Wednesday, May 23, 2018
By Jason Nako
The loud plane engine roars as Brett enter his flight. It is early morning, the sun is shining, and birds are chirping. Brett is on his way to Moscow, Russia, where he will compete for the Olympic games.
“Chicken or beef?” asks the flight attendant.
“Chicken will do.” Brett replies.
“Make sure you wear a lot of coats and a warm hat,” she tells Brett.
“Oh, trust me, I know how cold it’ll be. I used to train In Moscow with some wrestlers from Europe. I'm very familiar with the climate.” Brett quickly nods his head.
Since Brett is competing for the USA wrestling team, he has to watch what he eats. Brett is a lean and muscular 24 year old man. His body looks like the shape of a triangle, with wide and broad shoulders and a slim waist. He is representing the US for 74kg.On board of his flight, Brett is waiting for his coach to arrive. His coach is Cael Sanderson, the legend from Penn State who became a 4 time undefeated National Champion. Brett looks up to him ever since he was little boy and watching Cael winning in the collegiate levels. Cael was also a previous Olympic Champ for the US back in the 90’s. He works with Brett everyday to achieve his goals to become one in the future.
“Sorry I am late. I had to wait in that long line to get my tickets. But how are you man? Are you ready for all that we have worked for?” Cael finally arrives with a clean, shaved head and a spicy cologne that Brett smells.
“I am so ready for this. I've been waiting for this my entire life. To become an Olympic Champion.” Brett had struggles to make the world team for the USA. Each year he has gotten short of his goals to represent the US as he had to face the best competitors in the world that were from his country. Ever since Brett defeated the previous World Champ last month from the US to qualify for the Olympic team, it boosted up his confidence. At that moment Brett knew he could beat anyone in the world.
The plane finally stops in Russia. Brett and Cael both order a hotel room where they will stay for the games. Walking outside from the plane, all Brett can see are fields of farmland and animals roaming the border of the wooden gates. The roads are very muddy and you can hear the loud traffic of cars beeping their horns from the city. It is colder in Russia, as Brett’s beard starts to freeze up. Icicles form under his chin and eyelashes from how cold it is. They arrive in their hotel rooms. Each room has a Californian, queen sized bed, a mini fridge, a flat screen tv, and a red carpet on the floor.
Outside of the window you can see the large dome stadium that has beams of light reflecting from the exterior. This is where all of the wrestlers will be competing next morning. Busses are all of the city as wrestlers from the around world are traveling to their respected hotel rooms.
“I want you to get ready for the weigh in tomorrow by going to bed early. Ok?” Cael reminds Brett.
“I will,” he replies.
The next morning Brett wakes up. He is not nervous at all and is very confident. He knows that he can win this tournament and become the best in the world. He has no doubt in his mind that he can beat anyone. He then steps on the scale for official weigh ins. His feet step on the metal scale. It is his a cold, tingly touch that runs down Brett's spine as he waits for the result. “74 kilos! Good luck today.” The official marks down his weight and asks for other wrestlers to get on the scale.
Before Brett begin his first match, Cael puts him into many circuit workouts that will increase his heart rate. Brett gets a good sweat in and is ready to compete. Brett step on the smooth blue mat. He shakes his opponent's strong grip and they begin wrestling. Brett scores the first takedown quickly by arm tossing his opponent. His opponent gets up and fires back with a single leg attack. Brett gets into a scramble position in which he loses. The Iranian opponent gains the upper hand as he beats Brett 6-5 with a late takedown to seal the case. Brett is devastated. He lays on his back with hand covering his face as tears come down his eyes. Cael runs to get him up and brings him into backstage where Brett almost lost hope.
“Hey that Iranian is a three time world medalist. He was a tough opponent but I need you to stay strong. You can still medal in the event.” Cael gives Brett a hug and leaves the room to give give him some space.
Brett’s mind goes insane. His whole life he wanted to become the Olympic Champion that everyone supported him to become. He feels as if he let everybody down and just lost all of his confidence. He talks to himself.
“I don't think I can do this. I am a loser. I suck. Why am I here?” All of these things cross Brett’s mind. He never thought he would be at the lowest point of his life at this event. Especially since he knew he could win it.
Brett goes through the day competing. Cael gives him a long speech to motivate Brett to atleast get bronze, and that is his new goal. Brett’s family calls him after his first loss to get his mind straight and to win every single match from now on. In the stadium, he sees the towering balconies of screaming and chanting fans. Flashing lights all over the dome and noises of a air horn going off. He is pumped and back on track. Along the way, he dominates all of his opponent with great strength and conditioning. He can hear the gasps of air his opponents make as they are being manhandled from his low-level attacks. His last match of the night, Brett looks into the Russians eyes, knowing that if he wins, he will become a bronze medalist. It is a battle that goes on and on. He gets a take down but hears. Cael goes insane and begins to jump.
“Almost there! One more takedown and you’ve done it!”
Brett takes him down to win the match. The crowd boos at Brett as he beats their wrestler. As he stands on the podium, Brett does feel proud but also sad. He wished he could be on the top but is still grateful for his accomplishments. He holds his heavy and shiny medal and puts it around his swole neck. He takes photos with fans as flashing camera lights go all over stadium. Cael gives him a hug and picks Brett up in the air to celebrate. He gets interviewed by the reporter.
“Are you happy with this result?”
“To be honest my goal was to win this thing, but hey, it did not go my way so my best chance was to get bronze at least.”
“What are your next goals after this?”
“Keep grinding” Brett drops the microphone and leaves the dome with his coach.
Everyone goes out to eat at a fancy Italian restaurant. Brett’s family and coach walk inside and see people clapping as Brett slowly walks up the tall stairs of the restaurant. Plates cling and the odor of the place smells very smoky. Brett smiles with a huge grin as he looks at his massive plate. On his plate there are chicken legs, mushrooms and vegetables, and pasta. The sauce is red with sprinkles of oregano on it. The dish tastes salty and the cold cup of water just flushed his food down his throat. The waitress approaches Brett.
“Congratulation Brett! Dessert is on me. What would you like?”
“I’d like that double chocolate cake with whip cream on it”
The waitress brings what he wants and is served on a petite plate. Brett takes a huge bite out of it as he rolls his eyes. He’s chewing repeatedly and eats the warm slice of cake. Brett sees everyone happy and enjoying their time. He sees his mom and dad hugging each other and smiling. His sister is on her phone tweeting about her brother’s accomplishments. Cael whispers something in Brett’s ear, which makes his heart to beat very fast. He begins to sweat and dismisses himself from the table.
In his thoughts, Brett get stressed out and begins to cry. “Steroids. I can’t believe it.”
It is just figured out that his opponent from Iran who Brett lossed to was taking steroids. This means that he gets disqualified and Brett should have never lossed. Overall this doesn’t change the outcome of his award, but it makes Brett sad that his dreams to become an Olympic Champion is crushed because of drugs. Brett walks slowly back to the table in the restaurant to share the news to family and friends with tear eyes.
The Love Deal
By Estefania Gonzalez-Trujillo
Let me tell you a little story, the tremendous love story of Stella Locason. Now, this isn’t just your typical Cinderella fairytale. I mean yes both of them did indeed lose their parents, but other than that simple fact , they were nothing alike.You see, unlike Cinderella, Stella wasn’t shy nor timid. On the contrary, she was fierce and strong. Her snarky attitude and loud sarcasm scared most people away...Well at least it scared her step mom away…..and a few other guys who were interested in her as well. Scaring people away was Stellas forte. She was a very secluded person that had built really high walls all around her heart. I mean who could blame her; she slowly lost her parents and her ex boyfriend cheated and took advantage of her money. Ever since these depressing events, no one has been able to break her walls down. I mean her best friend Anna tore part of it, but there is honestly a great part of it still standing. That’s until she met her so called Prince Charming, Sebastian Knight. He had no castle, but he had various companies all over the world. Sebastian, or as Stella called him, “ arrogant bastard”, was the true definition of a player. He wasn’t the type of guy who did relationships. According to him, running his company will always be his top priority. He had no time for commitment. That of course all changed when he bumped into Stella and spilled his extremely hot coffee on her And no , the cliche “Oh , I’m sorry about that, I owe you a shirt” and “I owe you a coffee” thing didn’t happen. Like I said, this wasn’t your typical fairytale. This was real life.
“Ouch,” I repetitively said, trying to shake the coffee of my perfectly white blouse.
I glance up to him and wait for an apology, but it never came. Instead he hits me with the, “Watch were you are going” and annoyingly walks away. Oh no, if he thinks he’s getting off the hook he is quite a funny man! I had just gotten to work on time and because of him I was now fifteen minutes late, practically fired!
I ran to him to try and give him a piece of mind, but I think he saw me following because before I got the chance to stop him he turned around and said, “ Look Miss, I don’t know who you are nor I remember hooking up with you. I’m running late to my meeting so if you could stop following me that would be great.”
No no , this man did not just go there. My face fumed into a deep pinkish color, “ Take a look here you arrogant bastard, first of all , I am way too smart to hook up with man like you, and second of all I’m waiting for you to give me an apology along with some money to pay for a doctor's visit for this second degree coffee burn that you just gave me.” By the looks of his face he seemed shocked and slightly a bit angry , but that didn’t stop me from lashing out at him .
Before I made my way to my office, I got closer to him and said, “And honestly, I really don’t care if you are late or not. You made me late , so practically you just made me lose my job.”
After being nearly an hour late, Stella did indeed get fired. This was her 12th tardy of the month, and her boss had warned her that if she came tardy again she would be gone.
Stella begged and begged her boss for another opportunity, but he didn’t budge. He knew she was an amazing designer but frankly he didn’t care about that. His boss had high expectations of his workers and being tardy nearly everyday was going to ruin that. Very sad and somewhat angry , Stella packed her things and made her way out. She was set on finding the man who caused this for her. The princess wanted revenge..
I was walking out of what used to be my office when suddenly I knock into someone, causing the box my belongings to fall off into the floor.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I whisper-yell, as I kneel down to pick up my things. The stranger kneels down to help me out.
“We need to stop meeting this way love,” a deep voice that I recognize says.
“Well maybe, if you would watch where you are walking through we wouldn’t be going through this,”I frustratedly say.
“It’s actually pretty good that we are going through this,” he says. “It would allow me to properly apologize for my behavior.”
“Okay, go ahead,” I fakely smile to him.
“I’m sorry for the unexpected turn of events that occured this morning, in return I would like to offer you a job. Work for me.” he smiles. My smile instantly turned into a scowl, “ Your are out of your mind. I will not be doing anything for you at all.”
“Look, just hear me out. My name is Sebastian Knight of Knight Enterprises. My dad won’t turn over the rest of the company shares to me until I get married.”
“And what does that have to do with me,” I say.
“ Well, I’m no the type of guy who has time for relationships but I kind of told my dad that I was dating a someone and that someone is you. So for the next few months , you are going to be my fake fiancé and as soon as we hit a year you will be my wife.”
I burst into laughter, “ What makes you think I would agree to that?”
“Oh, c’mon! Any girl would die to be in your place,” he cockily stated.
“Well I’m not just any girl,” I say. “So no thank you.”
“I’ll pay you three times whatever your old boss payed you,” Well damn, no one could really pass an offer like that. I mean how hard could it be?
“Do we have a deal?” he says, as he extends his hand.
“Deal,” I say, as look down and shake his hand.
You see, at this moment, Stella started to feel that she had just signed her life to the Devil, but it was nothing like that . In reality, she had really just committed to the love of her life. Stella had finally found her prince.
They began the acting immediately the day after the deal. The whole thing was rocky at first, but after about four months it no longer seemed like it was act.
He kissed me. Sebastian just kissed me. My white pale face was probably now as pink as a rose, but not for long.. As soon as I processed what had happened I angrily looked up to him.
“You can’t keep doing this,” I blurt.
“Doing what?” he questions.
“You can’t keep kissing me whenever you feel like. You can’t just keep leading me on like this,” I shout.
“What if I wasn’t leading you on? What if I told you that everything I’ve been doing has been real,” he softly states. As soon as these words came out of his mouth my heart started doing crazy leaps.
“What if I told you I couldn’t stay away from you. That every time I see you all I want to do is hug you and kiss you . I really like you Stella and I don’t think I can keep hiding it anymore,” he says as he leans in for a kiss.
“I really like you too Sebastian,” I say as I return his kiss.
Sebastian and Stella had completely fallen in love with each other without realizing it. I mean , it would be hard not to when you wake and sleep with the same guy for nearly everyday.
It wasn’t until they hit their 6th month when they realized they couldn’t be without each other. Stella had encountered a terrible accident, she was left in coma for nearly two months. Sebastian spent his days and nights in the hospital waiting for her to wake up. On some days he would cry his love to her at night and would beg her to wake up, but nothing would happen.
On the night of January 13th , the doctors had told him that it was best to just say goodbye. Sebastian was against at first, he didn’t want to let her go but his parents convinced him it was for the best. At around 11:30 pm he spent his time there crying his love to her one last time and at exactly 12:00 am he kissed her goodbye.
“True loves kiss, it works all the time,” I weakly say, as wake up blinded to bright white lights. The moment I spoke out Sebastian turned back around and broke down on his knees crying. After a few seconds he then rushes to hug me. I could feel his wet tears on my cheeks.
“I love you too,” I smile to him, with a few tears running down my face.
“You heard me,” he cries out.
“Every single thing,” I say.
“Promise me you’ll never scare me like that again,” he sadly says.
“I promise,” I smile, and leaned in to hug him.
Cliche right? Well anyways, as you can already assume, they did indeed have a wedding. They interchanged their vows and traveled to the city of love for their honeymoon.
“Sebastian, you are the best thing that has happened to me throughout my entire life. I love you so much. I can’t wait what the future brings for us,” I say to him.
He smiles down to me and says, “You deserve the world and much more my princess. Stick with me and I’ll give it to you all.”
“Deal.” I replied, as I lean in to kiss him.
From here on, they lived happily ever after with a beautiful baby boy, Nathan Knight. This baby grew out to be crazier than his father. One night stands nearly everyday of the week with news that he had aa baby on board?! ...Hold up, let me not say too much. This is a story of another time.
by Kayla Giordani
Today marks two months I have been sealed behind these doors of Racken Valley Rehabilitation home. It was 8am and I only gotten 4 hours of sleep. The sheets were rough and my pillow was as thin as a slice of bread. I roomed with Margette, she wasn’t the most recommendable roommate. She was short with blonde hair and her feet smelled like pickles. She snored in her sleep and occasionally farted. I asked to which roommates but they weren’t going for what.
“No switching roommates ma’am!” the lady at the front desk would yell.
I sat at the end of my bed for 5 minutes. I would then brush my teeth and brush my hair so I could get dressed. I always shower the night before.
Breakfast was the best meal they served here. The buttery pancakes and fluffy eggs were my go to. I sipped on my orange juice slowly. I would always try to eat as fast as I can, though I wanted to savor my meal. Margette always comes rushing to my table with the exact same thing but double.
“Well, isn’t this a swell morning, Hey! Did you read my mind,” as she looked back and forth at her plate then mine.
“Yes I totally read your mind,” I said sarcastically.
“I knew it!” she laughed hysterically. Her teeth were dark yellow and every other tooth was almost crooked.
Margette always meant well but she was just really annoying.
Last year Margette lost her children because of her drug habits. She had an abusive husband who beat her and her kids. One time she tried to take her kids and runoff but he caught her and almost beat her to death. Once she lost her kids she started using, the hard stuff. I always felt bad for her, she always talked about her kids. They sounded really lovely. She has been her 9 months and she didn’t plan on leaving.
“Hey, you know if we wait until everyone leaves they’ll leave out the leftovers,” her yellow crooked teeth grinned at me.
“I’m all full, but thanks”.
“Ahhh more for me then,” she rubbed her stomach.
I dumped my plate into the garbage and went to freshen up for our morning meeting.
The hallways were always quiet and at this time everyone’s room door was open for morning inspection. For the two months I’ve been here I didn’t really speak to anyone. The only one I acquainted with was Margette. The others girls were stuck up, the boogie stuck up and I never got that considering the fact that we were in a rehab home. They always stared at my hair, it hanged to my mid back and the red always reflected off the light. My biggest fear was one of them coming and cutting it in the middle of my sleep. The girls here weren’t that great looking. Everyone had a flaw, not saying I don’t but I could see why they would want to pound me in my sleep.
I walked further until I reached the doors of the meeting hall. The room was fairly small. Total capacity was about 10 included the therapist. There wasn’t many girls in our group. The room smelled like old paint and the chairs where in assorted colors.
I was always the first person in the room. I walked over to grab some coffee and sat in an empty chair until the meeting started.
I was almost through with my coffee when I heard the other girls down the hall. They walked in whispering and sat across from me. I didn’t pay them any mind.
“Well Good Morning my ladies, are we ready to start.” Miss Olsen was wearing a long skirt that reached her ankles and a creme shaw that complemented her complexion. She was always happy, but I guess that was part of her job.
“How are we today.” She grinned
Everyone smiled, more of a fake smile.
“Okay, well who would like to start.”
“I spoke to Lisa and Daniel today.” Margette spoke shyly.
I looked at Margette in happiness
“That’s wonderful,” Miss Olsen said.
“Daniels voice got really deep.” She snorted.
“One step closer, let’s snap for Margette”.
Everyone snapped as Margette fidgeted in her chair.
“How about Elizabeth, I hear she thinks she’s too good for these meetings,” said one of the girls rolling their neck.
I didn’t say a word until Miss Olsen insisted I share throwing a wink at me to ignore the other girls.
“Umm, where should I start,” I said nervously.
“Wherever you’d like.” Miss Olsen smiled.
I began to talk and the energy in the room changed.
I would remember that day for the rest of my life. The wind blew lightly and the sun shined bright. I was wearing a swimsuit top and bottoms with a white fishnet cover up.
“One Margarita please.”
“Sure,” said the server.
“Starting off early huh” his eyes were light brown and he wasn’t wearing a shirt. The oil on his body glisten and his pretty teeth smiled at me.
“Never too early”, I chuckled.
“Elizabeth,” I said as I shook his hand.
“Uh huh, treating myself before I have to go back to work in a couple of weeks. This is the only time I get to myself and you?”
“On a business trip you can say.”
“Oh really what do you do”
“I’m in the marketing business, just looking for a catch.”
“Well enjoy the rest of you vacation,” I picked up my glass and started to walk towards the pool area when he followed me and asked me if I had any plans that night. I insisted no and we planned to go and see a band and have some drinks.
It was cool out by the lake and the wind blew through my long hair and the smell of his cologne blew back at me as he walked in front of me. We found a seat in the crowd and talked for hours as the band played. We were the last ones at our table and all I could remember was Jake staring into my eyes as if they were going to wander off. He asked a lot of personal questions, I didn’t pay any mind to it because I thought that’s what people do when they want to get to know someone.
That night was really relaxing after the drinking and talking I couldn’t remember much after that. The night went so peaceful I didn’t care what ever else was going on.
The next morning I woke up to the sound of beach waves and the smell of fresh air. This was my suite so I figured I was with Jake.
“Good Morning beautiful.”
“Thanks,” he handed me a platter with fresh hot pancakes, eggs and some bacon and a tall glass of orange juice.
“It’s room service, I figured after last night you need to start your morning off right.”
“And what exactly did we do last night” I said almost choking on my food.
“Well we had quite a few drinks and i guess you’re not the drinking type, you nearly ruined my two hundred dollar sandals by throwing up everywhere.
“OMG I’m so sorry.”
“It’s cool I’m got plenty”, he said and chuckled.
I ate my breakfast slowly I thought it was really nice. I looked around the suite and I didn’t see any of my things. The suite was very empty, it was like he was on vacation for a couple hours.
“Hey do you know where my things are”.
“Um I believe you didn’t come with anything but I’ll look around.”
“This is where you began to sense something strange?” Miss Olsen asked
“Yes, I wanted to leave but he gave me the impression that there’s was no way I was leaving that suite.”
“It’s getting kind of late I think I better head back to my suite but thank you for a good night and of course the breakfast.”
“You can’t leave now, in fact I can’t let you leave.”
He reached into his pocket and dialed a number. “Yes, I have her”. My heart began to pump fast.
“You have who! What is going on?” My palms were sweaty and my heart was racing he started to pack a big duffle back and I could see my purse.
“Can I get my purse I really need to get back to my suite.”
He threw a black jacket, a wool hat, some sneakers, and a pair of grey sweat pants.
“Put in on!” He yelled loud.
I refused to put it on and after that everything went blank.
The next thing I was in a place I had never seen before. The walls were filthy and it smelled of piss. I could hear people talking in French in the hall. After that I woke up in a hospital bed. The nurses had to tell me how I ran in the hospital soaked from the rain and blood dripping god knows where. I was on three different drugs and had an infection due to being to three different countries. Jake on the other hand wasn’t Jake. His real name was Louzoo Columbi he was from France and his “marketing” business was sex trafficking and drug extortion. I don’t know where he is now but at night I sometimes have trouble sleeping . I have the fear that maybe one day he will find me or something like this could happen again. And that’s why I am here.
The room was silent and the girls that sat across from me starred.
“Thank you for sharing.”
“No thank you,” I insisted.
There was a light knock on the door.
“Sorry to interrupt, Elizabeth you have a visitor”
I walked down the hall and into the waiting room. There was a man wearing a long coat facing the tv.
“Can I help you”
The man turned around. I jaw dropped I could recognize that grin anywhere.