The Question by Claire Ockner


Ever since the day I turned fifteen, I’ve been bombarded with a single question. You learn to tune it out, you know, and it becomes white noise, like flies buzzing around your ears or the static on an old T.V. And, the more they ask you that same question, the more you realize that you have no idea what the answer is. You shrug. You mumble, “I don’t know.” You avoid it like the freaking plague.

“So, Claire, where do you think you’ll be going after high school?”

Oy vey. For the past few months, I’ve simply been regurgitating the names of the schools to which I applied. I would rattle them off like items on a grocery list, speeding through them as quickly as possible. After all, a question that you’ve been asked over and over again for years can get pretty boring to answer. Seeing other people answer the question can be even worse. You’re happy for them, of course, but you’re jealous too. They have an answer, a definitive plan for the next four years of their life.

About a week ago, I finally got my answer. I no longer dread the question — I embrace it. “I’m going to Ohio State!” I say confidently. And then I answer the rest of their seemingly endless questions: What are you studying? Psychology. Are you in any programs? Yes, I’m in the Honors Program. Do you know where you’ll be living? No, because they won’t email me my freaking housing contract. I tell them about my roommate, who I met on Facebook, and how I plan on decorating my room, and what activities I want to participate in.

So, I’ve finally answered your question. I’m going to THE Ohio State University, and I couldn’t be happier.

Who exactly IS Chonkly? by Ian Marr


His name is whispered throughout the Writing Center on a daily basis. Many have heard of him, but few truly know him. From his domain upon the back whiteboard, he silently watches all that happens within this room. The Writing Center fears him and what he’s capable of. However… what is he truly capable of? Where did he come from? Why has he made his home in the Writing Center? Perhaps most importantly, who will he decide to get first? Just who is Chonkly, the silent and omniscient deity of the Shaker Writing Center?

For months, Chonkly’s unblinking gaze has rested on room 228. He has witnessed every conference and conversation that has transpired within these classroom walls. His ominous warning, “CHONKLY will get you,” keeps writing interns and visiting students alike in line, almost as if he is daring one unlucky soul to defy his rule. What would happen to us if he were to be provoked? Would there be any glimmer of hope for survival for any of us? Is it foolish to even think of fighting back against a divine being such as Chonkly? None can say. We can only hope that none who stray into this classroom are unfortunate enough to experience his unbridled rage.

For an entity with as much power as Chonkly, there are several questions to be asked. Who or what exactly is he? Has he come to do us harm, or perhaps to save us from ourselves? Is he alive? Or does he merely exist, waiting forever for that next perfect opportunity? Is it possible for us to communicate with him? Should we even attempt to communicate with him? These are questions that we may never find the answers to. However, as long as Chonkly remains watching over us, we will continue to search for explanations.

I fear that I’ve said too much. My body feels heavy and my mind is getting hazy. The walls around me appear to be swirling with a strange light, and I can feel my consciousness beginning to slip away. What is this strange sensation? Could this be the will of Chonkly? Has my research angered him? My eyes frantically dart about the swirling room, which I can barely recognize anymore. They come to rest on four words that appear to be levitating in front of me. My vision is blurring and I can hardly make out what they say. However, I don’t need to read them to understand what they’re saying to me. I slowly close my eyes and sink into nothingness, murmuring those four words that have been repeated in the Writing Center countless times.

“Chonkly will get you.”