Natasha Gdansk reads, writes, and likes the smell of tire stores. She is known to create musical compositions on an abacus and to drink way too...read more much coffee.
You can find her poetry at
where she collaborates with her cousin, fiction writer, Tom Andrews.
MARCY SMIRKOWSKI WAS THE MOST INVENTIVE third grader at St. Cosmo's School for Scientifically Disturbed Shuffle Board Players.
Although she was not a shuffle board player herself, Marcy was allowed to attend classes. She was given special dispensation because of her Uncle Stanley, who concocted micro fine removal agents for the Wax Temple of Immaculate Degeneration in the school basement. He was also known for supplying the school principal with psychotropic scallions and bikini muffins each morning, but that's a story for another day.
Well, Marcy was one of those exotic dimpled beauties with auburn waves that framed her face like a lion's mane, accentuating her cat eye pupils. She had such a rare visage that nobody would ever suspect that she was both a scientific genius and a femme fatale.
Marcy's greatest invention, that drew both admiration and jealousy, was the Diaper Pin Machine.
The concept was quite simple: every morning at 10:00 recess, the boys in the class would get in queue while Marcy daintily removed the five inch decorative gold safety pin from the front of her regulation plaid skirt. Tongues wagged, pooling drool that would make a St. Bernard dog proud, as each boy waited his turn to be grabbed by his jacket collar and thrown against the chain-link fence that surrounded the schoolyard.
These smitten young lads would howl with delight as Marcy then stabbed them with the sharp end of her pin for fifteen minutes every morning. Energized and dripping blood through the halls, they would return to their highly waxed shuffle board courts for a day of lessons. This also ensured Uncle Stanley's job security.
The frolics came to an untimely end on the first day of the Seasonal Smudge and Jam Festival, when naughty Fred Filmore dared his rivals to prove themselves by using the electrical fence that separated the playground from the alewives' processing plant. As most of the boys excused themselves to polish their tangs and biscuits, Marcy dragged Fred by his cool CPO jacket collar and flung him head first into the electrical border. In a split second, he grabbed her (and her revered safety pin) to the sound of an explosion and lightning flashes so fierce that St. Cosmo's and the fish factory were both out of power for days.
The principal forbade anyone from ever speaking of this incident to protect the reputation of the fine academic institution.
Not a single student ever acknowledged this travesty, until the somber toast at St. Cosmo's 20th Class Reunion.