Stories

Dave, The Portly Man

This story was written for a project in school, where we were supposed to write a children’s story. I hope it doesn’t offend anyone for some reason.

One day there was a very fat man named Dave, but everyone who didn’t know him called him the Portly Man, on account of his body image being rather round and weighing 437 pounds. image

He walked down the street, in search of his favorite bagel store. Dunkin’ Donuts was normally his favorite, but they were closed that day. Instead of Dunkin’ Donuts, he would have to eat at Bruegger’s. He often desired a bagel, as he often desired most foods. For Dave was a very special fat man. The more he ate, the more he hungered. So he was always in a state of desiring more food. When he slept, his tummy only wanted to eat. So he was often awake through the late hours. This made Dave rather cross, as his stomach constantly kept him awake. Always Dave was quite hungry, making him quite grumpy. This forced him to constantly be eating. He didn’t know what to do.
The next day, one of his friends named Louis visited. “Dave, you are not looking very good. You are getting fatter.”

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Dave had never really thought about this before. Though he loved food, he didn’t like everyone thinking he was fat. Dave decided that he would not be fat anymore.
Dave started by eating foods that weren’t just meat and bagels all the time. He went to a gym instead of eating. Though he hated working out with all of his heart, he knew it was better for him to not be fat anymore. So he kept running, jogging, lifting, and other such activities. After a few days, he was too tired and annoyed to continue. So he went back to his normal ways.
After eating and eating for two more weeks, he had to go on a trip to his mother’s. He hopped in his car to drive there. He realized quickly that his car was too small for him!

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Dave’s body rubbed up against each wall, and he was very squished. This made Dave realize something he did not really want to admit. His portliness would need to stop. So finally deciding for himself that he would end his eating habits, he biked all the way back to the gym.
The next month was filled with working out and salads, lots of salads. Dave was committed to ending his portliness. Nothing would stop him from becoming slim.
By the end of the year, Dave had completely transformed himself. No longer did he weigh 437 pounds, but now a nice 176 pounds.
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All his fat was gone, and he was no longer always hungry and grumpy. He even had found a girlfriend and a better job. His friends even had a new nickname for him, Slim-Jim.

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Poetry

Those Who Still Listen

Being young is probably the closest you’ll be to bliss
It’s also like when everyone knows something you don’t
The world is busy talking about sex, drugs, and politics
And all the young still buy Legos and toys
The young still have ears
I think their ears might even work better
‘Cause they have girlfriends when they’re in sixth grade
When boys are stupid and girls aren’t yet ladies
And the world wonders why every teenager is stoned and drunk
It’s pretty obvious
When those who still listen
Only hear the worst
But even some of the worst looks like the best

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Essays

A Love Letter to Introvertism

The suburbs always were so rainy lately. It was like the clouds were emotionally attached to staying, and their mission in life was only to make everyone else miserable. Of course, there are those crazy people who thrive on rain and thunder, but I would call them a bit too optimistic. It’s amazing that anyone could be so happy when it’s dreary and cold, two things I rather consider to be the antithesis of happiness, more like synonyms of depression and the definition of sadness.
I consider myself a happy person. But those days when it’s cloudy outside and it feels like the sun will never come back up are some of my worst. Never have I believed in some sort of “emotion influenced by the stars” or astrology, but I think there is definitely something about the weather that can really change how people feel. If not people, then surely myself.
When I sit in my house, alone on the black leather couch, listening to a podcast, I feel probably the most alone I ever feel. It’s kind of like a sort of haze; when I’m in those sort of moods, the ability to write is gone. My mind rushes with all these crazy, perhaps even philosophical thoughts but never have I written them down. Those days are just like a dead time, not much is ever produced from them.
They seem to happen so often, too. I consider myself an optimist, but on those days – they always seem to be Saturdays – it’s like there isn’t much to really be happy about. Generally, I don’t think I’m good with too much free time. My best work always seems to be done when it’s not convenient. I study for Latin class during other classes, it’s like this strange sort of rush that helps me remember things. When I’m home, there is no rush. It’s always so easygoing, that’s it’s hard to really convince myself that there is something I immediately need to do. I always write a lot during classes and right about when I’m supposed to go to bed. Leisure, at least to me, is not very conducive to getting stuff done. I’m more content playing video games and listening to music then to actually accomplish something.
It seems like going out of the house would fix my problem, since outside of home is where everything seems to come together. The problem with this solution is, being an extreme introvert, I don’t enjoy leaving the house as much as others. Hanging out with friends for more than a day wipes me out, the next day I recede back into my laziness, happily and willingly.
I think the main point of this sort of strange, stream-of- consciousness-type essay thing is that I truly do like rainy days and I like being an introvert. The sound of rain hitting windows and the earth is soothing, but being alone in the grey light from the clouds still remains depressing. And being alone at the same time is still so comforting, more preferable than to be around a lot of people constantly. I think my main point of all this is more of a love letter, a sort of love letter to introvertism.

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Poetry

Arms Above, Feet Below

Trees are like arms
Reaching from the ground into the sky
Far above our heads they reach
But they will never touch the sun
Or the moon

For if they touched the sun, surely they would burn
And die
The goal they struggle and grieve to reach
Will be their undoing
Because wood burns

People are like feet
Always coming back to the ground
Though we soar and we sink
Our feet always come back
We stay here

But luckily our dreams do not kill us
At least not all of them
When we strive and succeed
Dreams do not die, but move on
And so do we

Life may end
And dreams can be crushed
But we’re still here
Our feet on the ground
And the arms reaching above

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Stories

The Day the Mirrors were Black

“My car is down by the ocean. The reason why, no one knows. And on this day there is no moon and all mirrors are black. Everyone is outside staring at the sky, looking for something that isn’t there. I’m stuck staring at a mirror, looking for something I don’t want to see. All I want is to go. But my car is not here. Not today.
“They say on that day all of the security cameras didn’t work anymore. All that was recorded was black. Words meant nothing, not on that day. Your lies couldn’t be backed up. Everyone was too busy staring and dying. Losing all hope, for the moon still hides. And I even begin to forget what I look like. At least there is no more pride or vanity. For no one remembers who they are anymore.
“Some would call it an apocalypse. Others call it the beginning. All I know is that no one even remembers or speaks of those who are gone. So may call it a curse, never to be broken. No one ever said curses were like this. They always sounded so mysterious or fake. But if this is a curse, then it feels very real.
“And all I wish is to know where the bombs will fall. Just so I can try to lessen the suffering in a painful age. Everyone seems to know my name. Who knows if that’s a good thing. It doesn’t really matter though. Even if I could save them all, it’ll only delay their inevitable deaths.
“Now all people cling to is hope. Others cling to nothing except the promise of future pain. I talk to people in the streets of the ghettos. They all eventually mention the same thing. The week before, the Bible had been projected in neon. Sounds like good news, but all it did was cheapen it all. Something intended for good became a symbol for corruption, and cheap tricks. It became a source of laughter, so many dismissed it as a pathetic attempt. I guess a week later God had decided it was time to bring it all back. But now, there is no chance for survival.” The tape stopped there, and it soon fizzled and burned.
My name is Thomas. I had filmed it all. All I could muster to say was recorded in that tape. The world is now extremely empty. Everyone tells me that all the good people are gone, taken away to a place far away. Some even say it’s heaven. I never was one for religion, but if it’s all a lie then I don’t know how they’re going to explain this one. Even in a world that’s full of strange things, nothing has ever topped this.
There was an initial shock, as we all realized what had happened. Now things were even worse. A black wave washed over the continents. The mob consumed it all. Peace was a dream of our past. The government couldn’t control it, I couldn’t control it, and everyone wanted it to end. As I walked down any street, there was broken glass and open doors. I walked through one that had its door lying nearby on the grass. All that was left was a carcass, an empty shell. They had taken everything. This mob of people consumed everything. No longer were men any better than locusts.
I felt depressed. How couldn’t I? Many of those who hadn’t disappeared had killed themselves. All the complete distraught from the situation would cause even the most sane man to spiral into insanity.  The only thing I could bring myself to do was sit in the only chair I had left. I knew that my car wasn’t on the beach anymore. The mob of men devoured it quicker than any of the houses were scraped clean.
Somehow the news is still going; I found this out after accidentally turning on my TV. I always thought nothing good was ever broadcast on the news, but now it was unbearable. Good news is almost a joke now. Thousands dead, thousands gone, and nothing but destruction. I was about to turn it off when something caught my eye. There was control. A man dressed in a sharp-looking suit stood behind his podium, assuring the world that it was going to be okay. “Everything is okay”, the man said; I knew that he did not stand behind a podium. He stood behind a pulpit.
Apparently the man I had seen was leading us all. “Savior of the world” everyone called him. But I had heard about stuff like this. One leader for the world wasn’t a good idea, and even I knew that.
I stumbled home in a drunken stupor. Somehow all that was happening came down on me suddenly. Drinking seemed to fix it. I slumped into a chair, hit the radio and fell asleep.
“Is this the real life…is this just fantasy…I’m awake in a field…what is this place…caught in a land slide…no escape from reality…I can only open my eyes to see…all I am is a poor boy…and I cry as I walk through this field…Mother, I’ve done so wrong…the man is dead…I didn’t mean to make you cry…nothing really matters…it’s too late…spiraling, spiraling, spiraling…I don’t want to die…just gotta get out…right out of here…I’ve gotta get to the sprawl”
I woke up to realize that Bohemian Rhapsody had been stuck on repeat all night. My dreams were never so vivid. Never was I more terrified. Even the world as it is now couldn’t compare. As I try to remember its entirety, only one word seems to stick. Sprawl. Whatever it means, I don’t know. It sounds like a place. And any place mysterious sounds better than where I am now.
Ten months pass. Many people would say it’s crazy to travel for that long. This Sprawl is the only place I knew was better. If anyone were to ask me why, I couldn’t give him or her an answer. This dream I had was important and it must be completed. It’s almost as if something rides upon my shoulders. Everything inside of me says that I need to get there. I don’t think my mind is to be trusted anymore, but nothing really stops me.
My radio has been reporting everything that’s going on in the normal world. People are happy with this “One leader” but there is still unrest. It keeps coming up about these people that preach for hours, very loudly. Everyone is upset about it. No one ever stops mentioning it.
Eight months are long and gone. The preachers are long dead. More come instead, brining people with them. They have also stopped. Not much comes through my radio now. Maybe it’s all over. The journey has brought me to a large hill. I stand upon it, looking around. A sudden realization comes to my mind. Everything is flat. Everywhere around me is flat land. It was the most beautiful thing.
All around was green fields and yellow flowers. The mountains around were speckled with snow. Everything looked like a postcard. I felt like I could spend the rest of my life in this one place. Wait, is there two of that mountain? And why are there more flowers than before? The green seems to fade in and out. Was I going insane? The sky sent down fire and there were suddenly explosions. They consumed the grass, flame took its place. I had only come here to die. As I had said so long ago, People only cling to the hope of future pain. Ten out of ten people die, and my time was cut short by circumstances. I felt the most surreal mix of anger and bliss. I have never wanted to die. But now I knew that even though I die, my pain here will be over. And as I die, I am thankful that my time in this painful age is over. I hope that this is the end of suffering.

 

“Nobody knows everything about that time. It’s all no highs and lows. All was destroyed then. It’s all gone. A world once so large now seems so very small. Everything is real, but now it seems so fake. From the days that were happy to the time of daily funerals. Each day is just a bipolar, going from bad to even worse. Cities burn and we still fight each other. So many have tried to fix this crap that we’ll surely never get out of. I guess it just proves that some us are just bad people.  The worst of days always seem to bring out the worse in all good men. And if a shred of faithfulness still lives then it surely isn’t showing up.” The tape ends, the final words of Thomas fade back into what will eventually become all that anyone has of that time. Destruction isn’t conducive to keeping records.

 

“Do you remember that day, David?”
“Of course I do. Only a crazy man could possibly forget the day the world blew itself sky high. They all lied. All those hopeful politicians and newscasters who promised some kind of new world order under a ‘One Leader.’ He only sent us even deeper into depression. When it seemed the world couldn’t go any lower, everyone just had to go and fight. Any other day I’d be grateful to be alive. But not today, not even the past month. I’m only alive for some unknown reason.”
“David, do you know what happened to your brother?”
“Yeah I do. He went crazy. One night he called me saying that there was place. A place so beautiful that he had to get to. He said that it was in his dream. I could tell in his voice that he had been drinking recently. Whatever had happened in that dream ate away at his mind, I figure the combination of such a tragedy sent him off a  deep ledge of insanity. I went to his house the day after he called me. He was nowhere to be found. He had already left. About a year later I got a call telling saying that he was dead. Killed in a field near the Rockies. The same day that the war started.
“I don’t know why my brother went on that trip. Maybe it was a spiritual search, maybe he was just bored, but I am very confident that he wasn’t all there in the head. In the end he was just a crazy man with a strange purpose. Do you think he is any different than anyone these days?”
The man across the table from David stood up, not even making the chair move. He turned swiftly, heading for the door. “Where are you going Mr. Calvanero?” David called from his chair. The man turned his head, “Off to rule the world.” The door shut right behind him, and David was left in his chains, waiting for when his time on death row would be over.

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Stories

Little Things

The pizza place was covered in friezes and printed with something in Italian. The atmosphere was way too loud to hear the music; it was more like an inaudible beat. The whole restaurant was filled to the brim with hipsters, and we entered clearly looking like four white kids from the suburbs. Tonight was going to be something different. It was the night of probably way too much pizza, as we were all going to find out. My friends and I had all gotten together for a night of jovial consumption of pizza and then some stupid whatever we normally do. When I entered Pizza Luche, I did not know what was coming to me. Tonight I would see Matthew do something I never could’ve predicted him to do.
My friend Matthew is an interesting person; let’s get that straight. I wouldn’t say it’s a double-personality thing, but when you see him in school you see one Matthew, and outside of school you see the other. School-Matthew is quieter, more reserved. I think I would describe him as someone you’d look at and probably think they were pretty smart. He is just more “normal,” if there is a normal. Out-of-School-Matthew is a not as normal, he is not insane but definitely a bit crazier than in school. If you have him over to hangout and you stay up until two in the morning, you’ll fully realize how insane Matthew can be.
Regardless, what transpired tonight no one would probably have predicted to happen. So, when we went into the Pizza Luche, it was suppertime, the sun wasn’t down all the way, but it was still pretty dark. It was Matthew, Anders, Wesley, and myself.  As described, we were all wearing the stereotypical white suburban outfit, shorts or jeans with t-shirts. I had never been to Pizza Luche, but free pizza was better than anything, at least free for myself.  We all sat down in a booth, two to one side, and two to the other. The couches were red and leather. Immediately we seized the fancy black menus and perused the selections of delectable pizza. After thoughtful debate on which to get, it was decided. We would get two large pizzas, one would be cheese and the other would be The Bear, which is one of the greatest pizzas I’ve ever had in my life. It’s topped full of Italian sausage, marinated chicken, ground beef, and Canadian bacon, all put together by a layer of mozzarella. The minute I saw it, I wanted to eat it very much. And it was extraordinary.
After we ordered, they brought us our drinks. It was only water, but nonetheless it was some great water. It was that kind of water that somehow has a flavor, that kind when it’s summer and you’ve been sweating the entire day away, and you finally get that perfect glass of water, at the right temperature. It was that kind of water.
We all sat in the booth, eagerly waiting for the delicious to come to us. In the booth, the conversations were dumb and teenage, not immature but rather just plain hysterically stupid.
Now, to prepare you, I would like to say that this happens often; our conversations are always similar to this. When we had entered the restaurant, Anders and Matthew had mentioned a reference to a dumb movie that “If we had seen this movie, it would ruin our lives.” So, naturally, Wesley and I wanted to know what they were talking about. But they flat out refused to tell us anything about it, let alone the name. And I really, really wanted to know. We spent the next half hour to an hour wondering and guessing what this movie was, because of course when something ruins your life, you’d want to know about it. I pulled out my phone and went to the Netflix homepage and leafed through the pages of movies and TV shows that started with “the.” There were around one hundred and twenty eight pages. In the end, we spent the time yelling and laughing about how ridiculous the whole situation was. The movie was called the Nuttiest Nutcracker, and by demand from my friends, I’m telling you to never watch it.
Then came the pizza, a beacon of hope for someone who was dreadfully hungry, specifically myself. Water itself was stupendous, but nothing could satisfy like pizza could.
Cheese pizza is a fine meal, rather normal and bland compared to some pizzas. And this pizza was no exception, kind of your run of the mill cheese pizzas, but it was delicious nonetheless. But the real pizza that won it all was the Bear. As someone who loves a lot of meat (never have I seriously considered being a vegetarian), the Bear was unquestionably remarkable. I can’t say that I remember how each separate type of meat tasted, but together it was a medley of juicy taste, littered with spices and flavors. It all culminates in your mouth victoriously. It all seemed to come together in a nearly perfect way. The mood and being surrounded by friends made the whole situation very cozy and pleasant.
I scarfed down each slice of pizza, not even saving the time to really notice each bite of pizza that entered my mouth. They say that in order to truly enjoy any food, you have to savor each specific bite. But I would challenge that opinion, since the pizza tasted wonderful regardless of cherishing bites.
Now, everything that happened before, were merely the preliminaries, the beginnings, the introductions. Soon, would be what everyone had come to see, but never expected.
As I’ve said, Matthew is normally a “typical” person in his behavior. But when we had finished the pizza, there were only two slices left. We had all eaten around six or seven slices, I was pretty satisfied with how much I had. But Matthew, on the other hand, was absolutely infuriated by there being two slices left. He began to come up with crazy schemes, trying to divvy up the slices between us four. He even threatened to eat them all himself, which would add up to nine slices of pizza. Never in my life had I seen such words from Matthew. He was upset, audibly and physically. We all thought he was crazy.
After this fiasco, the rest of us won. Matthew wasn’t allowed to eat the last slices, and I took the last slices home with me. But we did not escape from all, the rest of the night Matthew brought it up in a hurt tone, still upset about those two slices of pizza. And we laughed at him each time. Actually, we brought it up more than he did, but I’m going to choose to remember that he was the one who constantly reminded us.
So, that night I learned what really sets off Mathew. Apparently it’s pizza. Looking back on that rather insignificant night, I think about how important friendships are to me. A world without good friends I can imagine, but it’s not a world I’m ready to go to. When I try to imagine the world without anyone else, it sounds miserable. I hope that I never have to go to that place. There aren’t many other places where you can spend an entire meal talking about a stupid movie. And there hasn’t been another night where anyone has even come close to eating nine slices of pizza.

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Poetry

Perpetual Garbage

I think something beautiful
Always happens
Somewhere, there is good
It’s always there
But the world
Throws all the garbage
Around the trash can
Not in, where it can be thrown away
And forgotten
I think the world would be better
If we tried to remember the good
And take out the trash

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