Mosaic 2010 - Pinellas Public Library Cooperative


Mosaic 2010 - Pinellas Public Library Cooperative
FALL 2010 • VOLUME 4 • ISSUE 1
Pinellas Public Library Cooperative
FALL 2010 • VOLUME 4 • ISSUE 1
A Publication of
Pinellas Public Library Cooperative
Clearwater Public Library System
100 N. Osceola Avenue
Clearwater, FL 33755
(727) 562-4970
Dunedin Public Library
223 Douglas Avenue
Dunedin, FL 34698
(727) 298-3080
East Lake Community Library
Member Libraries
Safety Harbor Public Library
101 Second Street N.
Safety Harbor, FL 34695
(727) 724-1525
Largo Public Library
St. Pete Beach Public Library
120 Central Park Drive
Largo, FL 33771
(727) 587-6715
365 - 73rd Avenue
St. Pete Beach, FL 33706
(727) 363-9238
4125 East Lake Road
Palm Harbor, FL 34685
(727) 773-2665
400 St. Petersburg Dr. E.
Oldsmar, FL 34677
(813) 749-1178
Oldsmar Public Library
St. Petersburg Public Library System
Gulf Beaches Public Library
Palm Harbor Public Library
Seminole Community Library
Gulfport Public Library
Pinellas Park Public Library
Tarpon Springs Public Library
200 Municipal Drive
Madeira Beach, FL 33708
(727) 391-2828
5501 - 28th Avenue S.
Gulfport, FL 33707
(727) 893-1074
2330 Nebraska Avenue
Palm Harbor, FL 34683
(727) 784-3332
7770 - 52nd Street
Pinellas Park, FL 33781
(727) 541-0718
280 - 5th Street North
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 893-7318
9200 - 113th Street North
Seminole, FL 33772
(727) 394-6905
138 E. Lemon Street
Tarpon Springs, FL 34689
(727) 943-4922
PPLC First Countywide Amateur Photography
Contest Teen Winners
Aja Brimm, Age 13
St. Petersburg Public Library
Fame is Extra
1st: Alexa Gurney
Clearwater Public
Library System
It steals minds
Kills souls of the innocent
2nd: Danielle Behr
Largo Public Library
Then slowly dies
And leaves you shriveled on the
Don’t do it.
Just. Don’t.
And yet
We’d all like to be
Neka (Cat)
Kayla Massize, Age 13
Pinellas Park Public Library
3rd: Victoria Schatz
Palm Harbor
Public Library
Honorable Mention:
Erin Detzler
Clearwater Public
Library System
–– 1 ––
Where Does the Trail Lead?
The White Wolf
Alex Tranner, Age 11, Dunedin Public Library
Molly Quinn, Age 12.5, Dunedin Public Library
Where does the trail lead on Honeymoon Island?
To sugary-sanded beaches where dawn fingers the horizon, starting a
new day...
Beside rocks we call the Jetties, where salty waves pummel upon the
Over the dunes where burrs embed themselves in vulnerable feet...
Around tents of bright colors and umbrellas that are the only resource of shade...
Where does the trail lead?
Down to the glistening shore, where clear waves lap at bare toes...
Through tall grass where seagulls squawk above, searching for
dropped human food...
Over hot sidewalks sizzling under the sun...
To a black asphalt parking lot, where cars come and go day after day...
Where does the trail lead?
Onto the crowded beach, where sandcastles are customized by childrens’ imaginations...
Beside crashing waves washing away mid-day footprints...
To blankets spread over soft sand, where picnics are unsafe from
lingering birds...
On the sandbar where stingrays lurk and crabs scuttle...
Where does the trail lead?
Up weather-worn stairs, leading to the public cafe...
To the aroma of hot dogs and tables sticky with melted ice cream...
Through heat rays under the sun, where sunscreen is all you can
Above a glistening shoreline where shells are scattered everywhere...
Where does the trail lead?
Back over a sandy pathway leading to showers and the parking lot...
To beach chairs packed up/and cars, one-by-one leaving parking
spaces empty...
To the beautiful sight of a yellow summer sun changing to orange
slowly setting...
To the evening tide receding along the shoreline taking memories of
the day out to sea...
Where does the trail lead?
Beside crab holes deep in the ground...
To the mother of day, the sun, only a rim of orange above the sea...
To pink and orange clouds fading as night descends on Earth...
To the sound of crickets on the beach as the day dies away...
Daniel French, Age 14, Pinellas Park Public Library
Call It!
Beach Life
Jocelyn Hall, Age 17, St. Petersburg Public Library
Raina Baker, Age 15, Dunedin Public Library
–– 2 ––
Mitochan, Superhero
Reneé Giron, Age 14, Palm Harbor Public Library
On a Saturday morning, I realized it was gone. I
was in the middle of alphabetizing my spice cabinet
when I received a call from the Mayor.
“Mitochon! The city is in danger! We need you
down here, STAT!”
I immediately dropped the clove and the curry and
called up my right-hand man, Golgi Boy. It’s not that
I need a sidekick, it’s just that every superhero needs
his wing man, you know? So Golgi Boy is strictly for
my image. But don’t tell him that.
After I got a hold of Golgi at Custom Retainers By
Frederick (he’s a cashier), I went over to my SUPER
keep my cape.
It was not there.
This flabbergasted me, since the SUPER SECRET
IN THE LINEN CLOSET is always sealed shut and
hidden behind the false back in the linen closet! Who
could have gotten into it and stolen my cape?
Obviously, I couldn’t fight invading bacteria
without my cape. The cellular structures of Pancreas
Cell #617 were just going to have to fend for
themselves. Well, I did call Golgi Boy and asked him
to report to the scene, but...the cellular structures of
Pancreas Cell #617 were just going to have to fend for
themselves. I went to work trying to find my cape.
After about an hour of searching, I came to a
disconcerting conclusion: MY CAPE WAS GONE!
What did this mean? What DID this mean? Did
someone want to take my place? Was this crime the
doing of my archenemy, the mitochondrion from
neighboring Pancreas Cell #616?
It was already 5:00 PM, and I hadn’t eaten since
breakfast. I stumbled into a grocery store and
immediately headed over to the canned foods aisle.
Chef Boyardee has seen me through some tough
times, and I was sure that he would stand by me
during my time of need. I turned down his aisle and
stopped dead in my tracks.
Standing there, right in front of the Holy Shelf,
hand clutching the last can of cheese raviolis, was
Ernest; more commonly known as my archenemy, the
mitochondrion from Pancreas Cell #616.
He was startled and turned to face me.
“Franklin.” (My real name.)
“What brings you here, Ernest? Did they finally get
tired and kick you out of 616?”
“Franklin, your sad sense of humor never ceases to
amuse me. We happen to be fresh out of Boyardee at
Oh, how I wish I could rip out his inner cristae
“Well, I was just heading over to buy some. I see
that you have the last can.”
He feigned surprise and glanced down at the can in
his hand, then looked up at the empty shelf.
“Well, wouldya look at that.”
The pompous organelle! “Give me the can, Ernest.”
Sensing my desperate need for the ravioli, he
popped open the can, picked one up, tilted his head
back and dropped it in his mouth. The nerve! I
couldn’t let him eat the rest of that precious Italian
Ernest was dropping the third ravioli in his mouth
when he looked up in time to see a can of refried
beans sailing toward his head. I was right behind
the beans, and as they made contact with his head, I
tackled him and we fell to the ground. I remembered
the raviolis, and turned around to see the can falling
to the ground. I forgot about Ernest as I dove for it.
It landed in my hand and I quickly got the innocent
raviolis to safety on the nearest shelf. I turned back
to Ernest, who had recovered from the blow to his
head. He grabbed a packet of taco sauce powder and
retaliated by ripping open the package and hurled the
powder in my eyes. I was temporarily blinded. I tried
to get up but he jumped on me and I was pinned to
the ground. It was then that I had an epiphany.
Ernest was so shocked by my sudden outburst that
he lost his grip on me and didn’t even try to hold me
down as I got up. He stared at me in disbelief while I
“I lost my cape today, and it felt like the worst thing
in the world. I thought that I couldn’t fight without it.
When my life as a superhero was threatened like that,
it totally freaked me out!
“I thought this loss had destroyed me, but I just
realized that I don’t need it! I fought you without
my cape! I DON’T NEED IT! I am Mitochon,
Superhero, with or without my cape!”
A crowd had formed around us and they applauded
as I concluded my speech. I felt so relieved that I
didn’t even bother to retrieve the ravioli.
Ernest was still staring as I skipped out of the
grocery store.
Karli Collins, Age 17, Tarpon Springs Library
–– 3 ––
“Hey, Chuck get a load of this!”
Chuck stopped dicing onions and glanced into the
living room, where the 6:00 news was on television.
“.. .who is on the scene. Lon?”
“Thanks, Mike. I’m reporting live from a grocery store
inside Pancreas Cell #617, where the superhero Mitochon
had what was described as a ‘lunatic outburst’ earlier this
“What a freak!” Mike was thoroughly amused.
“Poor guy. He must be so confused. I heard that he
lost his cape. It seems to have just really messed him up,”
Chuck said. He went back to his onions. After a minute of
chopping, the knife caught his finger and thick red blood
saturated the cutting board. He cleared the onions off the
board and grabbed the dishtowel hanging from the oven
handle. It wasn’t ever meant to be a dishtowel, as Chuck
could have told you. He found it outside that morning—
something a bird had stolen, he guessed—and since his
puppy decided to turn the previous dishtowel into a chew
toy, the stray fabric became the newest member of the
It was this dishtowel that Chuck used to wipe up the
blood. And since he had no knowledge of Mitochon—
other than the fact that he was a superhero who had
earlier lost his cape as well as his marbles—Chuck did
not give any thought to the yellow capital ‘M’ sewn onto
the blue fabric.
The Black Pearl
Chris Fanning, Age 13, Pinellas Park Public Library
My Mother
Chasley Toliver, Age 13, Oldsmar Public Library
I’m dedicating this poem to my mother. She has been there to
put up with my faults and short-comings ever since I was born.
I love you sooo much mom and I’ll do anything for you.
A Sick-Sick Poem©
Ora J. Walluale, Age 14, St. Petersburg Public Library
Slowly but surely you feel left out.
You feel like the world is turning on you,
You want to cry but there’s no use,
You want to scream but no one will hear you,
Like there’s no use of trying because no one will tell
You, you did a good job,
The love of your life just called you a word I can’t
even type,
You find out that your dad is dying from
something you can’t even pronounce.
Your mother’s in prison for life because she killed
your step dad,
And you wish you can wake up from this
nightmare but you can’t,
Taylor Edgar, Age 14, Tarpon Springs Public Library
My Loathing Soul
Mownika Montripragada, Age 13, Palm Harbor Public Library
Why did you do that to me my bad soul?
Why did you kill me and take me to hell?
I thought you were as trustworthy as coal.
You were more than a tiny little cell.
You made my good life a hole that is black.
I told you all I can like a daughter.
You hurt my heart more than a bomb attack.
I thought you will never be a slaughter.
What did I ever do to you my soul?
You are a devil that kills good people.
I had a wonderful, such a good goal.
I thought my life will be a tough steeple.
I cannot believe you did this to me.
I hate you for making me like a flea.
For all the things I didn’t say,
About how I felt along the way.
For the love you gave and the work you’ve done,
Here’s appreciation from your admiring son.
You cared for me as a little tot,
When all I did was cry a lot,
And as I grew your work did too.
I ran and fell and got black and blue.
I grew some more and it didn’t stop;
Now you had to become a cop,
To worry about mistakes I’d make;
You kept me in line for my own sake.
I got older, and the story repeated;
You were always there whenever I needed.
You guided me and wished me the best,
I became wiser and knew I was blessed.
I would go back and just redo,
All the little things you asked me to.
I would go back and change the fights,
And everything I had said in spite.
So, for all the times I didn’t say,
The love I felt for you each day,
Mom, read this so you can always see
Just how much you mean to me.
All you say is to be true to yourself and everyone around you,
How can she do that when you don’t do that yourself?
Then you drag her in,
Your guilt,
Guilt’s others into lying with you,
No not with you,
FOR you.
Not true to your word,
Not true to yourself,
How is there any room to grow if you still are?
Life has been hard so far,
Compared to others people say it’s heartbreaking,
Yet it is still not over,
She used to fear it will never be,
She still kind of does,
With things looking up,
She can relax.
Still with the emotions trapped inside,
How is she ever to realize its over?
Well almost over,
There is still more to come, and there always will be,
That’s the way of life,
When everything looks down...look up, you’ll find light
somewhere in the clouds.
–– 4 ––
Alianna Perez, Age 12, St. Petersburg Public Library System
Till Death Do Us Part
Somewhere in the World Right Now
Kaitlin Murick, Age 14, Pinellas Park Public Library
Somewhere in the world right now, A
baby is being born to a mother
with excruciating pain and agony. She
cries as her husband tries to comfort
her while the doctor panics during the
bloodcurdling screams of the mother.
Your words freeze the heart,
Your selfish greed rips the soul apart.
You whisper in tune with the night.
Setting demons alive with fright.
Somewhere, quantities of ducklings hatching
out of the eggs they were formed
in; the mother duck delighted to see her
very own chicks.
You shatter all reality in one swift movement.
You greet innocent, loving souls with your blatant torment.
You held my heart in your hands with such pride,
Only to snicker and giggle as I died.
Somewhere else, a toad is hopping over
land in search of its food. It blends
with the dark, fallen leaves as it hops
across the shore of a pond.
Every time I close my eyes,
I see all the times we’ve laid and cried.
Holding each other in tight embrace.
I’d give anything, to see your face.
Yet, somewhere else, a wife is leaning
against her husband’s chest, finding that
his heartbeat matches hers.
The look in your eyes could never be forgotten,
Same to be said for your kiss,
And somwhere right now, a toddler is
learning how to walk by himself. He topples over
every time, but is determined to get it right.
Your touch, supported by words of kindness
Previously unsought,
Are what kept me blind in false bliss.
Somewhere in the world right now, a
cricket chirps through the cold, crisp
night, its sound echoed by a plethora
of other crickets close by.
Every time I close my eyes,
I see all the times we’ve laid and cried.
Holding each other in tight embrace.
I’d give anything, to see your face.
And somewhere else, a little girl is in
a sandbox, filling her pail with the
warm, glowing sand being scooped up
by her red, plastic shovel.
Somewhere, a kid is finishing her
draft, pleased to see her work. She only
has one sentence left:
Somewhere In The World Right Now
Alexis Martinez, Age 17, Tarpon Springs Public Library
Seeing doesn’t help you believe
Open your minds for what lays before your very eyes
Many facts are deceiving
But, in some ways anything other than lies.
What is real to you may be true to others
But alas, it may be fiction for some
Though your views may be different from strangers, family, or even lovers,
You’ll start to realize that all opinions mean nothing more or nothing less.
While imagination works in many ways
There are often times when it feels too real
And there times when it’s nothing but a dream;
It can last a lifetime or merely days.
In truth, things are not what they may seem
But with perspective, only if you want it to never change
There are moments when it stays.
Abby Berlage, The Princess of India
Reneé Giron, Age 14, Palm Harbor Public Library
–– 5 ––
It was a mindless town in a mindless country
in a mindless world. Its people were wandering aimlessly, not even aware enough to know
that they were doing nothing, nothing, nothing.
Just walking. Just breathing. Just going to work
or school or play. Barely living, they lived, and
loved, and worked, worked, worked.
In another place in another time in another
world, there were people who were trying to live,
trying to break free, always failing but forever
trying. But here... no longer did they fight, no
longer did they try to push their heads above the
surface. They just floated underneath in the water,
letting it surround them, letting it comfort them as
it slowly pulled them deeper and deeper.
It was a pleasant life in a pleasant state of
mind, but it wasn’t truth. It wasn’t living when
you could not think for yourself, when you just
“lived” instead of living. Breathing instead of acting. Sleeping instead of dreaming.
But it was a mindless town in a mindless
country in a mindless world. Its people wandered
aimlessly, without hope.
Until someone broke the surface.
Don’t look down, don’t look down, can’t look
down, won’t look down, not down.
But, of course, she did. Everyone did. Everyone had to. You couldn’t stop it; every human
had to look down, when they knew that they
shouldn’t. They could tell themselves not to all
they wanted, but, in the end, everyone looks.
What she saw was nothing. That’s what they
always saw (at first). Then, slowly, a light would
start to shine in the blackness. (Blackness? No, it
was deeper than that, much deeper. Nothingness,
emptiness, not even a colour, not really.) The light
would slowly start to get bigger, larger, warmer,
until Hope filled the body of whoever was looking
into it. Seeped into their very soul, it did. They
would grin, cry, laugh, scream, completely Hopeful of what the light would bring. They didn’t
know if it was good or bad, but to them, it didn’t
matter. It broke the nothingness and therefore it
was their saviour.
The ones who Watched this happening, day
in and day out, looked on with bored eyes. They
knew what would happen, what would always
happen. The people on the Wire would look
down, see whatever it was that they saw, and then
they would jump. Nothing to it. (The woman on
the Wire didn’t disappoint: she jumped, too.) That
was just what happened Here.
But one was curious. He noticed things the
others didn’t. He noticed that, when they jumped,
they didn’t look panicked. They didn’t even seem
to realise that they were falling. They were just
happy, excited, to find whatever it was.
Not one of the Watchers saw the light, they
couldn’t, it was impossible for them. They who
were without Hope, without ever having felt Hope
or desired to feel it, could not see it, even if it was
right in front of them. The curious one could not
see it, either, for, while he was different, he was
Alexandra Rasdal, Age 15, Palm Harbor Public Library
still a Watcher. (However, sometimes, when he
was feeling particularly thoughtful, he thought he
could see a tiny, faint glow in the distance when
one more human fell. But then it was gone.)
Erdyn, with a sigh, turned his golden eyes
away from the scene of another being throwing
itself into the air. Poor creature, he thought, shaking his large head. How foolish.
“How are you, Atril?” he asked a passing
Watcher, but it was just out of habit, for he knew
exactly how the other was doing. He was doing
the same as he had always been and always would
“Same,” Atril replied and moved on. Erdyn
nodded and went back to work.
Something’s wrong, something’s wrong, this
isn’t how it’s suppose to be, she thought, but her
thoughts -were slow, sluggish, as if they didn’t
want to be thought. They probably didn’t, for who
would want to think such horrible thoughts? Her
world was falling away from her and her mind
was trying desperately to hold onto it. But it was
Surprisingly boring was the work of the
Watchers. They Watched things, of course, like
the Wire and the people on the Wire, but that was
likewise dreadfully boring. The only interesting
thing to Watch was the Dreams, and one only got
to see those once in a very, very long time.
The Dreams were the things the people on
the Wire saw, before they jumped. An oddly
imaginative bunch, those creatures, those humans.
They pictured themselves as workers in various
enterprises, as husbands and wives, as soldiers
and generals. Then some would picture the most
beautiful of things: Suns and stars, flowers and
waterfalls, the sky and the rain. Erdyn had been to
the Dreams once before, a thousand lifetimes ago,
and he had seen something after the rain, something of colours coming to grace the sky. After
listening in some more, he found the word for the
beautiful sight: A rainbow. What a simple name
for something so lovely, he thought, but after saying the word a few times, he found he liked it.
For Erdyn, a very, very long time had passed
and it was, once again, his turn at the Dreams.
Smiling faintly - but only faintly, one must be
serious when performing such a ceremony - he
walked into the large, circular room. All around
him rose high walls, with seats jutting out of
them, all at the perfect angle to look down at the
small Watcher. They were, too, glaring down at
him as if he had done something wrong. All a
part of the ceremony, he tried to reassure himself,
though he knew They were glaring because They
hated him being there. The Dreams were Their
realm, not his, and, to Them, he had no business
being there.
However he was not going to let that stop
him. Not from seeing those beautiful Dreams.
With not another glance at Them, Erdyn
walked to the middle of the room. There, in the
exact centre, was a large bowl made of stone. It
–– 6 ––
was utterly unremarkable, cut from the same dark
grey as the rest of Here. What made it extraordinary was what was inside the bowl: A glowing
white liquid, like a thousand souls, swimming
together. Pale, shimmering gas was let off by it
and it had the sweetest of odours. It was said that
if one stayed and breathed that substance in too
long, they would go mad and become so addicted,
they could not leave this place. Erdyn, thinking of
Them and the odour, decided it was true.
He bent over the bowl and looked inside.
She screamed, she kicked, she flailed her
arms, though she felt nothing. She could do
nothing. Nothing was working, nothing, nothing,
nothing. She wanted to quit - every part of her did
- but something kept her moving. The thing that
made her human: she could not stop before she
knew the truth. And this - whatever this hazy state
was - was not the truth.
So she fought, and she fought, and she fought.
Then she broke through the surface and she
could breathe again.
Erdyn jumped back as a girl burst through
the Bowl. A moment ago, he had been watching
the rain, waiting for a rainbow to come. Then the
girl clouded the vision, coming closer and closer
by the instant. Now she was there, gasping for
breath, in front of him.
“Who are you?” he asked, oddly calm.
“Corinne,” she responded breathlessly. She
eyed him for a moment, then her surroundings,
and then - once she had full use of her lungs asked, “Who are you? And where am I?”
“I am Erdyn. And you are Here.”
“But where is ‘here’?”
Erdyn shrugged. “Here.”
While they were having this conversation,
they were talking. Or, rather, yelling. This had
never happened before, this wasn’t supposed to
happen. It was obviously the Watcher’s fault, of
course, but what to do with him and the girl. As
Erdyn tried to explain their location, one of Them
was saying they should dispose of them. But the
Watcher could not hear him, because the Them
could only be heard by other Them, which was
probably a good thing, considering They rarely
had anything to say worth saying.
Time had passed. How much exactly was unclear, as most things Here were, but it was enough
time to get things done. The Them did not have
Their way - They rarely did - and Corinne and
Erdyn lived to tell their tale.
They never knew what exactly happened, but
it kept happening, and soon there were humans
in Here that were not on the Wire. And, suddenly.
Here wasn’t so boring, for inconsistent Humans
make things terribly interesting.
Also, another thing happened: One day, after
a long time, Corinne saw the light, the Hope, and
followed it.
And so did Erdyn, who followed it as well.
The Beauty Behind It All
Luke Schlachter, Age 16, Clearwater Public Library System
Hunter Lindenberg, Grade 7, Clearwater Public Library System
Noise and disorder. Everywhere.
“Make it stop” I manage to stutter.
Yet Chaos sustained.
Voices closed around me like a cocoon.
Feeling the anguish of my peers
and their death congealed
Eating away at me like termite.
Then I heed something.
A very minute yet fine voice.
It all stopped.
The confusion, the embarrassment, the shame.
I’m sorry.
The beauty behind it all, the scent from which it came;
Thinking to pursue her, I thought, “How could I be with such a person”?
The definition of Beauty
What is it?
Her wondrous scent sends me spinning, “How could I be with her?”
What could I do?
I pray and pray for some kind of answer. The nerves inside are uncontrollable.
The complexion of her beautiful face;
As natural is natural, her beauty is inexpressible.
Set a-fire by love, I need the warmth of her heart to get me through.
The personality she has, the unique features, the aurora of scent like no
Like waves, I am washed over by her eyes in the way no other can express
The love I feel.
No one, I shall love more.
The beauty behind it all.
Waterfall in Paradise
Caitlyn Burnitis, Age 15, St. Petersburg Public Library
A View of Lake Huron from the Michigan-Canadian Border
Meneka Wijesiriwardena, Age 12, Dunedin Public Library
Sarah-Beth Jones, Age 18, Clearwater Public Library System
she remembered the summer in degrees of heatheat of all kinds.
the heat of the day,
the heat of those fateful conversations,
the heat of his body as they pressed together.
it all added up in the end to a certain degree.
the higher the degree,
the more heat added together,
the more memorable the day.
the hot sand,
the hot sun,
his warm hands as he handed her a cool drink and lingered
only just too long.
the heat of her blush,
the heat of his breath against her ear...
she remembered the summer in degrees of heat.
–– 7 ––
A Soldier’s Lullaby
Stephanie Massie, Age 11, Tarpon Springs Public Library
Eve Halisky, Grade 11
Clearwater Public Library System
Good comrade, your righteous duty
is done
Lay aside your rifle, the battle has
been won
The bugle sounds across the freed
Obey its summons, take victory by
the hand
Let him show you the country once
laden in chains
Let him praise you for the price of
your pains
But it all fades—your limbs are
weary now
He will let you rest, will let you lie
Hear his trembling voice sing a
tender lullaby
Sleep comrade, your heroic job is
Close your eyes, the battle has
been won
Your goal is achieved, your
struggles have ended
Lay aside your rifle, rest your noble,
weary head
Sleep, comrade, sleep, the bugle is
Close your eyes, thy Maker is
Gone Fishin’
Lexa Armstrong, Age 12, Dunedin Public Library
Smile Now, Cry Later
James Demetrius Battle,Jr., Age 14, Pinellas Park Public Library
–– 8 ––
Hi, Hello, It’s Me
Beth Mackenzie, Age 17, Palm Harbor Public Library
I turn on the TV to find a report on another plastic surgery gone wrong. The face
that fills the screen once belonged to the beautiful (as some would say) Angelina Jolie.
I never found her to be all too attractive, but she looks far worse now. I guess you
could say she resembles a filthy cat, with sores and bruises galore! The things people
will do to make them fit the ever-changing mold of the norm. Booty boosts, breast
pumps, eyebrow lifts, Botox; you name it, and I’m sure it’s been done. Pathetic, right?
The name’s Smitt. Jenavecia Smitt. Proud 17 year old outcast, at your service.
I sport the indie/alternative archetype. The tatty dirty-blonde hair, the ill-fitting quirky
clothes; I’ve got it all down pat. Let’s just say I don’t follow the crowd. You play sports, I
meditate. You get pedicures; I sleep for hours on end. I speak my mind, where as you
are afraid. It’s this type of demeanor that has determined how society views me.
It’s also this type of demeanor that has helped me produce how I view society. I
know you’re just dying to hear it, so please, calm down because I’m going to tell you.
The world is a Blob. This “Blob” encases the idea of what is the norm. As of right now,
norm means perfection. Perfect hair, perfect face, and perfect slender body. Inside the,
“Blob,” are all of its prisoners, split up into their own separate cliques. Preps, jocks,
and even the potheads are captured inside. Meanwhile, on the outside, there are the
people like me. The people shunned from society, the ones who roll with the punches
(literally and figuratively). I don’t necessarily think everyone in the, “Blob,” is terrible,
however. I actually feel bad for them. Some may be trapped and afraid of shying away
from the people they’ve known as their, “friends.” They don’t realize that once you’re
free, the whole world is open to you. I would know this. I was a part of the, “Blob,”
once, but when middle school hit (yes, the “Blob” was there that early), things changed.
I started “speaking out of line,” according to my now ex-best friend Lucy. I
dressed differently, thought differently, and I was just different- To my dismay, Lucy
sided with the exact people who I was going against. I couldn’t believe my own eyes.
My best friend of seven years had too transformed and had become a part of the
nefarious “Blob”. I wasn’t going to let myself dwell on her though. Friends come and
go, but family is forever...right?
As you probably figured out, I’m not exactly the most popular kid in town, nor
very well-liked. But I’m known. Probably not for anything good, either.
At school, it’s just me and my best friend, Kendrick. Kendrick just may be the
carbon copy of myself...except he’s not exactly a she. He could be fished out in a
sea of many with his ridiculously long, dry, and dark brown hair and complementary
pale skin. Don’t even get me started on his piercings. He has the nose, the eyebrow
(twice), the spiderbites, the snakebites, and the ears up and down. Sadly, he’s got
more elsewhere. His eyes can make anyone forget all the metal and holes in his face,
though. They were a perfect mixture of purple and blue. Something about them just
made you feel right.
We met around six years back, when we entered sixth grade. According to Lucy,
Kendrick was the one who “tainted” me. Lies, I say! (Even though it’s true).
Every single Friday since we met, we’d ditch school halfway during the day
and go to my house to watch whatever appealed to us. I enjoyed the series ‘The
Untouchables”. It portrays the lives of different leaders in the mob, but Mr. Elliot Ness
and his crew, stopped them every time. Kendrick preferred the movie “That Thing You
Do,” both written and directed by Tom Hanks. Man, did he have a man-crush on that
Mr. Hanks.
The school year was coming to a close, and I couldn’t be happier. I just had to
get past the horrific event known as Prom. Last year, I was the joke of the whole event.
(Some idiot dumped the punch bowl over my head).
Somehow, my name appeared onto the ballot for Prom Queen this year. I find it
extremely horrifying, but I know that won’t help me win.
Which is what I want to do.
I texted Kendrick immediately, telling him to meet at my house after school for an
emergency campaign meeting.
“Are you serious?” Kendrick laughs as he paces. Expected. ‘You really want to
He paused.
“Well...yeah. I mean just imagine if I won. What a riot that’d be!” I joke.
“I didn’t think of it that way...”
We sat in a deafening silence until Kendrick spoke again.
“If we’re going to win, we need flyers...and a good artist,” Kendrick says as he holds a
pencil up, smiling.
The next Monday, I was greeted in the school hallway with flyers in every nook and
cranny. All of which had my name on them. As I got a closer look, each one had a different
illustration. I owed Kendrick big time.
One had a faerie with my face and read, “Let Jenavecia bring magic to our prom.”
I tore it down and headed to my first class.
When I walked in, Kendrick was sitting in my seat with that ridiculous smirk that made
his piercings go haywire.
“What is this crap?” I say as I slam the flyer onto the desk. “’Let Jenavecia bring magic
to your prom?’ I’m certainly not going to win if the flyers say this!”
Kendrick smiled.
“I’m only an artist, Jenny,” Kendrick said with a toothy grin, “You’ll win. I promise.”
“Says you.”
We both looked at each other for a moment and then began to crack up. Our laughter
was interrupted by Little Miss Lucy, making an announcement about prom. “Excusee
meeeel” Lucy piped up in her annoyingly perfect voice.
“As you all know, I’m running for this year’s Prom Queen!”
I could feel her fake giddiness oozing through her skull.
“So you guys should vote for me instead of Jenavecia. Kayyyy?”
I glare at her. She flashed that overzealous smile that made my blood churn. Our eyes
met, and that smile faded into a look of scorn. That persuaded me to stand up on my desk
and look out to the classroom.
“How many times has Lucy said something mean or started a rumor about you?”
A good three quarters raised their hands.
“Exactly. So why vote for the girl that always brings you down versus the girl who lets
you be? You want to give her that power over us?”
“Yeah, I didn’t think so.”
With that I sat down, and I could feel Lucy’s eyes of hatred burn into the back of my
I have never felt so accomplished.
Sixth period was judgment time. I just hope I said the right thing.
I nervously sat on the auditorium stage, watching student after student walk past me
to cast their votes. Prom was tomorrow, and I couldn’t have been more of a wreck.
After sitting through the worst sixth period ever, Kendrick and I walked to my house to
prepare for tomorrow night’s festivities.
“You, my dear, need a dress to wear,” Kendrick said in his best femme voice.
He walked over to the closet and pulled out the one dress I hated most. It was a sky
blue floor gown that snuggled my body tightly until the very top of my waist, where it then
began to float away from my hips. It’s called a dropped waist, I believe.
“You will look faaaaabulous in this one, dahling!”
“Whatever,” I said unenthusiastically.
“Buck up. Jenny! Tomorrow could be the first day of your life.”
He was right. Tomorrow, I could become something, if anything. Either I could be seen
as a hero, or as the freak who tried to conform but failed. I certainly hope it wasn’t the latter
Prom night.
I stepped out of the limousine, as self-conscious as ever. The school looked
spectacular. Banners, balloons, and students wandered around the courtyard.
My dress dragged elegantly behind me as I walked into the biggest social event of my
Once I entered, I was greeted by a multitude of students I had never even seen
before, telling me how much they hoped I would win. Things were starting to look up.
The night slowly dragged on, and we were all waiting for that big announcement.
Balloons began to drop to the ground, and the guests were growing weary.
Finally, the principal walked up on the makeshift stage to give away the crowns.
“It was an extremely close race this year. Only one can make it on top, and that one
is ——”
I jolted upright, startled by how bright it was. I hit the “snooze” button and shut my
eyes, not yet ready for another day in the life of Jenavecia Smitt.
–– 9 ––
FALL 2010 • VOLUME 4 • ISSUE 1
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