The Louisiana Social Pledge

We pledge our allegiance to Louisiana. We will embrace what makes us and our state unique. Louisiana will be recognized as a leader and innovator of the New South. Many great leaders of the future will come from this state. And we will show both the media and politicians that we are smarter than them. We will no longer have our resources exhausted and our people used and left behind. We will work hard and play hard. We will protect each other. We will support each other. We pledge that we will do whatever we can to get these things in motion right now. We will no longer wait for a path to be cleared for us. We will clear the path ourselves. And we ain’t giving up easily. We will socialize in the real world just as well as we do on the internet…in hopes to organize ourselves effectively.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Then He Kissed Me (Louis Toliver Jr. - Swartz, LA)

I felt so alone in a small city until I met him…(“Then He Kissed Me” by The Crystals begins to play).

It was a Saturday night. I peered from the downtown-parking garage to a street full of restaurants and bars filled with self-denial and the denial towards others at its core. I had already figured this out being that I felt smothered by the artificial layers of happiness the small city had offered its citizens. The idea that family was the strongest bond was a joke. Women having affairs at home, while their men had affairs in public bathrooms. No real bond was between her or him or with their children, who were playing videos games to cope. The idea that this small city was a family was a joke.

I wasn’t even accepted in my own family. I was gay and I didn’t want to hide who I was. I was lonely. He was constantly trying to show me he was there for me, but I was always lost in my head with rejection. I could barely enjoy the relationship. I was escaping reality for the night.  Watching everyone…(“Then He Kissed Me” by The Crystals fades out slowly).

“What’s wrong?” his voice came from behind me as I was looking over the edge of the parking garage spying on the nightlife. “Why do you always have to wander up here when you’re not having a good time?” I turned around and he stood in front of me. Slightly shorter than me.  Muscular, football-build. Polished brown hair. His calming brown eyes peered into my stormy brown eyes.  Dark jeans. Black t-shirt. It fit tightly around his arms. Chest poked out. The tattoo on his chest of a lion with a fleur-de-lis peeked from the v-neck.

“I was just thinking about how badly I want to get out of this town,” it had suddenly hit me that my father and I had not spoken in six months and we lived in the same house. Tension was all around me.

He put his arms around me pulling me close to him, then he turned and we looked off the parking garage together, “What do you see?” Just the way he touched me was healing.  He was enough to make me feel like he was the definition of “right for me.”

With a sigh as if I had given up, I slightly laughed, “Just routine. Same thing over and over again. Same people. Same choices. Same problems. Same misery.” My father worked in the oil field. Our relationship was like his job. On again. Off again. He was mostly off away in his mind. I was like him. I hated that.

“So, you see all of that?” he turned my head towards his. “So, do you see me?”

“Of, course I do,” I responded slightly mockingly. I didn’t quite understand where he was going with his statement.

“I can’t watch you hating yourself, being stuck in pain,” He held my face looking inside of me as he always did.  He then pointed down to the street, “We don’t have to have them in our lives. None of them.  None of this. No more pretending we can’t love each other in public.” He was fearless, wanting to be the man he was supposed to be.

I saw him.  I knew at that moment he was the one. I knew I was upset I didn’t have the confidence to kiss him in front of the world. I wanted to be the best man I could be for myself and for him. “What can we do about our families?” I wanted him.

"We go somewhere else. If they love us, they will come to us." Then he kissed me. "If they don't, then fuck 'em." He grinned.

I kissed him back. I felt so alone in a small city until I met him. But now, through every small city, we are together…(“Then He Kissed Me” by The Crystals begins to play).

Thursday, April 23, 2015

M.A.N. (Louis Toliver Jr. - Swartz, LA)

The boy pledges anxiously struggled as their bodies were being placed somewhere. They couldn’t see. They couldn’t move. Their mouths covered by duct tape. They were used to the constant routine and torture by now. Thankfully, it was the last day, the last night.

“Alright brothers!” Brad spoke from the sound room in the balcony of the auditorium. “You can take the fags’ blindfolds off and their lipstick!” Every year, fraternity presidents took pride in their initiations for their new members. The initiations weren’t usually as intense as this year, but with each new president came their memories of humiliation. Some past presidents were a bit more compassionate than others, but Brad was from Texas. “Fags, I assume you can hear me?”

“Yes, oh-wonderful-handsome-god Brad,” the boys said in unison.

A spotlight flicked on revealing Vince, Sid, and Dave standing on stage. Vince in his boxers, Sid in his briefs, and Dave in a jockstrap that he was sure wasn’t his. They all had their hands tied behind their backs.

“Now, fags. It seems you have faired well and we are now at your finale, your last step into manhood.” The guys could hear the pleasure in Brad’s voice and Brad wanted to make sure they heard the pleasure as well. “This auditorium is filled with many, many people that are all silently watching you exposed on this stage. Vulnerability. Doesn’t it feel good?”

“My ass hurts, man,” Dave whispered through his teeth. “I think they drugged us.”

“Yeah, my forehead is stinging,” Sid kept moving the lines in his forehead.

“My back feels like it’s bleeding,” Vince spoke in more of a whisper.

“I know you fags aren’t talking when I’m talking?” Brad’s voice was serious and annoyed. “I’m sure you are all aching a bit in different places.” He laughed, almost maniacally. “Why don’t you check each other out?”

“Holy…!” Vince and Dave both saw Sid’s forehead.

“What!? What!?” Sid panicked. “What is it!?”

“Uh, there’s a penis…” Dave could hardly close his mouth to talk.

“No. No, no, no, no, no,” Sid trailed off crazily.

“It looks weird,” Vince squinted his eyes. “It’s looks like…”

“Michael’s Jackson’s penis,” Brad’s voice echoed through the auditorium. “It was actually designed from playing around with autopsy pictures.”

“No. No, no, no, no, no,” Sid was trying to find a happy place in his head.

Vince had a revelation, “Oh shit, what’s on my back!” Vince spun around, so Dave could see.

“Vince, your such the ladies man. So, I wanted to show my respect,” Brad chuckled.

“Dave?” Vince whispered with frailty.

“Well, there are three lady-like…” Dave said softly.

“What do you mean lady-like?!” Vince squealed.

“Hanson. Hanson is on your back. All three of them,” Brad proudly.

Vince threw up.

“You have to tell me what is on my ass man?” Dave pleaded to Vince.

Vince wiped the vomit from his mouth. He looked at Dave’s ass. “It’s….us?”

“What do you mean us?” Dave asked with denial.

“There is a picture of Sid’s face on your left ass cheek and a picture of me on your right ass cheek.” Vince coughed.

“That’s it?” Dave kind of felt relieved. “Whew, sorry Sid. You got it the worst.”

“No. Both of our tongues are sticking out towards your ass crack. Then, there is a rainbow arched above your back and a phrase above that which says Taste the Rainbow,” Sidney responded with satisfaction. “This is fucked, man!” Sid screamed. “I just wanted to make some friends in college and get some social benefits! Now, I have a dick on my face!”

“Fitting in comes with its price. You silly. Na├»ve. Fags. Such victims,” Brad laughed and the lights came on in the auditorium. There was not a soul in the place. There never was. Just him and the brothers.

The boys’ eyes lit up with relief.

“So, this was all just a test?” Sid sighed.

“Your final test.” Brad assured. “Welcome to Mu Alpha Nu. You are now a M.A.N.”

The boys all laughed. “So, the tattoos aren’t real,” Vince hesitantly asked.

Brad laughed the hardest they had ever heard him laugh before. It seemed for minutes and minutes. Definitely, maniacal this time. “Of course, the tattoos are real!”

Sid passed out.

Vince threw up again.

Dave kept trying to look over his back to see his tattoo, like a dog chasing his tail.

 “Alright, our new brothers, now find your way off this stage,” Brad turned the intercom and the auditorium lights off.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Perfect (Louis Toliver Jr. - Swartz, LA)

One day little Billy was harmlessly walking through the world, quite sad because he couldn’t be what others wanted him to be. His judgment clouded by the burden of others' thoughts, he fell down to the earth and prayed up to God.

“Oh, God, why can’t I be perfect like you?” little Billy cried hard for a seemingly long time. 

As little Billy's tears hit the ground, they evaporated and formed clouds in the sky. Then, those clouds shaped into a figure in the sky.

“But you are like me, little Billy," the cloud spoke. 

Little Billy looked up above into the cloud and saw his reflection in the sky, radiating light over the earth. 

"You are...of me," the cloud clarified.

The large cloud cried, returning the tears that soaked Billy. It rained and rained, until it disappeared and the sun was shining bright. The cloud's tears left Billy perfectly clean. 

"I am like you," little Billy said proudly.

Feeling connected to the cloud, little Billy no longer saw the importance of others' thoughts as the guidance of his self-worth. 

"I am me," little Billy skipped away into the sunshine.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Two Virgins Doesn’t (Necessarily) Make a Right (Louis Toliver Jr - Swartz, LA)

Here they were, Ben and Amy, on their wedding night. Both at the ripe age of 33.

As they had been told by others it was best to do, both saved their private parts, (Ben’s penis & Amy’s vagina) from being seen until this ripe age of 33. They never really understood why, but both assumed God didn’t like those who had any sexual experience (at least that’s what they were told).

As they lay in bed together, both naked. Ben looked at Amy. Amy looked at Ben. “So, what do we do?” They said at the same time. “I don’t know,” they both said at the same time.

“I’ve waited since I was a teenager for this, Amy.” Ben assured.
“I’ve only dreamed of this night, Ben.”  Amy professed.

Then the questions followed:
“Do you have a condom?”
“Do married people need one?”
-I don’t know.
“Did you learn anything about sex in school?”
“Did you learn anything about sex in church”
-Heck no.
“Let’s just try, okay?”

Ben took his penis and tried to enter it into Amy’s ear. It would not go in. Then, Amy took her vagina and tried to place Ben’s toes inside. It did not feel right.  And so, this tragedy ended, as they both lay in bed, as their wedding night turned into the rest of their lives, neither knowing what to do. And they lived unhappily sexually frustrated, forever.


Men (A Short Story) - (Louis Toliver Jr- Swartz, LA)

Being a man has nothing to do with a penis, nor a weapon.  Frankly, it is hard to make constant good use of either. There are many penises and many weapons in the world and very few men control them. If I had to choose between a penis, a gun, or a brain; I choose the brain. The instant gratification is longer, you can control other two, and you’re never left with a blank shot.