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Good Morning!

Allison Steele

From the Office of the University President:
Dear University Community,

We are all saddened to see the tragedy that happened here on campus last night. It is truly a shame that you all had to take the time out of your very busy schedules in order to avoid the crosswalk on East Street, and we apologize for any inconvenience it might have caused. Our hardworking maintenance staff have finished clearing the crosswalk of the debris and it is once again usable for student foot traffic. Any red marks you notice when using the crosswalk are guaranteed to be completely dry and do not pose any slipping or staining hazard. We would like to remind you all to look both ways before crossing in order to prevent any more closures. We once again remind all of you that there are services available to deal with any feelings you may have. The services are available Monday through Thursday from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM. Please be aware that due to the popularity of the service, appointments are filled for the next year. We once again thank you all for your cooperation during this time and we wish you all a very productive grieving period. The student will be missed.

Sincerely and Truly,

University President

There is a dead girl in the crosswalk. I think that

She’s been dead for a while.

I’ve been watching

her blood


pool pool pool pool pool

pool pool pool pool pool pool pool pool pool

pool pool pool pool pool pool pool pool pool pool pool pool pool pool pool pool pool

on the pavement.


I don’t think I knew her name.

I’ve seen her in one of my classes.

I think she was dead then too.

I watched her step onto the street.

She didn’t look both ways.

But she saw the car that hit her.

Like she was playing a game of chicken.

She won.

I think.

This happens sometimes.

I hope someone comes to pick her up soon.

The other students have to hop over her corpse.

Show-jumping ponies.

I hope they can get the blood out of the white paint.

I don’t want it to stain my shoes.

My eyes feel wet.

How strange.

Maybe it's because

for just a moment,

I looked at her and thought

I wish I had been brave enough to do that too.

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The little orange bottle that arrives in the mail is almost empty again. I don’t think that I

Should renew my prescription. I haven’t been feeling myself lately.

“You're so unproductive,” my Mother told me. “You’re too emotional. I was never this emotional when I was your age.”

I don’t think I was emotional.

I think I was reasonable.

I am neither now.

So are my friends.

So are the people on the street.

I used to stand on the city sidewalk people-watching and I noticed a pattern. People with gaunt gray faces in the gray suits against the gray buildings and the gray ground beneath their feet. If I had looked up in those moments, would the sky have been gray too?

I can’t remember anymore.

I shake around my few remaining pills like a pair of bad maracas.

I don’t know why I was prescribed these.

All it says is to take it by mouth once a day.

How long have I been on these?

I can’t remember anymore.

It’s probably best I stay on them then.

They must have been prescribed for a reason.

After all, I’m not a medical professional.

But I do sometimes wonder.

What color

did the sky used to be?

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I’m sitting in the parking lot of my office building. I was supposed to get off at 5

but it’s seven o’clock now. The boss said I had to get my assignment done today or...

I don’t like to think about the or.

I do like sitting in my car

In the silence

Where the tension in my shoulders finally gets released

And I feel myself morphing back into a human being

I should quit

I can do better than this

I deserve better than this

I can’t look for another job

Because if my job

Knew I was thinking about leaving

They would fire me

And then I would be broke

And die of starvation

Before I would be hired again

Would I feel this way

If I was working

A job I love?

In a field

I desire?

I just need to drive home

Drive home

Drive home

I take this road so often

Did I just run a red light?

I don’t know



At least I didn’t hit anybody

I wish the radio

Would play some music

To spice up these ad breaks


I’m almost home

How strange

I guess it’s because it’s long past rush hour

Lucky them

To be home

I’m so hungry

I’m too tired to cook

Eating out is too expensive

I wonder if I have any more meal replacement bars

I need to stock up next time I

Get a day off and

Can go to the grocery store

I’m home now

I can get out of the car and go inside

I don’t want to go inside

It feels safer here


Like a little pocket dimension

Where its just me

And I can’t answer emails

Or text messages

Or phone calls

And I can be a person again

For a little while

At least

I need to go inside

So I can go to bed

So I can sleep

So I can make it to work

In the morning


I don’t want to be here

 In the morning

Breaking news tonight as there has been another school shooting

taking place today at City Elementary School, where the shooter was active in the building for half an hour before fleeing the scene. Police still looking to apprehend the shooter and are asking anyone with any possible leads to call 911 with any information they may have. The report coming in tonight that two adults and 5 children have died while three remain in critical condition. In light of this tragedy, City Elementary School is giving the students and staff the rest of the week off, but the rest of the school district will remain operational as usual. Government officials have already posted their reactions to today’s events on social media, sending the friends and families of those affected their thoughts and prayers. The President is expected to combine his response to this tragedy in his speech tomorrow about the week’s previous shootings. Analysts predict no further action will be taken.

I want to tear open my mouth and spew fire and rage. I’m looking at this newscaster dead in the eye, but

She cannot see me.

I am a person behind a screen but I can see it in her eyes too.

So why isn’t she screaming

Why isn’t she howling

How can she just sit there and say these things


And again

And again

I can’t take this anymore

I played along

I did my part

I behaved as You have wanted




This fire in my heart

Burns too hot

To remain like that

Five Children.




Have died.

How are you people not furious too?

How have You let this happen again?

Why won’t You let us help?

Make things better?

It happened yesterday

And the day before that

Can you even remember which children died when?

I can’t

I curse myself

I can’t

I don’t know their names

Too many to keep track

I just want this to end

I am so tired

I am so sad that

I have no more sad left to be

Thoughts and Prayers and that’s it

Thoughts and Prayers to you

And you

And You

That is all our lives our worth

A thought

And a prayer




If God is real

I hope he’s howling too

Allison author.jpg


Allison Steele is a senior Creative Writing BFA. She is proud that this project is one of the last that she will complete at Otterbein as it combines some of her favorite writing elements.

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