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Who Are You?

All right, so this is a paper I wrote to present to class for deep analysis. It's the first draft and will likely change drastically in the second draft. In any case, I hope you like it! I feel like a lot happens in a very small amount of space, which could be good or bad. However, I think that if I had the willpower, I could make this into an entire book. Anyhow, that's all I'm going to say. Now just read it!:

Quentin Zamboni rocked forward and backward atop the roof ledge of the Willis Tower. “Stupid name,” Quentin slurred aloud to the openness in front of him. “They should’a just kept it the same. Everybody already knew what the Sears Tower was.” He closed his mouth to hold in a wet, acidic burp. “It was simple, you know? But now it’s named after a frickin’ actor or something!” Quentin laughed in his throat and tottered a bit. “Instead, people are all gonna be like ‘Hey, did you hear about that suicide guy?’ ‘No, where’d that happen?’ ‘Oh, it’s going on right now on top of Willis Tower!’ ‘Oh…where’s that?’” he imitated in his best lady voices. “Stupid names. Names don’t mean anything!” Quentin yelled at the gathering crowd below. “It’s all about frickin’ skill sets!”

The throng of observers included firefighters, children, businessmen, bums, mothers with strollers, cameramen, journalists, police officers, and even several senators. They peered up 108 stories to a 30-something, tall, slightly pudgy man with overgrown hair wearing a black, full-body vinyl suit and mask. Passers-by collected under the summer sun to view the free entertainment; they’d gossip and gasp with every one of his woozy wobbles. All had congregated to witness a man whipped by existence: a cat with one life left.

Quentin Zamboni was alone, both on the roof and in life. Though he had tried to gain recognition in the public eye, no one seemed to be watching. Additionally, his career kept him from becoming close to anyone, particularly women. In fact, Quentin despised women. “Two-faced, manipulative bitches,” he whispered. “My life was going great and you just come along and destroy everything!” Quentin had not always been this way. In fact, he had been a perfectly happy, perfectly normal individual up until ten years ago.

The year was 2001 and Quentin led the perfect life. He worked as a promising real estate agent for one of the most prestigious firms, Silverstein Properties, in New York. He was dating the girl of his dreams, Selina Kyle. She had wavy, black hair like ink and flawless bronze skin. Her body was pure perfection as a result of her intense gymnast regimen. She was pure, innocent, and divine. Not only that, but she was completely in love with him. They lived together in a little Manhattan apartment, but only saw each other at night due to their strenuous schedules. Quentin envisioned his gleaming future. With enough work, he’d eventually be his own boss and could make his own schedule. But all that changed on his twenty-fifth birthday.

The day started as usual. Quentin awoke at 6:30 on that September morning to an empty bed. Selina had gone to practice. After preparing for the day and taking the hour-long public transportation, he arrived at his building: the World Trade Center. He took the elevator up 90 floors and walked down the hall to his office. Upon opening the door, an eruption of screams yelled “Happy Birthday!” He found his office filled with streamers, balloons, coworkers, and a giant cake on his desk. Selina stood at the forefront, smiling from ear to ear.

“Selina! You did all this?” Quentin said with shock and amazement.
“Yup! Happy Birthday my cutie pie!” Selina squealed with excitement.
“You,” Quentin smiled, “are the best girlfriend ever. Thanks sweetheart.”

The couple kissed and Quentin celebrated with his peers. However, the celebration did not last long. Soon, the office erupted with different screams. Screams filled with fear and horror. Quentin’s birthday, September 11th, changed everything. The first infamous passenger plane struck Quentin’s buildings several stories below his office. The impact threw everyone off their feet. Everything became a blur. Quentin quickly crawled to Selina, holding her tightly and assuring her that everything will be okay. “I won’t let go,” he promised. Moments later, the building collapsed and everything went black.

Two days after the incident, rescue teams came across the bodies of Quentin and Selina beneath the rubble, still holding each other. To their surprise, Quentin was still alive. Too weak to speak, he simply turned his head and nodded. After dragging both of them out, one paramedic moved to Selina and declared, “she’s dead.” Quentin crawled to her just as he had two days earlier, cradled her in his arms, and began performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Five frantic minutes passed and still, no change.

Quentin began to weep soundlessly. The rescue team simply watched as Quentin clutched her lifeless body. Dirty tears streamed down his chin and into her open mouth. “How could the universe be so cruel?” he thought. Just then, Quentin heard a gurgle and choke come from Selina. Her body contracted as she spit up the tears and dust that plugged her throat. Quentin looked down to see Selina staring back up at him. Though she was faint and barely alive, she managed a small smile. Immediately, a firefighter yelled, “we’ve got a live one!” and whisked her away on a stretcher.

As he watched her go, a nearby policeman leaned over and asked, “Son, what floor did you work on?” Quentin managed to dryly whisper, “ninety”. The officer stepped back. “You mean you survived a ninety-story fall onto this business and two days under crushing concrete? That seems,” the policeman thought for a while, “unlikely.” He turned his gaze to Quentin, “though that stunt you just pulled there seemed almost magical. Supernatural, even! Well,” said the officer as he began to walk away, “you’re just lucky to be alive. As is she.”

Much changed that day for both of them. The healing process presented interesting progress. Quentin healed extremely quickly and, within a week, he felt stronger than he did before the incident. In fact, as weeks progressed, other abilities developed. He found himself to be more balanced, more agile, and more alert; even his eyesight, vertical, and climbing ability improved. The doctor could not explain these atypical advancements and simply attributed them to the human body’s reaction to an extremely stressful situation. He predicted these features would wear off over time. However, a whole month passed and his abilities only strengthened.

Selina experienced the same changes. Though her healing process was slower, she soon surpassed full health, becoming an even better gymnast than before. The couple soon realized that they had abilities that, in all ways, exceeded normal human functioning. They had become superhuman. In December of 2001, Quentin and Selina finally decided to experiment with their abilities. That night, they dressed in full-body, black ballet unitards and ventured the streets. They jumped from four-story buildings without harm and scaled trees in seconds. Towards the end of the night, they even confronted and subdued a mugger with slick, catlike actions. With these new powers, it was as if they were superheroes. Eventually they began gaining a reputation in the underworld and they traded in their unitards for flashier vinyl suits and masks.

However, the good times did not last long. Unlike Quentin, the incident had affected Selina mentally. Unable to process the events from months earlier, Selina’s repressed emotions developed into acute multiple personality disorder. Her alternate identity presented itself as the polar opposite of her normal disposition. She was cunning, detached, and completely unreliable. During these episodes, she lied, lashed out, and often vanished at night. Additionally, she became manipulative, using her sexuality to coerce Quentin into doing things for her or to get herself out of trouble. It seemed as though they were playing a chess game with each other and she was winning.

As time passed, Selina’s alternate personality began taking over more and more. It became difficult for Quentin to handle her situation, though he loved her so deeply. This struggle continued until September 11th, 2002 when she disappeared completely. She left everything behind except her vinyl suit. Occasionally he heard news of a masked female villain on television. Rumors spread of this new threat to New York, though he never encountered her again. Quentin couldn’t handle the loss, so he moved to Chicago and began spiraling into depression and alcoholism.

Now, on top of Willis Tower, Quentin continued his drunken rant. “Now, she gets all the fame. I saved her and she ran out on me. That’s not the person I knew. She’s not even Selina anymore.” He paused to think about what he had just said. Overcome by the statement, his eyes filled with tears. He couldn’t handle the pressure. “I just miss my sweetheart.” Creeping closer to the edge, he cried, “But I know I can’t ever get her back.” Addressing the crowd, he yells with his voice cracking, “And that’s why I’m doing this!”

Quentin jumps. For a blissful moment he freezes, then begins his descent. 90 stories. The air rushes past. 80 stories. As he falls, his body picks up speed, soon hitting terminal velocity. Fifty stories, forty stories. The crowd screams as he moves closer to the ground. Thirty stories, twenty stories. This is it. Ten stories. This is where Quentin Zamboni ends.


Landing squarely on his feet, he absorbs the shock of the concrete beneath him. The crowd holds their breath as though they expected him to explode at any moment. Instead, he raises his head to face the audience. An awe-struck reporter moves forward to ask the only important question on everyone’s mind: “Who are you?”

With sober determination, he stares and states, “I’m Catman.”

The Flash

All right, so this is the first short story that we will be workshopping and editing over the next week. The previous stories have all been short and sweet, but more like activities based on what we've been learning. This one allows personal creative freedom. So here's the first draft of the story. It's not perfect and I know of some things I would like to fix already, but I hope you still enjoy it!

Gary, Indiana was a depressing place. In fact, it was nationally recognized as the most depressing town in the whole United States. At least that’s what the 1960 census indicated. It was now the summer of 1961 and not much had changed, implying that the data was probably still accurate. Doorpaint chipped a bit more, blooming flowers burned in the hot sun, several more stray dogs roamed the streets, and every window in the small town was left fully ajar to welcome the scarce, sulfur breeze. Today was the hottest day of the year and yet Gary, Indiana moved with impeccable sloth and apathy. Sweltering, stale air circulated in the homes of families. Citizens would awake, gasping for breath, as though the heavy humidity had drowned their lungs. Parents reluctantly prepared for the beginning of the workweek while children, unable to fall back asleep in the heat, resigned to low-level activities on front porches.

Charles Ferri, a twiggy, twelve year old boy with hair as black as ink, watched from the front steps of his father’s humble bungalow in his red footie pajamas. The PJs were age-inappropriate, but had felt nice during the cold night. Now they only itched with sweat. With his tongue hanging out like a panting dog, Charles surveyed the sad panorama before him. “This town is like a never-ending math class,“ he thought. He had to be creative in his comparison. He felt trapped, but unfortunately could not liken it to a prison because interesting things actually happen in prisons like yard fights and executions. In fact, he was surprised that traffic still lulled despite the fact that the new Broadway musical, The Music Man, had an entire song dedicated to the town. It seemed as though nothing could spice up this place.

Now that summer had taken over, Charles had to entertain himself. Without the structure of school and homework, he amused himself by wandering around town and occasionally scaring strangers by pretending to be their shadow. Recently, however, Charles happened upon a gang of older boys. “Gang” was a sufficient term simply because that’s what they called themselves. The label had nothing to do with families or race or any of that West Side Story stuff. In fact, their only binding features seemed to be the love for riding bicycles and for causing general mayhem. They’d come up with a plan, hop on their bikes, and create trouble for the citizens of Gary. The Daily Post called them the “Dang Huffy Gang” after the fancy brand they rode. Charles knew this well because they always made the front page after one of their rendezvous. “How exciting that would be!” he thought. Charles wanted badly to be in the gang, but was too timid to approach them himself. Besides, they were all at least two or three years older. They seemed so wise and weathered. Mature. However, Charles wanted to make his presence known. Maybe they’d even give him the label of “that one kid”. After thinking it over, Charles had decided to take action.

The day before, during one of the gang’s meetings in the alley, he attracted their attention by “accidentally” falling from his hiding spot behind a trashcan, giving a surprised facial expression, and then sprinting five blocks home. As the adrenaline wore off, Charles congratulated himself on his outstanding performance. He had even left his empty blue backpack behind with “Charles Ferri” clearly written across the pocket. Now it was only a matter of time before they came to him.

Today, on the porch, Charles vacantly gazed down the street. First right, then left. A silver glimmer caught his eye on the horizon. Unable to see in the distance without his glasses, Charles squinted. The squinting didn’t help at all, but it made him feel mysterious. The glimmer grew closer. Suddenly, in a jolt of fear and excitement, Charles realized what caused that glimmer: bikes.

The Dang Huffy Gang sped towards his home. His blue backpack, held by the front rider, flapped and flailed in a furious rush of wind. Closer and closer they came. The six riders simultaneously screeched their tires and spun their shimmering bikes into a perfect line to face Charles who stood on the steps like a cornered squirrel. He knew every member of the gang: Jimmy, Skippy, Scotty, Eddie, Robbie, and Lex. They were the kids that skipped class and owned the streets. His father said they would all grow up to be unemployed alcoholics when they were older, but he still feared them. After all, alcoholics are pretty scary.

After a short face-off, Lex Lansing yelled out, “Hey kid!” Lex was the self-appointed leader of the gang. At fifteen years old, six feet tall, and 150 pounds, Lex used his age and stature to enforce his rule; and he did it well. He had trimmed, sun-blonde hair, piercing blue eyes like those of a Siberian husky, and an assumed accent. His full name was Alexander, but no one called him that, not even his mother.

Charles just stared blankly. “Yeah you! Who you tryin’ ta be, the Flash?” The other gang members chuckled. Charles immediately regretted his wardrobe choice. “Well looky here boys, we’re seein’ the man b’hine the mask!” Charles began to tear up. Why did he expect anything short of ridicule? He turned to run into the house when Lex said, “Na’ hang on a sec. Ya fergot yer book sack. You wannit back, don’tchya?”

Charles did need that backpack. It was his only one and his father would spank him if he lost it. He slowly turned back, wiping the wetness from around his eyes. Putting out an arm, Charles flatly said, “Give it.”

“Hey na’ I’s jus’ messin’ witchya! Whatchya cryin fer? Nothin’ pers’nal. I actually like you, kid! Manner o’ fact, me n’ the boys was talkin’ bout you. We’s had our eyes on you a bit na’, hasn’t we boys?” The riders nodded their heads, smiling devilishly.

“Wh-what do you mean?” whimpered Charles suspiciously. Lex parked his bike and began pacing towards him.

“Well, you been followin’ us some time. We can’t be havin’ that! How do I know you won’ go snitchin’ on us, huh?’

“No, I won’t do that, I pro—”

“That’d be bad fa’ bidness,” exclaimed Lex, thinking out loud. “That can’t happen when we’s tryin’ ta’ expand our reputayshun! So I’s gonna give you two options. One, we make you regret you e’er follered us.” Blood vigorously pumped through Charles’ head and body as the flight response kicked in. Tears welled up again. “Or two,” Lex stopped moving for emphasis. Charles cringed, “you can join the Dang Huffy Gang.” The riders behind Lex cheered and laughed with the embarrassed boy. Charles smiled wide and began to speak when Lex held up his hand for silence. “Na’, there’s a catch. If you wants ta’ be inishated, you has ta’ be like us. You has ta’ act like one of us. You in?”

“What do you mean by—”

“Yes or no, Flash?” Charles didn’t particularly like the new nickname. He was hoping for Charlie or something, but figured it was better than nothing.

“Yes.” With that, several boys jumped off their bikes. Lex unzipped the blue backpack and threw it over Charles’ head and shoulders. “Wait, what are you doing?”

“Jus’ relax, Flash! It’s part o’ the inishashon!”

“Oh,” said Charles, simply happy to be part of something. The boys hoisted him horizontally and began marching. For nearly fifteen minutes, Charles was carried with his head in the musty-smelling blindfold, completely unable to tell where they were taking him.

“Rise n’ shine, buckaroo!” Lex hollered as he removed the backpack. The white sun blinded Charles, but his eyes adjusted quickly. “Yer on top o’ the world!” Indeed he was. Charles found himself on the gravel rooftop of the only skyscraper in Gary, the 14-story Ambassador Hotel.

“Why are we here?” he choked, terrified that they were about to throw him over the edge. Lex, standing at the ledge motioned to Charles.

“Come on o’er here.” Charles slowly crawled towards him as though his body were stuck in molasses. “Come on, double time! I ain’t gonna hurtchya. I jus’ wanna show you what you’s gonna be doin’.” He crept a little faster until he could peer over the edge. “Right na’ Flash, here’s the plan. Ya see that buildin’ on the corner wit’ the big dome on top?” The two boys looked down at the streets below.

“Yeah, you mean the bank?”

“Yep yep yep, exacto. Well lemme tell ya somethin’ ‘bout that. Inside that dome, there’s a big ol’ bell. Na’, that bell ain’t ringed in…God knows how long! Long before yers truly was born fer sure! It might as well be a heap o’ junk, right? So that’s wha’ you’s gonna do wit’ it! Lil’ does that bell know, you gonna blow it ta’ the sky!” Charles stared at Lex, completely befuddled.

“Wait, how would—why do—I don’t—.” Charles paused to collect his thoughts. Then asked aggressively, “what are you talking about? Is this some kind of joke or something? I don’t even know what that means.” Lex made a gentle shushing motion with his hands, indicating that Charles settle down. In a low voice, he soothingly said,

“You’re right, lemme explain maself a bit clearer. ‘Bout a month ago, Eddie came across a half stick o’ dynamite on an abandoned construction site. Well he couldn’t just leave it lyin’ there! Somebody could’a hurt theyselves. So, bein’ the humanitarian he is, he donated it to the gang and now we’s usin’ it ta’ make ourselves famous. Expand our reputayshun! Make Gary, Indiana a place people visit to see something dangerous and exciting happen! And it all starts today wit’ the dynamite fastened ta’ the inside o’ that bell!”


“And you’s gonna blow it up.”

“What! But that’ll destroy the bell!” yelled Charles, unable to believe the situation he fell into.

“Well tha’s the point, ain’t it? Look, nobody’ll get hurt. The bank’s not even open. It’s some sorta holiday. And plus, it’s simple. Alls you gotta do is press this green button.” Lex pulled out a wired remote and slowly handed it to him.

“I can’t do this. It’s too much,” Charles exclaimed, his voice cracking. Lex turned cold and unsympathetic.

“You do remember the two options I gave ya…don’tchya?” Charles shivered in his footie pajamas. He considered his choices again. Slowly, he lowered his head, tears streaming. He sat there blubbering for several minutes. He felt trapped, helpless, and alone. A weight pressed against his heart and against his forehead. Between sobs, the world faded in and out of darkness. All he wanted was his mother.

Lex waited patiently, mercilessly. As Charles wiped his last tears, Lex grew expectant. “Okay,” said Charles, lifting himself up slowly.

“All right Flash, do it.” All of the riders turned towards the dome, anxious for the fireworks. With a deep breath in, Charles closed his eyes. Finally, Lex, too, turned towards the dome. Time seemed to slow as the blood beat through his brain. In a quick reaction, Charles’ eyes burst open. Throwing the remote in front of him, Charles begins to sprint towards the service door like a speeding bullet. However, he had overlooked one small detail: the backpack.

And so marks the downfall of Charles Ferri. After taking just a few steps in his gazelle-like sprint, he slipped on his old blue backpack. With a flurry of arms, Charles plunged head-first onto the gravel roof, knocking him out, with his hand landing directly on the bright green trigger.

Charles’ eyes fluttered open several hours later in Children’s General Hospital with a large bandage over his forehead. Outside the room, his mother and father talked quietly with the doctor.

“Hey, he’s awake!” said the police officer sitting up in the corner of the room. Both parents rushed into the room with worried looks.

“Hey baby, I’m here, momma’s here,” choked mother, her red eyes welling with tears.

“W—what happened?” asked Charles. Everyone looked at each other, hoping someone would take the responsibility.

“Perhaps I should explain,” said the officer while standing up. “About four hours ago, an explosion went off at the First National Bank. Apparently someone had planted dynamite inside the memorial bell. Upon further examination, the GPD found a trigger wire that extended above to the roof of the Ambassador Hotel. Myself and several other officers went up to evaluate the situation and potentially find the cause. And I think you know what we found, Charlie.” Charles looked away guiltily. “We found you.” His life might as well have ended on that roof, he thought. The officer continued. “We found you lying unconscious and the entire Dang Huffy Gang hiding around the corner holding the trigger device.” Charles looked up, bewildered. “Apparently, the door to the roof only opens from the inside without a key. As such, the entire gang was trapped up there, just waiting to get caught!” Charles couldn’t believe his luck. “You’re a real hero, kid! Though they sure did a number on you. Sorry about that.”

“Oh…that’s okay. So what’s going to happen to them?” Charles asked.

“Well at least a year in Juvenile Detention. Maybe more, depending on the judge. Oh, and a restraining order has been enforced so they can’t come within a hundred feet of you.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” said Charles.

“Nope! It just goes to show that evil begets evil. As I always say, if you avoid trouble, trouble will avoid you. You get what I mean?” winked the officer.

“I do, sir. Thank you for helping me. I promise I’ll stay out of trouble.” The officer tipped his cap and walked out of the room. Charles’ parents smiled proudly with tears in their eyes and with fingers entwined.

And so marked the death of the Flash.

How To Take Sex Psych

This assignment was completed as an in-class writing assignment. The teacher asked for us to complete a 2nd person story in a "How to..." format. It's rough because it's whatever came out of my head in that limited amount of time, but enjoy!

It's the beginning of the semester and you're trying to fulfill your social science requirement. You hear from your friend about this class: Sex Psych. "Sounds pretty good", you say to yourself. So you sign up in hopes that you'll learn something useful that you can tell your non-existent girlfriend or at least brag about to your friends as though this knowledge had come from personal experience.

Turns out the name of the course is a bit more dull, "Relationships, Marriage, and Parenting Psychology". You reconsider your choice, but decide that your source, a drunken buddy-for-the-night, was reliable enough and click "Submit".

First day of class rolls around, syllabus junk. Same as every class. Okay, next. The following few classes focus on long-term relationships and love and all that messy business. You don't even have a short-term girlfriend, so you decide your attention is not vital and play Angry Birds instead. In hindsight, your inattention to these classes might possibly be cause for your sad disposition. But it's not your fault, you just want to learn how to trick pretty ladies into sexing you. That's what psychology's all about, right?

"And next class", the teacher says, "we'll be watching homemade pornography". Woah! You didn't see that one coming. The class shows an interesting array of emotions: some girls giggle, frat boys high-five, others do double-takes on the teacher's seriousness. You, however, simply sit there in awe with a mild, awkward erection. Well this is embarrassing. Class is over. You look around to see if anyone has noticed and fret over how you can possibly stand up and walk out, pride unscathed. Yes, this class just got very interesting. No more Angry Birds for you.

Femme Fatale

This short story was written in response to the previous story. The assignment was to write, from a 1st person perspective, about the person who would respond to such an ad. Enjoy!

Hi, my name is Judy. Um, I guess I should tell you a bit about myself. I’m five feet, one inch…100 pounds exactly…um, oh, and I have really curly brown hair. Most of the time it’s in horrible disarray. I like to call it the bird’s nest. I’m not one for loud noises or drama. I guess that’s why I don’t enjoy college parties much. Um, occasionally I’ll do speed dating, but I don’t like long walks on the beach or profuse sweating, which is funny because they seem to come up a lot. Normally I’m straightforward about not liking these things, but lately I’ve felt this pressure to go against my mental gag reflex just so I can get a number. Sadly, I haven’t had a boyfriend since high school, and I haven’t ever had sex. You probably don’t want to know all this stuff, but whatever.

My life-story generally fits into what people call “boring”, but I don’t mind it too much. I’m not much of a wave-maker. I’m not much of anything, I suppose. However, I do enjoy school. I’m a grad student at the University of Chicago studying film and my time has proven wonderfully interesting. I consider myself an attentive student and teachers seem to think so because I wear glasses. Most nights involve a lot of black-and-white movies, me clutching my megabowl of popcorn, and sweatpants. I love watching 30 Rock because I so desperately want to be like Tina Fey one day. My fantasies regularly revolve around what my future will look like. It often involves a lot of statements that start with, “When I’m rich and famous, I’ll” insert goal. For example, “When I’m rich and famous, I’ll get a nose job!” or “I’ll buy nice pant suits!” or “I’ll wear makeup daily!” Most of those things don’t really require me to be rich or famous, but gosh darn it, it gives me a good excuse! And boy, do I need an excuse. Lately, everything seems to be outside my power, you know? It’s like someone else is pulling all the strings.

I guess that’s what I’ve really missed all my life. Not so much the parties or friends, but the glamour and movie star mystery. The control! Man, I’m really going into detail here. I guess I should start calling it TMI Tuesdays! Get it? Because it’s Tuesday and I’m telling too much infor… Well anyhow, bear with me a little longer because there is a point to all this.

In my spare time, I cruise Craigslist for garage sales and entertaining submissions, right? Well one day, I come upon this absolutely crazy ad. Some guy was looking for a straight-up nemesis! Naturally, I laughed it off and went back to estate sales, but I couldn’t seem to get it out of my mind. What kind of crazy person would want such a thing? I tossed and turned that night, unable to sleep, all because of that dang Craigslist ad. Why do I even care? Finally, I rolled over in bed to my laptop on the nightstand. Maybe just one more look. It was simple. No guidelines at all. “Well that certainly leaves it open to interpretation,” I said to myself. And then I realized…I could be the nemesis! I could be the baddest nemesis he’s ever seen! But not just any run-of-the-mill bad guy. No, I’d be a different breed. A nemesis best depicted by film noir: the femme fatale.

Of course, why didn’t I think of that earlier? They were always the most dangerous, most mysterious, most powerful character. The protagonist always hated her, yet increasingly desired her. I instantly composed an e-mail. “Dearest Anonymous, I do hope you’ll consider my craving to be your private nemesis. Perhaps we can even get to know each other…personally. Your Femme Fatale, Marilyn”. I figured I should have a sexy name for my new character. Plus, I wasn’t about to give some creepo on Craigslist my real name! Immediately after clicking “send”, I began to second-guess myself. What was I thinking? I must be going crazy for even wanting to do this. Also, he’s probably looking for someone completely different; like some sneaky guy to cut the breaks in his car or a meathead who he can box with publicly. Certainly, I hold no appeal. I lay back to bed, but couldn’t sleep. I just kept thinking how stupid my message appeared. I said to myself, “He’ll probably delete it right away or think I was some sort of prostitute. Oh God, why did I make it so sexual? Ugh, I’m never doing that again.”

Just then, a light ding rang from my laptop speakers. A new message? Since I wasn’t sleeping anyway, I rolled over again to see what new coupon I got today. What I saw utterly shocked me: “Marilyn, You seem interesting. I’ve had many submissions, but yours caught my eye. Perhaps we can get some drinks at a bar downtown called The Siren? Tomorrow at 8 o’clock? I’ll drive? Let me know. Sincerely, Rodger.” I couldn’t contain my shock and excitement! I wanted to both kiss something and punch a wall at the same time (in joy, of course). I compromised and kissed my fists. Staring at the ceiling, I kicked my feet in the air wildly and fell right to sleep.

The next afternoon, I prepared myself anxiously. After replying to Rodger’s e-mail, I started thinking about the many things that could go wrong. What if he has bad body odor? What if he’s ugly? What if I’m too boring for him? What if he’s actually a Craigslist killer? I calmed my nerves by preparing every last detail. I took a long shower, styled my hair, and painted my nails. My outfit perfectly embodied my idea of the femme fatale. I slipped on the satin, red dress, matching red heels, and pearl jewelry. “I hope this makes a good first impression,” I thought. Finally, I put on makeup, mascara, and ruby-red lipstick to complete the look. Just then, the doorbell rang. Eight o’clock exactly. Walking to the front, I grabbed my red clutch, opened the door, and smiled. All I can say is: magic.

Wanted: Nemesis

The following story is the result of an assignment for my Creative Writing class. The task was to write a story recounting events that resulted in a humerous Craigslist post from our book. This had to be done from a 3rd person perspective. The story is a response to the ad entitled "Wanted: Nemesis" in which an anonymous person requires a nemesis for 6 months with the possibility of extention. Enjoy!

Rodger Drabler’s life was boring. Cognizant of this simple fact, Rodger dryly flipped to the next page of the Dalton Daily Rag. His coffee, dark and muddy like puddle water, turned cold on the sterile kitchen table of his studio apartment. Though he had received a full night’s sleep, Rodger felt tired. Perhaps the lack of windows in the apartment confused his mind, he imagined. Or merely the reality that he grew older with each listless minute. What depressing thoughts he’s had lately.

The day had begun normally, as it always did. He followed his schedule precisely, like a drill sergeant at boot camp. 4:00 AM, the alarm sounds. 4:01, Rodger wakes and turns on the lights. He sits in bed until 4:05, at which point he steps into the impressively small shower. Shower until 4:35, cleaning his body thoroughly. Afterwards, he blow-dries his hair, brushes his teeth for exactly two minutes, flosses, and examines his pudgy stomach and lack of upper-body strength in the mirror. At 4:45, Rodger dresses in the clothes he laid out the night before, tidies his bedroom, and moves to the kitchenette. From 5:00 to 5:30, Rodger makes coffee and eats two slices of dry toast. From that point, he reads every page of the newspaper until he leaves for work at 6:30 in the morning. He then folds the newspaper as though it were origami, gulps down whatever remains of his cold coffee, grabs his keys, and strolls out the door. These steps composed the entirety of Rodger’s morning routine.

He did not deviate because he used to find pleasure in structure and efficiency. Rodger especially used to enjoy reading the newspaper, not because he liked to stay informed on the world events, but because Rodger held an uncanny ability to remember masses of information, like a supercomputer. Yet today, Rodger experienced no such contentment. He acted solely out of habit.

Rodger’s skill-set made him the perfect accountant. His position at Hupy, Lang & Associates involved everything he strived for: a position that entailed memorization, structured numbers, routines, and that required few human interactions. Not to say that Rodger disliked human contact. To the contrary, he loved company. However, Rodger felt lost in social situations. Anytime he would begin to speak, he’d mutate into a nervous wreck and forget what he wanted to say. If that wasn’t bad enough, he found himself incompetent in making useful or sensical retorts to casual conversation. It appeared as if Rodger could envision how to act, but in the following instant, became powerless to do so. Hence, these days, he kept interaction to a minimum.

Nothing in Rodger’s life excited him anymore. Even the thought of work left him feeling jaded. The minute hand quickly approached 6:30 as Rodger slowly read the paper. All these ideas scratched around in his mind. What depressing thoughts he’s had lately. He pondered changes he could make in his life, his routine, to improve his current situation. A normal person would go out and meet new people, he supposed. Nevertheless, such a notion remains out of the question. He would rather hold a lit stick of dynamite. Maybe only one slice of toast in the morning to flatten out his swelling pudge.

No, it would require more to quench this new desire. He longed for human interaction, but without all the small talk and forced-friendship business. At that moment, the gods swept down to the humble breadbox apartment and struck Rodger with a bolt of genius. In the classifieds section of the newspaper before him, he read in bold lettering, “WANTED: NEMESIS III FOR XBOX”. To Rodger, the message appeared as clear as Plexiglas. Videogames may not be the answer, but a nemesis might. After calling in sick, Rodger hopped on his computer to post to the largest classifieds community in the world: Craigslist. “Wanted: Nemesis”. And so began the thrilling life of Rodger Drabler.


In front of the glare
I feel my eyes burn red
Sleep would be good right now
My weary thoughts think of my weary self
The heavy head attached (loosely) to the heavy feet provides no relief
Causing a heavy chest
The low lighting cradles me and makes my heart pound
Persistent pounding pulses in my ears
"No more" the body says "no more for tonight, please"
Mind vs. Matter
"We grow tired of your shenanigans"

And so, I abide.



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April 2011


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