Sarah's Song - Censorship of a Short Story

This is not football related. I hope you all can understand. I guess this is something fresh in a world without any relevant football news.  I am bursting at the seams right now and need to alleviate the pressure without rupturing and exploding. I need you guys right now.


My school, a rather prestigious NON-RELIGIOUS boarding school with a 'holier-than-thou' complex, has decided that my award winning fiction short story (in a nationwide contest - we will probably be seeing it in Vanity Fair in April of 2012) is too "touchy" to be published by the school. Well, I have shown it to friends, to our English department, and even to random people in the school community, and the consensus is that it accomplishes something important even though it is racy.

I am already in hot water with the school. If I were to do it my way and print out 200 copies and litter them across campus, I would be kicked out. So, if you guys will allow it, I would like to share it with you. I don't need responses, I just want people to see it. I don't care about fame or any of that crap, I just want to say something that needs to be said. 

-And really quickly, my childhood best friend committed suicide in March. I didn't handle it well. I needed to find peace with everything, so I wrote. And I wrote. And I found a character. A character who I hated (and still hate) with all of my heart and soul. And I gave him a story. So, if you can tolerate, I offer you, my brothers and sisters and fellow Eagles fans, my magnum opus...


[Note: The above statements are fact. Everything after the jump is fiction.  THIS STORY IS NOT THROUGH MY EYES. I AM NOT THE NARRATOR, AND THE EVENTS ARE ENTIRELY FICTIONAL.]


[Also, I am still looking for a name to give this person. I cannot in good conscience name this man. If you could toss a name or two that you like in the comments, I would be so appreciative. Thank you.]


Sarah's Song

Five days later and I still haven't gotten used to the room being so empty. From up here on the top bunk, it all seems pretty distant.  After the cops took all their pictures and cleaned everything up, Jason's dad took all of his stuff.  The note said he wanted me to have his Gibson. He would try to give me lessons, but I didn't really care. He said I could do it if I practiced, so I told him that I couldn't make my fingers move like his. The glossy amber guitar is looking at me like Sarah did that night, begging me to touch her and not think about him. What's worse is that he named it Sarah.  He was always a little obsessed.  My hands are all red and blistered from moving him out.  I couldn't get his mom or sis to touch any of his stuff, so it was just Mr. Masters and me silently staring at all the trinkets before we stashed them into numb, black-plastic memory vaults. It still smells like the coffee the cops burned to get the stink of Jason out.  I guess the fresh coat of paint on that wall helps too.  Shit. I have class today.

          Why is everyone looking at me like that? Each step I take to the bathroom sends a shockwave that shuts everyone up as it hits them.  There was an Eagles game last night; everyone should be talking about that, or how finals are in two weeks, or something. It's like my presence vacuums the life out of the whole frat. Maybe this is what it's like when everyone finds out you're an orphan or you have cancer. The guys might not be so flat if I start the conversation.  Let's test the idea.

"So Tommy, how's the girlfriend treatin' ya?" His ears perk up a bit as he spits his toothpaste and flashes a minty grin. That's the first smile I've seen in a week.

          I shudder as I open the bathroom door. And now again. Something is missing. I used to get a punch in the chest when I got back to the hallway, because Jason would start the day with his amp turned to maximum volume and a new riff to make the whole frat's ears bleed. I really hated that, but it sure as Hell kept me from going back to sleep.  But even now, when I touch the cheap plastic handle of the latrine's exit, I brace myself to get ear-raped.  I guess it's like a Pavlov thing that I still ready myself for auditory violation.  Yeah, it does feel funny to not see him playing on his bunk. The uproar usually used to turn into serenade as I would come in to get dressed, but that won't be happening any time soon. But there was a rhythm to putting your socks on to the sound of that guitar, Sarah, like it made the whole thing less tedious.  I'll get an alarm that plays loud music. That should work.

          Tucker shouldn't care that I didn't do any work. Hell, the whole thing should give me a pass for a good couple of weeks.  The term paper is due tomorrow, but seriously, my roommate off'ed himself, right? Everybody is moving faster on the row, not giving me those looks. Thank god.  Guys are lazily gathering books and phones as they are extruded from the frat houses; skulking half-animates on the conveyor to class.  The stench of stale vodka and cheap body spray floats in the avenue the way they said thoughts and conversation are supposed to in the admissions video.  That worked out well. I guess the post-funeral phase of sentiment and reflective discussion came and passed as quickly as the thrill of doing college work did when we went to our first party.

Well it looks like there is still some blue throughout the sororities' ranks.  Someone is hugging Mandy from Gamma Epsilon; don't you know she sat next to Jason in Biochem? He would say that that girl hated him. He tried to ask her for help with equations and she would just ignore him completely.  I took the time to ask her at a mixer once why she was being like that, and she said that he was "awful." Granted he was no great guy or anything, I can't see why she wouldn't at least talk to him.  Now she's the one all worked up these days later, talk about irony.

Look at the rest of them, in big packs. They're coming out of the threshold like a wad of bubblegum out of a 7-year-old's mouth. First one, then a few more come out and stagnate on the porch, and then the rest of the quarter's worth gathers and bloats outside the doorway until the mouth is closed and they implode to form a huddle around one or two criers.  Most wearing pink too, how quaint.

And away we go; the booze-laden zombie cavemen and the Double Bubble conglomerate of fake mourners.  This morning's walk to class is right up there with the best of them. Damn, I'm not even late.

"Hey there Mandy." And that quickly she's found her next source of precious attention. Aw, she's really sad that she couldn't help him before it happened. Because her calming voice of reason and care would have made a nutcase not blow his brains out all over my room. Right.  At least I can keep her company as we go to Tucker's nine o'clock fun fest.  "Yeah, it's too bad you couldn't reach out to Jason. He always said that he liked you." There, now she'll have a nice taste in her mouth for the next hour or two.

I should sit in front today. Yep, right there. Not front-center exactly, just off a bit from the far side.  Because the faint hint of my self-imposed isolation equates to my not being fully able to socially function, and furthermore to operate at all. Looks who's walking in.

"Good morning Professor Tucker." Just above a whisper, I am running on hard times. "I don't know if you've heard about my roommate." Tucker's slimy eyes are pasted to the floor as he keeps nodding his head.  Wait, no, that one is still there.  I guess everyone is uglier up close in person, but the lazy eye is just too good. Actually, that explains why he is always so anal about citing references: he can read both the bullshit in the text and the bullshit in the footnotes simultaneously. That delightful factoid should help for when I do the term paper. "Oh, not for another two weeks? Thank you so much, sir, it's really been hard." Bingo!

Sarah isn't in class, how curious.  You'd think that she would want to be around a source of back-patting and well-intentioned lies.  Here's the phone. Contacts, Sarah O. Sampson. S.O.S. - gets me every time. "Hey, where are you?" If I came here, she should be here too. "He would want us to keep powering on." If you know what I mean. "How about you go to the room and hang out." She hasn't been up since the day before and Jason saw us, well, you know. "Yeah, I'll be there. It'll be alright. Class is over anyway."

"It's Jason's mother, Professor. Should I?" When he dips his head, it isn't really as noticeable. The eye. They both look sorry, though. The rest of the room has assumed the eyes on the floor position as well. I kind of remember how in church when everyone prayed, it was a lot like this. And little me was watching and laughing then too.

Keep on going, they're still watching.  That's better. No attention on this guy. Hallways are better empty, no need to put up with the fuss. People are usually either tripping over themselves to get to class or are plugged into their polished song boxes to keep the same top forty recorded bursts of diarrhea in and the outside world out.  The sound of generic banter and buffoonery is just fine as long as I'm not the source of it, or worse the object.  Eww. What should I say to Sarah? It probably doesn't matter, I have a shoulder, she has remorse, blah, blah, blah. I can probably get something out of it for my time though.

Damn it's bright outside.  There are some girls locked together on the quad. They're wearing skin and what look like the remnants of bikinis. I guess its okay to cry as long as you can tan at the same time.  Their painted faces are melting from the sweat and whatever it is that's coming out of their eyes. The tan lines will fade, but the embrace will probably last another good minute or so. I don't have time for that.

The brick frat house looks worse than usual. Whatever, this should go well. Up, up, up the stairs. "Sarah? You here?" Is that a muffled ‘yes' or did the housekeeper squeak? She keeps perusing our junk and dropping things, and she wonders why we don't trust her. Dumb alien doesn't even put things back where we left them. I understand putting folded clothes in drawers, but why would she put the guitar under my bed? Sarah doesn't belong down there. Oh great, now for the human one.

Sarah is sitting on the lower bunk looking pathetic.  Her freshly dyed black hair is a nice touch, or is it supposed to be that color? I've forgotten.  She is kind of awkwardly avoiding sight of her namesake, the instrument.  Wonder what that's about.

"No, it's not our fault.  You two had broken up two months ago. He didn't have control over every single thing you did. He hardly had control over what he did most of the time." I'm getting her to loosen up, that's good. Her eyebrows are blond, but she must have had those colored to match the yellow hair whenever she had that done.

"I know, I know. It hurts. It hurts me too, Sarah." There's some acknowledgement.  She is eating it.

"We aren't monsters, we aren't murderers.  Because you and I were together before he did it means nothing. Jason was lost, and he made his own way home." I probably pushed that one, but she's buying it.  I hope she wasn't this easy to sway for him, because that would be really boring.  I guess she made up for it in other ways. 

"Here, this heart, this is real. You are home. You are safe." Oh yeah. Getting some good rising action.

"What happened here is a part of life.  There is something special, something sacred about his presence. Just as there is something sacred about our bodies, together."  Getting to the climax. It would be nice to have a soundtrack for this. Crescendo! 

"We have to live, Sarah. We have to live!" Cut away, fade to black.  For me to win the Oscar, the movie has to be family-friendly. The guitar is the only one who gets to watch this scene.





She is blond after all.  But damn I can't be bothered to put up with it. Look at her, like a limp fish. Gotta get rid of her. "Here's your skirt.  I need you to get out of here, the frat brothers are coming soon for a smoke. Call if you need, okay." Good, she's getting up. Now slowing down as she opens the door, turning her head at me. She looks at my eyes. Something comes out of her lips.



"What's wrong with you?"



Well, it's just you and me, Sarah. Did you enjoy the show? I know that Jason played with you so much. You must be very lonely now that he's gone. You're a lot like the other Sarah. I just got her to sing, so how about I give you some love?  The fret board looks disgusted as I reach my raw right hand toward it.  The metal tabs on the waxy wood feel like dulled blades but I want to keep exploring. I swing up her body, which has two like-devil horns at the top and comes down like the hourglass figure of a real woman's hips to a taught, rounded end.  It's very satisfying to hold Sarah by her waist and her neck, but her strings look very lifeless. Jason would want me to, right? Why not? I give it a strike. She makes an angry, fleshy sound. Dammit!

I used to lie to him so I wouldn't have to do this, but I must have been right. I'm freaking bleeding all over the guitar's body. I'm getting on the floor and the wall. Why could he just do this? The six silver razor wires were tame for him, why the Hell not for me? The guys would tolerate his morning jam sessions but they can't even talk to me? He could put up with that stupid girl, or any of those stupid girls, but I get called asshole. Why?

Another strike on Sarah's strings.  She's swearing at me and I'm draining out all over her. Nothing will ever work for me. I am a liar.  I am awful.

Why did he do it first?

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