Straight, by Carrie Drzik

Written by Carrie Drzik
Photo: © carlodapino

It begins with a book.
They place the book atop her head.
“Stand tall,” they say. “Do not let the book drop.”
“Walk,” they say. “Walk and smile.”
“Stand tall and walk and smile.”
“Be beautiful,” they say. “Be always beautiful.”
“Do not,” they say, “slouch.”
“If you slouch,” they say, “the book will drop.”
“If the book should drop,” they say, “do not stoop to pick it up.”
“Stooping,” they say, “is the opposite of standing tall. Stooping is not beautiful.”
“If the book should drop,” they say, “wait for someone else to pick it up and replace it on your head.”
“Do not–” they say, “under any circumstances–hold the book in your hands.”
“If–for any reason–the book comes to rest in your hands,” they say, “do not–under any circumstances–open the book.”
“Opening the book leads to reading. Reading leads to slouching, and slouching,” they say, “is not beautiful.”
“If–for any reason–you should happen to hold the book in your hands, and the book should happen to fall open, you must close your eyes,” they say.
“For looking leads to reading, which–as was previously mentioned–leads to slouching.”
“And slouching is not beautiful.”
“Should you choose not to close your eyes, you might see.
You might see a picture of a man holding the world on his back.
You might marvel at how his muscles bulge in perfect symmetry as they bare the weight of the load.
You might see the pain in the symmetry.
You might see his face and connect his pain, as vast as it seems, with the dull aching throb in your neck.
You might see how the muscles and tendons in your neck have hardened from this balancing act, preventing you from turning your head to look around.
You might wonder how the two of you–you and this man–might look if you stood less tall and he more so, so that you might carry the world together.”
“If,” they say, “you stray this far from our teachings, it’s likely that you’ll have sat down to ponder–shoulders bowed like the bough of a willow, and at that point,” they say with a disdainful shake of the head, “there will be nothing we can do to get you straight again.”


Carrie is a Creative-Jack-of-All-Trades who has spent the past two years establishing her production company, Reindeer City. She is currently working with the Irish Film Festival Boston to help expand their operation into a yearly film forum & is in development for her first feature film.

You can find Carrie and Reindeer City at and @reindeercity.