2016.05

Writing

Prose

“Opened Eyes” by Anonymous ’19

“Chapter Two” by John Hyatt ’16

Essay

“To You” by Anonymous ’17

“The Identity Crisis of Autism” by Bruno Youn ’19

Poetry

“Silent Observer” and “Changing Tune” by Blake Lapin ’19

“Waterslide” and “Home” by Shannon Miller ’16

“Castaway” by Jaya Jivika Rajani, PO ’17

“The Sandman” by Elliot Warner ’18

Art

Photography by Jordan Bosiljevac ’17

Photography by Grayson Gunner ’17

Photography by Jacksón Smith ’18

Anonymous ’17

To You

I have been leaving anonymous notes around the 5C’s for some time now. They aren’t about anything in particular. Sometimes I pretend that I’m writing to someone I love whom I haven’t seen in years. Sometimes I just make lists of things, like jokes that make me laugh, or songs that resonate with me. I especially like to leave notes with lists of songs because I feel that if I try to show a song to someone, he or she automatically associates the song with me or feels obligated to like it. When someone stumbles upon a song written on a sheet of paper with no name, the discoverer can listen to it in private and develop an intimate relationship with it that can’t be replicated. I address all the notes “to you,” in the hope that whoever sees one won’t feel like an intruder in reading it. I leave them folded empty benches, sitting in the grass, and in open books sitting on temporarily unoccupied tables.

I never stay to see who picks a note up. I think that would ruin the fun of it. It’s become a positive way for me to occupy my thoughts when I’m feeling overwhelmed. When I find myself doubting human character, I’ll picture someone spotting the note, diverting all of his or her formerly busied thoughts to it in curiosity, looking around, and picking it up. Maybe the discoverer reads the note right then and there. Maybe he or she stows it away in a backpack and waits all day to read it until slumping down in a chair to open it at last. I always wonder if the finders of these notes think, well that was weird, or if they actually get some enjoyment out of the content. Either way, each person thinks about it. It changes the person’s day in some way.  I think if I were to stay and see who picked up the note, or watch the discoverer’s face when reading it, I wouldn’t enjoy doing it as much as I do. The mystery of it all leaves me with the opportunity to imagine multiple outcomes. It’s almost like the whole world is finding the note because I can picture anyone finding it. I never even contemplated putting my name or any fake name on the notes because I feel like it would drain them of their magic. I hope that each note finder looks at people on the way to class or lunch and wonders if any of those passing strangers wrote it. Not knowing makes everyone seem a possibility. If anyone who finds one of my notes knew that I wrote it, they wouldn’t look around that way and wonder. I think the idea that a note makes whoever finds it search unfamiliar faces with a sort of bemused interest has a far greater impact than the content of the note does. Assuming that reading the anonymous note leaves a person a littler happier than before, all the people around the finder now have the potential in his or her eyes of having done this little personal act. As clever or valuable as I want the notes to be, the anonymity is what gives them power.

Anonymous ’19

Opened Eyes

You open your eyes. You don’t have a body anymore. Just eyes. At the end of a long, dark tunnel is the black night sky illuminated by countless twinkling stars. You try to get closer and closer to the sky but it is always out of reach. Then, the stars aren’t stars anymore. They are a dancing mess of dazzling white lights at the end of your tunnel. Your tunnel takes a sharp dive and suddenly there is cold wet grass and a cell phone screen laying next to a hand. The tunnel is gone. You have a body again. It’s your hand. Then, sound returns.

You hear deafening shrieks, crying, and screaming. You are shrieking, and crying, and screaming. You are so cold, wet, and there is a sensation of burning and dripping coming from your legs.

“Are you okay? Can you hear me?!?… She’s over here!! She’s bleeding everywhere.”

Whose voice is that? Who is coming? Where are you?

Suddenly arms hoist you up. You fail to resist the arms because while you feel everything, you control nothing. Your limbs and neck dangle freely as you are being carried somewhere. Why is it so cold? Where are you being carried to? There are stars everywhere in the sky on this cold night.

“Drink this. Drink this. You are going to be okay. We are here now. Who did this? Do you know what happened?”

Water makes its way to your cracked lips. The light flooding in the room reveals the faces of your two best friends. You go to open your mouth but nothing comes out and you blur out again. Arms wrap around you as you begin to loose your body completely. Something takes hold of you as your muscles begin to violently convulse. There’s a wall behind your head and you can’t control your neck as you slam your head into the wall. You scream out to regain control but you are merely a victim within your own body as it forcibly self-destructs. Arms, not yours, hold you tightly as you continue to scream and cry into the night.

A few hours later, you can feel yourself again, and you stop moving. You open your eyes into the face of your best friend, who looks back in pure fear and terror. You lie in bed. You close your eyes.

Two days later, you took a test. That Thursday night, you were drugged likely with a concoction of Rohypnol and Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid (GHB). You ask friends who saw you that night about what had happened. Each time, you have to relive the memories that you have of the night, and tell another frightened face what it was like to lose control of your body, your recollection, and your confidence. They all tell you the same thing about the night that you don’t remember. Your friends told you that they had seen you with a series of guys, slumped against a wall, and not talking. One friend said that he had tried talking to you. He said that he had asked how you were and whether you needed help getting back to your dorm. He said that you did not respond to him, but instead looked at him, and stared as if you were looking at something distant. You wouldn’t talk back to him. You couldn’t talk. You no longer had a voice, or a conscious soul.

You had a crush and you see him later in the day between classes. He won’t say more than a few words to you, so you ask him if he had seen you the night you were roofied. He said that by the time he saw you, that you were having trouble walking by this point, and your body was collapsing in on itself. He and his friends had tried to take care of you, but they thought that you were just really drunk since you couldn’t move too well and wouldn’t talk. They sent you to walk back to your room. You somehow at some point lost your way. One friend said that he saw you slumped on the ground and asked if you were okay but you didn’t respond. The story was coming together. You had no mobility and wouldn’t talk to anyone. But you still don’t know how you cut up your legs so bad, or how you ended up collapsed on the field, or who owned the shirt that was two sizes too big that you were wearing over your clothes when you were found.

There will always be holes in the timeline of your night, of which no one will ever be able to fill.  Maybe you weren’t the target. But maybe you weren’t the target, and she was. You will never know who took away your self-control, got into your head, and ruined your sense of security at CMC. But you ended up safe. Someone got to you. You are a lucky one.

Time passes. Your days get better, but not without their challenges. You are a lucky one. Of all of the permutations of possible outcomes of that night, you ended up bloody from falls and crawling, but untouched. It’s the other outcomes of what could have happened to you that haunts you. You can’t walk alone at night without looking over your shoulder, and doing double takes at forms of shadows. Your girl friends want to go out and dance, and you say you’re feeling sick and just want to stay in. One of your best friends can’t stop talking about this new guy, and they have started dating. You are happy for her, but can’t shake this feeling of hopelessness. You can’t help but look at the girls touring the campus with their parents, and say a small prayer. You were not the first girl, and you certainly won’t be the last. You ask yourself: what can be done?

What can you do?

What is the problem here?

Is it CMC’s party culture? Or something much bigger?

Is it CMC’s unwillingness to address the sexual assault and rape culture on campus beyond a few emails telling us to ‘watch out’? Or is it CMC’s blind obsession to combat its own social scene, thus failing to take action against the true forces of evil and violence on campus?

Is it our complacency as the students of CMC to turn a blind eye until you or someone you know is a victim?

Maybe someday you will feel safe again. Maybe some day Claremont McKenna College will care more about its fostered culture of sexual assault and rape over institution ranking and appealing to prospective students as being more competitive and thus worth the obnoxious price tag. Maybe someday you will trust again and be capable of growing.

Maybe someday this story, my story and now yours, will prompt victims to come forward and the community of CMC to take a stand together.

Maybe someday we can end this for someone else. Maybe some day, we will all open our eyes too.

Blake Lapin ’19

Silent Observer

I stretch

Out.

Feeling with my leaves

When my body can reach

No further.

And I see

In my elastic glory:

Frogs

Who shove

Accelerate and smoke

Swans

Who menace

Swagger and bully

Beings

Who carry on proud

When they should be

Begging.

Changing Tune

There is a serenity to the

Grid locked streets

Curving tracks beneath

Daunting walkways above.

We who long for arrival

Get lost in New York,

Where stories aren’t created

They’re found:

Within passing by clowns

Wearing

Painted skepticism

Lost monks

Yelling

In the crowded streets

Exasperated children,

Ashamed

By their grandma wearing “hip” clothes

Three decades old.

Strolling a city block

Is studying for a history final

In a class that covers

All 196 countries

And spans 400 years

Except you lost the syllabus

And don’t remember which 400 years.

In an attempt to fit in, we dress distinctly

Like no one else

And roam the streets,

Hoping to be found by

Another, hoping to be found.

Bruno Youn ’19

The Identity Crisis of Autism

I was diagnosed with autism at age four (not Asperger’s syndrome, which was still being diagnosed at the time). From a young age, everyone told me that I didn’t have any handicap and that I was simply different. But the widespread perception of autism as a disease says otherwise. Entire organizations have been founded on this mentality. For instance, one of the many rubber wristbands that I saw on the arms of my fellow students when I was a senior in high school read “Talk About Curing Autism,” the name of the group that produced them.

I have witnessed misguided activists declare that vaccines are to blame and that curing autism is as simple as getting rid of them. By and large, people seem to want a cure. This emphasis on eradication became more understandable as I became aware that I am among the most socially functional people on the spectrum. In other words, many who are diagnosed with autism do not have the social capability or practical skills to do well in college, let alone Claremont McKenna. Some cannot speak at all or take care of themselves on a day-to-day basis. I must acknowledge that I am not representative of those diagnosed with autism.

Imagine for a moment, however, that a complete cure for autism, with no harmful side effects, were developed and readily available. I am not certain whether I would accept it. On one hand, a cure would mean that I would be able to recognize people by their face and avoid the endless social faux pas. I would be rid of much of the social anxiety I experience. But it would eliminate a major component of my identity. My mother once described my condition as having a rotary engine for a brain, as opposed to everyone else’s V6 or V8. A cure would mean scrapping the rotary engine and replacing it with a V6 or V8. Perhaps the rotary engine could prove useful to me or to others in ways that other types of engines cannot.

I thus face an identity crisis. Am I disabled or differently abled? How, if at all, should I adapt to a society that was not built for people like me? When I ask myself these questions, two parts of me begin to debate. One, which I will call Collectivus, emphasizes service to society and destruction of the social barriers that autism erects. The other, which I will call Uno, advocates for acknowledging that autism is an essential characteristic of mine. A debate might proceed as follows:

Moderator: You both have 30 seconds to make your opening statements. Collectivus?

Collectivus: Thank you, moderator. We have to acknowledge that autism has hindered our social skills and that we need to refine them. If we help ourselves where autism crippled us, we will preserve our dignity. But, most importantly, we will contribute more to society and have the right to feel proud of it.

Moderator: Thank you, Collectivus. Uno?

Uno: People have noticed and will continue to notice that we repeat ourselves sometimes when it is undue and that we speak in a monotone. Our greatest efforts to learn quote-unquote “proper” social skills have only locked us into a never-ending conflict with society. Our autism is a difference, plain and simple, and anyone who does not accept it as such should not be of our concern.

Moderator: Thank you, Uno. Collectivus, what do you mean by “dignity”?

Collectivus: Dignity is recognizing autism as the burden it is to not only ourselves, but everyone we meet. We are undignified if we use our diagnosis as an excuse to not improve ourselves.

Uno: If we think that we can blend into society while still being ourselves, we are mistaken and arrogant. By conforming to these arbitrary norms, we die. That monotone voice, that repetition, that is who we are.

Collectivus: You wish to surrender, Uno? Surrender to an accident of genetics and environmental factors? How fatalistic are you? What, are you going to say next that there is no purpose in frequenting the gym because genetics partially determine our physique?

Uno: You’re the one surrendering, Collectivus. You’re the one saying that we should conform. What’s so abhorrent about us as we are? Who is harmed when we repeat ourselves unnecessarily? No one!

Moderator: All right, settle down. Uno, why do you think our autism will always be noticeable?

Uno: Do you remember that time when our economics professor asked us if we were okay when we started fidgeting in class? Then, how we explained that we’re on the autism spectrum and that nothing was wrong? She understood!

Collectivus: She meant well. We’re not social outcasts. Nobody knows that we have autism unless we explicitly inform them!

Uno: But not everyone who notices tells us that they do. So who knows how many people see something different about us? Who knows how many see us as a freak, an anomaly? All we need to do is to explain that we have autism and they’ll understand!

Moderator: If I may interject, what’s preventing us from acknowledging that we are different while simultaneously improving the way we communicate? There’s a false dichotomy here.

Uno: If we’re interviewing for a job one day and our body gestures are noticeably odd, how else would we explain it to the interviewer? We have to choose, and the right choice is to disclose. If we let the interviewer know, we’ll be understood. They’ll forgive our idiosyncrasies and we’d be saved so much stress trying to be perfect!

Collectivus: But disclosure works against us! Employers will perceive us as a liability if they know of our diagnosis of autism, and we cannot afford to lose employment opportunities by our loose lips. Every job worth having involves face-to-face interaction, and we will not be hired if employers believe that we cannot socialize effectively.

Uno: Well, they’re wrong. Also, I’m pretty sure that’s illegal!

Collectivus: Legal or not, they will still judge us.

Uno: We can change that! Take that employer to court and —

Collectivus: How would we prove it?

Moderator: Calm down, calm down! Okay —

Uno: You call me fatalistic when you’re the one saying that we’re doomed to be discriminated against? I know what really motivates you, Collectivus. You just want to learn to follow more of these arbitrary social norms so that you can brown-nose your way to some soulless job. Sure, we’d get paid well, but that will mean nothing if we aren’t ourselves.

Collectivus: It’s called networking, Uno. Networking. It is a skill we must master if we are to prosper. By serving society through our work we make ourselves happy as well. Getting paid well signifies that we are contributing to society. Elementary economics.

Uno: No, it doesn’t!

Moderator: All right, this is getting out of control. I advance my point again. Why must we choose between seeing autism as a disability and a difference? 

Collectivus: What I propose is that we become functional by eliminating the aspect of autism that inhibits us. After we do so, we will be indistinguishable from a neurotypical person, one upon whom autism was not inflicted. Even if there is a residual difference, it would be meaningless. There would be no social value in it.

Uno: Wrong again, Collectivus. How many times have we received the compliment that we “see things that others don’t”? So many! That has to be useful to someone! It’s certainly useful to us.

Collectivus: But our autism may not necessarily grant us that ability. It may be some other trait of ours.

Uno: Autism affects everything about us! It has to play some role!

Collectivus: No, it does not.

Uno: Yes, it does!

Moderator: And…done. That concludes our debate for now. We have more urgent matters to attend to; our next class starts in five minutes and we’re still in our dorm…

        I do not fully sympathize with Collectivus, Uno, or even the moderator. To this day, I have not decided whether to erase or embrace autism.

Elliot Warner ’18

The Sandman

The Sandman missed us last night, when all of the good salt of the earth people were asleep.

The rattle of two quarters in a tin cup kept me up, the frantic gasping of a fever patient, water, water. Except it’s not water, it’s nickel and zinc and copper. The stuff found in holes so deep, that when the world sat down they were crushed into being valuable. Water, water.

The sand ticks, and I look for the dew droppers, and dream collectors. They take all the little white wisps that float up and get caught in the banisters, the rafters, and the fans that only have time to turn, turn, turn. They put them in the dream bank with an eagle feather, a marble set, and a green crystal rock.

The blankets and the sheets hiss and strike, always wrapping, constricting. The things that go bump in the night twist and shake because everybody needs a holiday sometime. Two boys listen, and are lilac-ed away by a string of gilded words which smell like rose flavored Turkish delights. These aren’t those words. The boys aren’t heard from again.

An army of ruddy faced pajama warriors call out to the sandman, asking why the sand only grits and grinds between eyelids and teeth, bringing relief never more.

Grayson Gunner ’17

 

Jacksón Smith ’17

 

Jaya Jivika Rajani PO ’17

Castaway

To cast away your turbulence:

enclose in one cast-iron chest

and bury deep on a deserted island.

Never to be found,

never to be heard from again,

until –

thoughts run aground,

as your bow uncertainly touches down?

Uncharacteristic of the moontide,

shallow waters now,

suddenly abound…

Water rushes up the floorboards,

roiling,

creaking,

valves strictly leaking.

You dove into the deep

but now come up crawling,

Gulping mouthfuls of sand.

You try to push,

wish to sink down steadfastly,

but land comes up under your feet.

A new addition to the mental cartography.

The island, you see, is no longer in the distance,

but right there at the end of your telescope.

Looming larger.

Stagnant.

What then can you do but pick up anchor

(the one that had dropped but never stuck

and chose to drift languidly in the wake),

throw out the carefully charted course

(that was meant to skirt and smart

but declare disorientation it did not!)

and, in directionless pursuit,

set sail and head on.

The weather is changeable,

and the captain’s mast far from resolute,

still

be it writhe with serious, stormy substance,

or brineful of fizzy, foamy nothings –

“aye, never mind how the water be,”

he said –

with the smirk of a sailor,

and a face turned up to adventure –

“…there is certainly a discovery

waiting to be made

on the other side

of the blue

deep

sea.”

John Hyatt ’16

Chapter 2 of a work in progress

The peculiar sleep disorder was striking in sleep’s final stages. Awareness and unawareness wrestled for supremacy, and the hapless victim was seized by a fictitious obligation of all-consuming attention; an unequivocal demand for action; a siren call ringing again and again as the body grew feverish in unconscious anticipation. The task at hand was thrusting itself into a position of unimpeachable prominence, as when a disaster strikes and one reflexively lends each molecule of energy to the sacred task of self-preservation.

These symptoms were vexing Brontis in the wee hours of the California dawn. The fictitious obligation was a 7:00 breakfast appointment with Father at a very real restaurant, because he was a seventeen-year-old who ate at diners with Father. Old pops. On the look out for deviations from course. Brontis, inside the awareness of his sleeping seventeen-year-old self, was also aware that he needed to wake by 6:00 this morning, because this morning he needed to edit and submit an online reading response for English class by no later than 6:59, or Mr. Dennis would surely chide him while taking attendance.

Some time after 8:00 in the real world Brontis broke free, only to encounter his twenty-one-year-old self with aching limbs and an aching head. Sensing pain, he tucked his shaggy crown beneath the fleece blanket and reassumed a fetal position, returning to the land of unawareness. His first thought had consisted in a furious desire to not budge a damn inch from the damn Lovesac, his sleeping space for the past few hours. The evening before he had begun imbibing early and continued well into the night, with friends in congregation for a wine party hosted by Lucie’s dorm. Brontis and Chuck had trudged north from their apartment on the south of campus. Chuck made it back alright but Brontis’s sheer intoxication caused him pass out early.

After another half hour Brontis woke for good. Water was urgently needed. His stomach was in a twisted state. “The old red-white combo’ll do it” he muttered miserably before vaguely remembering the beers he had also consumed at dinner. He extricated himself from the gelatinous sofa and limped to the en-suite bathroom where, fortuitously, a stack of unused red cups waited. He grabbed the top cup and took two steps to the sink, twisting the left knob for cool clean water. Seized by impulse he abandoned the cup and craned his neck to slurp the cold goodness from its source, like a schoolyard punk hogging the drinking fountain in an exuberant love of life. The initial taste was music to his ears, but his tender stomach did not appreciate the rapid influx of fluid. With unsustainable nausea rising, he flung himself over the toilet and emitted a few dry heaves before eventually expelling heaps of a beige-red-blackish fluid with the occasional morsel of food along for the ride.

After a few mournful moments hunched on his knees and elbows resting on the toilet seat, Brontis rose triumphantly. He tossed water on his face and rinsed out his mouth. He glanced up, hazily taking notice of his face noticing itself, with its oval frame and wild eyes. He saw some mouth wash in the mirror on the shelf. Somewhat guiltily he grabbed the bottle and took a swig, swishing the minty fluid between his teeth before spitting it out and returning to the room, where the sound of his entrance stirred Lucie from her covers. She was happy to see her friend.

“How’d it feel on the way out, buddy?” She heard the commotion.

Before answering Brontis plunged onto the Lovesac, clutching his forehead with a pained expression. “Don’t want to talk about it but I felt the toxins leaving so it was good in that sense. Speaking of toxins where are those green goodies you were mentioning last night?”

“On the table.” With empathy and astonishment she watched Brontis grab the shiny metallic device and unscrew its main compartment, his face lighting up at the sight of freshly ground herb. He put down the device and retrieved a frosted-glass bong from beneath the table, wedging it between his thighs. With his forefinger and thumb he snatched a dollop of dope and dropped it in the bowl piece. He leaned back and patted his pockets, finding a pack of Reds. He extracted a single cigarette and whittled its end, funneling stray brown strands of tobacco onto the green flower. He leaned back and shuffled through his pockets, finding a bright green BIC lighter. A look of intensity dawned on his face that quickly gave way to a stoic expression. He took a deep breath and set fire to the plants, inhaling steadily. A soft crackling noise rung through the room as the bong’s stem grew cloudy, the soft mist growing into an impenetrable fog. When his lungs sensed full capacity he pulled the bowl piece and sucked deep. The fog disappeared for a moment before he exhaled at length, his dragon lungs spewing forth a stream of thick white smoke into the softly lit room. The vapor dispersed across the room’s far reaches, interacting with rays of light and producing opalescent glimmers to Lucie’s watching delight. Then his lungs roared in an eruption of coughs for a good twenty seconds. His spectral appearance presaged another toilet invocation, but he steadied himself and glanced up to offer Lucie a grin, who was now laying on her stomach with her chin cupped in hands, an expression of worry and incredulity painted across her face. “Jesus, man. You’ll kill yourself if you keep this up.”

He flicked his wrist and cocked his head, dismissing her thought without a thought. “Death is the last thing a guy’s gotta worry about when’s he got class in a few hours. Astronomy, no less, can you believe it? I mean my God, Lucie, can you believe it?”

His balled fists beseeched the heavens, and Lucie believed it. She believed it from the moment his balled fists first beseeched the heavens four months ago in November when Seniors were signing up for classes and Astronomy was the only science GE requirement available.

“And that’s the thing about Astronomy,” he continued, his interior monologue growing into spoken word. “At heart it’s so easy because it’s certain. All of it! Look at the moon, the earth, the stars, the galaxies. They’re all so certain and I don’t care. It’s all certain and here I am, waving my fists in uncertain directions. Jesus fucking Christ, Lucie, you know what the thing is?” He didn’t wait for an answer. “The Goddamn thing is that I’m such a Goddamn skeptic wanting justification, but here are my hands, waving as uncertainly as ever. Look, Lucie, look! The circles are inexplicable, just as they were a few second ago.” He waved his hands in circles. Lucie looked at him and laughed. He appeared insane with his massive eyes and impassioned resolve.

“Inexplicable indeed. You know what’s not inexplicable, though?”

Brontis went from a million miles an hour to rigid attention in a millisecond, eyeing Lucie curiously.

“Here you go buddy, go on and check it for yourself.” She underhand tossed her iPhone and then yawned while Brontis eagerly absorbed himself in the iPhone’s screen, with the other iPhone, his, resting on his knee.

“Wooh now, what have we here? The Night of Nights? Oh ho ho! Christmas’s come early, my love!”

“Yes, dear. I saw this while your vomiting was reaching its apex. Just look at all the details.”

“Fuck the details, Lucie!”

She frowned, so he adopted a conciliatory tone for his explanation.

“Yeah that’s right Lucie, I said it, fuck the details! The details are in the name, ey? Night of Nights. Now that’s all a kid needs to know. See, I know the type who throws a party round here, and I know they wouldn’t choose a false name. Clearly they intend for something big. Something very big. Something, perhaps, otherworldly,” he said this spookily, spiraling his hands around mysteriously like a clairvoyant. “The name alone tells me this: (A) The guest list is massive. (B) There will be multiple water-coolers with different types of alcohol.”

The two paused and looked at each other, their individual gazes meeting at a precise moment of impact. This and the boy’s ridiculous extemporization gave way to a round of roaring laughter from both parties.

“My friend, your friend here needs some sleep before class. See you for dinner, if you’d like? Or whenever. Just come on over.”

Brontis gave a solemn nod and left. He encountered a sunny morning, the grass freshly sprinkled and the acorn trees shimmering against the young light. He was momentarily off-put by the brightness as he staggered onto the sidewalk, destined south for sleep. His dirt smeared white converse supported sagging black jeans that lacked a belt; his white t-shirt was ruined with Dada Sharpie markings brought into existence on a blackout night way back when. He was a disheveled moving sight, each step more painful than the next. What nonsense, he thought to himself in his physical and mental misery. What nonsense that blobs required his presence. What nonsense that he lived in the epoch of astronomy. Too many planets, too many “objects” as the lecturer would say. Better to have not been now. Better to have been a hunter or gatherer back in the days of hunting and gathering, when the stars were beautiful and nobody worried about what they were made of or how far away they were. But here things were, unshakeable and impenetrable, entirely certain. That Earth would follow its orbit: of course. And of course the sidewalk would lead south to the slab he called home, the plain little box with the little refrigerator and little wooden desk with a hard wooden chair. Plebeian rooms raise proper Patricians, and the Spartans damn knew how to rear em. Scarcity, the trick for triggering a taste for plenitude if any tricks could trick… Plus it taught prudence at a rudimentary plane. Tenets of numerical complexity experienced in bare domesticity… bound to do wonders for making the complexity stick! And asceticism, the lord’s go-to. And America modeled itself on the lord. The self-made man! The self-made person these days, in the spirit of the Lord and the times and what not. Jesus, and there’s Tom. Old Tom. Good old Tom, being a good old boy, entering the fucking dining hall. That fellow where the hell was he last night? Too numerically complex to drink on a Thursday. Too lordly. For fuck’s sake Tom, I love you but why in the hell are you walking along these painstakingly slabbed slabs just to eat slabs of eggs so Goddamn early in the morning.

Thus spoke his disjointed mental schema as he trudged south and up the stairs to his apartment, which was on the second floor of a two-story building. He and his roommates enjoyed a little concrete porch, which Brontis vaguely took notice of while stumbling toward the door. The porch overflowed with overflowing trash bags, half-finished cigarettes, and fully-finished beer bottles. A colony of ants was making serious headway on a stray turkey sandwich.

He inserted his student ID, entered a passcode, and offered his worn-out flesh to the fresh ventilation of an air-conditioned interior, passing through the equally trashed common space to his room, where he immediately plugged in his iPhone and plunged into bed. He pulled the comforter over his face but squirmed sleeplessly, remembering the night before when Chuck had gotten into declaiming on 9/11, just before he went to Lucie’s for sleep. Lucie. Absolute life-saver. Friend of all friends. She understands. But then Brenna with corny tales about Arizona desserts and tumbleweed and limestone and hallelujah dances round the fire pit in the moonlight. He had really let it all go: “The zenith moonlight, man! Dig it! Dig that shit! If only the coyotes had shown their puny little faces. Those fuckers would have made for a proper tiff. A proper fucking tiff I tell you! C’mon you mother fuckers lets howl like the coyotes would want us to!”

His mind was hacking up scenes to the darkness. Unawareness soon reclaimed supremacy.

Jordan Bosiljevac ’17

Shannon Miller ’16

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