Tuesday, December 2, 2014


WRK by Alan

To shape the channeling of history. To redirect the norm towards collaboration. Free market. Open source. Explosion. The basement tapes. This is how young Bartholomew swore he would change the face of music. From his parents’ basement.

One made the sound, the other reconfigured it. In between, an army of fanatics who, like good mammals, circled around prey or offspring or both – whichever fed the hunger most. And then the thumping. And then the lights. The name of the band was incidental but noteworthy nevertheless. There were drugs involved, most assuredly. An offhanded remark, a vowel slipped out. One way of articulating the message, a future critic would note, was in the omissions. There is no time in the modern world for the details. Only big picture. This he knew. He worked it.


Vanishing Act or The Vanished by Lyle

And just like that, Dwayne was gone. In an actual puff of smoke. He had threatened this, but it was Dwayne. We never believed him. And then, ten years later, suddenly he was gone. We called it his vanishing act. Or rather we called his talking about it the vanishing act. Then after he vanished, we began to talk about his disappearance as the vanishing act. A slight semantic shift that emotionally took its toll on some of us. You’ll see, he’d say after we laughed about his mullet or threw his shoes in a tree. You’ll see. One day, I’ll vanish and you’ll be sorry. We didn’t know if the two things were related — his disappearance and our regret (some of us even bandied around the word, guilt). You’ll see, he’d say. We started calling him Dwayne “the vanished” but all he’d say after a while was, You’ll see. Why he decided to do it in the middle of the annual concert, we don’t know. And for that we were sorry (or at least I was). Sometimes we watch the video. It’s always so quiet when we do as if making a noise will change the outcome. You’ll see, somebody will mutter after it's over, and we’ll laugh nervously, but Dwayne is vanished and our fun just feels mean.


Unarmed by Johanna

“Put your hands up where we can see them,” they yelled.

I froze. My eyes darted around my torso trying to locate my hands. It was dark and difficult to see. Fireworks exploded above their heads. Hip-hop blared from speakers. The crowd circled and mumbled excitedly.

“Hands up,” they shouted.

But I had no hands. I had no arms either. I closed my eyes and tried to imagine the sensation of raising my hands, my arms lifting as if to take flight, my chest and heart rising with powerful intention. My arms could stretch far enough around to embrace the whole stadium. I could cradle them all. But only the corners of my mouth went up, in a smile.

I heard a screech. A woman nearby. The shrill in her throat broke me from my fantasy. My head flung up in alarm before I fell down from the impact of their bullet piercing my chest.


Showdown by Forrest

Orangeboy's sack had life, and when the crowd drew away from us, we all understood its terrible silence. Only Yellowgirl remained with him and me in the center, almost lost in the smoke machine smoke descending. The band had quit their drum solo to watch closely, too, see who would really show here. And I had thought I had—because Orangeboy's got his arms concealed under that ill-fitting sack like Clint Eastwood's spaghetti western poncho. My moves get Yellowgirl into mine, though, shocked as she was. She said thanks. Didn't mean it. A shower of glitter fell, a pyro column went off, someone in the crowd yelled something regrettable, forgettable. Yellowgirl started reaching. She wanted Orangeboy despite me holding her back. The noise made him into just another balloon we knew would disappear soon, maybe forever. I'd try to make her grateful for the crowd's parting so we could watch him leave, but the band started up again, pointing their guitar frets at something else to take his place. The crowd knew this show wasn't going to happen.