you with your expensive black suit trying to make me believe that men like you really care about me


But I




Garry sits down and looks at her with so much care and love in his face


You ain’t shit bitch all you men want to do to a little girl like me is fuck me just like my dad and his friends. If you so really cared about me where were you when I needed you? You’re a LIAR!!!! I hate what you did to me I hate what my dad and his friends did to me when I was sleeping he said he loved me. Why did he have to do those things? My mom always said I was going to be a piece of shit and now you’re trying to trick me by you pretending to care for me well I’m not going to let you trick me.


All of a sudden she grabs a chair and throws it at Garry as it hits him across his forehead falling on the ground as blood is gushing out of his forehead.

Ext Main Office-Morning


Oh my God!!!


Principal Smith and the other staff run to the door trying to open it but it’s locked

Principal Smith

Mr. Anderson are you okay? Mr. Anderson!!!!!! Mr. Anderson!!!!!

Somebody call the police!!!

Ext: Conference Room-Morning


Garry is in the corner bleeding profusely as Cindy approaches him with a wooded chair in her hands


Please Cindy for whatever happen to you I’m so sorry but there is good in people don’t let your past destroy your future




Garry starts crying


It’s too late for tears bitch I had my share of them every time when I was raped, beaten, molested, abused, and neglected now this is for all the girls my age who is going through what I went through and to never have you men hurt us again


All of a sudden she kicks Garry in the face with her solid black boots as he lays motionless face down on the ground as the people from the outside continue trying to break down the door yelling out Garry’s name.


You will never know how it is to have men you once trusted to protect you only to wake up naked next to them after they beat me and raped me and now all of a sudden the magnificent God brings a mentor to care for me I don’t think so those kind of people don’t even exist. Look at you? You are so pathetic


Cindy has a past flashback as 2 men are holding her down when she was a little girl screaming “Daddy” as one is zipping down his pants as the same 2 are trying to spread her legs.

Ext: Conference Room


After Cindy visualized her suffering flashback she jumps up and with all her force lands her heavy boot on the back of Garry


I won’t let you hurt me


Garry’s face is covered in blood


I can’t move I can’t move. Principal Smith help me I can’t move what have you done?


Any last words bitch


Garry looks at Cindy straight in her eyes and cries out in sorrow for her pain trying his best to talk


God your precious child needs you. Take her pain away, Take her suffers away, and heal her heal. Cindy I am so sorry for what they did to you


Crying heavenly

You’re a good person. If I die I die but I die knowing I tried helping you. I am so sorry I am so sorry for your pain


Crying heavenly with sorrow and pain


One day you will never hurt. One day you will wake up with love and not pain


Even Cindy felt the passion from Garry as tears roll down her eyes. She drops down on the ground and wraps her arm around Garry as both of them cry. All of a sudden the cops break down the door as Principal Smith sees Garry lying motionless bleeding

Principal Smith

Get away from him…. I want her arrested right now



Principal Smith

What do you mean don’t!!! Look at what she did to you?


The Paramedics shows up and treats Garry


Sir do you want to press charges


Garry looks at Cindy and pauses for a little


Absolutely not


Ok on the count of three. 1…2…3…


They lift Garry up on a gurney and wheel him away


Mark my words you will graduate

Three Years Later

Ext: School Auditorium-Morning


Principal Smith walks up to the podium as she is also wearing a cap and gown herself

Principal Smith

Before I announce the 2010 graduates I am proudly to say that in the 20 years of our school’s existence we have the first student in our school who have been accepted to Harvard Law on a full scholarship with an outstanding 4.30 G.P.A. but she is not only a remarkable student but she is also our valedictorian ladies and gentlemen I give you Cindy Williams


She walks up to the podium with her eyes fixed on Garry with tears in her eyes hugging Principal Smith. She adjusts the microphone to speak. She whispers to Garry


I love you


Love you too


If someone ever told me I would be here speaking in my graduation as the valedictorian I would think he or she was crazy. I know most of you must have thought wow!! A 4.30 G.P.A. what a smart girl well I am here to tell you I wasn’t always smart. It took me years to say this but I am a child through rape I never knew my mom she abandoned me when I was 8 for 6 years I have been beated, raped, molested by my father and his friends and even thought about killing myself plenty of times. You’re probably wondering why I am telling you this. Because even in the mist of my problems God sent me an angel someone who believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself and because of him I stand here because he would never give up on me ladies and gentlemen to my mentor who is like my father that I never had his name is Garry Anderson I so love him.


The spotlight shines on Garry as everybody in the building stands up in his or her feet to applaud Garry. Garry looks around an awe with a humbling smile on his face


Thank you


Cindy runs off the stage and run towards Garry as she hugs him as the 2 cry together hugging each other.

The End

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