Amnesia | Idris Mansaray

Last night, I forgot who I was. Go to sleep
boy, we will have fried bananas in the morning,
says my mother. She once forgot
who she was, but now remembers
not to care. Go to sleep girl, we will have fried
bananas in the morning, said my grandmother to her. 
She too had once forgotten, but is content
with frying bananas. But once, her mother's mother's
father, too, almost forgot who he was. But not quite.
Goodnight Pikin, he said: “Tomorrow, we have plantains.”

Eggistential Gangster | Don-Terry Veal, Jr.

The beater is now prone to  
any affection whatsoever against  
eggs. Non-existent, they may be,  
but as the protein-filled, 
budding objects are beaten, the beater comes
to an excellent conclusion. There is no true fatality.  
There is only growth,  
for whomever feast upon the recently  
exterminated meal. Just when one is soon to topple  
over, another rises to put a new spin on it.  
A person’s mind may become scrambled, or it may just even be  
deviled, one must not be so bold and boiled when  
salted on as if expected not to crack
a yolk. The executionist object thinks to  
itself, if someone is to stir up trouble, you must  
do it right, or  
left, either way this tale was thwarted, and while  
consuming these thoughts, even the  
eggs felt its feelings were  
a treat. 

Is a Hot Dog a Sandwich? | Tim Palmieri

    I love asking controversial questions.
    Which came first: the chicken or the egg? Why is it called a drive-through if you stop? Why do you park in a driveway and drive on a parkway? Does my “yellow” look the same as your “yellow?” Does the morning or night person have it better? How do you pronounce GIF? What is the proper size for a television?
    I do not ask them in order to get an answer. I ask these types of questions in order to learn something about the other person. People make assumptions about each other immediately before, during, and after their first interactions. My favorite question to ask in order to learn about a person remains, “Is a hot dog a sandwich?”
    Of course, there is no right answer. Honestly, who cares?
    Try it. Ask someone if they consider a hot dog to be a type of sandwich. Though, do not wait for those final few words of someone’s explanation while they ramble on. Pay attention to what they say first, if they ask for your opinion, or if they even give an answer. How attached are they to their final conclusion? All of these bits and pieces can give you crucial insights into someone’s brain with a trivial question like this one.
    What do they say? Do they side with and define the delicacy as “a sandwich consisting of a frankfurter in a split roll” (“Hot dog,” Or, do they take this opportunity to soak up the time and your attention like the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council (NHDSC). If they resemble the first option, approaching the question with a logical, methodical conclusion process, this can point you towards assuming that the person is thoughtful and cares about what he or she says when asked their opinion. Conversely, the person might soak up the spotlight and use irrational logic like the NHDSC, which publishes, “saying a hot dog is ‘just a sandwich’ is like calling the Dalai Lama ‘just a guy’” (“Is a Hot Dog a Sandwich,” NHDSC).
    The first thought of the person you are questioning is crucial to understanding how they will structure the rest of their explanation. Human nature forces us to sort the person into the first set of categories. Does this person have common sense? Are they comparing a hot dog to the living religious leader of Hinduism? If you are inclined to answer yes to the first question, then the person probably chose to offer a thoughtful answer with decent explanation and reason. If the second question yields a yes, then you should evaluate the legitimacy of the rest of the person’s explanation and validity of their final conclusion.
    Do they ask for your opinion? After all, “more hands for lighter work,” “the more the merrier,” “teamwork makes the dream work,” and “two heads are better than one!” This part of their response, again, can tell you a lot about the person with whom you are speaking. Fundamentally, asking you for your opinion tells you that they are willing to admit that they do not know, or that they believe they do not have the best information in order to come to the right conclusion. In other words, admitting they do not know. But, if someone gives their whole answer without asking what you think, it should not count against them. Besides, you asked them a question: they are expecting that you want their answer. So, do not think less of a person who does not ask you their opinion, but pay special attention to those who do ask you for your opinion. The inquiry can point to self-confidence and willingness to arrive at the most accurate answer, as opposed to the quickest answer.
    Do they even arrive at an answer? Do they end with an “I don’t know?” When this question was given to the New York State Tax Bulletin, they replied with, “sandwiches include cold or hot sandwiches of every kind that are prepared and ready to be eaten” (“Sandwiches ST-835,” New York State Tax Bulletin). Someone also has the option and possibility to end up with no real opinion. Often, offering a few logical observations, admitting they do not, and asking your opinion is the perfect response people are waiting for. Though, giving the question minimal thought and just saying “I don’t know, why?” is not an answer you can deduct much information from. While not arriving at a conclusion can offer a powerful insight into someone’s brain, someone can also use this as a cop out for answering the question.
    At the end, how emotionally attached are they to their final answer? This is my favorite part. Do they give a dramatic yes or no? Could they care less? Here, you can evaluate their interest in what you are saying. Generally speaking, regardless of their conclusion, a passionate answer or a dull answer can point to whether they are interested in you or value the conversation as a whole. While you have been building assumptions of what kind of person they are, they have been doing the same for you. If you pass their test, they will give you a thoughtful and legitimate answer. If they think you are as dumb as rocks, expect a stone-faced response.
    Questions like these give you a way to see into someone—or not. Are they an open-minded person? Will they give this a chance? All of these, you can put together in your head after popping one of these controversial questions. Use these questions to your advantage, put your human nature to work, and make your assumptions count.
    On another note, is “hot dog” two words? Or is it a compound word?


Works Cited
“Hot dog” Def. 2.,, n.d. Web. 25 March 2018.
“Is a Hot Dog a Sandwich?” NHDSC, National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, 2016. Web. 25 March 2018.
“Sandwiches.” Sandwiches, New York State Tax Bulletin ST-835, n.d. Web. 25 March 2018

Animal Human | Gabe Moreno

In mid-September, cubs and cardinals
Quarrel for a beneficial tree.
Cubs like shade but hate cardinal crows. Cubs
Fill the space on the base and rub their
Backs on the trunk, and the cardinals sing louder,
Stinging the cub’s ears

Like children, their tantrums continue.
The tree timbers and silence follows.
The animals stare in a painful silence,
Like children after breaking mother’s vase.

Like children, they try to raise it up.
Like a broken vase, it cannot be replaced.
Hopeless, they face mother
Nature and grow.

Stay Humble | JJ Halaby

Students gather to see
Their team put on a show.
Liam is in his own world,
Forcing each shot right through the net. 
Scoring, passing, shooting.
His coaches sit back,
Teammates marvel.
One step across the free throw line,
Liam soars into the air
And ferociously throws it down.
Slam dunk!
The crowd goes wild!
Mr. Ref halts the game due to the stampede of students
running rampant across the gym floor.
But standing in the corner, 
the school’s best player observes from afar, 
where nobody can see.

Campfire | Matt Tan

It is night.
Woods surround our camp, 
and the moon reveals
droplets of water on the tent.
The air bites my skin
and my breath dissipates
into the air.
“Fire’s ready,” says my Dad.

I watch the fire.
Red and orange ribbons dance
upon the wooden stage, and sparks snap
like kernels popping.
The warmth embraces my skin
like a mother cradles her baby.

My dad gives me
a pack of marshmallows and
a stick.
I spear
a marshmallow and
place it over the fire.

The fire encases the marshmallow
and the snowy surface burns
to ash.    
Once a cloud, now cinder.
I taste the warm, white center which flows
down my throat and satiates my stomach.
I rest my eyes and revel
in this blissful sensation.

Summers Past | Sam Madder

In the summer field,
Playing where the child thrives;
Stretched out before us we had our lives.

Each day, another we take in turn,
Just you and me, and sometimes her.
The call for dinner so much ignored,
Forgotten like the late day chore.
Running by so wild and free,
Just you and her, and sometimes me.

Don’t leave behind this summer day,
The one for which I sit and pray,
And wait all year for it to come,
But comes instead another one,
A day alone with much less fun,
All the battles we once had won,
Come fighting back against me still,
But when you’re with her, there is no thrill.

Our kingdom born of an impish dream,
You’ve long forgotten, as you have with me,
But I have lost much more than you,
For I have lost my partner, too.

Alone in field I sit by day,
By night I find my heart’s dismay,
Remember when we once were free?
It’s you and her now, not me.

Sitting day by day alone,
Uncomfortable on my useless throne,
No one to make me feel or sing,
I’m left alone, the one false king.

All is left just as it should,
However if control I could,
It would be different than it is,
My hopes and dreams have left like his.
For she has stolen him from me.
Life will take what makes us free,
It is now just Lord not Sir,
Just me not you, since you’re with her.

The Man | Joey Wolfgang

His hands
Were dry and cracked
With opened scars 

Over his knuckles.
In his right hand, he twirled
A pen and held a pencil

With his left.
He stared blankly

At his sheet of paper, 
Like an anti-social
Person at a bus stop.

As I stared, I wondered
If he wrote for fun or for work.
But he looked up
And stared at me, 

“The pen is for the final draft, 
where everything is completed.”

Big Muscles and Lace Front Wigs Have Nothing On My Beauty | Greg Peterson

    Through my grimy mirror I stare into my deep-brown eyes and ask myself, “Why are you so goddamn ugly?” 
    Nothing about my face is inherently ugly, besides maybe a few blooming patches of acne. There’s just something not beautiful about it. I consult Ken, Barbie’s beautiful male counterpart, for help. He states in Toy Story 3’s Ken’s Dating Tips, “Make sure you highlight your strengths. Solid ride. Solid physique. Solid hair” (Disney Pixar, 2010). 
    The closest I’ve had to any of those features was in sixth grade. A girl with big, bug glasses and cyan braces complimented me on the snow in my hair.
    It wasn’t snow. It was dandruff.
    I’m not fazed by the fact that I’m receiving beauty tips from an inanimate doll. A “solid physique” would give the most results in terms of attractiveness (Disney Pixar, 2010). I aim for Ken’s jawline, sharp enough to slaughter several farm animals.
    WikiHow tells me that puckering my face like a fish helps to develop a jawline. Unfortunately, it’s no longer socially acceptable for me to go throughout my day with my face puckered. 
    A strict family friend isn’t pleased when I come downstairs and greet her with the grimace. My fish-face turned into a painful scowl as I began to lose all sensation around my mouth. Her disapproving stare pierces my heart and several other vital organs. Utterly defeated, I run to my room and shut the door.
    Since the jawline plan failed, I think about working out. I stare at the large, pink container in the corner. Inside lie several monstrosities: dusty bricks, clothing irons, plastic drawers, and crusty dog leashes taped together to create exercise equipment. 
    The last time I used them was last week. They fell apart in the middle of the exercise, and a stack of 14 bricks fell to the floor from 3 feet high. My mother rushed in and started shooting rapid-fire Spanish at me for making so much noise. Her eyes then locked onto the equipment she had never seen before. I just kept saying it was a school project and not the result of a seventeen-year-old’s crippling insecurities. 
    I collapse on my urine-stained floor. 
    Ken is just a doll. Advice comes from real people. 
    A friend of mine told me that in order to pick up a girl he’d “text back and forth with them for a while and eventually ask if they wanna hang out” or “make a move” at a party (Paul Kinkopf). 
    Unfortunately, the only party I was ever allowed to go to was in seventh grade. I didn’t even make it to the party. I had my clown costume on, and I was ready for my mom to drive me to the Halloween-themed gathering, but the car wouldn’t even start.
    After about half an hour I cried because I felt so stupid in a fuzzy black afro with a belt tied around my forehead. 
    I’m assuming that my friend got girls’ numbers from parties because the only girls I have in my phone are my mom and an old middle-school friend I haven’t seen in years. I rule out his advice.
    I browse my phone for videos of drag queens from RuPaul’s Drag Race; they’re considered beautiful. I land upon a makeup tutorial of Detox, a season 5 contestant. Throughout the video she shrieks, “Oh my god, you guys, I’m stunning!” (Logo, 2016). In the comments section, LKTSimmer states, “But like, she gives me so much confidence like stop” in reference to her shrieks. She doesn’t even have her makeup on, and she howls about how beautiful she is.
    Next, I watch the performance “Dragometry” in which Chi Chi DeVayne sings, “You may be shaped like a bumblebee, but you’re beautiful girl. Just love your body” (Logo, 2016). I end with a video of season 10 contestant Miz Cracker stating that “as a performer [she’s] wild. Barbie on bath salts” (faux_queen2, 2017).
    I stop to think about how these queens love themselves for who they are. They’re confident not because of their costumes or their makeup or their wigs. They’re confident because they choose to be confident. 
    I listen to Selena Gomez’s “Who Says” and violently lip sync. As she sings, “I'm no beauty queen. I'm just beautiful me” I stretch my legs out as far as possible and try to do a split (Selena Gomez). 
    My mother walks in, and I act natural. I’m kneeling in front of my grimy mirror and look at her calmly as Selena continues singing, “Who says you’re not perfect? Who says you’re not worth it?” (Selena Gomez).
    “What are you doing…?”
    “I’m practicing… for a school project…” 
    “Come down for dinner…” 
    She leaves, and the rest of “Who Says” plays. Before I go downstairs I read a fortune cookie slip taped to my desk. “You and your wife will be happy in your life together.” I smile. I’m only ugly if I choose to be ugly. 
    However, I’m still not sure why I keep the slip taped up. My wife is going to be a man.


Works Cited
Faux_queen2. Miz Cracker Entrance. Instagram, filmed by RuPaul’s Drag Race, 20 Mar. 2016, 
“How to Get a Chiseled Jawline.” WikiHOW, 2018,
“Ken's Dating Tips: Tip # 24.” Youtube, uploaded by Disney Pixar, 14 June 2010, 
Kinkopf, Paul. Texts to the author. 17 Aug. 2017. GroupMe Chat.
LKTSimmer. Comment on “Drag Makeup Tutorial: Detox's '80's Business Woman' | RuPaul's Drag Race | Logo.” Youtube, uploaded by Logo, 2017, 
“RuPaul's Drag Race (Season 8 Ep. 4) | 'Dragometry' New Wave Performance | Logo.” Youtube, uploaded by Logo, 2017, 
Selena Gomez. “Who Says.” Revival, Hollywood Records, 2011. Youtube, uploaded by SelenaGomezVEVO, 4 Mar. 2011, 

Surf Fishing | Alec Cerasoli

Remember those nights,
The smell of salty air on the beach
takes me back
to the early morning surf fishing trips
at Bethany Beach.

Before the sun rose,
before the lifeguards could set up their chairs,
I set up my two ten-foot
rods in the soft, white sand.

Reaching into my tackle box,
I pulled out
my squid and cut it
to place on my shiny, new hook.

      After what seemed like hours,
I heard a slow clicking, followed by
and earsplitting squeal. Soon
my rod bent in half.

I ran up to grab it and gave the tall rod an
immense pull.
I felt the power of the fish as
it showed its acrobatics.

A small crowd gathered
to witness the action.
They watched as the fish
jumps, frantically trying

to escape its trap.
The efforts eventually
paid off as
the fish broke its bond.

A Life Well Remembered | Kendal Loughborough


Do you remember the trees
outside our father’s cottage,
swaying in the breeze?

Or the look on his tired face,
when he came home
from a long day of work?

Or the taste of delicious soup
that filled our souls with warmth?
Or the smell of the fire, 
burning in the fireplace
as we sat around the dinner table,
listening to his stories?

I know that life has been
rough for you,
after what happened.

You may call yourself
an outcast,
but I want you to know
that I am always here for you.

I hope that wherever you are,
you do not forget
that there is also love,
and happiness,
in those memories
shrouded by sorrow.

Your sister,


Click Here | Matthew Hawkins

    The most intriguing feature was the scar on his face. It was a subtle faded mark that he probably got a long time ago. It started right below the tip of mouth on the left side and ran a little more than halfway to his ear. It dipped and curved up, as it tried to arrive at its destination on his ear lobe. 
    I didn’t ask him how he got it, considering how rude that would be, but my mind had immediately fabricated as many stories as it could. Perhaps, he got it in some hunting accident. Perhaps, he took a bullet through the face while serving in the army. Perhaps, it is the remnants of a botched surgery. I tried not to stare at it, but couldn’t help to take the occasional peek. 
    He was a wide man, but I would not call him fat. He had brown hair that was cut short around the sides. His ears seemed to be pushed towards the back of his head. He was wearing a bright blue tee-shirt. He wore khaki brown shorts and black tennis shoes lined with a dark yellow. He made the smart move of wearing a pair of sunglasses on such a sunny day.
    When he would say something to me, he took off his sunglasses to reveal light blue eyes that almost looked pale and eyebrows so thin that they might as well not be there. His voice was surprisingly gentle and polite. I’ve never been much of a conversationalist, but Craig was easy to talk to. When someone spoke, he listened. The more we spoke, the less I looked at his scar. 
    I have not heard from him ever since. 

Hot Dog with No Relish | Chris Sharkey

    “Shut yer damn trap, ya rangy mothafucker!” 
    George hurled his finished Jim Bean bottle towards his scaly alligator, which was choking rather loudly on a dog bone. Flap scurried down the kitchen steps and through the doggie door, eager to prey on the neighbor’s unsuspecting pets. Once a week, there would be some kid stapling flyers of their missing cat or dog, desperately looking for their loved one. George couldn’t care less about some cat named Fluffy.
    “Fuck them neighbors and their stupid-ass rodents.”
    George grabbed another bottle behind his chair: Fireball whiskey. He personally couldn’t stand the taste of it, but it got him drunk, and that was his mission, by whatever means necessary. With one huge swig, he sucked the whiskey into his throat. George let out a belch that shook the floor like Zeus’s thunderbolts.
    “They don’t call you fireball for nothing, baby.”
    He put the bottle down, and continued to watch the Miami Dolphins lose to the New Orleans Saints. It was a boring game, with the Saints leading 3-0 at the half.
    “F you, Mark Ingram. I hope you go ‘n down to the Bayou, and get eaten up by a big ‘ol gator.”
    George always wanted to go back to New Orleans. His father moved him and his brothers out to Miami after his mother died giving birth to George’s sister. Mr. Samuels couldn’t handle the constant reminders of what he had lost. Maybe if they moved, they could be a happy family again. The first day they arrived in Miami, they stopped at a hotdog stand called Sweet Dogs. George caught a glimpse of one of the hotdogs. It overflowed with French fries, pouring off the bun like a greasy Niagara Falls. George got one without relish because he considered the taste not to complement the sweetness and bitterness the ketchup and mustard already provided. The Samuels family was back to their loud, obnoxious selves again. All this thought of a hotdog made George hungry.
    “I need some grub,” George slurred. The fireball had just kicked in. George lifted himself off his chair, which triggered an explosion of dust to arise. He zig zagged out of the living room and to the kitchen steps past the towering mountain of uncleaned dishes. George hesitated to get his balance, and proceeded to walk down, clinging to the wall for his life. One step… two step… missed step.
    Tumbling down, George landed on his butt. He pulled himself off the dusty wood, cracked his neck, and got his keys. The Miami sun blinded George as he stumbled out. His 1997 Chevy Astro van smelled of armpits and sex. The engine proceeded to make its regular coughs and wheezes, much like its owner. After the pathetic engine started, George took a swig of a flask on the passenger chair. 
    “Tastes like piss,” he grimaced. It probably was. George drove out of Rolling Road Drive up to a stop light. His flask dropped as he turned left. Swiftly reaching for his flask, George didn’t see the oncoming truck speeding towards him.
    “I smell smoke,” George thought.
    It turned out he was right. The car flipped upside down, with the driver’s door completely separated. He tried to wrestle his way out, but couldn’t move his left leg. George looked down in horror at the bone protruding from his thigh before fading back to unconsciousness.
    The sound of the heart monitor awoke George from his medicated slumber. The hospital bed itched his back and wouldn’t go away. As he moved to itch his back, a sharp pain hit his left leg. George screamed, then looked down to see a bloody, bandaged stump where his left leg should be. A nurse immediately rushed in.
    “Do you need anything sir?”
    George gazed into her eyes, wondering if life was worth living.
    “Gimme a fuckin’ hotdog widdout relish. I swur to Gawd, if there’s any relish on it, I’ll stick it down yer throat.”
    The nurse ran out to get the hotdog. Fifteen minutes later, she woke George up with a freshly made hotdog. George smiled through the pain.

Hands Absent, Yet Present | Emmett Hudak

    Wrinkled, withered hands bruised by even the slightest touch. They remain feeble and decrepit. His hands are forever incapacitated by relentless, pernicious afflictions that never know when to cease. A boy stood by his bed and caressed his hands, yearning to feel that connection of love and heart-warming tenderness between them for one last time. However, the boy felt the man’s hands tremble in utter fear and apprehension, terrified of his inevitable future that awaits him in the next…
    Now, born again, his hands are glorified and radiant, hovering over his beloved kin. His hands are so vigorous and so beautiful, yet absent. They rest upon our shoulders now, guarding and preserving, yet absent. They rest in a place where the sun never stops shining, where your soul never stops glowing, yet absent. 
    “Shall you and your hands always remain present yet invisible to me,” the boy said, gazing at the sky. With a gust of wind as strong as a hurricane, and as calm as an ocean breeze, the boy realized that the man was trying to tell him something. Within him, beside him, and above him, the boy will sense the man passing by noise

Khufu's Keeper | Grady Kuhn

I lie on my bedroom floor,
My mind wanders
towards the thought of the pyramids of Giza,
spoken of in a relevant setting. 

These thoughts awaken memories of a certain entity,
which could protect Khufu forever.
The pyramid is often trespassed.
This entity resembles a pyramid, 
and if compressed at a moment,
could impale trespassers to the bone, 
and solidify its name in history as “Khufu’s Keeper.”

Enjoying Our Youth | Ben Breschi

     “Would you two like to come in and have a coffee?” asked the old lady, who had introduced herself as Signora Maria. With an empty notebook and pencil in hand, my friend and I stood in front of her doorway in the small Italian village of Pennadomo. She spoke in Italian, a language we both knew well, but her missing teeth and raspy voice mangled the words sound slightly mangled. Before I could politely decline, my confused friend answered, “Uh, sure.” Our assignment to interview the Italian about her everyday life took an unexpected turn, as the lady directed us toward her worn, two-story home. My friend and I did not have a choice, and we reluctantly stepped out of our comfort zones. 
    She led us through a scarcely-lit living room and past a staircase into the kitchen, where we were met with another elderly lady. Maria introduced us to the woman. I only understood that she was her sister. As we sat down at the kitchen table, a man, clearly startled by all the commotion, descended the stairs. As soon as he saw us, the man smiled and said, “Good morning,” as if he encountered two American teenagers in his house every day. Signora Maria ordered the man to prepare a pot of coffee. She then turned to us and said, “This is my husband.” 
    While we waited for the coffee, my friend and I explained how we were on a trip with seven other students from the United States. With a youthful eagerness, the old women listened. She had just as many questions for us as we did for her. The two of them had a way of making me feel as comfortable as I would be in my own home. Maria described how everyone knew each other in Pennadomo: They go to church every Sunday together, party on the holidays together, and often eat dinner together. As I continued talking to Maria and her sister, I realized that the town of Pennadomo and others like it represented what a perfect world would look like. People would be able to leave their doors open to others passing by, and to invite strangers into their homes. However, that world does not exist, and small towns such as Pennadomo are difficult to find in our insecure world. 
    Aside from answering questions about their hometown, Maria and her sister openly spoke about their personal life. This included going to church and watching the few channels they got on the television. They said that they had another sister who died recently and joked about how they would soon meet a similar fate. Maria reminisced about her childhood; her sister forgetfully commented several times on how beautiful our eyes were. Then, the women asked us questions, which were often hard to understand due to their fast speaking and our slow Italian. By the time my friend and I were served the coffee, it was time to rejoin the rest of the students, who were surely looking for us. We hastily drank the piping hot coffee, which was the best I have ever had. We thanked the trio for their incredible hospitality and information. The women made sure to tell us to enjoy our trip–and our youth. 
    Thanks to an honest mistake of my friend and the inviting nature of Maria, I was forced to abandon my comfort zone and relate to an elderly Italian family with no ability to speak English. I can easily say that it was one of the most beneficial experiences of my life, as we learned to expand our boundaries and see the world in a different light. Leaving the house, my friend and I had not taken a single note but will forever remember the encounter.

Memories | Cole Hendricks

    In the Samuels’ residence, located on Rolling Road Drive, George packs his tan, rusted Honda with only one suitcase. He has just enough for the two-day trip to New Orleans. Kissing Christina, his wife, goodbye, he says, “I love you.” His two young boys grab onto his legs, and they try to hold him down, like two cement blocks attached to George’s feet. Crying at his feet, the boys do not let go, but George tells them, “It’s only for two days, then I’ll be back home.”
    While standing on the arrivals curb of the New Orleans Airport, an old, green Ford F-150 speeds up the ramp and slams on the breaks. The truck leaves dark black skid marks as it comes to a halt in front of George. He sees the same old Patrick, who hasn’t changed since high school. Patrick, elated to see his buddy, opens the door and runs to bear hug George who is sixty pounds lighter and five inches shorter than Pat. 
The lady standing a few feet away gawks at the awkward greeting, but George and Pat are caught up in their moment. 
    The reunion starts at seven in the evening, so the two have the day to themselves. They revisit the Southern Hill Elementary School with the faded sign out front and the squealy seesaw in the back. They drive to the woods behind Pat’s parents’ house and find them to be miniature compared to when they explored them for hours on the weekends in their elementary school years. Next, they drive to the old bar where they knew the owner and drank after the football games on Friday night. 
    The same cook still cooks on the grill in the back, and he gives the men a large grin to say hello when they sit down at the bar. His two missing teeth in the top row appear as he smiles. Memories of their youth flood their brains as they eat, drink, and chat.
    Now adults, they possess more prudence and wisdom than they had in high school. However, that drifts away, like the clouds in the breeze on that late spring Louisiana day, as they start to order beer after beer and take shot after shot. It is almost as if nothing had changed in that little bar since the night that Southern Hills High won the state championship. George and Pat have sloppy grins on their faces, just as they had on the fall Friday nights fifteen years ago.
    To go to the high school, they only need to walk a mile down main street in that small town just outside of New Orleans.
    The crowd has 300 members of their class already present. Everyone had changed, but neither of them notice. 
    Alison Thomas takes obvious note of the men as they stride past her. The men walk right to the dance floor, where they dance to “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” Alison makes her way out to dance with them. She was not the popular type in school, and she minded her own business. Her parents were always proud of her for her achievements in the classroom because she sacrificed her social life to earn only one B. 
    As she dances with the men, she realizes how she missed her opportunities as a teenager. Song after song, she inches closer and closer to George. When a slow song comes on, she grabs the drunken George, and dances with him for those four precious minutes, smelling his breath that reeks of alcohol. In his fuzzy brain, he mistakes Alison as his sophomore year girlfriend, Melinda Brands. The only common trait between the two is their blonde hair.
    After the song, Alison yanks the stumbling George into the hallway. They disappear down the dark hallway for the next thirty minutes.
    When George returns, Pat asks, “Whatcha been up to?”
    “I relived high school,” George replies.
    Pat laughs and the two finish the night with a few more dances before heading home to Pat’s. 
    They woke up early, so George could get to the airport. With his headache raging like a wildfire, George remembers the good time he had last night and can’t wait to tell Christina how much he misses his high school days.
    He arrives on his doorstep in Miami and kisses Christina. They sit down to talk about his reunion, but George let that one detail slip out.
    He begins to walk down Rolling Road Drive with only one suitcase, the same one he left with two days ago.

Two Old Men, the Sea, and Me | John Tiralla

    Knock, knock, knock. The lights flash on in my room, as I curl beneath the covers. I feel the warm hand of my father on my shoulder. He nudges me. It is 2:30 in the morning, and he asks me the question I’ve heard so many times before: “Are you coming, Johnny?” I slowly roll out of bed, throw a hat on my head, pull on some clothes, and trudge down the stairs. We both jump in the car and drive over to my uncle’s house. There he is, anxiously pacing around the boat and completing the last inspection before we go on our adventure. “Ready men?” he asks. 
    We all get in the car and make our way down to the Kent Narrows, on the Chesapeake Bay, the place we call home on the weekends. I fall asleep in the back seat, as my Dad and Uncle talk about how bad the Orioles’ pitching is. When we arrive at the boat ramp, it’s still dark. We slide our modest vessel into the water.
    The water is flat and serene. We quietly motor out to the channel. My Dad gathers our phones and puts them in a box, locked away underneath the bow of the boat. When we are on the water, we are fully connected with our surroundings on the bay. Once we reach the open, it is time to unravel the crab traps and set them strategically. We engage in light competition with the other watermen to secure a good spot. Thirty small metal folding boxes release their doors at the bottom of the bay, inviting any crab to enter. The first run is pretty slow. We only catch three small crabs. We also catch, however, the flash of a ray, the splash of a striped bass, and even the shadow of a bald eagle, as it soars through the air.
    We all chatter about the yard work we dodged that day, whether it was mowing the lawn, raking leaves, or sweeping up Mom’s massive piles of garden debris. We sing made-up songs and gobble up zero calorie snacks. Sometimes we are silent, taking in the warmth of the sun and the smell of the brackish water. I can’t divulge everything. As Uncle Greg says, “What happens on the Narrows stays on the Narrows.” Our ritual of crabbing is so much more than catching dinner and being a little silly. It’s about spending long days, when our only measure of time is the angle of the sun; it's about spending time with two amazing men who have taught me the more important pieces of life and shaped me into who I am today. They have taught me how to be diligent and thorough in whatever I do, to be patient, and to show respect to everyone. Whether I am going the extra mile to pull the boat out of the water, patiently awaiting the first crab of the day, or striking up a conversation with someone at the dock, their influence on me has been important to my development as a person. Their sense of humor, humility, and integrity are as true as the changing tides. 

Tommy | Mark Sucoloski

    “George got to the show late, and we were infuriated. He was always late. Even though traffic was terrible on I-95, we still didn’t care. The show started in twenty minutes, and a sell-out crowd was gathering outside of the bar. Among the people waiting outside the bar were several record-executives eager to hear our sound. Jack, our bassist, turned to George and said, “Why the hell can’t you do anything you’re supposed to do? Think we need you?”
    What we didn’t know at the time was that George was an addict. He constantly arrived late to shows because he could not go on stage without being high. He had no life. He worked at McDonalds on a part-time basis. He was not even qualified to make the food. He scrubbed the crummy toilets and mopped the floors of the fast food eatery. Every dime he made fed his addiction. He needed this band: he needed to eat. His wife left him after an affair, and he had nothing left. 
    George tuned out everyone and set up his drum set in the back of the stage. He was all set up and realized that he had forgotten his cymbal. Now, George was late, and he forgot shit. Awesome. It was a mess of a night, and the show hadn’t even begun. Finally, the clock hit 10pm, and the doors opened. Hundreds of people piled into what seemed like the tiniest bar in the world and waited for the music to start. The music started, and the first song went well. Of course, our lead singer, Alex, had to complain about something, and this time he picked on George for being too loud. George sent a bird his way and threatened him. This wasn’t really a surprise to me. Alex’s skinny jeans were always a little too tight, and it made him feel small…if you know what I’m sayin’.
    Back to the story: You didn’t want to mess with George. He was a 6-foot 6-inch power forward at the University of Kentucky where he won two national championships before dropping out of school for financial reasons. Alex didn’t take the threat lightly. Every time he got off the mic, he yelled at George whatever he could think of. George did what any pissed off drummer would do. In the middle of the next song, he threw a broken drum stick at Alex. Yes, this is a petty thing to do, but I was watching World War III unfold, and this was the final preliminary move. Now, what happened next was a pure physics miracle. 
    It hit and stuck to his back…Bullseye! It was only a matter of seconds before Alex took his microphone and threw it at George. And then, the two were off. George unscrewed the only cymbal he remembered to bring and threw it at Alex like a frisbee, slicing Alex’s eye. Alex followed up with a few sucker punches and kicked in the bass drum. It was a wrestling match. Two 33-year-old men fought like little kids in front of hundreds of people. George had Alex in a head lock, laughed, and said “Dude, what are we doing? Let’s end this.”
    And that’s the last thing I heard him say before he jammed the other half of the broken drum stick into Alex’s eye, your honor,” said Tommy, the guitar player of the band. George had ended the fight, but this small personal victory landed him 15 years in the joint for aggravated assault, and 5 years for possession of a narcotic. George Blake Samuels is now residing in the Florida State Prison at 23916 NW 83rd Ave, Raiford, FL 32026.

Man Up | Ben Breschi

    Students failing to register for the draft should be denied federal and state aid for their education. Within thirty days of turning eighteen, almost every male in the United States must register with Selective Service, the agency responsible for conducting a draft in case of a national emergency. Though criminal punishment comes at the age of twenty-six, students who fail to register lose access to student loans, college grants, and federal financial aid early on. Without such an immediate penalty, many would see registration as nonessential. The punishment also helps the federal government save money. In addition, those who cower at the possibility of defending the United States should not receive its benefits. Though others argue that volunteers alone could fill the need for troops, a raw assumption like this cannot replace the need for a safety net. Draft registration and its punishments debate the importance of national security versus personal liberties.
    Without an immediate punishment, such as denying federal financial aid, students would see draft registration as nonessential. Edward Hasbrouck, a draft objector himself, writes that Although the Selective Service threatens men with felony charges, they rarely pursue them due to lack of resources and prison space (Hasbrouck). By reaching for the wallet, however, the government solves the problem in objectors like Hasbrouck. For men emerging from high school, the threat of cutting financial aid triggers a much stronger response than that of a seldom-enforced felony eight years down the road. Many potential objectors simply swallow their cowardly clucks and choose to register. Without the penalty of reduced student aid, few men would register for the draft, their wallets would remain unaffected, and the American military capacity would be largely unknown.
    The few men that still refuse to register allow the government to save money through denying them federal student aid. According to The College Board, undergraduates receive around five thousand dollars per year from federal loans, while graduate students drain over sixteen thousand (“Trends in Student Aid”). This means that the “millions of suspected draft registration resisters,” although not being prosecuted, are saving the government billions of dollars in federal student loans (Hasbrouck). In turn, the government can use this money to fund the military and those brave enough to put their country first. It is much easier for the United States to choose inaction to save money rather than take legal action against the cowardly objectors. 
    Those who cower at the possibility of defending the United States should not receive its benefits. Many soldiers have fought and perished to render a country so plentiful with opportunity. Resisters to draft registration, on the other hand, put their own self-centered goals before the security of the United States. Federal student aid is a privilege of much less significance than national safety, and therefore, the government should retain its ability to rescind that privilege to ensure stability. In addition, immediate deployment does not follow registration, as the Selective Service only conducts a draft in times of great need. Since a draft has not occurred in over thirty years, its likelihood is low, so registration mostly acts as a safety net. 
    Opponents of the draft and its penalties argue that volunteers alone can negate the need for such a safety net.  However, statistics simply do not line up with this claim. Including active duty, the National Guard, and the reserves, the United States military currently contains just under 2.3 million people (“By the Numbers: Today’s Military”). During World War II, the military personnel soared to over 12 million people; the Selective Service drafted seventy percent of these soldiers (“Research Starters: US Military by the Numbers”). If another major war were to break out, volunteers could not possibly sustain the entire United States military. Even in Vietnam, a smaller war, the draft sent nearly 2 million brave men to fight (“By the Numbers: Today’s Military”). Abolishing the draft or its financial aid penalty would jeopardize the security of the U.S. in times of danger and develop a sense of apathy toward the American cause. 
    The American government should bar students from federal financial aid if they refuse to register for the draft. By doing this, the government pushes more men to register with an immediate penalty. Those who still fearfully scamper away allow the U.S. to save billions of dollars in federal loans. Finally, financial aid amounts to less importance than national security and therefore can be revoked to preserve safety. With this punishment, objectors to the draft find themselves cornered: they either surrender their wallets or have to man up.