In a college dorm, in a prison, in a marriage
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Journaling Prompt: Write a one-page story in which your favorite mystical creature resolves the greatest sociopolitical problem of our time.
How The Minotaur Changed The Legal Drinking Age To Sixteen
by Juan Ramirez
He was like, “Citizenry of Congress, teenagers are going to drink anyway, so you need to learn to trust them and not have the janitor break open their lockers just because you think they have brass knuckles hidden in their gym shoes,” which I didn’t, Ms. Freedman, so I hope they make you pay for my lock. Then the Minotaur would become a celebrity spokes-Minotaur for Jägermeister. He would be in commercials with all these big blond amazonian chicks, drinking Jägermeister and doing a topless carwash. In a maze.
How The Unicorn Stabbed Juan Ramirez In The Heart Seven Times, Which Is What He Deserves For Breaking Up With Me Like That
by Andrea Shylomar
I don’t believe in anything mystical, Ms. Freedman. Not even God. You made us build that diorama of Mount Olympus, and you made us paint that mural with unicorns and butcherbirds and sand toads. You said it was to show that books transport us to different worlds, where there are different rules, and there’s magic in everything. Well, what you forgot is that when you shut the book, you’re back in this world, and the bell is ringing, and wadded-up paper is thrown at your head, and Adam Sandoval is poking at your crotch with a pencil, and later Christina Sackburn’s bitchy flunkies climb into your bathroom stall and threaten you with scissors. What you need is a book that takes you out of this world permanently. Which is called a gun, I think.
How The Werewolf Solved The Problem Of Hunger
by Xuang Lee Zang
He ate everyone. Then there were no more people. Then no one was hungry. Especially not the werewolf. He did get lonely, though. He was so fat he couldn’t move, and he lay on the bank of the river, wishing someone would come and sing to him. Nobody did.
How The Giant Squid Made Me Stop Being Pregnant
by Christina Sackburn-Reyes
I was swimming in my bathing suit, all worried because, like I told you at lunch hour, Ms. Freedman, I’m pregnant. I guess Juan Ramirez is the father, but I barely broke up with him, ’cause he was hooking up behind the dumpster with that fish-lipped Shylomar freak. Plus also my mom is totally going to kill me when she finds out.
So I was floating there, and it smelled like seaweed, and I tasted salt on my tongue, and then the giant squid grabbed me with her big pink arm. It felt all squishy around my stomach, and it pulled me underwater, and I couldn’t breathe. The squid hugged me close to her body and told me in squid language that she would take my baby and live with it under the sea. Then she squeezed on my stomach, and this little fish popped out, and I could tell it was going to grow up to be this gorgeous mermaid who would drive the sailors crazy when they saw her tits all poking out of the water. The squid kind of cradled the little fish with one tentacle and let me go. I stuck my head out of the water, and I felt my stomach, and the baby was gone. I swam back to shore, all happy, because my baby was safe there in the water with the squid, and in my bathing suit I walked all the way over to the Planned Parenthood on 23rd Street. I was all dripping when I walked inside. The secretaries were like, What’s with this chick? I just told them to put me on birth control, like I should have done a year ago, but I was too scared of my mom finding out.
How The Vampire Resolved The AIDS Problem
by Julie Chang
I guess he turned everyone with AIDS into vampires. Then, because they were vampires, they would live forever and not die of AIDS. But I guess then there would be the problem of all these AIDS vampires spreading disease when they sucked people’s blood. So maybe it would be better if the vampire just did AIDS-awareness education. He could go around to assemblies in high-school cafeterias and tell people about AIDS and show them how to put a condom on a banana, like you did in homeroom, Ms. Freedman. Except no one would laugh, or ask, What’s the difference between an erection and a boner? or say it didn’t look like you’d ever opened a condom wrapper before, because you kept fumbling, and you finally tore it open with your teeth. Everyone would just be really frightened and use condoms and not get AIDS.
How The Cephalopod Balanced The National Budget
by Phil Gasher
Cephalopods seem like mystical creatures to me because they have no vertebrae, and they can change color faster than a chameleon. Also, I was wondering: are those your real eyes, Ms. Freedman? Because there’s a lot of light in them when you stand by the window. I thought maybe you wear contact lenses, and that’s where you get those little flecks of green. If the cephalopods balanced the national budget — I am thinking here of a lot of little tiny slugs jumping on calculator buttons to do the necessary equations — you wouldn’t have to buy us scissors and tape. And you wouldn’t be so stressed out, because we would have more books than just Reading Is Fun! from 1972, which, as you pointed out, is for fourth-graders. You wouldn’t have had to bring in all your childhood books from your parents’ basement, and you wouldn’t have been so upset when someone drew boobs and a penis on Black Beauty. I know you think it was me, because of those notes I wrote you, but it wasn’t. I wouldn’t do something like that. I like you. I think you’re the best teacher in school.
How The Pegasus Created World Peace
by Amelia Basil
I rode the Pegasus to school on Monday morning, and we stood on Ms. Freedman’s desk and testified to the rapturous power of the Lord. The Pegasus interpreted Scripture, and I spoke in tongues. Angelica Masterson fell to her knees and saw a vision of souls tormented in lakes of fire. She abandoned her way of darkness and no longer made me swallow erasers in second period. Then the seventh seal was opened. The sun turned black, the moon became blood, and stars fell to earth like fruit shaken from trees. The Lamb of God appeared in all his glory, his white robes blinding our eyes. I knelt before him, and he put his hand on my head. “Well done, good and faithful servant,” he said. A sword of joy pierced my heart, and I felt the violence of love.
How The Succubus Got Me Laid
by Adam Sandoval
I was lying on my bed, staring at these pictures I ripped out of Playboy and taped to my ceiling. My little brother, who shares my room, was like, “Adam, wanna play Legos?” And when I looked at the Lego princess, who is tiny and square and yellow, I felt kind of turned on. Suddenly the room began to shake, and the Lego princess grew a pair of bat wings, and then she grew bigger and bigger until she was this really hot, tall yellow woman, only with goat hooves and a forked tongue. Due to my comic-book wisdom, I recognized her as a succubus, which is a female demon who seduces men and sucks away their life force. I was like, “Davy, go downstairs. I need to have some personal time with Lego princess.”
I lost 90 percent of my life force that afternoon, but it was totally worth it. And that is why I kept falling asleep in class last week.
How The Wood Nymph Saved The Environment
by Janice Gibbs
It would be kind of like that time that you brought in cupcakes on your birthday, Ms. Freedman, and Andrea Shylomar said they tasted like wet bananas, and you were like, “Very well, then, Andrea, give me back the cupcake,” and she was like, “No, Miss, I was just saying stuff. I’ll still eat it.” Then Adam Sandoval said, “This frosting looks like poop.” And you lost it. You took his cupcake and smashed it against the chalkboard. The cupcake stuck to the chalkboard for a few seconds, and when it fell off, it left this smear. Which, you have to admit, did look a lot like poop. Anyway, you just stood there, breathing loudly, and then you made everyone put their head down on their desk. You turned out the lights, and you sat at your desk, and you ate, like, ten cupcakes. You even ate the wrappers. We were all scared, because you had always been so nice, and you were acting whacked.
Anyway, it would be a lot like that with the wood nymph. At first everyone thinks, We can do whatever we want to the environment. She won’t even do nothing. For a thousand years the wood nymph forgives us for destroying the world. But when someone cuts down the oldest and tallest redwood tree, her patience snaps. Big time. She makes the plants wither and the volcanoes explode and the water freeze to ice. Which really makes people think about their behavior. Then maybe they change.
How My Dad Fixed The Lawn Mower
by Peter Dawnings
I guess my dad is kind of like a mystical creature, because he died when I was three. He would be like a ghost now or whatever. Like an angel or a spirit or something. Anyway, I was thinking, What if he came back? My mom would be so happy to see him, she would kick Trent out right away and say, “I never want to see your ugly face round here again. My husband has come back, and he’s not going to give me bruises on my arms or lie on the couch all morning putting out cigarettes in empty cartons of ice cream.” My dad would be a light-blue kind of color, all filmy and electric. Not just him, but everyone who died and had families who missed them would all get to come back. Everything that was broken would be fixed. They would even find your glasses, Ms. Freedman, which Juan Ramirez hid in the dumpster behind the gym, but don’t tell anyone I said that. Everything that was lost would be found.
How The Phoenix Got Ms. Freedman Out Of Texas
by Laura Jane Freedman
The phoenix appeared at Ms. Freedman’s window.
“You’re crushing the gardenias in my window box,” she said.
The massive bird groomed its wing.
“You may as well come in.” She patted her bed. “Have a seat. Can I get you a drink?”
The phoenix shook its head.
“I was planning to have cereal for dinner,” she said, sipping from her mug of wine. “But if you’re hungry, I’ll thaw some chicken.”
The phoenix regarded her in silence.
“Don’t look at me like that, bird. I don’t need your guilt trip.”
The bird widened its eyes.
“I mean, why should I stay?” Ms. Freedman gestured with the mug, sloshing wine on the bed. “Are you going to tell me that I’m ‘sowing seeds that may take years to sprout’? That I’m ‘reaching them’? Because I’ve been telling myself that all year, bird. I don’t need to hear it from you.”
“I feel like an empty yogurt container with a banana peel stuffed in it. I mean, can an empty yogurt container with a banana peel stuffed in it transform a child’s life?”
The phoenix fluttered its wings.
“It can’t even be recycled.”
The phoenix cocked its head to the side. Beckoning.
Ms. Freedman stood up and stepped to the window. She nested her fingers in the phoenix’s plumage, hoisted her body onto its back. She burrowed her face in its neck. She could feel its heart reverberate through its downy feathers.
The phoenix stepped into the window box, crushing a gardenia. Then it thrust out its wings and flew.