Friday, April 8, 2011

Final Short Story

Jack Yakowicz
Pd. 2
5 Years Ago
It took me a while to cope with death. It took my mom longer. I was only 13 when my father was murdered by a woman named Emily Waters. Emily was my father’s co-worker at Blue World Corporation, and was obsessed with my father. She would send provocative texts, e-mails, and letters in an attempt to seduce my father, and split him up with my mother. Not only was Emily’s lust professionally unacceptable, it was also morally wrong. My dad, Howard Green, was 43 years old at the time of his murder. Emily was only 25.
                I was woken up by the sound of my mom’s scream. It wasn’t a scream for help though; it was a scream of despair. I ran out of my bed and down the hall, towards my parents’ bedroom. The scarlet stain had already started crawling underneath the closed door. I flung open the door in time to see my father’s last breath, as my mom kneeled over his bed. The window to their bed room was wide open, and a sharp wind made its way through the flimsy curtains. I saw Emily drop her gun, and jump out of the window, with a fearful look on her face. She was a very attractive woman, with long brown hair and a baby face. I remember the mix of emotions I felt as I watched Emily jump out of the window. Part of me wanted to jump out after her, chase her down, and shoot her with the same weapon she used to take away my mom’s heart; the other part of me wanted to just sit and admire her beauty.
                My father died on July 7th, 2006. My mother was never the same since. A letter written from Emily was found in my dad’s coat pocket when the investigative team came to my house. The letter was short; all it said was “If I can’t have you, she can’t either.” Naturally, my mother took the burden of my father’s passing upon herself. She told me, “Joey, I am so sorry. This was all my fault.” She always took responsibility for her family’s troubles. I guess it was just the motherly thing to do.  The investigators hung around my house for a couple of days. My mom told them exactly who committed the crime: Emily Waters. She described every physical characteristic she could about Emily, gave the cops Emily’s home address (which she found on one of the letters that my dad had received), and handed her weapon to the police. None of it was any use. Apparently Emily had ditched the city right after she murdered my father and she was wearing black gloves which concealed her fingerprints from showing up on the gun. My dad’s murderer got away scotch-free, which hurt my mom even more. Her face seemed to age five years for every one calendar year.
                It was April 5th, 2011. There was a brown paper bag filled with my lunch that my mom set out on the counter for me to grab before I left for school. I unlocked my Honda, threw my backpack in the backseat, and jetted off. Days were incredibly long at Rose Creek High, and I was just ready to graduate and get the hell out of this city. Ever since my dad passed, everything got greyer. That was the best way to describe the city; grey. A couple of my best friends, the Jordan twins, had moved out last fall so I had become increasingly anti-social. I sat in the back of Physics class thinking about college, when Mrs. Gilbert struck my attention.
                “Excuse me, class,” she pleaded, “we have a new student to introduce, and I want you all to make her feel very comfortable. Give a big welcome to Kayla Hawkins.”
                Kayla was the most beautiful girl I had ever laid eyes on.  She looked so familiar, as though God had shown me a picture of her in one of my dreams before. She had short, blonde hair with a beauty mark on her right cheek and the brightest blue eyes I had ever seen. If God were to sculpt the perfect woman, she still couldn’t match the beauty of Kayla. 
                “Well, Kayla it looks like the only spot we have is in the back of the room there next to Joey.”
                My heart sunk. I was excited, but nervous. I was ecstatic, but terrified. I was fidgety, but composed. I didn’t know whether I should say “hi,” or just give a subtle wave. She settled that for me, though. As she walked passed my desk, she gave a faint smile and said “I guess this is hello.” I shyly grunted, and tried to give a smile back. My mouth didn’t move.
                The next six weeks, until the end of the semester, were the best days I had experienced since my dad’s passing. Every morning was a treat to know that I would soon be graced by Kayla’s presence. After a week or so, my shyness had finally passed and Kayla and I became very close. Four weeks after meeting her, on May 2nd, I asked Kayla to go out with me. She showed me those pearly white teeth that I had become so fond of, and nodded her head to say “yes.” Our relationship was great. After two months of having a crush on her, I still got the butterflies every time I saw her. Prom passed, graduation passed, and it was the summer once again. I knew that time was running thin with our relationship, given that we would both be leaving for college in the fall, but it didn’t matter. If anything it just made us cherish our time together even more. One night, near the end of June, Kayla asked me how come I’ve never introduced her to my mom. I wanted to tell Kayla all about my father’s death, and how my mom had turned to a stone-cold, solemn woman, but I couldn’t.
                “I don’t know. Maybe you want to come over to my house for dinner next weekend?”
                “I would love to,” she responded with a bright grin.
                When I got home that night, I went into my mom’s bedroom to tell her that I invited Kayla over for dinner.  She said that she was excited to meet her, but her lack of expression notified me that it was a lie. I knew it was unrealistic to expect my mom to be happy about my new girlfriend, but I just hoped that she would put on an act for Kayla, so that Kayla felt at home.
                “Mom, this girl means a lot to me,” I stammered.
                “I know, Joey. Good night.” She rolled back over on her side, and turned off the lamp on her nightstand.
                It was Saturday, July 7th. The 5 year anniversary of my father’s death, and Kayla’s first time meeting my mom. I was nervously preparing the table for dinner, and checking the chicken in the oven, when I heard the door bell ring. Through the stain glass windows beside my front door, I saw Kayla’s vibrant face. She was wearing a bright pink v-neck, and faded jeans, with a gold purse over the top of her left shoulder.
                “So, where is she? Where’s your mom?” she asked to me, with a nervous look on her face.
                “Nice to see you, too,” I said jokingly. She didn’t laugh. I brought Kayla upstairs to my mom’s bedroom and said to my mom, “I have someone for you to meet, mom.”
                The second that Kayla stepped into my mom’s bedroom she pulled a long, black object out of her purse and then threw it on the ground. She pulled off her beautiful, long blonde hair, revealing her true brunette locks. She peeled off the beauty mark on the side of her cheek, and took out her blue-enhanced eye contacts. I finally realized why she looked so familiar the first time I saw her. It wasn’t because I had seen her in my dreams; it was because I had seen her in reality. I had seen her for the first time exactly five years prior, when she hurdled out of my parents’ bedroom window. I had started a relationship with my father’s killer, and the woman who ruined my mother’s life. And now, I invited the killer into the house and into my mom’s bedroom.
                “I should have done this a long time ago,” said Emily as she fired the gun at my mom. My mom dropped to the ground, and Emily tossed the gun on the bed. She grabbed her gold purse, and made her way out of the bedroom window, as I ran to my mom’s side with my cell phone ready to call 9-1-1. Emily Waters ruined my life, twice. As I started to dial the three-digit number, I suddenly stopped. I realized that they couldn’t stop fate. I walked over to the bed, and picked up the weapon that Emily had just used. It was heavier than I expected, but light enough for me to handle comfortably. I took the gun to my own head, and dropped to the floor beside my mom. The autopsy of my body showed that I committed suicide on July 7th, 2011. I don’t care what it said: Emily Waters killed me.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Daily Journal-- 4/7/11

I think there are some very positive things we do in this class and some things that could use improvement.

My favorite thing we did in here was the poetry unit. I think the understanding of poetry is essential for a lot of students so that they can truly understand the music they listen to. I think the term "poetry" has a very negative connotation for guys especially, because it's thought to be soft, romantic shit. What people don't understand is that Nas, Eminem, Kanye West, Jay Z, and every other "hard" artist are all poets. I don't think anyone can truly appreciate song writing until they try to write a song, or poem, on their own. Also poem writing is a very creative way of expression, and in my opinion, it's very therapeutic. I also like the fact that we did "daily lyrics" in this class. What other class do we get to show off our favorite artists? And it really makes us think about the deeper meaning in songs, plus its a good way to start the day (even though I barely liked any of the songs that my classmates showed). I think learning what music people listen to is a great way of discovering more about someone that you don't know.

The one negative about this class that comes to my head right away is the daily journals. Daily Journals used to be a lot easier for me to write, but after doing it every day for a quarter, you just run out of things to say and the writings become a lot more bland and boring. I think the idea of improv writing is very cool, but it just gets too repetitive doing it for ten minutes every day. I would suggest either shortening the time to 3-5 minutes, or making the "daily" journal more of an every other day thing.

Overall I did really enjoy this class. I do a lot of song-writing in my free time regardless, and I think it's cool to have a class that supports that creative form of writing. This is one of the first english class where I've felt that I have the opportunity to workout that creative part of my brain, and where I don't have to rely on some sort of format or structure to my papers. I think you did a good job of teaching the class and supplying us with cool assignments to spark people's interest in writing. I personally already was very interested in writing, so the class was kind of a natural mold for me to dive into, and I didn't have to push my limits too much to come up with creativity in my writing. But I know that a lot of people struggle with writing, and needed a class like this to allow them some wiggle-room in their essays/stories. All-in-all it was a cool class, and I'd really suggest it to any underclassmen.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Daily Journal-- 4/6/11

It was 11:30 and I was getting ready to go to lunch. I walked around the cafeteria, and found the familiar faces of my friends at a table near the south windows. I sat down, pulled out my sandwich and bag of Lays chips, and dug in. Then, I saw him rolling up. I knew what the ensuing question was going to be, and I dreaded it. He asked me, "Hey! Let me sit here."

I quickly tried to eat all of my food before he got a chance to start eating his, because I knew I was bound to lose my apetite within the first two seconds of watching him scarf down his soft-shell tacos. "He" was Tony Metz. When Tony began eating, everyone at the table tried their hardest to not gaze over in his direction. It was like watching a Pig fill his mouth with a sloppy Joe. I wondered if his parents had ever taught him the appropriate way to eat food, because he just attacked every scrap for consumption like a dog. I accidentally looked over at him just in time to see a big glob of red meat sliding down the side of his face. He opened up his mouth, filled with tortilla, cheese, and excess meat, and said "where the ladies at?" I ran out of the lunch room, with that familiar sensation of rising vomit lurking in the bottom of my throat. That's the last time I ate lunch with him.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Daily Journal-- 4/5/11

It is June 6th, 2011 and the first day of "Jackson's Taco Bar." I developed this restaurant because I love tacos, and I have added a creative twist on the traditional americanized-mexican cuisine. In addition to serving tacos, chips, salsa, and beverages, Jackson's Taco Bar will have live entertainment in the form of belly dancers. I searched a long time to find the perfect belly dancer for the position, and hosted numerous auditions. After five days of auditioning possible dancers, I finally came across a tall, dark-skinned boy named Dillon Chauhan. Dillon was the best belly dancer I had ever seen, and he also loved tacos so it was a good fit. Every once and a while when Dillon was hungry, and needed a break I would come bring him a taco. It was a good deal that we had worked out, and he was excited for his first shift.

At 6 o'clock PM the doors open to Jackson's and twenty or more people who were waiting at the door piled in to the restaurant. Our rookie cashiers did a great job of ringing orders, and the chefs in the backroom were very quick about preparing tacos. Steak tacos were an instant hit, and many people ordered chicken and turkey as well. We chargedm $2 per taco, and 3 tacos for $5. No waitors were necessary at this restaurant, because it was a hybrid fast food chain, similar to Chipotle... but better. At 6:30 I went into the back room to check on Dillon. Dillon was meditating in a cross-legged position, apparently trying to calm himself before his big show. My daughter, who also worked at Jackson's, was applying make-up on Dillon's face. I asked him if he was ready, and without speaking he raised his hand to signal "5 more minutes."

When Dillon came out of his dress room, and into the main lobby, it was glorious. He was wearing a diamond-studded shirt that stopped right after his pectoral muscles, and revealed his tummy-hair. He let out a great roar right before the music came on in the building, and then began dancing. He was a natural. All the customers started applauding and slipping one-dollar bills under Dillon's waistline. Dillon started shimmying for the old ladies at the booth adjacent to the checkout line. In total, Jackson's Bar made $2,500 in profit that night. Dillon Chauhan made $4,000.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Final Short Story Outline

-Story is about a boy (Joey Green) who's father was murdered
-The murderer was a woman named "Emily Waters"
-Emily's original plan was to kill Joey's mom, Deborah Green, but the father found out about the plan and took the bullet for himself instead
-Emily was taken to federal prison on accounts of manslaughter and probable cause, but she escaped after 3 years.
-Emily completely redid her identity and pretended to be an 18 year old girl (she was really about 30 now) and was in the same biology class as Joey
-Emily and Joey start a relationship, and Joey introduces Emily ("Kayla Hawkins") and his mom thinks that she recognizes her, but can't pinpoint where she's seen her, and doesn't think much of it

Daily Journal-- 4/4/11

My name: Dillon Chauhan. It was a long day at Potbelly Sandwiches (where I had worked for 2 years now) and I was busy making my 157th turkey sandwich of the day, when Mr. Bigworth approached me.

"Welcome to Potbelly, how can I help you?" I asked.

"Your going to do exactly what I say, and if you try to run or search for help I put a bullet through your brain, ok?"

My nervous farts started to kick in.

Mr. Bigworth, who's name I didn't learn until I saw it on his credit card, asked me to first make him a Tuna Salad sandwich. I tried my best to make a good sandwich, but it was hard when my hands were so shaky. After I made him the sandwich, and he swiped his card (which I assumed was a fake) he instructed me to go to the backroom, take off my uniform, and sneak out the side door. From there, he grabbed my arm and put it behind my back, unlocked the door to his black Buick Lacrosse, and threw me in the backseat. He put a bag over my head, which was drenched in sweat within a minute. He told me that I was now his sandwich slave. I would not be paid, but for every 6 sandwiches that I made for him, I would get a sandwich to myself.

When we got to Mr. Bigworth's house, I was amazed how big it was. I expected some small little shack, because I figured his desire for sandwiches was due to a low income job, or unemployment. He showed me around the house a little bit, and then brought me to the laundry room. He pointed down at a metal kennel and said "that's your bed, Dillon." The first night was the worst. I couldn't sleep in that kennel, and had the worst nightmare in which I was a can of mayonnaise, and Mr. Bigworth was spreading me onto his slice of bread. It was really weird.

On the third day in the Bigworth house, I tried to escape. Mr. Bigworth left the house to go buy some more rye bread, and it was my perfect opportunity to try to leave. I took off my apron, and ran out of the kitchen towards the front door. However, just as I almost reached the door, I heard the Buick car coming back into the driveway. Bigworth must have forgotten his wallet, or something. I frantically tried to run back into the kitchen, but heard the garage door open and got nervous. I had no idea what to do, so I tried to hide under the floor rug that was in Bigworth's living room. He clearly knew I was there, because he picked up one of his chairs and started beating me under the rug.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Final SCI-FI Project

Jack Yakowicz
Pd. 2
A Century Ago
                “Game point, ladies!” It was a hot, July day at the beach on Lake Marion. I lightly tossed the multi-colored Wilson ball in my right palm. I switched the ball into my left hand, threw it up in the air, and swung my right arm towards it. The ball spun around in the wind like a globe. It made it over the seven foot net, and dropped on the sweltering sand, making a divot right next to David’s outstretched arm.
                “He does it again! Jake White, folks!” Kyle came over and tackled me into the sand. That was our third straight win, and we were each now fifteen dollars richer. Kyle, David, Luke, and I headed down to the water, laughing about Luke’s girly serve, and David’s pulled groin.
                “Was Lauren going a little too hard on you last night, bro?” David shook his hand, trying not to grin.
It was the summer after our sophomore year of college, but the four of us were still as close as ever. We had been coming to Lake Marion and playing volleyball ever since freshman year in high school, and five years later we were still sticking to the tradition. I carried my drawstring bag on my back, which had my iPod and cell phone in it, as well as a water bottle filled with Karkov. I didn’t hear my cell phone buzzing as I walked back from the water to my car, but once I got in the Jeep and opened up my bag I saw three missed calls from Professor Green.  What the hell could he want? I hadn’t talked to my physics professor since May, when I left campus for the summer. I kept driving, debating whether or not I should call him back. Professor Green was the first staff member I got to know on campus at Lyndale University, in Iowa. It was about three hours away from my hometown of Apple Valley, where I was currently spending the summer with my mom and dad. I looked at my phone again, and noticed a voice-mail that Green left me.
                “You have… one new message, from Professor Green at 3:07 on July 12th, 2011.” I was convinced that I had the most annoying automated message system out of all my friends. I guess that’s the cost of cheap parents buying me a Virgin Mobile phone. The message continued…
                “Hey, Jake. This is Professor Green from Lyndale. I have an urgent request for you, and I don’t mean to interrupt your summer day, but if you could call me back as soon as you get this it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.” The message ended, and inevitably so would my summer.  
                Our ensuing conversation on the phone would be very brief. Green told me about him needing to do a research project to show to the Lyndale Board of Education to keep his job. It was supposed to be a three week project, and he needed a student volunteer to help him with it. For some reason, he wanted me. I wasn’t a terrible student, but the average GPA for kids attending Lyndale was about a 3.85. I had a 3.7. By any other school’s standard, I would be doing phenomenal. By Lyndale’s standard, I was below average. He wanted me to come down on July 16th, which left me with three and a half more days in Apple Valley. Those three and a half days zoomed by.
                I was back on I-94 traveling south. The windows were rolled down in the Jeep, and I was listening to “Below the Heavens” by Blu and Exile. It was 2 o’clock on a sunny Monday afternoon, and I was about an hour and a half away from campus. When I hugged my mom goodbye, I assumed it was more of a “see you soon.” I didn’t know it’d be the last time I’d ever hug her.
                I pulled into the student parking lot, alongside the intramural fields at Lyndale. I reminisced on winning the Intramural Flag Football championship game last fall, and the post-party at Graham’s apartment. I walked down the sidewalk towards the “Matthew Morris Building of Science,” and saw the crack in the sidewalk that still held a tint of red discoloration. I thought back on the fight freshman year. Joe Hughes approached me on the sidewalk and started pushing me. He was yelling about how Cassie was his first. He swung at my head, but I avoided it. I took his arm, and twisted it around until he was facing the opposite direction. I grabbed the back of his head and threw him towards the pavement. The blood from his mouth was still visible.
                I walked into the door of the Morris Building, and Professor Green was waiting for me. “Jake! It’s great to see you, bud.” We walked down the corridor towards his room, which stood adjacent to the water fountain on the west end of the building. He took his key off of the lanyard in his pocket, introduced it to the lock, and the oak door swung open. There were five rows of seats in the back of the classroom, and various posters with cliché science aphorisms hung up around the room. A large glass box stood next to Green’s desk, and on his counter were a vast array of chemicals and beakers.
                “What’s with the box, Green?” I asked suspiciously.
                “Well… That’s what I need you for.”
                Green’s plan was much more elaborate then he made it seem. He told me he was constructing a cryogenic gas that will disperse into the glass box. I would step into the glass box, breathe in the cryogenic gas as though it was oxygen, and I would pass out. When I woke up, it would be two weeks later. The study was merely designed to prove the existence of time traveling potential. He said there was no way I would be injured, or psychologically harmed from this experiment. I was still on the edge, until he told me the incentive: my senior year at Lyndale would be entirely paid for. I was in. He told me the materials would be ready for use the next day, and I was to return to campus around 9 AM.
                That night I got a hotel room at the Ramada which was just a couple minutes north of campus. I debated calling my mom and telling her that I was going to be the lab rat for Green’s experiment, but I knew she would be too nervous about it and not allow me to participate. She wouldn’t even let me play football when I was younger because she didn’t want me to get hurt. I decided not to tell her. Well, not until after the two weeks and she learned that my fourth year of college was being covered. Back at the Morris Building, Professor Green was still finishing his product. His lab table was split between materials for the cryogenic gas, and materials for the experiment he was teaching at Science Camp next week. The experiment at Science Camp consisted of the freezing of rocks, and proved how microscopic organisms were still able to survive under the frozen conditions. Green was about to make the biggest mistake in his long career at Lyndale University. His unlabeled beaker of liquid nitrogen had the same clear blue tone as the neon used in the cryogenic gas (also unlabeled). Green mistakenly poured the liquid nitrogen from the Science Camp experiment into the beaker of cryogenic gas which would be used on me the next day. Trouble loomed.
                My alarm clock went off at 8 AM the next morning. I went downstairs and got the all-inclusive breakfast from the Ramada kitchen, and then went back up to my room and showered. I was back in my Jeep by 8:45, and was on campus five minutes later. I parked my car, and headed towards the Morris Building where I was met by Green, who stood outside the door. He had a very excited look on his face, which made me chuckle. He was notorious on campus for his nerdy mannerisms, but that’s why everybody loved him. We headed back to his room, as I took the final sips of my Dr. Pepper. I set the near-empty can on his desk, and headed into the glass box. The last thing I remember is Green telling me to breathe just like I always do, but to shut my eyes and imagine I was back on the beach by my house.
                When I woke up, something was different. My eyelids were very heavy, and I had to work to even open one of them. My arms were down by my side, and I couldn’t raise them. As my eyes finally woke up, I realized why I couldn’t move my arms. I was frozen from my chest down to my toes. A warm vapor was being sprayed at the ice block that held me. Shattered glass was all around me, and the steel frames that used to hold my glass box were corroded by rust. A strange foreign man was spraying me with the vapor. A class of young children was seated in the rows of chairs in the back of the class. Naturally, I started yelling. After five minutes, my body was dislodged from the block of ice, and I ran towards the man who was spraying the vapor. I grabbed him by the neck and threw him against the wall, as the class of young students started yelling.
                “Where the hell am I?!” I shouted at the small man. His nametag said Professor Nariv.
                “If you let me go, I will tell you everything,” said Nariv in a strange voice. I later wished he wouldn’t have told me any of it. I wished he would have just kept me frozen in that block of ice until I was dead, or that the vapor he sprayed at me was really pesticide that could have ended my existence on Earth.
                The year was 2111. It had been 100 years since I stepped into that glass box in Professor Green’s room. Green, my family, and all of my friends were dead.  Mohammed Nariv took over as head of the science department at Lyndale 60 years ago. Green was replaced in 2012, the year after the failed experiment with me. His replacement, Professor Horner, was replaced by Nariv after Horner failed to develop the vapor necessary to unfreeze my suspended body. It took Nariv all of his 60 years to successfully discover the recipe that could unfreeze the cryogenic-nitrogen. As Nariv was developing the vapor, a lot had changed in the outside world.
                Inter-galactic space travel was finally available for non-astronauts. In 2020, the first citizen spaceship took off towards the moon. Fifteen years later, the solar system was cluttered with man-made planets that hosted extravagant resorts and museums. In 2062, Theodore Hilton (the son of Paris Hilton, and heir to the Hilton Hotel Franchise) bought out the entire chain of man-made planets and named it the Hitonius Strip. As years passed, the population of the Hiltonius Strip grew, and moved from a vacation getaway to a residential land filled with dream homes. It was a multi-cultural cluster of planets, filled with some of the wealthiest of Americans, Russians, Germans, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, French, Canadian, and Brazilian men and women. Mass intercourse occurred on these planets to stretch the population of the Hiltonius Strip from 5,000 citizens in 2075, to 5 billion citizens in 2100. As the population of the Hiltonius Strip increased, the population on Earth rapidly decreased. Since virtually all of the wealthy individuals abandoned Earth, the remaining inhabitants were mainly poor individuals who couldn’t afford to have children. The birth rate diminished on Earth, but the crime and death rates were rising exponentially.  By 2105 the Hiltonius Strip, out of arrogance, declared war against Earth.
                I had woken from a 100 year sleep, and was now being called upon by Nariv and his classroom of children to take over as General of the Earth Army. They had selected me because I was the last remaining artifact of the 20th century, and the last remaining artifact of the upper class on Earth. The cryogenic-nitrogen preserved my body in the same shape that it was left in 100 years ago. I was a 120 year old man, with a 20 year old man’s body. Nariv looked at me with a blank stare. I asked him to repeat the question.
                “Will you lead us or not?” he asked.