The following pieces are samples of the many fine literary works that appear in the magazine. They are included in their full and final entirety. Enjoy!
Friday Night by Nick Krueger (from page 50)
Fire by Timothy Douglas (from page 74)
How I Raised My Mama by Izzie Baldwin (from page 76)
Waiting For My Letter by Ryan McNeil (from page 78)
Mondays by Nick Meyer (from page 90)
from page 50:
Rainwater sloshed the curb as I banked quickly into the cramped, dirty parking lot, sending an out-of-control feeling rippling through the back of my eyes, almost like the feeling you get when all four wheels aren’t on the ground.
With a slight, yet noticeable skid, I hurried through the rain, already wet but holding on to body heat. The doors were exceptionally clean, except for the left-bottom hand corner, which appeared to sport a slick coat of fresh vomit. Untroubled with spare time, I got directly in line, approached the counter, pointed behind it, accepted my goods and change, and turned to leave.
The cat behind me, whom everyone else had chosen to ignore, approached me in a scene of casual desperation..
“Ey, man, y’know, man, I’m all out here in the cold, man. I just need a drink, man, y’know? I’m just tryin’ to party- you got any change, man?”
Well by all means, I’ve never been one to stand in the way of a party. Of the dollar and fifty-four cents in my hand, I dropped the change from my hand to his, and again started to leave, but with a clinking tap, felt a hand on my shoulder.
“Ey, lemme get that dolla, too, man.”
There was no white left in his eyes. A cloudy, yellow film approached the iris from the caked corners, accentuated by an oversized, nicotine stained moustache, murking with the same post-mortem hue. His holed and navy sweatpants rose to mid-shin, half-exposing a faded leprechaun staring blankly through a canopy of black, unattended to leg hair.. and from the look of the tops of his shoes and corners of his mouth, the mystery of the vomit began to unfold, and, at the same time, I started to wonder where he had lost his soul.
“Dude, I need this, too,” was all I was able to say. Who was I to be asking money from? My wet, knotted hair hung in tatters, and my jeans were more holes than fabric. Even both of my pinkie toes bowed out through my shoes, exposed to weather pinkie toes never should be.
His eyes attempted a roll, either over or under practiced, he turned, and went to someone else.
Can he not see this? I thought to myself. Can he not see what a horrible excuse of a human being I am?
Of course he can. He saw me step out of a car with a sunroof. He saw me put a cell phone back into my pocket. He saw my tattered, yet hygienic appearance, saw my uncalloused hands, and accurately saw money, even if it wasn’t as much as he had hoped.
Return to top
from page 74:
Oh my goodness! Look now! My chest was set
I no longer want to play this masochistic game!
Stop drop roll! Stop drop roll! Quickly! Do it now!
"Chill out," said my friend through laughs. "Do not have a cow."
I hate this, I thought while I decided what to do.
I gave my friend over there a hug. Now he's on fire too.
Return to top
from page 76:
How I Raised My Mama
Chapter 1: My Mama’s Leg
She picked at the sparkly, turquoise nail polish that coated her long fingernails. Lifting them to her powdered chin and settling her elbow on the messy coffee table, they reflected off of the sun and a mess of mini lights danced around the dim room. I tore myself away from Wheel of Fortune and focused in on her totterin’ head. That head bobbed like a wobble-head McDonalds toy whenever she was about to make one of her crazy speeches.
“Now baby, you turn thirteen tomorrow.”
“I know that.”
“Course you do. Now baby, thirteen is a very important age.”
“More important than twelve?” I asked mischievously.
“Oh, much more important.” She continued, “Now baby, when I was thirteen my auntie gave me this same speech I’m gonna be givin’ you. Well, it shoulda been my mama, but she was off in Hollywood, busy becoming an actress.” She fluttered her eyelashes for effect. “Well, maybe she wasn’t busy becoming an actress, but she was busy in Hollywood,” she added with a wink.
“Anyway, my auntie gave me this same speech and now it’s your turn. So, would you like to know why nobody in this dad blamed family’s got themselves a man around?”
I felt myself nodding cautiously.
“Here it is,” leading me with wide, open eyes. She leaned further over the coffee table and I was suddenly bombarded with the pungent odor of her mid-morning beer.
“It’s cause we don’t need ‘em, cause we don’t need love from a man. We got Jesus and that’s all we need, right? Come here baby.” I rolled my eyes at her pointless story and leaned into her fumy aroma, settlin’ my head on her bare chest.
She whispered in my ear, “When you get a man, you make that baby and you be sure it’s a girl. And then…you kill him!” She threw her head back and cackled, showing me with her smelly spit. It was then that I wondered if she was really kiddin’. You could never tell with my mama.
“And that, baby, is the secret to life.” With that, she stood up precariously on her flaming pink stilettos and strategically adjusted her boobs in her sundress. Hardly an outfit for mid-January.
“Where you goin’ mama,” I asked blandly.
“Where you think I’m goin’ baby?” She shimmied her narrow shoulders and posed, tush out. “I’m goin’ to church.”
She opened her purse and pulled out a mirror. After coating her lips in “Bombshell Burgundy,” she smacked those villains together and gazed down upon her too-tan legs, her partners in crime.
Now, if you was to stand behind the congregation of the First Baptist Community Church that day, you’d be sure to think that Elvis himself was dancin’ down the isle. Them heads was turnin’ right around on them sweater-clad bodies and whistlin’ right there in the middle of Psalm 23.
Course there was reason. A long pair of tan legs was walkin’ themselves down that isle. Even Reverend Harry took a break from his off-key howlin’ to imagine what life would be like if he wasn’t married to his fat old wife. I imagine them legs woulda been quite the topic of conversation, if only my mama had stopped right then and there.
Course, she never could.
We sat down next to grubby Sam Lockson in the pew second from the front. He made sure to see that sundress slide up offa mama’s legs when she sat down, leavin’ nothin’ between the pew seat and her bony butt but his sheer imagination. Course nobody starred at me when I sat down. I was a mere shadow when my mama was around, but then that’s the way I liked it.
My mama would holler “Amen!” at every empty space in the sermon. She shook her head proudly and crossed her chest at the end of each prayer.
“Thank you, Lord Jesus!” She’d shout.
And she was sure to be the loudest singer, beltin’ out the psalms and flippin’ her long blond hair.
When Reverend Harry was finally able to tear his dirty mind away from my mama’s Band-Aid-of-a-sundress, he started the offerin’ baskets around the church. And as people gladly forked over their crinkled dollar bills, my mama took the initiative and strutted to the back of the church, draggin’ me by the hand like a worn-out rag doll. But it didn’t matter ‘cause all eyes stayed on them legs. She waited until all the money was thrown into the big offerin’ basket, all ready to take to the altar and she picked it up with extra spirit. The heads turned back to Reverend Harry.
“The church thanks you for your generous donations. Such actions like these help you to find Jesus in your hearts,” he droned on.
“Jesus has always been in my heart,” she murmured, “And today he shall be in my purse as well.” And with one hand in mine and the other on the offering basket, my mama marched right through the front doors.
“Thank you Jesus! You will be payin’ my rent this month!”
And that is how my mama’s legs stole the attention, the dignity, and the entire offerin’ basket of the First Baptist Family Church.
Return to top
from page 78:
Waiting for My Letter
Once, I had a doll that changed facial expressions in warm and cool water. More than my first real toy, it was my first glimpse of the supernatural. From then on, I was hooked. I was obsessed with everything magic; from tricks to wands to shows, I couldn’t resist seeing the impossible. To no avail, I’ve tried counting to scores of self-edited home movies in which I play the magician and my sister the assistant, and we don’t even talk about my wand collection; it’s no wonder I was so happy as I lay nestled safely in the warm folds of my Mickey comforter on the eve of my thirteenth birthday. I knew that when I woke up in the morning, my life would be complete. It was a snuggly feeling; I had assured myself that with the dawn of my teenage years would come the glorious, magical powers that I coveted so fervently.
And why shouldn’t these powers come? For year I had spent my nights, eyes clenched, begged and pleading to God, the Tooth Fairy, anybody to finally bestow on me the magic powers that I had craved since early childhood. Since no one had yet bequeathed me, I figured thirteen must be my lucky number, and I couldn’t wait to try out my powers in the morning. Alas, when I awoke, I remained the same gawky adolescent, nothing gained but another pimple or two. For months I felt betrayed. My dreams were no longer possible, my plans for world domination foiled.
It was then that I received a visit from a young Brit, about my age. His name: Harry Potter. This lanky, but plucky preadolescent captured my imagination and conquered my conception o reality in a way no literary figure had ever done before. His adventures were compelling, his escapades amusing, and his powers amazing. With a flick of the wrist, this gawky tween had all of the qualities I could only dream of: he could levitate objects, transfigure, even fly! How much did I covet that broom? To no avail, I spent the next few years waiting for my letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Alas, I lived vicariously through my new pal from London. Wave after wave of new HP releases flooded the bookshelves, and I lapped them up. With each new addition, I was given a sort of new hope.
“Maybe anything is possible,” I told myself.
Sadly, in time I figured out that an underground magical world is hardly feasible; surely someone would spot an owl dropping or a misplaced phoenix feather. However, the thought that perhaps everything is not as it seems is certainly interesting to ponder. The Harry Potter series gave me a new perspective to consider. And what is life about if not different perspectives? My friends at Hogwats challenged me to thing not just about the obvious, but about that which requires deeper contemplation. As I mature, I cannot help but get excited when I think of how much more there is out there, in the big world whose platter this eighteen-year-old Boone County resident has only sampled. My curiosity has been stirred, and consequently, I cannot wait to get out and explore things a bit. Perhaps I can’t expect to find talking snakes and flying chairs, but there really is a magical world out there, hundreds of new witches and wizards to meet, dozens of charms to learn, thousands of new places to explore by broomstick. I can hardly wait to set out on my own to meet some interesting magicians, study a few complex spells, and ultimately discover the wizard inside myself.
And for the record, I’m still waiting for my Hogwarts letter.
Return to top
from page 90:
Waking up, I was already sure that today would be the worst Monday of my life, just like last Monday, and the Monday before that, and the Monday before that, and so on, and so forth…. Looking at the clock didn’t help my feelings of despair; it was already 6:53. If I wasn’t out of the house in less than 15 minutes or so, I was sure to be late for first hour again.
A quick shower was the first thing on my list of tasks. With the grace of a bag of rocks, I jumped off the wrong side of bed and sailed straight into the wall, then down the hall towards the bathroom. Without so much as waiting for the icy water to reach a bearable temperature, I was in and washing first the hair, then the body: just like every other shower, except in a fraction of the time.
After the quick and efficient cleaning, I sped down the stairs towards the laundry room in search of some clean clothes, as I’m sure none of the articles haphazardly strewn about my floor would pass the ever-useful sniff test. To my horror, I soon noticed that none of the recently cleaned clothes belonged to me, save a plethora of clean boxers. How could this be true? Was it even possible? I stood for a moment, perplexed at the idea that nearly every single piece of clothing I wore was somehow crammed onto the floor of my bedroom. There was no way.
I decided to rush back to my room and go bravely where no man had gone before: into the back of my closet. Who knew what strange garments could be lurking in that abyss? Luckily, just before I headed up the stairs, something caught my eye. Could it be? Yes! My mom had put a pair of my jeans under my dad’s pile. I grabbed them and pulled them on, stubbing my toe and nearly falling back down the stairs in the process. I kept thinking to myself, “Why does this always happen on Mondays? Why not a Wednesday, or even a Friday?” I got to my room as quickly as possible, fumbling for the light switch, which seemed to relocate itself every time I was in a hurry.
I saw the clock: 7:11. I could feel the average speed of my drive to school quickly increasing as I reached into the previously unexplored depths of my closet. Then, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but my favorite old shirt? Finally, a beacon of happiness to cut through the fog-like urgency that had been clouding my thinking ever since my eyes had first opened in the morning. I pulled it on, noticing that it was a little smaller than I remembered. Thankfully, it was nothing a good hoody couldn’t cover up. I grabbed a pair of long socks out of the drawer and put them on. “Oh, well, it’s cold outside,” I muttered under my breath. I found my shoes, slipped them on and grabbed my bag and car keys and headed towards the living room and towards the front door.
Before I could make it down the hallway, my mom’s voice stopped my in my tracks. “Nick, what are you doing, it’s 7:15 on a Sunday morning?!” The words hit me like a ton of feathers, which, contrary to popular belief, is just as bad as a ton of bricks.
“…Excuse me?” I asked, “Sunday?”
“Yes, Sunday,” she responded sarcastically, walking back into her room. What a bittersweet gift. I now knew that I didn’t have to speed to school, or go at all for that matter, but at the same time realized that I had wasted a perfectly good morning of sleeping in. I put my bag down and let out a long, morning breath tainted sigh of relief. I pondered about what to do for the next couple of hours, but only one thing seemed appropriate for the time: laundry.
Return to top