The Eighth Page


I have sensed recently that the Features section, though, of course, hilariously funny, has been somewhat bland. I have noticed, too, that the section has lacked a certain – je ne sais quoi… flare. Finally, I have just been chastised and verbally berated for writing rambling, unimportant lead-ins to my articles. Therefore, I will remedy these two problems by immediately beginning the epic, earth-shattering saga of a journey to the far ends of the earth, to a place of wonder, adventure, and delight, a place called… MANCHVEGAS! It was a cold, windy day, and freezing rain fell steadily across the bluff…er…Great Lawn. I folded up my collar, put my old, weathered hands in my pockets and trudged on toward eternity. I approached the steps with trepidation, pausing before the call pad for a moment before entering the extension. His voice rang out like the whistle of some great steam ship in the dark Atlantic night. “Yes?” “Nelson. It’s time. The jackal has cried twice. We must go.” I, of course, was talking to Peter Nelson ’05. “Hold on, I’m talking to my mom on my cell phone. She wants me to wear my yellow Polo sweater underneath my jacket because it’s so cold out today.” “Very well, but be quick about it. We haven’t time to lose.” With that he hung up the phone and the cold hum of the dial tone echoed in my head like some forgotten childhood song. Oh, Nelson…can’t you see? The hour of culmination is upon us! Just then I was thrown from my daze by the opening of the door and the emergence of Peter Nelson. “My mom says she’ll come pick us up in our Volvo, if you want.” “No, Nelson! How could we? You know as well as I, you cunning weasel, that we must trudge across the sands of time before our destination is reached. Our path will be marked with sweat, tears, and the blood of our fathers, but we will come upon the land of promise at last, and our triumph will echo in the heavens.” “But it has dual airbags—“ “No! I have spoken.” I took out my rain-beaten, vintage 1998 Nokia cell phone and dialed a number all too familiar to my blistered fingers. “Andover Cab? Yes. I’d like a cab for two. Our destination? MANCHVEGAS!” Soon enough we were in the cab speeding down the empty highway as raindrops covered the car like saltless tears. [Editor’s Note: What!?] We drove past countless houses, trees, and numbered highway signs before reaching the New Hampshire State Line. I pointed it out to Nelson. “There, you see? The sign of the falcon has presented itself as promised. We are on the right path, the path of slate and memory.” “Yeah, my mom and dad used to sing the New Hampshire song every time we passed over the line.” “Silence, Nelson. This is no time for childhood memories. We must not let our minds dwell on such frail thoughts.” And then, as if coming upon a mirage in a vast, wind-swept desert, we reached our destination. Manchvegas lay ahead of me like an emerald city of wonder and intrigue. “Stop the cab!” I shouted to the driver and climbed out the door, spreading my arms below the vast, unbroken sky as Manchvegas rose up before me like so many steel sandcastles on some desolate, long-forgotten sea shore. Nelson shared in my awe. “That’s the Verizon building!” he declared excitedly. “It’s the largest building in New Hampshire: 19 stories!” But our moment of amazement was cut short by the familiar ring of my trusty cell phone in my pocket. I answered it warily. “Christian? This is Elissa Harwood ’05. You’re supposed to be working on The Phillipian. What’s wrong with you?” Alas, I realized, she’s right. It was Monday, my day of reckoning, and I had no choice but to return to the goblet of fire. I trudged solemnly into the cab as Peter rambled on about his family’s favorite grocery store, but I didn’t listen; I had no time for the innocent musings of his supple mind. So, Harwood, you’ve done it again. You may have scattered the path with coal black as the night, but the rains of time shall wash it away sooner or later, and, I can assure you, I’ll return to Manchvegas some day, with Nelson, and ascend the throne for all time. As I am not supposed to include preambles in my articles, I would like to simply take this extra space to salute the good people of Manchester, New Hampshire. Your city is appreciated, as is Peter Nelson, your finest son.