Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Short Story by Ethan Naegele, Senior

The Meaning of Love

by Ethan Naegele

Mrs. Horwitz forgot to take her medicine.

The September sun beamed through the large westward windows of her upstairs room. The daylight transformed into its familiar twisted dark gold color of late afternoon, and through the curtains she saw light so beautiful that it enchanted and disintegrated her all at once, because it reminded her of a time when she was younger and prettier out in the park before sunset—younger and prettier and filled with blind passion to live and die in the arms of a charming young man, so elegant and respectable and perfect—younger and prettier. She sat in the white room with the large windows, soaking in the daylight, soaking in the memories of a life so beautiful, so imaginary.

Mrs. Horwitz got that way whenever she forgot to take her medicine. Before long, she’d recall the memories of Dear Old Dad who, when she was fourteen, decided that he wouldn’t have a whore of a daughter and decreed that she was never to leave her room. It was never long after those memories that she’d remember the night when he didn’t come up to her room to make sure she didn’t somehow escape through the bars on the windows like the dirty whore he knew she was. She’d remember how she waited another night to emerge, in order to avoid the risk of being beaten harder than last time, and on that next night she found the corpse with asphyxiated skin tinted light blue, contrasting the cold, black beads of his eyes that stared into infinity. She’d remember asking God for forgiveness—because her tears were anything but mournful.

Those memories tainted her consciousness and prevailed all these years, lightly skating across the edge of perception until the day when Mrs. Horwitz forgot to take her medicine, when they would finally shatter the surface and plunge into her mind and corrupt her every thought.

Mr. Horwitz sat in the kitchen directly below her room. A carefully crafted meal of chicken and peas rested on his plate. The peas were hardly softer than rocks and the chicken was still blood red in the center and still displayed a disheartening rubbery texture. He could hardly complain, though. She spent hours of her life creating this meal, and—since he was not allowed to cook—his lack of choice, and lack of knowledge that there was even a choice, led him to chew and swallow the green rocks and bloody rubber with a mellow smile on his face—pleasantly, ignorantly.

Now and again there were fleeting moments in which a moment of higher consciousness produced a thought that invaded his mind and shattered his ignorance. It only ever lasted for a fraction of a second: a thought not even put into words, no more than a fleeting feeling. Such a feeling invaded him when he wished that he was allowed to leave the house today, but then the perverseness in him settled and replaced itself with a docile, mellow internal smile—as it always did—and as he stood up and looked at their wedding picture, he reminded himself that this is love; this is happy. Never again would he find himself in the dark place where he was always shivering from the cold and crying from the lovelessness, where the sky was always concrete gray so that no gold could ever seep through, because he found love; he found happy.

Upstairs, Mrs. Horwitz now paced back and forth across her room. In her mind, images of her husband alternated with images of her father. The dark gold of the room seemed to strengthen for her eyes only, and upon noticing, that color bombarded her mind and represented all of that which was forever lost in that room, where—between the bars and beyond the branches of the distant trees—she could see those golden rays as they danced into her eyes, and in her mind came a flood of yearning and desire for open fields and freedom, for young love—a feeling to which she could surrender herself completely—for the feeling of human touch, for the twinkling energy of staring into the eyes of another human being.

But those feelings are only idealistic, only idiocies, she told herself. She did not marry a man but an idea, a prevailing idea that told her it was possible to separate the tyrannical nature of the father from the husband. Impossible, she now told herself. Her anger boiled. She reached for the knife under the bed.

Mr. Horwitz had just finished his meal. Standing up, he began to notice the dark gold color that cast itself into brilliance. A vague emptiness swept through him and shook him, but only briefly, like a ship through desolate water momentarily riding upon threatening waves before steadying again. As much as he wished to go to the backyard to witness the transformation of sunset into dusk, he reminded himself that she didn’t allow him there out of love, nothing other than love. She couldn’t function if she was without him, so she had to keep him inside where nothing bad could ever happen to him—inside where he was hers and she was his and they could love each other for all time. He knew that.

It was there. Always there. Always will be there. She tried for a decade now to remove the devil from him, but it remained, prevailed, thrived, even, only ever shifting from his conscious to his subconscious. She had to contain him, tame him, before he strangled her. Had to. If she didn’t, Satan himself would emerge from him and she would only see slivers of gold from between the bars on the windows again. She knew that.

She held the knife behind her back, with both arms crossed behind her, behind her white dress with spots of roses. Mrs. Horwitz was ready, ready to go further than any other time when she forgot to take her medicine, and she walked down the stairs like a bride down the aisle.

Mr. Horwitz heard her soft footsteps. He let the sound of them float in his mind pleasantly. He turned his head slightly and closed his eyes. The woman he loved was coming to join him.

“Let’s go to the yard,” she said.

He never questioned it.

She followed him out the sliding door. He breathed in the enriching air of the emerging September evening, fine and rare. The sunlight on his skin was palpable yet delicate. He closed his eyes and allowed the light to create graceful forms through the lids.

The knife plunged into the side of his neck. It was as if his muscles truly relaxed for the first time in ten years as the weight of his world broke away from him, as if gravity itself had been inverted and allowed everything to float away into the heavens. He collapsed, and the bright red poured onto the unkempt grass.

The devil finally escaped him, she thought. Yet so did the life from the man she could almost love, if it wasn’t for the tyrant within. But he was pure now, cured, released, she realized, so now all that was left was the man without the tyrant; now he was not her father and now she could love him!

So Mrs. Horwitz chased after the man. She knelt down beside her husband. A swift puncture of the carotid artery and she was there with him, following him. She removed the knife from her neck and allowed the divine crimson to pour, and then she collapsed perfectly beside the body, then both faces stared up into infinity. She caught up to him. Her stream coalesced with his, where they met to form a crimson lake that glistened under the dying sun, where their souls had married in everlasting peace.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Short Story by Cora Chavez, Senior

Scary Story

by Cora Chavez

Home is where the heart is supposed to be. I don’t feel love in this house, only fear. My house is not haunted with demons or ghosts, it's forever haunted by my family. Some nights I’m woken up in the middle of the night or maybe it’s more safe to say in the morning, by my younger brother screaming at the top of his lungs. I run to him every time but when I ask him what’s wrong he just stares down with tears in his eyes fumbling with his blanket. He’s never spoken to me about it but I think he dreams that he’s free from this loveless house only to wake up and find that he’s still here.

This house would make anyone scream.

When I get up in the morning to make breakfast I always see my mother in the kitchen but she’s never cooking, she sits in a ball on the dirty tiled floor and rocks back and forth.

Nobody says anything here but me. I’ve grown so used to talking to myself. This place is literally making me insane. Was I already insane to begin with? I can’t leave, I’ve tried so many times the doors and windows won’t open. When I ask my family why they don’t answer. What are they keeping from me? I’m so scared it’s going to be like this forever that I’ll never see any of them smile or hear their laughs.

It was a Tuesday morning when I found myself digging through my mom's drawers out of pure boredom. She was in her room while I was doing it, surprisingly enough she didn’t care! She just laid in bed doing nothing...that’s all most of them ever did. Especially my older little brother, he didn’t play video games anymore he was always under his blankets. I never saw him leave his room. He’d cry a lot. I missed his laugh the most.

My ma had so much stuff in her drawers. I found a bunch of double A batteries, coupons, like 18 quarters and a little tiny stack of papers, probably just old receipts I had thought to myself. I started to unfold them curious about the last things she bought that were worth saving the receipt for.

These weren’t receipts.

I saw my handwriting and I started to scream. I screamed and screamed until my voice was gone. How could I do this to them? I broke them and now I was stuck here forever to watch.

I wasn’t in a haunted house, I was haunting it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

OpEd by Emily Zarate, Senior

A Broken Support System

By Emily Zarate

May 22, 2018

When a bridge lacks support, it is destined to fail. With no structure or base to support it, the bridge will ultimately collapse and no longer maintain its function. Why can’t the same be said of the citizens of this country?


After twenty years of no reform, it is time we take a look at our nation’s welfare system. As of 2016, more than 44.6 million Americans lived under the poverty line. As strikingly large as this number is, it would have been larger if programs such as Social Security, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and housing subsidies did not exist to lift an additional 48.3 million constituents out of their hardship. Such programs show the benefit of social aid, despite what the Trump administration may claim. As a midterm election nears at the end of this year, it is important to keep in mind that over 13 percent of our nation lives in impoverished conditions everyday.

Poverty rates among the elderly and the disabled are increasingly high due to their physical or mental limitations. Social Security is the most successful social program in American history, however, like all programs throughout American history, there are many—conservatives— who refute it. The lack of funding will significantly decrease the financial protection that many families rely on.

Donald Trump’s—our current president—proposed budget cuts to these federal social programs represent a serious threat to working-class and poor Americans who depend on those programs. Conservatives like Donald Trump, such as Paul Ryan, believe that government social services have only hurt the poor and that Republicans genuinely want to help them by diminishing of their dependence of welfare programs by getting rid of funding. Those in power, have a catastrophic effect on those who mostly depend on the government for assistance. Their role in the lives of others can be their downfall.

Many create an alternative to challenge Trump’s slogan, mentioning that before he can make “America great again” he must first make it humane. The reason for this being that people are forced to live a poor life with limited help. Increased poverty rates are not helped, only making the situation worse. The inhumane treatments caused by conservatives for their entertainment only weakens their support systems. They are given unfair chances to try to remake lives, giving them a “dead end” chance.

The Rich Gets Richer

Identifying the solution for ideal welfare reform, though, comes down to taking a look at the root of the problem. As renowned economist and Nobel Prize winner Joseph Stiglitz asserts in his book The Price of Inequality, America currently has the most inequality and least equality of opportunity among developed countries.

Yet, the most disturbing part of the book is the fact that we are very unlikely to follow the advice that is contained in it.

The standard of living of the top 1% continuously rises, while that of the lower 99% continues to fall. Moving money from the bottom to the top lowers consumption because higher income individuals consume a smaller portion of their income than do lower income individuals The opportunities for upward mobility are fewer in the United States than in many other countries. The reason is that the upper 1% have designed the economic, political, tax, and education systems to benefit themselves, to the detriment of everyone else. They do not realize that in the long term, their well-being is inextricably coupled to the well-being of society as a whole.

Against Welfare Programs

On August 22, President Clinton signed into law "The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity” Reconciliation Act of 1996, a comprehensive welfare plan that dramatically changed the nation's welfare system into one that requires work in exchange for time-limited assistance. This new system will exclude many of those disabled who are faced with extreme challenges in the workplace. The author mentions that there are many for and against this welfare program. Those against it want to make it tougher to get financial support—such as Arizona giving a one year limit

Although some disapprove of the decreased funding in social welfare programs, there are many who, on the other hand, approve and even encourage it. With various citizens behind them, and many more becoming impoverished, the need for these social reforms increases. As a result, the broken support system negatively affects those who are in most need of it.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

OpEd by Xavier Olivia, Senior

A Third-World Within A First -- Rural America in Crisis
By Xavier Oliva May 21, 2018

It was two and a half millennia that the great storyteller Aesop resided in Ancient Greece and told of many tales such as that of the Country Mouse and the City Mouse. The same sentiment of there being disparaging social identities, values between rural and urban are evidently not a new observation, nor do I believe Aesop himself even conjured up the revelation. However, the difference between ever present sectors of culture has--of late--become greater than nuanced opinions. The world views are not different, It is now the world themselves that the American rural population inhabits that differs from their urban counterparts

Ever since World War II, the United States has been the self-proclaimed “greatest country on earth” and has been at the forefront of technological milestones all the way through to present day. To many, it would be a gasp-inducing understatement to deem the United States simply a first-world country, however, through the veil of patriotism and borderline nationalism, it is easy to turn a blind eye to the hardships that American citizens live through on a daily basis. When one thinks of issues that plague society like lack of potable water one conjures up images of Sub-Saharan Africa, war-torn countries halfway around the world, everywhere but our own country. However, to the surprise of many, one needs not travel outside the borders of the United States to even come across a third-world country, they can be found in the rural communities that have been long forsaken.

Foremost, the status of health in these forsaken rural communities is among the most alarming of attributes that liken them to that of developing countries.

Given the privatization of our healthcare system, striving for the highest bidder has left Rural America sick and forgotten. Due to the low population density of these rural communities, it is not cost-effective for there to be a great presence of medical services for those living a far cry from a big city or even a bustling small-town. And with the recent proposed changes to the Affordable Care Act, an act generally beneficial to the poorest of Americans, those in rural areas may be struck with even greater economic burdens and less healthcare options.

In other words, it is not in the best interest of healthcare corporations to help those in need, especially those in rural areas. The statement itself is disgustingly ironic while also being representative of the rural situation surrounding healthcare.

Sadly, the perpetuation of this form of corporatism that seeks to find the only quantifiable success in this capitalistic nation is not limited to just conglomerates.

In western states like California and Colorado, rural communities have been given one more reason to despise big government. Due to rapid population growth in urban hubs and the lack of profitability of agriculture, water has been prioritized in urban areas leading to water transfers from rural areas based on tax revenue. Though water is necessary in these bustling cities, there are unintended consequences, such as the sudden removal of these small agrarian communities’ economic prospects as well as the degradation of said water when in contact with industrial pollutants. And once more the livelihood of Rural America takes a backseat to profits showing once more that human life may just be quantifiable in the form of currency and thus can be prioritized as that, a dollar sign.

However, the greatest issue that plagues the once great heartland of the United States is one that is a nationwide motif, that being drug abuse. With the rise of opioid prescriptions in the 1990s due to the back-breaking labor of both urban industry and rural agriculture, the country’s death toll to the once-unregulated drug has steadily increased to the point of it being impossible not to note by both the general population and the media. And though the problem of drug abuse has been at the forefront of national debate since the early Temperance movements, the urban facet of this plague on society has been given all of the attention with the rural aspect only being acknowledged as recently as this millennium. This urban bias is only made more observed when it is noted that “there were 300 times more seizures of meth labs in Iowa in 1999, for example, than in New York and New Jersey combined. (Egan).

As years have gone by, the heartland of America has quietly regressed to the days of the Dust Bowl, in many cases, as urbanization has pushed the rural lifestyle from being sustainable. It is difficult to tell the outcome of Rural America, however one thing is for sure--history repeats itself and this is just another instance.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

OpEd by Karina Delgado, Senior

DDE Literary Magazine

Our mission is to promote and share the creative endeavors of students at Dwight D. Eisenhower High School.

Welcome to Cardinal Voices 2018-19!  We are starting off the school year by featuring OpEd articles written in May by Mrs. McMillan's AP Language and Composition students.  In AP Lang, students learn how to write for a variety of purposes by mastering how to adjust their voice, tone, and strategy. This assignment highlights how these students combine research with their opinion.  All of the featured writers wrote these as juniors and are now seniors.

Environmental racism isn’t a myth.
By: Karina Delgado May 21, 2018
Why is it that when black and brown people voice their concerns on issues that directly pertain to them, officials turn a blind eye? Money. And why is it that minorities have a higher chance of living by a toxic waste dump than whites? Environmental racism.

These two answers go hand in hand.

Racism is as American as cherry pie. It has ran its course over centuries in America. So has capitalism. One cannot corner the market, but one can corner someone’s neighborhood until it is refined to nothing but factory smog and production lines.

Often defined as a toxic set of beliefs that one is superior to another based on race, racism has been systematically implemented through laws afforded by privileged whites. There are no more Jim Crow laws or segregated schools, but racism still persists with each factory placed in a minority-based neighborhood.

The term environmental racism was coined by Reverend Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. in a 1987 study conducted by the United Church of Christ that examined the location of hazardous waste dumps and found an “insidious form of racism." African-Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans were, and still are, disproportionately affected by hazardous fumes, environmental policies and dumpsites. They are targeted because companies know they lack resources and knowledge to fight back. This unnecessary intolerance of minorities makes minorities vulnerable in their own homes. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, minorities could feel a sense of safety knowing they would be surrounded by loved ones once in their homes even if the outside world hated them. Now, they have no one to turn to because their loved ones are dead from breathing in toxic fumes from the factory next door.
It is fact that minorities tend to be the ones to live in dangerous neighborhoodsnot because they want to, but because they do not have the means to move. The dispute over whether environmental racism is real or not is utterly ridiculous if you think about a rich white family’s decision to live next to a landfill that produces noxious smells.

Surprise, they wouldn’t.

So, what makes companies, who make up studies to take down claims of environmental discrimination, think that their placement of factories in poor neighborhoods is coincidental. Blacks, Native Americans and Hispanics want to leave their toxic environments, but they were there first (sounds familiar). And companies know their dilemma which is why they prey on their economic status and inability to fight back.

Flint, Michigan.

A city name anyone in America is all too familiar with. Flint, Michigan first came to the nation’s attention not when its citizens started to become suspicious, but when a revelation over the high lead levels in water surfaced through a Virginia Tech study. City officials decided to switch over Flint’s source of water from Lake Huron to the local Flint River to cut costs. The hopes were to save money; however, instead, an impoverished neighborhood where over 50 percent of residents are African American and 41 percent are poor received toxic waste filtered through their water pipes.

When one citizen decided to see just how toxic her water was, test results revealed that water flowing into her home contained lead levels as high as 397 parts per billion. That level far exceeded the 15 parts per billion (ppb) level at which the EPA requires communities take action, such as replacing lead pipes, to control corrosion and prevent lead from leaching into the water.

How could this have happened? How could America, a revered nation known for leading the way in all kinds of reform, let its government, city and local officials get away with this? The answer lies in negligence. Flint’s mayor had his emails revealed and it showed that he knew there was a problem far before the Virginia Tech study that exposed the city’s lead levels in September of 2015 came out. If he knew then, he could have prevented the genetic link between Flint water and Legionnaires’ disease, a severe form of pneumonia caused by legionella bacteria. During the eighteen months that Flint residents received water from the Flint River, cases of Legionnaires’ disease increased and at least twelve deaths were confirmed in 2017.

America should be ashamed. In this day and age, everyone is entitled to clean water. Mere efforts have been made to fix cities like Flint, though none have made significant impact. Native American communities for years have endured waste dumps on their land. The Environmental Protection Agency has chosen not to do extensive research into why they are chosen or the effects on them later in life. This confirms how little they care about already impoverished neighborhoods once their money is secured. The EPA and Flint officials need to be held responsible for their inability to take action when needed.

Hopefully, now that environmental injustices like Flint have brought awareness to the exploitation of poor communities for financial gain, there can be more action taken to hold those in power accountable for both their actions and inactions.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Short Story from Jason Nako, Senior

Olympic Hope

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.