Monthly Archives: January 2013

Twenty-Eight Bathtubs

An Excerpt From Castor: A Town Built on Stories, History, and the Undeniable Elusive Truth – A Collection of Short Stories by Rachel Santee, Class of ’13

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was the middle of December when Mr. Charles Lolland passed away. He had been suffering from cancer of the lung and the last months had been excruciating for him. His wife, Ruth Lolland, was utterly distraught. She had no children and the only company that remained in her house was her three cats. After her husband’s funeral, she began taking very well to a certain type of coffee. She drank it before breakfast, at breakfast, lunch, dinner, and periodically throughout the day as well. We never saw her without a cup of her favorite coffee in her hand.

We asked her what made her fall so in love with the coffee, and she shrugged, and said she had a void that needed to be filled. We figured that obsessing over something, no matter how small, was a very good way to cope with the voids of one’s life. Maybel had her stamps, we had our stories, and Ruth Lolland had her coffee.

Over the six years she drank coffee until she too passed, and if we estimated that she drank ten cups of coffee every day, that came out to 3,650 cups of coffee per year and 21,900 cups of coffee in total. That converts to 1,369 gallons, which could fill twenty-eight bathtubs full of coffee. We thought for a while and realized that these twenty-eight bathtubs were a measure of Ruth Lolland’s loneliness. We sometimes liked to imagine in units of coffee-filled-bathtubs how lonely a person could be, but Ruth always comes out as our winner with the sad score of twenty-eight.

Untitled

A Poem by Pearl Williams, Class of ’14

I

Still enough to be unnoticed

The day is so young
It still carries the morning dew.

I’ve carved these words into my bones

This epitaph will remain
a while longer

II
My mind is encompassed by this dusk

And though life’s melody becomes hazier
Something lost returns to me.

I don’t want you seeing through my skin

My freedom lies in the hollow sockets
Of your eyes

III
I’ve married the better years

As the day drifts over me
I am enveloped by the passing time.

These waves have abandoned the harbor

I never heard the voices
Saying liberation would be this bitter

What I Meant Was: Complications of Language in Eight Parts

An Essay by Mark Foard, English Teacher

I.
I really don’t know how to say this. So, I guess, it all begins with this lady looking over my shoulder as we take the train from Convent Station back into the city. She discovers I am writing and a Southerner writing at that. She tells me how happy she is that I am from the South and that she finally has someone nice to talk to up here. I have only been in New Jersey for several weeks and I try to act mean, so as not to have my wallet stolen or whatever else my relatives warned me that Northerners might possibly do.

“You may recognize me from that television show…um, Cops?” I practiced this routine several times in front of my mirror at home, but confronted with my first opportunity to use it –and maybe it is the speed of the train jettisoning into the bustling city –now my words seem less convincing.

“Yeah, well, I was the one with the digitalized face…no, the other one, the tough one.” I sneer Elvis-like on voicing the word “tough.”She doesn’t indicate that she thinks I am faking it, but she also doesn’t appear phased.

Lacking any more material, I feebly end with “Yeah, Cops is not only on Fox, but on cable as well. It’s syndicated.”

She smiles in agreement. I am losing it at this point. I remember that Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train starts with what seems like a harmless conversation that results in a woman getting murdered. I fear this type of apparently innocent banter, and we attempt to control what we fear. But in my effort to control this conversation, I am actually keeping it alive.

I tell her the only reason for my trip into the city is to pick up a black-market wedding certificate for my teenaged cousins which they could not get in the Carolinas because of newly ordained strict incest laws. Continue reading