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In This Issue: Season Eleven: Winter 2014

Duo Interpretation (Male/Male) Pigskin by Richard Shelton............................................................................04 Dramatic Interpretation Cat and Mouse by Julia Neva.......................................................................................09

Season Eleven:Winter 2014

Duo Interpretation (Male/Female) The Best Worst Date by Paul Owen......................................................................................12

Prose Interpretation (Female) The Dragon Slayer of Eastman Senior High by Sarah Carpenter...........................................................................18

ISBN 978-1-61387-046-4 Price $25 US

Dramatic Interpretation (Male) Reflection by Paul Owen......................................................................................21


by Richard Shelton


Every family has rituals. Some involve particular foods, places, or behaviors. Our ritual centers on the pigskin. Get yer jersey on, son.The game is about to begin. My earliest memories practically have buffalo sauce stains. My father and I would sit next to each other on the couch, surrounded by the weekly smorgasbord of junky food my otherwise healthy mother would lovingly prepare. (shouting at television) Come on, Murphries, you better deliver a victory this time. Outside of football, my dad and I couldnt be more different. I guess you could say I was a bit softer than my dad. I preferred to read and listen to music while he (screaming) Murphries? What? Was there a bone in the Gatorade? BECAUSE YOURE CHOKING! was tougher than me.Very tough. Youve gotta be kidding me! Cant you take a hit? As I got older, high school football seemed like the obvious path way to a little bit of father-son bonding. Unfortunately, the only one I ended up bonding with was J.T. (taunting MARK) Come on, Mark.Youd better deliver a victory this time. I dont know what made him tic. What? Was there a bone in your Gatorade? Because youre choking. But I knew one thing. (shoves) Cant you take a hit? He wouldnt be content until I was sacked.


SCENE TWO (MARK and J.T. are in uniform during a practice. The scene freezes when MARK addresses the audience.) J.T. (grunts and stretches) Hunh! Ungh! Ahhh I tell you something, nothing gets me going like crushing bodies on a Saturday morning, eh? MARK. (to himself, rolling his eyes and adjusting his mouth guard) Yeah, right. J.T. What? MARK. Huh? J.T. What did you say? MARK. Oh, nothing. J.T. (moves a bit closer to him) So, youre telling me you didnt just mumble something under your breath?

I mean, I did. But I But you what? You think Im an idiot? Thats not what I said. Then what did you say? (uncomfortable)Yeah, right. Whats that supposed to mean? Nothing. It means nothing. (laughs) Oh, it means something. It means one of two things: (nearing him, looming over in an intimidating fashion) one, youre scared of getting hurt; or two, youre scared because you actually like a bunch of guys piling up on top of you. (staring him down) So, which is? How scared are you? (A whistle blows and MARK and J.T. get into their positions before MARK has an opportunity to respond.) MARK. (in position, addressing the audience) Football quickly became a metaphor for my life. (In slow motion, they begin to move as if in the middle of a play.) Moments of quiet punctuated by crashing violence. There is a tiny thing maybe its a ball, success, or acceptance, and it is being savagely chased and fiercely protected by all these guys.Were all after the same thing, but were all in each others way.You want to win? Its them or us. No matter how much we try to protect ourselves, no matter how thick the helmets or how much padding we wear, underneath it all we are still soft. (J.T. collides into MARK and gives an extra shove during the last line.) We are still capable of getting hurt. (MARK stumbles over having had the wind knocked out of him. He is now back in the present scene with J.T.) J.T. (smug) Oops. MARK. Dude. J.T. What? MARK. Why did you do that? J.T. Do what? My job? MARK. You know what Im talking about. J.T. Look, if youre going to cry every time you get hurt, then maybe you should play on another team. (narrowing his eyes) You want to play for the other team? MARK. Cut it out. J.T. No, no. Cmon Mark. (starts poking and prodding him) Wouldnt you rather join the cheerleaders? Clap your hands? Shake your little pom poms? MARK. Im tired of putting up with your crap, okay? Just back off, J.T. J.T. (slams up against him and remains smiling before growling out a threat) Lets make one thing clear. If you ever, and I mean ever, talk like that to me again, Ill break your spine in three places and make it look like an accident. Ill sack you so hard youll be sent back three grades because your brain will be turned into Jell-O. (leans in

Cat and Mouse


by Julia Neva

catalyze that into energy.The energy we use to hunt down and destroy enemy targets like songbirds, squirrels, mice, insects, fluffy baby bunnies, and first dates. I dont want to brag, but Im actually really good at catching things. Like, scary good. The birds in the area have a nickname for me that roughly translates into Shredder of Wings, Destroyer of Hope. (wistful) One would think that being able to take down flying objects would make catching a mouse easy. (defensive) Maybe if we were talking about a regular mouse, then yes, it would be easy. But Im telling you, this one came straight from the sulphuric bowels of the underworld.The first time I found it after hearing my person shriek, I looked into its beady little eyes and I can say with the confidence that the beast was soulless. Im not exaggerating when I say the thing was sent here to torment me. It had found a way to burrow a hole in the wall. Night after night, it would just stroll throughout the house in search of food. Id find it lazily munching on grapes in the fruit bowl or crawling through the holes in a chunk of Swiss cheese. No sooner would I wrap my paws around the filthy little bugger before something bizarre and incredibly convenient would happen to aid in his escape. Initially I found it humorous, almost interesting.The mouse would sneak out. I would find the mouse. There would be some chasing, some reaching into holes in walls, and ha-ha! it got away. It was a literal cat and mouse game. Over time, though, it started to eat away at me. I kept thinking,Whats wrong with you? Get it to gether. Its just a mouse. Entire days were spent figuring out how to catch the mouse. Ive chewed holes into my fur. See? (shows audience) You can see patches of skin. My appetite waned. The muscles in my neck, shoulders, and haunches ached from the constant vigilance. Any desire to explore or taunt the birds disappeared. My person would call my name, urging me to come over for a belly rub, but as long I could sense that rodent roaming through the house, I couldnt be distracted. Ive lost sleep. Ive lost weight.When I close my eyes, all I see is thisthingthis thing that I cant catch. I find myself wanting to drag my claws down the sides of walls just to feel them be useful again. Im well aware of the fact that while Im chasing the mouse theres an obsession I cannot escape. Most days, I dont know why it haunts me so.

(As the scene opens, CAT stands and focuses on filing nails, ignoring the audience. After a few moments, CAT looks up and speaks with a snarl and an eye roll.) Ugh. Humans. (CAT looks down and continues to file nails while appreciating their sharp ness.) Humans.Youre always walking around with your pink, fleshy, hairless air of superiority. (mocking tone) Blah blah blah. Look at me, walking around on my two legs, wearing shoes to pwo-tect my pwe-cious widdle feetsies. Oh and would you get a load of these thumbs! Im so evolved! (scoffs) Youre disgustingthats what you are. I spend hours searching for the perfect gift for my person. I lay it down ever so gently on her pillow while shes sleeping so she can wake up thinking,A present! How wonderful! Instead, all I hear is,Auughhh! A dead bird! Ew! Gross! Why did you do this? And Im thinking,Hello I keep its skull in tact and I dont get so much as a thank you? Ill keep waiting on the handwritten note, I guess. And to think were the ones that have to get spayed and neutered. Ingrates! Thats what you all are ingrates. (admiring claws with audience) Phenomenal, arent they? These bad boys could slice the skin of a 300-pound lumberjack faster than you could say me-ouch. As we like to say, a cat is measured by the point of its claws and the wit of its whiskers. Brawns and brains as you humans call them.These have served me well. (pause) But they have always fallen just short of where I needed them to land. Ive spent eight lifetimes chasing that mouse. Scrambling, scheming, and stretching to catch that conniving, repulsive rodent for years only to come short of snuffing out his disease-carrying life. Time after time after dreaded time, always just beyond my grasp. (stares at audience) But you wouldnt know what thats like, would you?

INTRODUCTION CAT. Its a misconception that cats are lazy.We prefer to consider it poisonous slander, but since it appears that the human to feline ratio is currently twenty-five to one, Ill stick with the more polite misconception. Humans look at a cat lying in the sun for three hours and think were just sleeping our nine lives away. Did it ever occur to you that maybe, just maybe, cats are solar powered? We still need food and water but we need the warmth of the sun to


The Best Worst Date

by Paul Owen

(STUART and Janice are meeting at a cafe for a blind date. STUART is in his twenties and quite apprehensive about this date.You can feel his nerves. He is quite charming when he wants to be. JANICE enters. She is in her late twenties and confidence enters the room before she does. She is always trying to appear completely composed even if she is a bit nervous.) JANICE. Hello. Stuart? (STUART stands up and shakes her hand.) STUART. Yes, hi. Are you... Janice? JANICE. Yes, its nice to meet you. (They both sigh.) STUART. I have to admit I was a bit worried about a blind date like this, but I was nervous for nothing. Hopefully you feel the same way. JANICE. I am pleasantly surprised. So, do you like this place? Ive actually never been here before. STUART. Really? Oh, I love this place.They make the best sandwiches youll ever eat. The soups are great, too. (to audience) Dating is basically like jumping into a pit of burning lava. I hate it. I mean, I want a girlfriend because I am tired of spending all of my time alone. But lets be honest, she will ditch me if I do anything remotely stupid. She will. Not right away, of course, but if she thinks I am an idiot, its over. No pressure, right? JANICE. So, whats your favorite sandwich here? STUART. (to audience) See? This is the first test. Dont screw this up.What is the best sandwich? I dont know! Something healthy? Spicy? Exotic? I dont know! (to JANICE) Its hard to say. So many of them are delicious. (grins to audience) JANICE. (to audience) I recently read a study that said men were basically about as useful as a house petlike a dog. They will fetch things for you, scare off the neighbors, and cuddle when youre sad. Maybe, in some ways, that is true, but I have been by myself for almost a year now. I am not at the point of desperation or anything, but, frankly, there are several clocks ticking here.This guy seems nice enough, and now I need make sure that I dont give off a bad vibe. What sandwich is the best?That was my best option for starting things off? Well, now I have to take a risk. I actually love the sand wiches with all of the meat. Surely he does too, right? (to STUART) I think I might try the Meat-and-Greet Special. Have you tried that one before? STUART. (to audience) The Meat-and-Greet special? Theres like 5 meats on that. Now what do I do? I always get the Veggie Jackson Classic: all greens, no meat. (to JANICE) I actually like the Veggie Jackson Classic. Im trying to add more healthy things into my diet.

(JANICE nods, trying to be convinced that this is true.) JANICE. Thats thats important. Everyone can do a little better in that department to be honest. (to audience) Really? A vegetarian? His manhood just went down by like twelve points. (to STUART) I just like a sandwich with some carnage, you know? STUART. (to audience) Great, I am on a date with a female carnivore. Ive heard about these girls.They seem so cool at first.They like burgers, steaks, and probably even a beer or two. But then, when they lose their cool, they go full on ape.They turn violent and end up abusing some poor vegetarian guy by questioning his manhood. I may not be the manliest guy, but dang it if I am not a man.Yeah, its pretty clear: I failed this test. I eat a little girls sandwich, and I like it. (to JANICE) I like my little girl sandwich, okay? JANICE. What? (beat) Did you say you like your little girl sandwich? STUART. Uh, yeah. I was just messing with you. (laughs to himself) I just meant... that just because it is a veggie sandwich doesnt make it a sissy lunch, you know? Just a healthy one.Thats all I meant. JANICE. I see.Well, so tell me a bit about yourself since, at this point, I really only know about your sandwich preference. STUART. Well, I went to the North Carolina School of Communications. I do freelance acting and voice-overs for commercials. JANICE. You know, come to think of it, your voice does sound familiar. STUART. Really? Wow, thats been happening a lot lately. I go somewhere and people recognize me and say,Hey! Arent you in that commercial? And Im like,Yeah, thats me.You know that insurance commercial with the gecko? JANICE. Oh my gosh, the gecko? Thats your voice? STUART. Not exactly. Im the guy sitting in the back talking on the phone. JANICE. Oh. STUART. You know Mama Cecelias commercial with the guy singing opera in the restaurant? JANICE. Were you singing? You have a great voice. STUART. Im the guy eating the bread stick and laughing, like this... (he demonstrates) JANICE. (to audience) I mean, I guess I should act impressed, right? Hes been on TV , but hes not exactly climbing the ladder. Maybe he will... (to STUART) Thats really great. I mean, you have to start somewhere, right? STUART. Exactly. And even though I am starting to get noticed around town, it isnt affecting me. I think our hostess even recognized me, but the point is that I have made a bold decision. I will never let fame or money change me. I will always be the real me. So, what about you? What do you do? JANICE. Im studying clinical psychology. (beat) STUART. (to audience) There are two professions that make no sense to me. This has to be at the top of the list. No wonder she analyzed my



The Dragon Slayer... by Sarah Carpenter

At this time of day, while the sun sits perched upon its invisible altar, calm is usually what fills the air. But today, the smell of hydrogen sulfide fills the ether like milk flooding a cereal bowl.We humans are just raisins and bran floating around in it. My compatriots search frantically for the origin of the eye watering stench.Is it a gas leak? Accident in the chemistry labs? Backdraft from Burrito Tuesday in the cafeteria? I scoff a grizzled,Heh, at the poor, hapless fools. Id love to be as clueless as them. That would have provided me with a soft, comfortable life. They need me to be tough.They need a hero.They need me to
Get out of the way, Lady Lame-a-lot, sneers Lacy, the WASPy blonde wearing too much vanilla scented body mist. She smells like a cookie and her voice crackles like Rice Krispies. Come to think of it, I really wish I had eaten breakfast this morning. Good morrow, Lacy, I say politely, attempting to rise above the hateful flames of the wicked beast.How goes the day? Eww, shes talking to me, Lacy snorts,Somebody, quick, disinfect my face. I want respond with,I could disinfect it,WITH MY SWORD YOU VILLAINOUS SHEDEMON! But I dont. Im already the weird girlthe one who wears floor length skirts and corseted (yet completely within dress code) blouses to school. My hair is dyed three shades darker than the natural color and braided down to the middle of my back. I prefer the company of my teachers to my peers. They at least get my jokes. I carry around a journal the way other girls carry around lip gloss and concealer.You take one look at me and you know exactly the kind of person youre dealing with. Alas, were only such a fairy tale real for geeky gals such as myself. See, its only cool to watch Game of Thrones, not read it. If you read the series three years ago over summer vacation, as I did, you wouldnt act so shocked the day after. For girls, its cooler to know the actors in the superhero movies than be able to name off all the inaccuracies in them. Dont even try to partake in a Saturday afternoon of live-action role playing if you value your social status in the slightest bit. Im smart enough to know that this is temporary. Theres a whole Internet full of folks like me out there. Im just biding my time until I can graduate. Still, I want to leave with some dignity. So, I keep my head down, remain kind, and fill my gaping social calendar with writing fantasy pieces. I scribble down fragments of stories. Its no Great American Novel, but it is the

escape I anxiously anticipate in real life. Good triumphs over evil, courage is rewarded, there are dragons and monsters, tragedy and romance.The best part is the option to rewrite the people around me.Teachers become gatekeeping ogres or wizened allies. My sneering peers are turned into monsters, villains, and slain enemies. I save the best for myselfthe parts of me that remain invisible to the naked eye are magnified. In my stories, Im dynamic and charming while my jokes receive thundering laughter. I triumph over obstacles. I am appreciated. I am celebrated.When Im feeling low, I revisit the stories and they give me strength. I dont know exactly when I misplaced my journal. I dont know if I dropped it under my desk or accidentally left in the restroom. I dont know how Lacy got her hands on it, but I did know within seconds what was happening the moment I saw her stand up in the middle of the cafeteria. How about a little story time with lunch today? she shouted over the vibrating chatter of people eating.The first morning I laid my eyes upon the rugged warrior Jason, I knew the stars had aligned Her shrill voice ricocheted off the walls. She was like a siren, but instead of a sea monster luring sailors to their doom she was a gorgeous teen girl bent on destroying my life. Given the option, Id prefer to deal with a sea harpy.

Jason stood, auburn hair dancing in the wind while he stood brandishing his sword
This is my certain doom.

beneath his foot laid the dying corpse of the murderous dragon sputtering its final, blood-soaked breaths
A few scenarios run through my mind. In the first scenario, I literally melt into a fleshy puddle. My ears evaporate and the people I once called classmates step to the side to avoid getting my flesh goo on their shoes.The second scenario involved Lacy delightfully bursting into a cloud of confetti out of the universes collective need to vanquish such an entity of pure evil. On a long shot, the third scenario involved some courageous classmates standing up and applauding the literary masterpiece leaving my tormentor looking gob smacked and stupefied. the journey leading up to this defining moment started precisely twenty-three days earlier Then it hits me.This is my defining moment. For so many years, Ive walked through these halls trying my hardest to just survive. My head was kept down. I avoided confrontation with girls like Lacy at all costs. I smiled and waved but never shook the boat.Why did I reserve the best parts of myself for pages that would never be read by anyone else? Whats the point in pretending to be a heroine in a book if Im just going to cower in real life? My alter ego didnt need others to rescue her in my




by Paul Owen

(RANDY is standing in front of the mirror. He does this often since he basically has no friends. He is recounting his day thus far... It has not been that great.) RANDY. (sighs) Hows your day been so far? (listens intently) Oh, yeah? Really? No way, thats terrible.Why didnt you tell a teacher? Oh, right, you cant do that. That only makes it ten times worse.You wanna know what happened to me today? I was at my locker and I felt a nudge on my elbow.Turns out it was a girl! I know, right? Oh, yeah, it was completely awesome. Huh? No, of course not. I looked at her, and she freaked out and pretended not to notice me. It had obviously been an accident.What? Oh, yeah, she totally told her boyfriend... Oh, yeah. Thats why I am in here. Swirlee.Yeah, twice. I smell like Mr. Conners butt now. I know. Its kind of weird that the same thing happened to you, too. (beat) I guess that, uh, makes us friends now, right? Cool. Cool. Hey, maybe this weekend we could hang or something. I got this new... (He is interrupted by a guy who enters the bathroom, RICO. Unfortunately, RANDY has been beaten to a pulp in the bathroom by RICO before.) RICO. Hey, loser! What are you doing? (RANDY jerks and freezes. He is clueless about how to explain himself.) RANDY. Uh, nothing? I was just fixing my hair, you know, in the mirror. RICO. Who were you talking to, then? RANDY. No one. I was just practicing my speech for the, uh, thing The thing tomorrow that requires a speech. (RICO laughs.) RICO. You are such a freaking loser, you know that? I am gonna be smokin in this stall, so stay there and cover for me... then maybe I wont beat the crap out of you. RANDY. Yeah, sure. Okay. (He looks back to the mirror and mouths.) I hate that guy! (He laughs with his friend and then gets a bit too loud.) RICO. Hey, whats so funny? RANDY. (He coughs and clears his throat.) Nothing, I was just... choking... to death... for a minute. Im fine now. (He looks back at mirror and laughs again. He mouths to the mirror again.) I really wish I could be strongerjust for a daybecause I would take him out back and beat him with a golf club until he bled out of his ears. (He laughs a bit quieter this time.) RICO. Okay, loser.You get to live today. (He exits.) RANDY. (He sighs.) Oh, man, that was close. Now it stinks in here. One day I am gonna stand up to him, and then everyone will see. (He thinks about it.Then he realizes that he is definitely dreaming.) Who am I kidding? I cant stand up to my little sister. But, in all fairness, she is a freak of nature. I mean, who still plays house and marriage

when they are almost 15? She blames everything on her female issues, and we all know that trumps the parents every single time. I actually dont mind so much when she asks me to play if her friends are there, but its kind of weird. They are middle schoolers and I am playing house with them. Sounds like something you could go to prison for, right? Anyway, well, it was nice to meet you. Maybe Ill see you at my house tonight? Okay. Cool.

(RANDY is now in his bathroom that evening. He is in a full argument with his sister, CORA. She is a pill. Anything anyone ever disliked about a sister is all rolled up into this girl.) RANDY. I told you, Cora, shut up! CORA. Make me, you freaking idiot! You have been in there forever. Are you talking to yourself again? RANDY. Shut up and leave me alone! You are such an annoying freak. CORA. Really? I am the freak? Whos best friend is a mirror, idiot? RANDY. Yeah, well, who still plays house like a five-year-old girl? (Silence. He looks back into the mirror.) Right? I mean, come on. Who plays house when they are less than a year from driving a car. What a loser. (He stares into the mirror and realizes that, in fact, may be a loser, too.) But I am the one standing here talking to you in the bathroom.You.... Right.You... am I kidding? Im not talking to a friend at all. I am talking to myself in a stupid mirror like somehow this is supposed to make me feel better or something. I dont even like myself, and I am spending my time consoling myself like it is gonna help or something.This sucks.You suck! I am sick of you just being there and staring at me like everyone else does. Just stop looking at me, okay! JUST STOP! (He is fuming and out of breath now. It is at this point that he realizes that he, in fact, has hurt his only friends feelings.) Hey, look, Im sorry.That was out of line, and I... I should go now. Look, do me a favor.Will you still be at school tomorrow? Really? You will? Good. No, really, Im glad. Look, I wont yell at you again, okay? I just, I... just wish I had a friend out here, you know? One that I can actually see right here in the room. Itd be nice to not have to do all of my talking in bathroom that frankly smells like crap most for the time... no pun intended. Okay, yeah, Ill see you tomorrow. (RANDY is back at school in the same bathroom as before. He is alone but seems much more serious than he has before. Something has happened today but he is afraid to talk about it. He looks into the mirror.) RANDY. Hey, I was hoping Id see you today. No, dont worry. No ones in here. Huh? No, Im not okay at all, actually. Look... what I want to tell you... its really serious. I mean, today... well, everything changed today. So, Rico came up to me today in the hallway and said that he was gonna beat me up in the bathroom. So I tried to hold it in as



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