John Henry Heckendorn
We Used to Smoke Bananas

    She doesn't have a beautiful house because she lives in a freshman dorm with brown carpet and concrete walls that should have been covered. The inmates two years previous decided that the uncovered stucco expressed so titillating a nakedness that they'd petitioned for and subsequently ensured that the walls of her particular section would remain eternally underdressed.

    So it's rather easy to see why she couldn't really call it a beautiful house. Things like the local breed of foot fungus that made its happy homestead on the tile floors of the corner bathroom, while admittedly tending to grow on one after a while, could never really be classified as beautiful.

    And yet here she was, in a room full of friendly looking hippies and enthusiastic prospective students from towns in Alaska (that clearly were not to be confused with other, nearby towns in Alaska) having to unearth some kind of profound creation from under the piles of still-left-to-be-done homework assignments and potential games of beer pong that lay strewn across the pull out couch of her mind. What the fuck kind of prompt is "not my beautiful house" anyway?

    And then, as this thought derailed the wayward progress her pen was making down the page, she thought about a really beautiful house. The one she wasn't living in.

    A really fucking beautiful house, with white wooden walls and a big tree house in the back. A tree house that had been the scene of more than one misguided make out session, and she wasn't quite sure but probably still contained the remainders of that unfortunate occasion when they'd finally decided to find out whether smoking banana peels really could get you high.

    And as she thinks about this, she painfully remembers that dorm rooms aren't tree houses, and in college they don't even smoke banana peels because the stuff in college is real, and real means five dollar posters from Wal-Mart that don't do a very good job of hiding the long rip in the foam board on the wall.

    Real means extended discussion sessions on rape and how drunken sex equals bad shit going down, and watch out because this is college and this shit is real and we have pink pieces of paper and power point slides to prove it.


    And as she sits there amongst the aspiring writers, Reeses Puff ® fetishists, Alaskans, and so forth, a little tear forms in the corner of her eye, and there's a Noah's Ark kind of feeling in the back of her nose, and honestly, she can't believe herself.

    She can't believe herself because a B on an Econ test really isn't that bad, and he wasn't even funny to begin with, and she doesn't even have her period. Besides, there're probably starving people in one of those coastal countries in Africa that she should probably be going to a club meeting about. And even as she's thinking the tears start to come and come, and she's sitting there fighting the urge to sniff because then she'll give it away. But no one sees because, seriously, "eats; shoots; and leaves" is just so fucking stimulating!

    Later on she'll have a beer and maybe help throw a left over pumpkin at some townies from the top floor window of a frat house, and it'll be a big-ass pumpkin and she'll feel better, but there will still be that little glob of snot on the corner of the page that she left on the floor of the Writing House living room.