Monthly Archives: September 2011

Untitled Story by Maegan Clearwood

Blake hated lying to his mother, but admitting that he’d dropped his phone in the toilet was too much to bear.

He sprawled himself out on the couch, waiting for her to come home. He tried to formulate an excuse, something to explain away his water-logged cell phone, but memories of the day’s events were too vivid; there was no room left in his brain for even the tiniest fib.

His first day at work began slowly. In fact, Blake was so bored during those first few hours at Food Lion that he couldn’t even wait until his half-hour break to investigate the restroom.

There was little to say for the space. Blake was a connoisseur of public restrooms, but the décor and atmosphere there was so bland that even he had a hard time critiquing it. Blake loved grading bathrooms. He made a point of visiting the restroom wherever he was, if only to lock himself in a stall and examine his surroundings. He had a rigorous grading scale; rarely did a bathroom qualify as A-grade, and even for a B, it needed well-stocked toilet paper and soap and an adequate number of urinals.

His most recent undertaking was, thankfully, clean and well-lit, automatically boosting it to C status. From the neutral tile walls to the generic-scented soap, however, Blake couldn’t identify anything in the room that gave it life. There were no amusing Employees Must Wash Hands Signs, no soothing music cooing from above. The bathroom had no character, and until he examined the first stall, Blake was convinced that the restroom s at his new place of employment were as disappointing as the job itself.

Blake hadn’t earned his BA in German and communications with the intention of becoming general manager of his hometown grocery store. He spent his senior year at school pretending he didn’t care what he did when he graduated, ignoring his mother’s vow to boot him out of their cheery suburban split-level as soon as he got his degree. Not that she was serious, of course. Lynette loved her son in a coddling, bear-hugging way. She knew that, no matter her assertions to the contrary, she wanted Blake near home; Blake knew it, too.

Even now, after Blake had spent the summer staining her couch cushions orange from cheese curls and spending her money on pay-per-view movies, Lynette coddled her only child.

“Morning, Boo Boy,” she’d say, arranging a box of Lucky Charms, milk carton, and cereal bowl out on the kitchen table.

“Yeah, morning,” Blake answered. Before she bustled off to her early-bird Pilates class, Lynette gave him a swift peck on the forehead. Although he only acknowledged it with an eye-roll or grunt, Lynette never forgot to kiss her son goodbye each morning.

Three-and-a-half-months after graduating and moving back in with his mother, Blake started applying for the types of jobs he vowed never to seek upon entering college.

His first day monitoring nine rows of minimum-wage workers was, as anticipated, a droll compared to the bar-hopping fantasies he’d once entertained about adult life. It was a Tuesday afternoon; customers were rare, the looping music constantly interrupted for shameless self-advertising. His employees pretended to stay busy wiping down their registers and rearranging packets of gum whenever he passed, and despite his best efforts to appear cheery and laid-back, he knew he was already labeled the enemy.

He slipped into the bathroom as soon as possible.

He was there for purely recreational purposes; he never used public facilities if he could avoid it, especially at work. As part of his grading system, however, he always tested the toilet paper for appropriate comfort and flushed the toilet for a demo-run. (Automatic toilets immediately downgraded bathrooms a half-level; there was something innately disturbing in technology that determined when he was done taking a shit, Blake thought)

He surveyed the line of stalls, peeking beneath for feet and checking which, if any, locks were broken; he finally settled on the second. After comfortably seating himself on the toilet, he was pleased to see a gallery of tastefully designed obscenities scribbled on the mint-green door.

Blake had a great appreciation for bathroom stall graffiti. He considered it an art form, each a unique signature of the bare asses that had once occupied the space.

Today, he was especially delighted to find a conversation, each line in different hand, volleying insults and vulgarities back and forth.

“RH shat here” it began in a proud, looping hand, followed by “Who the fuck cares,” “dude, gross,” and, to Blake’s disgusted delight, “TL wacked off her.”

Beneath this last boast was, lightly scratched into the thin paint, “555-8459 for more fun TL.”

This was Blake’s second encounter with phone numbers on bathroom walls. The first happened during his sophomore year at a rest stop in Ohio. He’d sat on the toilet, phone in hand, for at least 15 minutes before, terrified of where the call might lead, nerves overcame his curiosity and he left without grading the bathroom.

A few days later, police identified the rest stop as a major sex trafficking area; the potentiality in that missed phone call had haunted Blake ever since.

He checked his watch; it would be at least a few more minutes before anyone would notice the manager had abandoned post. Plenty of time for a phone call.

He entered the jagged numbers into his phone before his common sense took control.

A voice breathed into his ear a brief ring later: “You’ve reached the Hotties Hotline. This is Theresa.”

“Um, hi Theresa.”

“Would you like me to review our pay rates before we begin?”

“I guess not, no.”

“Eager, aren’t we?”

The woman’s voice was at least an octave deeper than Blake’s, and it sounded as if she were dragging the words out and into the phone. The fakeness in her voice didn’t bother Blake in the least; the drawling slowness of her words was comforting in a somewhat homey way.

“Well, I told you my name. You gonna return the favor?”

Blake thought about this. Usually, he enjoyed fibbing, spooling impromptu stories out of his imagination. He loved filling out survey cards at restaurants with made-up names and addresses, and he was often told that, if it weren’t for his paralyzing stage fright, he would make a tremendous actor. But for some reason, today, he didn’t want to lie. He couldn’t bring himself to lie to this smooth, strange voice.

“It’s Blake. My name’s Blake.”

“Well then, Boo Boy, tell me a bit about yourself.”

Blake didn’t have to hang up.

His mother’s voice fizzled into silence as his phone slipped out of his hand, between his knees, and into the toilet water below.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Untitled Play by Will Malkus

(Lights up on an apartment, with a worn couch and an easy chair center stage. Some posters may be up on the back walls, and a small kitchenette stage right, just a sink and an oven, very simple. An end table may be next to the couch, with a lamp and a telephone on it. The stairwell and front door are stage left exits, the bedrooms are stage right exits. Trevor enters stage left, very obviously agitated. He leaps over the couch and scans the room carefully.)

Trevor: Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ!

Mark: (From far offstage.) Shut UP, Trevor!

Trevor: Mark, your hysterics aren’t helping anyone!

(Trevor sits down on the couch, then abruptly drops to his hands and knees to check under it. Still on hands and knees, he quickly crawls towards the easy chair and does the same thing.)

Mark: (Still from offstage, but closer now.) Would you mind helping me, maybe?

Trevor: Calm DOWN, Mark! (He exits stage left, and reenters with Mark, a black trash bag in the rough shape of a body carried between them. It’s clearly fairly heavy, and Mark is out of breath from having to haul it up the stairs. They deposit it on the couch, then both stare at in silence for a moment.)

Trevor: Ohh my god. Oh my god.

Mark: Shut up, Trevor! Shut up.

Trevor: (In a despairing monotone.) Court. Trial. Jail. Death.

Mark: Trevor! Shut. Up.

Trevor: (Panicked) Okay! (He paces to the other side of the sofa) Oh god.

Mark: I’m trying to think.

Trevor: This is bad, this is so, so bad. This can’t happen, Mark. How does this happen?! Who does this happen to? Terrible people! We aren’t terrible people! (He pauses for a second to look at Mark more critically.) Well, I’m not, I guess I don’t really know what you do in your free time. But this didn’t happen, right? I mean, it doesn’t. It doesn’t do that.

Mark: (Trying to pacify him.) It’s okay.

Trevor: It’s okay?!

Mark: It’s okay.

Trevor: (Calmer.) It’s okay?

Mark: (Distracted.) Yes.

Trevor: Good. Okay, good. (Takes a deep breath.) It’s okay.

(They both resume silently staring at the plastic bag.)

Mark: They ran out in front of us.

Trevor: “They?!” How many people do you think we hit?!

Mark: Look, I don’t know if it was a man or a woman!

Trevor: (Applauds sarcastically in Mark’s direction. As he does so, Mark balls his hands up into fists, closes his eyes, or gives some other outward sign of exasperation.) Oh, well done, Mark! When the police show up, we’ll just tell them-

Mark: There aren’t going to be any cops.

Trevor: (Catches his drift. Disbelieving gasp.) Mark.

Mark: I just mean…there might not be cops. I mean, it was dark, right? Night time. Night time is dark.

Trevor: Not on Commonwealth at ten o’clock!

Mark: All I’m saying is there might not be cops.

Trevor: What are you TALKING about? Of course there are going to be cops! We freaking HIT someone!

Mark: Okay, THEY ran out in front of us! We didn’t do anything wrong. We were driving home, and this maniac (He nudges at the trash bag with his toe.) jumped out in front of an oncoming vehicle.

Trevor: (Screams.) Don’t do that!

Mark: (Jumping back in surprise.) Jesus! Don’t do what?!

Trevor: Don’t…kick him!

Mark: “Him?” Oh, what the fuck, Trevor-

Trevor: Look, we (Looks around furtively as if making sure they’re alone still. His voice drops slightly.) killed the poor bastard, the least we can do is assign him a gender!

Mark: It was his fault!

Trevor: I just-(Pauses.) Okay, not to split hairs, but I’m glad you agree that he’s a “he.”

Mark: Fuck your fucking gender, Trevor!

Trevor: It’s not MY gender on the table here, Mark.

Mark: You’re losing it, man. You have to pull yourself together!

Trevor: There is a BODY. On the couch. That YOU stole.

Mark: (Stares at Trevor wonderingly.) I don’t even…what the hell is wrong with you, Trevor? Seriously.

Trevor: I’m guilty of caring too much, Mark. If anything, I’m guilty of caring too much.

Mark: I’m not listening to this. (Moves to exit stage left.)

Trevor: Where are you going?!

Mark: Out. I just remembered why we’re not friends.

Trevor: You can’t leave now! What are we going to do about…(Gestures frantically at the body.) this?

Mark: (Stops and turns around.) Well I’ll tell you what we’re not going to do, okay? We’re not going to tell anyone about this, we’re not going to let anyone into the apartment, and we’re definitely, absolutely, NOT going to open the bag. Right? (Trevor gives some outward sign of acquiescence.) Good. (Mark exits stage left.)

Trevor: (Quietly.) Worried about germs on your stolen furniture.

Mark: (Reenters quickly, his ire returned full force.) For the last fucking time, it was on the sidewalk. Someone was trying to get rid of it.

Trevor: You don’t know that. What if they were moving in and just set it down for a second?

Mark: I was…you don’t even…why are you talking about our couch?!

Trevor: Your couch. I don’t want anything to do with it.

Mark: Do you maybe think the dead guy is just slightly more pressing than a misappropriated piece of furniture?!

Trevor: I’m not your accomplice.

Mark: (Pauses.) Trevor.

Trevor: Hmm?

Mark: Body.

Trevor: What’s your point?

Mark: We are accomplices. Jesus, we are.

(They both let that sink in and stare at the body. It mirrors where they stood at the beginning of the scene.)

Trevor: Does that mean we’re friends?

Scene.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

New Site Launch!

Welcome to the new Colophon!

As you can see the Colophon has a new look. We had some problems after the Wacblog update, resulting in the need for a new website. Don’t fret! You can find all of our old archives here. We used the opportunity to do some updates of our own, so there are some new ways to navigate around the site, which will hopefully make things easier to find.

We’re also trying to keep up with Facebook updates,  so the Colophon now has its own Page here, rather than our old group page. Please, join us there for quick updates.

This will be the only blog entry of its type – from now on, our quick updates will be posted in the right sidebar under “Colophon Updates,” and this space will be reserved for your work. The site is feeling a little empty at the moment, so we need your help!

Our first meeting will be this coming Saturday, September 17, 2011 at 2PM in the Reading Room of the Literary House. If you’d like to submit work for this meeting, please email the_colophon@washcoll.edu by Thursday September 15, 2011.

If you have any questions feel free to email us at kgavin2@washcoll.edu or mwesenberg2@washcoll.edu.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized