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Thursday, June 23, 2011

From "Cassie Draws the Universe" by P.S. Baber

Cassie Draws the Universe
On the first day of school, Cassie walks into the classroom of the school's new English teacher...

The desks were in rows, not in pods of four. And the cinderblock walls were bare. They were no longer littered with inane posters screaming banal aphorisms or pithy exhortations comprised of bad puns or unnecessary alliteration or other egregiously misplaced literary devices. And there, at the front of the class, standing behind the wooden lectern, was a very unfamiliar man casually transcribing names into a roster.

He was in his late forties. He was slender, with dark hair and eyes. He had strong, handsome features. His hands were large, with long fingers. His shirt was pressed and starched and white. His slacks and tie were both black.

It should also be noted that this man was exceptionally cruel. Specifically, his cruelty derived from the fact he did not understand that small, seemingly insignificant acts of cruelty could alter and reshape entire destinies. There were many things this cruel man did not understand, yet also many things he understood better than most. Perhaps not coincidentally, he often dreamed at night of lithe girls with pale skin who enjoyed frequenting bookstores after dark. For her part, Cassie knew all this, but she kept these things hidden in her heart.

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