Preview Issue 01.01.06

Backyard | by Andrea Avery

Hidden Pulleys on Balcony Four | by Aaron Belz

The Bars of Our Fathers | by Thom Fletcher

Deep in the heart of Chesterfield: A city rat considers the suburbs | by Chris King

Coffeehouse | by Michaela McGinn

This Way Chuck Berry | by Thomas R. Raber

Sonnet: PSA | by Tony Robinson

Stardust in a Phrygian Key | by Stefene Russell

Sophomores | by Julia Smillie

The Ghosts of Winifred Moore | by Mike Steinberg

Four Days Behind the Iron Curtain, or, I'm With the Band | by Mary Kaye Tonnies

Late Night Radio | by Brett Underwood



Schoolhouse/Coffeehouse | by Michaela McGinn

Michaela McGinn                                 Photo: KURT GROETSCH

My assignment was to write about my "space." I spend most days in a coffee shop. I study there, work there and meet boyfriends that my mother disapproves of there.

It's a cozy little place thatís just great to chill in. There are comfy couches to sit on and interesting art hangs on the walls. It always smells warm, like coffee and chocolate. Everything is kind of pushed together, like your living room, a nice, sleepy space to relax. The ovens usually keep things nice and toasty there, but in the summer, itís not so nice. The building is very old, so the A.C. is not top-of-the-line; truth be told, its not even bottom-of-the-line. So, every summer we have to roll some industrial fans up in there to keep it even livable. Which is all good until a small child is blown to Connecticut Street. And winter is no walk in Tower Grove Park either. The heat from the ovens and the breath of the masses steams up all of the windows. I love the look of puzzlement on their faces when their High Octane turns to iced coffee.

Few people ever get to see the kitchen. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain! The kitchen is small and very crowded. We have to schootch around each other to move about at all. More often than not we end up just ramming into each other, a game I affectionately call Bumper Butts. In the kitchen, it's all business.

Yeah, right. When I'm back there making food, I turn up the radio and dance around like a fool, much to the amusement of my co-workers. I lip-sync to Whitney Houston and sing along with whatever is on the radio. Yes, itís a lot of fun.

As you have probably gathered, I work part-time in this great place. I love the customers and the customers love me. They think itís cute that I deliver my lattes with a pirouette and a smile. I may even sing their order to them if they don't pick it up fast enough to suit me. All of my co-workers are great. They may even accept my challenge to an air-karate match once in a blue moon. What more could I ask for? I love working there. I'm learning a trade while having a blast. Not to mention all of the great people I meet along the way. And because I am a kid and I don't have to pay rent, my six-hours-a-week add up to a lot of money to go to my (cough, cough) college fund.

As I said earlier, I also do school in the coffee house. Which makes for an interesting time due to the fact that the fans are blowing my papers around. Thereís always that constant flow of people who need to tell me about their new cat, and there is always a mocha that needs to be made. How do I do it? In actuality it takes Jedi-like concentration. And, of course, that miracle known as the laptop. And yeah, sometimes it doesn't get done, but whatcha gonna do?

The smell of coffee has sunk into my life, my hair, my clothes and my soul. Itís my place. Itís where I can be myself, and not care who sees. I love my space. And I hope it never changes.

1 Describe the sights, smells and sounds. Describe it as though your were telling a blind midget (or just a blind person, Gosh)
A. It smells warm, like coffee and chocolate
B. Industrial fans in summer
C. Ovens and breath of the masses steaming up the windows in winter
D. Baby parade and the s-a-h daddies on Tuesday

2. Talk about the kitchen where few people ever see.
A. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain
B. Flying lettuces
C. Dancing while making food, lip synching Whitney ďIím Every WomanĒ to amuse co-workers
D. Bumper butts

3. Is it different to be a customer and a barrista at the same place? Address the dudes, or not-address your friends coming to visit ....or not
A. I deliver my lattes with a pirouette and a smile, I may even sing their order to them
B. hard working and will accept my challenge to an air-karate match
C. I'm a kid! 6 hours a week makes me a fat-cat rollin' in dough compared to my peers
D. I'm learning a trade while having a blast

4. How do you study with all that going on?
A. Blowing papers
B. Constant parade of people
C. The miracle of the laptop
.D Okay, so I don't really get it all done some days
E. It takes Jedi-like concentration, truth be told

CLOSING The smell of coffee has sunk into my life, my hair, my clothes and my soul. But it's my home. It's a goofy universe where different people occupy the same space and it just seems to work. I really don't know why... Blah blah blah...OUTLINE


You may already know Michaela McGinn, 14, from any one of her pursuits around the the city. She is a writer, an actress, a student and a singer.