“I swear to god these are Virginia bluebells, Carter,” Fiona said to her friend as she wiped cigarette smoke from her tear ducts. Taking another drag, she kicked one of the drooping blue flowers gently so it flopped the other way. The first signs of spring in Ohio were always the prettiest.

Fiona winced as the morning sun hit her directly in the face. In hindsight, she probably should have dressed better for the occasion. Dressed in worn light blue jeans, black Chuck Taylors, and a black button-down shirt, she faced at least a three-mile hike up to their destination…


Of all the shitass places he could be sick, a hotel in Idaho was last on his list.

Kayce looked around his bedroom for what felt like the millionth time and took inventory of his temporary prison. The walls were taupe, the floors were a beige carpet and the ceiling was a nondescript popcorn ceiling. To his right, a big window opened up to the most beautiful views of Ketchum, Idaho he’d ever seen. That alone was almost enough to make up for his confines.

He loathed the idea of not being able to walk the green prairies or the…


The Red Knight gazed… STOP

The Red Knight prepared for his final battle against CALAMITY….STOP

Who the fuck am I kidding… I can’t write anything worth a damn in these circumstances. I can’t focus anymore. The cotton in my ears feels like they’ve burned holes into my skull so deep that a surgeon wouldn’t be able to remove them. Not to mention that I’ve barely eaten for the last two weeks since we hit nearly the end of our rations.

I haven’t seen the sunlight, except through the tiny crevices of the cicada’s bodies, since… Jesus Christ…days? months? years? How…


The woodgrain of the arrow hurt between my fingers.

I struggled to keep my composure as I pointed at the beast with my fingers. The cool summer breeze swept past me and made the trees and brush perform a calm ballet just out of sight. I couldn’t watch though, my only concern was the white elk quietly eating in the distance.

My father told me stories of elk like these when growing up.

“Misha, I pray your arrows to shoot straight if ever faced with an animal as gorgeous as these,” he would say as he cradled me in his…


Electric Buffalo

My former master once told me that America was built on painful choices.
Sometimes this pain was physical, sometimes it was emotional, and on special occasions, it was both. His name was Adam, and as a history professor at The Ohio State University, he believed it always has been, and always will be this way.

My exact purpose on this earth was simple, I would help him research subjects for his various lectures and books he was working on. Recently, he was working on a book about the Native American Tribes that once roamed this land before Europeans colonized it…


Photo credit: David Gomes

I could have sworn Jason Voorhees was stalking me.

I’m serious. For the past four nights, while I worked on my final exam, all I could hear was the chih chih chih ca ca ca he made before killing his victims. I guess if I ever did run into him, I would try and spark a conversation with him and talk him out of killing me.

A lot of people would run and hide from him, but not only am I superbly out of shape, I kind of think he’s misunderstood in a way. Who knows? …


I’m white.

For almost the entirety of my life, I’ve been able to enjoy a lot of things in life because of that fact.

I’ve been allowed to listen to loud music in my car with the windows rolled down.

I’ve been able to buy and sell cigarettes,

I’ve even been able to run around my neighborhood with my brothers while holding airsoft guns without being murdered by police because of a misunderstanding.

For most of my life, I’ve also been a hip-hop fan. The first two rappers I ever fell in love with were Kanye West and Biggie Smalls…


Super on the nose photo provided by Danielle Maccines

In this edition of The Middle, an essay on family and the exchange of ideas.

By Alex Kamczyc / Julie Riedel

I remember sitting in the car with my dad when I was younger, going to and from football practice, and listening to a man on the radio talk about politics. At that time, I couldn’t understand most of what he was saying, but I listened all the same. He was aggressive and sure of himself, lambasting the opposition with critical analysis of whatever subject he was going on about — he was passionate..

I used to think back then that Rush Limbaugh should run for…


In this edition of The Middle, a look at how outlets like CNN and MSNBC can inadvertently cause the next mass shooting/terror attack.

By Alex Kamczyc/ Edited by Julie Reidel

No one wants to glamorize the terror plots, attacks, mass shootings and killings in the U.S.

No one wants to inspire the next terror attacker, shooter, murderer.

No one wants to cause these atrocious events.

However.

When we look at past events and what we know now from the various criminal’s (whom I will avoid naming in this piece) blog posts, social media accounts and things discovered in their homes a lot of them have drawn inspiration from terror attacks and shootings in the past. Other violent offenders that have been covered by media outlets like CNN and MSNBC.

Media…


Photo courtesy of Nicholas Kwok

In this edition of The Middle, how a county jail in Ohio is rated one of the worst prisons in the United States.

By Alex Kamczyc / Edited by Julie Riedel

Most of the time I consider myself a movie buff.

In high school, I obsessed over filmmakers, writers, actors, why certain camera movement was used in a specific scene etc. etc. etc. Just normal things that a teenager in high school going through puberty would think about. I love movies so much, I acted in a college feature length film called Unlucky by Ksuif, where I portrayed a homeless man — it was my magnum opus.

However…

Alex Kamczyc

Alex Kamczyc is an award winning journalist covering politics and culture in Cleveland. He studied at Kent State University under Connie Schultz.

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