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Part 2: Campus Tour

Alice looked impatiently at her watch. Five more minutes until her daughter Madison and the other four candidates would present their high school theses to the Elmwood University enrollment board. 
“Shouldn’t we head to the lecture hall?” Alice asked the tour guide. She didn’t want to miss Maddie’s presentation, a discussion about the Constitution. "The Bill of Negative Rights", she called it.
“Oh, that’s a closed event, ma’am. We’ll finish up the tour in time for you all to retrieve your students.” The tour guide didn’t even pause before continuing. “Next we are going to walk through the residential quad. Naturally, we will not be going inside any of the residence or dining halls for security reasons.”
“Are the dorms co-ed?” asked a parent.
“No, they’re all gender-segregated. Each entrance is equipped with a fingerprint reader and laser counter to ensure only authorized residents have access.”
Well, that’s overkill, thought Alice. What fun is college if you can’t sneak boys into…
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Part 1: College Submission

Alice stepped onto the dock in the backyard where her daughter sat, feet dangling into the creek.
“Maddie, help me with dinner, please.”
“But I need supplies for my presentation board.”
Alice inhaled tightly. “It’s almost curfew, Madison. Why didn’t you remind me earlier?”
“It’s just stuff from Target. I can go myself.”
“No. Write down what you need. I’ll go right now.”
“Seriously, mom, it’s okay. I’m 18. I can sign.”
Alice was firm. “Inside now, please, and make a shopping list.”
Madison rolled her eyes, but obeyed. Arguing was futile.
Alice grabbed Madison’s list in one hand, purse in the other. No use getting frustrated. College applications were treacherous; the private schools made it nearly impossible. If Madison’s project didn’t astonish the enrollment board at Elmwood, her acceptance could be revoked and she’d end up at State.
State was a good school, but it didn’t have the budget for security. Outside the ivies (which no longer accepted applications from non-legacy candidates), Elmwood…

Just Another Day

At 3:15 I get on the bus and take my seat. I dread the next half hour, as usual, but today I also feel kind of numb. I know as soon as Frank gets on the bus, he will kick my shins or smack my forehead on his way through the aisle. I can’t stop thinking about about Callie, though. Or her empty seat on the bus.

The morning started out badly. Callie was absent, so Frank decided to pick on those of us in the front of the bus. He stole my flute and carried it to the back, tossing it to one of his friends, an older boy. He threw it back to me as we got to school, and it hit my face. I was glad Frank didn't take it to his locker, or worse, throw it in the dumpster. That happened to another kid on our bus.

My friends who ride different buses get along fine with the 8th graders. They have fun on the way home. They always do homework or write notes or talk to each other. If I did homework on the bus, it would definitely get stolen. If I wrote a note, Frank would take it and read it in a mocki…

Cement Shoes

"So?" "Got the McLaren. It's at the warehouse." "I don't care about the car. The ring is worth twice as much." "There's a little problem. It's still on his finger." "No you didn't..." "Had to." "Where did you put him?" "East River."


High School Musical

I want to sing something from "Phantom", but Maggie told me not to because that's what everyone else is doing. It doesn't matter. I won't get the lead. I just want to get in so I can be in the dance scene.





Mandarin & Red Bull

It had been years, but with one sip I tasted everything. Marlboro Lights mixed with bonfire smoke. Roasted marshmallows. Horseshoes in fresh cut grass. Crickets chirping before a late storm. And the salty taste of his lips. The summer I'll always remember.


Irresistible

"It's been down to here," he gestured to his fourth shirt button.  "But a couple years ago I trimmed it short."  I stroked its current length, an inch or so, well-groomed and fragrant.  I gave it a tug and kissed his cheek.