~Meniscus Archives~

Premier Issue No. 1
August 14, 2003 - November 14, 2004

Link to Issue #1 Home


The Star Said...
Emlyn Lewis

Dear Mr. Tax Man

Invigorating Shake
Photo Essay on Peace
Bicentennial Aries
Jon Heinrich
Stranger in Alaska
Ryan Collins

The End of Main Street
Wesley Ratko

The Fur Trapper
Evan Bynum
Travels with Dad
Sarah Edrich
Long's Peak Winter Solo
Aron Ralston
Las Vegas
Jon Heinrich
Film Review: Secretary
Josh Seifert
Your Basic Mindf***: A Review of Wayne Krantz' Latest, Your Basic Live
Brian Gagne
Interview with Silent Treatment
Chrystie Hopkins
Independence of Common Humanity
Daniel Stevens
September in Chicago
Derek Meier
Father Time was a Bastard
Dan Boudreau
Wispers of the Mind
Dan Boudreau
2 Haikus
Laura R. Prince
Sarah Edrich
Pete Pidgeon
Meniscus Premier Launch Party
Zeitgeist Gallery
Cambridge, Massachusetts
August 14, 2003
Metro Saturdays hosts
Meniscus Portland Launch
Sky Bar @ The Roxy
Portland, Maine
August 30, 2003
State of the Art
Lounge Ten
Boston, Massachussets
October 23, 2003


Stranger in Alaska
Ryan Collins
Published 8/1/03

A stranger came to the house last night. We don't often get unannounced visitors. I drove up to the house yesterday, convinced by Peter and Tom that it was surely passable—though neither of them tried. I see now the consequences of my actions: By driving up the road my truck was no longer blocking the mile long drive. Thus, anyone who was so compelled as to attempt the steep icy hill could do so.


Having just finished in the bathroom, I walked through the back bedroom to the main room and was staring blankly at the desk while trying to remember the plan of action that I had just devised in the bathroom. The dishes, I thought to myself, which sent me whirling counterclockwise towards the kitchen. Mid-whirl, I caught some dark object in my peripheral. A darker blur among the darkness, just like last weekend when Sherrill and I were walking up from the gate where we usually park the trucks and walk in.

It was about 11:00 p.m. after a long weekend of driving from Anchorage to Palmer, back to Anchorage early the next morning, then back to Palmer for Sherrill's younger brother's birthday party, then back to Anchorage for some dance performance—Pilobilus I think—then up to the homestead. We had just loaded our packs up with groceries, slung them over our shoulders and began walking up the hill when I looked up the road and noticed a darker patch than the rest of the darkness.

"What is that?" I asked Sherrill.

"It looks like a truck doesn't it," she replied.

We proceeded cautiously, eventually encountering two drunks who had been out 4-wheelin' in our pick-up, because “there's nothing better to do in Anchorage on a Friday night." Who knows what those drunk fuckers would have done had they made it to the house?

Focusing on this new darkness outside my window revealed a Subaru with some random fucker getting out. Who was he? Why was he here? How did he get here unnoticed? Should I shoot him now and get it over with? This is my home, my refuge, my escape from the awkward encounters implicit in the land below. I hadn't been out of the house all day except to ride my bike. But then I was wearing a hat. For the most part I am courteous enough to put a that on before leaving the house if I am on an inevitable collision course with people. Now I am in leisure mode—my favorite mode—where societal superficialities are fully disregarded.

It wasn't until Tyson walked in and was sitting across from me, drinking the Guiness I'd offered him, that I caught a glimpse of my reflection on one of the five floor-to-ceiling windows that makes up the front of the house. I'm convinced that the house was designed this way so that when you wake up in the morning you can see all the phases of Denali throughout the day without getting out of bed! Jesus, I scared myself. Who is that unkept wooly monster staring at me; freshly electrocuted bedhead. What must this guy be thinking? Why had he willing wandered into the house of a lunatic? No one could hear him scream, and if they did it wouldn't be extraordinary. There's a certain freedom that comes with such a wide span of land, of wilderness. I was flustered no doubt; I did nothing to conceal it.

"I met Sherrill walking up the road one day and she said to stop up sometime if I was back in the area," he opened with. Some uncomfortable small talk ensued but all the while I kept thinking…

One should be careful infiltrating another's home, especially one so obviously removed from the others. What if he had seen something he shouldn't have? There'd be only one recourse: Tranquilize him, drive his car to the top of the hill, point his tires cliffside, put him back in the driver's seat, and give it a good shove. But then, if he were loosing control, enough to be going over the edge of the road, there would be some evidence of a struggle: Swerving, skid marks in the ice, evidence of an attempt to stop. It reeked of foul play. But what then? Locked away to occasionally emerge as "the gimp."

"…guys go hiking," was all that I heard of his question. How many times had he asked? What had he asked? Was there even a question? Sweat gushed from my scalp.

"Sure. We do a lot of hiking and climbing in the mountains around here," I responded.

"I should get going, I'm meeting some girls in town. They sing and I play guitar so were going to try to get things going."

Obviously I had radiated something in my mental wanderings that went straight to his headquarters and the fight or flight response team.

"Well, ah, yes I need to clean those dishes. It was good to meet you and sorry for any undue weirdness."

"Tell Sherrill I said hello and it was nice to meet you."

"It was nice to meet you as well Tyson and I'll be sure to tell her you stopped by. Drive safe."

-Ryan Collins

Meniscus Magazine © 2003. All material is property of respective artists.