Ben LeClair
Stephen Nagel


Empty City

Stephen Nagel

Time Machine

Ben LeClair

The Makings of Evil


When he was 2 years old, Jonathon Shaeffer first laid his fingers on the keyboard. When he was 5, he had mastered Chopin’s works, through and through. When he was 8, he’d composed a modern-day symphony, and when he was 12, he was sent to Juvenile Hall for his world-famous attempt to steal one of Steinway Hall’s prized Venetian showcase pianos (hand-crafted in 1878 – appraised worth: $2.3 million.)

Amidst the absurdity, the incident was in fact a masterful blend of “Mission Impossible” and a Bugs Bunny cartoon. In his room, they found a detailed scheme written out most plainly in a composition notebook, innocently titled: “My PLAN.” According to the papers, little Jonathon had spent 8 months reading helicopter manuals, 14 months mastering the fragile principles of dynamite and a week stalking an unsuspecting NBC news-copter pilot just to determine the location of his keys.

Word has it that at 3a.m., little Jonathon stole the helicopter, hovered directly on top of Steinway’s own warehouse and lowered himself to the roof by rope. He calmly prepared his mysteriously acquired dynamite and raised himself back up to the helicopter. The dynamite was said to have gone off with such precision and accuracy that even 90-yr. old WWII artillerymen felt compelled to dub him “a helluva lad.” That said for the older generation, the adult generation (immersed in their easily-rattled world of order and control) were less appreciative and a bit more irate. They spent most of their time arguing back and forth, blaming society for influencing such a poor, innocent child with the filth in our daily environment. Or… on the other hand: …Not exposing the child to enough of the harsh realities of the world! “The negligence of the parents!” they said… “The audacity of the cartoon industry!” they said… only to be retorted by, “The weakness of society!”… “Bring forth the heavy hand and a switch! That’ll straighten ‘em out.” “Preserve the innocence! It’s all we have to cling to”… “Break it now! – lest we fall beneath a sea of bliss.” The eternal peanut gallery: straining their lungs for posterity’s sake.

Still though, to the shock of our elderly analysts, little Jonathon’s explosion occurred so perfectly that not a single piano in the warehouse was harmed nor even scratched. Lowering himself once again, Jonathon now carried a carefully padded chain (so as not to harm his precious treasure). He secured it around the piano delicately, lifted himself up once again and flew away to the sound of police sirens.

To some extent, I suppose Jonathon succeeded. Well, at least for a minute or so. Quite astoundingly, he managed to land both the piano and the helicopter directly in front of his house, on 15 Elm St. His parents dashed out to see what the racket was and sure enough – to their, well, part-astonishment, part bewilderment, and part dreadful-fear-of-the-inevitable-repercussions now brewing in their heads – they discovered their very own son gleefully playing the Allegro Molto right on the front lawn, harboring a humble 12 yr. old smile that brimmed with pride… only to be hand-cuffed by the surrounding squat team seconds later….



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