Sunday, May 31, 2009

Writopia's Jane and Serena: New, Award-Winning Playwrights!!

Serena Alagappan, 11, and Jane Herz, 10, are two of the three winners of Stephen Sondheim's Young Playwrights' city-wide, 2009 "Write a Play Contest" (elementary school division)!! Please help Serena and Jane celebrate by reading Serena's poetic play, "Finding the Moon," and Jane's off-the-wall play, "Pure Bobness," below.

Finding The Moon
A play in one act by
Serena Alagappan

N: Narrator and Writer, depressed young man
Dad of girls, Helpful, quiet, empathetic, middle-aged, played by same actor as brother of writer
Brother of writer, middle-aged, has made mistakes, is now smarter (played by same actor as Dad)
1st sister:, thoughtful, elementary school age, girl
2nd sister:, unaware, younger than 1st sister

Finding The Moon

(Thin line of acrylic paint separates stage into two halves. On one side of the stage there is a moon in the sky and on the other a sun. On stage right with the sun there is only a dark wooden desk with a writer sitting at it. Throughout the entire play the author continuously writes. On stage left, with the moon, there are two sisters and a father in a car.)

1st sister:: Look! There it is!

Finding The Moon
A play in one act by
Serena Alagappan
N: Narrator and Writer, depressed young man
Dad of girls, Helpful, quiet, empathetic, middle-aged, played by same actor as brother of writer
Brother of writer, middle-aged, has made mistakes, is now smarter (played by same actor as Dad)
1st sister:, thoughtful, elementary school age, girl)
2nd sister:, unaware, younger than 1st sister

Finding The Moon

(Thin line of acrylic paint separates stage into two halves. On one side of the stage there is a moon in the sky and on the other a sun. On stage right with the sun there is only a dark wooden desk with a writer sitting at it. Throughout the entire play the author continuously writes. On stage left, with the moon, there are two sisters and a father in a car.)

1st sister:: Look! There it is!
2nd sister:: Where?
1st sister:: Right there!
2nd sister:: Oh. Now I see it.
N: The moon illuminates the thick, coal black heavens. The velvet light shines brightly into the stuffy, cold, dark car.
1st sister:: Oh no.
2nd sister:: What?
1st sister:: It’s hidden again.
N: The majestic, solemn, dark olive trees cover the moon. (frustrated and confused)My pen is poised in my hand, waiting for me to write the next action. How will I write from a young child’s perspective?
2nd sister:: The stupid trees are covering the moon.
(1st sister: rolls eyes)
2nd sister:: What’s your problem?
1st sister:: You.
2nd sister:: Stop it!
Dad: (deep voice echoes from front seat of car.)
Girls! Stop fighting
1st sister:: Wait!
2nd sister:: What?
1st sister:: Look. It’s on my side now!
2nd sister:: (leans over 1st sister: and searches out the window for the moon.) It’s so pretty.
1st sister:: What is?
2nd sister:: The moon, Dummy
1st sister:: Oh. What do you mean?
2nd sister:: I mean it just sits there like a glistening scoop of vanilla ice cream.
1st sister:: Everything to you is sweet.
(lights dim and then brighten gently)
(While the next scene is taking place, girls and father begin to frown)
(Woman walks on stage and the writer weeps at his desk.)
Woman: I’m sorry. I tried. Everything is so messy. You never listened when I tried to talk to you.
N: Please. I’ll clean up. Wait.
Woman: I can’t wait any longer. Get your life together.
N: I can change.
Woman: I’m not convinced you can.
(she walks slowly off the stage with a suitcase.)
(writer gently places the pen on his desk and rubs the sides of his head with his hands. He quietly places the pen back on the tear stained paper.)
1st sister:: It’s kind of scary.
2nd sister:: You mean the hospital?
1st sister:: Yeah. I love seeing grandma but it’s scary to see all those needles in her.
2nd sister:: I held my breath until we were out of the hospital.
1st sister:: Why!!
2nd sister:: Because I was scared I would get sick too.
1st sister:: I was lucky I got out of that room in time.
2nd sister:: When did you leave?
1st sister:: When Daddy went to get a bag of nuts for Grandma I left.
2nd sister:: Why?
1st sister:: Because I was about to start crying. And we have to be brave in front of Grandma.
N: The artificial scent of the hospital room stung the lively children’s noses. The painful air tested their delicate happiness.(complaining) Now what? My characters have come from a visit to their dying Grandma. How should they react?
2nd sister:: I’m sorry you were about to cry.
1st sister:: It’s okay.
(2nd sister: reaches over and hugs 1st sister: close)
2nd sister:: Let’s talk about happy things now.
1st sister:: okay.
2nd sister:: Why don’t we talk about the amazing day we had at the beach yesterday?
1st sister:: I don’t know…
2nd sister:: Why? You didn’t have fun?
(N stops for a moment to scratch his head in a confused manner. Characters freeze on the stage. N resumes Writing. Characters begin to move again.)
1st sister:: I’m sorry but I can’t think about anything except Grandma. I mean she was always the one protecting me. She was perfect. And now I think about her face in the hospital. So pale with sadness. I can’t take my mind away from her.
2nd sister:: Well, I was just trying to cheer you up!
1st sister:: I know. But seriously, she’s dying. How can you possibly be okay with that.
2nd sister:: I’m not. I’m just trying not to dwell on it.
(same actor as Dad walks on stage with side of writer.)
Man(brother): Hey. How are you doing?
N: awful. What do you think? She just left! Look, I don’t want to talk about it.
Man(brother): N: You can’t face this with a large amount of courage but you also can’t avoid it.
N: Just leave me alone.
Man(brother): Please listen to me.
N: What do you mean? Why on earth would I listen to you? I’ve always been your younger brother and I’ve seen you make tons of mistakes.
Man(brother): I know I’ve made mistakes. And because I’ve made so many I can face new ones with better judgment and knowledge.
N: Maybe I can understand the concept of loss but what would you know!
Man(brother):Remember about several years ago when I suddenly became a journalist?
N: Yeah. What about it?
Man(brother) I’ll take it into account. Maybe.): I didn’t quit my job, I got fired.
N: Wait. What!?
Man(brother): Yeah.
N: Are you going somewhere with this? Because, this is making me feel even worse.
Man(brother): Wait! Please listen to me. My job before prayed a lot more money. But, my job now is something I actually enjoy. Something I actually look forward to. Instead of looking at your situation as a huge boulder, view it as an opening to a new experience.
N: Well, you make it sound a lot easier than it really is, but thanks for the advice. (jokingly)
(Both men chuckle.)
Man(brother): (beginning to walk slowly off stage) Oh and one more thing. Why don’t you clean up in here, maybe you’ll have an even fresher start.
N: What!?
Man(brother): In life.
N:(Watches brother leave).
(brother walks off stage right and comes back out on stage left as the dad.)

Dad: Girls, you don’t have to be brave. It’s hard for me in there. But give it some time. We were in the hospital less than an hour ago. You’ll feel better soon.
1st sister:: Promise?
Dad: Yeah. I promise. And we’re here.
2nd sister:: Where?
Dad: The cemetery.
1st sister:: Dad. (mumbles) Shouldn’t we be here after Grandma dies. I mean really.
Dad: I’m sorry girls. But we know what’s going to happen, and we have to face it with as much courage as we can. I just have to make some final arrangements.
(all the people get out of the car.)
Dad: Girls you hang out here. I’ll be back in a couple of minutes. Don’t get into trouble.
1st sister:: It’s even scarier here than the hospital.
2nd sister:: No kidding. But maybe she’ll get better!
1st sister:: It would take a miracle. Not saying I don’t hope. But I don’t think its possible.
(dad comes back, and family gets into the car.)
(light dims on rest of car. Spotlight on 1st sister.)
1st sister:: Please help me, god. Take care of my grandmother. How could you let her get sick? (anger rises in 1st sister’s voice). How could you create a world with sickness, sadness and death? (1st sister almost screaming now) You messed up this world! Help my grandma get better! (voice almost a whisper now) please.
N: (grabs bucket and splashes the water on the line of paint separating the two halves of the stage as it paint instantly blurs. Writer begins to mop the line and then steps with one light foot into the darkness of the other side of the stage)

N: Now I am truly confused. How would god react to these questions?
N: Do not weep.
(1st sister startled)
N: In my world you can’t love if you don’t cry.
1st sister:: I could be happy without sadness.
N: If you had everything you wanted you would have no goals or dreams.
1st sister:: I could dream when my grandmother was well.
N: You weren’t as grateful for her then.
(1st sister suddenly quiet with shock)
N: Don’t be surprised. People learn from their ignorance.
N: the child has a strange look on her face. She looks out and the stars for that moment belong to her. The stars twinkle and then wink at her sad, moist eyes. As she watches the stars dance in the sky, the slightest smile begins to form on her face.
I place my pen down on my dark brown, wooden desk. I smile like the girl. I smile satisfaction, contentment and appreciation. I smile appreciation for the girl in my story that helped me find the moon.


Pure Bobness-An Original Play by Jane Herz

Teacher should be played by Ryan Secreast
Bob should be played by Tom Cruise
Wife should be played by Britney Spears
Dude 1 should be played by Chase Crawford
Tough Guy should be played by Jason Castro
Amanda should be played by Lindsey Lohan
Stupid Guy 1 should be played by Joe Jonas
Author’s Note:
Yours truly,

Scene 1
(Bob sits down at his “computer” and wife comes into the room and rubs his back.)
Bob: Suck an egg!
Wife: Bob, honey, what are you doing?
Bob turns off computer franticly and turns to face wife.
Bob: Uh, uh, uh, um…nothing!
Wife: (asks annoyed) Are you on again?
Bob: Uh, um, no.
Wife: Yes, yes, yes. Very well. What would you like for dinner?
Bob: (says meanly) Pasta. No sauce!
Wife walks out of room and Bob continues to type
Bob: (grumbles) That was a close one.

Scene two
Bob and Wife eating dinner in room
Wife: (says sweetly) I did what you asked. I made you pasta with no sauce. Do you enjoy it?
Bob: (grumbles) Yes. I do very much.
Wife: I enjoy it very much too. (looks down at “pasta” and “eats”)
Bob: (shovels pasta in his mouth) Are we having dessert?
Wife: Yes, we will have it when you are finished with your pasta.
(Tension begins to rise as they finish their meals…)
Bob: (says through clenched teeth) I’m ready for my dessert now.
Wife: (nods and picks up plates) Yes. Let me go get it. (Gets up and puts plates into “sink”, grabs “slices” of “chocolate cake”
Bob: (shovels cake into his mouth) Is this from Cake Emporium?
Wife: No. I made this myself, of course.
Bob: But you never cook!
Wife: Well I found an old cook book by Lizzie Lopside today when you were at work. I flipped through it and found an exxxxellent chocolate cake recipe!
As they continue to eat their cake, doorbell rings. Wife gets up to get it. Policeman with guard dog is standing there.
Wife: (opens the “door” a little wider) May I help you?
Policeman: (in a deep voice) Yes, I’m looking for a Mr. Bob King.
Wife: Yes, that’s my husband. Please, sit down. (opens the “door” fully)
Policeman walks in with dog and sits on “couch” as Bob comes into the room.
Bob: Um, hello…?
Policeman: Yes, Mr. Bob King? You are being arrested for stalking Miss Amanda David on

Scene Three
Bob: (franticly) No, you see…uh, she’s my, uh…niece.
Wife: (puzzled look on her face) No, our niece is named Kay. Not Amanda.
Bob gives Wife a “look”
Policeman: Well, whatever your name is, Bob, you’re going to jail.
Wife: Are there any other options besides jail?
Policeman: Well, there is the option of getting me a cup of coffee.
Wife: Yes. Of course. (scurries out of “room”)
Bob sits down on “couch” and faces Policeman.
Bob: Listen, man. You know, jail’s not so fun for me. So why don’t ya let this one slide? (Bob playfully punches Policeman on arm)
Policeman: (crosses arms) No. It’s either jail or-
Wife comes in with coffee, hands it to the Policeman, and sits down next to Bob.
Wife: So, as I was saying, is there a loophole? Anything that Bob can do besides jail? Community service work? Apologizing to this Amanda David in person?
Policeman: (taps his chin and thinks for a second) Weellll, there is one thing he could do…but, no, never mind!
Wife: No, please tell us.
Policeman: Well, he could choose to be banned from the internet for the rest of his life…
Bob: No way! I’ll go to-
Wife: (clamps hand over Bob’s mouth) He’ll be banned (smiles way to sweet)
Bob: Noooooooooo! (falls down on floor)
Policeman: (grins deviously) We’ll have some people confiscate your computers tomorrow. Have a nice night. (gets up and “leaves” with guard dog)

Scene Four (The next morning.)
(Bob and Wife are sitting on the couch watching CBS Morning News)
Wife: Bob, honey, I have something to tell you.
Bob: (grumbles) What?
Wife: (turns “TV” on mute and faces Bob) Bob, I’ve signed you up for anger management classes at the local hospital.
Bob: (jumps out of seat and says dramaticly) WHAT?! THE HOSPITAL?! I DON’T WANNA GETA SHOT!
Wife: No, sweetie, you didn’t hear me. You’re not getting a shot, you’re just going to anger management classes.
Wife: (Says angirly) Bob, face it, you stalked a poor, innocent girl on Myspace, almost went to jail, got our only computer confiscated, and now you’re saying that you don’t need anger management classes?! Are you out of your mind????!!!
Bob: (now more calm) Fine, maybe I do, but you better not make me take ballet class!

Scene Five (At ballet class)
Bob: (stretching at the barre next to wife) I can’t believe you actually made me take ballet class!
Wife: Well, when you mentioned ballet classes, I thought it would be a good opportunity for the both of us.
Bob: (grumbles) I’d rather be in anger management classes.
Wife: Oh! I signed you up for that too!
Bob: But you said that if I did ballet I wouldn’t have to do anger management classes!
Wife: Well, I changed my mind.
Bob: But you never told me!
Wife: Oh, just get back to stretching!
Bob: (does first position) But I don’t wanna.
Wife: (does first position) You’ll get cramps if you don’t stretch-just like the time you got cramps when you tried to lift those weights in Gym-Fit Gym Class.
Bob: (goes into second position) Yeah, but that was a mistake.
Wife: Bob! Stop drooping your arms! Remember that time where you had to go to the emergency room because you tried to clean out your room-your arms almost drooped permanently!
Bob: (stretches leg on barre) I don’t think you know what you’re talking about…
Wife: Yes, I do. You’re the one who doesn’t know what you’re talking about. I was the one who got you out of being arrested!
Bob: No. Mr. Police Officer did.
Wife: Shut up.

Scene Six (at anger management class)
Bob: But I don’t wanna go! I’m too sweaty from ballet class!
Wife: (says testily) Bob, ballet class was nearly an hour ago. You should have cooled down by now.
Bob: (whining) But I didn’t!
Wife: (pushes Bob into anger management classroom) I’ll see you in an hour and a half. Have fun!
(Bob stumbles into anger management class and sits down next to a tough twenty year old with big arm muscles and tons of tattoos.)
Teacher: (says in an overly cheerful voice) Why, hello Bob! How are you?
Tough guy: Whoa, man, take it easy. Have a smoke. (tough guy sits back in seat and offers a pack of cigarettes to Bob)
Bob: (turns away from tough guy and crosses his arms) No. My Wife never told me to smoke!
(Tough Guy shrugs and begins to light a cigarette when Teacher pulls it away from him.)
Teacher: Charles! I told you no smoking in this classroom!
Tough Guy: Chill, dude. It was just a smoke. And my name is not Charles, it’s Sunflower Butterfly Rainbow Peace.
Tough Guy: I dunno.
Teacher: Now, it’s time to begin…

Teacher: Now, who can tell me what to do if you get angry?
(Dude 1 raises hand)
Teacher: Yes, Milton?
Dude 1: You throw a car at them.
Teacher: (exasperated) No, Milton. You explain what you meant to them in words.
Dude 1: Does that include curse words?
Bob: (says in a “duh” way) Why would you even think that, you FREAK!!!
Dude 1: (outraged) I’m not a freak! Why would you think that? (shouts) OH, AND TEACH ME STUFF YOU POINTLESS MONKEY? WHY CAN’T YOU CURSE?????!!!!!!
Teacher: (calmly) Please, be calm. And for your information, I am not a pointless monkey.
Dude 1: Whatever. Now can I go? I need some water.
Bob: (quickly) I need water too.
Tough Guy: Yeah. I need water too!!!
Teacher: (sighing) Fine, anyone who would like water may go get it.
(Everyone in class except for Teacher get up and go into the hallway to get water.)
Tough Guy: (says while filling up his paper water cup) Hey, you dudes wanna come over to my place and get some beer?
Dude 1: All right, man! (high-fives Tough Guy)
Tough Guy: So, who else is in?
Bob: (says uncertainly) Uh-uh, I don’t know.
Tough Guy: (nudges Bob playfully) Don’t be bogus, dude! Come to my place and get some beer!
Bob: OK.
Tough Guy: Great. I got Milton and that other dude. Any one else?
Angry Guy 1: (says angrily) WHY CAN’T I COME? WHAT THE HECK AREN’T YOU INVITING ME???!!!! (picks up Tough Guy and shakes him around) COME ON AND INVITE ME YOU MORON!!!!
Tough Guy: ‘Kay, dude.
Angry Dude 1: (screams) DON’T CALL ME DUDE!! MY NAME IS DANA!!!!
Bob: (smirking) So are you a girl, Dana?
Angry Dude 1: (grabs Bob and starts beating him up) MY NAME IS DANA AND I AM NOT A GIRL SO WHY DON’T YOU JUST SHUT THE HELL UP??!
(Bob struggles to get out of Angry Dude 1’s grip when Teacher comes out.)
Teacher: (says suspiciously) What’s going on out here?
(Angry Dude 1 drops Bob to the ground and everyone turns to face Teacher.)
Stupid Guy 1: Nothing. We were just about to go over to Sunflower Butterfly Rainbow Peace’s place to go get some beer.
Angry Dude 1: (shouting) YOU WEREN’T SUPPOSED TO TELL HIM, STUPID!!!
Tough Guy: Yeah. Shut up, Stupid.
Bob: (grumbling) God, now we’re never going to get out of this suckish place.
Teacher: Come on now, back inside.
(Boys go into classroom and sit back down, looking down at their shoes.)
(Lights dim)

Scene Eight (After class, in Tough Guy’s convertible)
Tough Guy: Is everyone ready to get some beer?
(Everyone cheers and Tough Guy takes off and Bob unwraps Snickers chocolate bar)
Bob: Shut up!
(Boys arrive at Tough Guy’s house and enter his house.)
Bob: (looking around) Wow, man, you gotta nice place.
Tough Guy: (beaming) Aw, thanks. Wait ‘til you see my daughter. She just got rid of this stalker, so she’s pretty happy.
Bob: (mumbling) Wow, you don’t say.
(Tough Guy leads everyone into his kitchen. Amanda Davis is there drinking Dr. Pepper)
Tough Guy: This is my daughter, Amanda.
Bob: (stammering) Uh-uh-uh-uh hi-huh-hi Ah-ah-ah-mmaandda.
Amanda: (looking up at Bob with wide eyes) Are you BOB? MY STALKER ON FREAKING MYSPACE?
Bob: (looking down at shoes) I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Amanda: (takes deep breath) Phew! Good! See I had this stalker named Bob who somehow found away to see me through his computer, so he could see weather I was doing my homework or not. It was sooooo annoying!
Bob: ( has sudden outburst) Oh, Amanda! I was lying! I am your stalker! But you don’t understand…you are the coolest fifteen year old I have ever met!
Amanda: Well, you’re the LAMEST old man I’ve ever met! (throws Dr. Pepper at Bob and storms offstage.)
Tough Guy: (outraged) Out, Bob! Out!
Bob: But, you see, I really like Amanda, and I never meant to stalk her.
Tough Guy: (crosses arms) Oh, yeah? Then what did you mean to do?
Bob: Well…OK. I lied. I meant to stalk here. But that’s not my fault!
Tough Guy: Then who’s fault was it?

Scene Nine (back at apartment with wife, sitting on couch)
Bob: (cheerfully) You know, I really hate ballet class.
Wife: Don’t be silly. I know you love it.
Bob: (says bossily) No.
Wife: Yes.
Bob: No.
Wife: Yes.
Bob: NO!!!!!!
(Doorbell rings and Wife gets up to get it. Wife opens the door. Policeman with guard dog is standing at the “door”)
Wife: Uh, hello?
Policeman: Hi, is Bob King here?
Wife: (concerned) Yes. Hold on. (shouts) BOB!! SOMEONES HERE FOR YOU
(Bob comes to the door and glares at Policeman)
Bob: (crosses arms) Yes?
(Policeman holds up a black piece of paper with white typing on it and gives it to Bob.)
Policeman: Congratulations, you’ve received at restraining order. Sent by Mrs. Amanda Davis.
Bob: (blurts out) But I didn’t stalk her!
Policeman: (looks somewhat interested) Uh-huh. And who may I ask did stalk Amanda Davis?
Bob: (pointing to wife) My wife did!
Wife: ( says nervously) I did not stalk her! What are you talking about? I didn’t stalk her! Stop talking crazy talk!
Policeman: (leans on “door”) Give me proof that you didn’t stalk Amanda Davis.
Wife: (stammers) Ha-ha-ha. I h-h-h-aven’t bbbeen stalking Ah-ah-ah-mmmmmannndda.
Policeman: (handcuffs Wife and takes her away) Thanks, Bob for the information. I’ll be taking your wife to jail. You can visit her whenever you want. See ya.
Wife: Bye, Bob, my love!

Scene Ten (at jail)
(Wife is locked up in jail cell and Bob is leaning against her jail cell door.)
Wife: (says scornfully) I can’t believe you made me go to jail when I didn’t even stalk her!
Bob: (looks at audience and winks) Well, that’s life. You just got hit by a pound of Pure Bobness!

THE END!!!!!!!!!!!!! HOPE YOU LIKED IT!!!!!!!!!! J

Read more!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Last Day of Thursday's Spring Workshop!

What was your favorite part of the workshop?

Jennifer: writing and reading other people's writing.

Zack: The cookies. And getting to hear everyone's stories for free!

Maya: the writing and finishing my story!

Kaya: Sharing with everyone.

Zeba: Hearing everyone's different crazy story!

: .

And here is the rest of it. Read more!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Reflections on the Last Day of Wednesday's Spring Workshops...

Rebecca: What was your favorite thing about workshop this semester?

Olivia: The group stories, the funny moments, the laughing...

Katey: Brainstorming ideas for my story with the group.

Emily: Sharing my stories with other people... and not feeling like my story sucks so bad after wards!

And here is the rest of it. Read more!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Reflecting on a Semester of Tuesday Workshops

From a discussion on the last day of the Tuesday Spring Workshop:

Rebecca: What was your favorite part of the workshop experience?

Rachel CS: I shared my writing for the first time with people, and hardly ever had the urge to run eleven flights downstairs passed the friendly doorman and out of the building.

Isis: I FINALLY managed to finish a piece, get to read other people's awesome writing, and develop my own. And talk about the subtle nuances of cannibalism. ^___^

Aidan: I got to write about zombies.

Aidan: I got to write about zombies. Read more!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Congrats Spencer!

Spencer Fox, 15, wrote a hilarious short story at Writopia this past fall, won a 2009 Scholastic regional gold key for it, and read it aloud at The Strand book store last night. It was so much fun to hear an audience of a few hundred enjoy his work. Please help Spencer celebrate by reading his prose:

Marcus’s Midpoint

You could barely see Marcus's head from below his metal shopping cart, however you could clearly hear his size 4 feet clipping and clopping on the cold rubber grocery store floors. He prowled the aisles of the Mega Mart with a fire in eyes and a chocolate bar in hand. Within the confines of his shopping cart were but four lowly items. A box of crunch berries and a bottle of RC cola. These first three items represent what any other 15 year old child would enjoy buying at their local super market, however, the last item is what set Marcus apart from most kids his age. His fourth and last item was an XXL carton of Get Phit Phast Muscle Invigorating Energy Milk Based Powder. Marcus had what most people would call a Napoleon Complex. He was rude, he was aggressive, and he was about four foot eleven.

He waddled his way over to the cashiers and struggled to put his items on the conveyer belt. The woman behind the cash register was a rather large woman of African American descent who was wearing two large hoop earrings.
"One box of crunch berries, one bottle of RC cola, what do you think your doin' with this muscle milk? You're far too young to be trying to bulk up sweetie," said the cashier.

"I don't need advice from someone who makes minimum wage, why don't you come talk to me after you work your second job, you puttz," said Marcus.

Based on the grocery store customer policy, this poor cashier stood helpless, unable to fight back, or snap back at young Marcus who had just berated her on such a personal level without even knowing her prior to this encounter. She angrily bagged Marcus's items and took the money she so sorely deserved and put it into the register. Marcus walked away in triumph, carrying a bag full of groceries that was nearly twice his size.

By now, you must be thinking, oh well, young Marcus may act a bit out of line, but I'm sure deep down inside, he's just another 15 year old kid. Oh, how most people who know Marcus wish that were the case. There is nothing pleasant or redeeming about this young man. When he was but of seven years of age, he strapped kitchen knives to his pet guinea pigs and tried to get them to fight to the death. He has gone through several therapists, all of whom refused to meet see Marcus again after their first sessions with him. When the football team denied Marcus, he deemed it necessary to steal his mother's Ambien Sleeping Pills and stir them into the team's water cooler, before the big game. Needless to say, they lost the game, but gained a few hours of unnecessary sleep.

Marcus walked to the grocery store parking lot and shuffled his way into his mother's turquoise mini van. He hopped and began to ambush his cereal, with an adequate amount getting into his mouth, but it seems as though the mini van floor got a fair share of crunch berries.

"Sweetykins, learn to chew your food," said Marcus's mother. "So, how was your day
honey bun?"

"Fine. But my name should never be used in the same sentence as sweetykins and honey bun," replied Marcus as he slammed his palm onto his forehead in an act of disgust.

"Honestly mom, what do you take me for? I don't think someone who can do seven consecutive chin ups should be referred to as honey bun…"

"Oh sweetie, you're just so precious!" she said, entertained by his adolescent intensity. "But don't forget, you're brothers are coming home today, so be on your best behavior!" Marcus's eyes opened wide as he pressed his body against his seat and a cold sweat began to run down his forehead.

Marcus had two brothers. Two twin brothers. Two large twin brothers. They had the same crooked grin, the same set of piercing eyes, and the same goal in life: to make Marcus's life into a living hell. They tormented him in ways most of America's youth wouldn't think possible: When Marcus reached the ripe age of 11 the twins purchased him a box. Inside said box, was a piece of paper in the shape of a ticket. This was a ticket to "painville". As soon as Marcus read the words on the ticket, he was bombarded with numerous dead arms, noogies, and even a swirly to top it all off.

He could just see himself walking through the door of his house only to be greeted by those two nefarious creatures. He could just hear them saying in that nasally and Marcus just wanted to go home, have a couple protein shakes here and there, do his homework, and get in a good night's sleep. Marcus in fact realized, he would be getting no sleep tonight.

Indeed, Marcus got no sleep that night. Instead, he was awoken, promptly, at three o clock as a putrid smell crept into his nostrils. Stink bombs. The signature moves of Marcus's brothers. Soon after these scent based torture devices awakened him, he was being pinned against the floor of his room. As his dreary eyes opened, four beaty eyes starred back at him and two pairs of mouths uttered the words
“Morning sunshine.”

Such abuse wasn't a foreign thing to Marcus. He was great at picking fights, but he was just awful at winning them. This led to Marcus encountering a fair amount of beatings in his life. He was no stranger to physical discomfort. One time, after school, six foot tall Glen McCannel was cracking a few jokes in regard to Marcus's height situation. Clearly, Marcus was no fan of these jokes, so he bravely approached James and said some things he really shouldn't have said. Things having to do with Glen's Father's current occupation as the school's janitor. Marcus went home with a black eye, torn tighty whiteys, and a corrupt, twisted sense of pride in his deranged little heart.

What Marcus wanted was a way to assert himself. He paced back and forth with his thumb stroking the non-existent beard he wish he could grow…He tried being aggressive, and it was clearly not working for him, and it just wasn't in his nature to be passive, so Marcus needed to find a midpoint.

Marcus was in the midst of his Tai Bo workout video when began thinking about what this midpoint could entail. He began to think about things he's good at. He was all right at math, he was pretty good with a buzz saw, and he could Stairmaster like no one's business. What a great arsenal of mediocre skills I have, Marcus thought to himself. But then he considered this: What's something I've done that's earned me the slightest bit of respect? Marcus recalled that Bertha Therman told him that his Battlestar Galactica themed science project was really neat in fifth grade. No, that simply wouldn't do. He did win that archery contest at summer camp two years ago. Marcus sat down at his kitchen table and finished of his crunch berries. Marcus just realized he had devoured an entire box of cereal within two days. That's somewhat impressive, he thought. Most kids probably couldn't do that. Marcus began to think, and in retrospect, Marcus could eat a fair amount.

Marcus suddenly realized what he had to do. This was it. It was perfect, and Marcus knew he had what it took. Marcus was going to become a competitive eater. Marcus was going to become a 15 year old, four foot eleven, 105-pound competitive eater. Marcus had the figure of an eight-year-old girl, but he had the appetite of a rugby team. He could eat his own weight in any form of food, and feel no later repercussions. On paper it sounds ridiculous, but in Marcus's mind, there was nothing wrong with it. Nothing at all.

Marcus ran straight to his computer, and promptly googled "competitive eating contests for young adults under five feet." No results. He slightly modified his search and came across several possible contests. There was the "B Cubed Eating Competition" (Baked Beans Blow Out), the Russian Embassy's sponsored Pirogue Fest, and other cleverly named eating competitions. However, these competitions all had age restrictions. You have to be 18 or older to participate. The fact that he looked like an eight year old didn't help with that at all. Marcus cursed the heavens, and slowly peeled all of the keys off of his keyboard in a fit of primal aggression. However, as he was about to begin head butting the poor abused keyboard, he noticed something at the bottom of his google page. It was indeed an eating competition. An all age welcome eating competition at that. Marcus began to dance with glee and put the keys back onto his battered keyboard. He read a little closer

All contestants are required to have parental permission if under 18."

After googling the definition of the word "plotz", Marcus realized this competition meant business. Could Marcus eat copious amounts of food? Yes. But did he have the chutzpah to win this competition? Not yet. There were four days until the competition. Not a lot of time, at all. This meant the next 96 hours would be dedicated to preparing body, mind and stomach.

Marcus needed to see where his eating abilities currently stood. So, he marched into the kitchen and lined up all of the food he could find. He managed to scourge up a pretty motley line up. It consisted of a bag of baby carrots, some orange juice, pretzels, and a half eaten honey bun. He lined the food up, grabbed his stopwatch, and began his very first training session. He clicked the stopwatch and began to devour. He grabbed a handful of baby carrots, and began to chew away at them as fast as his jaw would allow. He repeated this three times. Then he moved down and chugged a good two thirds of the orange juice, with the remaining third landing on the floor. On to the pretzels. These twisted, salty, German delights are what really scared Marcus. Salty foods had never agreed with him, but Marcus knew that he had to overcome this if he wanted to succeed in his ultimate goal. So he choked down a good 15 pretzels. But that honey bun still remained. Marcus stared down at the glazed treat with a look of shear hate. He picked it up, and put it in his mouth and without even chewing, as if he was dry swallowing a pill, it was finished. He checked the stopwatch, seven minutes thirty four seconds not bad.

Marcus realized that what he had just done was pretty great for someone's first try. If he kept this up, by the three weeks he would be unstoppable! Marcus began to feel overjoyed, ecstatic, godly, nauseous, sick to his stomach, terrible. As his confidence morphed into indigestion, he scuttled to the bathroom and threw up everything he had just eaten. Poor Marcus.

However, Marcus being the determined little guy he was just kept on going. He gargled a mouthful of mouthwash to get rid of that awful honeybun-carrot-pretzel-throwup taste out of his mouth. He googled “how to meditate” and via these directions, got his mind in the right place to reignite his training session. He called up his local pizza place and ordered one extra large with sausage, onions, peppers, ham and pineapple. He waited at the door, thumbs twiddling, and money in hand.

15 minutes later…his second test arrived. But SpongeBob was on, so it would have to wait. 30 minutes later…his second test was to be faced. He opened the box, and the sight of food made him gag, due to his recent failure. However, Marcus was too good for that to keep him down. So he began. He began to pillage this Italian delicacy like there was no tomorrow. No bit of crust, cheese, or topping was left behind. With a belch to signal his victory, Marcus looked down at the empty box, without a slight trace of nausea, and realized, that he very well could have the “chutzpah”.

Marcus had just led his body through a rigorous war against copious amounts of disgusting food, and had strangely enough prevailed. This was the first battle Marcus had won in ages. A pride ran over Marcus that ran all the way from the top of his head down to his toes. However all of this eating had taken a toll on Marcus, and it was 10:00, far past his bedtime, so it was time for him to call it a night.

The next morning, Marcus woke up to the sound of his alarm clock, and wasn’t even tempted to hit the snooze button. This was because, today was his day. Today was clearly his day because he was certain he would be winning an eating competition the next day. He hopped out of bed, slipped on his slippers, washed up, and ran down to his breakfast nook. As he arrived to said nook, the twins were there…Waiting for him.

“Hey there dick breath.” Twin number one said, “Up bright and early aren’t we?”

“Not today….oh no not today.” Marcus Said “This is my day…Not even you can ruin this for me.”

“Oh, is this because of your little eating competition, that you’ve tricked yourself into believing you’ll win?” Said twin number two.

“You watch what you say assbrain. I’m takin’ home the gold, you don’t even know.” Said Marcus “Honestly I could deliver a round house kick right to your skull and you wouldn’t even know what hit you. But I’m saving my energy for the competition.”

“What makes you so sure?”

“I mean no big deal, but I basically ate a whole extra large pizza to myself, and a mélange of assorted foods in a time trial. So…yeah, I’ll probably win.” Said Marcus smugly.

The two twins glared at each other both realized that this new found hope and pride in their brother could simply not stand.

The twins began to circle Marcus and got closer and closer. With each inch they gained on Marcus, the more they began to smack, noogie, dead arm and abuse poor Marcus. Then as the final act, twin one stuck his leg out and twin two pushed. In an ironic, sick, and brutal twist of events, Marcus went flying and landed jaw first onto the cold tile floor.

“MOM MARCUS TRIPPED AND FELL!” The Twins shouted in unison.

Marcus was knocked out cold. He woke up in the hospital the next day. There was no room left in the adults’ ward, so he was in a hospital bed decorated in teddy bears and smiley faces in the children’s ward. He glanced around to see balloons surrounding him with phrases like “Get well soon sweetie!” and “I wuv you so get bettaw weawy soon!” printed on them. In the beds next to him we’re kids two to eight years younger then him, yet they we’re remarkably similar in size to him. It was the day of the eating competition and here Marcus was. Being further patronized without the slightest ability to compete let alone win.

“Is there anything I can get you little guy?” Said a kind young nurse as she walked into the room.

“That’s funny I don’t remember asking for some dumb bimbo to come to my room, so I guess on I don’t need anything. Nurses are useless, you’re useless, get out.” Marcus barked.

However, the nurse could hear nothing but mumbles from behind Marcus’s huge metal-framed jaw cast. Poor Marcus.
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