Writing Catalog

Evan Shapiro

Grade: 12

University School - Hunting Valley

Instructor: Lee Fallon


Short Story


Evan Shapiro
Dr. Fallon
Ap English Lit: Satire

As the bus to Albany screeched to a halt, everyone on the bus picked up their bags and headed out, except for one man, who was sitting in the back corner of the bus. The man took 5 sleeping pills just an hour before, as he thought Albany was in Maine. After 8 minutes, the bus driver walked down the aisle with irritation.

"Wake u—-," the bus driver started but was startled by the man's appearance.

He turned around hurriedly and asked his bus attendant if she could help him to get this man awake. She tipped her hat to the bus driver and walked over to the man, only to have the same startled reaction. However, she proceeded with the bus driver's order because, if she couldn't do it, no one could.

"Sir, the bus arrived ten minutes ago," she said, shaking his right shoulder.

No response. She shook harder, but nothing worked. The bus driver took note of this, and immediately had an idea

"SIR CAN YOU WAKE UP, PLEASE?!!!" The bus driver had grabbed a megaphone that he bought the week before, which he knew would come in handy, but he had not known why or how.

By the time he was done boasting to his assistant about the great purchase he had made, the man's arms rose, and he appeared to be waking up. The assistant, who was tired of the bus driver's boasts, immediately noticed and rushed to his side.

"Good afternoon, sir! Your bus to Albany arrived 15 minutes ago!"

The man rose from his seat and took a step into the aisle to grab his bag from a nearby overhead bin. As he put on his coat, preparing for the crisp Albany winds, he looked at the bus driver and his assistant with a smile.

"Shit," he said, tipping his cap towards the both of them.

As the bus driver and assistant stared at him on the way out, the assistant followed him, itching to learn the man's reason for his peculiar choice of salutation.

"Sir, are you missing something?"

He shook his head.

"Are you all right?"

He grinned a toothy grin, then nodded. He then pointed to a blackboard that hung off of his neck.

"I wish I knew other words. :)."

As he walked away, she stood behind the bus's folding doors and smiled. "What an interesting man," she thought, thinking once again about his deep black eyes.

No, the man had not gotten into a fight the day prior. The whites of his eyes were entirely black. Along with this, his entire body was tattooed, and he had an array of apparent body modifications, including a pair of horns sticking from the side of his head. The only spot on his body which was not covered was the top of his head, which he covered with a beautiful fedora, which he had inherited from his grandfather. As the man called for a taxi, he was met with strange looks, and an array of mothers placed their hands over their children's eyes. Though this would be disconcerting to anyone else, this did not bother him. He remembered when he had got the procedure done in the first place.

"What's got you in here, today?" The tattooist asked him.

He frantically scribbled on the blackboard with a piece of pink chalk. He liked to use pink on Fridays.

"The whole shebang," the sign read. He then pointed to a picture that hung by the tattooist's desk that showed a man smiling with a thumbs up, which appeared to be after getting his entire body tattooed.

The tattooist raised an eyebrow. "Sir, that's not-," the man began scribbling before he could finish.

He flipped the blackboard around. "I'll give you $2,564," the man wrote. The tattooist was confused by the specific figure, but also quite envious of the man bringing $2,564 worth of quarters as a method of payment, so he did the procedure, and was paid with a box full of shiny, straight from the roll quarters. The man walked out of the parlor feeling free.

After 10 minutes, a taxi finally arrived at the curb. He set his bags in the backseat with him.

"Where ya headed?" The taxi driver asked him.

He scribbled on the board and wrote "2987 N Cardboard Ave".

"Where ya headed, I says to ya?" The taxi driver was confused as to why the man wasn't talking. He turned around and the tattooed man was met with a look of horror. The man laughed and put the blackboard over his face.

"Ah, ok. I gotta cousin in that parta town," the taxi driver said. The man was confused as to why the taxi driver suddenly seemed to forget about his appearance. However, the man was not complaining. It was refreshing to have a person treat him as normal. He lowered the blackboard from his face once the taxi driver started driving. When the taxi driver adjusted his mirror to take into account the man's tall frame, he screamed.

"AHHHHHHHH WHAT'S UP WITCHA FACE?????" the man asked, not very politely.

The shook his head and placed the blackboard over his face once again, which put an end to any other reactions for the duration of the car ride.

When they finally arrived at the address, the man slipped him a twenty and walked out of the car. The man set his bags on the ground and fumbled for the piece of paper. The piece of paper was the address that he had given to the taxi driver, and the address was to the Albany Mental Hospital. Happy that it was the correct address, he picked up his bags and walked to the front of the tall building. When he pushed his shoulder into the door to get in, his attention was latched onto a younger girl playing in a revolving door, which was right in the middle of the building.

"I'm gonna get you," she said, giggling.

"No, you're not," she also said with glee.

He watched this solo act until he was met with a man with a clipboard.

"Hi, sir! Welcome to AMH! Are you here for a visit?"

He swung the blackboard around the front of his neck and wrote, "Yes. I'm here to see a Darla?"

The man, who was fixated on the man's appearance, shook his head to break out of staring and smiled.

"Why of course! She's been talking about a visitor this whole month," he said excitedly, "take the stairs up to floor 34 and she'll be the 13th door on the left. Or you can take the elevator to your right and her door will be two doors down from the elevator." Perhaps the man was not an employee, but a patient. Either way, he decided to trust his directions.

He smirked, interested as to why anyone in their right mind would take that number of stairs instead of the elevator, but then he remembered where he was.

The elevator dinged and the doors opened. The hallway was quiet, but nurses were walking in and out of all rooms, each wearing a different color of scrub. He picked up his crocodile skin bags and placed them in front of the door where Darla, his wife, was supposedly staying. He knocked on the door to the beat of "Sir Duke", by Stevie Wonder, but for no real reason. After he had finished the entirety of the song, a nurse came up behind him, startling him.

"I love that song," she said while unlocking the door.

He smiled and proceeded into the room with her.

"Darla! Look who's here!" All of the workers seemed equally excited to be able to host a visitor.

The woman whom he was there to see rolled on her side and her eyes widened. She let out a muffled cry and rolled off the bed, falling the 18 inches that separated her bed from the floor. The nurse jumped to her side to help her. She checked her pulse, then pulled out a walkie-talkie that hung off her belt loop.

"Assistance in room 3414 is needed immediately. Assistance in room 3414."

She stared at the man, who was just as spooked as she appeared to be.

She turned around and look at him. "I know what people like you do around places like this. I read about someone just like you in Portland the other week. What kind of sick joke is this?" She was furious.

He smiled and patted her on her shoulder. He then placed his bags on the ground next to the woman and exited the room. He had left the building and was about 8 blocks away in a tavern before the police had a chance of getting him.

The nurse sat on the loveseat that resided in a corner of the room while the police officers circled around Darla and questioned the nurses on the 34th floor. "How did this happen?" She asked herself.

She glanced up and noticed the bags. She thought if Darla never got the chance to see what was inside, then it should be up to her to open them. Once she got over to them, she unzipped the bags, but jumped backward and knocked over the plate which a bagel, delicately smeared with salmon cream cheese had been, though this did not receive an ounce of her attention. There must have been at least $500k placed in the medium-sized duffle bags. Yet, she was no longer so much focused on the money, but rather, the tip of an envelope that was poking out of the front pocket. She reached over and looked up, making sure the police weren't focused on her. She picked it out and tore it open, which held a letter:

"My Darling Darla,

I hope you are receiving this letter in a time of great happiness and solitude. I write to inform you of my condition, as it seems to affect me quite crude. I visited Dr. Marsh this past Monday and he alerted me of my tumor quadrupling in size. I have no choice but to live the remaining days of my life with it, as I can't keep living in a condition I despise. In the bags is part of our savings, which is left to you and the boys. The other part was invested into "Toys R Us", which is sure, in the stock industry, to make some noise. I know that you're in good hands at AMH. If I can't make the trip to Albany, just know that the end of my life wasn't all crummy. I will be dropped into an ocean and left to spend my remaining days with the fish of the sea, where, as you know, I believe was always meant to be.

Your Husband,