Plain China

November 2017

Sloppy

Sam McCracken · Georgia State University

My mom made Manwiches the night I came out. It was a coincidence, probably, and not because she contemplated the image of her fifteen-year-old son nuzzled between two other men when she was deciding what to make for dinner. Her cookbook had a little over seven entries, and three of them involved ground beef and a can. It was a roulette. Sitting down with a plate of tater-tots soaked incidentally in sloppy-joe juice, she began: “I expected Taylor, but never you.”

Debt to Bees

Lauren Goss · California Lutheran University

I am the woman bending on a busy sidewalk to scoop up the pests, the one pulling her car over on the 101 freeway to help one off of the windshield wiper and into some nearby bushes. I am the first to pry them from the shirts of panicked friends with my bare fingers while people share uneasy glances over my head. It’s been twelve years since my obsession began, and my father and I still talk regularly of The Bee; of that beginning.

Folding Blankets

Lisa Huang · Rice University

Two bleary, beady eyes were regarding me steadfastly. The mass that framed them, the rounded head of the thing had, one might say, a face. There was a mouth under the eyes, the lip of which quivered and panted and dripped saliva. The whole creature squirmed and twitched convulsively. The peculiar fuzz covering its fine powdery skin, the incessant trembling of its awful gaping mouth, the clumsy deliberation of each breath, the rhythmic surge of its tiny chest  above all, the extraordinary gaze – at once vital, intense, crippled yet penetrating. At this first glimpse, I am overcome with apprehension and dread. Then, wonder: a lifetime ago, I was once this creature.

Pages

Ian Davies · Shippensburg University

Our pages such jigsaw canvases, smoothed-over here, crumpled there, our ripped edges in union- such indulgent dichotomies.

In the Dark

James Hiltz · Southern New Hampshire University

Todd laughed. He didn’t care about danger. He was seventeen, had loving parents, an after-school job, a hot as fuck girlfriend, and he’d already been accepted into Sequoia University. He was set, what did he care if a simple patch of rocky hills was deemed “dangerous” by some old fucks? He loved the feeling of his adrenaline pumping into his veins. He knew Tucker felt the same. They’d been best friends since the second grade after all. Danger and risks were nothing new to them.

Sloppy

Sam McCracken · Georgia State University

My mom made Manwiches the night I came out. It was a coincidence, probably, and not because she contemplated the image of her fifteen-year-old son nuzzled between two other men when she was deciding what to make for dinner. Her cookbook had a little over seven entries, and three of them involved ground beef and a can. It was a roulette. Sitting down with a plate of tater-tots soaked incidentally in sloppy-joe juice, she began: “I expected Taylor, but never you.”

Debt to Bees

Lauren Goss · California Lutheran University

I am the woman bending on a busy sidewalk to scoop up the pests, the one pulling her car over on the 101 freeway to help one off of the windshield wiper and into some nearby bushes. I am the first to pry them from the shirts of panicked friends with my bare fingers while people share uneasy glances over my head. It’s been twelve years since my obsession began, and my father and I still talk regularly of The Bee; of that beginning.

Folding Blankets

Lisa Huang · Rice University

Two bleary, beady eyes were regarding me steadfastly. The mass that framed them, the rounded head of the thing had, one might say, a face. There was a mouth under the eyes, the lip of which quivered and panted and dripped saliva. The whole creature squirmed and twitched convulsively. The peculiar fuzz covering its fine powdery skin, the incessant trembling of its awful gaping mouth, the clumsy deliberation of each breath, the rhythmic surge of its tiny chest  above all, the extraordinary gaze – at once vital, intense, crippled yet penetrating. At this first glimpse, I am overcome with apprehension and dread. Then, wonder: a lifetime ago, I was once this creature.

Pages

Ian Davies · Shippensburg University

Our pages such jigsaw canvases, smoothed-over here, crumpled there, our ripped edges in union- such indulgent dichotomies.

In the Dark

James Hiltz · Southern New Hampshire University

Todd laughed. He didn’t care about danger. He was seventeen, had loving parents, an after-school job, a hot as fuck girlfriend, and he’d already been accepted into Sequoia University. He was set, what did he care if a simple patch of rocky hills was deemed “dangerous” by some old fucks? He loved the feeling of his adrenaline pumping into his veins. He knew Tucker felt the same. They’d been best friends since the second grade after all. Danger and risks were nothing new to them.