Alternative Styles

Type: It’s All My Mother’s Fault

It’s All Halter’s Fault by Britt Rasner (2018)

My eyelids growing weary with every passing second, the computer screen coats my face with its radiating brightness for the thirty-sixth minute in a row. All train stations in my head must have been abandoned or broken down, for not a single thought has come to mind, at least not ones that are guiding me in the direction of being productive. Through my headphones I can hear the click clack of my peers’ keyboards, and envy of their work ethics starts to spur within me. I’m well aware that, at this rate, my weekend is going to be spent behind this obnoxiously blinding computer screen trying to get somewhere, anywhere, with this paper. The truth is, it’s impossible for me to write this paper at school—and it’s all Halter’s fault.

Don’t get me wrong, Halter is one of the most ambitious and considerate people I know, but he creates more than just a handful of distractions that prevent me from completing my work. One of the main reasons, I’d say, is all the doggone decorations that his classroom is immersed in. The warm lights dancing around his whiteboard tempting my Pinterest addiction, the stunning pictures from numerous places he’s traveled to reminding me that my life has been filled with nothing but mediocrity, and the posters. THE POSTERS. Posters about motivation, posters about keeping on keeping on, posters intimidatingly screaming inspirational quotes at me. Posters cover the walls like clothes on a modest mormon, not allowing an inch of what is underneath to be revealed. The problem with the posters is that once I read one, I have to read all of them; and that much inspiration leads to a lot of soul searching.

Within my poster encouraged soul searching, I’m pushed to consider applying to UW-Oshkosh for college, but only after I finish my paper first. Without warning, as if he read my mind, I’m ambushed by Halter babbling on about his title as a landlord. “I’m just telling you, dorm life sucks! Skip the dorm experience and rent from me instead. I’m right in Oshkosh, and I’m a great landlord.” The digital clock ticks louder and louder as his rant carries on into my work time. “And, hey, while I have your attention, I’d like to say congratulations! All because fate landed you in my class, you’re automatically signed up for wrestling! Practices start Tuesday.” Oh boy, not this again. “In fact, you’re ALL signed up for wrestling. Can’t wait for the season, you guys are going to be great!” At this point, putting in my headphones seems like the best option, considering it’s the universal sign for “don’t bother me” and this paper won’t write itself.

Begging lightning to strike on an idea while I’m brainstorming, I dive into my paper, writing down whatever comes to mind. Thoughts surfacing, my fingers begin flying rapidly across the keyboard, firing brushstroke after brushstroke, when all of a sudden my senses are flooded by a delicious smell of…lemon cake? “BROOKE HAS A BIRTHDAY!” Halter’s boisterous voice celebrates as paper plates with lemon cake topped with cream cheese frosting land on everyone’s desk. It’s as if he discovered my weakness, dressed in red, and hopped on my shoulder to whisper “eat the cake instead of doing your paper.” Flipping my chromebook lid down, I give into the temptation of cake, deciding it’s time for me to take a break on my paper anyways. Grabbing for my phone, I go on instagram, knowing the book suggestions on halters_lit are no more of a distraction than the cake I’m indulging in.

Certainly, the finger of blame could be pointed at my acorn-sized attention span for getting me off track, but the argument here is that I wouldn’t get so off task if Halter wasn’t constantly distracting me. That being said, I cast the blame onto him. I can’t get my work for his class done, and it’s all Halter’s fault.  

Type: Short Short

Send My Regourds by Nicole Rust (2019)

Laughter and happiness is all I’ve ever known at my young age, but this day would change my life forever. A tall, stocky figure approaches me. He wears a long bristly beard paired with a well groomed mustache. I make a note of these characteristics as he looks me up and down. I also catch a glimpse of a timid child, reaching only a quarter of the bearded man’s height, cowering behind him. Suddenly, the man extends his hairy arms, thoroughly decorated with an inky outline of a snake, out toward me. His burly hands wrap around me and then it all goes black.

I’m rattled awake by the rumbling sensation beneath me. Panic strikes. I’m in the trunk of a car. Feeling around the cramped space, I notice a plastic grocery bag filled with ratted towels and a huge carving knife sitting next to me. I hear chit-chat and laughter from the front of the car. I jostle around the trunk as the car rolls to a stop. Suddenly, the hatch opens up and I see my captors face-to-face: a tall, bearded man and a shorter, younger looking boy. These certainly must be the people I had seen just before I was taken. Except, did the man have a mustache similar to that of my captor? And was his accompaniment a boy or girl? As I rack my brain for the vague recollection of my abduction, the small boy snatches the plastic bag that is sitting next to me as the man drags me out of the trunk. I recognize the tattoo of the slithering serpent crawling towards me. I’ve decided that these are definitely the hands that snatched me from my home. As he wraps his grisly hands around me, his dirty fingernails scratch my exterior, but nothing I’m not used to.

I cannot see where I am being taken next, as the man has stuffed me under his arm, blinding me from my surroundings. I hear a screen door swing open and then suddenly it falls silent as the whispering of the wind and pattering of raindrops dwindle—I am now inside.

I’m cold, dirty and wet, but again, nothing I’m not used to. The boy wipes me down with the towels from the plastic grocery bag. A huge, joyous grin stretching ear to ear is displayed on his face as he does so. As he jumps up and down with jubilance and excitement, the older man takes his turn shuffling through the grocery bag. The following happens so suddenly and unexpectedly; I am certainly caught off guard. The man with the beard approaches me with a carving knife. I think back on my short lived life and cherish the memories and time spent with my family. The hot summer days we spent together when we dreamt of the autumn winds that were soon to come. I recall my mother’s voice, coaching me on my future and what I’m meant to be. My role in this world. So as the man advances on me, I decide I’m ready, for this is my destiny. This is my year. The year I will finally be placed on the porch. The year a spooky and chilling smile will be carved into my face. The year a small flickering candle will be placed on the floor of my interior. The year I will greet all the children on Halloween night.

The Reflection by Nicole Rust (2019)

Blink once. Blink twice. Her eyes flutter open, cheek pressed against the cold, damp gravel. Dazed and confused, she lifts her upper body off of the ground. As she sits upright, the strongest pain imaginable pierces through her head. She soon recognizes her surroundings— it’s the alleyway behind the sub shop she works at. She glances around and spots the dark silhouette of a man, tall and lean, just a few feet from her. He seems to be hovering over a slumped figure. She hears a clattering sound as the man drops a small handgun to the ground. He bolts down the alleyway, turns the corner and disappears. Her eyes dart back to the figure who lays motionless. A fine trail of blood maneuvers it’s way down the gravel alleyway toward her. Due to utter shock, the pounding sensation in her skull subsides. She ascends to her feet, her entire body trembling.

She stumbles out of the alleyway and is greeted by broad daylight and a bushel of hurried people amidst the busy streets of New York. She navigates her way through the crowd of people, attempting to steal the attention of anyone.

“Excuse me, can someone help me?” she squeaks. No one seems to pay her any mind. She grabs the arm of an important looking man in a suit.

“Sir, please. I found someone and they really need help!” He just brushes by her and continues his pursuit. Why is no one listening to me?

She continues to navigate through the sea of people, shouting out to anyone willing to spare a glance in her direction. Nothing. She begins to become impatient and even more determined to find help. As she speeds past each store and small boutique, she notices her reflection in the windows. Or rather, a lack thereof.

Perplexed, she tries to recall what she was doing before she woke up in the alley. As she tries to comprehend her insane situation, the pounding sensation in her head resurfaces. Wincing from the pain, she puts her hand to her temple. As she does so, her fingertips graze over a small, smooth piece of metal lodged into her skull. A bullet. Suddenly, it all rushes back to her: her disgruntled ex, the shining pistol, her merciful cries, the thunderous bang. And then, blink once. Blink twice.

On the Rocks by Evan Olson (2019)

The salty freshwater started to sting Samuel’s face as he leaned over the miniature yacht’s railing, which was glossed over with a smooth, glistening finish. His outfit, a crisp white polo shirt paired with straightened khaki chinos and leather boat shoes, flaunted his success. Muffled murmuring buzzed in his ears as the yacht slowly docked near Paradise Beach. A party. Colored lights, radiated the night sky; the music became deafening and boisterous. Faceless bodies thrashed into the sand. Grasping his arm, a couple of young, bubbly women dragged him towards the beach.

He thought, confused, they must’ve mistaken me for someone else.

Samuel estaticly continued with the women toward the middle of the crowd. Dancing took control of his body. Never before had he felt this electric, in fact, he couldn’t even remember when he lost his shoes. Bare footed, he glanced around, realizing he was stranded.

Feeling embarrassed, he thought, maybe I shouldn’t have danced like an inflatable tubeman trying to get a plastic bag off his head. How did they even leave before I realized?

Looking around, he couldn’t make out either of the women. Then he realized, do I even know what they look like? Brown hair — blue eyes? Blonde?

He looked up again, scanning the crowd. Faceless. Everyone’s faceless? Did I have too much to drink? Did I drink?

Dazed, his past alcoholic tendencies kicked in and thought that a drink or two might ease the weariness. His legs were knotted together as he scuffled to the nearest drink. The intense heat of alcohol lined his throat. People still thrashing, lights still flashing, he downed more and more shots until more than just their faces were blurry. Foot over foot, he stumbled away from the chaos until there was no sound at all. Flustered, he bent over, dry heaving in hope of something resurfacing. He grasped the nearest object heavily panting and sweating. He looked up. Beaming into his eyes, sunlight shone through his fingers. Sunlight? It was just midnight. God, I just want to go home. A voice became audible in his head. A deep, soothing voice.The man whispered, “Wake up”. Agonizing pain trembled through Sam’s body as the voice grew louder and more violent. “WAKE UP!”, the man started screamed repeatedly. An unbearable sharp pain suddenly pierced through Sam’s entire body, paralyzing him and dropping him unconscious.

Eyes slowly rolling open, he lifted his sluggish body covered in tattered rags and glanced toward the barren beach boiling with blistering heat. Alcohol smoothly rolled down his throat as he took a swig from his flask. He picked up his hat only to find nothing short of pocket change. Disappointed, he downed the rest of his flask, hoping to return to his past.

Internal Seclusion by Evan Olson (2019)

As I deeply inhaled, the bus came to a halt. The tiny, fidgety doors creaked open, sending a freezing burst of air into my face. At that moment, I remembered why my mom told me to wear extra layers today. The temperature had been on the verge of breaking below zero degrees and my house was located three blocks away from the bus sign. I stepped down onto the sidewalk, glazed over with a thin sheet of ice, and almost fell head first into the snowbank. As embarrassing as that had been, the bus drove quickly past me so all my peers couldn’t tease me. I never realized how fast time can pass when I get flustered. Before I knew it, I had awkwardly strolled two blocks without even realizing that my hands were basically statues, forever stuck in place. As I turned right at the corner of the sidewalk, I stared straight ahead into what seemed to be a quarantine zone. The street gave me an eerie feeling as if people were watching me through their blinds.The only sound I heard was complete silence. Glancing around, there was no sign of life. Birds weren’t even chirping in the distance. The worst feeling washed over me.

Must be the cold that’s keeping everyone in, I told myself reassuringly. Six houses away, five houses away, four houses away…

I eagerly ran to my front door expecting warmth and comfort to overtake my body as soon as I step through. My mother on the couch, asking me how school went and my dad next to her making us laugh. Instead, I was greeted by nothing. Not a sound could be heard except for the creek of the door as I slowly shut it behind me.

“Hello?” I shouted. No reply.

My thoughts bounce around throwing out ridiculous theories of what could’ve happened to them.

Did they die? Were they in a car accident? What’s going to happen to me?

My parents, who are quite informative, would never leave without notifying me. Leaning forward, I carefully roam, room to room, alert for any sign of life. After an in-depth search, I came to the conclusion that I am completely alone. Distraught, I head to my room to wait for their arrival. I periodically glance out of the window in the front of the house to catch them pulling into the drive-way, but they never do. With each day that passes, I lose a little bit of hope.

Writers Workshop Students by Evan Schwalbach (2019)

Writers workshop is the semester english class that every senior hopes to have. The flexible deadlines and workshop atmosphere allow for students to have the freedom to improve their writing abilities. It is basically a pimped out study hall with the guidance of a teacher who’ll give you the necessary word-vomit needed to pick out a gleaming speckle of inspiration. Over my time spent in this course, students have shown variating tendencies on how they choose to spend their freedom of which I have been able to observe (and chuckle at).
The distractees – the most common type of student in writers workshop. These students take for granted the flexible deadlines to the utmost extent. Usually social birds, these students chit chatter their way through a forty five minute class day in and day out. Often, they’ll have their chromebooks wide open to give off the appearance of an avid worker. Even though in the meantime, you’ll be able to clearly hear them from across the room as they rave on about the most recent word on the street. Not too convincing. Yet, I haven’t even mentioned the most destructive form of a classic writers workshop distractee.. the phone junkie. This ravaging form of distraction affects anyone that has no willpower to work when they receive the freedom of an entire class period. Phone junkies will often sit down in class, open their chromebooks, maybe throw out a couple of half-ass sentences, and then get hit by a truck of temptation. Once they give in, they pull out their phone, and production for the rest of the period hits a dead stop. Distractees struggle with the privilege presented to them in this class.
Now, the most amusing classification.. the chompers. Not too many of these exist, but chompers are plundered by their seeming impairment. Chompers, much like the distractees, yet still deserving a class for themselves, can’t stop eating in writers workshop. Their backpacks are like clown cars; food gets drawn out like an endless stream from each and every pocket. As soon as food is drawn out, a chomper abruptly stops all focus on the daily objective for class and focuses on munching. It’s quite humorous, as suddenly they are behind and asking questions that have already been answered. Oh well. It could be avoided. Just eat during lunch!
The late workers fail to take advantage of the flexible deadlines. Somehow and someway, four available days to finish a blog post that can be easily finished during the original forty-five minute blog day isn’t enough time for the late workers. Late workers tend to not start the paper until after the due date, and drive Mr. Halter insane with random late submissions that he has to read to prepare for a conference. Late workers are quite foreign to me as I can’t muster the disappointment felt after taking the walk of shame to his desk and turning a paper in late.
Finally, there’s the infamous sweatzle. The sweatzle student, like a pearl in a clam, appears just as often as Halley’s Comet. This student comes to class every day, prepared to grind, and spends all their available time writing and studying new grammar techniques. Sweatzles have the self-control to not look at their phones and can delve into their own optimum writing environment at ease. They may even write answer keys for the teacher because of their accuracy in this class. Sweatzles don’t come around very often in writers workshop; in fact, there is only one person that comes to mind when reviewing the nature of the class.
These are the four classifications that I see daily as a student in writers workshop. From an observable standpoint, it is actually quite entertaining to see how students utilize their precious time. These classifications can be used to infer how these students will behave once they are enrolled in college courses. Halter is doing the right thing with letting his students learn the hard way how to manage their time.

Types of Boring People by Evan Olson (2019)

Being a boring person myself has given me the chance to focus in on what makes me boring according to mine and other people’s standards. I think people have different views of what’s boring and what isn’t; however, there must be universal or common acts that condemn someone as boring. What I find is that most boring people have distinguishable, dependable subclasses that can be attributed as to why they’re boring: a negative attitude, complaining, gossiping, showing little or no enthusiasm, having little to say without any opinions, or even having much to say without much to support a real opinion. Although, not all boring individuals are so easily distinguishable.
Negative egocentrism. I’d put this person at the number one position due to the fact that they’re described as “negative and complaining, talking about one’s problems, and displaying uninterest in others,” just awful people really. Negativity is first nature to them; all of their problems, huge or small, will be thrown at whoever’s in their path whether they like it or not. Even the happiest of conversations could be twisted by their demonic, happiness sucking tongue. For example, a man just donated blood with his friends and says, “I had such a fun time donating blood for people in need”. And just to ruin his day this evil person comes at him with, “I wouldn’t donate blood, it’s gross. It’s just a waste of time anyway, feeling sluggish for a day or two. You probably ended up giving it to a Neo-Nazi, thanks so much”. At that point everyone slowly creeps away until turning around into a full sprint. Usually, I avoid these people entirely or ignore them until they take a hint.
Banality: “the fact or condition of being banal; unoriginality” (Google’s definition). People who are unoriginal are in some ways more “boring” than people with negative egocentrism who are rather just annoying. Spewing trivial and superficial things, being interested in one topic, and repeating the same jokes and stories are mostly all they can do. Yeah, the first one or two greetings with these people are interesting; although, after every encounter with them you’ll gain another bag underneath your eyes. Equally important, one good joke and they won’t even think twice about using a different one. Staying away will be beneficial for everyone’s sanity, unless they trained at comedy school.
Low affectivity, far less interesting and almost dead. Anyone can probably spot these people from the sound of their voice or their movements, rather their lack thereof. Being referred to as low affectivity means showing little enthusiasm, speaking in a monotone, engaging in very little eye contact, and behaving in a very unexpressive way. For instance, it would be hard to notice these people in a classroom of students because they probably haven’t talked for three weeks and if they have, someone wanted to shove a book down their throat to stop that horrid flat line voice. I’d say tendinosus plays into it to. They’re able to drag a conversation on for miles, all the while, trying to make some point already forgotten about. To top it all off, they lack any enthusiasm to try new things. Where’s the excitement in that? I’d say, ditch that person and find someone else to be around.
Passivity, least annoying and boring in my opinion. They have little to say, don’t have their own opinions, and are too predictable or are likely to try to conform with what everyone else is saying. I can’t be too harsh, as I struggle with passivity. It’s not always a bad thing to agree with other people, but eventually others will realize that you don’t have any personality and seem to suck the personality from the nearest person like a leech latched onto an arm. Similarly, it seems that a different kind of leech is sucking on them. One that drains any opinion or interesting things to say. Although, being interesting can be hard. I regularly don’t know what to say to people because it just doesn’t seem to be interesting. So, people with passivity might not be the most fun, but they aren’t the worst either. They’re the most fun, boring people.
These are the four classifications of boring people I notice throughout school and life in general. Although I study boring people, it keeps things interesting and I’m reassured by the fact that there are other people more boring than me. Here’s a life tip; avoiding people with boring traits like the ones mentioned will only bring happiness and joy to life.