4 minutes left, down by 2. We gotta get a stop here. As soon as she makes her move, I’m going for the steal. I got this, I got this…. NOW! (feels the screen) Someone’s there. I have to go around. Alisha, go around it. (trips and falls) (pause and then a scream)

Why didn’t my team yell anything? They should have communicated with me. They should have told me that she was setting a screen! I should’ve went for the steal quicker. I waited too long. I could’ve took the ball and had an easy lay up, only if I was 1 second faster. Just. One. Second. Damn! (smacks down her crutches) I could’ve had it. We should have won that game! It’s all my fault and now I’m stuck in this stupid rehab center with a torn ACL.

I’m walking today. I know I will, I know I can. (exhales) I’m just going to get my crutches. They’re only (starts to get up using arms) right (struggling to speak) there... (falls back onto the seat) Just like the ball was (sigh) I can’t get the ball, I can’t walk, I might as well stop trying altogether. There’s no point anymore. The season ends in a few months. There’s no way I’ll be able to do this. I’m not going to be able to get any scholarships, and I’m not even going to be able to play my senior year.

Now that I really think about it, it’s whatever. Cool. Fine. Fantastic! I don’t even wanna play anymore for real. It was just something to do. I might as well not even walk anymore. I don’t even care. Being in a wheelchair isn’t that bad and crutches are even better. They’re like swords and like, in a wheelchair, I can go faster than everyone else can. Plus I don’t have to walk up the stairs anymore. Speaking of that, let me go get my crutches. (Tries to get up.) I remember everyone speaking

“Come on Alisha.”

“Take your time.”

“You can get up?”

“What hurts?”

“Can you feel it?”

“Do you need ice?”

“Where did you fall?” All of the crowd is silent and I finally get up and they clap but I fall back down. Tears all over my face, with so much pain in my knee.

(Hears a knock at the door) No! I do not need any help! Stop coming to me! I don’t need any help walking and I don’t need any help trying to get my life back together!

One Last Time

Stop, put me down. I don’t need you to drag me along, even if I am paralyzed. Every little movement scrapes another layer of graphite from me. If I were like the human hand which controls me, you would be scrapping my skin off. This graphite tail of mine will not grow back if you rub it away. You are pulling out my hair when you grind my rubber against paper.

You leave me in the worse places, zippered into dark spaces. Every time I am left alone, I pray you will forget me, and it will all end there in peace. The darkness is better than when you hold me down against that blade, and cut away my wooden surface.

Oh, what could my purpose be? To be tortured into recording all your ideas without pay. Am I supposed to work my life away?

Wait, what did you just write?

(looks down) “I’m sorry that this may be our last dance across the paper. Thank you for recording the words I was too scared to say aloud. You pay the bail to get my thoughts out of the jail that is my mind, with your life, writing in your graphite blood. These words are mine, but you wrote them.”

(gasps) Is that a thank you note to me? A love letter. I remember writing these before, while held in the warm embrace of your hand, and dying in your fingers with every sharpening.

Without you, I would be sitting alone, growing cold. I can not move, speak, or do anything on my own. You are the murderer that rescued me from a life on the shelf, like an unwanted puppy in a shelter. I was not the nicest one available for adoption, yet you chose me. You could have taken that smooth, long lasting mechanical pencil, which could be refilled with new graphite, but you were environmentally conscience, choosing me, the biodegradable wooden pencil. To you, I was never number two.

Or maybe you were scared that the mechanical pencil would outlive you. It could be past down as a family heirloom, with every new stick of graphite prolonging its life way past yours. Even if it ran out of led and you threw it in the trash, its plastic shell would still be sitting in a landfill a thousand years from now. You and me are made of organic materials; dirt and trees. The only exception is a person created me to be with you. I’m sorry it couldn't last forever. With all the sharpening, we were bound to reach my metal end one day. It will be alright. Go ahead, and find another pencil. It’s time to let me go. You don’t have to scrape away at the millimeter of graphite left to finish this letter. 

Unless. You could leave me in my bag, and when the new pencils arrive, I can tell them our stories. I will convince them to not fear you. Then, they will not screech in protest against the paper as I did. Your pencils will dance across the page if you let me be the one to encourage them. I’ll be an old pencil, the grandparent to the new ones, who never leaves the house, our pencil bag, but is always there for them when they come home. In those moments, I will have found my purpose. I wish you luck in writing your life story, my love.

The New Girl

First day of school tomorrow. What to wear? What to wear?

“Pink, ew no.”

“ I know, I’ll wear my black leather jacket with a white top and grey scarf, my black ripped jeans, and my black boots.” Two hours before the first day of a new school. It’s the middle of winter, they’ll think I’m a weirdo.

“ Teddy, what do I do?”

“You’re right maybe they won’t notice me.”

I take a breath and step inside the giant school. All eyes on me, I look behind me there is nothing but a closed door. They must be staring at me. My nerves take over my body I put my head down in shyness and walk. First class of the day, I walk in and introduce myself to the teacher.

“ Hello, my name is Josie, I’m the new student.”

I sit in the first seat in the first row. Everyone files into the room, and takes their seats. I hear whispers coming from behind me. They sound like they are making fun of someone. Maybe there is another new student here?

I feel something hit me in the back.

“ Ugly, go back to where you came from.”

I crumbled up the paper and hid it in my bag. The class ended, now for PE. I find the girls locker and change into my gym clothes.  I go through the whole day hearing hurtful words. I almost cried halfway through the day.  I’m happy that I’m going home.

“ Why are words hurtful Teddy?”

“ What do I do to  make it stop?”

I can’t help but replay what that note said. I walk over to my bag and pull it out and read it to my teddy.  Feeling the tears building up in my eyes and my heart is aching.  “ Ugly go back where you came from.”  I cry myself to sleep not wanting to be bothered.

I see the group of kids that wrote the note, I walk up to them.

“ Listen, I don’t know why you guys thinks it’s okay to call people names. I may be the new girl and all, but that doesn’t mean you can call me ugly or tell me to go back where I came from. I don’t to on anyone bad side I want to make friends so hopefully you guys won’t be such jerks and make that hard for me.”

I went on with my day with a smile on my face. Walking through the doors of my home and up to my bedroom.

“ Teddy I stood up to the jerks who hurt me.”

“ I hope they don’t ruin my chances of making friends”

“ Your such a good listener when I need you the most.”


Slide (5)
This is a slide all about me. I chose the simple grey background to create space for contrast, and to keep attention on my content. The first six words are from a “Six Word Autobiography” that I created, because they are simple, short, yet interesting. I found that photo and added it because it used simple silhouettes and it was understandable at a glance, and the white background went well with the grey and the red text. I overlaid the “Hurry up” text on the picture to make it seem more part of the picture (I tried to make the text color match the ribbon color, too). I connected the six words with the picture to make it draw the eye along the way I want it. I left rectangular spaces so it has some space, but the spaces look clean and on purpose.


(The patient is sitting in a chair. He has a very desolate look on his face, eyes are droopy and his mouth is partially open. He leans in the chair  because he is heavily sedated; his arms hang out by his side of his body, almost lifeless.)



The mouse… ran up the clock

The clock struck one…

The mouse ran down…





Dock! (Right on the dock, the patient shoots up in seat, and he discontinues his whispering)

The mouse ran up my clock!

My clock struck one

But it never ran down!

And up that clock he sure did…

(The patient stands up from his seat and walks around stage)

They say I’m crazy (chuckles) but I refuse!


I don’t belong in here. They diagnosed me with schizophrenia. Do you believe that?

(Leans toward the audience and points to himself) Look at me. I said look at me goddamn it!

(cries) I’m sane….(stops crying and face gets serious) They threw me in this hell hole

*Bangs repeatedly on head*

Why did he run up that clock?

Why must there be a reason for why he did it?

They took over head, my entire being. I can’t control it! (pulls at hair) Why would they take over my body? Every aspect of my being is completely in control of them! (points to his head)

GET OUT OF ME! (falls to the ground on his knees and sobs) Just get out of me, please. I’m begging you. (continues to sobs and slowly gets up. He staggers from lack of energy)

(Turns front of body toward the audience) I want to go back to a place where I was normal. Back when I was in control. The time where I had a job I was fresh out of college..just graduated. (smiles) Everything was going great for me. (Pauses and thinks to himself) Until they took over me! Why? Dispel from me you beings. You are not me. There is but one and that is me.

(The patient is losing control and starts to show behavior)

So you listen to me! You run down that clock! You and all your little friends. Run down that clock so this clock can finally strike DONE! (At this point, the two men in uniform burst through the room, and drag the patient from his room. The patient is kicking his feet and profanity escapes his mouth)


(HE continues to yell the same words until he is dragged out the room. The door slams behind him and all noise is subdued)

Bad Times Don’t Last Forever

(Walking up to the grave)

I never really thought about how disappointed you may be until now. (Looking down with a sad face  and kicking leg back fourth indicating that she is nervous) Look mom, I’m sorry. ALl this long time and this is my first time visiting you. I have just really been busy, trying to juggle life without a parent. After the incident I just knew that was a sign for me to get my life back together. All of them surgeries. The concussion, and broken bones has opened my eyes. Yeah I know the accident happened 6 months ago and I’m just visiting you; I’m sorry, I just needed time to get my life together ya’ know. I didn’t want you to see me  in a wheelchair and shit (covers mouth)  Oops I mean stuff.  

(Puts flowers down and have a seat)  Listen, I will not apologize for who I am. Or the mistake I have made. “Learn for your mistakes.” That’s what you always said, and that’s what I plan to do. I just wanna apologize for not coming to visit you. I know it’s been over a year but… Well not but there’s no explanation. Sorry.

I just really wish the cancer didn’t take you from me. When you died, something in me died too. The good girl died, it just might have been buried with you. But, that good girl has now risen from the dead. ( Short Pause) Something I wish you could do. Look, times was hard when you died. I no longer had a mentor, a best friend, a mother. No shoulder there to cry on, no one to take care of me when I was sick. Of course auntie didn’t want to take care of me. She’s so selfish… So after you passed I was in group homes. Too old, so I couldn't go into the system. Life wasn’t the same. I slowly saw myself changing.

Balling up in a corner every night so no one would touch me ( Starts to cry) And that gives me no reason to do the horrible things i've done, but it’s all about survival. The stealing, selling drugs, etc. I needed to survive. I finally understood how hard it was to be independent. Everything was done for a reason and I hope you understand that.

Now, I realized things could have been handled differently. Dropping out of school was the worst decision of course. I should have went to the school for help. Told someone about the horrible things that went on at the group home. Speaking of school, I have re-enrolled. I’m a grade behind, but it’s whatever. They are helping me with living wise. They even hooked me up with a job. Ya know? And i’m going to court so I can emancipated. So that’s good too.

I just wanted to tell you that I’m doing much better than I was before and I’m trying to get my life together. It’s slowly coming back together. Even though life will never be same because you aren't here, I am going to make something out of it. And who knows maybe someday I will be twice the women you were. (Gets up and wipes dirt off her clothes) I love you mom, and one day I hope I can rest with you.


(Look blank while a friend is calling) Oh yeah, I’m fine. Just went dozed off a little bit. No, it’s not about her. You already know I don’t like her anymore. (sigh) I don’t want to lie, but before I tell the truth, I must know what is going on.

It’s just a girl I like, but I think I tried everything; I just don’t see any results.

Oh wait, here she come. (Get on phone rapidly)

It all started before summer break. I saw her walking down the stairs everyday, but we never really talked. It don’t really matter because I’m a little scared anyway…

I ended up with her number a couple of days later and after that, it was non-stop texting over night. I want to talk to her, but...she’s just...she’s…(stutter)pretty...and sweet, and all of that.

(move around and panic) I just don’t know what to do!

(talk to friend) Huh? Oh yeah, I’m fine. No, it’s not about her; I’m telling you!

As you can see, I’m a very confident person. (sarcasm)

I don’t know why, but everytime I see her it’s world finally have some green and I actually come in with a correct smile on my face.

(talk to friend) Yo look, it is about her…

Ok Ok, I lied! My goodness, ain’t no big deal. I’m about to tell you either way.

I still like Skylar. I don’t know the reason, but…

Huh? No! I’m not doing that…(turn and look for her)

I know she’s right there, but…

Alright. Bro, I’m going to be late for class. Go without me.

I slowly walked over to her before she head in her next class.

I grabbed her hand and ran to the janitor room.

I took a deep breath and looked at her.

(talking to her) I need to tell you something, Skylar.

I know you're late for class, but…

My heart pumping really hard, I don’t know what to…

I really like you, Skylar.

She looked dead at me with her beautiful smile.

I smiled back and waited because my mind have never been this empty.

She reached for my hand and said, “I’m free on Sunday. Text me.”

She opened the door and went to class while I stood there.

I had no idea what just happened, but I know I’m going to be busy Sunday.

Déjá Vu

    (Sings chorus of Pharrell’s Happy song) It just might be my day. My sister was sitting next to me; tired of hearing about how excited I was. I just knew today would be the day. ¨GURRRLLL! Imma make it today. You may not think so, but I know... (emphasis on know) He’s gonna love  me (drag it out). He looks super cool; I’m pretty sure his name is Brock. Brock and Brynlee. It sounds great doesn’t it Brooke?¨ She looked at me, stared at my head for a second and simply said ¨I Don’t Care!¨ She’s a hater.

Any who, it was my time. I’m being looked at with a face that I cannot read or explain yet, and the next thing I knew, I was being picked up. My hopes went up. My excitement began to rise. I got butterflies in my stomach. Someone was finally going to love and appreciate me for what I am.

    In route to my awaited destination, I heard a voice whine ¨NOOOO MOMMMMYYYY! I don wanna eat it¨(makes a shocked face). Slammed back down I go. Again. It ALWAYS happens. I mean...(drag out ¨mean¨) do I really taste THAT bad? Yea, I can get a little chunky and my head is slightly bigger than others (pause) well a lot bigger, and I’m two weird shades of green, but I still think that I'm pretty appealing ya know? I think I’m cute. I think I’m fly. I’m a pretty cool Veg (Said fast with a smirk). But STILL, no one wants me. Cute and fly in one person's eyes could be the opposite to another. But appearance is only one thing, the inside is where all the important things lie. Personality, heart, fears, all the good stuff. Yet, it doesn’t matter, everyone hates my insides.

    Once I’m picked up in what seems like slow motion, they thoroughly stare at me. Closer and closer I make my way towards my goal… well their mouth of course. They stick their tongue out to barely taste me. After they realize that I’m not actually poisonous or deadly, slowly but surely their teeth come together and I am immediately thrown back to the plate. They can at least sit me back down as slow as they picked me up.  And to add insult to injury, people make the most absurd sounds. YUCKKKKK… UGHHHHH… EWWWWWW. So rude. They won’t even fully eat a piece of me to begin to understand what my inside is like.  


    It’s not fair. Just about everyone likes the giant yellow guy that constantly breaks into little pieces. And the plain orange bald dude. It’s that those guys that look all cool on the outside with bright colors that it doesn’t even matter what their insides are like. No one likes plain, boring, typical green. There are a few others that kind of look like me, but still, no one IS like me. It was not yesterday, not today, and maybe not tomorrow or the next day, but one day someone will love me for what’s on the inside.

     He was Brock, I’m Brynlee. Together, we could have been like the most wonderful Broccoli (Brocklee). Yet, too bad he didn’t care to enjoy the inside of me.

The Last Pick

Okay,okay everyone places,places! We have five minutes! And we cannot afford any mistakes. I am talking to you apple. You think I would forget about what happened the  last time. I cannot have other fruits mixing, it just makes you look out of place or you’ll just end up blocking some other thing that our clients will be looking for. Yeah, so why don’t you stop looking at your reflection thinking that your small self is all that. Hey! don’t you give me no lip! roll over to your little apple buddies and stop actin so grown! I swear as soon as they get a name like red delicious, their eyes magically become glued to their reflection. I mean come on! Am I the only one that cares about how we look!

Yeah, I know that I can be tough sometimes, but as leader and coordinator of The Food Organization of the Refrigerator, or TFOR for short, I have the responsibility to make these ungrateful pieces of food look appealing in this refrigerator after someone comes home after having a long day. It’s like an art really in it’s own way. I have to consider things like how the apples look against the bread. Who needs to be moved? Are the apples taking up too much space? Should I move them so that the bread is not hidden, and replace it with something else, or should they just be rearranged? It can be so stressful. Especially when the other foods are being so difficult.

Hey, don’t think I can’t see you Lettuce! How many times do I have to tell you that you need to be right next to me. All vegetables need to stay in the center. It’s where the light will capture our good side. It will make us look more appealing. I mean I am just saying that veggies are the best. Especially, (puffs up chest) me. Broccoli. I mean I am  healthy for the body. I am low on fat and I don’t know about you but I taste pretty damn good. If you know what I mean.So naturally I think that the best of the best should be in the center.

You got something to say pear? I know you not running your mouth up on that top shelf. When was that last time you were picked from this refrigerator because I know that frost didn't appear overnight. Yeah that’s right, now everyone please go to your designated areas, come on we need to be ready before-

(refrigerator opens)

Quick! Look Sharp. I look up and see that it’s little Tommy who is our first client of the day. This is perfect. This boy can eat anything that’s within his sweaty little pudgy grasps. Obviously, I am going to be the first choice because-

What did he just say?!?! I know that he did not say those five nasty words: There is nothing to eat . Pause. Because we clearly have to capture this moment here. Are you joking? (Gets louder ) Tommy your mom must’ve forgotten to take you to get your eyes checked because if they were working correctly you would see that your whole refrigerator is filled with nothing but food. You have lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and bread to make a sandwich. Yogurt, strawberries, blueberries, the leftover pizza from last night. You even have a pear, as frosty as he is, to eat! But, how could you forget. About. Me. Broccoli.

Hear Tommy’s mom come down stairs. She walks in the kitchen to see the what’s wrong. Then he dares to repeat those five words again, and I cringe. I swear if she doesn't get that little boy outta my face, I am going to lose it! She looks into the fridge and I slowly see the look of confusion come on her face. As she turns to her son, I eagerly await the scolding that she is about to give him. (Frowns)Unfortunately, it doesn't come. Instead she starts to list all off all of the foods that are in the fridge. I patiently wait for her to acknowledge my presence. I guess you gotta save the best for last. When she finally gets to me, I watch in absolute horror as I see Tommy’s bored expression transform into a look of pure hatred and disgust.

That’s not even the worst part. He says Broccoli? Ewww, that’s gross!¨. In that moment, I could barely breathe. I stare numbly as I hear his father come and I see that Tommy won’t have to worry about looking for something to eat. Tommy rushes to his father in excitement when he sees what he is carrying. Takeout. His mother slowly closes the door with a final click. (Slouches) I try to salvage what was left of my dignity, but it only seems to crumble between my fingers when I hear my companions burst into laughter. I try not let it get to me (sniffs) but I can’t help but feel that I've become the last pick.  

Music to my Ears

(listening to music) We have been listening to the same 5 songs for 2 years. When will he find a new taste in music? “Let that shit burn, let that shit burn.” I get it. You're burning something. I guess he just can't let go of it. I’m only allowed to listen to whatever he wants to. And when we are done listening to music, he is out of the “zone” and decides to forget about me. He is always treating me like trash. He constantly uses me and and he never cleans his ears! Its disgusting. He throws me under the bed and doesn't remember me until its time to “chill.” He sometimes treats me with respect. He would rather be with me then talk to his friends or even listen to his teachers while in class.

I am so tired of the way he treats me. I should be treated with respect just like anyone else. He may not think of me as much. But I have been there for him for everything! When he got an A+ in Calculus, we celebrated with some Meek Mill. When he had his first breakup, we were listening to Drake and Taylor Swift for hours. He felt comfortable when he was with me. Not a worry in the world. The important thing here is that I am everything to him. I don’t care about all of the other ones he had. None of them do it like I do. He chose me. And he shouldn't be treating me like such trash.

When I first met him, we were in a store. I was looking at him. He was looking at me. I dont know what was going through my mind. I just knew that he could be the one. I was never with anyone before. My father Steve never approved of me being with someone. He told me that I wasn’t “Built out.” But now I am. I have a pretty big bass. Nobody else in the store looked at me like he did. His mother looked like that she was trying to figure out what he was looking at. I didn’t know what to do or think. I accidentally fell over. He gracefully  helped me up. He said “Mom, I think I want this,” He opened me up to a whole new world that day. And I knew that I was on the path to happiness. That was a huge mistake to think that happiness is real. Unless you are listening to Happy by Pharrell. He listens to it all of the time.

I am so tired of him. I've been with him for two years and I cannot deal with it. Respect is a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something because of their abilities, qualities, or achievements. He hasn't done anything for me, and I cant take it anymore! I think I should shut it all down.

I don't know if I should shut it all down. I love giving people joy as they listen to whatever music they want out of me. I feel like I serve a purpose in life. And to just end it all will leave me a lot of questions. Where will I go? What will happen next?

I think I know what I have to do. I will hide away where he can’t find me. I will stay hidden for a week. If he cares for me, he will try to find me and wait. If he buys a new pair, I’m shutting it down. If he comes back, I hope he will give the same appreciation as he would to a new pair of ear-buds (sits in silence).


Haisha Hahsy              E Band

Gold Stream


Doing as you command.

I run to you as soon as you call but there are so many people pulling me towards them self, I am trying to get you all in a orderly manner just be patient. I know how sometimes I can get slow but so many people calling me up and down, I am just exhausted. You think I am just a machine that runs up and down for you but there is more to me than you think.  Instead of complaining of how slow I am why don't you just take some hardship on yourself; and make effort on your own instead of always walking up to me and commanding without a thank you or please?

In my life I see the same people over and over again. I see all kinds of people short, small, tiny, big, wide, and skinny. I have seen it all. But I have also seen sweet, mean, mad, sad, happy, and all types of people.  Oh, here comes Bob on the 3rd floor always so happy and nice with his great family and little 2 years old girl named Vicki. I think her birthday is next month around the 20th because I heard him making some calls about a birthday party plan for 3 year old. Of course here comes Mary coming from the 5th floor I heard that she is about to get fired for some odd reason.  No wonder these days she has been so gloomy but her wedding is coming up around spring. Then, John from the 8th floor always so mad I guess being a boss is hard but that doesn’t mean you have to be so ugly about it. He is thinking about making another office building I saw him with a couple of contractors;  you could even see the contractors hate him.  He always has some type of cigar in his hand or a cigarette in his ear day to day.  He also gained some weight over the last 2 weeks he used to be slim as a stick now he got some meat.        

Here comes my favorite girl Anna she is so sweet and cute, around 25 years old. She has a stupid boyfriend Nath that cheats on her without her even knowing. He came in here the other day kissing Kayla on her lips and both of them seeming fine doing such. Kayla is such a bad girl, I hate how she jumps from one person to another. I just wish I could help Anna, I mean she is so patient and nice like always greeting who ever is near her. I mean there are so many people I want to help especially my buddies but I can’t do anything, but get them from one place to another as fast as I can. Sometimes I try to go faster with the right type of music on; and then closing doors faster for people who need some space. There so many other friends of mine that I want to help but can’t do anything because I’m helpless to them; like Katy and her sick grandmother, Fred with his divorcing wife, and Karen with her failing son.

Then of course there are people just commanding me people making me run up and down on my last string. I try my best to get there fast as I can,  then of course some people keep on pushing my buttons. Of course I can’t do anything about anything.  That doesn't mean that I don't get mad. After all I can only go one pace at a time it’s not like the more you keep pushing the faster I am going to go. I am always going to go at the same pace.  I am only on a cable running up and down for everyone. I never hear a thank you but your smilies are my pay check.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

Mr. Jones

(The teacher walks in holding a briefcase) Good morning class. It is just a wonderful day to be here. (Rubbing his eyes) I hope you all had a lovely weekend. What are you doing Russell? Russell can you please put your phone away?  Today we are going to review genetics. (Goes to the board and begins to write.) Alright class, let’s begin with something easy.  If there are 9 genes that go into eye shape and 10 that go into eye color, how many genes affect your eyes genetic makeup? What do you mean 21? It is as simple as 9+10. Why are you all laughing?  Oh… it’s one of your internet jokes.

(Looking flustered) Let’s get serious, now that you all had that laugh.  So if the dominant trait is… What’s that sound?  Do I hear cell phone? Anyway, brown hair and the recessive trait is blond hair, and the person is heterozygous, will they have brown or blond hair?  Why are you all just giving me blank stares? (Begins to tap pencil against desk.) We have been over this ten thousand times.  Edward, what’s the answer? (pause for 5 seconds, begins to pace) Come on, don’t just give me “Ums” and “Uhhs.” Seriously, I don’t understand what is wrong with you all; we have been going over nothing but this for the last two weeks. 

Russell!  Hallway. Now.  (Walks quickly towards the hallway in an angry fashion) I’m so damn tired of your phone going off in class! If I catch you again, I’m taking your phone for the rest of the period and telling Principal Jenkins.  Now let’s get back into class.  We still have a large amount to cover.

Sorry about that class. So Jason, do you know if a person is heterozygous and has one allele for brown hair and one for blond if they will have brown or blond hair, assuming that brown is the dominant trait? (Pause 3 seconds, while teacher twists his hair)  Shnaw, what is shnaw?  Did any of your parents teach you how to speak even half way decent English?   

Well, if anybody is interested, the answer is brown.  Hey, I have got an idea; there is going to be is a test on this tomorrow.  Wow, it looks like everybody is listening now.  So now for the millionth time, if a person is heterozygous and they have one dominant and one recessive allele, then they will possess the dominant trait.  See class, it is not brain surgery.

Russell, that’s the last straw.  Give me your phone! I’m so so done.  I don’t get you kids these days, I have been doing this for 40 years and get no respect.  (Rate of pacing increases)  Your behavior today has been abominable!  All of you, just get out of my class.  I’m disgusted with your generation.  My shih tzu is smarter than this group. (Pauses long enough for children to exit class, while gnashing his teeth)  

I have always been the best. Kids have always been interested in my class.  I’ve been the funny teacher that is everybody’s favorite.  But now, I can’t keep up with iphones and Facebook.  It is all so much over my head.  I don’t know what to do anymore with these children. I really just don’t know anymore. (Begins to whimper) I try to keep up; I just can’t… (Walks towards desk and puts head down)

Pear feadback:

What grabbed you?

Declan: How well any student can relate to this essay and having their own experience with a teacher not knowing about any of the viral videos.

Luke: I think the humor and interaction of the scene kept me engaged and interested

What does there need to be more of?

Declan:Some more thoughts from the students

Luke: its short you can add like more examples and add more reflection and backstory for him

What confused you?

Declan: It was the last paragraph because he kind of ranted in a sad way about how he did not understand any of the internet fads.

Luke: why the kids left in the middle of class

What should I change?

Declan: I think you should change the last paragraph

Luke:I think its really good just drive your point about teachers trying but not keeping up home, maybe start some reflection earlier so it's not such a choppy transition.

Stay Awhile

Did the waitress just say he could sit here... OMG, she did! Great, now this tall, handsome fella is coming my way. He put his butt right on me, instantly my body starts to feel uncomfortable, but warm and cozy all at the same time. When I get to have people on me it makes me feel like I am not invisible anymore and someone actually wants me. This does not happen to me often. Everyone is either sitting at the counter, or they have a group of people with them and they want to be at a bigger and better area where other tables are settled in. I’m at the end of the diner, all the way against the wall, in the back. I’d rather sit in front with all the cool people, but I guess I’m stuck here since this tall blonde haired lady put me here.

Now that this about 6 foot tall, muscular, brown haired beauty is sitting on top of me, well it makes me feel some type of way. The type of way that my cotton filled inside kind of feels squashed. A million things are rushing through my head, that is apparently a bunch of springs, or so I’ve been told. Right now I don’t know if I should feel happy about it or if I should be concerned about my loneliness. As he leans forward towards the table I could not help, but to look at his spiderman underwear, it was weirdly cute or maybe it is just the fact that I’m stunned by him and the fact he is sitting with me.

The sizzle of the food fills my cotton and I know this means he will be leaving me alone, again. It smells so good he must be having cheese fries. The smell of melted cheese was in the air. The guy grabs his fork and starts eating his cheese fries. It was cute how he used the fork, so clean and proper. He breaks the daydream about him with a lump on cheese fries spilled all over me. “Ow!” the sensation of the cheese burned my fluff stuff. I never felt pain like that before. He leans over and grabs a napkin to clean both himself and me off. I’m feeling some relief as he wipes the hot cheese off of me and finally the pain is gone.

Now his butt is tensing up, and I think something may be wrong with him. Suddenly, “blurrrrp” my whole body is vibrating and the air was no longer smelling like cheese fries. My body is now suddenly a lot warmer. Everyone begins to point and laugh at him, and his face turns as red as a cherry. Suddenly, a weight was being lifted off  of me, and I notice the man getting up. I no longer could see his spiderman boxers. His arm leans over the table as he places down a pile of green stacked up pieces of paper. I’m not sure what those papers are. Oh, I can hear his deep, soothing voice say “I left your tip on the table under the ketchup bottle. Thanks for serving me. Have a good day.” With that the man is walking out of the door, looking down at the ground. His voice is just perfect, so soothing and deep. I thought it was super cute. I miss him already, now that he is not sitting on top of me anymore, I feel empty. I guess I’ll just be waiting in the back, small corner for someone else to come visit me.


Fired? Fired! Fired. Get out? (slam the door). Matter fact Imma go in a give him this work. I don’t deserve to get fired! (turn and open door)

Mr. John I need this job I know I’ve been late a lot but school goes till three thirty. I got family and I got homework and and. (pause and listen)  No my families not really struggling. (Pause and listen) I’m saving a little for college. (pause and listen) Drugs? Nah not me. (pause) Why do I need money? (Look uncomfortable) um.. retirement? (pause) Ok the truth I’m trying to get the new J’s.

The truth?I love shoes. Kids come to school rocking the newest lebrons and air max’s. Look what I got on! A used pair from the thrift store. I know it’s messed up to spend a hundred on shoes while people blocks down don’t have money, but thats was I was taught. Taught to love how shoes look. It was with me where I was raised. In the city. Yeah that’s where it is. In the street you have people with the hottest foams and most food stamps. We have so much pressure about what you put on your feet that we put shoes in front of bills.

But it’s the power. You feel it when you wear those checks on your feet. It’s like no one can stop you. Making control from chaos. It’s like just what they say in the commercials. I feel the “just do it” coursing through my veins. I was taught to love the swoosh, taught to admire the jordans. But just as much as nike taught me so did my friends. They always had the nicest kicks, freshest shoes. Peer pressure doesn’t have to be spoken. It can be how people look at you. How they address you. Eyes boring down on shoes in mockery, distaste is more peer pressure then I can handle. Shoes talk and The bolder and cleaner they talk the more people like you.

I don’t know where they got their money but even before they cared about shoes they had them. Why are your social clubs built around footwear? The newest soles over your soul. I feel your eyes scanning my outfit landing on my feet. Ok they’re not the nicest but I work with what I can.

See I wasn’t born into a family that loved shoes. My mom thought the two striped adidas were real fly. Nah. I reached fifth grade and never had a pair of nike. Bobo life all day. My mom knew that the world of shoes was filled to the brim with corruption, discrimination, capitalism, and the general downfall of our society. But she didn’t get the power. She didn’t get the pressure. I pleaded, argued, and begged my mom for some nice shoes. After months she said she’d get me one pair. We spent all day looking in shops for the perfect sneakers Finally I got some red and black air force ones. My favorite color and the most important nike check on the side. When I got to school everyone noticed. I went through about ten minutes of steady congratulations from different people. My fifth grade heart rose and I was so excited! I did it! I was cool!

But my family never had a money to be buying me a new pair of shoes every couple months when my old ones would be falling off my feet. I was on the look out on ebay, the thrift store. I’ve paid for every set of laces on my feet since I was eleven. Barely affording the necessities. Necessities. Mom didn’t get me shoes. My friends had shoes and society told me teens need shoes. What would you do? So that’s why I need my job. Yard work ain’t gonna cut it for some Lebrons. I’m sorry cause I know there’s a slave kid behind every stitch. Carbon monoxide pumped out with every step. Money being piled in corrupt corporate owners laps with each sale. I know all this yet my neighborhood taught me to wear money on your feet with toughs out. Capitalism is changing peoples style and making billions on it. Capitalism is defining greatness and putting a hundred dollar price tag on it. Then teaching kids in the poorest walks of life that they can be great if the highest price is paid. So that’s why I need my job. I’m sorry for rubbing it in to kids who can’t afford it. I’m sorry mom! I’m sorry world! Years of eyes recoiling off my feet has caught up to me. I just trying to wear respect! I’m just want success in shoes! I just want some kicks!


I have lyitis (Lie-i-tis), I always tell my teachers that but they never believe me. It’s true, I can’t stop what escapes from my mouth. I have sickness that makes it only possible for me to tell lies or be sarcastic. Like today my silly classmate asked did you know that water is H2O? What kind of question is that! “O my gosh are you serious, call the police we have just made a new discovery” I screamed in his face.

Later on I was sitting around minding my own business and another one of my silly classmates said did you know carrots are a vegetables. Shocker. These kids know nothing but that’s ok it means more fun for me. “Are you sure? I swear I thought they were fruits that grew in the ground.” Then the kid had the nerve to say carrots grow in the ground. (face palm and sighs) “No, no they don’t I just made it up on the spot.” I sneered. It just so happens my teacher was walking by while I was talking to the kid. She heard what I said and told me to stop it, then asked for my homework. I told her I didn’t have the homework, that it was really my pet donkey’s fault. He was hungry and needed a snack so I offered him my homework. I don’t even know why I said that, I knew she wasn’t going to believe it, I don’t even have a donkey. But it was impossible for me to stop the lie from coming out of my mouth. I wasn’t really trying either so maybe I didn’t want to stop. I really should stop though because when I ask a silly question then one of the kids will say something like I say to them. Or my mom will make up a lie like I do. Then I’ll be embarrassed, but it’s just too much fun to stop. Hehe

My teacher screams my name, by the look on her face she’s sick of my story. VIOLET that is enough. B-bbb-But it wasn’t me it was my imaginary friend Becky who told me to make up the story. (Talks to air) RIght Becky, right. She starts screaming again. I mean why is yelling. Who does she think she teacher. (Looks up) Oh yeah she is. Th... principal offi… what is this lady saying. I tilt my head to the side, like seeing her in a different view  will help me understand what she is saying. Blah Blah Blah when will she ever stop talking. Now she’s pointing, is her face getting redder. O my gosh she looks like a baboon butt. (Chuckles) Haha. I think she thinks I’m laughing at her, she keeps asking are you laughing at me. Through my laughing I say “Of course, I’m not laughing with you.” GO TO THE PRINCIPAL OFFICE. Gosh why did she have to scream it. I mean I’ve done nothing wrong. NOW she say through gritted teeth. I’m leaving gosh.

(Walks in the office) Yes Principal Dunn it’s me again. It wasn’t my fault I promise. It was a tiger unicon that came in the room and started eating the students and I said it was a new discovery and the teacher got mad. She then started asking for my homework, and I told her the same thing that always happens with my homework. My fish ate it.  And I tried to fight him off but he was too strong. (Makes a fish face) He was like Bloop Bloop and I was like no no Mr. Bloop  I need that. But he didn’t sto- How rude! She interrupted my story. Every time I’m in here she asks the same thing. Why can’t you tell the truth, it won’t get you in trouble? But that’s not the truth why she lying to me, the truth will get me in trouble.

I mean if adults can do it why can’t I. But if I went up to her and said I didn’t do my homework she would give me that disappointed look. That feels even worse than lying and I get extremely bored so I come up with stories to make things more interesting. Spice up my life. After telling me I won’t get in trouble she asked what the truth was. I told I have sickness that makes it only possible for me to tell lies it’s called lyitis. She put her head down on the desk with a loud thump. What can I say, my stories are more fun. I never want to stop telling them EVER!

Empty Moon


(moping around) Another day here. My so called “home.” A home that’s so small, I barely have room to roam. A home with water so shallow, it doesn’t take long to swim to the bottom. A home surrounded by glass, glass that holds me back, too strong to even break, believe me, I’ve tried several times.

I’ve been here for so long, I barely even remember my old home. I remember the water, cooling me off during a hot day. I remember the air, clear and refreshing. (voice gets higher and angrier) I remember being able to look and see the endless amount of trees and space to travel. I remember eating whatever I want, yeah it was hard to find, but I remember the adventure, my friends, family.

(a little pause, sit down)

(voice gets low and sad) I remember my mom. The tallest, most beautiful hippo in the tribe. I remember riding on her back in the water, happy and joyful, feeling the slight wind against my little face and ears. Playing with my friends while I wait for her to get our food. Feeling blissful and safe, lying against her at night, staring at the big beautiful moon in the sky, excited for the next day. (slight smile)

“If there ever comes a time we’re seperated, look at that moon, every night. I’ll be looking at it too.” She told me.

(frown) And I remember that night, the last night I saw her, the night they took me away. The moon shone so bright. I was sleeping, peacefully, next to her. I was still so young, so small, I depended on her for everything. I heard her wake up, angrily grunting, and the boom, everything went black. Then I woke up here.

(angry tone) (stand up) The humans. They did it. They’re the reason I’m here. They point at me, laugh at me, make fun of me, (mocking) “Oh my god mommy look how big and fat that hippo is!” all through that glass. They’re reason I no longer see my mom, my friends, my family. The reason I have no joy.

Seeing how long I’ve been here, I’ll never get back to my old life. I’ll never see my mom again. I’ll never be happy again.

(human comes in with food, starts cleaning) Oh here comes the daily human. Hey, you again. Let me out of here. Seriously, why do you always ignore me? I wanna go home. Please.

Humans always ignore me. I guess it wasn’t enough that they brought me here, now they have to ignore me.

I guess I’ll just eat.

(starts eating) This is the only good part of being here.

(Other hippo comes over and starts eating) But I hate having to share.

(Yelling at hippo) Hey! You just took the biggest piece of lettuce! Seriously?! (hippo runs away)

(some time passes)

(lays down and looks at the moon through the glass roof) Goodnight mom. Love you.

Frankie: 80's For Life!

My theme for this slide was the 80’s because I love and identify with that decade. I chose the border for my slide because it was very colorful, bright, and full of neon; just like many things out of the 80’s. To go with it, I also colored my text paler because I know those colors also appear in the 80’s a lot, and I love colors of the rainbow. I chose that kind of font for my slide because this is my favorite type of font I’ve seen out of the 80’s. I chose to write ‘80’s For Life’ because it is a short message that I think of as an anthem for myself. I spent time to cut out that picture of the Breakfast Club and made it purple on a black background because the purple matches some of the text color and you always see big, colorful words on black backgrounds in the 80’s. The Breakfast Club is my favorite 80’s movie, so when I thought of adding them to my slide it was perfect because that picture is also really cool.

I decided to make the border, background picture, and text all match with rainbow colors because it allowed me to have many exciting elements but keep a common theme. I made one key point on my slide with my text because less is always more when it comes to text (according to I added the background picture to emphasise the 80’s theme, but had one key picture so that there was still lots of empty space in my slide. Finally, I made the background black and purple to contrast all the bright, rainbow colors and make them pop. All of these visual decisions help convey one theme when people see it: the 80’s, which is what I was aiming for. I did not overload my slide with tedious details, but made the most important aspects pop out so that you really get the message and soak it all in.

Frankie- 80's For Life!


Staring, right into his eyes, its like star gazing, you become so captivated by what you doing you lose track of time. And in a moment I forgot about expectations and what a proper lady is supposed to do. I forgot what a proper wife should do.

Letting loose a  small cry, I grabbed his head, lacing my fingers through his dark brown locks. He let out a muffled sound of surprise as I crushed my mouth to his. For all that I’d dreamed of this moment, I had no idea what I was doing. What he must think ----

(Book gets knocked out of her hands)

Are you serious? You can’t be serious? I lost my freaking page (frustrated) How could you? (pauses for response )Oh your sorry? You're sorry? (anger building) I’ll show you sorry! I’ll show you how sorry your gonna be! Why is it that every time that I get into a book, someone has to come and ruin it. Why can’t they just leave me alone? Leave me be! Let me escape into worlds that only fall into the category of imagination.

Its just the only true happily ever afters are the ones that happen in books. The two people come together despite all odds, and everything that is supposed to bring them apart only brings them closer together.

Life with all it craziness it just never stops. So yes I use books to escape the world that has hurt me too many times to count. And yes I use books and live my life through the characters. All because I’m afraid. I’m afraid that romance, love, isn't actually true. Just a figment of our imaginations. The first moment the guy looks into the girl’s eyes and knows she’s the only one for him. I want that.

And yet when I’m finished reading each book, I wonder. How could you do this to me, just leave me? I’ve laughed with you. I’ve even cried for you. I know your innermost thoughts and all your deepest darkest secrets. (pacing) And yet you chose to leave me. At the precise moment I wanted, no need you the most. When I cared for you and your iminate future. Why when I finally felt secure. You decided to rip the rug out from underneath me.

You’re just all the rest, abandoning me once I’ve become enthralled with your pages.

(With attitude) Great now he’s picking the book up. And he’s walking towards me. God. He better have a lot more to say than just sorry. He has a smile that I just wanna wipe off his face. Here you go (He says).

Maybe its just the butterflies talking or the sincere smile on his face. But maybe its my turn to live. Give up the books and in turn fight for my happily ever after. Even the best books have a beginning and this is mine. (I take the book from his hands) Thanks.


(running)(stops)(looks around)(sits)

So what? They can look for me all they want. I will just sit on this rock.

(looks around nervously)

It’s not like they really care. Plus, they would never suspect… I …


that I always hated the feeling!

(quieter and sadder)

This feeling of loneliness, misunderstanding and fear.   

(Looks at a notebook and pen in her hands)

And these stupid things! They only made me feel worse!

(Throws the thing as far as she can)

I mean, whose idea was to make me put words on a piece of paper? And when my pen ran out of ink, I lost my voice.


What was all that for. If I didn’t waste my time, by writing every word I wanted to say on paper, then I would have found a way to make them hear every word that I say out of my mouth. But because I choose to write instead of speak, I feel too different. People think that I am weird, and they never seen what its like, they will never understand. That is why I ran. Out of the city. Out of their lives. And I choose to be an independent person. Find my own way.

(pauses)(lightly laughs)    

Look at me now. Trying to justify my decisions, to myself. I should just stay here. I mean-

(slowly looks around)

-it’s beautiful.


Yea. I wish, that I could stay here forever. Leaving the whole world behind. But that is what everyone wishes for. To have happiness with no great problems and consequences.  I can’t be granted this wish, because that is impossible, unless everyone gets it, and yet that is not possible either. Now I feel ashamed for wishing it.   


Only thing I know is, I can never go back. There was definitely something wrong with me. I spoke to them, but they never heard. Why I am getting obsessed now?!? I am not crazy.

(stands up and starts walking around, every second she walks faster and faster)

I know the difference between the voice in my head and out my mouth. But they… they … they think I’m crazy, they insult me, they make fun of me. They, my-

(makes quotation marks with her fingers)

-“friends” and  “family”.  Yesterday my “best friend” , Lizzy, had to comment (mocking voice) “Hope, don’t your hands get tired of using of that notebook. I mean once I sang in choir too much and lost my voice, but I could not stand writing all my thoughts down for more than 2 hours.”

(stops and sits again)(sighs)

It’s my fault, when I realized that they stopped hearing me, I could have did something to fix it. But what? I speak every day in front of the mirror. I see my lips moving. I feel my throat vibrating and moving. Then a tear drops, then another followed, and by the time I realize that it’s killing me not to be able to be heard, I’ve already decided not to pity myself.

(puts her face in her palms)  

If I can’t get used to myself. How are others supposed to? I have to accept it. I have to become braver. Wait...

(looks up)

And you know what? I am unique. If they have a problem with it, it’s their problem, not mine.  

(her bracelet falls off, she kneels down and picks it up)

What happened? Why did my bracelet fall of. This bracelet is bad news anyway. I mean the girl that gave it to me disappeared. And sometime after that people stopped hearing me. Oh well, It can’t be helped.

(throws the bracelet, looks to the side and sees a person)

“Hi. Uh, why am I even speaking to you. I mean you can’t hear me anyway.”

(pauses and listens)


(pauses and listens)

“Waht!?!? But how?!?”

(pauses and listens)

“You can actually hear me?!?”    

(stands up and starts running towards the way she entered)

The Final Countdown

The Final Countdown


Please don’t do this. I haven’t even taken my first breath in the real world and you’re not allowing that to happen? Don’t do this.. I’m begging you. I’ll do anything, I swear. I-(stutter) I’ll be a good child. Won’t cry, whine, holler, none of that! You don’t gotta breast feed me, just pop some formula in and I’ll be set. Get me a few outfits that’ll last me throughout the year and that’s all I ask for. Just please don’t end the life I haven’t even started.


I can feel how you think. I know I’m just an unborn fetus but hey, I have feelings too! That’s how I know what you’re about to do. And how I know how I got here. You think about it everyday, so I think about it too. And I HATE that because why would I want to think about my own death? About me never being able to play with my friends, or go to Chuck- E- Cheeses. I hate him, too, you know. Sometimes I wish he’d never did what he did, because if he didn’t I would be here counting down the minutes until my death.


You still have thoughts about your wrists, that were held down as you tried to fight that asshole off. It didn’t work. He was too strong and you were too weak. Him, slapping and slapping you, and covering your mouth with his sweaty, smelly palms. I can even hear your screams, that sounded like fire alarms. As he penetrated your small, fragile body, right then and there you put up a wall isolating yourself from the world. Your burning emotions flow through you at the thought of it happening to you, but it doesn’t melt your ice cold heart.


Know what else I can feel you feel? The way people judge you. That’s the main reason why you’re getting rid of me. Because you care so much about what people, who don’t give two shits about you, think. Forget them! They don’t put clothes on your back, or shoes on your feet, or put food on the table. Why do you care so much what they think? They won’t ever love you the way I will. Well, the way I would have if you’d let me live.


But then again, maybe keeping me isn’t the best idea. You’re only 15. You can barely take care of yourself, let alone a newborn baby. I can feel your stomach growling for food at night, and your head pound with pain because you haven’t eaten for 4 days. I know for sure I don’t want to live that kind of life. So, maybe you should get rid of me. I mean, who would want to have the same dad as their mother.


Your heart is pounding out of your chest, that must mean the doctor is coming. Goodbye world, which I never got to see. Goodbye to the “father” who put a child in his own daughter. Goodbye to those assholes who judged you but had no idea what happened. I wish we’d get this over with already…

(long pause)

Wait. What’s going on? Why do I feel you rethinking this? What are you doing! Dammit. I can’t yell because, well, I don’t even have a voice! Doctor come back! Cut her open and take me out. Please. Just let me go. (dramatic ending scene)

A Dream Come True

Oh my God. I still can’t believe it. I have to be the luckiest guy in the world! I mean come on how could someone like me get a gig like this? Yesterday I was just stuck on my cozy little stamp sheet, chillin’ with my friends, and now here I am on this huge envelope on my way to the Bahamas! Warm, sunny, beautiful Bahamas. The plane ride is a little bumpy though, and I can’t really see in this bag, but I can dream! Just think that in a few hours, I’ll be in paradise! I cannot wait! I’m gonna look so good on the beach, I’ll have a great tan, and the water is going to be so clear. It’s gonna be the best! (Beat) WOAH! Did you feel that? I think the plane just landed! I am in (Beat) The Bahamas! This is huge. I’m still in shock, I’m literally shaking right now I’m so excited. OH MY GOD. I’m being carried to the beach right now! Oooh, I just heard a door slam. I think I’m in the car on the way to the beach! Phew I’m nervous; I mean I don’t even know if I can swim, but I’ll learn! Ow! That was rough. I just got slammed down on the ground or something. Geez I didn’t know the beach was hard like this, I thought sand was soft and warm. Oh well, I still have the sun and the water! (Beat)

Woah! What’s happening? Why is everything falling out of the bag? Where’s the sand? Where’s the sun? (Beat) Where’s my beach? (Beat) This must be a rest stop! That’s it! Someone drank a little too much soda on the flight over here and forgot to go on the plane. What other explanation could there be? I just gotta wait until somebody comes back to take me to the beach! (Beat) It’s gonna be great. I, I just know it. (Beat) Yup, pretty soon I’ll be relaxing on the sands of The Bahamas. (Beat) They’ll be back any second now. Any second. (Beat) Maybe they ran out of toilet paper? (Beat) Ya know what? I won’t worry, they’ll be back in just a little while. So I guess this is The Bahamas. I never imagined it this way, but I still have my dream! The big seashells, enormous sand castles. I’ll have the most fun I’ll have in my entire life! Hey! That guy is coming back! I knew it! I knew it! Hey over here! Where are you going? Wait don’t turn the lights off! Come back! (Beat) Where’d he go? Why isn’t he taking me to the beach? I can’t believe this. (saddened) I’m not going. But, why? Did I do something wrong? All I ever wanted to do was go to the beach. Now that I finally have the chance, I can’t take it. This isn’t fair! I only had one wish! One! I was never greedy or bad. So why can’t I go? Why is this happening to me? I hate this. I should’ve never believed I was going in the first place. I just wish I never got on this envelope, it was a complete waste of my time. I’ll never get to the beach and I don’t care. It’s just a big puddle with weird looking dirt. Who would want that? No one.

Wait, what’s that? I see a light! Someone is putting me in a bag, what’s happening? What’s going on? Oh my gosh I’m going to the beach! I never doubted it for a second! I am so happy that I got on this envelope! It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me! Oooohhh this is so exciting, I can’t wait! Oh my gosh. Oh MY GOSH. I’m outside! I can feel the warmth from the sunlight, I can smell the saltiness of the sea, and I can hear the seagulls! Woah someone’s digging around the bag! Wait, what? they’re grabbing me! (widens eyes in shock) Wow. This is amazing. I can’t even begin to describe what I feel. Woah! They’re bringing me toward someone, I guess this is it! I’m here! I made it! I’m being handed to someone! Wait, wait, what? I’m slipping, I’m slipping, what’s going on? I’m falling! I’m finally here! The sand feels so nice, I finally got to the beach!

The Phone Call That Changed Everything

We just got off the Broad Street Line and now walking to his house. We were excited about to going to the pool hall later. We planned this for a few days now and the anticipation built. It was just a pool hall, but it was going to be fun.

We got to his steps and walked into his house. We got settled and put our stuff down and had a light snack before we were about to go out.  

“You ready to lose?” I asked him sounding confident with a smirk on my face.

He gave me a look knowing that he wasn’t going to lose. I was rushing him for us to leave soon because he was taking forever, I guess he wasn’t as excited I was to go. I just hung on and tried to wait as patient as can be.

I walked over to his bathroom and right after I closed the door shut I heard a vibration in my pocket. It was from my phone. I pulled it out of my pocket expecting just a casual notification like a measly snapchat or something, but it wasn’t, it was from my mom. Usually when I get a text message from it has to do with complaining or something about a holiday, thats not what this text was about this time.

I read off my lock screen and it said “I need you to come home right now, there is something I need to tell you.” That scared me, when someone says “we need to talk” it’s serious. I responded back right away.

“Sorry, I cant. Im about to go play pool.”

More texts went back and forth between us, she kept saying please come home, I don’t need you to but it would be very helpful and I said “I will be home soon.”

I put my phone back into my pocket and it vibrated in the vibration mode when you’re getting a phone call. I pulled it out of my pocket and I read what it said off the screen. MOM. I answered the phone right away, she was crying.


I can tell she’s been crying for a while.

“Mom, whats wrong?!?!” I responded immediately because I knew something was wrong.

“Something happened” She cried some more and bursted into tears.

“Mom, please tell me. I’m worried.” I was starting to get really scared.

“Its Bebop” My heart sunk. This was the man that helped my parents raise me, the one that was best friends with my mom for 30 plus years now, always there for her and all of us. He moved out of Philadelphia which was devistating and he finally found a good job and I was so proud. She continued talking.

“Well, it started off as being sick and he passed out yesterday. The results came back, he has a brain tumour.” I lost all sense of everything. I only heard a buzz in my ear and I stared off into blank space.  I didn’t know what just happened, my phone fell through my hand and I hit the floor. I started crying as my friend had no idea what just happened. I told him right away and left his house. I ran right home.


Here we go again.

Yet another day of scorching sun rays beaming down off my chipped paint.  Burning whoever gets stuck with me in the middle of the day. Glitter faded, spokes rolling along the beaten and bruised boardwalk. But I am beaten and bruised. No one cares, no one sees what I go through.

Do you know how many times I have had ice cream drip, drip, drip and DRIP onto me.  It is unimaginable the amount of times the shop owner, Greg, had to scrap off the funnel cake powder stuck to my handlebars.

An endless cycle of being dragged out of the shop day in and day out. Wiped clean of the dust and grime left over from yesterday’s customers. No amount of polish or wax can shine over my dents and scratches; battle scars still indented in my spokes and frame, seat torn from endless butts chafing against the pleather exterior of my seat.

They just ride, and ride, and ride, until there is nothing left. Only then do people care, when you are wearing down; when you can’t do what they expected of you or wanted you to do.

It was not always so bad. I was once shiny, new, inviting. I was always the first one picked, and I would have so many customers each day. Some would ask to buy me; some would keep me from sun up to sun down. I was the most rented in the county for two years running, even though that does not really matter anymore.  

I remember the day it all went wrong.

It was a perfect day on August 31, 2012. I had not been rented in awhile so Greg took me out of the shack extra early to give me a bright polish; I was feeling damn good. But I just sat out in the sun all day, waiting and waiting (beat) and waiting!

It was close to sunset when a seemingly nice teenage kid rented me. I was all ready to go. He was not peddling too hard, or screeching the breaks, or spilling drinks all over me. But, then he took a sharp left turn, and before I realized what was happening we were in a back alley with kids spraying graffiti and smoking pot. It’s not like I could scream out for help; I am a bike for God’s sake.

Next thing I know we are at a convenience store, and the kid basically throws me to the ground and jumps off in one quick motion, then him and his friends go in. There is shouting and cussing.

The kids all come running out, masks over their heads with money and food in their hands. The kid who rented me tripped over my front tire, his head hitting the pavement with a crack, and he just layed there. His friends kept running.

The police officers revved in a few moments later, with an ambulance right behind him. The store owner, despite getting robbed, helped my renter and tried to stop the blood. And since I was evidence, I got stuck sitting in an old musty police garage for two weeks, before Greg came and picked me up.

I got pretty bruised from those kids riding me, and the officers weren’t exactly gentle. Greg still got me none the less; took me back to the shack and tried to do his best to fix me up enough to be displayed. Everyone still knew that I was “that bike.” It was not my fault though; I got roughed up that day, too. But no cared. No one cried for me.

Now everyday it’s the same story. There is some overweight dad or super hyper-active soccer mom peddling me extremely hard up and down the boardwalk for hours. Screeching my brakes. . .repeatedly! So many years of these dreaded days filled salt water breezes and the endless splats of seagull shit.

That’s always people’s problems. They use each other without realizing the damage they do each and every time. Just chipping, chipping and chipping pieces of me until I am rubbed raw to the frame, to the core of the metal rods that hold me together somehow.

But I am just a boardwalk bike, what do I know?

Aaron's Monologue


Dear Pennsylvania Governor or to whomever puts this is the paper shredder:

One, two, three, four? FOUR textbooks for a class of 32 students.

That’s what I’ve been handed to teach my students.

I’ve been working as a teacher since I got out of graduate school 6 years ago. It’s my passion.  I love learning from my students and challenging our thinking.   My  job  requires many hours of unpaid overtime but it is what is required to be an effective and caring teacher.   I’m not asking for a raise; rather I am  advocating for my students.   I teach five  classes of 33 students and am responsible for 33 additional students in my advisory.  My budget for my 198 students is as empty of nutrients as a Mcdonald’s ice cream machine.  I buy what I can - pencils to tissues to copy paper.  Most of my students’ families can not afford basic school supplies.  Other students work to support their families.  Each day is a balancing act; I question how much longer I can compromise.  We only have 20 mixed matched desks and six extra chairs; some of my kids have to stand up. Have you ever made a seating chart with no seats?

I continue teaching and learning with these wonderful kids who deserve much better because they remind me of the power of community.  They are generous and concerned young people full of potential.  While some people may believe investing in more affluent and powerful students is a better deal, investing in my students will have more impact.  Students from more affluent and well connected families are more likely to make it.  They have been given opportunities from birth.   Meanwhile, my students are treated as second class citizens in old, dilapidated facilities without the basics.  The 100 year old floor creaks;  the 1950s clock stopped ticking thirty years ago.   It is as if my students’ lunch line is serving leftovers and crumbs.  My student ask for more but  I can’t answer or provide everything for them. I’m one man.

Imagine going to a school where you are told to meet high stakes standards but have few tools to begin building.  I bring in paper and pencils but then am told to have everyone do a science fair project.  They  can’t all submit moldy bread science fair projects!  My fellow co-workers and I try to say something positive but the illusion has worn off.   We turn to parent volunteers parents who have time to come to school and can scrape together the bus fare.  We also volunteer by sponsoring clubs and tutoring for free.  It is not enough.  In a world demanding innovation and creativity, we are stifling the future leaders by underfunding their education and underappreciating their potential.

I know I live in a state where the elderly are better cared for than children.  It apparently is acceptable to have high rates of childhood poverty.  Yes, my students do not vote so you may not consider them your constituents.  They can not fund your campaigns nor make you more powerful.  When politician say “I will fix the system and bring equality and justice to the people,” we want to believe you.  But,  the justice and equality never happens.  Do you want to know why?  Because, the politician do not amend the system; the system amends the politicians. The politician must remember their power lies with all the people; otherwise, I no longer live in a democracy.  Too often, when someone is in a position to change the world, they stab the world in the back. Words mean nothing if they are not backed up by action;  I am waiting for the action.

The passion for education is dying because we have been set up to fail. While I tell myself, “we must do more,”  we can not do it alone.  Our students deserve more; they are counting on you.   We live in a country where we are told  we are equal under the law.  How is inequitable and unjust funding of public schools equality under the law?   If we  properly support our public schools,  the lives of our students will improve which will improve the quality of life for everyone in our country.  Mr. Governor, please open your heart and mind to my students.  Work to provide fair and equitable funding for public schools.  Let my students know they have a chance to reach their full potential.  

Sincerely, Mr. Queen