Of Colored, Dignified Tongues Conference:

Two Prompts:
"Mischief" and "Trauma"

Raymond Sapida

Old Man: Ben Abad; appeared in TAYO ISSUE 2.


The first pack of cigarettes I ever bought was hidden inside a deck box where my Yu-Gi-Oh cards used to be and then hidden inside my bag behind heavy textbooks and failed midterms. I hiked for an hour into Tilden Park so no one would see me take them out. I stopped at a bench where other people had carved their names and took a moment to feel a few of the scratches. I waited to make sure that no one else was there. I took the first cigarette and used it like a wand, lighting one end to cast a spell to take my worries away. Like a complete beginner, I coughed for a good minute before I could keep on going. When my throat finally started agreeing with the smoke, I relaxed while I watched the embers crept closer towards the filter, like the fuse for an invisible bomb. The smell of tobacco that I hated filled my nose until I couldn't notice it anymore. And from that day on, smoking was like breathing air, a bit of magic I cast every day.


I was 8 years old, watching an episode of Pokemon in my room. Ash Ketchum was just about to enter the Safari with Pikachu when I heard my dad calling my name. I ignored it. It was probably another chore: wash the dishes, vacuum the hallway, take out the trash. It was always something and it could wait. Five to ten minutes wouldn't hurt. Just enough time for Team Rocket to appear. My dad started calling my sister's name and I felt relieved, maybe I could just sit there and watch T.V. in peace. His calls started to get louder but they weren't angry. He didn't count to three like he usually does or barge in to the room. I walked to their bedroom. My mom was on the floor, blood oozing slowly out of the corner of her mouth and my dad holding her head crying. I froze until the ambulance came to take her away. I almost lost her that day. After that time, I never ignore someone calling my name. Just in case. 

Raymond Sapida participated in the Of Colored, Dignified Tongues: Writing Conference in Spring 2013. He was an editorial staff member for {m}aganda Magazine and is graduating from the University of California, Berkeley.