Categories
12 Edition 12th Edition content Fiction - 12th Edition

Was It Ever Real?

(Adam is lying on the floor while we hear someone walking around his house.) 

KATE: (​offstage) Hello? Hello? Adam, I’m leaving to go back and just wanted to say goodbye. Where are you?  (The study door opens, and Kate enters.) Oh my god! (Kate runs to his side and begins to pick him up. He coughs a few times.) Adam. Adam! Are you okay?  

ADAM: (Coughing through his words he speaks) I’m fine, I’m fine. I just had a bad fall. (Kate notices the pill bottle.) 

KATE: No, you did not. We talked about this. You said you were done with this. We trusted you  

ADAM: There weren’t that many left. I’ll be fine.  

KATE: You’ll be fine once we get you to the hospital.  

ADAM: Kate, I can’t go back.

KATE: Right now, you don’t have a choice. I’m calling an ambulance right now.

ADAM: Kate, please.  

KATE: You had your chance. Adam, we trusted you.  

ADAM: I know you did.  

KATE: Adam, we trusted you. 

ADAM: I know.  

KATE: Adam, ​I ​ trusted you (Kate exits as Cami enters.)  

ADAM: I know.  

CAMI: Adam, I trusted you.

ADAM: I kn… wait what?  

CAMI: I trusted you not to scare me the way you did.  

ADAM: What are you talking about?  

CAMI: I drove to a neighborhood I’ve never been to sleep with a guy I don’t even know the last name of, and you found a way to scare me in a way that I never expected.  

ADAM: I’m sorry I didn’t mean to- 

CAMI: Don’t say sorry. I should be sorry for the way I treated you.  

ADAM: Wait no.  

CAMI: Wait, yes. I used you. I used you for something you didn’t want to be used for. I left you scared in the middle of a city you are supposed to call home, yet you don’t because the first friend you made didn’t want to be just a friend.  

ADAM: You can’t blame yourself for how this whole thing works. I’m the one who didn’t know.  

CAMI: You didn’t know.  

ADAM: I didn’t know.  

CAMI: You didn’t know. 

ADAM: I didn’t know.

CAMI: I loved you.

ADAM: I didn’t know. 

CAMI: You didn’t know (Cami exits as Devin enters.)

ADAM: I didn’t know.  

DEVIN: You didn’t know.  

ADAM: I didn’t know.  

DEVIN: You didn’t know my name.  

ADAM: I didn’t… what?  

DEVIN: My name? It’s Devin. It might have been mentioned one other time, but if you weren’t paying attention, it’s Devin. I promise I’m not that bad of a guy.  

ADAM: I don’t doubt that.  

DEVIN: Mathematics, right? That’s what you’re in to? That’s pretty cool. I am personally terrible at it, so I wouldn’t even know where to start. 

ADAM: Maybe addition if you go from the beginning. 

DEVIN: Oh, I know that. It’s about 8th grade when I start to fall out. Is there something you could do to help me with it?  

ADAM: I’m not much of a teacher, but I might be able to help.  

DEVIN: That’s great. Is there anywhere we could meet to work on it?  

ADAM: Oh, I don’t even know…  

DEVIN: My name? It’s Devin. It might have been mentioned one other time, but if you weren’t paying attention, it’s Devin. I promise I’m not that bad of a guy. (Devin exits as Shirley enters.) 

ADAM: Oh yeah.  

SHIRLEY: Mathematics, right? That’s what you’re in to? That’s pretty cool. I am personally terrible at it, so I wouldn’t even know where to start.  

ADAM: When did we ever talk about math.  

SHIRLEY: Oh come on. It’s all you talk about! It’s kind of your thing. And we love that about you. We all do.  

ADAM: We?  

SHIRLEY: Yes we. Everyone you meet loves to hear about how you nearly drive yourself to death, just studying numbers. It’s their favorite thing to hear.  

ADAM: I don’t understand.  

SHIRLEY: What is there to be confused about? Remember, it’s all in the numbers (Shirley exits as Cami enters.) 

CAMI:  I called an ambulance. They should be here shortly. 

ADAM: Thank you.  

CAMI: Is there anything you want to tell me?  

ADAM: Like what?  

CAMI: Now that it’s just us.  

ADAM: What about the others? 

CAMI: What others? (Kate enters as Cami exits.)  

ADAM: Are they not in the front room?

KATE: Who’s in the front room?  

ADAM: You! Wait.  

KATE: Adam, do you feel okay?  

ADAM: I don’t think I’m okay  

KATE: Is there something you want to talk about? (Cami enters as Kate exits.)

ADAM: What do you mean?  

CAMI: Now that we are alone. Is there something you want to talk about?

ADAM: Did Kate send you in? 

CAMI: Yes.  

ADAM: How do you know who Kate is?  

CAMI: You’re reading into things too much again.  

ADAM: Again?  

CAMI: But you are done with that now, right?  

ADAM: Right (Kate enters as Cami exits.) 

KATE: I’m going to see if the ambulance is here.

ADAM: Really, I’m fine.  

KATE: You’re not fine. You need to rest.  

ADAM: For how long?  

KATE: You know how long (A moment passes.)  

ADAM: Can I speak to Cami, please?  

KATE: If you’d like to (Kate exits as Cami enters.)  

ADAM: Cami?  

CAMI: Yes?  

ADAM: I hope in another life I meet someone as perfect as you and I don’t scare her away like I did with you.

CAMI: Is that all you wanted to say?  

ADAM: Yes.

CAMI: Then why didn’t you ever say it to me? (Fade out.) 


Timothy Henderson Jr. is working towards earning a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre. He has been writing for a while but has been telling stories since he could speak. He hopes to start conversations or lend laughs to the ones who do not smile as much as he wished they would.

Categories
Fiction - 12th Edition Uncategorized

Houdini the Genie

Scene 1 – Introduction

(A small bathroom that looks like it has been blocked off for years. There are two stalls, and two sinks. Both stalls are facing the audience and the sinks line the wall as you go towards the door on the right. There is a warning sign on the outside of the bathroom door. David enters quickly.)

DAVID: (Enters trying to unbuckle his belt) Oh come on. Who locks a bathroom door (He tries to open the second stall but it is locked) Fine. Fine! (Whatever He walks into the first stall and sits down to use the toilet, leaving the door open.)

HOUDINI: (Smoke appears from underneath the second stall, drifting into the first and Houdini steps out wearing an unlaced straight jacket and chains around his body) A-bra-ka-da-bra!

DAVID: (Falls to the ground in shock) Who’s there? Everyone says this bathroom is closed! (He turns around and sees who it is) Oh my god…

HOUDINI: It is I!

DAVID: How is it you?

HOUDINI: How is it me? The same way it is you!

DAVID: Houdini right?

HOUDINI: Yes! Yes! Now that you know it is me, you have to help me

DAVID: I am going to be honest here, I am new to this school and I’m not trying to make friends with a magician in a bathroom (David goes for the door).

HOUDINI: (Steps in front of the exit) Wait wait! I can help you make friends… With magic.

DAVID: Yeah… that’s the thing. I don’t know if you know this, but magic is kind of…

HOUDINI: The most wicked experience anyone can see?

DAVID: No. It’s banned.

HOUDINI: Banned? How could the 8th wonder of the world be banned?

DAVID: You see, after you died, a lot of people spent years trying to copy your life’s work. All of them were alumni of this school.

HOUDINI: And?

DAVID: And they all died.

HOUDINI: Oh dear.

DAVID: You’re saying oh dear, but you’re not the one who heard this at orientation at 7:30 a.m. on a Monday morning.

HOUDINI: What a welcome wagon.

DAVID: But since they were all from here, this school has made a special hard push for the banning of magic. Now of course there are girls like Jamie.

HOUDINI: Jamie? Who is Jamie? She some kind of hard ass about the rules?

DAVID: No, the hall monitor is the hard ass. They call him the “magic police.”

HOUDINI: But what about Jamie?

DAVID: Oh, she’s the exact opposite. She is lovely and pretty and really pushing to get magic to be allowed back in school.

HOUDINI: So we like this girl? Ah? Ah?

DAVID: Oh shut up. I am new here. She doesn’t even know who I am.

HOUDINI: But we can make her fall in love with… Magic!

DAVID: Oh no. I am not falling for whatever you have planned. I cannot get kicked out of another school (He leaves the bathroom).

HOUDINI: (Gestures in David’s direction.)

Scene 2 – The Magic Police

(After David walks out the door and off the stage he immediately walks back on stage and walks through the bathroom door.)

DAVID: Okay. What the hell did you do?

HOUDINI: What are you talking about?

DAVID: I walked out of that door and Veronica Harper waved and said hello to me.

HOUDINI: What is so surprising about that?

DAVID: Veronica Harper is the captain of the cheerleading squad. From what I heard, to date her you have to date her three closest friends first. All of which are prettier than the one before them.

HOUDINI: So what? She said hi. That is great for you!

DAVID: No you did something. What did you do? Spill it.

HOUDINI: Fine fine fine. You caught me. I might be more than just the ghost of Houdini.

DAVID: You’re what?

HOUDINI: I am also a genie.

DAVID: What?

HOUDINI: Yeah when a magician dies, we spend the rest of time as a genie until someone comes along and fulfills our final wish.

DAVID: Wait. You’re the genie. And I have to fulfill YOUR wish?

HOUDINI: Isn’t that exactly what I said?

DAVID: Sorry sorry. I’m just caught up on one thing. So your title is now Houdini… the genie

HOUDINI: I prefer the genie, Houdini, but to each their own.

MAGIC POLICE: (Knocking on the bathroom door) Hey! Is anyone in there! This restroom is off limits!

DAVID: (Quietly to himself) Oh god (Runs into the first stall and shuts the door behind him. Out loud) I am in the bathroom!

MAGIC POLICE: That’s it. I’m coming in (Uses his keys to unlock the door. The rest of this encounter Houdini is standing behind the magic police outside of his view doing small card tricks behind his back.)

MAGIC POLICE: Who’s in there?

DAVID: (Emerges wearing a full tuxedo.) Sorry I am new here and I just needed to use the bathroom.

 MAGIC POLICE: (Looks David up and down with a confused look) So you are new here?

DAVID: Yeah?

MAGIC POLICE: So I am guessing you aren’t aware of our uniform policy?

DAVID: (Looks down at his clothes and realize what he is wearing. He tries to cover it up with his hands and he eventually hides behind the stall door.) Oh my God I am sorry I was just in my gym clothes… (He cringes knowing what he said was very dumb.)

MAGIC POLICE: Well. I suggest wearing something a little more comfortable, but hey, I don’t have to take gym anymore. Ha! But seriously you need to be in uniform in the halls.

DAVID: I have an extra set of clothes in my locker. You know, just in case I spill something or-

MAGIC POLICE: I don’t need your life story, kid. Have a good day. And remember, no magic (Magic police walks out of the bathroom)

DAVID: What the hell, man?

HOUDINI: I wanted you to look the part when you fulfilled my final wish.

DAVID: Listen dude. I’m not doing it. Just let me change my clothes and leave (David walks out of the bathroom.)

HOUDINI: (Waits for David to be off stage and then gestures in his direction again.)

Scene 3 – Jamie

(After walking off stage David immediately walks back on wearing the normal school uniform. He walks through the bathroom door.)

DAVID: Alright. If you are going to use your magic to change me back, can you at least wait until I am not in the middle of the hall? Or even better, don’t do it at all!

HOUDINI: I was just trying to help.

DAVID: Well I didn’t ask for it! (Walks into the first stall and sits on the toilet and begins to use it.)

HOUDINI: What are you doing?

DAVID: Doing what I came here to do.

HOUDINI: Well you could at least close the door…

DAVID: You changed my outfit twice in one day. I think we are close enough for this.

HOUDINI: I will be out when you are done. (Walks into the second stall and closes the door behind him.)

DAVID: (A few seconds pass and he reaches for the toilet paper and wipes. When his hand comes back from out of the toilet, the paper is now a colorful handkerchief attached to more and more on a long chain.) Oh no oh no. (He keeps pulling and pulling and the chain just starts to pile up around the floor of the bathroom.) What the hell man!

HOUDINI: (Sarcastically) I have no idea what you are talking about.

DAVID: (Still pulling the chain out.) Oh you know what I am talking about.

JAMIE: (Knocking on the door.) Hello?

DAVID: Occupied!

JAMIE: Is everything okay?

DAVID: (Trying to clean up the chain.) Yep! Everything is fine!

JAMIE: Are you sure? Because I watched you walk in and out of this bathroom multiple times. You know you’re not supposed to be in there right?

DAVID: I’m coming to find that out as I go.

JAMIE: Are you the new kid everyone is talking about?

DAVID: That depends, who’s asking?

JAMIE: Well I am Jamie.

DAVID AND HOUDINI: Jamie?!

JAMIE: Are there two of you in there?

DAVID AND HOUDINI: NO! (They look at each other and David signals to Houdini to be quiet.)

DAVID: No

JAMIE: I’m coming in.

DAVID: Wait! (He rushes to the door and holds it shut. He whispers to Houdini.) Do something about this mess!

HOUDINI: (Begins to pick up the handkerchief and shoves it in the toilet and slams the door behind him as he says) What is up with people walking into bathrooms at this school? (Goes back into the second stall and locks the door behind him.)

JAMIE: (Throws the door open and knocks David to the floor.) Can I please ask what is going on here?

DAVID: (Still laying on the ground.) I have a friend

JAMIE: A what?

DAVID: (Stands up) I have a magic friend

JAMIE: Well, where is he?

DAVID: (Points towards the second stall.) He’s in there.

JAMIE: Alright, I came here to see if you were as cool as everyone said, but obviously I was wrong. Everyone knows that stall is always locked. (She leaves.)

DAVID: No wait. Please (Heads towards the door as Houdini steps out of the stall) Can you get her back, please? (He exits and heads off stage.)

HOUDINI: (As David gets offstage, Houdini gestures towards David’s direction.)

Scene 4 – Jamie and the Magic Police

(David comes sprinting back into the bathroom. He looks very frantic.)

DAVID: I asked for you to help. What the hell did you do?

HOUDINI: Actually you asked me to get her back.

DAVID: I didn’t mean like this though. The magic police are looking for me!

HOUDINI: Ahhh, and she will defend you from the magic police, because she is oh so perfect.

DAVID: No. They will find me in here again and I’ll be screwed. Make me invisible or something!

HOUDINI: Okay, you know nothing about magic.

DAVID: How am I supposed to learn anything about magic when you have yet to explain yourself?

MAGIC POLICE: (Knocks on the door.) We know you are in there!

JAMIE: Kid if you are in there, stay strong.

DAVID: (To Houdini) Do it!

HOUDINI: I can do you one better. Strike a pose! (Houdini gestures at David The Magic Police and Jamie enter. They both walk in and immediately notice David kneeling as if he were the statue “The Thinker.” The Magic Police think he is a statue, but Jamie knows it is him. She goes to cover for him, but the police speak first.)

MAGIC POLICE: Wow. Can’t believe the art department would start to use this bathroom as a storage compartment (As he turns around David sneezes.) What was that?

JAMIE: Wasn’t me.

MAGIC POLICE: Hmmmmm. Must’ve been those faulty pipes. You know the school should really figure that stuff out. Alright nothing to see here (He walks out. The door shuts and Jamie turns around and looks at David still kneeling in his pose. She slowly walks up to him, looks at him really close, and then smacks him in the back of the head.)

JAMIE: What the hell was that?

DAVID: What?

JAMIE: The police are dumb, but not that dumb.

DAVID: I mean from what I have perceived.

JAMIE: Shut up. Something is going on here.

DAVID: I’m cursed! I’m cursed. I’m so cursed. You see, earlier I came in here, because I needed to go to the bathroom and there was no line at this bathroom, but I know that you shouldn’t just walk into bathrooms no one is using, but I just had to, so I came in here and I tried to use the second stall because the first stall is always the dirtiest, but it was locked, even though I didn’t see anyone underneath, but I said whatever and went in the first stall and now I have a genie.

JAMIE So I am going to need details, or I am never talking to you again.

DAVID: He said I have to fulfill his wish and then he can pass on. The genie is Houdini.

JAMIE: Houdini…

DAVID: Yeah, I know, but he wants me to do magic and I am trying to not get kicked out of.

JAMIE: Magic?

DAVID: Yeah, I know. It sounds stupid when you say it.

JAMIE: Oh, I thought it was cool.

DAVID: Then it does not sound stupid when you say it.

JAMIE: What does he want you to do?

DAVID: His final trick. Listen I don’t know very much about him, but I’ve seen his face enough to know what he looks like. Didn’t he die doing his last trick?

JAMIE: I don’t know, but you know what I think?

DAVID: What?

JAMIE You should do it

DAVID: (Pouting) But why?

JAMIE: I think if I had the opportunity to help a dead celebrity, I would.

DAVID: But but but

JAMIE: Nope. I’ve made up my mind. You make up yours (She exits the bathroom and leaves the stage.)

DAVID: (He follows.) Jamie, but wait!

Scene 5 – Finale

(About 30 seconds goes by and Houdini is walking around the room. David slowly approaches the bathroom and opens the door. He walks in looking defeated, but determined.)

DAVID: I’ll do it.

HOUDINI” You’ll what?

DAVID: I said I will do it.

HOUDINI: Oh my goodness thank you so much! I really do owe you one.

DAVID: Don’t dwell on it so much. Let’s just get this over with. Use your little magic and-

HOUDINI: Oh no no. My wish is for YOU to do my trick. I can’t help you in any way besides the set up.

DAVID: Then we will do it here.

HOUDINI: Oh no no. You must do it in front of an audience.

DAVID: Hey that wasn’t in the rules.

HOUDINI: I never got around to saying all of the rules. You must do it in front of an audience.

DAVID: (Gestures towards the audience.) Well what about them?

HOUDINI: (Looks out into the audience and shrugs.) I guess they will do.

DAVID: Alright what do I have to do?

HOUDINI: (Takes off his chains and straight jacket and puts them on David.) Put these on and go into the second stall.

DAVID: The second stall? But was locked just a while ago.

HOUDINI: Well it is unlocked now (Pushes David into the stall.) Now go! (He shuts the stall door and David is sitting on the toilet to where we can see his feet.)

DAVID: Well alright. Wait. You never explained to me what the trick is. What am I supposed to be doing? We hear saw blades spinning up Wait what is going on? You said if I did this you would stop bothering me.

JAMIE: (Enters and stands next to Houdini.) Oh he will

DAVID Jamie? Is that you? Can you get me out of here? I don’t think I can go through with this.

JAMIE: Yes you can, and you will.

DAVID: I thought you were cool! Jamie please! Someone! (Buzzing of saw blades hitting flesh is heard and David screams and lifts his feet in pain and eventually stops.)

JAMIE: How many more do you need until you stop bothering me?

HOUDINI: I think one more will do the trick.

JAMIE: Do you think these guys will ever catch on?

HOUDINI: Of course not. Just like a good magic trick you pull them in with a few details, me, scare them with fear, the police, and throw in some misdirection, you, and they will never see the ending coming.

JAMIE: I have to get to class (Starts to head out.)

HOUDINI: On your way out, take down that sign. It is scaring away our guests (Jamie takes the warning sign off of the door as she exits. Houdini heads back into the second stall and David is already gone. He shuts the door and locks it.)


Timothy Henderson Jr. is working towards earning a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre. He has been writing for a while but has been telling stories since he could speak. He hopes to start conversations or lend laughs to the ones who do not smile as much as he wished they would.

Categories
12th Edition Fiction - 12th Edition

Sue & Wanda

Once, there was a woman called Sue, who lived in a house that was blue. Twice, there were women named Margaret, but neither of them have to do with this story.


Back to Sue, whose house was blue. Sue suffered from variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (or Mad Cow Disease), which meant that every area rug in her home was a beatboxer who couldn’t hold a beat.


Sometimes, the birds outside Sue’s kitchen window could hear her stomping on one of the many inanimate rugs throughout her house— “This- is- the beat!” And the birds just shook their heads and sighed (mistaken for singers, birds actually just sigh a lot, and very beautifully).

One day, it began to rain outside. (It didn’t begin to rain inside because Sue’s blue house had a roof on it.) Sue sat in her favorite rocking chair, enjoying a mild-mannered morning with her crosswords. The sun had risen and fallen again with an encroaching line of thunderclouds.

“Phooey,” Sue remarked, shaking her head at the grey Q-tips in the sky.

She turned away from them and focused on her crossword instead: “Where was I- oh, yes… ‘another word for elderly.’” A moment of contemplation, followed by a chuckle. She scratched a few letters into the boxes: G-R-O-O-V-Y.


(Now is an appropriate time to mention the fact that Sue didn’t care if the words she picked for the clues were correct or not— she was a whatever-word-fits kind of lady.)


Satisfied with her answer, Sue moved on to the next clue: ’17th President of the United States.’ Sue’s chained glasses fell off her face as she scribbled excitedly inside the squares: A-N-D-R-E-W-J-O-H-N-S-O-N. Sue smiled, and mumbled appreciatively: “Such a handsome man…” She looked at the framed picture of Andrew Johnson which stood on her chair-side table; Andrew stared back numbly.


Rejuvenated by the remembrance of her historical heartthrob, Sue felt ready to tackle the next clue— only a noise interrupted her contemplation: “Puhpuhksh.”


Sue didn’t look up from clue 6: ‘not a curtain.’ “Yes, Reginald?” Not a curtain? That covered a lot of things…

“Puhpuhpsh, puhpuhpuhpsh, pshktsk.”


Sue turned her spectacled eyes on the beat-boxing area rug beneath her slippers. “What do you mean, something’s in the fireplace?”


The rug responded with a sharp series of lip-smacking sounds that would have been unintelligible to you and I, but to Sue, formed a coherent statement— a statement of alarm.

Sue shook her head. “Reggie, if this is another one of your little jokes, I just must tell you, they’re getting very old, and at my age, I can’t afford to waste time.” She turned back to her crossword, which she’d been working on for four hours.


The other three area rugs on that level of the house started joining in, bequeathing Sue so loudly that she turned her hearing aid off and could still hear them.


“My hearing is back!” Sue would have leapt out of the rocking chair in celebration, if only her sciatica wasn’t so vulnerable.


The rugs continued to beat-box until Sue finally got out of her chair and started toward her walker in the corner.


“Alright, alright, quit your jabbering, you sound like a bunch of horses trying to learn to whistle!” Sue put on her slippers and took ahold of her walker. The tennis balls on the bottom of her walker gently scraped the linoleum kitchen floor as she walked over it to the fireplace.

The rugs kept making impatient, anxious rhythms as she passed
over them. Sue couldn’t kneel, so she stood in front of the fire. The flames danced as if they wore orange ballgowns, and the wood beneath them crackled like Sue’s spine did every time she stood up. Absolutely nothing seemed out of the ordinary.


“Reggie, this isn’t very f-,” Sue started to say, but when she turned, it wasn’t Reginald the Rug who received her surprise stare. It was a beast– bat-like and at least ten feet tall.


He slumped a little to keep his head from hitting the ceiling, his hands crossed awkwardly in front of his torso.


“Hi,” the monster said. His voice sounded like a tuba inside a clay pot.


“Hello,” Sue said politely. She gathered her shawl around her and gestured to the couch like this happened all the time. “Please, come in.”


“I did,” the monster said in confusion.


“Just- I mean- look, I don’t know why people say that, just sit,” she commanded him, taking a seat herself in one of the arm chairs. The beast, who knew the effect of his weight and tried to tip-toe to the couch, knocked over three vases before he made it to the cushion. Sue blinked and wondered why she’d put so many vases so close to each other.


“Sorry,” mumbled the monster . He scooped up every piece of every vase and every speck of soil into his scaly hands and placed it all on Sue’s pearly white ottoman.

“No trouble, young man.”


The beast looked at her in surprise, but said nothing, or at least he didn’t get the chance to because Sue continued, “What’s your name, sonny?”


The monster’s twelve jagged teeth stuck out menacingly (but again, it isn’t you or I we’re speaking of, who was in the company of this creature; it was Sue, and Sue was unperturbed). His eyes, yellow as radioactive waste, wandered around the room as he replied, “I… don’t have a name, ma’am. I just travel. Call myself a wanderer.” He stroked the nearby area rug with his toes, so soft and comforting it was to his well-worn feet…


(Only Sue could hear the alarmed, disgusted outcry of Warren the Living Room Rug as he had his threads fondled by the giant bat’s toenail.)


“A wanderer, eh?” Sue chuckled the chuckle of a person who was well-traveled, and knew a thing or two about living. In reality, she’d only been as far as Idaho, and no farther, because she loved potatoes and felt she needn’t look anywhere else for happiness. “Then I think I’ll call you… Wanda.”


The monster blinked and said, “But I’m a—”


“There there, Wanda, don’t be distressed,” she struggled to stand up again,
“There’s plenty of food for the both of us. Just grab your own pillow case, sheets, and quilt out of that closet over there and pick a spot to sleep on, I’m gonna start some baked potatoes.” Then she was off like a really slow bullet.


The monster now named Wanda, puzzled, didn’t ask questions, only said, “Uh, okay,” and tip-toed off to find whichever closet Sue had been referring to. Sue, who was content to host anyone who did what she said, threw a couple dozen potatoes into the microwave with a new spring in her orthopedic slippers.


Wanda, toting a small mountain of sheets (already a little tattered from his
carrying them a few feet), stepped as gently as possible through the kitchen, smiling strangely at Sue as he passed (“strangely” not because he had some hidden motives, but simply because his face was weird). He set his new bedding on the living room floor and waited wordlessly as Sue pulled a key lime pie out of the freezer.


“Dessert is ready,” she said. The pie sounded like a cinder block wearing a
hardhat as it landed on the counter.


Wanda carried the potatoes to the table for her, his hands unharmed by their scalding skins. They sat down to dinner and pre-made pie and talked about a number of things— the weather, the meaning of the life, whether toothpaste is secretly sweetened with sugar— and at the end of it, when they both said goodnight and Sue slipped off to bed, Wanda lay on the living room floor, happy and full-bellied and glad Sue had never given a second thought to that so-called bat infestation in her attic.


Gia Mesz is a Lindenwood senior, a storywriter, and a constant daydreamer, pursuing a Creative Writing degree and a certificate in Intercultural Fluency. Her writing voice is tender and playful, appealing to the imagination and speaking purposively to the childlike soul within every reader. (Don’t tell anyone, but she’s also a mermaid.)

Categories
12th Edition Fiction - 12th Edition Short Story

The Cytosapien Project

The Cytosapien Project 

//Galactic Interdimensional Protection Agency Mainframe// 

//USER DETECTED//RESTRICTED ACCESS ATTEMPT//KILLCODE IS ACTIVE// 

//PLEASE PROVIDE AUTHENTICATION INFORMATION// 

USERNAME: [JackSon5] 

PASSWORD: [* * * * * * * *]Thriller5 

 

//ACCESS GRANTED// 

Personal Journal Entry 112 

In district KIX, the M.H. class planet Polombus held a secret within its massive and prosperous city of Slivercove. Polombus was a reasonably large planet for M.H. class, having nearly twice the surface area of a midrange M.H. class planet such as Earth. Slivercove held approximately 67% of the planet’s known population within its walls, making it the most populated city in the KIX district. It also contained a big secret.  

The investigation of Slivercove was not initiated due to the secret the city held but its result. G.I.P.A. agents were dispatched to Polombus after a massive dimensional implosion rendered the planet uninhabitable due to 6-dimensional hazards and a highly dangerous warp sphere event horizon.   

After collapsing the warp sphere, mending the dimensional hazards, and cleaning away the exotic matter left behind from the warp sphere, the G.I.P.A. agents present at the scene, myself and my partner Rex included began our investigation as to the cause of the disturbance. With my omnitool’s alchemic setting, I played a significant role in quickly repairing the damage done to Slivercove so our investigation could move forward more smoothly. 

Beneath Slivercove, we found a massive facility of sorts, larger than the city itself. It contained numerous gigantic machines, the functions of which were nearly all highly illegal, some carrying punishments of life in galactic prison, or even death just for possessing them. There were enough living quarters to house approximately 7.67 billion people. The majority of the living spaces were filled with minimalist “bunk beds” consisting of four metal shelves, each with a mat three centimeters in height, with a metal ladder on the side. In most of the rooms, there were four of these “bunk beds” with little space between. 97% of the living quarters were set up this way.   

There were laboratories full containing the remains of varying experiments with a wide range of morality. There were chemical experiments, strange creatures, and corpses. There were also rooms with massive amounts of calculations, research, and notes. Whoever had been behind this, was dangerous, twisted, powerful, and genius. 

There was only one kitchen that contained anything that resembled food; the numerous other kitchens held only a sort of gelatinous material. An analysis of the material revealed it was a compound similar to glucose. It was about this time that one of our agents found some survivors. They were workers, and at first glance, they appeared human, but their behavior made it clear they were not. They were like living human-shaped balloons full of jello. The reactions of my fellow agents and me were mixed, and some even visceral. 

After sifting through hundreds of hours of discarded mission audio files, I found segments that should have been included in the G.I.P.A. file but were not. I have included them as they apply. This is Audio Log CP1.  

Agent B. Rogers- “Skitman, you found anything yet?” 

Agent C. Skitman- ”Nope, nothing other than all the crazy stuff we’ve already been finding. You guys find anything?” 

Agent B. Rogers- “Nada.” 

Agent S. Jackson- “I’ve got nothing yet.” 

Agent O. Rex- “I haven’t detected any other minds in this place besides ours.” 

Agent B. Rogers- “Well, jeez, if even Rex can’t find anything with his ridiculous mind powers, do we even have to sweep this place?” 

Agent C. Skitman- “Yeah, really, this place is so damn big- wait. Guys, I just found someone.” 

Agent B. Rogers- “Wait seriously? We’re on our way to your location!” 

Agent C. Skitman- “Excuse me? Sir? Are you all alright? I’m Agent Skitman, we’re here to help you… Wait a second. 

Agent O. Rex- “Hey, be careful. I’m still not detecting any other minds near you.” 

Agent C. Skitman- “Whoa, hey. It just looked at me, and I- oh man guys, this thing isn’t human. What the hell are you?” 

Agent S. Jackson- “If there’s anything unusual, then keep your distance! Do not engage; I’m almost there.” 

Agent C. Skitman- “Oh lord… Oh, what the hell!” 

*sounds of retching* 

Agent S. Jackson- “We’re here.” 

Agent C. Skitman- “It’s over there.” 

Agent B. Rogers- “Good god. What the hell is that thing, Jackson?” 

Agent S. Jackson- “I don’t know Rogers. Excuse me, can you understand me?” 

Agent C. Skitman- “Jackson wait, something’s happening.” 

Agent B. Rogers- “It’s shaking. Oh jeez! It’s splitting apart!”  

Agent S. Jackson- “No wait, it’s duplicating itself.” 

End of Audio Log CP1. 

The mystery mastermind behind all this had created these beings to act as slaves in this place. Further investigation revealed much about their biology. They had no bones, they did not speak, and they multiplied asexually. Based on some of the notes that were found, these workers were “single-celled” humanoids. While they were not truly a single cell, their body behaved a single-celled organism. The “cell wall” of the skin was the base of their bodies’ support. Instead of a brain, they had a sort of nucleus, and rather than bones or muscles, they had massive cellular organs floating in the cytoplasm. This explained all the glucose-like compounds that had been found in the kitchens. 

There were male and female workers, and each looked exactly the same as every other male or female, respectively. As we investigated, we observed one of the males undergo total body mitosis. This process takes upwards of 32 atomic hours in a single normal cell, but the subject finished the cycle in exactly 31.6 atomic minutes, a roughly 6,000% increase in cell division efficiency. This was a great help to the facility as there was never a shortage of workers, and sometimes they would use the surplus, as well as the dead cells, as a source of biofuel. These workers performed all the facility functions, save for the calculations, and testing in the labs.  

The reproduction of these so-called “Cytosapiens” was monitored closely as their numbers could easily get out of control. Not only that, but they were capable of bisexual reproduction between a male and female. This was strictly prohibited as this manner of reproduction seemed to have undesired results in the behavior and D.N.A. of the resulting offspring. However, complications began to arise when some Cytosapiens started to show some destructive behavior seen in cancer cells, multiplying rapidly out of control. Personnel was able to contain this for a while, but when there were multiple cancerous Cytosapiens within the facility, it got out of hand. This led to some of the Cytosapiens escaping detection and hiding in the facility. Without supervision, it didn’t take long for a male and female Cytosapien to reproduce bisexually. The process is far from ordinary human reproduction. Rather than intercourse, the two individuals connect their cellular bodies to each other. The parents begin to form a third Cytosapien between them, and after about seventy-two hours, a new full-sized Cytosapien is created. The increase in reproduction efficiency here is challenging to calculate but is no less astounding. In humans, meiosis for one cell takes approximately 72 atomic hours, fertilization takes between two and three days, and the production of an entire human being is approximately nine months. This comes out to a reproduction rate roughly 93.25 times faster than humans and most other sapient people who inhabit M.H. class planets. However, these are still insufficient calculations as it does not include maturity. Considering the new Cytosapien is as large and as functional as the parents within this seventy-two-hour window, we may have to account for the approximate 18 years to mature into an adult. 

A group of six of these offspring from bisexual reproduction was the cause of the facility’s demise and discovery. They sabotaged multiple of the machines and caused a chain reaction of explosions. This resulted in a loss of power, which caused the warp drive containment field in the massive dimensional generator to fail. Another explosion breached the containment chamber for the warp drive sphere, and that caused it to implode and then expand at a tremendous rate. 

The intention of these six Cytosapiens seemed to be to free their parents, and the rest of the Cytosapiens. It is believed that they were unaware that there was anything to damage outside the facility. Their intelligence is indisputable thus far, but their reasoning is still unclear. How they came to the desire for freedom is still a mystery, and the level of critical thought these beings are capable of is still unknown. Our current technology is not capable of detecting any kind of thought or other “brain activity” their nucleus produces. They are thankfully peaceful until provoked, and even then, they can be slow to react. They possess an incredible healing factor, and if necessary, incineration seems to be the most effective method of terminating them. 

As we continued to investigate the facility, we found more of them. Approximately 79% of the Cytosapiens survived the event. None of the other faculty were found. They were assumed to have been killed in the event, or escaped via some other means. The Cytosapiens were transported to a separate planet under G.I.P.A. protection, one with a much higher level of comfort and freedom. Different sources of food were offered, but they appear to prefer the glucose compound. G.I.P.A. approved of this as it saved us funds. The compound was already available in a large quantity, and it was also easy to create. This has been where the Cytosapiens have been residing since the event. 

With as massive as this situation was, and after finding absolutely no connections to other known chains of criminal activity, I still believe it must be connected to something else. It feels too strange to be something all on its own. There were no documents or data relating to finances found within the facility, which led me to believe that it was not a center of operations, but merely a branch of something larger. My other concern occurred to me many days after the event. The facility did not show signs of being new, and the surrounding Earth had long since settled in place. Yet the entirety of the Slivercove population and the rest of the Polombus community was utterly unaware of its existence. The Polombians did not resist our interrogation in the slightest. Rex even confirmed that they were indeed telling the truth after searching their minds.   

The Polombian’s established innocence should bring ease to the situation, but I found none. The fact that they were completely oblivious to the existence of the facility is concerning. It makes me wonder how the facility got there. Was it built at the same time as the city? Was it already there, and they just happened to build the city on top of it? How long had it been there? These questions continue to go unanswered.  

I discovered a document in the facility during the initial investigation that was dated the same day as the event. The handwriting on the document exactly matched that of other papers Rex and I had discovered while attempting to track down Target Z. To be specific, Target Z is the nickname the Director gave to the elusive head figure of a multitude of disturbing criminal acts spanning several galaxies. The match in handwriting was a significant discovery, but after digging deeper, I found something much more concerning. The handwriting matched even older documents archived as evidence from other unsolved crimes of a similarly disturbing nature spanning several decades. The problem is according to the dates, this document was written about 267 thousand years before the one I found in the facility. 

I had previously hypothesized that the head of the enigmatic group was a mantle. I assumed it was being passed on from one to another, but this is now thoroughly debunked. The handwriting match, coupled with the significant difference in age, means that Target Z is either a being with a considerable life span similar to that of a Gomorian like Rex or perhaps Target Z is an android of some kind. I cannot ignore the possibility of other alternatives, such as some kind of immortality, as far-fetched as that is, cloning, which is absolutely possible considering the event, or something even more clever that has yet to occur to me.  

Target Z is still at large and highly dangerous. If this facility has a direct connection with Target Z as I expect, then they’re far more dangerous than we initially expected. It would mean that they have access to resources beyond any other threat we are currently aware of. What frustrates me is even with this discovery, I feel even more confused about what we are dealing with. Even when I learn something, I feel that I suddenly know less. 

One final concern. I have already stated that the crimes we connected to The Cytosapien Project spanned several decades. The fact that they were similar crimes that contained similar archived documents, repeatedly going unsolved and unconnected, seems highly suspicious to me. I find it hard to believe that a connection was never made between any of these files, and the handwriting in them never analyzed. This connection should have been discovered much earlier, and while that is my opinion, it is difficult to argue with. While I hate harboring distrust towards my fellow agents, I have to consider that there may be people even within G.I.P.A. that are working with Target Z. For this reason, I have documented this here in my journal and have not submitted my findings to the Director or anyone else in an official document.   

I should note that my purpose for writing this is somewhat therapeutic, as I found this event quite disturbing. Ever since my partner Rex and I embarked on this mission, it has lurked in the back of my mind. I have gained as much knowledge on the subject as I can currently deem possible without appearing obsessive. Perhaps more information will come to the surface as time goes on. As much as it pains me, I have to set it aside for now. 

I can only wonder what else lies beneath the surface…  

//FILE SET TO:[GHOST]//SECURITY LEVEL[10]//KILLCODE SET// 

//ACCESS DENIED ALLOWANCE SET TO [2] ATTEMPTS// 

//RESPONSE AFTER [2] FAILED ATTEMPTS:[LETHAL]//

[JackSon5 LOGGED OUT] 


Mac Schlag is a Senior Creative Writing major at Lindenwood University. He writes novels, poetry, and short stories, and has begun to do digital art within the last year. He is constantly expanding his worlds and hopes to publish all of them. He loves to laugh often and occasionally goes by the nickname of “Wildberry”.

Categories
12th Edition Fiction - 12th Edition Short Story

The Intruder

Fueled by an unusual feeling of trepidation in the air, Henry hastily struggled out of bed to turn on the lamp, sitting just a few feet away. The illumination it provided was unusually and inexplicably short-lived as the light immediately flickered away. He quickly tried again only to witness an identical result.   

‘Strange,’ He thought. The light had never failed in the past unless a bulb had burnt out. Nothing about the lamp up until that point — not the sound it made, nor the resistance of the switch itself — had indicated that anything was wrong with it. 

 After another confusing moment, Henry pivoted in place to survey his bedroom. Initially, he saw nothing out of the ordinary; the room was wide, open, and dark. His windows and their shades, all undisturbed, effectively blocked out any foreign light that may have intruded upon his slumber. His gaze followed the windows as they guided him toward the wall across from the foot of his bed. There, on a sturdy desk positioned between a pair of tall bookshelves, laid the room’s only visible light source for the moment — a closed and charging laptop. And then it wasn’t. The blue and blinking status light disappeared as a dull and darkened motion swept across the room.  

Sudden fear jarred Henry out of his lethargy, and his fingers stumbled with the lamp switch to get a better view of the phenomenon occurring before him. After another heart-pounding moment, his fingers finally succeeded in rotating the switch, and the light flickered again to reveal a dark mass looming silently in the corner. The light hadn’t remained long, and the shadow instantly blended back into the dark, quiet room. 

It ceased to be quiet. Henry’s heartbeat was now deafening, and his breath came in heavy, fast-paced successions. Panic boiled in his chest as he realized he might be dealing with an intruder. Determined to reveal the criminal’s identity and nature, Henry bolted for the window, yanked the shade down hard, and let it soar upward. 

Blue-white moonlight struck the boy’s tired eyes, and he turned toward the trespasser with a mixture of dread and curiosity. The sight he held before him was truly strange: a man with a dark cloak draped over his shoulders stood stoutly in a dark corner across the room. What made it even more strange to Henry was what the stranger wore beneath the robe, a checkered red and black suit jacket with pants to match.  

 “Who are you?” Henry’s words seemed to clash with the quiet aura of the moonlit room. With his head hanging close to his chest, the man did not respond. He looked up from the floor to view his face.  

The figure’s windows to the soul were brightly-lit with an amber hue of flames. The boy immediately swore as the eyes glared upon him and made a panicked dash for the door. He had no desire to be abducted from his home and killed by whatever demon or devil stood in the corner.   

When he reached the door, though, he found it to be inexplicably locked. How this was possible ultimately escaped him in his panic — for the door had always lacked a lock — but what didn’t escape him was the reason for this inconsistency. Henry knew his soul was about to be taken or crushed or tortured, and so he let out a low, fearful moan. 

 As the demon-man remained motionless in the corner, Henry wondered if he could bargain with the bright-eyed thing; perhaps he could strike up some deal where he would toil in the depths of hell for half an eternity rather than all of eternity. It was unlikely, but he decided to give it a shot.  

“What do you want?” He called out, trying to sound confident despite his panicked attempt at escaping several moments earlier. 

Almost immediately, a mechanical sound emanated from the man’s left side, and an arm extended from out of the cloak to offer an object to Henry. In response, he cautiously stepped forward to observe the object and was quite puzzled. It was a simple black sphere. 

 “What is this? Do you want me to take it?” The boy asked as he tried to piece together what the demon man’s intentions were. It no longer seemed to Henry that it wanted to kill him or crush his soul; it could’ve easily accomplished that in the first moments of the encounter. Then again, the demon man might have been toying with him. He resolved to maintain a policy of cautiousness. “I’ll take if you want me to, but only if I absolutely must.”  

 The creature said nothing in return. The ball inexplicably rotated smoothly in its rough hand to reveal that the object was not some extraordinary black sphere bewitched with evil magic. Instead, it was a simple eight ball. Henry chuckled nervously.  

“So you, a demon dressed like some high-class chump, want me to play a game of billiards with you?” 

 The eight within the white circle rolled out of view, and a new, black one replaced it. However, it wasn’t the only shape on this newly-exposed side of the ball; an upside-down triangle tinted a dark blue stood perfectly in the middle of the black circle. Shock recoiled through the boy as he immediately understood what the object was and went to grab it. 

But Henry realized that he was too late to seize the device and save himself as a single damning phrase slowly appeared on the screen: 

Outlook not so good


Zane Bell is a junior studying History and English Literature at Lindenwood University. He originally hails from the small town of Washington, Missouri, where his parents taught him various lessons, including how to hunt and shoot. In his spare time, he enjoys entertainment media and discussions of culture and history.

Categories
12th Edition Fiction - 12th Edition Short Story

Transformation of a Troglophile

There is no change here. It’s been so long since you knew the warm feeling of the sun; the sensation of it has drained, taken away by the dampness that seeps into your bones here, so deep it can never leave. You don’t feel the cold brush of snow against your cheek anymore; there is no snow here. You dream sometimes, in between lingering, paralyzing periods of fear; you dream of a voice, soft and gentle, whispering your name, pressing icy toes against your leg. But here, the only voices are repetition and monotony.


There is no time here. Somewhere between the stalactites and the stench of rotting animal corpses and the skittering sounds that creatures make against the craggy walls, it loses its meaning. Maybe it’s been weeks. So long since you’ve seen the sky. If you press your hands deep into your eyes, for a split second you see bright violent blue stars, but recently those have begun to disappear. Maybe it’s been months. So long since you’ve seen the light. You hear everything, but there’s a darkness so consuming you think it might not be darkness, but rather a void. Maybe it’s been years. So long since you’ve seen. There should be a caveat to that, you know— so long since you’ve seen some specific thing. But down here, you can’t see anything, so it ends there. Maybe it’s been a lifetime. So long since you knew what seeing was. You think you remember a time when eyes had a purpose, used for more than being gouged out and consumed; you hear rasping breaths always, and aren’t sure if they come from your throat, coaxed out by pain. You can’t know how much time you’ve been here for; there is no way of
knowing.

There is no escaping here. You’ve tried to crawl along the rough stone floor, but every time, you end up at a ledge. Bats fly ahead, and you think you might’ve had wings, once. You remember being high in the sky, seeing puffy white wisps of breath out of a window; there was a word you knew for those shapes once, but you’ve long since forgotten it. You feel exhausted. Things with too many legs to be anything good now crawl freely on you. You’re all beings of stone now, and it’s a relief to feel them teasing your skin, the first touch you’ve felt in so long, even if they’re just using your body as fuel.


There is no you here. You are somewhere else. Floating high above the agony and the darkness, in a place where a voice, soft and gentle, whispers your name. They’ll find you here, you think, someday, when they decide to go exploring just like you did. Your smile will be bright, bleached bone thanks to your many-teethed friends. So nice of them, to prepare you for Death, all pristine and new.


(You think, therefore, you are—and so, you are not.)


Emerson Gray, a disabled genderqueer creator living in Saint Louis, Missouri, has been previously published in the Eunoia Review and Neon Mariposa Magazine. His piece “Life of an Ophelian Girl”, as seen in Crabfat Magazine, was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He can be contacted on Twitter @Emerson_Gray_

Categories
12th Edition Fiction - 12th Edition Uncategorized

The Intern

Scene – Lair  

An ordinary office conference room has three men in superhero get-ups sitting in chairs watching TV. A boulder is in the corner of the room. In walks the receptionist, Cheryl, with an intern known as Psycho Sis. The leader, Fly, stands to greet her.  

CHERYL: Right this way ma’am.  

PSYCHO SIS: Is this your lair?  

CHERYL: Rent is cheap, so you get what you get (She exits.)  

FLY: Why hello there. How may we serve you?  

PSYCHO SIS: I put in an application for the open position.  

FLY: Ah, yes. You must be the new intern.  

PSYCHO SIS: Intern? I thought this was a paid position.  

FLY: It is a paid internship. It’s just a title we use to hire younger people and pay them under the table.  

PSYCHO SIS: Isn’t that illegal?  

FLY: It’s a small price to pay for justice, but a hefty legal fee if you are under 16, which you don’t seem to be…  

PSYCHO SIS: I’m not…  

FLY: Great! That is so great! Come over here, I’ll introduce everyone. This is Biception. He has super strength.  

BICEPTION: Hiya! (They shake hands, but it’s an obviously weak shake.)  

FLY: And this is Captain Come Quick. The fastest man on the east AND west coast.  

CCQ: How’s it, goin? (They shake hands, but it is much slower than Biception’s handshake with Psycho Sis.)  

FLY: The three of us have been working together since the Cuban Missile Crisis, which makes it… one year?  

BICEPTION: One. Amazing. Year  

CCQ: Yeah. Every day here is a new day. Full of excitement and adventure  

PSYCHO SIS: What’s your name, sir?  

FLY: I’m Fly  

PSYCHO SIS: That’s amazing. “The Fly.” Can you see from a thousand viewpoints and zip around like a house-  

FLY: No. I just Fly. So I’m Fly  

PSYCHO SIS: Right…  

FLY: What’s your name?  

PSYCHO SIS: Oh, I’m Psycho Sis. I can read minds. (CCQ and Biception look nervous)  

CCQ: You can read minds?  

BICEPTION: Isn’t it kind of wrong to be in other people’s heads all the time?  

PSYCHO SIS: Well, it’s not all the time. I have to stare into their eyes for 4 seconds.  

(CCQ and Biception avoid eye contact with Psycho Sis)  

FLY: That’s amazing. Do me! Do me! (Psycho Sis stares into Fly’s eyes for 4 seconds)  

PSYCHO SIS: You are thinking of the color magenta, but you imagine the color green.  

FLY: Right! That’s so cool!  

CCQ: I bet you have a super backstory.  

PSYCHO SIS: Oh yeah. So my mom is a doctor with a strong interest in how the mind works. My dad is a chemist. And they decided they wanted to try and see if you could use 100% of your brain. Now they needed a test subject, and they both just decided to have a kid for the sole purpose of experimenting. I had a twin brother, but he was lost at birth. 20 years later, and here I am.  

BICEPTION: So they just experimented with you for 20 years?  

PSYCHO SIS: No. They finished when I was 12. They told me I can’t tell anyone, but they both died in a plane crash about a year ago, and I felt I needed to use my powers to help the world because they aren’t around to help the world anymore.  

FLY: That’s beautiful. Working as a way to continue your parents’ legacy. Do you want to hear mine? Of course, you do. So I was going to my nine to five like everyone else, when suddenly a truck swerved, causing a vat of toxic waste in the back of it to spill all over me right as I swallowed a housefly. It combined our abilities, making me who I am today.  

PSYCHO SIS: So you actually are a Fly?  

FLY: No. I’m just Fly. Biception, you go next.  

BICEPTION: Me? But I never have to tell the new guys-  

FLY: I said go.  (Biception looks like he is making this up as he is going on.)  

BICEPTION: So I was… a soldier. Yeah, a soldier in World War II. And I was a small guy, so I couldn’t really lift my own weight. They saw that I had guts, though, so I was picked to be a test subject for a new serum the Government was working on, and when I was injected, I came out ripped like this. I went on secret missions with my best friend until he died tragically. It destroyed me. I ended up coming home from the war, and I worked as a type of advertising for the Government.  

BICEPTION: Now I work here, and I do what I do to help any citizen that needs help. It’s almost like I could do this all-day.  

PSYCHO SIS: But wait-  

FLY: Why haven’t you ever told me that before? I salute you.  

PSYCHO SIS: Isn’t that just-  

FLY: Captain. You’re next.  

CCQ: Genetics.  

FLY: Outstanding.  

PSYCHO SIS: Can you elaborate?  

CCQ: Nope.  

FLY: Always quick on the draw. That’s why I love this man.  (Cheryl enters.)  

CHERYL: There’s a woman on the phone. She says her cat is stuck in the tree out front of the city hall.  

FLY: Alright, team. Who should we send on this mission?  

BICEPTION: I guess I could rip the tree out of the ground and shake it until the cat comes down, but I think you need a permit to do anything to the trees in front of city hall, so I’m out.  

CCQ: Well, I could run up the tree at lightning speed, but it might scare the cat and make him jump. We don’t need that happening, so I am also out. Why don’t you just fly up there, boss?  

FLY: Good plan. Fast on his feet and with ideas. Alright, I’ll head out. I’ll be back in a few. (Cheryl and Fly both exit. CCQ and Biception go back to watching TV.)  

PSYCHO SIS: So…  

BICEPTION: So what?  

PSYCHO SIS: What do you guys do for fun around here?  

CCQ: You are looking at it.  

PSYCHO SIS: That wasn’t such a fast response. (CCQ and Biception look at each other nervously.)  

CCQ: Uhh…  

BICEPTION: He can turn his powers on and off. It’s so he can conserve energy. (CCQ and Biception high five. After a few seconds, CCQ pretends that his hand is hurt.)   

PSYCHO SIS: Well I thought of something fun to do, and I wondered if I could try it?  

BICEPTION: What is it?  

PSYCHO SIS: Sits down at the table Arm wrestle me.  

BICEPTION: Hilarious. I would destroy you. Why would you even ask that?  

CCQ: I could run around the Earth faster than he would beat you in this dumb competition.  

PSYCHO SIS: Well, if it’s such an easy task, why don’t you just show me? Both of you. I will arm wrestle him while you run around the Earth. Come on get over here. Let’s do this. (CCQ and Biception anxiously walk to their starting position. CCQ gets into a runners start, and Biception puts his hand around Psycho Sis’.)  

PSYCHO SIS: Three… Two… One… Go! (CCQ acts as if he went around the Earth instantly by jumping up and acting like he is out of breath. Biception is struggling to pull her arm down.)  

BICEPTION: Oh I am just going easy on you.  

PSYCHO SIS: Why don’t you just look at the fact that I’m not even trying? (He looks at her hand and notices she isn’t struggling at all. His eyes slowly move up toward her eyes. Their eyes lock for 4 seconds.)  

CCQ: Oh no…  

PSYCHO SIS: I knew it (She slams Biception’s hand down.) You guys are fakes.  

BICEPTION: I just let you win. You’re making that up.  

CCQ: (Nervously yet confidently.) Yeah.  

PSYCHO SIS: You also wet your bed on your eighth birthday because your dad told you a scary story the night before because you thought you were mature enough to handle it.  

BICEPTION: Lucky guess…  

PSYCHO SIS: (Referring to CCQ.) And his middle name is Patricia.  

CCQ: Dude, I told you that in confidence!  

PSYCHO SIS: You are phonies!  

BICEPTION: Can you keep it down? Cheryl is in the other room.  

PSYCHO SIS: How have you guys been working here for a year?   

CCQ: Listen. Fly isn’t the smartest man I have ever met.  

BICEPTION: I think his brain got switched with the fly’s, too  

PSYCHO SIS: Why do you do it?  

BICEPTION Well, my son, was really into superheroes when he was younger, and after his mother and I divorced, I tried anything to grab his attention. I would do anything to pick him up again like I did when he was four. That court day was the last time I saw him.  

PSYCHO SIS: I’m so sorry. What about you, Cap?  

CCQ: I did track in high school and already had the shoes. I’m mostly in it for the money. It has been hard to keep this secret, and we are not about to let some newbie come in and ruin this gig.  

BICEPTION: Yeah!  

CCQ: And if I have to beat it out of you I-  (Fly enters.) 

FLY: I’m back.  

CCQ: -will have to welcome you aboard to our wonderful team!  

FLY: It was one of those smaller trees. You couldn’t have run up that tree anyways.  

CCQ: Good thing I didn’t waste anyone’s time.  

PSYCHO SIS: Since I have been welcomed in, can I try to… to make this place look a little nicer?  

FLY: Well, what do you want?  

PSYCHO SIS: I want that boulder moved… over there.  

FLY: Get to it Biception. (Biception goes over and picks up the boulder with ease. He moves it to where Psycho Sis pointed.)  

PSYCHO SIS: And that television are too loud. Cap. Turn if off.  

FLY: Get to it, Quick. (CCQ acts like he just snapped to the tv in the back while Biception clicks someone in his pocket secretly and the television goes out.)  

PSYCHO SIS: But but but- (A crash is heard in the distance.)  

FLY: I’ll fly around back and check what that was. You all stay here and keep watch. (Fly leaves out the back.)  

PSYCHO SIS: How did you do that?  

CCQ: What are you talking about?  

PSYCHO SIS: I’ll just read it, so tell me.  

BICEPTION: That boulder is paper mache. Fly makes me move it every day for his amusement (Holds up the remote in his pocket.) And he still doesn’t know about the remote control.  

PSYCHO SIS: I get that, but I meant the crash.  

CCQ: That wasn’t us… (Chad enters wearing a mask over his face with a gun pressed against the head of Cheryl. He is holding her hostage.)  

CHAD: Ha! It is I! Your arch-enemy! I have been looking for your lair ever since you ruined my first plan to take over the world!  

PSYCHO SIS: Do you know this guy?  

CCQ: I have never seen him before.  

CHAD: How could you not remember me? It is I! Crazy Head And Dead!  

BICEPTION: That is by far the dumbest name I have ever heard.  

CHAD: (Getting angrier) Shut up! I’ll kill her!  

CCQ: Just do it. We can get another receptionist. It’s all a woman can do anyway.  

CHERYL AND PSYCHO SIS: I’m right here!  

CHAD: One more word and I’ll… I’ll kill you all! (Fly enters from behind and knocks the gun out of Chad’s hand. He and Chad begin to fight.)  

FLY: Captain! Grab the gun and bring it here! (CCQ slowly walks over and picks up the gun. Fly gets Chad in a headlock.)  

FLY: Sis! Read his mind! We have to know why he’s doing it. (She quickly runs over and stares into Chad’s eyes, but he keeps moving around.)  

PSYCHO SIS: Hold him still. I can’t focus.  

FLY: Captain! Point the gun at him! That will keep him still.  

CCQ: But sir, I thought we were supposed to follow the law of the nation  

FLY: It’s self-defense just do it!  

CHERYL: (Takes the gun.) Give that to me (Points the gun with both hands at Chad.)  

CHERYL: Quit moving around! You hear me? Quit moving around, or I will blow your brains all over the floor and the wall! The janitors will hate you, and your friends won’t even know why you never showed up to poker night. (Chad stops struggling, but he keeps his eyes closed.)  

PSYCHO SIS: He needs to open his eyes.  

CHERYL: Open your eyes, or I swear to you that the carpet will forever have your blood stained into it. (Chad opens his eyes, and Psycho Sis stares into them for 4 seconds.)  

PSYCHO SIS: He’s doing this for his father’s approval!  

CHAD: It’s true! (He breaks down.) It’s true… I’ve been seeking attention since my father left my mom and me when I was four. I remember him picking me up one last time.  

BICEPTION: (Taking off his mask.) Chad?  

CHAD: (Taking off his mask.) Dad?  

BICEPTION: Oh, son! (Tries to pick him up and throws out his back.) Ow ow ow!  

FLY: Wait a minute. Wait a minute! How did you throw out your back, trying to pick up one person? (He points at CCQ.)  

FLY: And why did it take you so long to pick up the gun?  

PSYCHO SIS: I think it’s pretty obvious  

FLY: You’re right… they’re saving their energy for a real enemy. It’s like they sense a more significant problem coming their-  (An alarm goes off, stating that it is 5:00 pm. They all stop fighting and go and put on overcoats. Psycho Sis stands confused.)  

CCQ: Phew. I thought this day would never end. Anybody want to grab drinks?  

BICEPTION: Not me. I think I’m gonna spend the day with my son.  

CHAD: Oh dad (They smile and hug.)  

CHERYL: See you all on Monday.  

PSYCHO SIS: You guys are done? Just like that?  

FLY: All in a day’s work.  

PSYCHO SIS: He was threatening to kill us!  

CCQ: Yeah, but our shift is over. Can’t do anything about it now.  

PSYCHO SIS: You do this every day?  

FLY: Every day.  

BICEPTION: The benefits are good.  

PSYCHO SIS: How good?  

CCQ: Weekends. Holidays. Health care. You name it.  

PSYCHO SIS: Where do I sign?  

CHERYL: I’ll send you the paperwork:  

FLY: Can you start next week?


Timothy Henderson Jr. is working towards earning a Bachelor’s degree in Theatre. He has been writing for a while but has been telling stories since he could speak. He hopes to start conversations or lend laughs to the ones who do not smile as much as he wished they would.

Categories
12th Edition Poetry- 12th Edition

A Friendly Conversation

I lean in close
Pensively gazing back over my shoulder 
And out the door for the fifth time in as many minutes 
I look relieved 
Though the news that we are alone 
Is not something new 
And is still not completely reassuring 
Whispered air slips past 
My throat as it closes 
Lips turned up into their corners 
Deep and sharp and quaking as another laugh is stifled 
They remind you of dimples 
Even if they can’t be seen over my blushing cheeks 

The warm breeze of a heated conversation 
Fills the room and slowly surrounds us 
Like the dense fog 
On a night in the harbor 
Air thick with salt and vapor 
A jet black night against an ink black sea 
My words call out to you 
A sing-song voice inviting you back in 
Back into the conversation we’ve been having far longer 
Than either cares to admit 
Back to this in-between place, I beg you, 
A quip and a new idea like the songs of a siren 
Back into this stalemate of giggles and smiles 
Neither able to make eye contact because we are too busy 
Winking and batting eyelashes 
Back into this comfortable take-turning 
Of making the other squirm 
And I might stay here for a while

 
Back to where I want to be 
Smiling, laughing, and carefree 
Forget about the rest of the world 
And be present here, with me 
This is the only place I can exist 
And so I say to stay a few moments longer 
Just a few more minutes, I insist 

It’s never silent or still 
And if it were 
Only then would it be wrong 
Another crumb of truth falls from my lips 
And lands between our feet 
You and I both stare with sly smiles 
And crooked heads to match 
Questioning if we’d have both been better off 
If I had chosen deceit 
But I didn’t want to lie to you or myself 
And I’ve come to value honesty above all else 
Sometimes we find it too easy to forget 
That sharing secrets is not always a gift 

The end is coming now 
Like grains of sand in the wind 
The conversation dissipates 
And we retreat 
We cast a glance over our shoulders as we part 
And another after that, for good measure 
But it will never manage to feel complete 


Victoria Lane is a graduating senior at Lindenwood, completing her degree with majors in Game Design, Digital and Web Design, and Art History. She plans to continue her education through Lindenwood’s Writing MFA, where she intends to write more original fiction and poetry. She loves to read comic books, collect action figures, watch films, play video games, make art, and yes, write. 

Portfolio – victoriamlane.com

Instagram – @victoriamadilynlanee