the sextant spring 2011

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Spring 2011

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The Sextant Spring 2011


  • Spring 2011

  • Dear readers, Having joined The Prospector as a middle school student and having participated as a member of The Sextant throughout my time in the upper school, I have been fortunate enough to experience in great depth the rich traditions of creativity, artistry, and expression at Belmont Hill. As many of you remember, interest in The Sextant had waned over the last few years. Beginning last year, Joe Troderman, Ryan Baxter-King, Andrew Raftery, and I, along with a small editing staff, worked to revitalize the ailing organization. With Mr. Zamores help, weve produced a flourishing website and two print issues for the 2010-2011 school year, my senior year. Spring is a season of renewal and vitality in nature, and weve tied in the theme of rebirth through our many of our poems, stories, photos, and artwork in this issue. To celebrate the 2011 senior class, for whom this will be our last issue, this issue of The Sextant includes many senior pieces; as our class graduates, I hope that subsequent classes will take notice of the theme, and contribute to the rebirth of The Sextant. The magazine will always need more submissions, as well as more permanent members of the editing staff. With this idea of renewal, we ask that when you have finished reading The Sextant, if you choose not to keep it, then please dispose it in a recycling bin rather than the waste bin. While spring in New England may not consist of as much sunshine, flowers, and green grass as wed like, I hope that this spring issue of The Sextant will provide you with a glimpse of the season. Thank you for reading.

    Andrew McNamara, Form VI


    Sextant Staff

    Faculty Advisor

    Sextant Staff, 2010-2011

    Ryan Baxter-King, VAndrew McNamara, VIJoe Troderman, V

    David Alexander, VDanny Anderson, VMike Daskalakis, IVDavid Luo, IVDiego Paris, VMatt Pawlowski, VINick von Turkovich, VAndrew Raftery, VKyle Wheeler, V

    Mr. Zamore

    Josh Lee

  • Table of Contents



    The Western by Joseph TrodermanA Bird on a Branch by Danny AndersonTo the Dreamer by Taylor ShortsleeveBelmont Hill Ode by Andrew McNamara


    Changes by Mike McNamara1/10,000 by Josh LeeLocker Room by Eddie HarveyBon Voyage by Andrew McNamaraAn Ordinary Bird by Ryan Baxter-KingGone Fishing by Louis HuntGREENJAZZ by Thomas Pagani

    Full Page Photography

    Sunset Cast by Camilo ToroFollowing in the Wake by Ty GillHancocks Reflection by Josh Lee

    Featured Photographers

    Colin Sargis, Chris McAvinn, Camilo Toro, Jimmy Kelleher, Alex Potter, Ty Gill, Tucker Gordon, Tom Sommers, Josh Lee, Spencer Jeffrey, and Graham Stack


    Belmont Hill Hockey #1 by Matt PerottaBelmont Hill Hockey #2 by Matt PerottaStairway to Eliot by Josh Voto

    Page Number





    Front Cover16-17

    Back Cover


    See more at

  • Give the crack to the kids who the hell cares one less hungry mouth on the welfare

    and only time we chill is when we kill each other it takes skill to be real, time to heal each other.

    Tupac Shakur

    Changesby Mike McNamara

    Off the record? Yah. Okay, it was 10:30. The same two guys opened the door ev-ery other Thursday with their nine-millimeter safety blankets on their hip. I walked into 150 Maple and down the hallway where I was go-ing to get my half-a-kilo and be on my way, just like usual. When I met Lito. He seemed on edge. I asked whats up? and thats when he told me that this aint gonna work. Be-fore, I knew it, I was starin down his silver plated magnum. I started

    asking him why he was doin this, and he said he had to. Too many bangers and not enough turf. He started saying how it wasnt his choice, trying to rationalize his decision to the guy hes about to shoot. I took off, trying to push his gun away. He let off a round that grazed my ear. I was stunned, but made it to the alley through the second floor fire escape. I thought he would send his boys, so I pulled out the Glock twenty-two that I bought after I watched my older brother, Shawn, get gunned down

    Colin Sargis


  • on 32nd Street by stray bullets on a drive by. I swore Id never use it. I swore. I was afraid and when I was behind a wall, I thought I heard them comin. I saw the feet and turned the corner and shot I hit a fifteen-year-old kid, probably just takin a shortcut to get home to his family. I sat next to the kid and watched him die. Because of me! Why were you in the busi-ness in the first place? I cant tell you I was doin it for my kids or for my family. I didnt have any. I was young and stupid and had no family when Shawn died. I wanted to make money and this was the fastest way. Then whered you go? Down. Down where? Down the path of misun-derstanding. See, if youre a crack dealer, youre not a crack user be-cause youll never break bank. But, it was the only escape I had from that memory. The day I was sup-pose to die, a no-good, twenty-two

    year old, scum drug dealer. Instead, I I killed a young kid, whose inno-cence was worth more to New York than I could ever be. The drugs released me from my imprisoned soul. After about two months, I was living in a halfway house with no food or money, only one last hit. I figured it would kill me, but I didnt care. I took it and everything felt real hazy. Then, I heard this voice. A womens voice saying, Hang in, youre gonna be all right and that was it. The next thing I remember was the beeping of a heart moni-tor and seeing my breathing tube. I didnt know why I was still alive. Why did God save me? I strug-gled with that for a while. When I gained enough strength to get up, the nurses let me wheel around my 3rd floor. I met this older fella, Ernie, who was recovering from a fractured hip after falling in his home. He was a great guy to talk to. When I was tellin him about how I thought an angel had saved me that day, a nurse stopped, hav-ing already heard about my story

    Chris McAvinn

    The Sextant: Spring 2011


  • and said, That wasnt an angel in heaven. That was our angel, Victo-ria. She saved you. Before I could ask for Victorias last name, the nurse left. I said goodbye to Ernie and promised him I would change my life around. He replied, I know you will. Then, whatd you do? I was determined to do right. For all the problems I had caused, I needed to repent for them. I went to the front desk and found out that her name was Victo-ria Santo. She was a devout Chris-tian who dedicated her life to help-ing others. They said I could find her at a homeless shelter only eight blocks from the hospital. I went to the shelter and a lady pointed her out for me. Her beauty shocked me, but I knew I wasnt there to find a girlfriend or wife. I needed to fix my own life. I immediately hugged her. I broke down because I knew I owed her everything. At first she didnt recognize me, but embraced me anyways. Soon she remembered that night she saved me. We talked for hours. I told her my story and she just listened. It felt so good to tell someone about my struggles. I told her I wanted to change and the one thing I will never forget she said to me was, God saved you for a reason. Help others, and your sins will wash away. Wheres Victoria now? I loved everything about Victoria. She helped me get an apartment two streets down from the shelter with a job at her broth-ers appliance store. Every lunch and dinner for the next eight weeks, I helped serve at the shelter. But

    then Victoria told me she was leav-ing for India. I told her I wanted to come, but she said she needed me to run the shelter. I was crushed that again I would have no friends to turn to. But, if she thought this is what I needed to do, then I would do it. I began to get the hang of working at the shelter full time. Victoria had taught me how to em-brace the homeless. They needed help, just like I did. Soon, I became very close with the regulars. How have things been goin, personally? I felt that I was doin the right things, but I was still torment-ed at night by that same memory. When I was at the shelter, I began to notice a teenager comin in and sitting by himself. I got to know him really well cause I used to sit with him. His name is Danny. I loved talking to the kid. After a while I re-alized he had no family. His moth-er left him when he was eight with his older brother, but about half a

    Camilo Toro


  • year ago his brother was killed sell-ing on the corner, trying to make some money for food. He said he was lost and had nowhere to go. He had been by himself for half a year. I realized that he was a younger me and I needed to guide him in the right direction so that he wouldnt make my mistakes. This was my chance to come full circle. I asked him if he wanted to be adopted by me so he could live with me and go back to school. I saw the tears of this fifteen-year-old boy stream down his face. He wiped the tears

    away, smiled, and hugged me. I felt the sins wash away with the tears that began to run down my face. I was so grateful for that moment. Well, Mike, Im happy to see youve straightened your life out, but I do have to ask you some questions on the record.

    I know, sure. As you have been in-formed, Lito was found dead two days ago at 150 maple. We heard from around that you had prob-lems with him. Where were you from eight to ten-thirty? I was at Dannys basket-ball game. He had back-to-back games for his high school team. Can anyone prove you were there? Yah, I sat with Ernie at the game. We stayed in touch after seeing each other in the hospital.

    Alright, we have nothing to hold you and Im positive its not you. Were better off without a guy like Lito on the streets. Keep doin what youre doin. Thank you The boys name was Aaron. I will never forget

    his face.

    Jimmy Kelleher

    The Sextant: Spring 2011


  • we Outsidewhite paints the greenincompleteor rather overdone

    mona lisa was never completeconstant changesbut if white blotchesinterruptedwe would call it ruinedthen againpollack did it-anachronisms

    Mountain discontinuesyet at the same time is a partnot apart

    how there?Mans trails

    why there?Natures pleasure

    Landscapes verdantcouchant

    Noman made shieldsthey apply to mannot law

    law applies to mannot viceversa.

    The Western

    Alex Potter

    Alex Potter

    by Joseph Troderman


  • A tree with leaves spread to the Gold Sky --And roots stretched in the Dark Below,

    Caresses a bird on a frail limbThat hovers over the snow.

    Should the branch give way today,The bird shall neer know --For he shall be put to Sleep

    By the lull of the Grim piccolo.

    Yet should the bird escape the Fall --With a jump, and fly away,

    He shall be forever immortal,In the light of One more day.

    by Danny Anderson

    A Bird on a Branch

    Ty Gill

    The Sextant: Spring 2011


  • 1/10,000

    The top .0001% is where I stand. Yet I am farthest from the top.

    Peoples lives are shaped by a culmination of split-second events. Mine is about to be determined in one.

    I am in a room with 10,000 people. All different races. All different ages. We are lined up in one row in a long, white-walled room whose ceiling seems to be infinitely high. In the center of the room, a set of stairs lead up to a platform where a dark bowl the size of my chest resides.

    I look to my left. To my right. I wonder how the others can

    keep such a calm exterior, when their lives hang in such a precise balance. My chest is shaking uncontrollably as I attempt to calm myself. I try to keep my breathing natural, but just by thinking about it I know its probably fast and unsteady. I turn to my right, noticing for the first time the old woman standing next to me. Her frail neck is wrapped in a charcoal-colored scarf, and the skin on her face droops with old age. Her eyes are almost colorless, two spheres of a dull, uninteresting gray color.

    by Josh Lee

    Matt Perotta


  • I really hate the waiting, she says, skipping formal introductions. I hate the whole process, actually. Peoples lives are too precious to be determined on such a whim. I nod in agreement, but more out of courtesy than anything else. I have heard the same sentiment echoed by many others. I expect her to say more, but when she doesnt I turn back and look ahead, hearing other conversations bouncing around. Then they all fall silent, as if a calm mist had slowly filled the room.

    Each of you will get a number, 1 through 10,000. I hear the voice start. It is not the deep booming voice from the clouds that I have heard in movies, but smooth and flawless with an uncanny ability to captivate even a crying baby. Out of the corner of my eye, I see everybody subconsciously lean forward. The number you choose will determine your rank in wealth

    relative to everybody else in the room. Everyone knew this already, yet we still hang on to every word as if good listening could help our individual situations. This will be done with over a half a million groups of 10,000, and from there the worlds wealth distribution will be settled. The voice stops and the silence weighs down on my shoulders. The only sounds are the uncomfortable shifting of weight from one foot to the other by hundreds of men and women around me.

    Suddenly, the first person is called, and I see a middle-aged woman step up.There are probably a hundred or so other people down to my right. She walks up to the black bowl and peers down as if her future were written out on a piece of paper somewhere in that space of infinity. And it was.

    The bowl is of a substance I have never seen before, not as

    Tucker Gordon

    The Sextant: Spring 2011


  • reflective as glass, but not as smooth as granite. The color between a black and a dark gray, it is as calming as it is frightening. The woman looks around the room one last time, closes her eyes, and reaches in, as her lips seem to be forming a kind of prayer.

    As she withdraws her hand the number is read out loud, only a moment after she gets to see it herself. 832. I look up in front of me and see her name with a ranking next to it. The woman tries to suppress her smile and looks around, uncertain where to go. After a second, she decides to return to her place in line. She will not be one of the wealthiest in the world, but she will survive. Thats really all Im hoping for. Survival.

    The next person who gets called up is a man. He is too far away for me to see what he looks like, but it seems as if he has dark brown or black hair. He walks up, peers down as far as he can, draws, and falls to his knees. My heart sinks for him. His number is announced as 9,870. The first low number is always the hardest, or so they say. I wasnt expecting it to be so soon. But someone had to get it. I glance to my right to see the reactions of others, and they also feel bad for the man. Then something happens. I look at the board and the 9,870 turns to 9,850, while the other womans

    832 goes up to 852. I am amazed. I had heard that donating points was allowed, but never thought it ever really happened. The woman surely didnt know this man, but she donated some of her ranking points to him anyway.

    But what she does makes sense. Twenty points down near the bottom might mean life or death, while nearer to the top it only means a little less comfort. Surely I would do the same if I were as fortunate as the woman, but, regardless, I respect her kind act. I peer to my right, trying to catch a glimpse of the

    generous womean, but I am blocked by the people in between us trying to do the same.

    As person after person gets called up, I see peoples lives mapped out before them in one instant. One moment they are filled with hope for a new beginning, and the next they are lost in their own despair, knowing that with their draw they will most likely not live to see another year of life. The first womans donations must have set a

    Jimmy Kelleher


  • precedent because more donating of points goes on than I expected, but not enough to help everyone.

    Now a mans name is called out, and finally a double-digit number is drawn. 13. The mans face twitches oddly as he holds the number in his hand. As the number and his name are written up, he doesnt divert his sight. Then he slowly looks around him, as if he were trying to look everyone in the room in the eyes, and he puts the number in his pocket and leaves.

    My hands clamp into fists as my legs tense. He left without donating even a little! Yet the poor did not seem to feel the same sentiment as I do. Instead, it is as if they expected nothing less, and any donation from him would have come as a surprise. Sure, they never stopped hoping, but they truly have stopped believing. He could have given a lot and still lived comfortably by all standards.

    As time goes on, people start to lose focus, not caring as much for each persons number. There is the occasional eyebrow raising moment and conversation stopper, but, overall, the drawings excitement is lost after a while.

    The next time I am interested in one of the drawings is when the old woman to my right is called up. I dont catch her name when it is called, but I perk up when I see her walking up the stairs. Unlike the others who walk up like they are walking to a guillotine, the old woman walks as if she were taking a stroll on Sunday morning, with a slow, peaceful pace. She is the first person who doesnt look down the

    bowl, but just picks a number as if it were a piece of trash on the ground. She casually looks at it. 100 on the dot. For the first time of the day, her face lights up. Her smile shows off her aged teeth, and her eyes shine brightly, reflecting the light exuded by the room from an unknown source. She skips down the stairs with a new-found youth.

    As she steps back into place, the smile still plastered onto her face as those around her congratulate her, all she says is,Isnt this amazing? as she hops up and down, unable to keep still. I want to feel happy for her, but cant help feeling some resentment towards her. Its not because she was lucky and got a low number, but it was something else that is gnawing at my inside. I ignore it and watch the next few people draw.

    A couple hundred people later, I hear my name boomed out. I look to my sides to make sure nobody else is going up, and I heard correctly. Adrenaline pours through me as I step up each stair with great precision. I look around to see if others are waiting in anticipation as I am, but I can see they do not care. Many are sitting now and having conversations with those around them. To them, I am just another 1 of the 10,000. I walk up to the bowl and try to look down the opening, as

    The Sextant: Spring 2011

    11Graham Stack

  • everyone else had also. I am not one unacquainted

    with the dark. I have been in rooms in the dead of night with no lights on. I have been in forests where I couldnt see my hand an inch from my face. But the darkness inside the bowl is not just darkness. Imagine a pure space of blackness. Now imagine it blacker. It is as if the essence of nothingness had been encapsulated in this bowl.

    I look around again at those behind me. I sigh as I see nobody is paying attention, and I remember that I am just 1 out of 10,000. Yet that all changes when I pick my number. Because now I am not just another 1 out of 10,000. I am 1 out of 10,000. Because that is the number I have drawn. 1.

    Now, no one is sitting. No one is talking. Those who were sitting rise up as one. It is the first moment of complete silence of the day. Yet a room had never seemed so deafening before to me. All I can hear is the blood pumping through my ears, a pulsation so loud it I wonder if everybody could hear it also.

    I look around. Everyone with lower numbers is trying to catch my eye, hoping they will be the one I donate to. I remember how

    I had thought about how happy I would be if, by any chance, I picked in the top 100. I would have even been satisfied with the top 1,000. I remember how Id told myself that if I were as fortunate as the first woman, I would donate as she had done.

    I look around, still uncertain what to do. My eye catches the old woman who was standing next to me. She waves and gives me a thumbs up. I flash her a quick smile as my previous distaste for her starts to fade. I look at those who I remember got high numbers. Those who will probably not live another year. And for a second I contemplate just donating all my points to the man who drew the lowest number so far. I look around, and remember a man who had drawn 9,985 just a few moments ago. Why should I live in luxury while he doesnt live at all?

    But then I realize that something this important in life would not be left up to chance. Because this draw will not only determine the biggest part of your life, it will determine your whole life. I have gotten 1, and now I realize that I deserve this. This is all planned. I must be the most deserving person in the room. With this realization, I look at those who got high numbers now with disdain. What sinful people they must be, I realize, for them to get that high of a number. I dont need to donate anything. I will leave that for whoever draws 2. For with the number 1 clutched in my hands with a death grip I walk out of my room, I forget every person no, every being that was ever in that room, except for myself.Camilo Toro


  • Three red lights and a green beep as I enter the four digit code and swing open the door. In cases of emergency (or possible al-pine shenanigans), a pencil scratch on the door displays the pass code in gray hieroglyphics. The muffled bass and shrieking melody of the techno evolves into a euphoric blast of Basshunter as I open the door and trudge inside. Beside three black and red Swix waxing tables, six skiers work feverishly with wax irons and brushes, sporting diverse combinations of winter hats and fe-doras, Timbs and ski boots, under armor and parkas, plaid pajamas and ski pants, lax pinnies and flat brims, and all ranges of nudity, from shirtless to indecent.

    Fitzy grabs an iron in one hand, cranking the dial to 275 de-grees as plumes of smoke arise from the glistening metal base, and smacks the flat face of a yellow block of Toko wax onto the blistering heat. Seconds later, a single drip of clear wax falls onto a ski base marred with scratches, most running the length of the ski with the occasional mystery mark that tears horizon-tally across the two grooves in the middle of the surface. Without warning, drips begin to stream off the bottom corner of the iron faster than Fitz can drip them on the ski, plummeting down as they quickly cool, taking their place among the thousands of misshapen globs on the piece of impressionist artwork

    Locker Roomby Eddie Harvey

    Tom Sommers

    The Sextant: Spring 2011


  • we know as the locker room floor. I lay my ski bag behind the swinging door and grab a handful of trail mix from the oversized bag precariously placed between two hot irons and an open canister of lethal wax remover. Working my fingers downward, I clutch at salty nuts and greasy raisins and plop them into my mouth without looking, in-haling the burning alcohol fumes of the wax remover in between swal-lows. I munch. No M&Ms. Fitz, how many freaking times have we told you that eating trail mix is not a selective process? Grab and eat. None of this chicken pecking business. Tripping over backpacks, rollerblades, and the occasional Wucherpfennig, I arrive at my lock-er, greeted by the odors of butane and Klister. Ian produces a tube of this devil wax, squeezing gobs of Klister onto his classic style ski in a concave herringbone pattern be-fore smoothing it out with his bare fingers. Grasping the blowtorch, he blasts the sticky ski base with blue flame, working up and down the kick zone in the middle portion of the ski. Hey Reed, how do you get this stuff off your hands once you are done smoothing it out? I ask. Just stick your hands in your gloves and forget about it. In my first encounter with Klister, I doubted (even scoffed at) Reeds suggestion, passing it off as a cry of surrender in the battle against Klister. After numerous attempts to rid my hands of this clinging con-coction with soap, paper towels, my shirt, Neissas shirt, Neissas skis,

    and refusing to submit my hands to the tortures of the caustic wax remover, I plunge my stuck hands into my best pair of winter gloves. After ten minutes of kneading my sweaty hands in the fluffy finger holes, I remove them free of Klister. Inspecting the gloves, I find them just as sweaty and Klister free as the moments before I put them on. Hip! Hup! HO! declares Mr. Kirby as he swaggers into the room. Turn that confounded mu-sic off this instant! All of you should be using yellow wax today, no ex-ceptions. Mr. Kirby, its ten degrees out there. Shouldnt we use blue wax? No need to repeat my instructions, Gorrilligan. On the bus! Throwing on black thermal pants; a long sleeve, dry-fit shirt; a fleece, light jacket; and a pair of winter socks, all moist with the sweat of the previous practice, I tug on the laces of my snug black Fis-cher boots. Before I rise to get my skis, Coach Zamore calls out from the doorway, Hey Eddie man, bet-ter call a cab cause Kirbs is leaving without ya.

    Matt Perotta


  • A man sat at a table in a busy restaurant on a Thursday evening in early December. Ice on the res-taurants window sills formed half moons, dipping down in the middle of each pane. With every opening and closing of the door, cold Chi-cago air crept into the large room. The mans face, plainly de-signed with a small nose and light hazel eyes, rested in his soft hands; his old Verizon cell phone and thin wallet lay between his elbows. He lifted his left hand to brush his hair back, roughly parted on the right. Can I start you off with a drink? A middle-aged waitress in-terrupted the man entrenched in thought. Oh, I was just waiting foractually, Ill have a beer. Draft, he said. The waitress scribbled something on her notepad, and scurried towards the bar. A young girl strutted towards the table with a spring in her step, passing the wait-ress in the opposite direction. She wore a bright colored blouse with a flowery skirt and tall brown boots. Hi, Danny, she said as she sat down at the table, plopping two of her bags, overflowing with text-books, CDs, and walkmans, on the floor, and resting her purse on the table. Sorry Im late, she said, ad-justing the knitting needles holding the bun in her hair in place. Wait-ress, she called towards the bar, waving her hand in the air, apple

    martini, please. Michelle, Danny said, whats the big news? What couldnt wait until Friday? What had to in-terrupt my night with the guys? He raised his eyebrows, and rested his weight on his crossed arms. As he watched her sort through her things, lusting after her toned body and ex-otically pretty face, he wondered how he ever managed to find a girl-friend that was a language teacher. Though shed told him dozens of times, Danny could never remember exactly which languages she taught; only that there were four or five dif-ferent ones. He often paid more at-tention to the texture of her lips than to the words she spoke from them. Well, I was going to save it for dinner, but I dont think Ill be able to hold off that long. Michelle looked into her boyfriends eyes. Danny, she said with a large grin,

    Bon Voyageby Andrew McNamara

    Colin Sargis

    The Sextant: Spring 2011


  • Following I n the Wake


  • Following I n the Wake

    Ty Gill

    The Sextant: Spring 2011


  • revealing her sparkling white teeth, I got a promotion! Danny reached his hand across the table to meet his girl-friends. He grasped her fingers, rubbing his thumb over her pink fingernails. Baby, he said smiling softly, thats great. T h e drinks ar-rived, fol-lowed by dinner, and eventually a check. Danny watched out of the corner of his eye as groups came and went from the restaurant as Mi-chelle gushed about the promotion. Im just so glad my talents have finally been recognized. You know, for years, all my old friends and my family mocked me behind my back: Big deal, she knows a bunch of languages. She should go to school and study a real subject. She flipped her brunette bangs away from her face. But now that doesnt matter! Ive taught so many people here at the American School of Lan-guage in Chicago. And you know what, Danny? I feel like Im making a difference. He nodded his head up and down. His eyes were locked with hers, but they were slightly glazed over. Youre right, honey. Im really proud that youve chased after your dream. I know, she said, smiling to reveal her dimples. Danny, there is one thing I havent mentioned

    yet. Michelles expression became more serious. Part of this promo-tion isa transfer. Danny said nothing. Mi-chelle continued, They need more American teachers in foreign coun-tries, where the demand for multi-lingual instructors is greater. After

    the end of the fall se-mester, Ill be leaving C h i c a g o . Ive been assigned to ASL inPar-is. D a n n y s eyes nar-rowed as

    he pulled his hand away from hers. Paris? he asked, confused. Whats going to happen to us? Ithoughtyou might move to France with me, said Mi-chelle, pulling her folded arms fur-ther into her chest. Danny smirked. Honey, are you serious? I mean, I can put up with the dinner dates with your Italian students, and your late night phone calls in jibberish, and a few other things, but Paris? He watched an older couple share a brief kiss be-fore they sat down at their table be-fore turning back towards Michelle. Were going to have to think about this. Michelle smiled weakly, squeezing her boyfriends hand. Enough about me, she said slowly. How was your day?

    When Michelle left for Paris in January, Danny expected his life

    Josh Lee


  • to continue on as normal, simply without his girlfriend. However, only a few days following her de-parture, he realized how much she meant to him. Dannys life was plain and conventional; Michelles quirki-ness and exotic ways gave him the spice he lacked. Without her, noth-ing was funny. Food didnt have any taste. Sleep was unattainable. No matter what he did, Danny couldnt fill the gaping hole left by Michelles absence. There were no after work dinner dates to Chinese restaurants, nor any late night foreign film showings. Though the activities bored him while they dated, Danny yearned for the mel-ancholic feeling of Michelles frizzy hair leaning against his forearm while watching two Portuguese ac-tors argue on the TV. One day Dan-ny decided that in order to continue living, he needed to win Michelle back. While Michelle appreciated

    Dannys plain lifestyle as much as he needed her quirky one, she had often complained about his unwill-ingness to try new things. Youre just like every other ignorant Amer-ican, she told him once in a fight: youre unilingual. With this quote in mind, Danny devised a plan: he would learn to speak French fluently, and then he would join her in Paris. Danny be-gan attending French classes. He purchased computer software for language learning, and textbooks about French vocabulary and gram-mar. He scoured the classified sec-tion of the newspaper for a French conversation partner, finding only a miserable, foul old man that came late and left early to their meetings. The French language domi-nated Dannys life for nearly six months. Instead of meeting his friends at the bar, Danny went to class. He stayed up late nearly every night, studying flashcards and pars-

    Camilo Toro

    The Sextant: Spring 2011


  • ing verbs, only to wake up exhausted in the morning. Dannys persistence led to his neglecting areas of his life: he no longer attended the gym, and gained weight; he stood up a few clients each week, who complained to his boss and eventually led to his termi-nation; he paid rent only every other month, which angered his landlord.

    After six months of learning French, Danny finally felt ready. He packed a few valuable possessions one day, and set out for the airport. While he waited in line at security, Danny heard a voice call-ing his name. He turned around to see Roger, an old friend from work.How are you? asked Roger, whose arms were linked with those of a young blonde woman. Oh, he laughed. Excuse me. This is Fiona, my fiance. Danny shook her hand. Boy, Dan, you really have changed. I knew things were bad when you got laid off, but are you okay? Roger inspected the other man, noticing a few gray hairs on his greasy, unkempt head, a beard that hadnt been shaved in weeks, a formerly athletic physique that now more closely resembled that of a fif-ty year old man, and dry hands that were covered with small scars.Ive been okay, Danny said. He checked his watch, which now had a small crack over the minute hand. Now, if youll excuse me, I have a flight to catch. Danny weaved back into the line, straining his neck to see how long he had to wait, while Roger pulled Fiona closer toward him and walked away.

    After arriving at his hotel in Paris, cleaning himself up, and purchasing some flowers, Danny set off for the American School of Languages in Paris. He arrived just as the evening classes ended. He peeked through the windows of the classrooms, searching for Michelle. At the end of the buildings easternmost wing, he finally spotted her. He watched through the small window on the door as she chatted with a student after class. Once the girl left, he entered the room as she gathered her things. Michelle gasped at the sight of her old boyfriend. Danny, she said with a confused look. Is that you? Her confusion quickly morphed into excitement, and she spread her arms for a hug. Danny, paying no attention to her gesture, went down on one knee. Bonjour, mon amour, he be-gan, reciting a speech in French that explained how without her, his life had meant nothing; he gave up ev-erything to learn French for her. He was no longer an ignorant Ameri-can that feared the unknown. He was ready to begin a new life with her in Paris. When he finished, he stood up, meeting Michelles gaze. Oh, Danny, she said, laughing nervously. I dont speak French! Danny cringed. What? he said. She shook her head. I teach Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and German, she said. I dont know any French except for the bits and pieces Ive picked up on the streets of Paris over the last six months!


  • An ordinary, white bird soared above the blue ocean. Four ships curved through the quiet wa-ter. Cannons began to fire as the two fleeing ships turned to give battle. Oblivious to the trouble below, the bird wheeled and turned, circling ever higher. When it reached a place, known only to itself, the bird vanished in a burst of color. In its place, transformed by some strange phenom-ena, was a crea-ture with the body of a man and two gloriously white wings. it held them tightly against its back. As it began to fall it did not unfurl them. Grace-fully, it tipped forward and its white robe, tied to its waist by a length of rope, fluttered around its feet. Its white pants were barely visible underneath the waving cloth and its bare feet were tilted back in the perfect dive. Its hair was jet black and long; as it fell, it danced around a hard face and unflinching, staring eyes that were focused on the ships. The men that milled about on the ships decks, killing each oth-er with musket and cannon, were oblivious to its presence as it fell closer and closer to them. The man in the crows nest of an outlying ship was the first to spot him, but the

    An Ordinary Birdby Ryan Baxter-King

    sailor was confused. it peered at the bird-man through a spyglass, took it away from its eye, shook its head, and looked back, but by then the bird-man was upon him. With sur-prising ease, the transformed bird snapped off the flagpole from the crows nest as it flew by. The crea-ture tilted the stave and the flag slid off before it unfurled its great wings and soaring up. The sailor in the crows nest was the first to go. With a calculated

    swing, the bird-man knocked the seaman from his perch.

    Ribs cracked; the man howled as he tum-

    bled from the nest towards the deck below. After mere moments, the humans cries ended and he was trans-formed into a plain, white bird.

    Failing to notice the shouts and gun-shots around it, the

    little bird soared into the sky, spiraling higher and higher. Without seeming to notice

    the man and his transformation, the bird-man soared on, its next tar-get the sailor in the crows nest of another ship. He too toppled from his nest with the sound of breaking bones and in the same way vanished, replaced by another feathered crea-ture. There had been four sailors in crows nests, but in a matter of mo-ments, there were none. In the sky, four spiraling white specks strained for the heavens. The bird-man then turned

    The Sextant: Spring 2011


    Ty Gill

  • its attention to those humans on the decks. With a daring dive, it swooped between two ships and broke three sailors necks in quick succession with short, methodical swings of the staff. Their comrades watched in horror before recovering and setting their muskets to their shoulders. Steadying their shaking arms, they took aim at this new men-ace. Few noticed how their friends bodies vanished and became white birds, some even before they hit the decks. That initial fearful pause had been enough for the bird-man to es-cape and it wheeled, coming about to approach the first ship. That ships crew was al-ready terrorized by another bird-man. This creature could have been the first hybrids twin; it wore a long white robe, tied with rope, and plain white pants underneath, just barely slipping down around the heels of its bare feet as it flew. Its jet-black hair whipped violently around its face, a face that was different than that of the first winged terror. The features were those of the sailor from the first crows nest. Its face no longer showed concern as it had when it

    had watched the battle below; that feeling had been replaced by tightly focused concentration as it hunted down sailors on the deck of its own ship. Every time one of them died, he transformed into an ordinary, white bird and flew towards the sky. To their credit, the sailors were finally fighting back. One man-aged to hit the sailor-hybrid with a musket ball in the shoulder; another managed to slash a wing with a cut-lass; however, even their newfound courage did not avail them. Wounds only seemed to make the creatures angrier and give them new speed and strength. Soon, the sailors were running, not fighting. The cannons were abandoned. The muskets were dropped. The swords were forgot-ten. As the bird-man crossed the deck of the ship, it turned up-wards and flew by the ships sails. Its face was turned towards the sky, and though the sun beat down on its face, it was not blinded. Its staring eyes discerned the usual scene above it. When the white birds reached a certain point in the sky, the place

    where the first creature had transformed himself, they turned from white birds into hybrids, each with the face of a different sailor. Slowly, they began to fall, wings tucked against their backs, gracefully turning from a straight up upright position in the air to falling head first towards the four ships. There was already a steady stream of white birds soaring into the sky, and thus there was a con-tinuous stream of reinforcements tumbling towards the earth.Spencer Jeffrey


  • The original creature reached the crows nest above the sails as a companion flew up from the other side. A bright object flew from its hand, turning end over end, and with skill and grace the first bird-man caught the knife handle first. In the same movement, the creature arced over the birds nest and fell down the sails other side. With astounding precision, the hy-brid cut the multitude of ropes that it passed in its descent. Above him another bird-man, with equally skilled maneuvering, slashed the other knots and ropes holding the sail to the mast, causing it to tum-ble. As the sail fell, the last man on the ship emerged from the hold and found himself covered in canvas. Then, from above, one of the spars landed, a perfect hit, on top of the man from the hold, crushing his body; two bird-men and two more captured knives circled above. A moment passed. An instant of still-ness. The canvas began to ripple in the wind. The original bird-man spread its wings to slow its descent, having already cut the last rope, and lit on the deck, its oddly human feet gracefully touching down on the bloodstained wood. It was the first time one of them had actually set foot on a ship. The rest remained in the air, wheeling about as often as necessary to stay in the same area. With the same quick strokes it had used before, the bird-man cut the canvas apart, allowing a small white bird to escape and make its ways to the heavens. Then the hybrid jumped into the air. It was not long until no humans stirred either on the decks

    of any of the ships or in the holds. None were hiding. All were gone. At a hoarse bird-cry from one of the bird-men- it was impossible to say which one because the rest took it up so quickly -the bird-men all ceased hovering around the ships. They descended on piles of cannon-balls stacked neatly on the decks. Sometimes canvas had to be cut open to gain access. Each creature lifted two, one in each hand, and flew off to hover again over the ves-sels. At another cry, which seemed to come from the original bird-man, all of the cannonballs dropped. The result was disastrous. Holes pep-pered the decks, sometimes going all the way down through the ship through the hull. Usually only three or four balls penetrated all the way, but it was enough. As the bird-men took flight for the higher sky, the ships began to sink. They headed towards one place: the point, high in the sky, where they had all transformed. The first hybrid came last. A huge globe of golden light surrounded the whole flock and every hybrid vanished, leaving in their places only the little, white, ordinary birds. They flew away from each other, scattering in all directions, leaving behind no trace of their deed except four sinking, ships.

    On the horizon another ship appeared and one bird headed straight for it. The man in the crows nest noticed the strange, rapidly ex-panding ring of birds, but did not think it important enough to men-tion to its superior. After all, a bird is only a bird.

    The Sextant: Spring 2011


  • Yes. Once Upon a Time, we were all children.We had dreams. And, where do they go?Ive recently experienced a sort of narrowing.A honing if you will. A certain kind of specialization.Its name - expectations.Weve all heard it before. But never thought about it.Nice job in your soccer game, Jim. Two goals, wow Thats your best yet. Oh, youre number fourIn the class. Good Job. Whos one? You can catch him.

    Feel it? Its in easy sentences. No modifiers. No homonyms.No bias. No concentration. No coagulation. But how about your responses?I got in.I do.Ill take it.Credit.

    Feel the drowning? And what about society?Shes such an intelligent young woman.Im sure shell go far.So whered you go to college?You cant do that. Why you ask?Because people just dont.Please sign here.Congratulations on your first home... kid on the way?

    To the Dreamerby Taylor Shortsleeve

    Colin Sargis


  • What if you could go back?See that Lamborghini on your desk top?How about the Himalayas in the background?And helicopters and transformers and Power Rangers and fairy tales andThe IRS? That was never part of it.

    What if you could get away from it for a bit?TV? Thats your answer. Congrats on your diabetes.A vacation? Great. Escape from it all. Turn off your cell when you walk in your house!Think for a second. You cant just get up and walk away from it all. Not without consequences, burden, or loss.Youve got two children and a mortgage.

    Well all mold to the same contours of society.So stop complaining. Stop looking for a way out.Stop looking to make your life different, becausein the end, we all try to make it ours in the same ways.

    Embrace yourself, who you are and what you do.For Everything you do in life will be insignificant,But its very important that you do itBecause To the world, you are but one person,But to one person, you are the world.

    So, pick up a good book for those escapes,Watch a good movie with your spouse,And play catch in the backyard with your kids.Because in the end it doesnt matter.Be who you are, not the reaction you are to these expectations.

    The Sextant: Spring 2011

    25Alex Potter

  • I grew up in a house that sat on the top of a small hill. It was a country house-- no neighbors, acres of long grass fields, and a long dirt driveway that winded its way up to our front door. When it would rain, our truck always got stuck on the way up to our house. Those tires must have spun their way into the mud a thousand times. Of course, the responsibility of stepping into the mud and pushing the car from behind would fall to me, the oldest of my brothers. But the truth is, I didnt mind getting my boots wet. Not one bit. The rain would be pour-ing down and Id slip and slide my way around to the back of the truck, where I would put both hands on the rear bumper and shout through the rain, Dad, Im set. Give her a go. The brim of my fathers favor-ite Cubs hat would emerge from the drivers window, and then smiling, hed turn to me and holler,Alright son, lets see what shes got! Growing up in that house, it was a simple lifestyle. Dad was

    by Louis Hunt

    Gone Fishing

    a simple man. He wore the same clothes to the site every day: boots, a white t-shirt, a dark blue jacket on colder days, a rugged pair of jeans and that old baseball hat that I swear he never took off. I even wear it under my hard hat, Dad would tell me jok-ingly. I swear it, I just turn it back-wards and it sits underneath there real nice. He didnt have too many hobbies. He liked to read the Chi-cago Tribune in the morning and he liked to listen to the Cubs on the radio. Most of the free time he had, he liked to spend with his family. Hed wash the dishes with Mom, or run around the backyard with my younger brothers. Hed even help me with some of my chores. Just dont tell your mother, ya hear? hed say with a chuckle. Shell tell me that Im goin soft on ya. Every once in a while, dur-Alex Potter


    Graham Stack

  • ing the summer, Dad would take me down past the backyard and all the way to the pond out back, where we would sit on the dock and fish. I used to get so excited for our little fishing trips. And he knew it too, he loved to get me all excited the night before. After dinner, while hed be helping my mother clean up the table, hed shout out loud enough for the whole house to hear, Hon-ey, something about that chicken tasted a little funny to me tonight. Then, Dad would wait until I came running around the corner, before hed wink at me and say, Maybe we oughtta try some fish tomorrow night? Whadya say, Daniel? Wanna catch a couple fish tomorrow? Id spend the rest of the night preparing for the trip. Id find the poles, the lines, the tackle box, the radio, everything, and I would line them up, right outside my bed-room door, so that I wouldnt forget anything in the morning. I would even make lunch for the next day and put it in a brown paper bag in the fridge so it was all ready to go: two peanut butter jelly sandwhiches,

    two apples, two bottles of soda pop. On the day of our trip, my father would tap me on the shoulder to wake me up. Rise and shine, big guy, Dad would say, and Id jump out of bed, get dressed, and then wed be off, my father and I, to head out to the dock in the chilly darkness that precedes the crack of dawn. By the time that darkness broke, our lines would be in the water, causing the slightest ripples upon the glim-mering sheet of water to sparkle in the early morning rays of the sun-rise. Wed spend the entire day on that dock, fishing. Usually in the mornings, wed talk. My fa-ther would tell me stories about the pranks he used to play in high school, or how he met Mom, or how I used to be the biggest rascal this side of the Mississippi when I was real young. You used to drive you mother up a creek, you boy, you. Shed be beside herself and then shed take it all out on me! As if she thought all that trouble came from my side of the family! Dad would

    Tucker Gordon

    The Sextant: Spring 2011


  • joke and hed laugh. I just loved to sit there by his side and watch him, and listen to him laugh, his fishing line bobbing in his hands. Oh, you were so funny back in those days, Daniel. And now look at you, all grown up and handsome. Im not that old, Dad, Id always tell him. Yeah, I know, Dad would say as he looked at me, But you are, son. You really are. In the afternoons after eat-ing lunch, I would set up the radio and we would listen to the Cubs game together. I would watch my dad as he listened to the game, seem-ingly lost in a trance, his distant gaze fixed on the pond before him, his smile steady, whether Ryan Sand-berg hit a home run or struck out with the bases loaded. He looked so peaceful sitting there, his feet dan-gling off the dock. I wouldnt bother him. I would just let him be. I en-

    joyed watching Dad be, there, sitting on that dock, smiling. The only time Dad made any sort of reaction was when one of us had got a bite. When my line would suddenly run taut, and my pole would bend against me in my hands, Dads eyes would get big. Holy Cow! He would shout, and then jump to his feet and throw that old Cubs hat against the dock, revealing his smooth, bald head. I would always wonder what he looked like before treatment. Daniel, hold it steady! Lets see what shes got! While my hands hastily worked at the reel, I would love to look over at Dad. Reel her in, Daniel! Youve got her! Just to see the wonder on his face. Just to catch a glimpse. Hold on to her! Dont let her go!

    Spencer Jeffrey28

  • Italy was a NATO member two thousand years past its military prime. Apart from the occasional Ma-fia incursion plot, the Agency didnt have much use for their offices in the Rome embassy. The south-facing window on the third floor gave Mike very little to see, apart from traffic. Nevertheless, it was better than the cubicles of his underlings. From one of these emerged Mikes secretary, who put a red-taped folder on his desk. Thanks, Rachel. Native Italians were al-lowed to work in the embassy, but only Americans were allowed on the third floor. Mike ignored the new ar-rival for a few minutes, then he tore the tape off with extreme care and began to read. After reading the first few pages, he stood up and marched

    across the hall to the secure line. He searched the folder for the lengthy number; the last three digits always escaped him. Following brief con-versations with several operators, Mike was finally put in contact with Paul Lehman, the name listed on the file. Paul, Id like to talk to you about this latest briefing. You see Im waiting, agent Brown. Mr. Leman, I see youve given Jim Wilson the assignment. Did you Agent Wilsons record in-dicates he would be an excellent candidate for this mission. Do you have a problem with that, Brown? Sir, Id rather work with another agent, if possible. Wilson can get on my nerves. Theres some-thing about him that

    GREENJAZZby Thomas Pagani

    Josh Lee

    The Sextant: Spring 2011


  • This is not the fourth grade, Mr. Brown. This is a matter of international diplomacy and you will conduct yourself as such. Do I make myself clear?

    ... Good morning, Jimmy. I told you not to call me that! Use my codename! Good morning, Green Jazz. Mike remembered why he wanted another agent. You never say it like its written. Its one word in all caps: GREENJAZZ. That doesnt make any sense. You know we switched over to a numerical system. Never mind. Forget I said that. Read this brief-ing. The agent read his assignment like a little boy reading a comic book. His case officer looked on im-patiently. Well? I cant wait! Oh, before I forget, did those new earwigs come in? They got held up in Lon-don. Ill call you at the apartment at nine thirty. Mike opened the door, inviting GREENJAZZ to depart. He remembered when he used to be like that. So eager to serve his coun-try. So eager to brush off danger. So full of himself. He opened the door again to find Jimmy still talking to Rachel. She did not look amused, but he was persistent. Eventually he found his way to the door, down the stairs, past the Marines and into the street.

    ... Volete un tour del mio ap-partamento? James Wilson was making great strides with the wom-en of Italy since his arrival in this

    strange country five weeks ago. Go away before I hurts you. He was surprised by how many of them had learned to make physi-cal threats in his native tongue. Wil-son hurried back to the apartment to look over his assignment again. The old-fashioned black telephone rang just as he got out of the shower. Its me. Just got a call from an informant on the street. He says our man just checked into the motel. Good luck. Wilson hung up the re-ceiver and dressed himself. I look so good in black. He pointed his gun at the mirror for an instant before putting it back in his jacket. The door silently closed behind him as he crept toward the dark stairwell leading to the warm Italian night.

    ... Mike was beginning to get anxious when he did not get a call by seven AM. His nerves finally got the better of him ten minutes later when he closed the door and called the burn phone given to Wilson last week. Greenjazz? What hap-pened? Where are you? I was gonna call, but I wanted to stop by the Sunglass Hut first. I broke my only good pair last night. What happened last night? Thats why I wanted to call you. I got him, but there was a com-plication. Theres a start. Are you safe? Wheres the body? That was the problem. I didnt know he was with a whore.


  • Josh Lee

    Jimmy nervously looked around the store. When I...uh...shot him she ran, so I got her too. But she fell out the window. By the time I cleaned up the room, the cops were downstairs. I ducked out the back, but I couldnt get the other body. Jesus, Jimmy. Where are you now? I told you. The Sunglass Hut. Hey, listen, Ray-Bans are still cool, right? Shit, Jimmy! Forget the glasses and get your ass in here right now! Mike gave himself a min-ute to calm down. He knew Jimmy Wilson would mess up. But it wasnt that bad, was it? They didnt know who did it. He got the target. It was just a rookie mistake. Everyone made them. A few minutes later Jimmy sauntered up the stairs like a man who shouldnt have been fleeing to another country. When he walked into the office, Mike was indignantly

    waiting for him. I totally lost those cops back there. It was like that Vin Die-sel movie Triple X. Dont you mean what are we going to do about the dead body in the street? I was getting to that. Should we do something about the body in the street? We should not do anything. I did something already. How much something? If they begin an investiga-tion, the cops wont get far. Evidence was lost. So can I go to Goa to-night? Where? This epic place in the club district. Wanna come? Youre dismissed, Agent Wilson. I told you, call me-- Youre dismissed, GREEN-JAZZ.

    The Sextant: Spring 2011


  • Belmont Hill, BH, or BHS, not Bel HillHowe, Morse, Melvoin Commons, Jordan

    The math building, the science building, the art buildingLynch lab and the library comp lab

    Chapel, not assemblyMilk and cookies

    Friday forumMamas, Dags, Nicks, BK

    X block, 2:15, and 4 oclock

    Belmont Hill Odeby Andrew McNamara

    Josh Lee32

  • Morse, not the English buildingEuro, Gov, US

    Envi Sci, Bio, Chem, and PhysAlg, Precalc, Calc, Stat, Finite

    Comedy, Rites, Nonfic, and HeroSigning in, not attendance

    Library corridor postersBBN in 5,4,3,2,1

    Weight trainingSchool on days when it snows two feet,

    Snow days when it snows two inchesLate nights

    Library study room cram seshTI 84s


    Lost and found, [email protected], Sextant, Bell, Prospector, Flannel

    WoodburysWalk through lunch, early bellsBeing two hours early for games

    Brush Hill coach busesNovember 1st holiday and two week vacations

    School on Veterans Day, Good Friday, and most Jewish holidaysNo mascot, The Loop

    Facultones and Halloween chapelThe House speech on the first day of school

    Diversity day, week, month, and yearSAFE, ORBIS, SADD, etc.

    Harkness tablesSenior spring, panels, and the woodshop

    Josh Voto

    The Sextant: Spring 2011

    33Tucker Gordon