These are the works of members of the Fall 2020 English 30AB Creative Writing Class, Sections 4093 and 4097, at Santa Monica College. These new writers share singular visions with us. Do join them again as I invite to a literary meal of Profound Lettuce.
Copyright is held by the authors and Santa Monica College.
That summer day, my face was as bright as the sun No butterflies in my stomach, no being displayed A joyous occasion, as if it were Christmas We rode the big steel yellow monster for a time I begin to smell the air as it races past The promised land, was in my boney little hands I erupted out of my shackles and moved on locked on the greatest wonder the land had produced transparent to my glare, but lively to my touch as if I were an old man’s hairline, I recede my heart has the rhythm of a drum, who can hear a symbol of hope, clasp my arm, I breath again
Even the kids who don’t like reading are excited while waiting outside this morning. It’s the book fair, which always feels a little like a holiday. So many colors and sounds and smells, so many new things, and not having to go to class. And even without class, the day is so full! Definitely some type of holiday. The bell rings. That means it’s time to go in!
The gym is sparkly clean. This is the cleanest it will be all year. It’s never even this clean to welcome the kids to the first day of school after summer break, but it always gets this clean for the book fair people at book fair time. Must be a holiday. Now to walk around and explore!
Jeremiah and Zophiel are one group of explorers. They met in the waiting room outside the Principal’s office when they were going to get consequences. They each get in trouble a lot. Now they are good friends, and sometimes when they get bored in class, they make trouble together to have a good story.
Now, they are running around the gym playing tag because they don’t have money for books. Run playing is what gyms are for, right? They are laughing and having so much fun, making sure not to run into people. All those extra twists and turns make it extra fun. Jeremiah swings his arms in narrow shapes. Zophiel does a cartwheel between two tables.
They hear a whistle and start giggling and running faster! They are in trouble! This is exciting! Now, even though they can’t get any books, they will get a good story.
Both of them get taken outside. Trouble! It’s happening! The teacher talks about right and wrong, but they don’t pay any mind until she says she will call their parents if it happens again. Oh. They don’t like that.
Both Zophiel’s parents and Jeremiah’s parents take trouble too far, so much so that it hurts to remember. They don’t talk about it, but maybe it’s part of how and why they’re friends.
They go back inside, thinking about right and wrong, and focusing on not getting in trouble. Jeremiah doesn’t like reading but Zophiel loves it, so he lets them read him the titles of the books as the two of them walk around. It’s so sparkly and clean everywhere. Ideas of right and wrong go round and round in their heads.
Zophiel reads the title of a little book, and Jeremiah smiles. He likes that one. Zophiel looks around to be careful, picks it up, and puts it in their backpack for later.
“Zophiel!” Jeremiah says. “Stealing is wrong!” Both of them start to get a weird heavy feeling in their hearts and in the backs of their eyes, which start to get wet. But neither of them know why. Jeremiah wipes his eyes. Stealing is wrong.
Stealing is wrong. They think about the watery apples and expired pastries they always bite out of the plastic packaging at free breakfast.
Stealing is wrong. They think about the sixty night limits at the family shelters and the distracted case workers who smile funny.
Stealing is wrong. They think about everyone fighting at lunch recess over who gets the ball because the school only has one.
Stealing is wrong. They think about the time Zophiel got taken away by child services for two whole days.
Stealing is wrong. They think about how old man KT who lives across from school in the tent on the corner got arrested for robbery after he picked an orange from the tree in the mayor’s front yard and has not been seen since.
Stealing is wrong. They think about the families who moved into the empty buildings and then got beat up by the police.
They are crying now. Stealing is wrong.
Stealing is wrong. They think about their parents hitting them after they got in a fight to show them fighting is wrong, and how the two of them never got in a fight after that.
Stealing is wrong. They wipe their eyes. They need a break. Stealing is wrong. Zophiel zips up their backpack. “Zophiel?” Jeremiah says.
“Yeah?” says Zophiel.
“Can I give you a piggyback out of here? And then you can read us the book outside?”
Zophiel nods and jumps on his back. The book fair is always a full day.
Just another ordinary day of opening up my laptop and typing http://www.youtube.com to listen to music that feels so familiar of a time I never lived through. I’ve been told I am an old soul. Consuming the music of 60s and 70s, over the years. I wish I could experience that time where music was so rhythmically beautiful and so conscious distorted at times. “Monkey Man” is the song I search on the site, by the Rolling Stones. I watch the lyrics shuffle at me on my screen, and am enamored by the casual message. A married man looking for a married woman, who is just like him to fool or ‘’monkey’’ around with. Though, I cannot not relate or condone the message of the lyrics at all. However, I can’t help that I find this song so fucking awesome, and myself drawn to it for some supernatural-like reason. Underplayed and underrated I find this song in the catalog of the Stones music. When I close my eyes, I imagine myself wearing a striped dress with a nice blouse underneath and cowboy boots. I am dancing on the grounds of a festival up north, perhaps in San Francisco, feeling out my my mind, but free and happy. It is the summer of love by the time the song came out in 1969, much more enjoyable to think about living then instead of living the summer of 2020. Despite my life not being too differently now than before, this virus could make one go crazy being trapped inside. Rather than getting high with drugs, I let myself get high with music. Wishing it would transport me to that era. Oh what a stunner I would be, maybe I would be more fashionable, maybe I would be outgoing. Maybe I would even be a star!!!!! Oh golly gee, oh my…. Damn would that be something else! But I can’t change things, I’ll make use of this time to feed my soul as my brain absorb these lyrics and encourage me to put some words on the paper to figure out a story. A story of a girl like me, wanting to achieve her dreams and be a musical ‘’sensation.’’ A tale of Cadence and Decadence.. She might like to monkey around too.
“Seriously Dad, you need to calm down. Amy’s eighteen now, she isn’t a naive little girl anymore.” “Yes, she still is if she’s off with some hotshot pretty boy from school. Those kinds of bastards care more about getting laid and throwing away their partners after a one-night stand, never mind if he has AIDS or HIV!” “Actually, he’s this wimpy nerd she met in computer art class and-What the hell?! I thought Mom got rid of all your guns!” “She did. I got this rifle off from a friend back in my old army days and owed me a favor. It was hard enough finding good quality tranquilizers.” “No, no, no, no, no, we are not doing this again! Did you not learn after the Taco Tuesday Incident?” “Hey! I had to protect your older sister from that girly ass Ken creep!” “Oh my god, you’re still hung up on that? We went over this again and again. His name was Ben and he was gay. Sarah was helping him set up a surprise birthday party for his boyfriend. The same party you ruined by barging in with a gun and shot the poor guy.” “He was perfectly fine.” “No, he wasn’t and neither was his boyfriend. You scared the shit out of everyone, especially those kids who still have nightmares about you and set off his pet Satan.” “His what?” “You know, that little demon chihuahua that bit me in the nuts. Please, stop while you still have a chance before she hates you for it for the rest of her life.” “Now where did I put my keys?” “Did you seriously not hear what I just said?!” “Danny, help your old man out before your sister does something she will regret for the rest of her life.” “Oh my fucking god, I am done with you.” “I told you your father was too stupid to listen to reason.” “Wha-Martha?! When did you get here?” “I was here the whole time dear. Danny texted me that you are trying to ruin Amy’s first date with that sweet young man I met yesterday. He even asked me for permission to take her to see that new movie she waited for weeks to come out.” “B-but I-“ “But nothing. Now if you know what’s good for you, you will listen to me. You will leave our daughter be and let her enjoy her date while you get rid of that damn thing before you get arrested again.” “Y-yes m’am.”